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Full text of "The communists in the people's front, report delivered to the Plenary meeting of the Central committee of the Communist party, U.S.A. held June 17-20, 1937."

EARL BROWDER 




PRICE. 10 CENTS 



OTHER REPORTS TO THE JUNE 

PLENUM OF THE CENTRAL 

COMMITTEE, COMMUNIST 

PARTY, U.S.A. 



Party Building and Political Leadership 

William Z. Foster, Alex Bittelman, 
ime$ W. lord And Charles Krum- 








What Is Happening in the U.S.S.R.? 

Dorcy 05 



I complete catalogue write to 

WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS 

I D New York City 



. 



THE COMMUNISTS IN THE 
PEOPLE'S FRONT 



ALSO BY EARL BROWDER 

The Results of the Elections and the People's 

Front 

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What Is Communism? 
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Communism in the United States 
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Lenin and Spain 

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Trotskyism Against World Peace 

i cent 

Democracy or Fascism 
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Who Are the Americans? 
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Lincoln and the Communists 

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Talks to America 
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Build the United People's Front 
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1 



M 



EARL BROWDER 






THE COMMUNISTS 

IN THE 
PEOPLE'S FRONT 



Report delivered to the Plenary Meet- 
ing o£ the Central Committee of the 
Communist Party, U.S.A., held June 
17-20, 1937 



New Steps in the United Front 

5 cents 



pity 



NEW YORK 
WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS 



LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY OF TEX 
AUSTIN, TEXAS 



z 



Contents 



PUBLISHED BY 

WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS, INC. 

P. O. BOX 1 48, STA. D, NEW YORK CITY 

JULY, I937 



Introduction .... 7 

I. Factors and Problems of the 

Developing People's Front . 13 

The Foundations of the Old Two- 
Party System Shattered. 

The Path of Struggle Before Us. 

Thomas' " Super-Revolutionary " 
Argument Against the People's 
Front. 

Sustained Attention to Develop- 
ing the United Front. 

II. The Trade Union Question 

and the Fight for Unity . . 58 

III. Let Us Broaden the Organ- 
ized Struggle for Peace . . 77 

IV. Building the Party and the 
Daily Worker . 89 

The Special Qualities of Bolshevik 
Leadership. 

Overcoming the Red Scare. 

Marxist-Leninist Theory to Illum- 
inate Our Political Work. 

Our Approach to Special Strata 
and Groups. 

Let Us Extend the Circulation of 
Our Press. 



955 



Introduction 



The swift rise in activity of a broad 
progressive and democratic move- 
ment in the U.S.A, in which first place 
is played by the Committee for Indus- 
trial Organization and its organizing 
drives realized, even soon than we 
had thought, those perspectives which 
we set at the December Plenum of our 
Central Committee. This fact becomes 
of major world importance in the set- 
ting of the world struggle between the 
forces of fascism and war on the one 
hand, and those of democracy and 
peace on the other, because it gives 
grounds for belief that the U.S.A. can 
be made one of the strongholds against 
world reaction, along with the People's 
Front movements in Fiance, Spain, 
and China, and in cooperation with 



the greatest fortress of progress, democ- 
racy, and peace, the Soviet Union. 

Reaction and fascism have received 
a series of defeats which, if followed up 
on a world scale, create the precondi- 
tions for its downfall everywhere. The 
smashing of the Trotskyite wrecking 
and espionage agencies in the Soviet 
Union, the halting of the fascist offen- 
sive before Madrid, the inauguration 
of the new Soviet Constitution— high 
mark of democracy in world history— 
the smashing of Mussolini's brigands 
at Brihuega in March, the advance 
toward a national anti-Japanese front 
in China, the stamping out of the nest 
of traitors in the Red Army in the 
Soviet Union, the new cabinet con- 
solidating the People's Front govern- 
ment in Spain and its quick suppres- 
sion of the counter-revolutionary Trot- 
skyite insurrection— each of these ma- 
jor developments was a body blow to 
the fascist conspirators of the world. 
Not the least important front in this 

8 



■ 



world struggle is the United States, 
where it is upon our still numerically 
small Party that responsibility rests 
in the first place to ensure the halting 
of the forces of reaction, fascism, and 
war. These forces in the United States 
are gathering, preparing a counter- 
offensive against the rising movement 
of the democratic elements in this 
country. 

The Central Committee Plenum, 
meeting in the midst of events of 
world-historical importance, both 
abroad and at home, has the special 
task of concentrating the attention of 
our Party upon a few key questions, 
which, through our correct and ener- 
getic orientation, will place the Party 
in a position to meet its responsibilities 
most effectively in all fields. We have 
chosen four such points of concentra- 
tion: (i) the next tasks in building the 
People's Front in the U.S.A.; (2) the 
struggle for progressive industrial 
unionism, and for labor unity; (3) or- 

9 



ganizing the mass movement for an 
effective peace policy; and (4) build- 
ing the Communist Party and the 
Daily Worker. 

To concentrate upon these key ques- 
tions, it will be necessary for this re- 
port to forego treatment of many of the 
most important world questions, which 
have been fully and correctly dealt 
with by our brother Parties in other 
lands, and by the speeches and articles 
of our International leadership, in the 
first place of Comrade Dimitroff, that 
have been transmitted regularly 
through the Daily Worker. There is 
such complete proof in life of the cor- 
rectness of this line, and such unani- 
mous confidence and enthusiasm with- 
in our Party for its international lead- 
ership, that discussion is required in 
this meeting only for clarifying the 
application of the general line to the 
changing situation and to the tasks 
coming directly within our own hands. 

A few words on the economic trend 









and outlook may usefully preface a 
direct examination of our problems of 
concentration. The draft resolution 
presented to you notes that "the eco- 
nomic recovery, already approaching 
pre-crisis levels, although showing in- 
creasing signs of accumulating factors 
making for another crash, is on the 
whole continuing upward, and serves 
to further stimulate the organization 
and struggle of the workers." In this 
brief formulation are all the chief eco- 
nomic factors influencing our political 
problems. We are not in a position to 
estimate how long the upward trend of 
economy will continue, whether the 
next big change will come through 
economic crisis of general war; or 
would any useful purpose be achieved 
by speculations on snch questions. 
That increased production even above 
1929 levels would still leave mass un- 
employment as a permanent problem 
is a fact accepted even by the Wash- 
ington administration. Mounting ex- 



10 



1 1 



rt - r — - RARY 

IIDNIVERSI TY O- 
Al 



penditures for war preparations be- 
come increasingly an economic factor, 
even in the United States, where it is 
proportionally the smallest among the 
big capitalist powers. Rising prices and 
living costs, always features of eco- 
nomic recovery, are accentuated by the 
increased influence of monopoly and 
the world tendency to inflation, fur- 
ther emphasizing the necessity for or- 
ganization and struggle among the 
masses whose living conditions are thus 
undermined. The economic factors are 
strengthening steadily the political 
radicalization of the people. 



12 



i. Factors and Problems 

of the Developing 

People's Front 

The movement for a Farmer-Labor 
Party in the United States repre- 
sents those same social and political 
currents which in France and Spain 
have been crystallized in the People's 
Front. 

Many are puzzled by an apparent 
contradiction between the clearly es- 
tablished growth of the People's Front 

itiment in the United States, and 
the slowing up of the organizational 
i ealization of a national Farmer-Labor 
Party. Some even begin to spin new 
theories, to explain this contradiction, 
thinking that the tempo of develop- 

iii had been previously overesti- 

Lted, or that the whole conception 

13 



955 i 



of the Farmer-Labor Party has been 
artificially forced upon a movement 
which will take another direction in 
real life. It is my opinion that we must 
reject all such superficial theorizing, 
that we must reaffirm the perspective 
of a Farmer-Labor Party on a national 
scale which has for the past two years 
dominated the thought of the broad 
camp of the Left in American politics. 

It is necessary, however, to give the 
gravest attention to the problem of the 
slow rise of the Farmer-Labor organ- 
ization. This is not something to be 
dismissed. It must be analyzed and ex- 
plained, and far-reaching conclusions 
must be drawn affecting the immediate 
tactical problems of the movement. 

It may shock some persons to hear it 
said that, far from overestimating the 
tempo of development of the Farmer- 
Labor movement, we seriously under- 
estimated it. Actually the rise of the 
new political current has been so great 
that many eyes lost sight of the big 



H 



wave and were fastened instead on 
some of the small ripples in the cur- 
rent. It is precisely because of the ex- 
ceptional breadth and speed of the 
rise of the Farmer-Labor movement 
l hat there has occurred what seems 
like a pause in organizing the na- 
tional Farmer-Labor Party. 

Take, as a prime example, the emer- 
gence of progressive industrial union- 
ism as the dominant force among the 
workers. Surely the sweep of the C.I.O. 
has exceeded the expectations of most 
people. And this movement is the es- 
sential foundation and driving force 
of any successful Farmer-Labor Party. 
Its role is decisive, and becomes more 
so every day. If the national Farmer- 
Labor Party is not already in process 
of organization, it is, first of all, be- 
cause the C.I.O. is notVeady for such a 
step, even though it is clearly moving 
in that direction. 

Can it be said that the present un- 
willingness of the C.LO, to take the 



*5 



lead for a Farmer-Labor Party is a sign 
of political backwardness? I think that 
would be a false answer, one that 
would distort most dangerously the 
whole problem and create a false re- 
lationship between the political van- 
guard on the one hand and the leader- 
ship of the great mass organizations on 
the other. The leaders of the C.I.O. 
have shown great alertness to the main 
political problems of the day, and a 
growing readiness to act upon these 
problems, in which they faithfully re- 
flect the rising political consciousness 
of the masses whom they lead. The 
C.I.O. has become, not only a great 
force in economic life, but also simul- 
taneously in politics. It expresses in all 
fields a process which may be described 
as the birth of the American working 
class as an independent and conscious 
force. Of course, it political role is far 
from being fully developed; it is only 
taking shape. But to describe this lack 
of full maturity as "political back- 



16 



wardness" would lead to absurd and 
dangerous errors. The essential fact is 
the tremendous "forwardness" of the 
mass movement and of its leaders, com- 
pared to anything in our past history. 

To what, then, must we turn to find 
the reason for the reluctance of the 
C.I.O. to step forward boldly toward a 
national Farmer-Labor Party? We can 
find the key to understand this, first, 
in certain immediate practical con- 
siderations, which, upon examination, 
lead us, in turn, to a new tactical prob- 
lem created by the unprecedented 
scope and power of the mass movement 
which requires us to learn from the 
masses before we can teach them. 

First, the immediate practical con- 
siderations. The C.I.O. is already in 
politics, with achievements which it 
does not want to endanger by any hasty 
and ill-considered moves. We can illus- 
trate this by comparing the experience 
of the steel workers in Pennsylvania, 
where the C.I.O. is deeply in politics, 

17 



to the experience in Illinois, where it is 
not. In both states there are Demo- 
cratic Party administrations, both of 
which supported Roosevelt in the 1936 
elections. In Pennsylvania, when the 
steel workers went on strike to force 
recognition of the union from the in- 
dependent steel companies (Jones & 
Laughlin), the state administration 
supported the workers, and the gov- 
ernor went personally on the picket 
line to be photographed by the news- 
papers shaking hands with the pickets; 
the strike was won in a few days. But in 
Illinois the state administration and 
the Chicago city administration 
worked as auxiliaries of the steel cor- 
porations, typified in the Memorial 
Day massacre of pickets at the Repub- 
lic plant, the most brazen anti-labor 
blow struck in America lor many years. 
An enormous gulf exists between these 
two examples, both occurring under 
the Mag of the Democratic Party. 
Steel workers will not listen to any- 

18 



one who wants to deliver a lecture 
proving that the state, as the executive 
committee of the capitalist class, must 
always be a strike-breaker until it is 
taken over completely by the working 
class; that therefore the apparent dif- 
ference between Pennsylvania and 
Illinois is a pure illusion; that the 
workers should abandon their support 
of the liberal Pennsylvania administra- 
tion which they brought into power 
and come out with their own Fanner- 
Labor Party. Steel workers will answer 
that while they may know little about 
theory, they have learned on their own 
skins the difference between a liberal 
government with labor sympathies and 
participation and an openly reaction- 
ary one. They will waive all theoreti- 
cal objections for the practical ad- 
vantages of winning a few more strikes 
and consolidating their unions. We 
will be utterly unrealistic if we expect 
a Farmer-Labor Party of serious con- 
sequence in Pennsylvania until the 

19 



C.I.O. is convinced that such a party 
will immediately exert as much politi- 
cal power as the C.I.O. already exerts 
through the Democratic Party. And, 
further, in Illinois the first conclusion 
of the main body of the steel workers 
and miners to be drawn from the ex- 
perience of the Republic massacre is 
not to flock into the little Illinois 
Labor Party, but to demand a liberal 
overturn within the Democratic Party 
on the lines of Pennsylvania. 

In this example we have the imme- 
diate practical considerations which 
have determined that the C.I.O. work 
in the political field for the immediate 
future on the lines of Labor's Non- 
partisan League and not of a new 
Farmer-Labor Party. 

Every proponent of the Farmer- 
Labor Party, whether he likes it or not, 
is forced to recognize this stubborn 
lact. The masses will change from this 
position, not at the call of a small po- 
litical vanguard, but ony through their 



20 



own experience, which furnishes 
"round for the teaching of the van- 
guard. 

Let us now for a moment examine 
a situation where the C.I.O. has not as 
yet been so decisive, where the move- 
ment is rising but is more hetero- 
geneous, namely, the State of Wash- 
ington. Last year a broad progressive- 
liberal-labor movement arose in that 
siate under the name of the Common- 
wealth Federation. Many of us thought 

is movement was immediately des- 
tined to come out as a state Farmer- 
Labor Party. It chose* however, to 
work through the Democratic Party, 
and it gained immediately such results 
1 hat only the peculiar Washington bal- 
lot, which enabled reactionary Repub- 
licans to vote for reactionary 
1 )emocrats in the primaries, prevented 
the Commonwealth Federation from 
getting a measure of control of the 
Mate administration. As a result of its 

perience, the Commonwealth Fcd- 



21 



oration is less inclined now than before 
the 1936 elections to launch a new 
party. 

In these examples are expressed a 
general tendency throughout the 
country to strengthen the line of 
Labor's Non-Partisan League against 
that of the immediate formation of the 
national Farmer-Labor Party. Two 
factors in this development deserve a 
deeper examination. First is the ex- 
treme and growing legal obstacles in 
the various states to the launching of 
a new party (in Illinois this goes to the 
extreme of arbitrarily ruling off parties 
in violation of the law and without re- 
dress from the courts, while in Florida 
this even results in legally excluding 
the Republican Party from the ballot). 
Second is the primary election, where- 
by the governmental machinery of 
elections is the medium of selecting the 
candidates of the major parties, and 
even to some extent the official party 
committees, providing a mechanism 



through which the masses can and do 
influence these parties when they are 
aroused with sufficient breadth and in- 
tensity. 

The present role and future poten- 
tialities of these two peculiarities of 
the American electoral system, the dif- 
ficulties of getting new parties on the 
ballot and the possibilities of work in 
the direct primaries, have been insuf- 
ficiently considered and studied by 
the vanguard of political radicalism 
in the United States. Both are being 
intensified by the present currents in 
political life. Everyone who wants to 
influence the political actions of mil- 
lions in the immediate future will have 
to take these factors increasingly into 
account. 

THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE OLD 
TWO-PARTY SYSTEM SHATTERED 

For generations in America it has 
been an unquestioned axiom of politi- 



22 



23 



cal radicalism that progress begins with 
the organizational break with the old 
two-party system. The Republican 
and Democratic Parties were Tweddle- 
dum and Tweedledee, the Gold-Dust 
Twins of Wall Street. So long as the 
traditional party structure remained 
intact, that axiom was valid. The old 
two-party system, based upon regional 
interests of the main sectors of the 
bourgeoisie, accentuated by the federal 
structure based on forty-eight sover- 
eign states and the incomplete national 
unification of the country, effectively 
prevented the class division among the 
population from intruding its influ- 
ence in a dominating way into the 
upper reaches of the political life of 
the country. That axiom is no longer 
valid, because the foundation of the 
old two-party system was shattered by 
the crisis. The Gold-Dust Twins are 
dead. In their place there emerge the 
clear outlines of two new parties, carry- 
ing over much debris of the old, but 

24 



representing something new— a politi- 
cal alignment dominated, not by re- 
gional differences among the bour- 
geoisie, but by class stratification 
among the masses of the population. 
There is no longer any fixed party 
structure in our land. Everything is in 
flux. Everything is changing. Every in- 
dividual, every group is in motion, 
trying with more or less success to find 
its correct position in the realignment, 
the dominant feature of which is class 
alignment. 

It is in the light of this larger view of 
the political scene that we must esti- 
mate all the immediate factors and 
problems of the Farmer-Labor Party. 
I cannot take the time here to repeat 
all the evidence that validates this re- 
orientation toward the,whole political 
situation in the United States. For the 
main features of this you must reread 
my report to the December session of 
the Central Committee of the Com- 
munist Party, published as a pamphlet 

2 5 



under the title of The Results of the 
Elections and the People's Front,* 

Now we are at the point where more 
far-reaching conclusions must be 
drawn from our estimate that the 
whole country, the main mass of the 
population, is engaged in a fundamen- 
tal political re-grouping. 

The Farmer-Labor Party, conceived 
as the American equivalent of the 
People's Front in France, is taking 
shape and growing within the womb 
of the disintegrating two old parties. 
It will be born as a national party at 
the moment when it already replaces 
in the main one of the old traditional 
parties, contesting and possibly win- 
ning control of the federal government 
from the hour of its birth. What par- 
ticular name the caprice of history may 
baptize it with is immaterial to us. 
This new party that is beginning to 
take shape before our eyes, involving 



* Published by Workers Library Publishers, 
New York. 10 cents. 



26 



;t majority of the population, is what 
we Communists have in mind when we 
speak of a national Farmer-Labor 
Party, the American expression of the 
People's Front. 

In the light of this understanding, 
much of the underbrush which ob- 
scures a clear view of the political 
forest is cleared away, or at least we 
rise above it. To turn to a new meta- 
phor, we can say that the wavelets of 
the relatively small Farmer-Labor 
Party movements are only apparently 
falling, that in reality they are merg- 
ing with a great tidal wave of complete 
reconstruction of American politics. 
That apparent paradox, with which we 
began our examination, the contradic- 
t ion of a rising movement and a reces- 
sion of the minority attempts at estab- 
lishing a Farmer-Labor Party, is para- 
doxically resolved into a higher unity. 

If this view is approximately and 
substantially correct, as we maintain, 
it follows that all subordinate ques- 



27 



lions of tactics of organization, of re- 
lations between various groupings and 
individuals, require a substantial over- 
hauling and re-evaluation; that they 
must all be adjusted to the great his- 
torical process which is going on 
around us, in which we are living fac- 
tors, and to which it is our special role 
to give consciousness, self-understand- 
ing, and sustained guidance. The de- 
velopment of the People's Front can 
proceed only along the line of combin- 
ing the existing Farmer-Labor Party 
forms with the simultaneously devel- 
oping progressive movements inside 
the Democratic Party (in some locali- 
ties also the Republican Party), in the 
elections as well as in all other expres- 
sions of political and economic mass 
movements. 

These are the main considerations 
that determine all the chief issues of 
the day involved in establishing a full 
guarantee against the victory of fas- 
cism in America. These considerations 



28 



determine the form of the broadest 
i niggle for the maintenance of democ- 
racy and its extension. Their deter- 
mining force must be equally great for 
all those whose chief aim for America 
is socialism, a new society without ex- 
I • loitation of man by man and without 
(lasses. The fullest defense of even the 
limited and undeveloped democracy 
of today in America, and of its best 
Emits in the cultural and material 
Status of the population, coincides 
fully with the most direct and least 
difficult path to socialism. 

Does this broadening out of the ap- 
proach to building the People's Front 
change in any fundamental way our 
conception of the Farmer-Labor Party 
as we elaborated it during and after the 
Seventh World Congress? No, it does 
not. The prospects of realizing the na- 
tional Farmer-Labor Party as a major 
party in the country are better than 
we saw before, but this speeding up of 
developments certainly does not call 



29 






for any fundamental change in our 
whole conception. The changes needed 
are tactical, in the field of methods and 
approach, above all by a broadening 
out to wider horizons. 

In Minnesota, the Farmer-Labor 
Party, by now the major party con- 
trolling the state, found it necessary 
already in 1936 to establish this broad 
approach to the national situation. 
The Progressive Party in Wisconsin 
has, on the whole, the same orienta- 
tion, although it is not so mature as 
the Minnesota party. The Washington 
movement is rapidly catching up with 
these two vanguard states. It is where 
the Farmer-Labor Party organizations 
are still decisively minority groupings, 
especially where the C.I.O. unions are 
a major factor in the region, that a tac- 
tical reorientation is required. 

Insofar as the mass trade unions and 
other progressive groups are moving 
in the direction of a People's Front 
platform, but are not yet ready to join 

30 



in the Farmer-Labor Party, the Farmer- 
Labor Party forces should move to- 
ward a common political front with 
i hem. They should encourage them to 
systematic and organized activity with- 
in the Democratic Party (in some 
places, the Republican Party), making 
the fullest possible use of the demo- 
cratic possibilities of the primary elec- 
tion machinery to name decisively 
anti-fascist and progressive candidates, 
and formulating a clear program of 
progressive social and labor legislation. 
The broad forces available for such 
movements have already been dis- 
closed in the state conferences for so- 
cial and labor legislation, held in 
about twenty states since our Decem- 
ber Plenum. They are also revealed in 
the moving of the class forces towards 
the municipal elections now in prepa- 
ration throughout the country, out- 
standingly we know in New York, in 
Detroit, in Cleveland, in Akron, and 
in many other cities, where the pos- 



sibility already exists for a People's 
Front ticket. 

Where the progressive forces gain 
the nomination of candidates and de- 
termine their platforms, there the 
Farmer-Labor Party minority forces, 
including the Communists and other 
Left-wing elements, can and must sup- 
port such candidates in the elections. 

In the municipal elections in prepa- 
ration this year throughout the coun- 
try, there must be a decided effort to- 
ward achieving such a common front 
of all progressive and truly democratic 
forces. What occurs in these municipal 
elections may well become a deciding 
influence upon the course of the Con- 
gressional elections that take place 
everywhere in 1938. 

THE PATH OF STRUGGLE BEFORE US 

There must, of course, be no illu- 
sions that thereby we are entering 
upon a broad, smooth highway with a 
downhill course, on which we must 



32 



only coast to our destination. This 
policy is taking us on a path of strug- 
gle, more complicated and in many 
ways more difficult, with greater dan- 
gers along the way than any we have 
ever traveled before. Every inch of the 
road will be contested by the enemy, 
and by the inertia of the past. The 
complications of the daily problems 
will be multiplied. From all those who 
are influenced by Trotskyism and op- 
position in principle to the People's 
Front, there will come a chorus of 
super-revolutionary wails about our 
betrayal of the class struggle, etc. But 
we, and with us all the best forces of 
the labor and people's movements, by 
a decisive course, and by constant vigi- 
lance, will prove the correctness of this 
policy in life, by its achievements in 
the organization of the masses and the 
improvement of their position in all 
respects. 

Not everywhere will the success of 
the People's Front forces be uniform 

33 



or immediate. Where the efforts to 
achieve such a common front fail, or 
where its ticket loses in the primaries, 
the very effort which failed must al- 
ready have laid the foundation for the 
fullest possible use of independent 
tickets, Farmer-Labor tickets, and even 
of individual independent candida- 
cies, to register the growing progres- 
sive forces in the elections. And where 
even this proves impossible, the Com- 
munist Party may put up its own can- 
didates. The governing consideration 
in each case must be— to secure the 
most rapid and permanent growth and 
unity among the forces making for the 
People's Front, and at all costs not to 
let the reactionary forces monopolize 
the elections. In this connection it has 
been shown innumerable times what 
constitutes the organizing center of the 
enemies that we have to fight. It is that 
small group recently popularized as 
the economic royalists that dominate 
the United States, otherwise known as 



34 



the upper "400," also identified as 
Gerard's list of 59 rulers of America. 

This group is hostile to the national 
1 1 1 1 crests, it is they who equip the po- 
Lential enemies of America with mili- 
tary supplies— their huge shipments of 
steel, scrap iron, gunpowder, and mili- 
tary equipment to Japan. All of our 
work in driving towards the People's 
Front must be directed towards iden- 
tifying these enemies, giving concrete 
names and addresses, nationally and in 
every locality. We must make a thor- 
ough survey of who these economic 
royalists are and identify them before 
the masses in the local elections, in the 
I (reparations for the Congressional 
elections, in the whole drive towards 
1 he People's Front in America. 

Confusionists and enemies of the 
People's Front will try to turn the 
discussion of this tactic around the 
question of what should be the attitude 
toward "the Democratic Party." But 
the Democratic Party is not a unity 



35 



which can be so discussed with any 
value at all. In the main this party is 
moving in a progressive direction, 
though very unevenly, under the in- 
fluence of large desertions of its Right- 
wing leadership and upper-class sup- 
porters, and its growing support from 
the oppressed classes— that process 
which we call a "regrouping of classes." 
Thus, there is being formed within the 
formal limits of the Democratic Party 
a progressive wing; this wing embraces 
growing sections and strata of the 
party and its organizations. In a few 
cases, not yet many, these democratic 
progressive forces already come close 
to the People's Front movement. In 
their majority they will be allies of the 
working class in this movement in the 
near future. Strong reactionary forces 
within the Democratic Party fight this 
process tooth and nail. Others reflect 
it only in a distorted way, in parts, and 
with hesitations and relapses. 
It is necessary to distinguish clearly 



§6 



between these conflicting forces, to 
have a sharply different attitude to 
each, to encourage the progressive ele- 
ments and their proposals, to criticize 
the unclear and hesitating ones, and 
i ( i fight uncompromisingly against the 
reactionaries. With such an approach, 
there is no question of any uniform 
attitude toward "the Democratic 
Party," considered as a whole. We 
Communists have, for example, criti- 
cized with full sharpness such harmful 
policies of the Roosevelt administra- 
tion as it retrenchment on relief, its 
failure to shift the tax burdens to the 
rich, and its shameful capitulation to 
the reactionaries on the Spanish ques- 
tion. At the same time we support all 
measures and proposals which have a 
progressive character (such as the 
wages, hours bill; the reform of the 
Supreme Court; and the inquiry on 
rich tax-dodgers), everything which 
promotes the democratic rights and 
economic interests of the mass of the 



3 






people, which is directed against reac- 
tion, fascism, and war. In this way we 
will exert the strongest influence upon 
the masses, and through the masses in- 
fluence the reconstruction of the 
political life of the country now go- 
ing on. 

The issue between Roosevelt and the 
reactionary coalition opposing him, 
the issue of the relation of the national 
to the state governments, is of far- 
reaching significance. As against the re- 
actionaries we are, of course, support- 
ing the Roosevelt course of more power 
to the federal government to deal with 
national questions. But the issue is very 
narrowly posed, as yet, between the 
two major groupings. For us this issue 
is much deeper and more far-reaching. 
That this issue can exist at all is a sign 
of the incomplete national unification 
of the country. The American bour- 
geoisie was never able fully to unite 
our country into one nation; it com- 
promised with all sorts of localisms 

38 



and particularisms which divide the 
people. These divisions, originating 
under the influence of pre-capitalist 
forces (slavery, landlordism, colonial- 
ism), have now been taken over by the 
upper bourgeoisie as its strongholds 
in the fight against the people. That is 
why the Republican Party, originally 
a party of national unity, has been 
iransformed into the party of localism 
against the nation. 

This setting of the locality against 
the nation, the part against the whole, 
is used to paralyze all efforts at social 
legislation, and to prevent further de- 
mocratization. Only by fuller, more 
complete national unification can the 
economic problems of the masses be 
even approached; only thus can effec- 
live democracy be established. 
Through breaking down the judicial 
dictatorship and by setting up a na- 
i ional electoral system that guarantees 
in life the rights of citizenship, prom- 
ised in the Constitution, can we abolish 

39 



all restrictions on the franchise and 
provide direct and proportional rep- 
resentation in each state. It is toward 
this more complete conception of na- 
tional unity that we Communists must 
direct the thought of the broad peo- 
ple's movement. In doing this we will 
continue under the conditions of today 
that democratic work begun by Wash- 
ington, Jefferson, and Paine, and con- 
tinued by Lincoln. We Communists 
must become known as the most ener- 
getic champions of the full national 
unification of our country. 

Upon this foundation we will direct 
our influence within the people's move- 
ment in the formulating of its pro- 
gram. That program arises out of the 
life of the masses; its character was 
fully indicated in the electoral pro- 
gram of the Communist Party in the 
presidential elections; it was further 
detailed in the state conferences for 
social and labor legislation. It is a pro- 
gressive and democratic program capa- 

40 



ble of uniting in the near future the 
majority of the population. 

THOMAS' "SUPER-REVOLUTIONARY" 
ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE 

people's FRONT 

Here let us turn our attention again 
for a moment to the arguments of those 
who oppose the People's Front on sup- 
posedly "revolutionary" ground. Our 
friend Norman Thomas, for example, 
has just returned from a few weeks in 
Europe, where he spent a week or 
1 hereabouts in England, in the Soviet 
Union, in Scandinavia, in Spain, and 
in France. Such a trip should be highly 
educational, especially since it was re- 
inforced by a fascist bomb dropping a 
I mndred yards from his hotel in Va- 
icia. Still he brought back most of his 
judices intact, unshaken by what he 
\- and heard or by that bomb. We 
must be thankful for small gains; so 
it must be recorded that Thomas did 
understand, and so declared, that the 



41 



Trotskyite uprising in Barcelona was 
a crime. He said on June 10 (at the 
Hippodrome meeting), that "to con- 
done this uprising is to aid fascism 
today." So far, so good. We can only 
hope that he will convince his party 
that those who thus aid fascism should 
not be allowed in its ranks. But how 
stubbornly Thomas clings to the Trot- 
skyite-inspired prejudice against the 
People's Front which he took to 
Europe with him! This is shown by 
two more quotations from the same 
speech: "I would not say that Popular 
Fronts have aided education for so- 
cialism " "By what transition do we 

bridge the gap between the defensive 
fight against fascism and the triumph 
over capitalism?" At the same time 
Thomas admits that the People's Front 
has "stopped fascism." 

In these quotations Thomas is re- 
peating the same false contraposing of 
two parts of the one task of the party 
of socialism which marked the history 



4 2 



ul Trotsky's struggle against Lenin 
from the foundations of the Russian 
Bolshevik Party. Thomas has rejected 
i lie poison-fruit of Trotskyism when it 
appeared in the Barcelona uprising, 
but he continues to defend the funda- 
mental falsity upon which it was based. 
Fascism, which threatens to bring all 
Western Europe down in ruins; which 
plots a war to destroy the country of 
socialism, the Soviet Union; which is 
already becoming a serious menace in 
the United States; which wages every- 
where a war of extermination against 
all Socialists and against the labor 
movement— the progress of this fascism 
has been "stopped" by the People's 
Front, according to Thomas' own ad- 
mission, but still he can deny that the 
People's Front which did the stopping 
has aided education for socialism; he 
still demands the immediate "transi- 
tion" to socialism before he has even 
decided to join the People's Front to 
stop fascism. 



43 



The worst aspect of the doubts and 
confusion of Thomas is that he has 
never himself, in his own program- 
matic pronouncements, faced the prob- 
lem of "transition" to socialism. The 
People's Front program is not social- 
ism. It has the great merit of making 
no pretensions to that effect. It is open- 
ly and frankly a joint platform of non- 
Sociaiists together with Socialists. But 
the realization of this program creates 
the most favorable conditions for gath- 
ering and organizing the forces of so- 
cialism. No one can seriously pretend 
to fight for socialism, without fighting 
stubbornly by all means to create those 
most favorable conditions. But 
Thomas wants the "transition" before 
he will help create the conditions for it. 
Friedrich Engels, confronted with a 
similar demand from the Blanquists,* 

* Sectarian, Utopian revolutionaries, follow- 
ers of Auguste Blanqui, who lacked the faith 
m the revolutionary capacities of the masses, 
believing that revolutions arc made, under the 
form of a coup d'etat, by a detachment of 

44 



exclaimed shortly after the experiences 
of the Paris Commune: "What child- 
ish naivete to put forward one's own 
impatience as a theoretically convinc- 
ing argument." 

One may be permitted to suspect 
that "super-revolutionary" arguments 
here, as in past times, cover a disin- 
clination to participate in the difficult 
and arduous tasks of building a serious 
revolutionary movement, and of 
taking responsibilities upon one's 
shoulders. 

Since the foundation of scientific 
socialism, all its greatest teachers have 
been forced to struggle constantly 
against the phrasemongers of the "no 
compromise" school of thought, that 
hallmark of petty-bourgeois radical- 
ism. Every generation must continue 
that struggle, for such empty bombast 
is constantly being generated in the 
minds of those who are unable or un- 



professional conspirators in the interests of 
the workers.— The Editors. 



45 



willing to learn from the past. The 
great polemics of Marx and Engels had 
to be supplemented by Lenin (as in 
that great example, Left-Wing Com- 
munism: An Infantile Disorder*) 
while after Lenin it was necessary for 
Stalin towage the epic struggle against 
Trotskyism which refused "on prin- 
ciple" to admit the possibility of "so- 
cialism in one country," demanding 
the whole world at once or nothing. 

The People's Front, the defensive 
gathering of all oppressed and suffer- 
ing people against the most immediate 
and general menace to their well-being, 
is a conception inherent in all the 
classic literature of scientific socialism. 
Lenin gave it its central thought, as 
long ago as 1902, in his magnificent 
slogan: "The Social-Democrat's [the 
revolutionary Socialist's or Commu- 
nist's] ideal should not be a trade 



* Published by International Publishers, 
New York. 25 cents. 



46 



union secretary, but a tribune of the 
people." 

Certainly, we are not indifferent to 
the problem of "transition" from a vic- 
tory over fascism to victory over the 
whole capitalist system, "transition" to 
socialism. But the transition does not 
come from empty slogans, disconnected 
from everyday life. This transition 
arises upon the basis of the growing 
strength, organization, discipline, 
fighting power, and understanding of 
the working class, which gathers 
around itself as allies all other op- 
pressed strata of the population— a 
working class which has learned how 
10 meet in battle its worst enemies, to- 
day the fascists and monopoly capi- 
talists, and to defeat them on the im- 
mediate issues of the day. It is not a 
discouraged, defeated and demoralized 
working class that will take up and 
realize the great program of socialism; 
it is the enthusiastic, victorious, and 
organized workers who will move for- 

47 



ward from victories in the defensive 
struggle to the offensive, and finally to 
socialism. Every strong defense passes 
insensibly to the offensive. To stop the 
retreat means already to prepare the 
advance. The defeat of fascism is the 
first precondition for the victory of 
socialism. 

Norman Thomas and those who 
think like him would reverse this 
formulation; they would say that the 
victory of socialism is the first precon- 
dition for the defeat of fascism. Thus, 
they would demand in the United 
States that no one be admitted into 
the anti-fascist front unless he first 
commits himself to socialism. The 
results of this in life were shown 
in the elections, when Thomas by 
this policy reduced the Socialist vote 
to 20 per cent of the 1932 figure, 
and to a fraction of Debs' vote of 
32 years before, when the total 
electorate was less than one-third of the 
present. That road is surely not one of 

48 



ransition to socialism. I want to give 
you a quotation from Lenin, and 
recommend it to the attention of 
Norman Thomas, from Left-Wing 
Com?nunism. Lenin said: 

"To tie one's hands beforehand, openly to 
tell the enemy, who is now better armed than 
we are, whether and when we shall fight him 
is being stupid, not revolutionary. To accept 
battle at a time when it is obviously advan- 
tageous to the enemy and not to us is a crime; 
and those politicians of the revolutionary class 
1 are unable 'to maneuver, to compromise* 
in order to avoid an obviously disadvantageous 
battle are good for nothing." 

When we reject the "extremism" of 
►rman Thomas (an extremism in 
>rds, we hasten to add, for we would 
never accuse him of being extreme in 
ds), we are not recommending him 
to return to his former playmates of 
the Old Guard with its opportunism in 
l-iinciple and its compromise of the 
1 y name of socialism. The choice is 
t between Old Guardism and Trot- 
skyism, as Thomas seems to think. It is 

49 



not even between Old Guardism and 
the Communist position, although we 
would be pleased to see Thomas come 
closer to the position of Marxism. The 
choice before the Socialist Party, which 
has already left its Old Guard behind 
forever, is whether it shall be disrupted 
and disgraced by counter-revolution- 
ary Trotskyism, or whether it shall pass 
on to loyal and honorable cooperation 
in a People's Front with all the pro- 
gressive and democratic forces in the 
country, and to collaboration with the 
Communist Party in that front for 
the common defense and advance of 
socialism. 

The Communist Party works on the 
basis of the democratic People's Front 
platform. But in no way do we lose 
our own identity, or forget the task of 
strengthening our Party's role in the 
movement, as the most advanced and 
revolutionary sector of it. Working in 
the midst of the mass movement, the 
Communist Party has the task of build- 



5° 



Ing itself into a mass party, of edu- 
cating the masses in their final aims of 
working class power and socialism, of 
acting as vanguard in the movement 
by pointing out the next steps in the 
struggle, of initiating and supporting 
the progressive and democratic de- 
mands and movements. By its fully in- 
dependent political position, in which 
it speaks frankly on all issues, on all 
groups and parties, in which it cri- 
ticizes all measures and manifestations 
that are harmful to the cause of de- 
mocracy, our Communist Party shall 
vigilantly guard itself against the dan- 
ger of dissolving into the general mass 
movement, both ideologically and or- 
ganizationally. The Communist Party, 
by becoming more and more the re- 
cruiting center of the most advanced 
elements of the movement, at the same 
time becomes the initiative and or- 
ganizing force. 

Comrade Dimitroff thus summar- 
izes this task: 



5 1 



working peo pIe g enerall ^ f" a " d of the 

This role must be expressed in our 
mass agnation, in independent activ- 

J«fy WW. Such strengthening of 
he lnitlatlve and ind ndem g 

-ty of our Party wffl directly con- 
mbute : to the successful development 

of the People's Front. I„ turn, only the 
most powerful development of the 
people s mass movement can create the 

avorable conditions for strengthening 
the Communist Party. 

We fully and completely reject all 
ideas winch place the working class in 
opposition to the other da* "groups, 

c^Z^ZX^ United Front/ ' Th * 



farmers, petty bourgeoisie, moving to- 
ward the People's Front. Such ideas are 
the basic stock-in-trade of the Trotsky- 
ite disrupters and wreckers, but they 
also influence many, especially among 
the recently radicalized intellectuals, 
who become the most ardent cham- 
pions of the workers against the bour- 
geoisie. This does not mean that we 
leave out of sight the decisive leading 
role of the workers. The main strategic 
task of our Party is the economic and 
political organization and unification 
of the working class of the United 
States. This is the basic, the most im- 
portant, factor in the People's Front 
for struggle against war and fascism. 
Only the degree of accomplishing this 
task measures the possibilities of the 
broader People's Front. 

SUSTAINED ATTENTION TO DEVELOPING 
THE UNITED FRONT 

From this angle we emphasize again 
the need for sustained attention to 



53 



developing the proper relations with 
the Socialist Party. We continue to call 
our Party everywhere to active work in 
establishing the united front with local 
organizations and all honest elements 
in the Socialist Party. We must help 
them to clean their Socialist Party 
ranks of all helpers of fascism, of 
counter-revolutionary Trotskyism. We 
bring forward the establishment of the 
united front between the Socialist Par- 
ty and Communist Party as one of the 
most important prerequisites for unity 
of the working class. Any underestima- 
tion of this task can only be harmful 
to the cause of working class unity. 
Every district and locality of our Party 
must give this task untiring attention. 
This plenum must review the prob- 
lems of the united front with the 
Socialist Party which makes progress in 
spite of all obstacles. A real upsurge of 
the Socialist Party membership to 
cleanse itself of Trotskyism is in the 
making now. We must give it sympa- 

54 



thetic assistance. The latest events, in 
which the Second International has 
agreed to a conference with die Com- 
munist International on the question 
of aid to Spain, must serve as the 
means to intensify and strengthen our 
relations with the Socialists. 

Among the manifold organized ex- 
pressions of the growing moves toward 
unity, the International Labor De- 
fense is coming forward more and more 
to an important role. Its historic vic- 
tories in the De Jonge and Herndon 
cases, the innumerable local victories 
and instances of valuable local work, 
i lie protracted battle for the Scottsboro 
hoys, the strengthening of the Mooney- 
Mllings campaign, the fight for Mc- 
Namara, to mention only a few factors, 
have really anchored the LL.D. firmly 
in the affections of literally millions of 
people. We tend to underestimate the 
. nergetic help by the LL.D. to the steel 
nikers. The aid of the I.L.D. to the 
irikers, assaulted in the courts of 

55 






Chicago, as a sequel to the Memorial 
Day massacre, was warmly received, 
and shows how the I.L.D. everywhere 
can rapidly become a major help to the 
trade unions as well as the general pro- 
gressive movement. 

Unfortunately, we must say that the 
Communists do not properly appreci- 
ate the I.L.D. or the work it is doing 
as keenly as the non-Communists. 
The LL.D, is being mainly carried on 
everywhere by the non-Communists, 
which is very good on one side; but it 
becomes very bad when these non- 
Communists feel that we of the Com- 
munist Party are not interested and not 
helping them as we should. While help- 
ing more and more to establish the 
LL.D. as a united front defense and 
solidarity organization overwhelming- 
ly non-Communist, we must deem it 
absolutely necessary that our Party 
strengthen its help to the LL.D. which 
in many places is shamefully neglected. 
The Washington Conference of the 

56 



LL.D. now going on marks a big step 
forward for this organization, and 
must be widely popularized in the 
Party ranks as well as among the 
masses. Comrade Anna Damon, as 
Acting Secretary of that organization, 
has done really commendable work. 
It must now be more energetically ex- 
tended. The I.L.D.'s relations with all 
organizations interested in civil rights 
and help to victims of oppression must 
be developed and consolidated as a 
major task of our Party. 



57 



ii. The Trade Union 

Question and the Fight 

for Unity 

In our December Plenum we al- 
ready made a basic estimate of the 
historic importance of the rise of the 
Committee for Industrial Organiza- 
tion under the leadership of John L. 
Lewis. An estimate of the recent events 
further emphasized this. We said: 

"The fight for genuine trade union unity 
is the fight for the triumph within the labor 
movement of the principles enunciated and 
supported in action by the Committee for 
Industrial Organization. The establishment 
of this principle is an absolute necessity for 
the further growth, for the very existence, 
finally, of the trade union movement. It is a 
necessary condition for the preservation of 
democracy in the United States, for the salva- 
tion of our country from reaction, fascism, and 
war. That is why we must say, without the 

58 



slightest equivocation, that die struggle to 
realize the principles of the C.I.O. is the first 
demand upon every progressive worker as 
well as every revolutionary worker. It is the 
Mruggle for the unity of the working class."* 

The rise of the C.I.O. and the strug- 
gles led by it fully justify us in adding 
10 this basic estimate that the C.I.O. 
marks the emerging of a conscious 
working class in American life. This 
I .ictor, the absence of which in the past 
was the central factor in the slow ma- 
nning of the basic political realign- 
ments of the country, is of central im- 
jinrtance in all fields, All the more de- 
< isive is it, therefore, in its direct field 
• if work, the economic organization 
of the workers, especially in the basic 
and mass production industries that 
were so long the unchallenged strong- 
hold of monopoly capital and political 

reaction. 
The shameful and stubborn resis- 



* Earl Browder, The Results of the Elec- 
tions and the People's Front, p. 37. Workers 
Library Publishers, New York, 10 cents. 

59 



tance to this most progressive develop- 
ment on che part of the Executive 
Council of the American Federation of 
Labor has now passed over to open 
splitting all along the line, to strike- 
breaking and sabotage, and to open 
collaboration with the employers 
against the C.LO. 

It is the direct responsibility of Wil- 
liam Green and the Executive Coun- 
cil, against the stubborn opposition of 
all progressive workers, that the unity 
of the labor movement has been 
broken, that there have appeared two 
opposing centers of the labor move- 
ment, one progressive, the other reac- 
tionary. The attitude of the Commu- 
nist Party has been at all times clear, 
and remains so, to combat by all means 
the splitting policy of the Executive 
Council, to maintain the unity of the 
trade unions and their councils, and 
to support by all forces the organiza- 
tion of millions of workers into the 
unions of the C.I.O, as the main or- 

60 



mg 






ganizing center of the American work- 
class. We continue to give the 



strictest attention to winning the A, 
F, of L. unions to this position. 

We Communists are a small, though 
important, part of this great mass 
movement. We are giving all our best 
forces and mobilizing all our organiza- 
1 ions to assist the work of the C.I.O. We 
call upon the whole working class to 
do the same. Efforts of the employers 
to divide this movement by the old 
familiar Red herring, which they at- 
tempt to use even against Roosevelt, 
have failed dismally. The leaders of 
1 he C.I.O. have firmly taken their stand 
on the basis of full utilization of all 
progressive forces without exception, 
and without discrimination as to po- 
1 1 1 ical opinions outside the scope of the 
tasks of the C.I.O. We can expect that 
experience has confirmed them fully 
in this stand, and that the loyal and 
rlfective collaboration of the Commu- 
nists has fully won our position as per- 

61 



manent collaborators in the great task 
of building a powerful trade union 
movement. Red baiting is becoming 
less effective every day, and will soon 
be recognized everywhere as the in- 
fallible sign of the Liberty Leaguer and 
the fascist. 

The whole future of the movement 
requires from all advanced and mili- 
tant workers to consolidate this unity, 
to win the confidence and trust of the 
millions of workers being drawn into 
it, by means of their loyal, effective, 
and self-sacrificing devotion to its suc- 
cess. 

It is necessary to do everything to 
help develop inner-union democracy 
which will serve to promote to the 
leading bodies of the unions the best, 
most loyal, and capable elements, 
which will provide the best guarantee 
for the development of these unions 
along policies of the class struggle. 

Every Communist, from the Central 
Committee to the units, should be en- 

62 



gaged every day in coming into close 
and intimate contact with the new 
militant and honest activists in the 
trade unions, who are coming forward 
by the hundreds and thousands. What 
is needed here is the most comradely 
and painstaking educational work, our 
Party comrades learning from them 
and in turn helping them in their 
practical work, developing their class- 
consciousness and political maturity, 
giving them the benefit of the collect- 
ive experience of the whole movement. 
This must be the decisive dominating 
feature of our Party's contacts and 
work within the trade union move- 
ment. 

On the whole our Party is working 
well along this line. But we must not 
have the illusion that all is well every- 
where and at all times. On occasion we 
see developments which give rise to 
great uneasiness, when comrades rush 
into snap judgements on big questions 
of trade union policy, consider that 

63 



I 



the trade union leaders have been mis- 
taken or have unnecessarily compro- 
mised the workers 1 demands, and from 
this conclusion pass immediately into 
a head-on collision with those leaders 
and those workers who follow them. 
There were dangerous moments of this 
sort in the Detroit district in connec- 
tion with the Chrysler strike. We gave 
unstinted recognition to the work of 
our Party forces in that strike. They 
did excellent work. But we must speak 
openly of some mistakes. We must 
speak openly of this, as a lesson to the 
entire Party to avoid such dangers. We 
are a fully responsible Party, and our 
sub-divisions and fractions do not in- 
dependently take any actions which 
threaten to change our whole national 
relationship with a great and growing 
mass movement. As it happens, in this 
particular instance, some comrades 
were entirely in error in thinking they 
saw intolerable compromises and 
wrong methods in the settlement of 

64 






the Chrysler strike. There was no situ- 
ation of that kind. There was merely 
ccondary problem of the impatience 
of certain leaders in dealing with the 
rank and file. But even if their fears 
had more solid foundation, it was 
necessary to proceed with much more 
tact, foresight, and consideration in 
establishing an attitude toward such 
questions. We do not attempt to esti- 
mate such difficult and complicated 

I I ade union problems by ourselves, in 
isolation; but only on the basis of the 
fullest and frankest discussion with our 
1 omrades-in-arms of the general trade 
union activities, on the basis of trade 
union democracy. 

Our country is now in the midst of 
;i rising wave of battles for the rights 
of labor organization and collective 
bargaining, such as has never been 

in before. The course of this cam- 
paign will be decisive for the whole 

I II lure of labor and of our country. 
Our attitude and our work in the 

65 



midst of this struggle must be the most 
sober and responsible. 

Labor generally, including us Com- 
munists who approach this question 
with our own standards, have every 
reason to proceed totheparticular tasks 
and problems facing us, with great 
confidence in the strategical line of the 
C.I.O. leadership and of John L. Lewis. 
The incident of the Chrysler strike il- 
lustrates and emphasizes this fact. That 
was one of the preparatory battles lead- 
ing up to the great campaign in which 
we are now engaged. If we should ap- 
proach that or any other individual 
conflict by itself, isolated from the gen- 
eral course of events, trying to judge it 
from an ideal picture of what we would 
like to see and not what the relation of 
forces requires in the whole national 
set-up, then we would have a distorted 
view which would inevitably bring 
serious errors in its train. The strategy 
of the C.I.O. has proved itself in life 
to be basically sound and correct. We 

66 



find that it coincides with what we in- 
dependently estimated as correct stra- 
tegy. There is plenty of room for 
legitimate differences of opinion on 
detailed tactics and execution; but it 
is not our business to fall into any ten- 
dency of sniping on non-essential ques- 
tions, and thereby contribute to 
creating an atmosphere of fault-finding 
and bickering. The whole line of the 
Communist Party has been, must re- 
main, and must become universal, one 
of confidence and wholehearted colla- 
boration in the work with all the re- 
sponsible leading elements and with 
the rank-and-file activists who make up 
the core of this great historical move- 
ment of the C.I.O. An example of the 
opposite approach to this question is 
the tendency of the Socialist Party, 
under the influence of the Trotskyites, 
more and more to isolate the Socialists 
in the trade union movement. I just 
received this morning a trade union 
resolution that was put through at the 

6 7 






Socialist Party Convention in the State 
of Massachusetts on the trade union 
question. Let me read it to you as a 
horrible example of what we should 
avoid in the trade union line. The reso- 
lution says: 

"The party must seek to inoculate the 
workers against reliance on the reactionary 
trade union bureaucracy. It must be remem- 
bered that the officials of the CIO. cannot 
be relied upon to provide correct leadership 
for the progressive forces in the trade unions. 
It is only through accident of history that 
John L. Lewis and his associates appear tem- 
porarily as nominal representatives of the pro- 
gressive forces by advocating what is at present 
progressive policies. This accident is not at all 
permanent. We must understand that this 
bureaucracy is dedicated above all to the 
maintenance of capitalism and the suppression 
of the revolutionary development of the labor 
movement." 

The great battles to unionize steel 
are the very center of American life 
today. In these battles there is being 
fought out the destiny of our country, 
of our democracy. So long as the reac- 

68 






tionary steel barons, those prototypes 
of the economic royalists, these twen- 
tieth-century feudalists, can defy the 
law that confirms the right of collect- 
ive bargaining, can maintain their own 
armies and arsenals and subordinate 
the local authorities and police, can 
recruit and arm fascist vigilante bands 
—all to smash by force and violence the 
simple demands for organization and 
collective contracts in the steel indus- 
try—just so long is every civil and po- 
litical liberty in permanent and immi- 
nent danger in America. This struggle 
is not a simple trade union struggle of 
the steel workers. It is a battle of all 
progressive and democratic people to 
insure the future of democracy in 
America. It is among our tasks to mobi- 
lize all such people around and in 
support of the steel strike. 

To what lengths of fascist despera- 
tion the steel barons are prepared to 
go was illustrated in Chicago in the 
Memorial Day massacre. The police 

69 



and armed guards simply opened fire 
upon an unarmed procession of steel 
pickets marching with their wives and 
children. The list of the dead is now 
nine, with hundreds wounded, includ- 
ing women and children. The spirit 
which prepared those guns and gave 
the order to fire is exactly the same as 
that of the barbarities of Franco in 
Spain, of Italian submarines sinking 
Spanish boats, of Nazi battleships bom- 
barding Almeria, of Hitler's airplanes 
destroying Guernica. The steel barons 
are rousing, organizing, and financing 
all the anti-social, criminal, under- 
world elements, and are fusing them 
with the reactionary adventurers from 
the bourgeoisie in that amalgam typ- 
ical of fascism the world over. 

To the support of the steel workers 
in their battle all the living forces of 
democracy in America today must 
therefore be rallied. The whole popu- 
lation must be roused and organized 
as allies and helpers. Every assistance 

70 



must be given to the efforts of the 
C.I.O. leaders to bring reserves into 
.»( Lion, in the coal and ore fields, and 
in transportation. All workers' organ- 
1 nations of every kind must make their 
voices heard and their hands felt in 
jupport of the steel workers. Every 
1 I mrch and civic organization must be 
urged to speak up and act against the 
hiwless royalists of steel. The steel 
workers are fighting the battle of the 
people; a people's movement must 
come to the support. 

Great responsibilities lie upon the 
Communist Party in this fight. We are 
1 small party, but we play a great and 
growing role. What we think, what we 
say, and especially what we do, have an 
influence a hundredfold, five hundred- 
fold, beyond our membership. Large 
strata of the population guide them- 
selves by what they see our Party doing. 
If we sit back and leave the task to 
others, many of these others will con- 
dude that if the Communists do not 

7 1 



find this important, then they also can 
safely pass the matter up for other 
things. Our example is a big and grow- 
ing influence among broad masses. We 
must set a good and better example in 
the steel industry today. 

At our last Plenum we spoke of the 
C.l.O. as bearing the future of the la- 
bor movement. Today we can already 
speak of it as realizing it. The C.l.O, 
not only embraces the most important 
sectors of organized labor, but is al- 
ready the absolute numerical majority. 
The sweep of the unorganized into the 
C.l.O. has been joined, since the Ex- 
ecutive Council of the A, F. of L. 
issued its final splitting orders, by 
a sweep of former A. F. of L. unions 
into C.l.O. ranks. During the past 
six weeks alone, through the direct 
influence of our Party's careful and 
systematic preparations for this event, 
unions involving over half a million 
members have decided, with a unanim- 
ity which has astounded the reaction- 



's 



aries, to move over into the C.l.O. 
( imp, which is now in every sense the 
chief representative of organized labor. 
This complete support which we are 
giving the C.l.O. does not contradict 
or change our fundamental line in the 
fight for unity of the trade union move- 
ment. On the contrary, only through 
such support does the unification of 
the labor movement become a practical 
task. We continue uncompromising 
opposition to all the splitting efforts 
of 1 he American Federation of Labor 
Executive Council, whether of sepa- 
rate national unions, of locals, of city 
Or state federations. Where splits are 
carried through in spite of all, we con- 
tinue to help to consolidate all ex- 
jh lied unions, and continue the fight 
lor unity and for realizing the C.l.O. 
1 >i ganizing program, striving to win the 
\- F. of L. locals to support and par- 
1 U ipation in that fight. We will never 
t case to demand the unification of the 
American trade union movement. 



73 







With the Executive Council carry- 
ing through its splitting work, the 
question will arise of the convocation 
of a unity congress. To such a congress, 
when the time comes, all unions should 
be invited— C.I.O. and A. F. of L., as 
well as those unaffiliated to either. To 
such a congress let all come who stand 
for unity and solidarity. As for those 
who refuse unity, they only place them- 
selves thereby outside the movement; 
but the unity congress should expel 
no organization of workers and should 
stand against expulsions and splits, but 
for the unification of the trade unions 
into a single federation. Our position 
on the question of unity is clear. We 
want everyone to know it. We hope it 
will help to influence the course of 
events toward the widest possible uni- 
fication on the basis of progressive in- 
dustrial unionism. 

In connection with the trade union 
questions, the problems of the unem- 
ployed and of their organizations, the 

74 






Workers Alliance, continues to hold a 
y important place. I shall not speak 
of the problerns facing the Workers 
Alliance and its Convention which 
« '| >ens next weekend in Milwaukee. We 
shall have a special report to this Ple- 
num on this question. I shall now 
ak about organizing the mass strug- 
for peace. 



7.i 



III. Let Us Broaden the 

Organized Struggle 

for Peace 

Two days ago came the news that 
the Second International has agreed 
to meet with the Communist Interna- 
tional to discuss united action on be- 
half of Spain. This is a belated recog- 
nition of almost universal sentiment 
among the workers everywhere de- 
manding a common front and common 
action, if peace is to be preserved, if 
Spanish and world democracy are to 
be protected against the murderous 
assaults of fascism. How stubbornly 
the leaders of the Second International 
resisted this demand for a united front 
is a measure of the energy with which 
this demand must be pushed now, if 






the negotiations are to result in real 
unity of action. It is a step forward, 
wever, even to have such discussions, 
and this can be made the occasion for a 
new effort toward broadening the or- 
: mized struggle for peace also in the 
"ni ted States. 

Since our December Plenum the la- 
bor and progressive movement in the 
United States has proved its solidarity 
with Spanish democracy by sending 
■<>oo of its best representatives to 
Spam in the famous Lincoln Battalion 
to take their place in the front 
lines. Several hundred of our xom- 
les have given their lives or suf- 
1 1 I ed major casualties. The Lincoln 
Battalion has stood in the most serious 
battle, has held trenches for four 
months without relief, has been trans- 
turned into a unit of seasoned vete- 
rans, has been a model of discipline 
ftnd political morale-in short, it has 
written a glorious page in the history 
Of American democracy, of which we 

77 



can all justly be proud. And not the 
least source of our pride is the fact that 
over sixty per cent of the Lincoln Bat- 
talion members are members of the 
Communist Party, There is now being 
organized among the Americans in 
Spain a second, the George Washing- 
ton, battalion. 

All the more must we who remain 
on the American front redouble our 
efforts for Spain, which means for de- 
mocracy and peace everywhere. The 
work of the North American Com- 
mittee for Support to Spanish Democ- 
racy must be increased and made more 
efficient; the Medical Bureau must be 
helped to enlist ever wider support. 
The Friends of the Lincoln Battalion 
must provide more of those little neces- 
sities and comforts for our boys in 
Spain, and popularize much wider the 
knowledge of their heroic deeds. The 
campaign for support to the Spanish 
children's homes in France and Spain 
must be organized on the broad scale 

78 



that this issue demands, really in- 
volving the American people and rais- 
ing millions of dollars. 

Above all, we must rouse the con- 
science of America to the crimes of 
fascism in Spain. It is an indelible blot 
of shame upon our country that our 
government rushed to apply the in- 
famous "neutrality" law to martyred 
Spain; but when German and Italian 
warships openly bombard Spanish 
cities and sink Spanish ships we sud- 
denly find that it would be "interven- 
tion 1 ' to apply the same law to the 
fascist murderers. We can never rest 
until that shameful blot is wiped out. 
America must not be allowed to act 
the role of the accomplice of fascist 
murder and destruction. 

More serious attention must now be 
turned toward the broader problem of 
organizing the overwhelming peace 
sentiment of Americans into a mass 
struggle for peace for an effective peace 

79 



policy on the part of the United States 
government. 

The most serious effort in this direc- 
tion is the American League Against 
War and Fascism, which has three to 
four million adherents. This impor- 
tant beginning must be supported and 
strengthened in every way. The Amer- 
ican League is now planning its Fourth 
Congress to be held in Pittsburgh on 
the Thanksgiving weekend, toward 
the end of November. The months 
leading up to this Congress must wit- 
ness the strengthening of the Ameri- 
can League, the rallying of new forces 
to it, the enlistment of the best active 
workers, the revival of local League 
Councils, the rallying especially of the 
trade unions, the establishment of rela- 
tions with other peace organizations, 
the widening of the circulation of the 
League's excellent magazine. The 
Fight, a magazine which is unique in 
the whole world for its quality and 
effectiveness— effectiveness largely due 

80 



10 



1 he high quality of the work of its 
editor, Joseph Pass, and his ability to 
organize the widest cooperative efforts 
in its production. The American 
I .(ague is composed, in its active mem- 

s hip— some 8,000-9,000— of fully go 
pel cent non-Communists, which is a 
Very good thing, except that there has 
been a distinct falling off of the sup- 
port given to the League in an organ- 
ized way by the Communist Party in 
the districts— a defect that must be 
• hanged. We demand of every state 
and city organization of the Party that 
ii shall seriously discuss and act upon 
i he problem of giving practical help 
I forces to the American League, 
especially in the coming months before 
Fourth Congress. 

The problem which we set for our- 

Ives, and toward which we worked 
1 1 1 the American League and elsewhere, 
1 how to embrace the majority of the 
American people, who sincerely desire 
peace, into an effective movement to 



81 



end. This problem, in the first 
place, is how to break up the false con- 
ception of isolation and neutrality as 
the road to peace. It is the problem of 
preparing the masses for active collabo- 
ration with the peace forces of the 
whole world upon a real international 
peace policy. 

We have been given intimations of a 
policy of peace by the Washington ad- 
ministration, notably by Roosevelt and 
Hull, in the Buenos Aires Conference. 
But these are nullified in practice by 
Congress and the State Department. 
The reactionary camp is able to 
manipulate the very peace sentiments 
of the masses to reactionary and war- 
supporting ends, through the neutral- 
ity slogan, applied to Spain but not to 
the fascist invaders of Spain. 

The false neutrality policy, despite 
its appearance of strength, is in a crisis. 
It is under heavy criticism from many 
sides. There is growing recognition 
that it is unrealizable, that its at- 

82 



lompted application makes more for 
war than peace. But there is as yet no 
generally accepted alternative clear 
policy of peace. The chief task in or- 
ganizing a mass struggle for peace is to 
secure the general acceptance of such 
an alternative policy. 

This cannot be achieved by a head- 
on collision with the existing mass 
prejudices against the League of Na- 
tions, although it must be explained 
1 hat the present League is not what it 
once was, that the present League can 
and must be used for the cause of peace 
and democracy. But the United States 

outside the League of Nations, and 
to advocate its entry is unrealistic. 

There is, however, an established 
Eeature of American foreign policy, 

ainst which there is no mass preju- 
dice, which provides an effective peace 

1 1 icy without the obstacles presented 

by the League of Nations. This is the 

so-called Kellogg Pact, the Kellogg- 

iand Pact, the Pact of Paris, signed 

85 




by more than 50 nations on the initia- 
tive of the United States, outlawing 
the use of war as an instrument of na- 
tional policy. With provisions for im- 
plementing the Kellogg Pact in the 
international relations of the United 
States, a full program of international 
collaboration of the peace forces of the 
world would be given. Upon the de- 
mand for such a policy the broadest 
peace movement can be built. The 
basis made possible a policy along the 
following lines we proposed in our 
Party's Legislative Letter at the time 
the Legislative bill was before Con- 
gress. We stated then that an effective 
peace policy for the United States 
could be worked out on the basis of 
established covenants already signed 
between the United States and the rest 
of the world, by a law with the follow- 
ing simple points: 

"1. Require that the President shall take 
notice when any nation signatory to the 

84 



logg Pact shall violate the provisions of 
thai pact by making war, whether officially 
lared or not, and shall call it to the atten- 
n of Congress 

That when the violation of this treaty 

1 the United States is established, an em- 

bargo shall be placed against all economic 

uuisactions with the guilty power until the 

;icssion is stopped and reparation made; 

"3. That any government, not itself an 

1 essor in violation of the Kellogg Pact, but 

•uilfcring from an attack by enemies from 

iiin or without, shall not be hindered in its 

rinuance of normal commercial relations 

1I1 the United States; 

"4. That a violator of the Kellogg Pact 
nhould be considered to be that state which 
|i 1 he first to declare war upon another state; 
'.vhich uses its armed land, naval, or air 
forces, with or without a declaration of war, 
to mvade the territory, or to attack the vessels, 
10 blockade the ports of another state; 
"5. That a state should also be considered 
ih. aggressor, in violation of the Kellogg Pact, 
en it gives support to armed parties or 
In lions engaged in insurrection against the 
d< mocratically established government of an- 
Other nation; 

"6. That in accordance with the principles 
l.i id down in the Buenos Aires Conference, 
Ihe United States shall consult with other 

85 






counLries in case of war or the imminent 

danger of war/' 

All efforts must be turned in this 
direction of merging the movement of 
the American people for peace together 
with the international movement, 
against the instigators of war-which 
means German and Italian fascism and 
the Japanese militarists— and toward 
the creation of a united front of the 
democratic states against fascist ag- 
gressors. 

We must use every event in the in- 
ternational field, especially the fascist 
invasion of Spain and the Japanese 
intervention in the Far East, for prov- 
ing the true nature of the neutrality 
policy as an aid to fascism, as leading 
to war, as driving America with the 
whole world toward a new world war. 
We must arouse the masses to the na- 
ture of the work of agents of German, 
Italian, and Spanish fascism in Amer- 1 
ica, and stimulate an effective demand 
for the expulsion of these rats. 

86 



This movement for an effective 
peace policy must penetrate into every 
mass organization. Strangely enough, 
< unetimes our comrades think that in 
our peace movement we should go into 
i he trade unions that are under reac- 
lionary leadership and fight to win 
these unions to our program, but that 
in a union which is under Left and 
( ommunist leadership, we don't need 
to do anything about itl We therefore 
often have this strange picture of 
unions far away from us becoming ac- 
live in the American League, but of 
unions very close to us paying no atten- 
non to it whatever. Why is this? Be- 
use we don't understand that this 
peace movement must involve the 
membership of every organization. It 
means nothing to us so far as building 
B mass peace movement is concerned 
1 1 the leaders of the movement give 
nlherence to this program, if they do 
nothing to involve their membership 
in it. We must get every mass organ- 

8 7 



ization, every trade union, every 
church, every lodge, every peace group; 
and these must be given organizational 
form in the American League Against 
War and Fascism and its coming na- 
tional congress in November. If, with 
certain organizations, this is not pos- 
sible, let these then be brought into 
cooperative relations with the League. 



S8 



IV. Building the Party 
iind the Daily Worker 

The essential instrument for carry- 
ing out every task is our own Party 
organization and its main mouthpiece, 
the Daily Worker and Sunday Worker. 
What is the organizational condition 
Of our Party? Are its methods of work 

isfactory? What is happening in the 
recruitment of new members and in 

panding the circulation of the Daily 
Worker} Here we must say very sharply 
i hat all is not well. A most serious situ- 
ation exists in the slow growth of the 
membership and, for a time, until the 
last weeks, even a decline in the circu- 
lation of the Daily Worker and Sunday 
[ Vorker. 

This situation is particularly alarm- 
ing because it arises in a period of 

89 



1 



greatest activity of the workers, the 
growth of the responsibility and influ- 
ence of our Party as a result of its high- 
ly successful activities. A frank recog- 
nition of this intolerable situation is 
the first condition for remedying it. 
As I said in February, in the special 
conference that we held to awaken the 
Party to this question, our Party elabo- 
rated certain measures required for 
remedying this situation. We must 
mention, especially, the decisions of 
the Ninth Convention of our Party, 
of our last Plenum in December, and of 
the special Party conference on this 
problem in February. With favorable 
conditions among the masses, with the 
Party already armed with adequate 
policies, the answer to this serious con- 
dition therefore must be found, first 
of all, in the fact that the Party leader- 
ship and the Party organizations do 
not give adequate, systematic, and con- 
stant attention to those tasks. This 
work is systematically neglected. Only 

90 



since the February conference do we 
see some sign of a serious turn to this 
question throughout the Party. 

This beginning is still entirely in- 
sufficient. Without the thorough solu- 
tion of this problem the Party cannot 
move forward and perform the grow- 
ing tasks with which it is faced. 

The problem of Party growth is, 
first, to recruit increasing numbers of 
new members and, second, to keep 
them actively engaged in Party work 
so that they will not drop out after a 
few weeks or months. 

Does a favorable situation exist for 
recruiting? Unquestionably, yes. Con- 
ditions have never been so favorable. 
The potential members around our 
Party are tenfold the number a few 
years ago. They feel our Party as a 
guiding force more than they ever did 
before. Our Party's authority among 
them has never been so high. Only 
these potential members do not receive 
from the Party that final impetus 

9 1 



I 




which carried them over the line that 
separates sympathizers from Party 
members. The Party members, units, 
committees, and fractions are not con- 
scious of their tasks as recruiting agents 
for the Party. It is a very serious step 
for an individual to join the Commu- 
nist Party. Such a serious event does 
not take place spontaneously or auto- 
matically. It only takes place when it 
is prepared and organized by the con- 
scious work of our Party and its 
members. 

Who must solve this problem? The 
entire Party without exception, from 
the units to the Central Committee. 
The problems must be concretely ex- 
amined in each place and everywhere. 
All the imagination and initiative of 
the members must be brought into play 
to find the concrete solution. No 
formula worked out here can fit the 
thousand variations of the problem. 
The Central Committee can give only 
a general guidance, stimulate the 

92 



Party, 



encourage its initiative. The 
whole Party must be creatively engaged 
in finding the practical solution. 

How must we work? Team-work, 
plans, check-up, and control, with 
socialist competition— these are the 
means that must be used to organize 
the initiative and enthusiasm of the 
members, and direct their efforts to 
definite goals. Without resorting to as- 
signment of quotas from above, which 
is too mechanical, and will not work, 
we must stimulate every unit and frac- 
tion of the Party to set for itself a defi- 
nite number of new members which 
it engages to recruit within a definite 
time. This should not be the assign- 
ment of quotas. It should be the volun- 
tary assumption of a task of a decision 
of the unit itself. 

How shall the old members intro- 
duce the new ones into Party work? 
First of all, the old members must 
abandon all airs of superiority, all 
remnants of that attitude of the old 



93 



priest who is initiating a novice into 
the mysteries of a religion. If the old 
members want to educate the new ones 
—and they should want to— they must 
begin by learning from the new mem- 
bers. We shall not keep our new mem- 
bers unless we wipe out all traces of 
arrogance and know-it-all snobbish- 
ness in our approach to them. Any 
trace of that will only drive them out 
of the Party faster than we can recruit 
them. Modesty is demanded from old 
members especially. We can forgive 
new members for lacking this essential 
quality of Bolshevik modesty, we can- 
not forgive the old ones. The first task 
of the Party is to teach its members 
modesty. The relations of old and new 
members must be those of teacher and 
pupil on both sides, not teacher on the 
one side and pupil on the other. It is 
the new members who often have the 
most to contribute in this combination. 
In this connection, how often we 
find that units composed of old mem- 



94 



bers have learned that "it can't be 
done," learned it so thoroughly, that 
it requires a unit of new members to 
ime along and show in practice that 
it can be done. In such cases it would 
be just too bad if the old members had 
caught the new ones in time to "edu- 
cate" them in their higher wisdom of 
passivity. This is especially true in re- 
gard to recruiting. New members re- 
cruit ten times as much as the old ones. 
It is especially our old members who 
need education in recruiting, and the 
new members can educate them best. 
How to assign work to new mem- 
bers? Two widely-prevailing errors 
must be avoided. First, there is the 
error of mechanically loading up the 
new members with a dozen tasks of a 
purely routine and mechanical charac- 
ter, monopolizing his free time with- 
out giving him anything that engages 
his interest or gives play to his initia- 
tive. That means to drive the new 
members away, away from the whole 



95 



Party's life. Secondly, there is the 
error of neglecting the new member 
and giving him no part at all in the 
Party life, or so little that he is not 
drawn into this life and absorbed by it. 
That means to allow him to drift 
away from the Party. The new mem- 
ber should be officially welcomed into 
the Party; made to feel at home as an 
equal among equals, given his share of 
the wort and of the responsibility; and 
given attention to engage his special 
knowledge, his special abilities or his 
special contacts, to advance the Party 
tasks in such a way that he can see his 
own contribution. 

How to assist the new members in 
their tasks in the trade unions or other 
mass organizations? This is a most 
vital question. How many thousands of 
cases we have found of sympathizers of 
many years' standing who, when asked 
why they do not join the Party which 
they follow so faithfully, answer that 
they are afraid the unit discipline and 

96 



work assignments might destroy their 
effective work in the trade unions or 
other mass organizations where they 
find cooperation with the Party so 
valuable in their work. In order to be 
able to continue cooperation with the 
Party they stay outside of it. What does 
that mean? The first task of a Party 
unit in relation to a new member is 
to learn to make use of, not to hinder 
or destroy, his connections in all kinds 
of mass organizations. The greatest 
crime that can be committed against 
the Party is to restrict the mass activi- 
ties of the new members. The Party 
unit must find the way to help the new 
member in this respect, but never on 
any account put any obstacles in his 
way. 

THE SPECIAL QUALITIES OF BOLSHEVIK 
LEADERSHIP 

How shall we develop the leading 
role of higher committees and the sec- 

97 



1 



and district secretaries? Leader- 
ship is an art which every Communist 
Party member must learn; but he must 
learn the special qualities of Bolshevik 
leadership. Weaknesses in leadership 
inevitably reflect themselves in poor 
and weak inner-Party life, weak re- 
cruiting, and loss of members. Exam- 
ining the work of our district and sec- 
tion secretaries, for example, we find 
two wrong methods appearing time 
and time again. One is the method of 
the "strong man" who goes into his 
committee with his mind already made 
up on everything without consultation, 
brushes aside all discussion except by 
"yes-men" on the committee; who does 
not even bother to take a vote on dis- 
puted questions, but asserts his "higher 
authority" over the committee; who 
achieves unity of direction by what 
could be called intellectual "strong- 
arm" methods, the overriding of all 
critical examination of his proposals. 
The other wrong method is just the op- 

98 



posite; here there is plenty of freedom 
of discussion, but it is not directed 
toward welding together a real unity 
of opinion, so that every one goes out 
of the committee not with a united 
opinion but with exactly the views he 
brought in; divergencies are not ironed 
out, every one goes his own way, and 
the iron unity of a Communist Party 
gradually disappears in a swamp of 
unrelated individual approaches to 
different questions. Neither of these 
methods has anything in common with 
the Bolshevik conception of leader- 
ship; this is always collective, the gath- 
ering and welding together of the va- 
ried and supplementing qualifications 
of many individuals, the aiming of 
each one of them with the strength of 
all others, the elimination from each 
of his weak points, the development 
of self-criticism and mutual criticism 
as a system and method, and thereby 
the multiplication of the leading 
powers of the Party, a thousandfold 



99 



over that which any individual, even 
a genius, is capable of giving. 

Occasionally we still find examples, 
though they are now rare, of leading 
committees being allowed to lapse into 
inactivity, their places being taken by 
the individual "strong comrades" who 
assume all the duties of the committee, 
and, so far from calling the committee 
together, actually discourage it from 
meeting. We were recently shocked to 
learn that in one of our most impor- 
tant districts, in a period of a great 
strike struggle in which the Party was 
very active, and did very good work in 
some respects, the District Bureau had 
not met for six weeks. Comrades, has 
that happened in your district? I am 
looking around for guilty faces. We 
were doubly shocked to learn that the 
District Secretary had not found time 
to make a political report on these rich 
experiences for his membership. We 
were triply shocked to learn that this 
Secretary had found time, however, to 



. 100 



travel several hundred miles to report 
to another district. With such methods, 
comrades, surely the Party will not be 
built. We must have responsible and 
collective leadership; without that it 
is no use talking about recruiting. We 
are a Bolshevik Party. 

How shall we select, train, and pro- 
mote new leading personnel? In this 
matter we still have many abuses in our 
methods of work. We find districts 
where this question is the personal 
property of a single leading comrade, 
instead of the collective work of the 
leading committees with the partici- 
pation of the membership. We usually 
find in such places the complaint of 
shortage of forces, everybody at hand, 
we find, is "no good" for one reason or 
another. Personal caprice means dis- 
aster to the direction of the work. In- 
dividuals are pushed from one post to 
another with no regard to their own 
interests or the opinions of those with 
whom they must work. All such carry- 



101 



overs from the system of capitalist fac- 
tory management or from bourgeois 
political life must be combated and 
eliminated from our methods of work, 
if we want to build the Communist 
Party. 

OVERCOMING THE RED SCARE 



How shall we dissipate the Red scare 
from among the Reds? It is a fact that 
much of our weakness in recruiting is 
due to the Red scare, not among the 
workers but among our own comrades, 
specially some of those recently 
emerged as mass leaders. Some of these 
comrades hide as a shameful secret 
their Communist opinion and affili- 
ations; they hysterically beg the Party 
to keep as far away from their work as 
possible. It must be admitted that very 
often this is only a wrong answer to cer- 
tain wrong methods of work on the 
part of the Party and the fault is not al- 
ways on the part of the comrade who 

102 



has the Red scare; perhaps the Party 
has created the Red scare by wrong 
methods of work, or some of its leading 
people have brought it about. This 
often happens by making excessive de- 
mands and mechanical assignment of 
tasks, by an inconsiderate approach to 
the problems of the mass organizations 
—the idea, for example, that mass or- 
ganization problems can be settled off- 
hand in the Party office by a decision 
of the Party organizer. It is such things 
that create the Red scare among the 
comrades. On the basis of a careful 
and considerate approach to the prob- 
lems of the individual leading com- 
rades and their mass organizations, we 
must now begin to demand more from 
such comrades on behalf of the Party, 
We must work out with them how to 
"legalize" the position of the Commu- 
nists as known Communists, and how 
to make their prestige contribute to the 
growth and authority of their Party- 
how to make the authority of the Party 



103 



trengthen their position as mass lead- 
ers. This can be done with full effec- 
tiveness only when the Party helps in 
a decisive way to solve the problems 
of such comrades, and the problems of 
their organizations. 

All these questions involved in Party 
growth are detailed aspects of the de- 
velopment of a healthy inner-Party 
democracy. We can already say that the 
Party has learned much in this respect. 
We are without question the most 
democratic organization in the United 
States; there is no other organization 
o£ forty to fifty thousand members 
which has even a small fraction of that 
active participation in the decisive 
questions by the entire membership as 
we have. But from the viewpoint of 
what we should be, to realize our vast 
opportunities of growth, we are only 
beginning. We must, above all, learn 
in this respect from our great brother 
Party of the Soviet Union. We must 
learn especially from Comrade Stalin's 

104 



speech and summary at the March 
Plenum of the Central Committee of 
the C.P.S.U.* This will greatly help to 
raise the initiative and activity of our 
lower organizations; stimulate and 
promote healthy self-criticism; and 
bring forward new, reliable, trusted 
and capable comrades into the leading 
work. We must make ours also the 
slogan of Mastering Bolshevism, which 
Comrade Stalin raised. If this is neces- 
sary for the great Party of Lenin and 
Stalin how much more necessary it is 
for us. And if we must have political 
alertness to see the influence of the 
enemies in the Soviet Union, after al- 
most 20 years of Soviet power, if we 
have to remember that in the Soviet 
Union there is capitalist encirclement, 
how much more in America do we have 
to remember, not our capitalist encir- 
clement, but our capitalist environ- 
ment in every respect. We must bring 

* Joseph Stalin, Mastering Bolshevism, 
Workers Library Publishers, N. Y. 5 cents. 

105 



I 



these lessons to our Party and apply 
under our conditions the Stalin slogan, 
Mastering Bolshevism. 

MARXIST-LENINIST THEORY TO ILLUMIN- 
ATE OUR POLITICAL WORK 

Our practical work must be more 
illuminated by the theory of Marx, 
Engels, Lenin and Stalin, those great- 
est educators of the people known to 
history, the leaders of the realization of 
socialism. This can be achieved only 
by systematic educational work, edu- 
cation for the masses, and especially 
intensified education for the most re- 
sponsible leading people. 

Education must become a charac- 
teristic feature of all Party life. The 
process of education must be continu- 
ous, never-ending. It begins with self- 
study and self-education in which the 
individual organizes his own system- 
atic course of reading in connection 
with his practical work. The process of 
education is the process of transforma- 

106 



tion to higher capacities; the sloughing 
off from the past of everything that 
hinders this development; the radical 
reconstruction of the human personal- 
ity; the ruthless searching out of every 
bad influence of the past in one's po- 
litical and personal life, the burning 
out of such influences with a red-hot 
iron, and their replacement, with the 
living contact of the constantly grow- 
ing Bolshevik. That is what we mean 
by education; not just the mechanical 
learning of repeated formulas, not the 
accumulation of a body of knowledge; 
but the reconstruction of the individ- 
ual from the bottom up, his transform- 
ation into an entirely new and different 
kind of human being. This under- 
standing of education must be created 
throughout our Party. The process of 
education, beginning with the con- 
scious activity of the individual, is con- 
tinued by every responsible worker 
establishing an educational contact 
with one or more others for some joint 



107 



work in this field, with periodical joint 
discussions on related questions, even 
if only across the lunch table or while 
waiting for meetings to open. Every 
responsible worker roust at all costs 
conduct such systematic mastering of 
the current problems of world and na- 
tional politics, buttressed by reading of 
the classics of socialism. 

Such joint work should be planned, 
not left to chance, and should be con- 
tinuous, as much as possible, with the 
same persons. Such educational prepa- 
rations should immediately be re- 
flected in the improved quality of unit 
discussions, speeches in mass organiza- 
tions and street meetings, leaflet prepa- 
ration, shop bulletins, and all expres- 
sions of mass educational work. Study 
classes should be planned and organ- 
ized, which bring larger groups to- 
gether, through the medium of units, 
fractions, section committees, meeting 
in homes or available meeting rcoms. 
The question of systematic educational 

108 



work should be raised in every union, 
and the demand made for its organ- 
ization as an integral part of the union 
life. It must be organized as a part of 
the union life and the union appara- 
tus. The most important field of mass 
education is today the unions of the 
C.I.O- In the I.W.O. and similar 
bodies, the p:esent neglect of educa- 
tional work of high quality should be 
overcome by creating an irresistible de- 
mand for it. All these measures will lay 
the basis for lifting the whole ideologi- 
cal level of the daily life of the move- 
ment, and for raising higher the Party 
training schools, district and national, 
to which the Party is now going to give 
major attention. 

In the selection of students for the 
full-time training schools, our districts 
have in the past proceeded on the prin- 
ciple of choosing "those who can be 
spared." In the future that rule must 
be abolished. It is precisely "those who 
cannot be spared" that we are going to 



109 



choose; for we do not want anybody 
who can be spared. The Central Com- 
mittee has been too weak in capitulat- 
ing before "practical" consideration in 
the districts on this question. Our latest 
National Training School, with its six 
month course for sixty people, proved 
its enormous value to the whole Party; 
but it would have been much stronger 
if the districts had taken the selection 
of students in a more serious manner. 
The training schools are the "heavy 
industry" sector of our educational 
work; they produce the means of pro- 
duction in this field. You know what 
happens in industry if all sources are 
thrown into the production of con- 
sumption goods? It means production 
itself dies. Neglect of our training 
schools gives us exactly the same re- 
sults. We can only expand our mass 
work and improve its quality by the 
most serious attention to the selection 
of our best material for the training 
schools. These schools are not for be- 



110 



ginners; they are for the leading per- 
sonnel of the Party. 

In all the work of building the Party, 
concentration upon the most impor- 
tant points, the decisive factories and 
industries, must be used to produce 
examples which by socialist emulation 
shall set the standard for the whole 
Party- We have good examples and bad 
ones. We have such contrasts as the 
following: the auto industry, the regu- 
lar functioning of an auto unit in 
Cleveland during the strike resulted 
in its growth by fourfold and in the 
strengthening of its ties with the 
masses; in Flint we witnessed the cessa- 
tion of unit meetings during the strike, 
and the consequent lack of its growth 
and the weakening of its mass ties. 
In spite of good union work, good 
union work will not replace the work 
of the Party unit. We have the same 
sort of contrasts in steel; we have it as 
between districts and within districts; 
examples of good and bad. In our dis- 



111 



cussions here, every comrade should 
oive us a picture of good and bad ex- 
amples within his direct experience, 
and thereby enrich our understanding 
of the best methods to be encouraged 
and the worst ones to be combated. 
The main industrial centers are the 
first points of concentration, with key 
plants chosen for special attention. 
From this basis we must now more and 
more systematically take up the ques- 
tion o£ spreading our organization into 
every small industrial city and town, 
hundreds of which have not yet a single 
Party unit. We must discover the in- 
dustrial hinterland of America long 
neglected by us, which the C.I.O. is 
opening up with such dramatic sweep, 
bring the breath of democracy into the 
stifling atmosphere of the company 
towns, where our units could not live 

before. 

Our Party must be more alert to 

take up every new issue that stirs the 
masses. At this moment in hundreds 
of cities the swift rise of the cost of 

112 



living and rent is coming to the fore. 
We must be the ones to organize the 
struggle against the high cost of living 
and rents, because these are serious 
issues to millions of people. We must 
not allow Communists to consider 
themselves above these issues. 

OUR APPROACH TO SPECIAL STRATA 
AND GROUPS 

For many years we have spoken of 
the need of a special approach to the 
problems of various strata and groups 
of the population, if we want to build 
our Party among them. A uniform, 
stereotyped propaganda and agitation 
will always miss the mark with the ma- 
jority of people, because the majority 
is made of special groups. The general 
program must be linked up with the 
particular problems of particular 
groups. But in practice we seriously 
neglect this; even in the broadest and 
most obvious cases in which it is called 
for. 

113 



For example, it cannot be denied 
that the women are a rather important 
sector o£ the population; some people 
say an absolute majority. They have 
special problems, but how often do we 
make these special problems the cen- 
ter of broad mass appeals, of political 
demands and organized actions? We 
direct our whole political work to the 
male adult, white section of the pop- 
ulation, with only an occasional ex- 
cursion, by the way, into these special 
groups. In all too few cases do we seri- 
ously take up this special approach. 

In too many cases, we find even the 
progressive union leaders resisting the 
organization of women's auxiliaries, 
and we find in our Party, too often, the 
attitude of "postpone this question to 
a more favorable moment," which 

never comes. 

How much attention is given to the 
housewives? Why do we recruit so few 
women-why are women still fewer in 
our leading committees? These que* 

114 



tions are for you to answer, comrades, 
with regard to your district. I think all 
the answers will boil down to one word 
—neglect. Let us realize Lenin's slogan 
that "every housewife must take an 
active part in political work." 

Among the young people there is not 
the problem of neglect and stagnation 
of work. A tremendous youth move- 
ment is sweeping America. Our young 
Communists are in the heart of it and 
doing nobly effective work. I do not 
need to give our youth any special ad 
vice today. They are already on the 
high road to mass work. But I do need 
to advise our Party to learn from the 
youth, at the same time to help edu- 
cate the youth; to give more concrete 
help to the youth, to establish closer 
relations between the youth and the 
Party, In hundreds of towns where 
there are Party organizations there is 
not yet any Y.C.L. unit. 

Where the Y.C.L. is absent there the 
youth movement is absent or falls into 



"5 



the hands of doubtful leadership. The 
youth is our greatest reserve. More 
attention to the youth! 

The next largest special group re- 
quiring special approach is the Negro 
people. We have many outstanding 
achievements in our work among them. 
The single fact that Angelo Herndon 
is with us in this hall is recognized by 
the whole Negro people; the fact that 
the Scottsboro boys still fight for free- 
dom instead of being a memory and 
a tradition, like Sacco and Vanzetti, is 
a partial victory; that the CJ.O. helps 
the National Negro Congress to gather 
representative Negroes from all walks 
of life to bring their people into the 
unions-all these thing show the ad- 
vance of the Negroes towards equality, 
an advance that penetrates and affects 
the political life of our country. 

But every one knows that it was the 
Communist Party that inaugurated 
this renaissance of the Negro people. 
Why it has lagged behind so sharply 

116 



in our Party is one of the problems 
which every district must take up most 
seriously, the struggles for equality and 
civil rights; and one key is to reach the 
Negro women. It is an outstanding ex- 
ception that we can speak of a Negro 
woman who has been in our Party for 
ten years and is a member of the Cen- 
tral Committee, Comrade Maud 
White. We are glad to register Com- 
rade White's ten years in our Party, 
but let us determine that we will not 
allow her to be an exception, along 
with Bonita Williams, Helen Holman, 
Louise Thompson, and a few dozen 
other active Negro women comrades. 
We will bring hundreds, thousands of 
Negro women into our ranks. We will 
help them to make our Party their per- 
manent political home. As one Negro 
comrade said at a meeting, "If you get 
the Negro women into the Party, the 
men will come into the Party too." I 
read recently some excellent proposals 
on how to build the movement of the 

117 



Negroes in the locality, by a group of 
Detroit Negro comrades. We must 
learn to listen most carefully to such 
voices on the issues and on methods 
and forms of work. 

Nor can we allow the farmers to 
continue to be forgotten in our Party. 
In every state there is a great agrarian 
population. We must anchor our Party 
among them. I am leaving all detailed 
problems of farm policy to the Agra- 
rian Committee; but there must be de- 
manded more attention to farm or- 
ganization in every district and the re- 
cruiting of farmers into the Party. 

Finally, we have those many na- 
tional groups in the communities 
-what we have been accustomed 
to call our language work, thus 
stressing only one side of a complicated 
problem. Our press and organization 
work among these national commu- 
nities is stagnant. This is giving rise to 
false theories about the dying out of 
the communities due to lack of new 

118 



immigration and the Americanization 
of the second and third generations. 
But we find that Americanization does 
not disperse these communities. The 
second generation of Italian-Ameri- 
cans, for example, are just as proud of 
the first part of that hyphenated name 
as of the second. A glaring light is 
thrown on this question when nation- 
alist and fascist propaganda from their 
home countries grips the second gen- 
eration deeper than the original immi- 
grants; nor is it enough to say that we 
must engage them in the American 
class struggle. That is necessary, but it 
is not enough and does not answer the 
question as to how to engage them in 
the American class struggle. To do that 
effectively it is necessary to smash 
through the sectarian isolation of our 
national bureaus and national press; 
to throw them into the center of the 
community life; to utilize its national 
traditions, issues, and pecularities; to 
appeal to its national pride and cul- 

119 






r* 



ture, to find thus the road to Ameri- 
canization, Americanization in our 
understanding of the word; and, es- 
pecially, to utilize the lessons of the 
blossoming of the nationalities under 
socialism in the Soviet Union. We must 
have a decided change and turn to the 
masses in this field. We must refresh 
the leadership of this work by a thor- 
oughgoing return to the elective prin- 
ciple in its selection, making the lead- 
ership directly responsible to the 
masses. Our special committee on this 
question at this Plenum must give us 
material for directing a far-reaching 
change, the beginning of a forward 
march among the national group, 
especially among the largest and most 
important ones, the Italians, Germans, 
Jews, Poles and Irish. 

Our Party's legality is now estab- 
lished before the country as never be- 
fore. This was illustrated to me, for 
example, in an interesting fashion not 
long ago when I spoke to a meeting in 



120 



one of the public halls of Harvard 
University, with a prominent faculty 
member as chairman, a man without a 
suspicion of Communist sympathies, 
but of liberal democratic views. This 
chairman opened my meeting by citing 
a series of most respectable precedents, 
culminating in Supreme Court de- 
cisions, to establish beyond all question 
that the Comunist Party is a legally 
recognized Party whose full right to be 
heard and have its views considered 
on their merits is a necessary part of 
the democratic tradition of America. 
When we are legalized before the Su- 
preme Court and Harvard University, 
it should surely not be a difficult task 
to wipe out all the remnants of an il- 
legal status of our Party within the 
labor movement, to do away with the 
idea that the Communist Party is 
something which must be shoved into 
the background, as being a little em- 
barrassing to the "best people"; that its 
cooperation, though valuable, should 

121 




i 



be kept in the background. We must 
be modest, we must not try to shove 
our noses into every public photo- 
graph, we must not make undue claims 
for ourselves-but, at the same time, 
we know and we must let the world 
know, that the Communists are not 
poor relations who come into the dem- 
ocratic house only through the back 
door. We want the relationship of 
equals among equals, to be judged on 
our merits the same as everyone else 
should be; and for this relationship we 
will work and we will fight. This is a 
foundation-stone in the building of 
the People's Front, and in the building 
of our own Party. 

LET US EXTEND THE CIRCULATION 
OF OUR PRESS 

About the circulation of the Daily 
Worker and Sunday Worker, we are 
gaining some excellent experience, 
which at the same time shows how 
most effectively to bring forward the 

122 



.1.. 



role of the Party. In the steel areas, 
significant increases in circulation are 
seen; outstanding examples being 
Chicago, which, at the same time, by 
its publication of a one-sheet Chicago 
supplement every day in 20,000 copies, 
has greatly helped solidify the strike, 
while simultaneously laying a solid 
basis for building our Party. In the 
Minneapolis city elections, a special 
edition of the Sunday Worker of 50,- 
000 copies was a model of correct 
united front work combined with 
Party building. 

I have been unable to find a single 
instance where a serious effort to ex- 
tend the circulation of our paper did 
not achieve important results. If there 
is not a general and decisive forward 
move in this respect, it is only because 
there is not yet a general effort that 
involves the whole Party. We are pro- 
ducing a paper today that wins the 
praise as a newspaper of the President 
of the Newspapermen's Guild. Can any 

123 



one any longer give as an explanation 
of our lack of circulation that the 
paper is not good enough editorially. 
Impossible, comrades. We can still im- 
prove the contents of our paper; but it 
is already one of the indispensable 
papers of America for all people who 
want to be well informed. The time 
has arrived when we must prepare a 
radical step to overcome the difficulty 
of distance which hampers the circu- 
lation of the Daily Worker in the 
Middle West and in the Pacific areas. 
This Plenum should consider and give 
its judgment on a project to establish 
before the end of this year a companion 
Daily Worker in Chicago and another 
one in San Francisco. We are prepared 
to go into this project in a business- 
like manner. We know that all the pre- 
conditions for success of our paper is 
within our grasp. Comrade Dimitroff 
said, 

". . . correctly to combine the operations of 
the policy of the People's Front with the pro- 

124 



paganda of Marxism, with the raising of the 
theoretical level of the cadres of the working 
class movement, with the mastery of the great 
teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin 
as a guide to action— all liiis we must learn 
and teach our cadres and the masses day af ten- 
day. We must not allow a situation where 
'you cannot see the woods for the trees.' We 
must not allow practice to become divorced 
from theory, a gap to develop between the 
fulfilment of the urgent tasks of today and the 
further perspectives and aims of the working 
class struggle." 

Building the Party and extending 
the circulation of our daily press are 
not a task for a few weeks' campaign; 
it is the permanent task that permeates 
every item of Party life and work, the 
guiding aim of which is to build a 
strong, capable mass Communist Party 
able to meet and solve the problems 
and tasks of a great working class of 
forty million in the most powerful cap- 
italist country, a working class which 
inherits a long revolutionary tradition 
and which today is entering the period 
of history with greater revolutionary 

»*5 



upheavals than any we have known 
before. It is the consciousness of this 
task which our present Plenum must 
bring to the whole Party, in the full 
realization that through our correct 
policies that meet the conditions of the 
day we must build the Party that will 
be capable of carrying out the much 
greater task of tomorrow. 



126 



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