(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Communism in the United States"

5- A • 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2006 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/communisminuniteOObrowrich 



COMMUNISM 
IN THE UNITED STATES 



Communism 

in the United States 



BY EARL BROWDER 

General Secretary, Communist Party of the United States 




International Publishers • New York 



Copyright, 1935, by 
INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHERS CO., INC. 

Second Printing, October, 1935 



PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. 

This book is composed and printed by union labor. 



CONTENTS 

INTRODUCTION vii 

I. MANIFESTO OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

OF THE UNITED STATES 13 

II. THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 21 

III. THE FIGHT FOR BREAD 94 

IV. IS PLANNING POSSIBLE UNDER CAPITALISM? 102 

V. WHY AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PARTY 

MEMBERSHIP? m 

VI. WHAT EVERY WORKER SHOULD KNOW 

ABOUT N.R.A. 161 

VII. THE SITUATION IN THE UNITED STATES 177 

VIII. NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW TASKS 188 

IX. THREE MAIN POLICIES OF THE COMMUNIST 

PARTY 205 

TRADE UNIONS, LABOR PARTY, UNITED FRONT 

X. THE COMMUNIST PROGRAM: ONLY WAY 

OUT FOR LABOR NOW 215 

THE SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL STRIKE 

XL MAKE BETRAYALS OF THE WORKERS IMPOS- 
SIBLE! 218 

THE GENERAL TEXTILE STRIKE 

XII. UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE— THE BURNING 

ISSUE OF THE DAY 222 

XIII. UNITED FRONT AGAINST FASCISM AND WAR 237 

XIV. THE STRUGGLE FOR THE UNITED FRONT 240 



vi CONTENTS 

XV. THE SITUATION IN THE SOCIALIST PARTY 273 

XVI. THE COMMUNIST POSITION ON THE LABOR 

PARTY QUESTION 284 

XVII. FOR THE NATIONAL LIBERATION OF THE 
NEGROES! WAR AGAINST WHITE 
CHAUVINISM! 290 

XVIII. WIPE OUT THE STENCH OF THE SLAVE 

MARKET! 304 

XIX. "THEORY IS OUR GUIDE TO ACTION!" 308 

XX. COMMUNISM AND LITERATURE 311 

XXI. THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 316 

XXII. RELIGION AND COMMUNISM 334 

INDEX 350 



Introduction 

Earl Browder's book offers the key to an understanding of Com- 
munism in the United States. This work was hammered out in the 
very heat of the struggle of the American masses for a better life in a 
most momentous period of their history. It was produced in the fight 
for the great historic liberation struggle of the American workers, toil- 
ing farmers, Negroes, middle classes, and all oppressed and exploited. 
It was produced by one who is guided by the scientific theory of 
Marxism-Leninism and by its great masters — Marx, Engels, Lenin, 
Stalin. 

Very appropriately, Browder's book opens with the famous Mani- 
festo of the Communist Party of the United States adopted at its 8th 
National Convention, held in April, 1934. In a concrete and con- 
vincing way, this historic document shows that there is only one way 
out of the present state of insecurity, imemplo5niient, mass misery and 
untold suffering, oppression, capitalist reaction, fascism and war. It is 
the revolutionary way, the Bolshevik way, the way of the Socialist 
Revolution and Soviet Power in the United States. 

Millions of American toilers — ^workers, farmers, Negroes, intellectuals 
and other middle class groups — are still wondering in daze and con- 
fusion at the "sudden" change to the worse that has taken place in 
their lives. They ask: Where has this disaster come from? What 
was it that has knocked the bottom out from under our feet? What 
shall we do to help ourselves? What can we do to ward off the coming 
of even greater disasters — fascism and a new war? 

Earl Browder's book helps us to find an answer to these questions. 
In chapters 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9, we are led to an examination of the 
nature of the economic crisis and its passage into a "depression of a 
special kind," the capitalist way out and the revolutionary way out, 
the role of reformism and how it perpetuates capitalism and paves 
the way for fascism, the impossibility of planning under capitalism, 
etc. Having gained a correct understanding of these fundamental 
questions, we are then in a position to see clearly the class content 
of the policies of the American bourgeoisie. 

But the book does much more than that. Its pivot is the struggle 
of the Communist Party of the United States to win and lead the 
toiling masses of this country — in the first instance, the industrial 
proletariat — to the fight for the revolutionary way out of the crisis. 
It is from this central angle that Browder deals with all the questions 



viii INTRODUCTION 

of the present epoch. It is a scientific examination and analysis of 
existing conditions with the aim of determining the road to the aboli- 
tion of these conditions and the way of organizing the masses to 
struggle for it. In other words, this book undertakes to answer not only 
the question of why things are as they are but also what changes are 
necessary and how they can be brought about. 

As is well known, the author of this work occupies an outstanding 
position of leadership in the Communist Party of the United States. 
This fact has a direct and intimate bearing upon the nature and char- 
acter of the book which is made up of articles and speeches by the 
author produced during the last three years. This makes the contents 
of the book a presentation of Communist Party principles and policies, 
of its theory and practice, of its day-to-day struggles to win the 
American masses for the revolutionary way out and for a Soviet 
America. It is a presentation of Communism in America. 

Earl Browder analyzed the New Deal, at its very inception, as a 
new way of carrying through in life the same class policies of the 
monopolies as those championed by the Old Deal. In making this 
analysis, the author pointed out the contradictions inherent in the New 
Deal, contradictions which were bound to sharpen, in the first instance, 
the relations between the capitalist class and the working class (and all 
toilers), and also the relations between the conflicting and competing 
groups within the capitalist class itself. This was the Communist 
Party's answer to the position of the President of the American Fed- 
eration of Labor, William Green, that the New Deal constituted a 
"partnership between Labor and Capital" leading to even closer class 
collaboration than heretofore. This was also the answer of the Com- 
munist Party to the position of the leaders of the Socialist Party, 
among them at the time, Norman Thomas, that the New Deal con- 
stituted a "step to Socialism." 

The Supreme Court decision has brought to a head all the contra- 
dictions of the New Deal. It signalizes first of all, as already pointed 
out, a new offensive upon the toiling masses by the capitalist class. 
Precisely because the New Deal, in the two years of its operation, 
has done its best to weaken the position of the working class and all 
toilers, the most reactionary circles of the monopolies and their spokes- 
men, Roosevelt's Right opponents, feel now that the time has arrived 
for a fresh and more widespread attack upon the standards of living 
of the masses and upon their democratic rights. At the same time, 
Roosevelt continues his special New Deal maneuvers, resorting even 
to more "Left" phrases and methods, whose effect is to assist rather 
than hamper the offensive of the reactionaries and fascists. Thus the 
Supreme Court decision also shows a sharpening of the contradictions 
within the capitalist class itself. In brief, this whole development 
demonstrates fully the correctness of the position of the Communist 



INTRODUCTION ix 

Party, as expounded by Browder in this work, that the general crisis 
of the capitalist system is deepening, that the revolutionary crisis is 
maturing also in the United States, and that fascisation and war prep- 
arations are becoming evermore the major line of policy of the American 
bourgeoisie. 

This brings us to the central task of the present period — the struggle 
against war and fascism. The author devotes a considerable part of the 
book to this question, notably the six chapters from lo to i6 inclusive. 
From a study of these chapters, and of the book as a whole, the reader 
wilt gain a thorough understanding of the whole question of the United 
Front. It will become clear why the Communist Party takes the posi- 
tion that, in the present period, the United Front of the workers and all 
toilers against the capitalist offensive, fascisation and war preparations, 
is the only way to defend effectively the interests of the masses, to ward 
off the outbreak of a new war and the coming of a fascist dictatorship. 
It will also become clear why the Communist Party considers the United 
Front, in this period, the major road along which the masses will be- 
come prepared, on the basis of their own experiences, to struggle for the 
revolutionary way out of the crisis and for a Soviet government in the 
United States under the leadership of the Communist Party. 

In the struggle for the United Front against the capitalist offensive, 
the strike movements of the workers in the industries and the fight for 
unemployment relief and insurance (H. R. 2827) occupy a foremost 
position. It is on this sector of the class struggle that the most decisive 
battles have occurred during the past three years, and will continue to 
occur, in the unfolding of the epochal fight between the capitalist way 
out of the crisis and the revolutionary way out. Just recall the San 
Francisco general strike and the Pacific Coast marine strike of which 
it was an outgrowth, the national textile strike, the great unemployed 
movements and the growing mass support for H. R. 2827, etc. These 
cannot, of course, be isolated from the whole course of events with which 
Browder's book is concerned. However, for a special study of these 
particular developments, chapters 10, 11, and 12, are of special value. 

It will become clear, from a study of this work, why the Communist 
Party considers the organization and unfolding of strike struggles a 
basic phase of the fight against the capitalist offensive, fascisation and 
war preparations. This has to do first with the Communist conception 
of the role of the working class as the leader of the fight against capital- 
ism, the leader of its allies, the toiling farmers, the Negroes and the 
oppressed middle groups of the cities. And it also has to do with the 
particular significance of strike struggles in the present period in the 
United States which is characterized especially by the growth and im- 
portance of strike movements. 

Bearing this in mind, the reader will follow more profitably Browder's 
discussions of the role of the Communists in trade unions. The reader 



X INTRODUCTION 

will then be able to grasp more fully the significance of one of the most 
fundamental strategic principles of the Communist Party, namely, the 
fight for the organization of trade unions (and against company union- 
ism), the fight for trade union unity, and the entrenchment of the Com- 
munist Party itself in the large shops of the basic industries. In this 
connection, the reader will find of special value chapter 5 of this work 
which discusses the Open Letter to the Party issued by its Extraordinary 
Conference held in the summer of 1933. 

Closely connected with this is the position of the Communist Party 
on the question of the formation of a Labor Party. Chapters 9 and 16 
are devoted more particularly to this question. The reader will find 
here an exposition of the whole political situation out of which the ques- 
tion arose and the solution of it proposed by the Communist Party — the 
struggle for a mass anti-capitalist Labor Party based primarily upon 
the trade unions — as against bourgeois third party movements including 
those which carry the label (but not the essence) of "Labor" Party. In 
the coming period the struggle for a Labor Party will develop into a 
major feature of the class struggle in the United States, organically con- 
nected with all the other phases of the class struggle especially with the 
fight for militant mass industrial unions in the basic industries and for 
the extension of the United Front. 

The book deals throughout with the vital question of the allies of the 
American proletariat — the toiling farmers, the Negroes, the exploited 
middle classes of the cities, and the revolutionary movements of the 
colonial and dependent countries, especially those oppressed by Ameri- 
can imperialism (China, Cuba, the Caribbean and South America gen- 
erally). Chapters 17 and 18 go into a special discussion of the 
liberation struggles of the Negro people, the meaning and special char- 
acteristics of these struggles, and their basic value as allies of the 
socialist revolution in the United States. The reader will gain a clear 
understanding of the vital importance of such struggles as the fight for 
freedom of the Scottsboro boys, for the freedom of Angelo Herndon, and 
for equal rights for the Negroes generally. 

A major feature of this work, one that underlies and crowns the whole 
structure, is the treatment of the question of how to build the Com- 
munist Party into the mass party of the American proletariat and the 
leader of all oppressed. Strictly speaking, the entire book deals with 
this question, and for this reason: that the existence of a strong mass 
Communist Party is the chief prerequisite for the United Front and 
for the overthrow of capitalist rule. This flows from the Marxist- 
Leninist conception of the leading role of the proletarian party, the new 
and special type of party that is embodied in the Communist Party, and 
of the role of the non-Party mass organizations of the workers and other 
toilers as "transmission belts" (Stalin) from the Party to the class. 
More specifically and concretely this question is dealt with in chapters 



INTRODUCTION xi 

2, 5, 7, 8, 9 and ii. These show how the Communist Party of the 
United States continually works to improve itself, day by day, eliminat- 
ing weaknesses of methods of work and forms of organization, develop- 
ing more effective ways of reaching the masses and organizing them for 
the struggle against their enemies. 

Inseparably connected with the above, and with the entire contents 
of this work, is the relation between the Communist Party of the United 
States and the Communist International of which it is a section. In 
every phase of this book the reader will see how the Communist Party 
of this country functions as an organic part of the world party of Com- 
munism. It will become evident to the reader how the experiences and 
struggles of the various national sections of the Communist Interna- 
tional give rise to the general line of the world party formulated by its 
world Congresses and by the plenary sessions of its Executive Commit- 
tee. It will also become evident from this work how this general line 
of the world party, the Communist International, serves as the starting 
point and daily guide for the national sections, such as the Communist 
Party of the United States, in the formulation of their special policies 
and methods directed to the realization of the international line and dis- 
cipline. This world party of Communism, which the Second (Socialist) 
International was never able to achieve, a world party with such a lead- 
ing component part as the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and 
such a leader as Stalin, is the source of the greatest strength and inspira- 
tion to the revolutionary movement in each capitalist country. 

We are now brought to a question which is of decisive importance in 
the present epoch. It is the question of the struggle for the defense of 
the Soviet Union. Browder's book demonstrates its full significance. 
It shows concretely and in a living manner how the Soviet Union, by 
its historical successes in the building of socialism and by the tremendous 
growth of its economic, political and military strength, has come to be 
the center of a new world system, the system of socialism, undermining 
the decaying capitalist system and revolutionizing by its very existence 
the whole world situation. Browder shows throughout the book how the 
socialist successes of the Soviet Union, the abolition of unemploy- 
ment and establishment of social security, and the great cultural up- 
swing, the steady improvement in the conditions and well-being of the 
masses in contrast to the nearly 17 million unemployed in the United 
States, the growing ruination of the toiling farmers and the emergence 
of an American peasantry, the steady deterioration of the standard of 
life of the American masses, the degeneration of American bourgeois 
culture, the growth of reaction and fascisation, the preparations for new 
imperialist wars of the American bourgeoisie in contrast to the consistent 
and truly international peace policy of the Soviet Union — how these 
contrasts revolutionize, inspire and strengthen the American proletariat 
and all fighters against capitalist reaction. Browder further shows how, 



xii INTRODUCTION 

in virtue of the above developments, the Soviet Union stands out as the 
chief fortress of international working class strength, the chief bulwark 
against capitalist reaction, national hatred and chauvinism, fascism and 
war. In brief, Browder shows how the Soviet Union is the only father- 
land of the workers and all toilers the world over, whose major inter- 
national task is to seek the defeat of the enemies of the Soviet Union, 
chief among them being German fascism, and to engage daily in the 
defense of the Soviet Union. Browder does that by showing how the 
accomplishment of this chief international task is vitally dependent 
upon and inseparably connected with the daily revolutionary struggles 
of the American masses against their main enemy at home, the American 
bourgeoisie. 

And lastly some basic questions connected with the philosophy of 
Communism, its world outlook, its methods of studying the world in 
order to change it. The reader will find an introduction to this subject 
in chapter 19 dealing with theory as a guide to action. It will impress 
the reader as an eye-opener and key to the solution of many difficult 
problems which remain hopelessly insoluble on the basis of bourgeois 
philosophy. Chapter 21, dealing with the revisionism of Sidney Hook, 
a shining light in the camp of counter-revolutionary Trotskyism, carries 
the discussion of this subject further, throwing a critical light upon the 
methods and nature of Pragmatism, a variety of idealism. And chap- 
ters 20 and 22, on literature and religion, discuss other angles of the 
same subject, besides offering a method of United Front approach to 
certain important non-proletarian sections of the toiling population of 
the United States. 

This work of Earl Browder offers the reader an invaluable source of 
knowledge on Communism in the United States. And by virtue of this 
fact, it also points the way to what to do and how to promote the 
revolutionary struggle for an America of happiness, plenty and security. 

Alex Bittelman. 



Manifesto of the Communist Party of the 
United States^ 

To All Workers of the U.S.A.: 

We speak to you in the name of 25,000 members of the Communist 
Party who elected the delegates of this Eighth National Convention ; in 
the name of several hundred thousand workers who elected fraternal 
delegates from trade unions, unemployment councils, workers' clubs, 
fraternal societies; in the name of the miners, steel workers, metal 
workers, auto workers, textile workers, marine workers, railroad workers, 
whose delegates constitute a majority of this convention. 

To you, the working class and toiling farmers of the United States, 
this Convention of workers addresses itself, to speak a few plain words 
about the crisis, and about the possibility of finding a way out. 

The crisis of the capitalist system is becoming more and more a 
catastrophe for the workers and toiling masses. Growing millions of 
the exploited population are faced with increased difficulties in finding 
the barest means of liveUhood. Unemployment relief is being drastically 
cut and in many cases abolished altogether. Real wages are being 
reduced further every month, and labor is being speeded up to an in- 
human degree. 

The vast majority of the poor farmers are slowly but surely being 
squeezed off the land and thrown on the "free" labor market to compete 
with the workers. The oppressed Negro people are loaded down with 
the heaviest economic burdens, especially of unemployment, denied 
even the crumbs of relief given to the starving white masses, and 
further subjected to bestial lynch law and Jim-Crowism. Women work- 
ers and housewives are especially sufferers from the crisis, and from 
the fascist movements to drive them out of industry. Millions of young 
workers are thrown upon the streets by the closing of schools and simul- 
taneously are denied any chance to earn their living in the industries. 

WHAT THE NEW DEAL HAS GIVEN THE WORKERS 

The suffering masses have been told to look to Washington for their 
salvation. Mr. Roosevelt and his New Deal have been decked out 
with the rainbow promises of returning prosperity. But the bitter 

♦Manifesto of the Eighth Convention of the Communist Party of the U.SA., 
April, 1934. — Ed, 

13 



14 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

truth is rapidly being learned that Roosevelt and his New Deal represent 
the Wall Street bankers and big corporations — finance capital — ^just the 
same as Hoover before him, but carrying out even fiercer attacks against 
the living standards of the masses of the people. Under Roosevelt and 
the New Deal policies, the public treasury has been turned into a huge 
trough where the big capitalists eat their fill. Over ten billion dollars 
have been handed out to the banks and corporations, biUions have been 
squeezed out of the workers and farmers by inflation and by all sorts 
of new taxes upon the masses. Under the Roosevelt regime, the main 
burden of taxation has been shifted away from the big capitalists onto 
the impoverished masses. 

The N.R.A. and the industrial codes have served further to enrich 
the capitalists by estabhshing fixed monopoly prices, speeding up trusti- 
fication, and squeezing out the smaller capitalists and independent 
producers. 

The labor provisions of the N.R.A., which were hailed by the A. F. 
of L. and Socialist leaders as "a new charter for labor," have turned 
out in reality to be new chains for labor. The fixing of the so-called 
minimum wage, at below starvation levels, has turned out in reality to 
be a big effort to drive the maximum wage down to this point. The 
so-called guarantee of the right to organize and collective bargaining 
has turned out in reality to be the establishment of company unions. 
The last remaining rights of the workers they now propose to take 
away by establishing compulsory arbitration under the Wagner Bill, 
camouflaged as an attempt to guarantee workers' rights. Roosevelt 
has given official governmental status to the company unions, in the 
infamous "settlement" in the auto industry. This new step toward 
fascism is announced as a "new course" to apply to all industries. 

All these domestic policies are openly recognized as identical in their 
content with the measures of professed fascist governments. This rapid 
movement toward fascism in the United States goes hand in hand with 
the sharpening of international antagonisms and the most gigantic 
preparations for war ever before witnessed in a pre-war period. More 
than a billion dollars have been appropriated for war purposes during 
this year. A large proportion of this has been taken directly out of 
the funds ostensibly appropriated for public works. Hundreds of mil- 
lions are being spent on military training in the so-called Civil Conserva- 
tion Camps, run by the War Department. 

The policies of the government in Washington have one purpose, to 
make the workers and farmers and middle classes pay the costs of the 
crisis, to preserve the profits of the big capitalists at all costs, to estab- 
lish fascism at home and to wage imperialist war abroad. 



MANIFESTO OF COMMUNIST PARTY 15 

A. F. OF L. AND SOCIALIST PARTY LEADERS SUPPORT 
ROOSEVELT 

How can the workers and farmers fight against these policies which 
are driving them into starvation? The leaders of the A. F. of L. have 
openly identified themselves with the policies of the Roosevelt admin- 
istration. To the extent that these leaders control the trade unions, 
they prevent or demoralize the struggle of the workers and deliver them 
helpless into the hands of the capitalists. The Socialist Party supports 
the A. F. of L. leaders and endorses and actively supports every par- 
ticular policy of the New Deal: inflation, N.R.A., A.A.A., P.W.A., 
C.W.A., C.C.C., the Wagner Bill, etc., haiHng these fascist and war 
measures as "steps toward socialism." 

It is clear that the workers and farmers cannot fight back the cap- 
italist attacks unless they break away from the policies of the A. F. of 
L. and Socialist Party leaders. As against the united front which these 
leaders have set up with the capitalist government, the toiling masses 
must establish their own working-class united front from below, against 
the capitalist class and the Roosevelt administration. 

ONLY THE COMMUNIST PARTY FIGHTS FOR THE WORKERS 

Only the Communist Party has consistently organized and led the 
resistance to the capitalist attacks. The enemies of the Communist 
Party try to scare away the workers and farmers from this struggle 
by shouting that the Communist Party is interested only in revolution, 
that it is not sincerely trying to protect the living standards of the 
masses. They do this in order to hide the fact that they, one and all, 
pursue the single policy of saving the profits of the capitalists, no matter 
what it may cost in degrading the living standards 01 the masses. 

The Communist Party declares that wages must be maintained no 
matter what is the consequence to capitalist prohtj. 

The Communist Party declares that unemployment insurance must 
be provided at tjie expense of capitaHst profits. 

The Communist Party declares that the masses of workers and 
farmers must not only fight against reduction in their living standards, 
but must win constantly increasing living standards at the expense of 
capitalist profits. 

The Communist Party declares, if the continuation of capitalism re- 
quires that profits be protected at the price of starvation, fascism and 
war for the masses of the people, then the quicker capitalism is de- 
stroyed, the better. 

It is no accident that the only serious project for unemployment in- 
surance that has come before the Congress of the United States is the 
Workers' Social and Unemployment Insurance Bill H. R. 7598,* which 

* Later introduced as H. R. 2827.— JEd. 



i6 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

was worked out and popularized among the masses by the Communist 
Party. Only the Communist Party has made a real fight for unemploy- 
ment insurance and by this fight finally forced before Congress the 
first and only bill to provide real unemployment insurance. 

It is no accident that the Workers' Social and Unemployment Insur- 
ance Bill is being bitterly fought, not only by the Republican and 
Democratic Parties, but also by the American Federation of Labor and 
the Socialist Party leaders, as well as by little groups of their satellites, 
Musteites, Trotskyites, and Lovestoneites. 

It is no accident that whenever a big strike movement breaks out, 
the capitalist press shrieks that it is due to Communist influence, and 
the A. F. of L. and Socialist Party leaders wail that the masses have 
got beyond their control. 

It is true that all struggles for daily bread, for milk for children, 
against evictions, for unemployment relief and insurance, for wage in- 
creases, for the right to organize and strike, etc., are directly connected 
up with the question of revolution. Those who are against the revo- 
lution, who want to maintain the capitalist system, are prepared to 
sacrifice these struggles of the workers in order to help the capitalists 
preserve their profits. 

Only those can courageously lead and stubbornly organize the fight 
for the immediate interests of the toiling masses, who know that these 
things must be won even though it means the destruction of capitalist 
profits, and who draw the necessary conclusion that the workers and 
farmers must consciously prepare to overthrow capitalism. 

The crisis cannot be solved for the toiling masses until the rule of 
Wall Street has been broken and the rule of the working class has been 
established. The only way out of the crisis for the toiling masses is the 
revolutionary way out — the abolition of capitadist rule and capitalism, 
the establishment of the socialist society through the power of a revolu- 
tionary workers' government, a Soviet government. 

EXAMPLE OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 

The program of the revolutionary solution of the crisis is no blind 
experiment. The working class is already in power in the biggest 
country in the world, and it has already proved the great superiority 
of the socialist system. While the crisis has engulfed the capitalist 
countries — at the same time in the Soviet Union, where the workers rule 
through their Soviet power, a new socialist society is being victoriously 
built. 

The Russian working class, from its own resources and its socialist 
system, restored the national economy which had been shattered by six 
years of imperialist war and intervention. It overcame the age-long 
backwardness of Russia and brought its industrial production to the 
first place in Europe, to more than three times the pre-war figure. It 



MANIFESTO OF COMMUNIST PARTY 17 

rooted out the last breeding ground of capitalism by the successful in- 
clusion of agriculture in the socialist system. It completely abolished 
unemployment and tremendously raised the material well-being and 
cultural standards of the toiling masses. Upon the basis of its socialist 
system, the Soviet Union has become the most powerful influence for 
peace in an otherwise war-mad world. 

Its victories are an unending source of inspiration and encouragement 
to the toiling masses of every country. They are the living example of 
the possibility of finding a way out of the crisis in the interests of the 
toilers. The experience of the victorious workers of the Soviet Union 
before, during and after the seizure of power, throw a brilliant light 
showing the path which must be followed in every land, the path of 
Bolshevism, of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. 

In the same period of successful testing of the Bolshevik road in the 
Soviet Union, we have also the example of the results of the policies 
of the Socialist Parties of the Second International. The Socialist 
Parties stood at the head of the majority of the working class in Ger- 
many and Austria. The revolutionary upheavals of 19 18 in these 
countries placed power in the hands of the Socialist Parties. Their 
leaders repudiated the Bolshevik road, and boasted of their contrasting 
"civilized," "peaceful," "democratic," "gradual transition to Socialism" 
through a coalition government together with the bourgeoisie on the 
basis of restoring the shattered capitalist system. To this end they 
crushed the revolution in 19 18. 

They followed the policy of "the lesser evil," supported the govern- 
ment of Bruening with its emergency decrees against the workers, dis- 
armed the working class, led the workers to vote for Field Marshal 
von Hindenburg, and finally crowned their infamy by voting in the 
Reichstag for Hitler after having paved the way for fascism since 19 18. 
In Austria they supported the Dollfuss fascist government as the "lesser 
evil," enabling Dollfuss to turn his cannon against the homes of the 
Austrian workers. 

Their "civilized" methods opened wide the gates for the most bar- 
barous regime in the modern history of Europe. Their "peaceful" 
methods gave birth to the most bloody and violent reaction. Their 
"democracy" brought forth the most brutal and open capitalist dictator- 
ship. Their "gradual transition to socialism" helped to restore the un- 
controlled rule of finance-capital, the master of fascism. The German 
and Austrian working class, after 16 years of bitter and bloody lessons 
of the true meaning of the policies of the Socialist Parties, of the 
Second International, have now finally begun to turn away from them 
and at last to take the Bolshevik path. 



i8 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

U.S.A. IS RIPE FOR SOCIALISM 

In every material respect, the United States is fully ripe for socialism. 
Its accumulated wealth and productive forces, together with an inex- 
haustible supply of almost all of the raw materials, provide a complete 
material basis for socialism. All material conditions exist for a society 
which could at once provide every necessity of life and even a degree of 
luxury for the entire population, with an expenditure of labor of three 
or four hours a day. 

This tremendous wealth, these gigantic productive forces, are locked 
away from the masses who could use them. They are the private prop- 
erty of the small parasitic capitalist class, which locks up the warehouses 
and closes the factories in order to compel a growing tribute of profit. 
This paralysis of economy in the interest of profit, at the cost of starva- 
tion and degradation to millions, is enforced by the capitalist govern- 
ment with all its police, courts, jails and military. 

There is no possible way out of the crisis in the interest of the masses 
except by breaking the control of the state power now in the hands of 
this small monopolist capitaUst class. There is no way out except by 
establishing a new government of the workers in alliance with the poor 
farmers, the Negro people, and the impoverished middle class. 

There is no way out except by the creation of a revolutionary democ- 
racy of the toilers, which is at the same time a stern dictatorship against 
the capitalists and their agents. There is no way out except by seizing 
from the capitalists the industries, the banks and all of the economic 
institutions, and transforming them into the common property of all 
under the direction of the revolutionary government. There is no way 
out, in short, except by the abolition of the capitalist system and the 
establishment of a socialist society. 

WHAT IS "AMERICANISM"? 

The necessary first step for the estabUshment of socialism is the 
setting up of a revolutionary workers' government. The capitalists 
and their agents shriek out that this revolutionary program is un- 
American. But this expresses, not the truth, but only their own greedy 
interests. Today, the only Party that carries forward the revolutionary 
traditions of 1776 and 1861, under the present-day conditions and rela- 
tionship of classes, is the Communist Party. Today, only the Com- 
munist Party finds it politically expedient and necessary to remind the 
American working masses of how, in a previous crisis, the way out was 
found by the path of revolution. Today, only the Communist Party 
brings sharply forward and applies to the problems of today that old 
basic document of "Americanism," the Declaration of Independence. 

Applying the Declaration of Independence to present-day conditions, 



MANIFESTO OF COMMUNIST PARTY 19 

the Communist Party points out that never was there such a mass of 
people so completely deprived of all semblance of "the right to Hfe, 
liberty and pursuit of happiness." Never were there such "destructive" 
effects upon these rights by "any form of government," as those exerted 
today by the existing form of government in the United States. Never 
have the exploited masses suffered such a "long train of abuses" or been 
so "reduced under absolute despotism" as today under capitaUst rule. 
The "principle" which must provide the foundation of the "new gov- 
ernment" mentioned in the Declaration of Independence is, in 1934, 
the principle of the dictatorship of the proletariat; the new form is the 
form of the workers' and farmers' councils — the Soviet power. The "new 
guards for their future security," which the workers must estabUsh, 
are the installing of the working class in every position of power, and 
the dissolution of every institution of capitalist class rule. 

WHAT A WORKERS' GOVERNMENT WOULD DO 

The first acts of such a revolutionary workers' government would 
be to open up the warehouses and distribute among all the working 
people the enormous unused surplus stores of food and clothing. 

It would open up the tremendous accumulation of unused buildings 
— now withheld for private profit — for the benefit of tens of millions 
who now wander homeless in the streets or crouch in cellars or slums. 

Such a government would immediately provide an endless flow of 
commodities to replace the stores thus used up by opening all the 
factories, mills and mines, and giving every person a job at constantly 
increasing wages. 

All former claims to ownership of the means of production, including 
stocks, bonds, etc., would be relegated to the museum, with special pro- 
visions to protect small savings. No public funds would be paid out to 
anyone except for services rendered to the community. 

Unemployment and social insurance would immediately be provided 
for all, to cover all loss of work due to cause outside the control of the 
workers, whether by closing of factories, by sickness, old age, maternity, 
or otherwise, at full wages without special costs to the workers. 

Such a government would immediately begin to reorganize the present 
anarchic system of production along sociaHst lines. It would eliminate 
the untold waste of capitahsm ; it would bring to full use the tremendous 
achievements of science, which have been pushed aside by the capitalist 
rulers from consideration of private profit. Such a socialist reorganiza- 
tion of industry would almost immediately double the existing pro- 
ductive forces of the country. Such a revolutionary government would 
secure to the farmers the possession of their land and provide them with 
the necessary means for a comfortable living; it would make it possible 
for the farming population to unite their forces in a co-operative socialist 
agriculture, and thus bring to the farming population all the advantages 



20 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

of modern civilization, and would multiply manifold the productive 
capacities of American agriculture. It would proceed at once to the 
complete liberation of the Negro people from all oppression, secure the 
right of self-determination of the Black Belt, and would secure uncon- 
ditional economic, political and social equality. 

With the establishment of a socialist system in America, there will 
be such a flood of wealth available for the country as can hardly be 
imagined. Productive labor, instead of being a burden, will become a 
desirable privilege for every citizen of the new society. The wealth of 
such a society will immediately become so great that, without any special 
burdens, tremendous surpluses will be available for use as free gifts to 
the economically backward nations, in the first place, to those which 
have suffered from the imperialist exploitation of American capitalism — 
Cuba, Latin America, the Phihppines, China — to enable these peoples 
also to build a socialist society in the shortest possible time. 

FIGHT FOR BREAD IS A FIGHT AGAINST CAPITALISM 

The capitahst way out of the crisis Hes along the way of wage-cuts, 
speed-up, denial of unemployment insurance, fascism and war. The 
revolutionary way out of the crisis begins with the fight for unemploy- 
ment insurance, against wage-cuts, for wage increaseSj for relief to the 
farmers — through demonstrations, strikes, general strikes, leading up to 
the seizure of power, to the destruction of capitalism by a revolutionary 
workers' government. 

The Communist Party calls upon the workers, farmers and impov- 
erished middle classes to unite their forces to struggle uncompromisingly 
against every reduction of their living standards, against every back- 
ward step now being forced upon them by the capitalist crisis, against 
the growing menace of fascism and war. The Communist Party leads 
and organizes this struggle, leading toward the only final solution — the 
establishment of a workers' government. 

The establishment of a socialist society in the United States will be 
at the same time a death blow to the whole world system of imperialist 
oppression and exploitation. It will mark the end of world capitalism. 
It will be the decisive step towards a classless society throughout the 
world, towards World Communism! 



II 
The Revolutionary Way Out * 

Introduction 

Our Eighth Convention meets at a time when the capitalist world 
is approaching a new explosion. Any day, any month, we may receive 
the first news of Japanese imperialism beginning its long-prepared 
invasion of the Soviet Union. At any time the madman who holds 
power in Germany may launch the wild adventure of anti-Soviet in- 
tervention which is the keystone of his policy, or may set fire to the 
fuses of the whole system of explosive European relations. Who can 
say on what day the powers now engaged in a gigantic naval race may 
have their present navies thrown into action by one power's fear of 
being left behind in the race? Who can foretell when the tightening 
lines of class struggle in any one of a dozen countries may not, by 
some "small" incident like the expose of Stavitsky corruption, be 
ignited with the flames of a revolutionary civil war? 

The world stands on the brink of revolutions and wars. This is 
the fruits of more than four years of unprecedented capitalist crisis. 
This crisis period is approximately the period between our Seventh and 
Eighth National Conventions. Through this period capitalist society 
has continuously disintegrated. The crisis has penetrated into and 
undermined the industry and agriculture of every capitalist and colo- 
nial country; it has upset the currency and credit relationships of the 
entire world. Even the United States, still the strongest fortress of 
world capitalism, has been stripped of its last shred of "exceptional- 
ism," stands fully exposed to the fury of the storms of crisis, and, 
relatively speaking, is registering its deepest effects. The economic 
losses due to the crisis, in the United States alone begin to approach 
the figures of the total losses of the World War. 

A great upsurge of class struggles is sweeping the capitalist world. 
A wave of liberation struggles sweeps the colonies and oppressed 
nations. In Spain the fascist dictatorship has been overthrown and 
the forces of a Soviet revolution are gathering. In Cuba a revolution- 
ary upheaval drove out the bloody tyrant, Machado. A general strike 
sweeps France, embracing the main body of the working class. In 

* Report of the Central Committee to the Eighth Convention of the Communist 
Party, held in Cleveland, Ohio, April 2-8, 1934. — Ed. 



22 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Germany the rising wave of proletarian revolution is checked, but only 
temporarily, by loosening the fascist mad dogs, the foul refuse of the 
insane asylums and criminal underworld, against the German masses. 
In Austria, the lightning flash of the heroic barricade fighting of the 
betrayed Austrian workers, revealed for an instant the doom that is 
being prepared for capitalism beneath the blanket of fascism with 
which the bourgeoisie seeks to smother the flames of revolution. Also 
in the United States the upsurge of mass resistance to the capitalist 
policy of driving the masses into starvation, a policy intensified behind 
the demagogic cloak of Roosevelt's "New Deal," has already been 
answered by the capitalists with machine-guns at Ambridge ; by increas- 
ing appropriations for police and military; by fascist preparations of 
War Department occupation of the strategic points in the economic 
system; by incorporating the A. F. L. leadership into the government 
machinery; by the "new course" of compulsory arbitration and legal- 
ization of company unions "charted" by Roosevelt in the automobile 
settlement and the Wagner "labor" bill. A wave of chauvinism is 
being roused by capitalist press and statesmen, without precedent in 
time of peace. Fascism is rearing its ugly head more boldly every day 
in the U. S. A. 

The rape of China by Japanese imperialism, the wars in Latin-America 
in which American and British imperialisms begin to settle accounts — 
these were but the first links in the chain of imperialist wars being 
forged by the blows of the crisis. The rise of fascism in Germany and 
Austria further shattered the post-war system of international rela- 
tionships. The imperialist powers are arming to the teeth. They are 
desperately striving to come to an arrangement that the next decisive 
step in the armed redivision of the world shall be a counter-revolution- 
ary invasion of the Soviet Union. War budgets are shooting upward 
at a speed matched only by the speed of deterioration of the living 
standards of the masses. 

Meanwhile, the Soviet Union, the land where the victorious working 
class is building socialism, moves in a direction exactly opposite to 
that of the capitalist world. While the capitalist world suffered eco- 
nomic paralysis, in the Soviet Union a historically backward land has 
leaped forward to the first place in Europe, and in the whole world 
second only to the United States. While living standards in the 
capitalist world took a catastrophic drop of 40 to 60 per cent, in the 
Soviet Union they leaped upward by more than 100 per cent. While 
capitalist policy is directed with all energy to cut down production 
in the face of growing millions of starving and poverty-stricken workers 
and farmers, in the Soviet Union the productive forces have been 
multiplied manifold, a half continent of 52 nations, of 165,000,000 
population is being lifted out of poverty into material well-being and 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 23 

a rich cultural life. While the capitalist world drives feverishly toward 
war, the Soviet Union emerges more and more as the great bulwark 
of world peace. Clearly the world is divided into two systems, mov- 
ing in opposite directions. 

This is the world situation, described by the general staff of our World 
Party, the Executive Committee of the Communist International, as 
a situation "closely approaching a new round of revolutions and wars," 
in which the Communists of the United States meet in our Eighth 
National Convention to chart our course for the next period, to pre- 
pare our forces for the next great task, to win the majority of the 
American workers and their allies for the revolutionary way out of 
the crisis, for the uncompromising fight for immediate economic and 
political needs, for the overthrow of capitalism, for the building of a 
new, socialist system by a revolutionary Workers' Government. 

I. THE GROWTH OF HUNGER, FASCISM, AND THE 
DANGER OF IMPERIALIST WAR 

The economic crisis is in its fifth year. It has lasted far longer 
than any previous crisis. It has been more far-reaching and destruc- 
tive. That is because it occurs in the midst of the general crisis of 
the whole capitalist system. Characteristic of this fact are: 

(a) The crisis affected every capitalist and colonial country. 

(b) It penetrated every phase of economy, industry, agriculture, 
trade, credit, currency, state finances. 

(c) The crisis itself resulted in intensifying the concentration and 
centralization of capital, with consequent intensification of labor, which 
was a basic cause for the unexampled depth of the crisis. 

(d) It has at the same time sharply degraded the technical level 
of agriculture, causing it to abandon machine labor for hand labor, 
mechanical power for horse and man power, further sharpening the 
contradiction between city and country. 

(e) The chief feature of overproduction is that it is sharpest in the 
field of means of production, far exceeding the capacity of capital- 
istically-limited society to use them to the full, thus closing the doors to 
a revival by vast new capital investments. 

(f) Existence of giant monopolies, further strengthened during the 
crisis (as by the N.R.A. codes, etc.) results in sustaining monopoly 
profits at the cost of the rest of economy, reducing mass purchasing 
power, and hindering the absorption of accumulated stocks. 

(g) The crisis comes in a period when the imperialist powers have 
already divided the world among themselves, when there are no further 
fields of expansion, except at the expense of one another (or of the 
Soviet Union), and when the uneven development of the imperialist 
powers makes imperative a redivision of the world which is only pos- 
sible through the arbitrament of war. 



24 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

(h) Finally, this crisis comes after world capitalism has already- 
suffered the fatal shattering blows of the last World War, as a result 
of which its world-system was broken at its weakest link, out of which 
emerged a new, a rival world economic system, the system of socialism 
in the Soviet Union. 

The influence of the general crisis of capitalism upon the course 
of the economic crisis can be seen in volume of industrial production 
during the past five years in the principal industrial countries. I quote 
the figures given by Comrade Stalin in his report to the 17th Congress 
of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union: 

VOLUME OF INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION 
(Per Cent of 1929) 

1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 

U. S. S. R loo.o 129.7 161. 9 184.7 201.0 

U. S. A loo.o 80.7 68.1 53.8 64.9 

England lOo.o 92.4 83.8 83.8 86.1 

Germany loo.o 88.3 71.7 59.8 66.8 

France loo.o 100.7 89.2 69.1 77.4 

These figures clearly reveal the division of the world into two sys- 
tems which are travelling in opposite directions. While in the capi- 
talist countries production declined between 1929 and 1933 by from 
15 to 35 per cent, the socialist industry of the Soviet Union increased 
by more than 100 per cent. 

These figures also show that from 1932 to 1933, the capitalist world 
increased its production in all countries, whereas previously the course 
had been downward from year to year. This fact has been joyously 
hailed by capitalist spokesmen as heralding the end of the crisis, the 
beginning of recovery, the promise of returning prosperity. This 
conclusion is also supported by the Socialist Party leaders and the 
reformist trade union bureaucrats. What is the true significance of 
this fact? 

A clear answer was already given to this question by Comrade Stalin 
at the 17th Congress, supplementing and further developing the Thesis 
of the 13 th Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist 
International. Comrade Stalin said: 

It means that, apparently, industry in the principal capitalist countries had 
already passed the lowest point of decline and did not return to it in the 
course of 1933. 

Some people are incHned to ascribe the phenomenon to the influence of 
exclusively artificial factors, such as a war-inflation boom. There cannot 
be any doubt that the war-inflation boom plays not an unimportant role 
here. It is particularly true in regard to Japan, where this artificial factor 
is the principal and decisive force in some revival, principally in the mum'- 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 25 

tion branches of industry. But it would be a crude mistake to attempt to 
explain everything by the war-inflation boom. Such an explanation would 
be wiong, if only for the reason that the changes in industry which I have 
described are observed, not in separate and chance districts, but in all, or 
nearly all, industrial countries, including those countries which have a stable 
currency. Apparently, side by side with the war-inflation boom, the opera- 
tion of the internal economic forces of capitahsm also has effect here. 

Capitalism has succeeded in somewhat easing the position of industry at the 
expense of the workers — increasing their exploitation by increasing the 
intensity of their labor; at the expense of the farmers — by pursuing a policy 
of paying the lowest prices for the products of their labor, for foodstuffs 
and partly for raw materials; at the expense of the peasants in the colonies 
and in the economically weak countries — ^by still further forcing down the 
prices of the products of their labor, principally raw materials, and also of 
foodstuffs. 

Does this mean that we are witnessing a transition from a crisis to an 
ordinary depression which brings in its train a new boom and flourishing 
industry? No, it does not mean that. At all events at the present time 
there are no data, direct or indirect, that indicate the approach of an indus- 
trial boom in capitalist countries. More than that, judging by all things, 
there cannot be such data, at least in the near future. There cannot be, 
because all the unfavorable conditions which prevent industry in the capitalist 
countries from rising to any serious extent still continue to operate. I have 
in mind the continuing general crisis of capitalism in the midst of which the 
economic crisis is proceeding, the chronic working of the enterprises under 
capacity, the chronic mass unemployment, the interweaving of the industrial 
crisis with the agricultural crisis, the absence of tendencies towards any 
serious renewal of basic capital which usually heralds the approach of a 
boom, etc., etc. 

Apparently, what we are witnessing is the transition from the lowest point 
of decline of industry, from the lowest depth of the industrial crisis to a 
depression, not an ordinary depression, but to a depression of a special kind 
which does not lead to a new boom and flourishing industry, but which, on 
the other hand, does not force it back to the lowest point of decline. 
(Joseph Stalin, The State of the Soviet Union, pp. 13-15.) 

It would be a vulgar fatalism to think that no matter what meas- 
ures the capitalist class undertakes, they have no effect upon capi- 
talist economy. It would equally be wrong to think such effects are 
exclusively negative, to fail to see how capitalist industry has eased 
its position (even if only temporarily) at the great expense of the 
workers and toiling masses. We must avoid such mistakes, to be able 
to unmask the crude illusions propagated by the labor agents of capi- 
talism, and prevent them from sowing confusion in the working-class 
ranks. 

Many facts lead to the conclusion that the economic crisis in 
the United States has already passed its lowest point. Furthermore, the 
various measures undertaken by the capitalist class itself, and the 



26 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

operation of the internal economic forces of capitalism, facilitated the 
passing of the economic crisis into the stage of depression. 

In the course of the crisis, American capitalism lowered production 
costs and increased its profits mainly through a more intensive ex- 
ploitation of the employed workers. In this process, the productivity 
of labor was increased mainly through more intensive exploitation and 
speed-up. American capitalism has utilized the great standing army 
of the unemployed for this purpose where it could select the best, 
most physically-fit, workers whom starvation forced to work under the 
worst conditions at lowest wages. 

The improved situation for capitalist industry came as a result of 
the sharp reduction of the living standards of the workers and the 
further ruination of the poor and middle farmers. But this is not all. 

It is a fact that through the long duration of the crisis the index of 
overproduced commodity reserves declined. This decline in great de- 
gree proceeded through actual physical destruction of commodities. 
It is very likely, also, that especially in the light industries where 
production sharply declined, there consumption at the existing low 
prices served to greatly diminish the overproduction. Increasing profits 
also serve, even in small degree, to encourage new capital investments 
in production goods and building. Further, a large part of debts 
were wiped out through bankruptcy, further mergers; while confiscation 
of a huge portion of middle-class savings through the closing of banks, 
made a serious contribution to capitalist profits. 

This is the road travelled by American capitalism in the crisis. It 
is not the road to a new prosperity. At the same time, however, it 
would be absolutely stupid to refuse to see those improvements in its 
economic situation that American capitalism did make. But whatever 
improvements took place, as a result of war-spending and inflation, 
and also from the further impoverishment of workers and farmers and 
the operation of the internal economic forces of capitalism, they all 
facilitated the passing of the crisis into the stage of depression. 

The economic crisis in the United States, as in the rest of the capi- 
talist world, is interwoven with the general crisis of capitalism. The 
depth of the general crisis, the blows delivered by the world crisis to 
United States economy, are the first factors which make it impossible 
for American capitalism to return to boom and prosperity. The very 
measures employed to improve the immediate situation, even though 
they helped in passing over from crisis to depression, had the effect 
of deepening the general crisis of capitalism. 

Even the capitalists, in their confidential discussions, are adopting 
the view that the depression will be a prolonged one, that a quick 
recovery is impossible. Thus the Kiplinger Agency, in its weekly letter 
of March 17, speaks on this point as follows: 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 27 

Washington feeling about the course of recovery: Most private discus- 
sions by the authorities here reflect a resignation to the idea of slow and 
irregular recovery, not rapid recovery. Some progress, then a set-back. 
Further progress, then a breathing spell. Talk of spring boom has disappeared. 
Talk of fall boom, under belated inflationary influences, has lessened. 

Yes, there is an improvement in business and industrial activity in 
the United States. There are also changes in the movement of the 
economic crisis. It is apparent that the crisis has passed its lowest 
point and entered the stage of depression. This has been accomplished 
by measures which deepen the general crisis (war preparations, infla- 
tion, ruination of farmers and small business, impoverishment of the 
masses, etc.). That means that the depression is not the prelude to 
new boom and prosperity, as the minstrels of the "New Deal" are 
singing. It will be prolonged. It will be a period of increased misery 
for the toilers. 

Against this background of the perspective of continued and pro- 
longed depression, given us so clearly in the analysis of Comrade 
Stalin, it is more than ever clear that the policies being followed by 
the capitalists, in their frantic efforts to find a way out of the crisis, 
"in the near future cannot but lead," as the 13th Plenum of the Execu- 
tive Committee of the Communist International pointed out, "to the 
still greater disturbance of state finances and to a still further in- 
tensification of the general crisis of capitalism." Thus the economic 
and political factors at work determine that "the capitalist world is now 
passing from the end of capitalist stabilization to a revolutionary 
crisis." This it is that determines the "perspectives of development 
of fascism and the world revolutionary movement of the toilers." 
(13th Plenum of the E. C. C. I., Theses and Decisions.) 

What is fascism? It is "the open, terrorist dictatorship of the most 
reactionary, most chauvinist and most imperialist elements of finance 
capital." [ibid.) 

What is its purpose? It is to enforce the policy of finance capital, 
which is to bolster up its profits at the cost of degrading the living 
standards of the toiling population, to violently smash the resistance 
of the working class, to behead the working class by the physical 
extermination of its leading cadres, the Communists. 

Where does it find its mass basis? Among the petty-bourgeoisie, 
by demagogic promises to the desperate, impoverished farmers, shop- 
keepers, artisans, office workers and civil servants, and particularly 
the declassed and criminal elements in the big cities. It also tries to 
penetrate the more backward strata of the workers. 

How is it possible for fascism to develop sufficient power to defeat 
the workers? This is only possible by obtaining help within the 
working class, thus disrupting its unity and disarming it before fascism. 



28 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

But fascism cannot win mass support directly in the working class 
ranks. It must find indirect support. This it finds in the Socialist 
Party leadership and the reformist trade union officialdom. These 
leaders, influencing the majority of the working class, hold back the 
workers from revolutionary struggle which alone can defeat and destroy 
fascism, and under the slogan of defense of democracy, and "choosing 
the lesser evil," lead the workers to submit to and support the inter- 
mediate steps to the introduction of fascism. That is why we call 
these leaders "social-fascists," and their theories "social-fascism." 

In the United States, fascism is being prepared along essentially the 
same lines that it was prepared in Germany and Austria. 

The Socialist and A. F. of L. leaders are taking essentially the 
same course taken by their brothers in Europe. But the workers in 
the United States have the tremendous advantage of having before 
their eyes the living example of the events in Europe, of being able to 
judge by results the true meaning of policies which they are asked to 
follow here. That is the supreme importance of every worker in 
America studying and thoroughly understanding the experiences of our 
brothers across the waters. 

What are the ideas, the misconceptions, with which the social-fascists 
confuse and disarm the workers? 

First, is the idea that fascism is the opposite of capitalist democracy, 
and this democracy is therefore the means of combating and defeating 
fascism. This false idea serves a double purpose. By means of coun- 
terposing "democracy against dictatorship," it tries to hide the fact 
that the capitalist "democracy" is only a form of the capitalist dicta- 
torship; it tries to identify in the worker's mind the fascist dictatorship 
with the proletarian dictatorship in the Soviet Union, and thus cause 
the worker to reject the road of revolution. At the same time, this 
slogan is used to hide the fact that capitalist democracy is not the 
enemy, but the mother of fascism; that it is not the destroyer, but 
the creator of fascism. It uses the truth that fascism destroys democ- 
racy, to propagate the falsehood that democracy will also destroy 
fascism. Thus does the Socialist Party and trade union officialdom, 
to the extent that the workers follow them, tie the working class to 
the chariot wheels of a capitalist democracy which is being transformed 
into fascism, paralyze their resistance, deliver them over to fascism 
bound and helpless. 

In Germany this meant support to Hindenburg, Bruening, Von 
Papen, Schleicher; and their "emergency decrees" directed against the 
workers. In the United States, it is support to Roosevelt, LaGuardia, 
the N.R.A., and the "emergency decrees" of the strike-breaking labor 
boards, arbitration boards, "code authorities," etc. In each case, the 
slogan is "choose the lesser evil"; in each case, the workers are asked 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 29 

to "fight against fascism" by supporting the men and measures that 
are introducing fascism. 

Second, is the idea that fascism represents, not finance capital, but 
rather a "revolutionary movement" directed against both finance capital 
and against the working class by the impoverished middle classes. This 
idea helps finance capital to get and keep control over these middle 
classes, strengthens their illusions, divides the workers from them and 
prevents the workers from setting themselves the task of winning over 
the middle classes to support of the proletarian revolution, causes the 
workers to support their misleaders in their alliance with finance capital 
"against fascism." In Germany, this idea was, concretely, alliance with 
Hindenburg against Hitler; in Austria, with DoUfuss against the 
Nazis; in the United States with Roosevelt "against Wall Street." 

Third, with the victory of fascism in Germany and Austria, the 
Socialist and trade union leaders bring forth the idea that this event 
is the crushing defeat of the revolution, the restabilization of capitalism, 
the beginning of a new and long era of fascist reaction. This helps 
fascism by spreading panic, defeatism, and passivity among the 
workers. It serves to create a fatalistic acceptance of fascism as 
inescapable and undef eatable. The true significance of the rise of 
fascism is quite different. True, fascism is a heavy blow against the 
working class. True, fascism turns loose every black reactionary 
force against the working class, and tries to physically exterminate its 
vanguard, the Communist Party. But at the same time it is a sign of 
deepening crisis of capitalism; it solves not one of the basic problems 
of the crisis, but intensifies them all; it further disrupts the capitalist 
world system; it destroys the moral base for capitalist rule, discrediting 
bourgeois law in the eyes of the masses; it hastens the exposure of all 
demagogic supporters of capitalism, especially its main support among 
the workers — the Socialist and trade union leaders. It hastens the 
revolutionization of the workers, destroys their democratic illusions, 
and thereby prepares the masses for the revolutionary struggle for 
power. 

Through fascism, the capitalist class hopes to destroy the threat of 
revolution at home. Through imperialist war, it hopes to destroy the 
successful revolution in the Soviet Union, and by armed redivision of 
the world to find the way out of the crisis. 

What are the prospects for success of this capitalist program? 

Such prospects are very bad indeed. The revolutionary movement 
of the working class and poor farmer allies cannot be destroyed. This 
was proved by the fall of the bloody tsarist autocracy in old Rus- 
sia. It was proved again by the failure of the ferocious terror of 
Chiang Kai-Shek in China to halt the rise of the victorious Chinese 
Soviet Republic. It was proved on our own doorstep last August, by 
the revolutionary overthrow of the Butcher Machado and his fascist 



30 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

dictatorship in Cuba. It is being proved every day by the heroic 
work of the Communist Party of Germany. It is proved by the 
crisis in the Second International, and the mass turning of European 
workers toward the Bolshevik path. It was proved by the destruction 
of the fascist dictatorship in Spain. Terror cannot destroy the prole- 
tarian revolution. 

Neither is there hope for world capitalism that it can solve its prob- 
lems through war. It tried this way in 1914-1918. But instead of 
solving problems, this only reproduced them on a larger scale and in 
sharper form. That effort lost for capitalism the largest country, one- 
sixth of the world, to the victorious working class of the Soviet Union. 
Now they speculate on recovering this lost territory for capitalism, 
through another war. But this time they will face a working class 
infinitely better prepared than in 1914-1918. The working class in the 
Soviet Union is now fully armed with the weapons of modern warfare, 
based upon a modernized industry and a solid socialist economy. The 
working class in the capitalist countries is no longer under the undis- 
puted sway of the Socialist and trade union leaders. In every country 
there is a growing mass which has already begun to learn the lessons of 
the victory in the Soviet Union, which has already grouped itself 
around the Communist Party, which is arming them with the weapons 
of revolution — the theory and practice of Marx, Engels, Lenin and 
Stalin — of Bolshevism. 

If the imperialists venture upon another war, they will receive a 
crushing defeat worse than the last war. On the borders of the Soviet 
Union they will meet military defeat at the hands of an invincible Red 
Army. At the rear, the working class will be transforming the im- 
perialist war into a civil war of the oppressed masses for the overthrow 
of capitalism. Such a war will surely end in the birth of a few more 
Soviet Republics. 

II. THE UPSURGE OF THE MASS STRUGGLES AND THE 
WORK OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

The United States, stronghold of world capitalism, exhibits at the 
same time its deepest contradictions. The blows of the economic 
crisis struck heaviest, relatively, here. The contrast between mass 
hopes and illusions in 1929, and bitter reality in 1934, is greater than 
almost anywhere else. The greatest accumulated wealth and produc- 
tive forces, side by side with the largest mass unemployment and 
starvation of any industrial country, stares every observer in the face. 
Revolutionary forces in the United States, developing more slowly than 
elsewhere, are yet of enormously greater potentiality and depth. 

All capitalist contradictions are embodied in Roosevelt's "New Deal" 
policies. Roosevelt promises to feed the hungry, by reducing the pro- 
duction of food. He promises to redistribute wealth, by billions of 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 31 

subsidies to the banks and corporations. He gives help to the "for- 
gotten" man, by speeding up the process of monopoly and trustification. 
He would increase the purchasing power of the masses, through infla- 
tion which gives them a dollar worth only 60 cents. He drives the 
Wall Street money changers out of the temple of government, by giving 
them complete power in the administration of the governmental ma- 
chinery of the industrial codes. He gives the workers the right of 
organization, by legalizing the company unions. He inaugurates a 
regime of economy, by shifting the tax burden to the consuming masses, 
by cutting appropriations for wages, veterans, and social services, 
while increasing the war budget a billion dollars, and giving ten billions 
to those who already own everything. He restores the faith of the 
masses in democracy, by beginning the introduction of fascism. He 
works for international peace, by launching the sharpest trade and cur- 
rency war in history. 

Roosevelt's program is the same as that of finance capital the world 
over. It is a program of hunger, fascization and imperialist war. It 
differs chiefly in the forms of its unprecedented ballyhoo, of demagogic 
promises, for the creation of mass illusions of a saviour who has foimd 
the way out. The New Deal is not developed fascism. But in political 
essence and direction it is the same as Hitler's program. 

Under cover of these mass illusions, Roosevelt launched the sharpest, 
most deep-going attack against the living standards of the masses. 
Even though the workers were still under the influence of illusions 
about Roosevelt (these illusions continue to stand up under repeated 
blows!) they could not but recognize what was happening to them. 
They answered with a wave of strikes. More than a million workers 
struck in 1933 in resistance to the New Deal policies. Over 750,000 
joined the trade unions. 

During this period the unemployed movement also deepened and 
consolidated itself, in spite of a serious lag. Especially important, it 
reacted to the new forms of governmental relief, the C. W. A. and 
forced labor camps, and began a movement on those jobs to protect 
living standards. The movement for the Workers' Unemployment 
Insurance Bill began to take on a broad mass character. 

Struggles involving the masses of impoverished farmers, veterans, 
students, professionals, stimulated by the strike wave, gathered about 
the rising working class movement, and to a greater degree than ever 
before came in political contact with the workers. 

This first wave of struggle against the Roosevelt "New Deal" was 
stimulated and clarified by the fact that the Communist Party, from 
the beginning, gave a bold and correct analysis of the "New Deal," 
and a clear directive for struggle against it. Events since last July 
confirmed entirely the analysis then given. Every serious effort to 
apply that program to struggle has brought gains for the workers. 



32 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

There is no need to revise our analysis. Now we can sum up the 
results of nine months' experience. 

What has happened to the "New Deal"? Has it failed? ^ Many 
workers, in the first stages of disillusionment, come to that conclusion. 
They are disillusioned with the result, but still believe in the intention. 
The S. P. and A. F. of L. leaders try to keep them in this stage. 
But this conclusion is entirely too simple. The "New Deal" has not 
improved conditions for the workers and exploited masses. But that 
was never its real aim; that was only ballyhoo; that was only bait 
with which to catch suckers. In its first and chief aim, the "New 
Deal" succeeded; that aim was to bridge over the most difficult situa- 
tion for the capitalists, and to launch a new attack upon the workers 
with the help of their leaders, to keep the workers from general resist- 
ance, to begin to restore the profits of finance capital. 

At the recent code hearing in Washington, this purpose was stated 
frankly by General Hugh Johnson, in an effort to overcome the resist- 
ance of the more backward capitalists to some features of the N. R. A. 
program. General Johnson, speaking of the difficult position of capi- 
tal at the time of the birth of the "New Deal" and what was its aim, 
declared: 

I want to tell you, if you have not yourselves observed, that throughout 
that whole difficult and trying period, when in panic and under the urge of 
extremists, the wreck of our system was threatened, the strong, sane, 
moderate mind that upheld you was that of the President. I ask you to 
remember that at that time both industrial and banking leadership had 
fallen, in the public mind, to complete and utter disrepute. Humanity 
always seeks a scapegoat. A British Government, unable to sustain itself 
on any other issue, was elected on the slogan "Hang the Kaiser." Don't 
forget that, at that time, these gentlemen and the bankers were almost 
(to an inflamed public mind) the Kaiser. 

That is clear enough. No Communist could have put it more 
clearly! 

Without the collaboration of the A. F. of L. leadership, it must be 
emphasized, this program could never have been carried out over the 
resistance of the workers. This truth, which we pointed out in ad- 
vance, is now the boast of Green, Lewis & Co., in their conferences with 
Roosevelt, Johnson and the employers. Whenever a strike has been 
broken, the main "credit" belongs to Green and his associates. Every 
vicious code provision against the workers, for company unions, has 
borne the signature of Green & Co. Section 7a, the new "charter for 
labor," turned out in reality to be the legalization of company unionism 
and compulsory arbitration. Even the A. F. of L. leaders are allowed 
to organize only where and when this is required to block the forma- 
tion of revolutionary or independent trade unions. The Wagner Bill 
to interpret Section 7a, now before Congress, which received such 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 33 

vigorous support and high praise from Socialist and A. F. of L. leaders, 
is already, even before passage, openly admitted to be legal confirma- 
tion of the company unions, the enforcement of compulsory arbitration. 
Again we turn to the outspoken General Johnson for a colorful de- 
scription of the role of the A. F. of L. leaders. In his March 7th speech 
to the capitalists, Johnson poured out his soul in eloquent tribute to 
Green & Co. He said: 

We know something about what is toward in this country — the worst 
epidemic of strikes in our history. Why suffer it? Here is a way out. 
Play the game. Submit to the law and get it over quickly. I want to tell 
you this for your comfort. I know your problems. I would rather deal 
with Bill Green, John Lewis, Ed McGrady, Mike MacDonough, George 
Berry and a host of others I could name, than with any Frankenstein that 
you may build up under the guise of a company union. In fact — ^take it 
from me and a wealth of experience — their interests are your interests. 

Again the worthy General leaves nothing to add I 

Now, for a brief glance at the results of the "New Deal" as regis- 
tered in governmental statistics. 

First, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation: Payments authorized 
by the R. F. C. up to the end of 1933, amounted to $5,233,800,000. 
More than 80 per cent of this enormous sum went directly to banks, 
insurance companies, railroads, mortgage loan companies, credit unions, 
etc., in loans or piurchase of preferred stock; and for what is called 
"agricultural credit" which means advances to financial institutions 
holding uncollectable farm mortgages. About 12 per cent went for 
"relief," payment for forced labor on municipal and state work. These 
enormous subsidies, the size of which staggers the imagination, are the 
source of a large part of the renewed profits of the big corporations. 

Second, inflation and price-fixing: These measures have resulted in 
such rise in living costs that even the A. F. of L. leaders, close partners 
of Roosevelt and Johnson, have to admit a decided drop in the pur- 
chasing power of employed workers. An indication is the drop of nine 
per cent, from September to December, in the volume of consumers' 
goods actually purchased. 

Third, the Government budget: Here we find the realization of 
Roosevelt's promise to remember the "forgotten man." The shift of 
the burden of taxes, the basis of the budget, comparing the current 
year with 192 8- 192 9, is as follows: 

Government income from taxation on corporations, rich individuals, 
and wealthy middle-class, declined from $2,231,000,000 to $864,- 
000,000 — a saving to the rich of $1,467,000,000. At the same time, 
taxation of workers and consuming masses increased from $1,571,- 
000,000 to $2,395,000,000 — an increase of the tax burden amounting 
to almost the total taxes now paid by the rich. 



34 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

On the expenditure side of the budget, changes took the following 
direction: To banks, corporations, wealthy individuals and property 
owners, increased payments of 413 per cent. Expenditures for war 
purposes, increased by 82 per cent. Against these increases, economy 
was practiced by reducing wages of government employees, and veteran 
allowances, by 38 per cent and 27 per cent. 

Fourth, distribution of National Income: Roosevelt promised that 
he would begin to remedy the maldistribution of the national income, 
whereby the rich get too much and the poor get too little. How this 
has been carried out is disclosed in a report submitted to the U. S. 
Senate by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce on Jan. i, 
1934. Summarizing its findings, the report says: 

Wages have suffered the most severely in the general decline since 1929, 
with a falling off of sixty (60) per cent in those industries in which it was 
possible to segregate this item. Salaries dropped forty (40) per cent, much 
less rapidly than wages, with the most severe curtailment occurring in 1932. 
A significant divergence in declining trends is apparent as between labor 
income and property income; by 1932 the former had fallen off by forty 
(40) per cent, while property income distributed receded but thirty (30) 
per cent. This situation was brought about by the maintenance of interest 
payments rather uniformly up to 1932, with only a small decline then. 

This pictures the development under the Hoover regime. Roosevelt's 
"New Deal" promised to reverse this trend. Actually, what happened 
in 1933 was that the purchasing power of the workers went backward 
(a fact testified by the A. F. of L. and the Bureau of Labor Statistics) 
while property income took a sharp rise. A recent report of a group 
of large selected corporations which in 1932 showed a loss of about 
45 millions, showed that in 1933 they had been restored to the profit 
side of the ledger by about a half-billion dollars. 

Fifth, the workers' housing: In estimating the social effects of the 
shift of national income away from the workers and to property owners, 
it must be remembered that even in 1932 the majority of workers lived 
just at or even below the subsistence level. Every loss of income has 
been a direct deduction from daily necessities of life. This is sharply 
expressed in the catastrophic worsening of housing conditions. The 
epidemic of tenement house fires, burning to death hundreds of men, 
women and children, is but a dramatic revelation of one corner of the 
inhuman conditions under which growing millions are reduced. 

Sixth, breaking up the home: A barometer of the degeneration of 
living standards is the growing army of wandering, homeless people, 
especially children. The "New Deal" proposed to turn the army of 
unattached boys into a military reserve through the Civilian Conser- 
vation Corps. Some 380,000 boys were so recruited in 1933; but in 
spite of this mass militarization, all reports agree that a larger number 
than before of homeless youth wandered the country. 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 35 

Seventh, collapse of the school system: Conditions in the school 
system in rich America reflect the catastrophic situation of the masses. 
No improvement is to be seen under the "New Deal," but on the con- 
trary, a sharp worsening takes place. Just a few details, presented not 
by Communist agitators but by the U. S. Commissioner of Education, 
George F. Zook, and the National Education Association, describing 
the current school year, after Mr. Roosevelt's "New Deal" was at work. 
Over 2,290,000 children of school age cannot find a place. Over 2,000 
schools in rural communities failed to open this year in 24 states (the 
other 24 states, probably, being ashamed to report because their condi- 
tions are worse!). Some 1,500 commercial schools and 16 institutions 
of higher learning have been completely liquidated. School terms in 
nearly every large city are from one to two months shorter than they 
were 70 to 100 years ago. The average term in the United States, 170 
school days per year, is less than that for France, Germany, England, 
Sweden, Denmark. School teachers' wages are generally from four to 
twenty-four months in arrears, although interest on bonds is paid 
promptly. In Chicago, where teachers are behind in their wages by 
$25,000,000, the committee enforcing the economy program contains, 
among its 29 members, all affiliated with big business, five directors of 
the largest banks, and 14 residents of exclusive Lake Shore Drive 
("the Gold Coast"). Unemployed teachers are estimated at a quarter 
million. Teachers' wage rates have been cut by 27 per cent. In 14 
states even this reduced salary is far behind in payment. 

It is impossible to go into all the ramifications of the result of a 
"successful" New Deal program. We have shown enough to fully 
expose that the "success" was in giving more to the rich, and taking 
away from the poor even that which they had. 

The New Strike Wave and New Steps in Fascization 

Our Central Committee, at the moment of the ebb of the 1933 strike 
wave (our 17th Plenum), was able already to foresee the rise of a new 
strike wave in the early spring of 1934. It is now being realized all 
around us on a large scale. In this movement an even larger role is 
being played by the revolutionary forces than in 1933. This also 
results in a larger proportion of victorious strikes. 

This new wave of struggles has already brought the Roosevelt ad- 
ministration to a new stage in the development of its labor policy. 
This was announced by Mr. Roosevelt himself, when he declared that 
"we have charted a new course," in his announcement of the "settle- 
ment" in the automobile industry. 

What is this "new course"? 

The auto manufacturers themselves gave a correct estimate of it, 
when they declared to the correspondent of the N. Y. Herald Tribune 
their "delight" with the outcome. "The manujacturers were pariicu- 



36 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

larly pleased that the clarification of section ya seems to uphold their 
contention in behalf of the company union" 

This "new course," like the previous "new courses," is launched with 
the signature of William Green and the officialdom of the A. F. of L., 
with the blessings of Norman Thomas and the Socialist Party. 

What is new in this course, is the public adoption of the company 
union as an integral part of the "corporate state" scheme, where 
previously, in the official plans, the A. F. of L. had been granted (on 
paper) a monopoly. This means more open coming forward of the 
government to prevent or smash the strike movements. For months a 
debate raged behind the scenes among the capitalists, on which horse 
to place their money, the A. F. of L. or the company imion. Two 
camps had existed, which sharply divided the highest councils. Upon 
the basis of experience in the first strike wave and the beginnings of 
the second, both camps had modified their views and came together 
in one united judgment, embodied in Roosevelt's "new course." On 
the one hand, the company union advocates had been convinced of the 
complete docility and reliability for their purposes of Green, Lewis, 
and the whole official A. F. of L. family; they have been converted to 
the view of Johnson m this respect. On the other hand, the proponents 
of the A. F. of L. have been convinced that, in spite of Green & Co.'s 
absolute "reliability" in purpose, their ability to control their member- 
ship is growing less and less each day. Already last fall, Roosevelt 
had a sharp intimation of this, when John L. Lewis had to admit his 
failure to drive the strikers of the captive mines back to work, and 
Roosevelt had to do the job personally. Another major example of 
the same sort was the auto situation, where the A. F. of L. leaders 
frankly told the President that they were helpless to stop the strike 
movement unless Roosevelt himself intervened. The whole strike wave, 
rising against the Canute-like commandments of Green & Co. drove 
the lesson home. Conclusion: Neither one nor the other, neither A. F. 
of L. nor company union, alone, but both together, in a constantly 
closer association, and in preparation for merging the two under Gov- 
ernment auspices. That is the essence of the "new course." Of course, 
differences continue — ^we must not be confused by them. 

This "new course" is now in process of being incorporated into the 
Wagner Bill, which in its original form provided for a sort of Watson- 
Parker Law (compulsory arbitration on the railroads) for all industries. 
The original purpose to bind the unions with the strong chains of 
arbitration machinery, to choke down the strike wave, is now to be 
supplemented by guarantees of effectiveness through binding the trade 
unions with the company unions. 

LaGuardia, in the midst of "handling" the taxi drivers' strike in 
New York City, knew how to "take a hint." He promptly abandoned 
the settlement which he had prepared, to which the workers had agreed 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 37 

but which the companies had rejected, and called a representative of 
the A. F. of L. from Washington to negotiate the incorporation of the 
taxi company union into the A. F. of L. He was "correct in principle" 
in this question, but too hasty and crude in action, so the execution of 
his proposal has been postponed for a more favorable stage setting. 

An organic part of the whole "new course" toward labor is the sharp 
turn in the question of unemployed relief. Roosevelt has in his hands 
unexpended billions, which he demanded from Congress for relief pur- 
poses. But suddenly, so suddenly as to shock a host of loyal "new 
dealers" and bring bitter protests from them (including such a close 
friend of Roosevelt as Governor Lehman of New York), the C. W. A. 
is closed down, and millions of unemployed are thrown back upon the 
bankrupt local governments. Why this "new course" toward the im- 
employed? The answer is given in the cynical words published on the 
front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Sunday, April ist) : 

Those not so pleased with the new relief standards think the administra- 
tion, finding perhaps that its grants of power to the labor unions were greater 
than the administration would now like to have them, may have thought 
of an abrupt ending of C. W. A. and a lowering of direct rehef expenditures 
as an effective way of glutting the labor market and taking some of the 
spirit out of the unions. 

What are the main strategic tasks of the Communist Party, that 
flow from this analysis of the situation? 

First, to help the masses of workers, who are coming to realize that 
they must halt their mutually destructive competition and begin to act 
unitedly against a hostile ruling system, to find the road to independent 
class organization and class struggle in the fight for their daily bread. 

Second, to organize every possible form of resistance and counter- 
struggle against the attacks of reaction, against every reduction of 
living standards, for wage increases, for more relief, for jobs, for un- 
employment insurance, against cultural reaction, against Negro oppres- 
sion, for civil rights, for the right to organize and strike. 

Third, to find the broadest possible forms of organization of the 
struggle, to apply, with Bolshevist flexibility, the tactic of the united 
front from below. 

Fourth, to expose the true role of every hidden agent of capitalist 
reaction in the ranks of the working class — the leaders of the A. F. of 
L., of the Socialist Party, the Muste group, the renegades, by concrete 
analysis of their actions and policies. 

Fifth, to raise the political consciousness of the struggling workers, 
to bring to them an understanding of the class structure of society, of 
the fact that two main classes are fighting for control, that Roosevelt, 
leading the present ruling class, finance capital, stands for degradation, 
hunger, misery, oppression, fascism, war — that only the working class 



38 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

exercising state power, can open up a new era of peace, progress, and 
prosperity for the entire human race. 

Sixth, to imbue the broadest masses with the fundamentals of 
Marxism-Leninism, to arm them with the lessons of successful revolu- 
tion, against the treacherous slogans and ideas of social-fascism. 

Seventh, to create strongholds of revolutionary mass organizations 
in the most important industries, localities, and factories. 

Eighth, to consolidate everything that is most active, intelligent, 
fearless and loyal in the working class into a compact, monolithic 
leadership of the mass struggle, into the Communist Party, organically 
united with the revolutionary workers and oppressed peoples of the 
world in our Communist International. 

Results of the First Wave of Struggle and Organization 
Under the New Deal 

The year 1933 and beginning of 1934, with its wave of strikes and 
organizations, left its mark upon the working class. All forms of labor 
organizations increased. We can divide these into four main groups: 
(i) company unions, embracing workers estimated variously from one 
to three millions; (2) A. F. of L. (and allied organizations such as 
Railroad Brotherhoods), 500,000 new members with a total member- 
ship of two and a half to three million; (3) independent unions — 
150,000 new members, with a total membership around 250,000; (4) 
Trade Union Unity League, and allied organizations, — 100,000 new 
members; total membership 125,000. 

The first conclusion that must be drawn from these figures is the 
tremendously increased importance of the struggle against company 
imionism. The company union is the first line of defense in the fac- 
tories for the capitalists against the rising strike wave. The line of 
struggle against company unionism requires simultaneous development 
of revolutionary work inside the company union, utilizing every oppor- 
tunity for raising the demands of the workers, fighting for these de- 
mands, and putting forward militant candidates for all elective posts, 
thus disrupting the employer-controlled organizations from within. It 
has been proved possible, at times, to transform them into real trade 
unions, but only by open struggle. At the same time we must mobilize 
all independent trade union forces for the open smashing of the 
company imions. 

The second conclusion is the greatly increased importance of revolu- 
tionary work inside the American Federation of Labor. The largest 
section of newly organized workers in trade unions is in the A. F. of L. 
The bulk of these, in turn, are in some of the most important industries 
— such as mining and textile, with important groups also in auto, steel 
and metal. Precisely these new strata in the A. F. of L. are the least 
consolidated under the reactionary leadership, the most active in press- 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 39 

ing forward their demands, and therefore the most ripe for revolutionary 
leadership. In connection with the struggle against company 
unionism, a struggle for the rights of the A. F. of L. workers to 
fight for their immediate demands, large numbers of them can be 
immediately brought under revolutionary leadership by correct 
work. These new recruits to the A. F. of L. are not contentedly 
witnessing the A. F. of L. leaders signing away their rights as was 
done in the steel and auto codes; they are not content when they 
see their unions smashed through the mediation of the National 
Labor Board (Weirton, Budd, Edgewater, etc.). They are in open 
revolt when, as in the auto settlement last week, their leaders commit 
them to the legalization of the company union, and the outlawing of 
their strike movement. Now, more than ever before, correct and ener- 
getic work among the members of the A. F. of L., giving them 
independent leadership through the crystallization of revolutionary op- 
position groups, bringing them into action against their leaders and in 
open strikes and other forms of struggle for their immediate demands, 
is a first line task of the Communist Party. 

How supremely important is this work, is shown by the serious 
results flowing from every smallest effort that is made. The broadest 
circle of this work is the movement for the Workers' Unemployment 
Insurance Bill (H. R. 7598). This bill has secured the direct support 
of over 2,000 A. F. of L. local unions, many city central bodies and 
even a few State Federations of Labor. In 23 cities, we have func- 
tioning general leading committees for work in the A. F. of L. The 
revolutionary elements, directly under our guidance, are established 
leaders of around 150 local unions, with 50,000 to 60,000 members. 
Minority opposition groups function in about 500 more local unions. 
This considerable beginning is of significance because it emphasizes 
the enormous possibilities that exist when we get a full mobilization of 
all available forces in this field. These results, which change the 
course of development for hundreds of thousands more, come from 
only the first steps with very fragmentary mobilization, and in the 
face of still existing underestimation of and even opposition to sys- 
tematic development of this work. 

The independent unions have emerged as a major factor in more 
than a few light industries only during the past year. In the main, 
they are the result of the mass revolt against the A. F. of L. betrayals, 
and could not yet be brought into the revolutionary unions for vari- 
ous reasons, chief among them being the weaknesses in the work of 
the T. U. U. L. Systematic building of revolutionary groups inside 
them, with careful formulation of policies and leadership of their strug- 
gles, is an essential feature of our trade union strategy. In the inde- 
pendent unions we must have the most careful distinction between the 
honest but confused leadership which has been thrown up from the 



40 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

rank and file, on the one hand; and the conscious opportunist, reform- 
ist, social-fascist elements in the leadership on the other hand, who head 
the independent movements only in order to bring them back under the 
domination of the A. F. of L. leadership. In this latter group, an 
important role is played by the Musteites, Lovestoneites, and Trotsky- 
ites. The sharpest political struggle must be made agamst the "left" 
reformists and the renegades, while every effort must be made to win 
over to our class struggle policies the honest elements in the independent 
trade union leadership. 

The revolutionary unions of the T. U. U. L. with their 125,000 
members, while numerically the smallest of these main groups of the 
trade union movement, are by no means least important. The T. U. 
U. L. unions in developing the whole mass movement of resistance to 
the N. R. A. and the whole capitalist offensive, in the development of 
the strike movements, have played a decisive role. This is brought 
out by an examination of the statistics of the strike movement in 1933, 
as shown in the following table: 



Membership 

A. F. of L 2,500,000 

Indep. Unions 250,000 

T. U. U. L 125,000 

Unorganized 



2,875,000 



Led in 


New 


Strikes 


Members 


450,000 


500,000 


250,000 


150,000 


200,000 


100,000 


100,000 




1,000,000 


750,000 



From these figures we see that the T. U. U. L. although not quite 5 
per cent of the total trade union membership, directly led 20 per cent 
of all strikes and gained 20 per cent of all new members. The inde- 
pendent unions, a little under 10 per cent of the total membership, led 
25 per cent of the strikes. The A. F. of L. unions, comprising over 85 
per cent of the membership, led 45 per cent of the strikes. This illus- 
trates the role of the leadership of these three groups m relation to the 
strike movement. The A. F. of L. leadership is the center of resistance 
to strikes, and center of strikebreaking activities within the ranks of 
the workers. The T. U. U. L. unions were the driving force in the 
leadership and development of the strikes against all the strikebreakers. 
The independent unions represented those masses breaking away from 
the A. F. of L. leadership, but still carrymg with them part of the old 
burden of unclear and even openly reformist leadership which continued 
trying to carry through the A. F. of L. policies within the unions. 

The growing importance of the independent and T. U. U. L. unions 
is emphasized by the fact that they comprised fully one-third of all 
the increased trade union membership that resulted from the strike 
movement, and that together they led 45 per cent of the strikes, an 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 41 

equal number with the A. F. of L. In addition to this, it is clear that 
the 450,000 strikers under A. F. of L. leadership were not led into 
struggle by that leadership but in spite of and against it. Our opposi- 
tion work in the A. F. of L. played in this a significant part in some 
industries. It would have been impossible for a strike movement of 
such volume to rise from the A. F. of L. ranks without the influence of 
the strike movement of equal volume outside the A. F. of L. developed 
and led by the T. U. U. L. and independent unions. 

Our Draft Resolution places before the Convention, as a central 
point in our present trade union strategy, the task of unifying the 
independent unions with the revolutionary unions, beginning separately 
in each industry, and, upon the basis of successful work there, moving 
towards the consolidation of all class trade union forces into a single 
Independent Federation of Labor. 

We must avoid, if possible, the crystallization of a third trade union 
center, intermediate between the A. F. of L. and the T. U. U. L. We 
must be prepared to go a long way to secure organizational unity of 
all genuine class trade union forces. The possibility of success in this 
direction is already indicated in the partially successful merger of the 
T. U. U. L. and the independent Shoe Workers' Unions. This experi- 
ence gives a clear indication of our general line in practice. 

Of great importance to us in this period was the rise of mass revolu- 
tionary unions on the Pacific Coast area, among agricultural and can- 
nery workers, fishermen and lumber workers. These organizations and 
the historic struggles conducted by them have definitely established the 
fact that our movement has fully taken over and absorbed the specifi- 
cally American revolutionary traditions and forces in that territory, 
which before the rise of the Communist Party was organized in and 
around the I. W. W. 

The rise of the revolutionary Agricultural Workers' Unions, especially 
in the California area, has a further special significance for our Party. 
This is the first beginning of mass organization among a category of 
workers which, in spite of the scattered and decentralized character of 
its labor in most areas, constitutes numerically the largest single 
category of the working class. Agricultural workers in the United 
States comprise two and a half to three million workers. Large num- 
bers of them are favorably situated for organization, especially in the 
sections of the industry organized on the lines of mass production for 
the city markets — fruit, vegetable and dairy farming. Large numbers 
of these workers are massed around the industrial centers, in the East 
and Middle West also, within easy reach of the organized labor move- 
ment in the cities. Serious trade union organization of these workers 
provides a most important extension of the working class base of the 
revolutionary movement. At the same time, they furnish the necessary 
class base for revolutionary organization among the poor and middle 



42 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

farmers, who are more and more revolting against the capitalist at- 
tacks. It is the organized agricultural workers which in the first place 
will provide a firm basis for working class hegemony in the alliance 
between the working class as a whole with the movement of the revolt- 
ing farmers. The necessity of the general leadership of the working 
class over the movements of all other sections of the exploited popula- 
tion if all of their forces are to be unified for the common struggle 
against capitalism, should make it clear to every district of the Party 
that their work in reaching and organizing the agricultural workers 
acquires an extraordinary importance at the present time. 

Struggles of the Farmers and Movements of Mixed Class 

Character 

The movement for organization of rising strike struggles among the 
employed workers, together with the growing organization and struggles 
of the unemployed, has served as a powerful stimulus to the activities 
of other sections of the exploited population, and attracts these other 
groups around the working class as the leader and organizing center. 
We have seen the serious beginnings of this process in relation to the 
farmers' movement. This movement is beginning to take on a different 
character from that seen in previous farmers' movements. The new 
characteristics have been brought forward most clearly in those strug- 
gles and organizations of the farmers which have found their organizing 
center in the Farmers' Committee of Action, and the two national 
Farm Conferences held by it in 1932 in Washington, and in 1933 in 
Chicago, and especially its left wing, the United Farmers League. 
What is new in this farmers' movement is first, the political clarity 
with which it has attacked the traditional nostrums with which the 
farmers have been fooled so many times in the past (Currency Reform, 
etc.), and its resolute combating of the anti-farmer policies of the 
Roosevelt "New Deal" (crop reduction, etc.). It is distinguished by 
its ability to rise above sectional and race divisions, by its proclamation 
of the unity of Negro and white farmer, by its formulation of a na- 
tional outlook and program, as against the narrow, regional, provincial 
approach. It has struck at the heart of the farmers' problems in its 
demand for the cancellation of mortgages, debts and back taxes, raising 
sharply the most vital issues which determine class alignments. Above 
all, it has been able not only to proclaim the abstract principle of the 
worker-farmer alliance, but actually to begin to realize it in daily life 
and struggles. 

A mass movement of a mixed class nature that has begun to take on 
a revolutionary trend in the United States in the past period, is that 
of the war veterans. The veterans' movement comprises workers, 
farmers and a larger proportion of middle class elements. It is unified 
not by its class composition but by its common demands for payment 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 43 

of the adjusted compensation certificates (bonus), for disability allow- 
ances and hospitalization, all of which have been under heavy attack by 
the Roosevelt administration. The tremendous revolutionary potenti- 
alities in this movement were startlingly revealed by the great Bonus 
March in 1932, which was a tremendous outburst of mass indignation 
against the Hoover regime. That these forces are again gathering, 
that they are exerting tremendous pressure, that they are threatening 
to burst forth again into mass action, was dramatically shown by the 
panicky action of Congress in over-ridmg Roosevelt's veto of the Con- 
gressional replacement of a small portion of what the Roosevelt regime 
had stolen from the veterans. An indispensible role has been played 
in this veterans' movement by the still small, but very active Workers' 
Ex-Servicemen's League. If this organization would receive more co- 
operation and assistance, more systematic help in recruiting all the 
potential forces of veterans, who are as yet inactive in this work, the 
results in bringing into active expression the mass forces of the veterans' 
revolt would mature much faster. The veterans' movement is a most 
valuable ally to the revolutionary working class movement. It stands 
as one of the important tasks of the entire Party in mobilizing the 
auxiliary forces for the working class movement in the United States. 
Another auxiliary movement of growing importance that has appeared 
as a serious factor only in the last two years, is the revolutionary move- 
ment among the students. In the student movement we are also dealing 
with a mixed class composition. The movement began principally in the 
higher institutions of learning with predominantly middle class composi- 
tion. It has rapidly spread to the secondary schools and involved a large 
number of proletarian students in its activities. Led and organized 
by the National Student League, this movement has established a base 
in hundreds of high schools, colleges and universities; it has become 
national in scope; it has exerted a great and growing influence upon all 
intellectual circles. From the beginning it has been clearly revolu- 
tionary in its program and activities. One of the strongest points has 
been its clear recognition that the leading role belongs to the workers 
and not to the students in the general revolutionary movement. Es- 
pecially the students' movement has made a valuable contribution in 
extending the organized mass movement against war and fascism among 
the masses of youth. The students' movement, in fact, is a pioneer in 
the development of the general anti-war movement through its Students' 
Anti-War Congress in Chicago in December, 1932, which first united, 
on a national scale, anti-war forces of various political and class origins. 
Its participation in the youth section of the American League Against 
War and Fascism has constituted one of the most active and valuable 
phases of that organization's work. By organized participation in 
helping strike actions, defense movements, the Scottsboro case, etc., the 
students have been brought to participation in the general class strug- 



44 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

gles and learned the practical meaning of working class leadership. 
The weakness of this movement still remains that its leading cadres 
are still largely drawn from the middle class elements of the colleges 
and universities, that it does not yet sufficiently base itself upon the 
larger bodies of proletarian students in the secondary schools, nor 
sufficiently draw them into active leadership of the movement. 

The broadest movement of mixed-class composition has been the 
American League Against War and Fascism, formed at the great U. S. 
Congress Against War, held in New York last October. The Congress 
itself, while predominately working class in composition, embraced the 
widest variety of organizations that have ever been united upon a single 
platform in this country. It gathered the most significant strata of the 
intellectuals. The breadth of the movement was not secured by sacri- 
ficing clarity of program. On the contrary, while its program is dis- 
tinctly not that of the Communist Party, it is so clear and definite in 
facing the basic issues, that to carry it out in practice entails clearly 
revolutionary consequences. It is a real united front program of im- 
mediate struggle against war and fascism. That is the reason for the 
frantic efforts to break up and scatter the American League Against 
War and Fascism that have been and are being made by the Socialist 
Party leaders, Musteites, and the renegades from Communism. The 
unbridled ferocity of the attacks made against the League by these 
elements, and by their comrades-in-arms of the National Civic Federa- 
tion, Ralph Easley, Matthew WoU & Co., should be an indication to 
us of the revolutionary value of this broad united front organization. 
In serious self-criticism, we must say that although our movement 
responded excellently (in most places) to the call to the National 
Congress, it did not follow up this congress everywhere with serious 
local organizational work to consolidate the potential movement that 
had been brought together. Only in a few places has this work been 
seriously begun. In every locality the non-Party and mixed-class 
character of the movement must be carried forward, but not at the 
expense of dropping the working class and Communist participation as 
has too often been the case. The American League in its program 
proclaims that the working class is the basic force for the struggle 
against war; from the beginning it has never tried to avoid the issue 
of Communist Party participation in this broad united front. It is our 
task to see that the American League, organizationally, gets that 
working class foundation and active participation of the Communists 
for which its program provides. 

The Struggle for Negro Rights 

One of the chief tasks of the Communist Party, which has come 
sharply to the front of our practical work, is the liberation of the 
Negro people from the special oppression under which they suffer. In 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 45 

organizing and leading the struggle for Negro rights, the Communist 
Party is carrying out the slogan first enunciated by Karl Marx when 
he was organizing international support by the European workers to 
the emancipation of the Negro chattel slaves in America. Marx said: 
"Labor in a white skin cannot be free while labor in a black skin is 
branded." The cause of the emancipation of the Negroes from their 
special oppression is inextricably bound up with the cause of the 
emancipation of the working class from the oppression of capitalism. 
Because our Party, as a whole, has not yet firmly mastered the theo- 
retical basis for our Negro program, it is necessary again at this con- 
vention to continue to discuss it. 

From its inception, the Communist Party of the United States 
placed the demands for Negro rights in its program. In the first period 
of our work, up to 1929, we cannot claim any important results. This 
was because the Party, in spite of its correct general orientation, did 
not have a clear Bolshevik imderstanding of the Negro question as 
the problem of liberation of an oppressed nation. The Party had not 
yet entirely emancipated itself from the limitation of the bourgeois- 
liberal approach to Negro rights, nor from the social-democratic denial 
of the Negro question with its formula that the Negroes can find their 
emancipation only with the establishment of Socialism, and as a part 
of the working class. The Party, however, was continually struggling 
with this question and constantly raising it again for discussion. As 
a result of this, the problem was brought to the consideration of our 
World Party at the Sixth Congress of the Communist International. 
The resolution there worked out, subsequently elaborated by a special 
resolution in October, 1930, finally armed our Party politically for a 
decisive step forward in rousing and organizing the liberation move- 
ment of the Negroes, in uniting Negro and white workers in a firm 
and unbreakable solidarity. 

The characteristic of the position of the Negroes in America as an op- 
pressed nation is expressed in: (i) the fact that the basic Negro popu- 
lation, engaged in cultivating the land, is systematically excluded from 
independent possession of the land which it cultivates; (2) that it is 
thereby reduced to a position of semi-serfdom in the form of specially 
exploited tenants and sharecroppers; (3) that this special exploitation 
is enforced by a system of legal and illegal discrimination, segregation, 
denial of political rights, personal subjection to individual exploiters, 
and all forms of violent oppression culminating in the most brutal and 
barbarous system of murder, that it has become notorious all over the 
world as lynch-law. It is difficult to find anywhere in the world such 
examples of barbarous tortures as are used in America to enforce the 
special oppression of the Negro people. 

The historical origin and development of the Negro population of 
America as chattel slaves imported from Africa, together with their 



46 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

ready identification due to their special racial characteristics, have 
facilitated the efforts of the white ruling class in the creation of the 
institutions and customs of special national oppression that were set 
up following the smashing of the system of chattel slavery in the 
Civil War. 

These things give the Negro question its character as that of an 
oppressed nation. The Negroes have never yet been emancipated. 
The form of their oppression was only changed from that of chattel 
slavery, which constituted an obstacle to the further development of 
capitalism, to the more "modern" forms of so-called free labor (which 
means that the employer is freed from all obligation when he has paid 
the hourly or daily starvation wage), and half -feudal forms of share- 
cropping, etc., whereby an imperialist nation oppresses and exploits a 
weak nation. The position of the masses of the Negroes, as farmers 
denied the possession of the land, is the foundation for the special 
oppression of the Negro people as a whole. All phases of struggle 
for Negro rights must take as their foundation and starting place, 
therefore, the struggle for possession of the land by the landless Negro 
farmers. This can only be achieved by breaking through the rule of 
the white landlord ruling class, the carr5dng through of the agrarian 
revolution, such as was carried through in Europe in the first half of 
the nineteenth century when the foundations were laid for modern 
capitalism. The agrarian revolution, that is, the distribution of land 
among those who work the land, is historically part of the bourgeois- 
democratic revolution. But this revolution was never carried through 
entirely in any country, and hardly at all in the weak nations; the 
pre-capitalist social and economic forms of oppression and exploitation 
of the weak nations has been carried over to modern times and incor- 
porated into the system of finance capital and modern imperialism. 

The struggle for the completion of the bourgeois-democratic revolu- 
tion for the Negroes, as for other oppressed nations, thus becomes today 
objectively a revolutionary struggle to overthrow imperialism. As 
such it is an ally of the revolutionary proletariat against the common 
enemy — finance capital. Such agrarian revolution can be realized only 
through winning national self-determination for the Negroes in that 
territory in which they constitute the majority of the population and 
the basic productive force upon the land, or as a by-product of a 
victorious proletarian revolution in the country as a whole. The basic 
slogan of Negro liberation is therefore the slogan of self-determination; 
the basic demand of the Negroes is the demand for the land. Through- 
out the United States the struggle for Negro liberation is expressed in 
the struggle for complete equality, for the abolition of all segregation 
laws and practices (Jim-Crowism), the struggle against the ideas, 
propagated by the white ruling class, of Negro inferiority (a form of 
national chauvinism which we call white chauvinism), which is used 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 47 

to justify the oppression of the Negroes and to keep the Negro and 
white toilers divided. 

These basic poHtical considerations have been, by experience, proved 
to be absolutely necessary weapons to make effectual even the smallest 
struggle for Negro rights. Let us consider, for example, the world 
famous Scottsboro case, which has represented one of the major political 
achievements of the Communist Party in the last period. How im- 
possible it would have been to rouse the Negro masses in the United 
States in millions to the support of the Scottsboro boys ; how impossible 
to have joined with them millions of white toilers and middle classes; 
how impossible to have stirred the entire world, as was done — if the 
Scottsboro case had been taken up from the liberal-humanitarian point 
of view, or if it had been approached from the narrow social-democratic 
viewpoint! The Scottsboro case stirred America to its depths, not 
merely because nine friendless Negro boys were threatened with an 
unjust death, but because their cause was brought forward clearly as 
a symbol of the national oppression of twelve million Negroes in 
America, because the fight for their freedom was made the symbol for 
the fight of the Negro farmers for their land, of the fight for the self- 
determination in the Black Belt, of the fight against lynchings, against 
Jim-Crowism, against the smallest discriminations, for unconditional 
social and political equality for the Negroes. 

Only the Bolshevik understanding of the Negro question makes 
possible such an effective fight for the smallest advance for the Negroes 
to realize their smallest demands; that is why historically it was left 
for the Communist Party to be the first to raise effectively, on a na- 
tional scale, the slogan of Negro liberation, since the almost-forgotten 
days of the Abolitionists. 

The Communists unconditionally reject the social-democratic ap- 
proach of the Second International to the Negro question and to the 
national question generally, which under the guise of a strictly "working 
class" evaluation of the Negro question, in actuality carries through 
the capitalist class program of national oppression. That does not 
mean, however, that the Communist Party ignores the class divisions 
among the Negroes, or that it is indifferent to what class influences 
and leads the Negro masses. 

The Communist Party points out that the Negroes also are divided 
into classes; that in addition to the class of Negro farmers, there is a 
considerable and growing proletariat, a Negro middle class and a Negro 
bourgeoisie. The Negro bourgeoisie, also subjected to the special op- 
pression of the Negro people as a whole, has been corrupted into 
accepting this position of inferiority, and even capitalizing upon this 
inferior position for its own class gain. This Negro bourgeoisie has be- 
come the thorough-going agent of the white ruling class. It maintains 
a pitiful "superiority" to the Negro masses by means of the con- 



48 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

descending support offered to it by the white ruling class. It capi- 
talizes a share of the double rents extracted from the Negro masses 
by the white landlords through the system of Jim-Crow segregation; 
it earns these concessions from the white ruling class by energetically 
exhorting the Negro masses to be patient and long-suffering, to realize 
their own inferiority, to understand the position of white capitalists 
and landlords as their rulers as an inescapable visitation inflicted upon 
them by an all-wise God. 

As the Negro masses begin to revolt against this position of inferi- 
ority, the Negro bourgeoisie begins to develop special means of heading 
off and controlling this revolt. They speculate upon the distrust and 
suspicions created among the Negro masses against white workers gen- 
erally through generations of oppression. They appeal to the Negroes 
to make a virtue out of their segregation, to voluntarily isolate them- 
selves, not to trust any white man, to rely upon themselves alone; 
they bring forth all sorts of Utopian schemes, such as the Back-to- 
Africa movement, the Support-Negro-Bminess movement, the so-called 
Pacific (pro- Japanese movement), and so forth, to create the illusions 
of some possible way out of their misery without direct conflict with 
the white ruling class. All of these ideas, tendencies, and moods are 
what we identify collectively as bourgeois-nationalism, or national- 
reformism.. Such a nationalism contributes nothing to the national 
liberation of the Negro people; on the contrary, it is an instrument 
of the white ruling class, just as is white chauvinism, to keep the white 
and Negro masses separated and antagonistic to one another, and 
thereby to keep both enslaved. 

We have had a thousand practical examples of how this Negro 
bourgeois-nationalism works out in practice. We saw it in the Scotts- 
boro case, when all the bourgeois Negro leaders held up their hands in 
horror because white and Negro Communists joined hands together 
to rouse the masses to save the Scottsboro boys. They declared that 
the Scottsboro boys were in danger, not from the white ruling class 
whose hearts could, they said, be touched by quiet humanitarian 
pleading, but that they were in danger rather from the prejudices raised 
against them by the fact that masses were demanding their release as 
a part of the demand for national liberation. It was clearly revealed 
that the bourgeois proposal that the Negroes "stand on their own 
feet" was not merely a proposal to keep them separate from the white 
workers, but to throw themselves on the mercy of the white ruling 
class. 

From all these facts flow the Communist position on the Negro 
question. The Communists fight ever3^here against white chauvinism, 
against all ideas of Negro inferiority, against all practical discrimina- 
tion against the Negroes; the Communists fight especially against white 
chauvinist ideas in the ranks of the workers, and above all against any 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 49 

white chauvinist influence penetrating the ranks of the Communist 
Party. The Communists declare that the white workers must stand 
in the forefront of the struggle for Negro rights and against white 
chauvinism. At the same time, the Communists fight against Negro 
bourgeois-nationalism which is only the other side of white chauvinism. 
In this fight against Negro nationalism, it is especially the Negro 
Communists who have to be the most active and alert. 

The danger of Negro nationalism is at the moment especially sharp, 
precisely because of the fact that the successes of the Communist 
leadership in the fight for the Scottsboro boys has aroused the Negro 
bourgeoisie under the proddings of their white masters to a most active 
and bitter counter-offensive against us. 

The main organizational channels of the struggle for Negro rights 
are, first of all, the trade unions and unemployment councils. Here 
we draw in the Negro working class forces, we secure the only reliable 
leading forces to organize the struggle of the Negro masses as a whole. 
Further basic forms of organization of the Negroes are the unions of 
sharecroppers and tenant farmers. It is one of our most proud achieve- 
ments that we have been able through our political influence to bring 
into existence the Share Croppers' Union in the South, which is already 
approaching 6,000 members. 

A more broad and all-inclusive organizational form for the Negro 
liberation struggles is the League of Struggle for Negro Rights. This 
should embrace in its activities all of the basic economic organizations 
of Negro and white workers standing on the program of Negro libera- 
tion, and further unite with them all other sections of the Negro popu- 
lation drawn towards this struggle, especially those large sections of 
the petty-bourgeoisie, intellectuals, professionals, who can and must 
be won to the national liberation cause. The L. S. N. R. must, in 
the first place, be an active federation of existing mass organizations; 
and secondly, it must directly organize its own membership branches 
composed of its most active forces and all supporters otherwise unor- 
ganized. The present beginnings of the L. S. N. R. and its paper, The 
Liberator, which with only a little attention have already shown mass 
vitality, must be energetically taken up, and spread throughout the 
country. 

The Party Must Win the Youth 

A few words are necessary here about the special problems of the 
youth, although this will be the subject of a special report and dis- 
cussion. The winning of the working class youth is the problem not 
of our youth organizations alone, but the problem of the entire Party. 
In the past this has not only been forgotten, but there has even been 
allowed to develop a sort of organizational rivalry between the youth 
and adult organizations, a rivalry not in the nature of socialist com- 



so COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

petition, but of the adult organizations trying to grab away as quickly 
as possible from the youth organizations every rising young leader 
who shows special organizational or political capacity. The idea has 
been that as soon as the youth movement produces a leader who is 
"good enough for Party work" that this means he is wasting his time if 
he remains any longer in what is looked upon as a sort of probationary 
kindergarten. This frivolous attitude toward youth work must be 
eliminated from our movement. Certainly, our enemies are more seri- 
ous about winning the youth, and especially the rising fascist groups. 
Who shall blame the unprepared, politically unarmed, and desperate 
masses of young workers who fall victim to the demagogy of fascism, 
if we drift along without any serious, large-scale efforts to reach these 
youth, to organize them, to politically educate them, to fight for their 
daily needs, to raise their class consciousness, and to give them a 
recognized place in the whole revolutionary movement? Every Party 
unit, and every Party committee, must take as a part of its daily 
concrete tasks, the work among the youth, the establishment of their 
organizations, the solution of their political problems, and material 
help to their movement. The Young Communist League, instead of 
being less than a fourth the size of the Party, must be expanded in 
the next period to become larger than the Party; that means, that the 
youth must find a serious place in the trade unions and other mass 
organizations; that it must be helped to politically enrich the life of 
its organizations, to concretize its struggles for the young workers' 
needs, to broaden out the scope of its activities, to include everything 
that interests, attracts and holds the masses of young workers, also 
including their social, sport and cultural needs. 

Special attention is also necessary to the tasks of winning and or- 
ganizing women industrial workers and housewives in the revolutionary 
movement. The capitalist class has drawn women into industry on 
a much larger scale than we have drawn them into revolutionary ac- 
tivities and organizations. We will continue to lag behind the capital- 
ists in this respect only at the price of continued weakness in the 
revolutionary movement. This question becomes all the more pressing 
because we are faced with a perspective of imperialist war in the 
near future. Under war conditions, everybody knows vast additional 
masses of women will be drawn into industry and especially into 
munitions manufacturing. Furthermore, large-scale mobilization of 
men workers into the armies will create gaps in our ranks which can 
only be filled by the bold promotion of women workers. That means 
we should. long ago have been seriously and systematically preparing 
the women forces, and boldly promoting them to leading responsible 
posts. The mobilization of masses of women workers requires special 
attention to their particular needs, formulation of special demands, 
the creation of special opportunities to consider their problems in con- 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT Sr 

nection with the problems of the whole working class, through con- 
ferences, etc. Especially, it requires more systematic recruitment of 
women into the trade unions, and above all, into the Communist Party. 

Problems of the Struggle for the United Front 

The increasingly sharp attacks against the workers raise more in- 
sistently than ever the necessity of establishment of the working class 
fighting front to resist these attacks and to win the demands of the 
workers. The working class in the United States is still largely unor- 
ganized. That part which is organized is largely under the influence 
of the A. F. of L. bureaucracy, which keeps it split up in innumerable 
ways by craft divisions, by discriminations against the Negroes and 
foreign-born, by divisions between the skilled and unskilled, etc. That 
smaller section which has begun to question the capitalist system is 
further divided between the leadership of the Socialist Party and the 
Communist Party, while a considerable section stands aside, still 
bewildered by these divisions and the problems it does not yet under- 
stand, and further confused by the shouts of those small but active 
groups, the renegades from Communism, the Musteites, etc. 

What is the road to working class unity in the midst of all this 
disorganization and confusion? The A. F. of L. and Socialist leaders 
shout that the Communists are splitters and disrupters. This charge 
is repeated by the renegades and the Musteites. The capitalist press 
is especially active in spreading this explanation of the divisions among 
the workers. According to them, if the Communist Party could only 
suddenly be abolished, the working class would find itself miraculously 
united and happily on the road to the solution of its problems. 

These gentlemen will excuse us if we cannot accept their version 
of the problem of working class unity. We cannot achieve the united 
front of the auto workers under the leadership of William Green and 
the A. F. of L., for example, in the fight against the recent sell-out 
and legalization of company unions, because it was precisely William 
Green who signed his name to that sell-out, and who is using all his 
efforts to prevent the workers' struggle against it. We cannot get the 
united front of the steel workers to fight against the monstrous steel 
code under the leadership of William Green and the other A. F. of L. 
bureaucrats, because Green is one of the sponsors of this code. We 
can't build the united front under the A. F. of L. and S. P. leaders in 
the fight for unemployment insurance, the Workers' Bill (H. R. 7598 — 
later in the 74th Congress, H. R. 2827), because they give their support 
to the Wagner Bill, which is a refusal of unemployment insurance. We 
can't have the united front led by these gentlemen and the Negro 
reformists for Negro rights, because it is precisely they who deny these 
rights to the Negroes in the trade unions, who declare the Negroes 
themselves provoke lynching by the demands for equal rights. A united 



52 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

front with Norman Thomas and S. P. leaders, to develop strike strug- 
gles of the workers would be immediately wrecked by the statement of 
Norman Thomas, "Now is not the time to strike." No, it is clear, 
unity behind these gentlemen means a united surrender to the capi- 
talist attacks. That is not the kind of unity the workers need. We 
need a united fighting front of the workers against the capitalists and 
all their agents. But that means that unity must be built up, not 
with these leaders on their present policies, but against them. That 
means not a united front from the top, but a united front built up by 
the workers from below in the organization and struggle for their im- 
mediate needs. 

The Communists set no conditions to the united front except that 
the unity shall be one of struggle for the particular demands agreed 
upon. But on this condition we must be sternly insistent. Sometimes 
we find people who want to make a united front with us in words, but 
who seriously hesitate to carry it out in action. When we insist upon 
action, they tell us we have bad manners, that we are disrupters; that 
we are breaking up the united front. For example, only last August, 
here in the city of Cleveland, we participated in a conference together 
with delegates from hundreds of workers' organizations, including Muste 
and his associated leading group. We worked out a program of strug- 
gle against the N. R. A., for unemployment insurance and relief, and 
the unification of the unemployed mass organizations. From that con- 
ference we went out to fight, to carry out the program adopted. Mr. 
Muste and his associates left the conference only to forget all about 
the decisions taken there, to which they had signed their names. They 
never turned a hand to realize the decisions they had agreed to. They 
had pledged themselves to support the Workers' Unemployment In- 
surance Bill, but they have maintained ever since the silence of death 
on this question. Instead, they support the Wagner Bill along with 
the Socialist and A. F. of L. leaders. They pledged themselves to 
help merge the unemployed mass organizations; instead, they have 
done everything possible to prevent any unification from below, and 
have themselves refused to even answer any letters on the question 
so far as the top leadership is concerned. They pledged an uncom- 
promising fight against the N. R. A.; but instead of this, they carry 
on an agitation copied from the Socialist Party, asking the workers to 
use the "good sides" of the N. R. A. to achieve the "benefits" that it 
grants them. United front with such leaders on such terms is no 
united front at all. The Communist Party will continue in the future, 
as it has in the past, to denounce all such "unity" in words which is 
violated in deeds. 

In spite of all of these enemies of the real united front, the Com- 
munist Party moves steadily forward in building a broad united front 
movement. Let us examine just a few of these successful united front 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 53 

efforts. First of all, the movement for unemployment insurance: It 
was the Communist Party that popularized the issue of unemployment 
insurance, formulated the Workers Unemployment Insurance Bill; it 
took the lead in bringing into existence the broad mass unemployment 
council movement, which popularized the bill; it helped to initiate 
the A. F. L. Rank and File Committee for Unemployment Insurance, 
which has held two national conferences in support of the Workers' 
Bill and has secured the endorsement of 2,000 unions, over a dozen 
central bodies, and several state federations; it was the work of the 
Communist Party which resulted in the endorsement of the Bill by 
dozens of city governments, including that of the city of Minneapolis 
which, joined with the pressure of the whole mass movement, caused 
Ernest Lundeen, Farmer Labor congressman, to introduce the Bill in 
Congress although his Party refuses to support the Bill. It was the 
Communist Party which took the political lead and did most of the 
practical work which gave organized expression to the support of this 
Bill by a million to a million-and-a-half organized workers.*^ Truly, 
this is a united front in struggle for unemployment insurance. The 
A. F. L. leaders. Socialist Party, the Muste group, the Lovestoneites, 
the Trotsky ites, one and all, they sneered at the Workers' Unemploy- 
ment Insurance Bill, they sabotaged the fight for it or openly opposed 
it; they threw their support to the Wagner Bill which is the Roosevelt 
government's attempt to head off unemployment insurance; they did 
everything possible to prevent the unity of the workers in support of 
the only real unemployment insurance bill that is before the country. 
But we Communists have built up the united front of the workers over 
the heads of these leaders, and against all of their disruptive efforts. 
In this united front we have lined up all the awakened, honest and 
intelligent elements in the labor movement and the sympathizing middle 
classes. We have welcomed them, one and all, into the united front. 
We have made possible and easy their participation in it; we have 
been the main force that brought this united front into existence and 
we have jealously guarded its unity.** 

Another illuminating experience was our relations with the Socialist 
Party leaders in the U. S. Congress Against War, and in the American 
League Against War and Fascism that was set up there. The National 
Executive Committee of the Socialist Party voted to join this united 
front. Eleven of their nominees were added to the Arrangement Com- 
mittee; their first act was to propose to exclude from the Congress the 
revolutionary unions of the T. U. U. L., a proposal which was, of 
course, refused. Their second act was to demonstratively withdraw 

* In January, 1935, this had increased to approximately five million, 
** At the hearings of the Labor Committee of United States Congress in Febru- 
ary, the S. P. and the unemployed organizations led by its members and by the 
Musteites, finally endorsed the Workers' Bill. 



54 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

from the Congress Committee in an attempt to disrupt the Congress 
before it was held. Surely the workers will not gain unity through 
following such leadership. 

Some of the "left" socialist leaders remained with the Congress, and 
the League for a time, such as J. B. Matthews and Mary Fox. It is 
interesting to re-read today, the words of J. B. Matthews, spoken only 
a few months ago. He said: "This Congress proves beyond any dis- 
pute that the United Front of working class elements, of pacifists, of 
middle-class war-resisters, is a possibility . . . This program presented 
to you is the basis for continuing this Union — for strengthening it step 
by step. We must stand together. We dare not fail." 

But the Socialist Party leaders put heavy pressure on them and 
threatened them with expulsion (and incidentally the loss of their 
jobs). Then these valiant "left" leaders quickly found an excuse to 
withdraw and make another attempt to disrupt the united front against 
war and fascism. They abandoned this program to which they had 
already pledged themselves. Already their names are signed to a new 
program issued by S. P. and liberal leaders which sees the war danger 
in the movements of the Red Army in Siberia. 

In this latest effort to break up the united front, the Socialists have 
found their most energetic helpers in Reverend Muste, Mr. Cannon, 
and Mr. Lovestone, who have attacked us with a bitterness of vitupera- 
tion that is surely the envy of Ralph Easley and Matthew Woll. The 
renegades furnish most of the ideas for the struggle against Com- 
munism. This is especially true of the counter-revolutionary Trotsky 
and his agents. They lead the shouts for smashing the Communist 
Party. All this is done in the name of "unity." Each and all proclaim 
that they are the unifiers, and that the Communists are the disrupters. 

From the beginning of this movement, the Communist Party safe- 
guarded itself against all the lying accusations of its enemies by having 
a large majority of non-Communist individuals in every controlling 
committee of the movement. The Communists threw all their forces 
into support of the U. S. Congress Against War. We welcomed every 
person and every organization that came into the movement, and agreed 
to support its declared objectives. The political and organizational 
platform of the American League was adopted unanimously at a Con- 
gress of 2,616 delegates, from 35 states, embracing a variety of organi- 
zations, ranging from churches and peace societies. Socialist Party 
branches, religious organizations, workers' cultural clubs, fraternal 
societies, revolutionary trade unions, A. F. of L. unions, independent 
unions, farmers' organizations, Negro organizations, youth organi- 
zations, the Muste groups (including even the Lovestoneites), and 
130 delegates from various branches of the Communist Party. Was 
there ever a more promising beginning of the establishment of 
a united front movement against war and fascism in the United 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 55 

States? Since the Congress, a serious start has been made in 
spreading this united front throughout the country and among all 
strata of the population who were sincerely interested in fighting war 
and fascism. It is true there was some lagging in this work because 
we Communists mistakenly refrained from pressing ourselves forward, 
hoping that our initiative would be taken up by the non-Communists. 
That was a weakness and mistake on our part. It only encouraged 
every enemy of unity, every jackal of a renegade, to rally their forces 
for their latest attempt to disrupt the League. Again we have defeated 
the disrupters. The place of the deserting leaders is being taken by new 
recruits to this united front, non-Communists, whose influence reaches 
wider than that of the deserters. Into the front ranks must be drawn 
trade unionists, especially from the A. F. of L. We are calling upon 
all Communists and sympathizing organizations to boldly step forward 
in comradely co-operation with all other elements, to build the League 
in every locality to circulate its excellent monthly journal, Fight, and 
to prepare for the great second U. S. Congress Against War, which is 
being called for next October.* 

We could recite a thousand local examples of the successful applica- 
tion of the united front tactic, initiated by the Communist Party. The 
Communists are the only organized political group in America that is 
always, day in and day out, consistently, earnestly and loyally striving 
to build up the united front of the workers and their allies in the fight 
for their immediate political and economic needs. 

Immediate Demands and Revolution 

Our enemies accuse us that we are not really interested in winning 
these immediate demands. They say that we only use them as a means 
to an ulterior purpose, which has no relation to these demands, i.e., the 
revolution. They say we only use the united front in order to manipu- 
late our associates as cats' paws to pull our own revolutionary chestnuts 
out of the fire. 

For example, I have a recent issue of the Haverhill (Mass.) Evening 
Gazette, which contains a vicious editorial attack against the Com- 
munists. The occasion is a shoe workers' strike that has been going 
on for more than three weeks. The Haverhill shoe employers want to 
defeat the workers' demands by forcing them to submit to arbitration. 

Some of the leaders, among them the Lovestoneite, I. Zimmerman, 
wanted to submit to the bosses' demands. The Communists showed 
the workers how defeat has come to all workers who have submitted 
their cause to so-called impartial boards. They called upon the workers 
to strike until the bosses grant them their very reasonable demands. 
The Communists have been the most active and devoted organizers 

* See p. 198.— £d. 



56 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

and leaders of this fight. This enrages the Haverhill Evening Gazette. 
Let me quote a few paragraphs from its editorial: 

Today Haverhill's shoe industry with its scores of factories and thousands 
of workers is in grave danger of destruction. 

The industry cannot survive under the terms laid down by the strike 
leadership. To yield to those terms is to submit to industrial death. To 
compromise with this leadership is to make a fatal dicker with an evil force. 

This leadership does not care what becomes of Haverhill. Let Haverhill 
become an industrial leper. Let the homes of the Haverhill workers be lost 
because Haverhill jobs have been destroyed. Let the hopes of Haverhill 
workers be doomed because their means of livelihood have been taken from 
them. What does this leadership care? It doesn't care. 

This leadership's motive is poUtical; its purpose, revolutionary. Haverhill 
has been dehberately selected as the site for a demonstration of Communist 
Power. The demonstration is now taking place. It is part of the grandiose 
Communist scheme for an American revolution. 

Then the Gazette draws the conclusion that the workers must "forget 
for the moment negotiations to end the strike, forget compromises or 
an agreement, forget everything but the urgent necessity of ridding 
the Haverhill industry of this evil, dangerous, strike leadership." 

This attack is a typical concrete example of the general charge 
against the Communists that we are not really interested in winning 
immediate demands, but only in an abstract "revolution." Keeping 
this m mind, let us analyze this concrete charge a little more closely. 
What is the substance of it? It is, that if the bosses grant the 
demands of the workers (to recognize the union and give a small wage 
increase) that "the industry cannot survive." The bosses cannot afford 
to grant the workers what they demand. The leadership of the workers 
is "evil" and "dangerous," because this leadership refuses to abandon 
the demands of the workers, refuses to hand them over to a supposedly 
impartial tribunal to decide. The complaint is that this leadership is 
fighting, too uncompromisingly, to achieve now the immediate demands 
of these workers. That's why the Haverhill Gazette proposes to drive 
this leadership out of town and tries to rouse mob violence against it. 
They are interested in preserving the profits of the bosses at the expense 
of lower wages to workers. They don't give a rap about the hypo- 
thetical revolution that they talk about. That's why they speak very 
kindly about other leaders and Mr. I. Zimmerman, who also claims to 
be a Communist and for the revolution, but who is ready to abandon 
the workers' demands in Haverhill at this moment. They will allow 
Zimmerman to talk all he wants to about some future revolution as 
long as he doesn't fight too hard for the immediate demands of the 
Haverhill workers. 

This is the reality behind every concrete example of the charge 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 57 

against the Communists that we sacrifice the immediate interests of 
the workers to the future revolution. 

Is it true that there is a determining relationship between the fight 
for immediate demands and the revolutionary goal of the working 
class? Yes, there is such a determining relationship. But it is not 
that put forward by the Haverhill Gazette and all the other enemies 
of the Communist Party. The relationship is quite different. Let us 
take the case of a group of leaders heading a fight for immediate de- 
mands of a particular body of workers. They unitedly formulate these 
demands with the participation and approval of all the workers; they 
present demands to the boss; the boss says: "No, it is impossible for 
me to grant such demands without going out of business." The workers 
in other shops and industries are putting forward their demands. All 
the bosses get together and say: "It is impossible to grant such demands 
without sacrificing profits. Profits are the mainspring of the capitalist 
system. To sacrifice profits means to destroy capitalism. This means 
to destroy the jobs of the workers. Therefore, in the interests of the 
workers, we must fight for lower wages as the only way to preserve 
capitalism." Among the workers' leaders there takes place a division 
into two groups — one group says: "Of course, we're not trying to 
overthrow capitalism; we're not trying to put our boss out of business; 
we're not revolutionists; if our demands endanger the boss or the 
capitalist system, we're ready to compromise them or abandon them 
altogether, and even submit to worsening of conditions; we're willing 
to do whatever is necessary to save our boss and the capitalist system." 
The other group says: "The workers' demands are just and necessary; 
they must be granted; the productive forces of this industry and the 
entire country are sufficient to provide this and many times more; the 
capitalist is only anxious to protect his own profits ; he can easily afford 
to pay; but even if he can't, then so much the worse for him and his 
system. We understand that the workers sooner or later must do away 
with capitalism and establish a Socialist system. If our fight for 
higher wages, now, hastens the coming of socialism, hastens the coming 
of the working class revolution, then so much the better. We will fight 
all the harder for higher wages." 

This gives an example of the true relation between immediate de- 
mands and revolutionary aims. The A. F. of L. leaders and many 
Socialist Party leaders set as their guiding rule to do everything to 
avoid revolution, to save capitalism; that is why they join Roosevelt 
in putting across the New Deal and the N. R. A., that's why they 
say "now is not the time to strike"; that's why if the workers strike 
in spite of them, they try to break the strike and send the workers 
back without gaining their demands, to tie up the workers' organizations 
in arbitration courts, etc. That is also why those who are revolution- 
ists, those who are preparing the working class to establish socialism, to 



58 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

overthrow capitalism, they are the only ones who can at all times and in 
all places be depended upon to fight to the last ounce of energy for the 
winning of the immediate demands of the workers, without consideration 
of what result this has in decreasing the profits of the bosses. We revo- 
lutionists know that in America we have productive capacity sufficient, 
if properly used, to give every man, woman and child, a comfortable 
and happy life. We're going to organize and fight for the realization 
of a constantly improving standard of living; we're going to resist with 
all our power the capitalist efforts to reduce the standard of living, no 
matter how much Roosevelt may tell us of the necessities of "economy" 
and "sacrifice." The workers have sacrificed too much already, and 
we're going to prepare the working class to stop sacrificing. We help 
them to understand that to realize a full and happy life, they will 
finally have to take power, overthrow the capitalists, and take pos- 
session of the industries themselves through their own Workers' Gov- 
ernment. 

Thus we see that it is only the revolutionists who will fight to the 
end for the immediate demands of the workers, and for better food, 
clothing and shelter for the toilers. Anyone who is against revolution 
or afraid of it, inevitably comes to the point where he betrays the 
workers' interests, surrenders them to the interest of capitalist profits. 

The tactic of the United Front must be applied in all mass activities. 
In each case a special form suitable for the occasion must be found 
concretely. That means the whole Party must be trained to alertness 
against distortions of the united front and against deviations. These 
are of two general types: the right deviation which consists of hiding 
the face of the Party, sacrificing the main political line, emphasizing 
the formal aspects of the united front at the expense of the real 
struggle. The "left" deviation, which is opportunism covered with deft 
phrases, is characterized by contempt for the patient, systematic, daily 
work necessary to win the workers who are under reformist leadership; 
by rigid and mechanical approach to united front problems; by fear 
to plunge boldly into the broadest mass struggles. 

In all of our election campaigns, we have the problem of giving them 
a united front character. The coming Congressional elections must 
everywhere be made a real united front drive, with the objective of 
electing at least a few Communist Congressmen from a few concentra- 
tion points. 

We must pay a good deal of attention to two important local united 
front efforts, namely, the Cleveland and Dearborn elections last year. 
In Cleveland, the comrades correctly set themselves the task of involv- 
ing the mass movement of small homeowners in the Communist election 
campaign. But they made many serious errors in doing this. They 
encouraged or tolerated the tendency of the Homeowners' Federation 
to go into politics on its own hook and to transform itself into a 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 59 

political party. The Homeowners' Federation took the initiative in 
nominating aldermanic candidates, and only as an afterthought, were 
other working-class organizations drawn in, while the Communist Party, 
as such, was pushed entirely into the background. Let nobody under- 
stand our criticism of this as trying to protect narrow Party interests as 
against the interests of the Homeowners' Federation. No, we are 
insisting equally upon the interests of the Homeowners' Federation, 
when we demand that such an organization shall not be transformed 
into a political party. To attempt to make a political party out of 
such mass organizations is to seriously threaten their future work and 
growth, and turn them aside from their proper function. At the same 
time this has a liquidating effect upon the Communist Party. It does 
not consolidate the unity of the masses of workers, but rather threatens 
to break up that unity. 

Similarly in the Dearborn election campaign: Dearborn is the city 
of the Ford Motor factories; it is a company town. There was a mass 
revolt against the Ford domination in the city government. We cor- 
rectly decided to unite this revolt around a workers' ticket, participated 
in by the Communist Party and with Communists as the central can- 
didates. But in practically carrying through this correct line, the 
comrades retreated before the "red scare," hid the face of the Party 
in this united front, evaded some of the most crucial political issues. 
Thus, our comrades contributed to the creation of such an atmosphere 
of timidity and evasion, that under sharp attacks from Ford's agents, 
some of the weaker elements on the workers' ticket fell into panic en- 
tirely, and the candidate for Mayor, at one point, signed a resignation 
from the struggle. 

We must again emphasize that, while workers' tickets are per- 
missible under certain special circumstances, and especially in company 
towns, this under no circumstances means the abandonment of the in- 
dependent role of the Communist Party. To push the Communist 
Party into the background, to allow it to be forgotten, is fatal to the 
success of a particular campaign, as well as endangering our future 
development. The tendency to bring forward workers' tickets in large 
industrial cities as a substitute for the Communist Party is generally 
wrong; it is a tendency to surrender to Farmer-Laborism. 

Recently, in South Dakota, our comrades seized the opportunity of 
a broad State conference of farmers and the Unemployed Council 
movement to launch a campaign of a leading Communist for Governor 
of that State. This was correct under the circumstances y even though 
the Communist Party, as such, had not yet named publicly its candi- 
dates. But there is a danger that the further development of this 
campaign in South Dakota may have a tendency to develop under the 
flag of non-partisanism. If this is permitted, the movement is in danger 
of sliding off into the old traditional path of Farmer-Laborism with 



6o COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

disastrous results to the workers and farmers in South Dakota. To 
prevent this, the Communist Party there must come to the front most 
energetically. The candidate for Governor must make his campaign 
openly and frankly as the nominee not only of the broad united front, 
but also of the Communist Party. He must speak as a Communist. 
The Party must not dissolve its own activities into the broad move- 
ment and lose itself there. On the contrary, the Communist Party 
must be tremendously strengthened in the course of this campaign and 
must prove in practice its right to the title of leader of the exploited 
masses of South Dakota. 

There are still some tendencies in our movement to look upon the 
united front as purely a matter of addressing letters to the top com- 
mittees of various organizations and conducting negotiations with these 
committees. But this is not the essence of a united front at all. Letters 
and negotiations with top committees of reformist organizations have 
their place at certain moments: they can be used to dramatize issues 
before the broadest masses and arouse these masses to action and to 
a movement toward unity. But if such letters and negotiations become 
an end in themselves, if they are constantly repeated without any 
results, then they serve not to build the movement for unity, but on 
the contrary, to demoralize and dissipate it, to discredit the whole 
slogan of the united front. 

The united front tactic plays a growingly important role in the 
trade union field and strike movements. This is especially true in 
the struggle against company unions, and in those industries where two 
or more trade unions are already being built among the workers. In 
every case, revolutionary forces must come forward as the practical 
fighters for uniting all workers against the company unions, for finding 
the forms to unify the struggles of the workers in the A. F. of L., 
T.U.U.L. and independent unions. An excellent example of correct 
effort in this direction was the proposal for united action submitted 
by the delegates of the Steel and Metal Workers' Industrial Union to 
the Conference of the Republic Steel Mill locals of the Amalgamated 
Association of Iron, Steel & Tin Workers held recently in Ohio. An- 
other example of the correct united front tactics in the trade union 
struggles was the work in the Western Pennsylvania mine fields during 
the big strikes there, in which the National Miners' Union declared 
its support for the demand for the recognition of the United Mine 
Workers, and in which the S.M.W.I.U. successfully began the establish- 
ment of united action of the striking miners with the steel workers. 
Another example of the correct application of the united front was the 
Automobile Workers' Conference held last week in Detroit on the joint 
call of the Auto Workers' Union and the Mechanics Educational So- 
ciety, participated in also by rank and file delegates from the A. F. of 
L. auto unions, with the slogan of joint struggle against company 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 6i 

unions, and for the auto workers' demands. Many other examples could 
be brought forward and should be analyzed. Comrade Stachel in his 
special report on the trade union question is going to go more into 
detail in analyzing the whole of our trade union problems now. 

In all united front activities, the Communists must always grant 
the right to all other groups, and reserve the right for themselves, of 
mutual criticism. It is permissible and correct to make specific agree- 
ments of non-criticism during the actual carrying through of joint 
actions agreed upon, within the scope of the specific agreement, so 
long as these agreements are loyally adhered to by all sides. But the 
Communists can never agree to be silent, to refrain from criticism, 
on any breaking of agreements for struggle, on any betrayal or deser- 
tion of the fight. Any such agreements would not be contributions 
to unity, but rather to disunity. 

"Left" Social-Fascism and Its Role 

The relationship between immediate demands and revolution has 
become closer than ever with the deepening of the capitalist crisis. 
The capitalists are driving more and more to reduce the standards of 
living. The Socialist leaders and the A. F. of L. are more and more 
driven by their subordination to the Roosevelt program to openly 
betray the struggle of the workers for the means of living. Where 
formerly they had time and room to maneuver in and fool the workers, 
they now more and more have come out quickly and openly with their 
strike-breaking role. As a result, the masses are becoming quickly 
disillusioned. There is a real crisis among the social-fascists; their 
followers are turning away from them. 

A little example of the speed of this development has been seen in 
the two taxi drivers' strikes in New York City. Two months ago the 
taxi workers went out demanding the recognition of their union and in- 
creased pay. When they first struck, who were their leaders? Mayor 
LaGuardia, himself, appeared as a sort of godfather to them; Socialist 
Judge Panken was their principal spokesman; liberal Socialist Morris 
Ernst was the arbitrator; the Socialist Party spoke of it patronizingly 
as "our" union. Quickly the scene changed. The arbitrators got to 
work. When the men hesitated to compromise their demands, La- 
Guardia quickly changed from the kindly godfather to the threatening 
policeman. The liberal Socialist councillors and arbitrators pressed 
the taxi men to accept the settlement dictated by LaGuardia; the men 
finally accepted under the impression that they had gotten part of their 
economic demands, plus the recognition of their union. The Com- 
munists told the taxi strikers they had been betrayed. The taxi strikers 
were still loyal to these "leaders" and they tore up the Daily Worker 
that told them the truth, and beat up the Communists. Disappointed 
though they were, they would have nothing to do with the "Communist 



62 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

disrupters" and "reds." But when they got back to work, they found 
that they had been not only cheated out of their supposed victories, but 
were completely denied the right of their own organization. The 
companies began installing company unions; the men threatened to 
strike against them; they returned to their old leaders for advice and 
were told not to make any more trouble, to submit to the N.R.A. code 
of $13.00 per week; that the company had a right to organize company 
unions if they wished. In desperation, the men went on strike again 
to enforce the recognition of their union. Already they had arrayed 
against them all their former friends; every newspaper in the city 
vilified them; LaGuardia threatened them; the police arrested them 
and beat them up; the Socialists washed their hands of them; the 
A. F. of L. threatened to come in and take over, sponsorship of the 
company union. Only the Communist Party, the revolutionary trade 
unions and the Daily Worker came to the assistance of the taxi strikers. 
Result: the same taxi drivers who a few weeks ago were tearing up 
the Daily Worker, and beating up Communists, today cheer the Daily 
Worker, send delegations to the Communist Party Convention, and are 
no longer afraid or ashamed that their union is being called a red 
union. In a few brief weeks the social-fascists lost their influence 
over them; these men, who in overwhelming majority a few weeks 
ago were actively antagonistic, became Communist sympathizers. 

The same thing is happening on a larger and smaller scale every- 
where. The class lines are tightening; the class struggle is sharpening; 
the masses can learn quicker now than ever before on which side the 
leaders stand — ^with the capitalists or with the workers. The social- 
fascist leaders are being exposed before the masses as capitalist agents. 

In this crisis the social-fascist leadership finds it necessary to invent 
new means to keep the workers fooled and under their control. For 
this purpose, they are beginning, wherever the situation gets too hot 
for them, to establish a division of labor — one part of them becomes 
the "right wing," which carries through the dirty work of the direct 
sell-out; the other part becomes a "left-wing" which mildly deplores 
the necessity of submitting to the sell-out, and which consoles the 
workers with an ineffective opposition and a sugar-coating of radical 
and even revolutionary and Communist phrases. This left-reformism, 
left social-fascism, is springing up everywhere today, and is especially 
dangerous. One form of it is the self-styled "American Workers Party," 
headed by the Rev. Muste. Another is the Lovestone group, with its 
I. Zimmerman in the shoe industry and its S. Zimmerman in the needle 
trades. Another is the Trotzky group in the food industry. They 
are characterized by the multiplicity of their banners, their hatred of 
the Communists, their radical hot-air, and their practical service to the 
A. F. of L. and Socialist Party officialdom. 

A classical example of this left social-fascism is given by the "Com- 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 63 

munist Oppositionist," S. Zimmerman in Local 22 of the International 
Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Zimmerman's "Communist" revolu- 
tionary phrases have become invaluable instruments in the hands of 
the I.L.G.W.U. officials and the Socialist Party. The workers in Local 
22 are becoming disillusioned with the officialdom. They can't be 
fooled any more by the old means. They are prepared to give a large 
vote for revolutionary policy. So the S. P. and A. F. of L. officials 
decide that here is an occasion to apply the good old American saying 
"if you can't lick 'em, join 'em." They find ready at hand in the 
person of S. Zimmerman their own "Communist" to lead Local 22, and 
safely preserve these workers under their control. They assure the 
workers: "Your choice is no longer between reformist and revolutionary 
leadership. Now you choose between two kinds of revolutionists — the 
practical, the realistic Zimmerman, or the impractical, Utopian, dis- 
ruptive Communists. You're not even choosing between non-Com- 
munists and Communists, because we're even prepared to give you a 
Communist to lead you." Thus in the recent elections in Local 22, 
the A. F. of L. officials, Socialist Party, the Socialist press, created 
a firm fighting united front in support of the "Communist" Zimmer- 
man. Thus, these little groups of renegades, trading on the name of 
Communism, hire themselves out to the blackest reaction in the labor 
movement, and become "mass leaders" in the service of social-fascism. 

The example of the Zimmermans gives the type of the whole tribe 
of left social-fascists that is being born out of the crisis of social-fascist 
leadership. They are the most dangerous enemies of the workers' 
struggles today. We can move forward only to the extent that we 
expose their true character, and thus drive them out of the workers' 
movement. 

In this respect we must say that too often we still see remnants of 
a certain liberal, tolerant attitude towards the renegades. To some 
extent this is born out of the fact that we have such a new membership 
in our movement — because we are growing so rapidly. Many of our 
members are not familiar with the direct facts of the history and func- 
tions of these people who call themselves "Communists." Too many 
of our members still do not understand that Trotsk3dsm and the Trot- 
skyists are not a "branch" of the Communist movement but rather a 
police agency of the capitalist class. 

There is also a real leftward movement among Socialist workers 
which tries, often confusedly, to give expression to a revolutionary 
policy. A symptom of such a movement is the platform recently issued 
by the Revolutionary Policy Committee in preparation for the S. P. 
Convention in June. Some of its proposals have been included for 
action in the official agenda adopted for the Convention. It must 
be said that the Revolutionary Policy Committee comes much closer 
to revolutionary formulations . on central issues than does the Muste 



64 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

"A.W.P."; and further that it is much less vicious in its attacks upon 
Communism than is Muste or the renegades. The composition of this 
"left-wing," however, gives little ground for expecting it to lead the 
real leftward development of the S. P. members toward the united 
front with the Communists and eventually toward unification. It is 
not homogeneous ; many of its members are known for their vacillating, 
compromising character. In all probability this effort also will collapse 
into another contribution to that "left" social-fascism whose object is 
to disrupt and disperse the left-ward movement of the workers. 

All Socialist Parties, in their division of labor, are producing not 
only "left" wings, but also open fascist groupings. Thus in Japan, the 
Socialist Party split with its general secretary going over with a section 
of the Socialist Party to "national socialism," a crude imitation of Hitler 
adapted to Japanese war policy. Thus in France, the "neo-socialists" 
have split from the Socialist Party, in order to pass over openly to a 
national chauvinist platform, open fascism. The American Socialist 
Party also has its open fascist grouping, which centers here in Ohio. 
Its spokesman is Joseph W. Sharts, state secretary of the S. P. Let 
me give you a few samples of his new fascist program for the S. P.: 

Frank recognition of the futility of all socialist efforts so long as we 
ignore or oppose those elemental emotional forces implied in "Americanism," 
"nationalism," and "patriotism," and therefore the need of utilizing or at 
least neutralizing them by a shift of attitude and propaganda so as to enlist 
national pride and love of country. 

The socialist appeal which relies on a vague internationalism and a 
mythical working-class instinct of solidarity is easily crushed whenever it 
meets the elemental emotional forces roused under the name of patriotism. 

These great traditions cluster around the Stars and Stripes and make it 
worthy to be fought for, regardless of the capitalist connections in recent 
years. 

Not by the pacifist but by the patriotic approach lies our path to power 
and freedom. 

It would be difficult to improve on Mr. Sharts by quoting directly 
from Hitler. 

Progress in the Bolshevization of the Communist Party 

What is meant by Bolshevizing the Party? 

It means to master all the lessons taught us by that first Communist 
Party, the most successful one, created and led to victory by Lenin, 
and now successfully building socialism under the leadership of Stalin. 
It means to become a party of the masses; to be a Party with its 
strongest roots among the decisive workers in the basic industries; it 
means to be a Party whose stronghold is in the shops, mines and 
factories, and especially in the biggest and most important ones; it 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 65 

means to be a Party that leads and organizes the struggles of all the 
oppressed people, brings them into firm alliance with the working class ; 
it means to be a Party that answers every question of the struggle, 
that can solve every problem ; it means to be a Party that never shrinks 
from difficulties, that never turns aside to find the easiest way; that 
learns how to overcome all deviations in its own ranks — fight on two 
fronts; it means to become a Party that knows how to take difficulties 
and dangers and transform them into advantages and victories. 

Are we such a Party? Not yet. We have a strong ambition to 
become such a Party. We are making progress in that direction. But 
when we consider the extremely favorable circumstances under which 
we work, when millions are beginning to move, to organize, to fight, 
when only our program can solve their problems, then we must say that 
we are moving forward entirely too slowly. Our task is to win the 
majority of the working class to our program. We do not have unlimited 
time to accomplish this. Tempo, speed of development of our work, 
becomes the decisive factor in determining victory or defeat. 

The Bolshevik method of work necessary in this period was con- 
cretely outlined for the Party in the Open Letter of the Extraordinary 
Party Conference last year. It called for concentration of our forces 
upon the most important tasks, upon the workers in the basic industries, 
upon the biggest factories. It set certain minimimi, practical tasks to 
be accomplished within a certain period; it called for periodical re- 
examination, check-up and control on the execution of these tasks. 

This 8th Convention of the Party must make such a check-up and 
control for the entire Party. We must review the work of our Party 
since the 7th Convention and especially since the Extraordinary Con- 
ference, and establish what we have succeeded in accomplishing. Where 
have we failed, and where are our weaknesses? Upon this basis we can 
then correctly set ourselves the control tasks for the next period. We 
must forever put behind us that time when we wrote resolutions and 
set ourselves tasks on paper, then took this paper, carefully locked 
it up in the drawers of a desk, forgot about it and proceeded to drift 
along as best we could according to the exigencies of the moment with- 
out plan, without direction, and then at the next conference write 
another resolution like the one we wrote before and proceed to forget 
it like we forget the other one. When we write a resolution, this is 
the most serious binding of ourselves to carry it out. If it is not carried 
out we must know why, and in the next resolution we write we must 
take all necessary measures to guarantee that the resolution will actually 
be put into execution. 

In 1930, at the 7th Convention, our Party had just emerged from a 
long period of relative stagnation and even retrogression, resulting from 
protracted inner party factional struggles, and the domination of the 
opportunist policies of the Lovestone leadership. The 7th Convention 



66 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

consolidated the unification of the Party, confirmed the throwing off of 
the opportunists, and turned the Party resolutely towards the correct 
Bolshevik policy of mass struggles and mass organization. But the 
Party was still very weak in practice. It had only 7,545 dues-paying 
members; its factory nuclei were few and functioned very weakly. 
The revolutionary trade unions had no more than 25,000 members, and 
were poorly consolidated; revolutionary work in the A. F. of L. was at 
its lowest ebb; mass organizations around the Party, mostly language 
and cultural organizations, were not politically active and a very gen- 
erous estimate of all mass organization membership could not possibly 
exceed 300,000. 

Since that time important changes have taken place. Consider firstly 
only the dues-paying membership of the Party. If we take this by 
half yearly averages, we obtain the following very instructive figures: 

1931 — First half 8,339 

1931 — Second half 9,219 

1932 — First half 12,936 

1932 — Second half 14474 

1933 — First half 16,814 

1933 — Second half 19,165 

1934 — ^Three months 24,500 

From these figures it is clear that the unification of the Party and 
its correct general political line from the 7th Convention and during 
the period of the crisis, has resulted in a constant increase in member- 
ship from half year to half year. Today our Party is more than three 
times its size at the 7th Convention. But it is also clear that it is the 
past six months which show the most decisive upward turn. This 
corresponds with the period when the main body of the Party began 
seriously to improve its work, that is, since the Party studied and 
began to master the Open Letter. 

This becomes even more clear when we study the figures of our shop 
nuclei. At the 7th Convention, we had a little more than a hundred 
shop nuclei. At the time of the Open Letter there was still only 140. 
Even taking into consideration that the intervening period had witnessed 
the closing down of innumerable factories, and the consequent de- 
struction of many nuclei, still it is clear that we only little more than 
held our own. Since the Open Letter, however, due to our concen- 
tration and improved work, assisted, of course, by the general atmos- 
phere of struggle that has swept the factories, we can now report 338 
shop nuclei. The proportion of total membership in shop nuclei has 
risen from 4 to 9 per cent, and the proportion of employed members 
is 40 per cent. 

What kind of shops are these in? Last year, 68 of them were in 
basic industries. This year, there are 154, with a proportionate increase 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 67 

m membership. The majority of these shop units are in small factories. 
A growing number are in the larger and more decisive factories. We 
have shop units functioning now in our concentration points in the 
steel industry, the big mills of Pittsburgh, Youngstown, and Calumet 
Valley areas. We have nuclei in the important auto shops as well as 
in many of the smaller shops; we have a growing number of mine 
nuclei. In the shops where these 338 shop nuclei operate, there are 
at work a total of over 350,000 workers, showing a general average 
of about 1,000 workers per shop. 

In these enterprises where our shop nuclei work, there was one year 
ago very little trade union organization. The total membership of 
all categories in the shops of the 140 nuclei was a little more than 7,000. 
Today in the 338 shops where our nuclei operate, there are over 10,000 
members of the revolutionary unions, more than 5,000 members in 
independent unions, and over 21,000 members of the A. F. of L. 
These figures represent a very important increase, comprising more 
than 10 per cent of all the workers in these enterprises. That the 
Communists have had a great deal to do with this growth in trade 
union organization is demonstrated by the relatively high proportion 
of revolutionary and independent unions. The most serious weakness 
that these figures disclose is that as yet only a little more than 10 per 
cent of the workers have been brought into the unions. 

It is clear that precisely at this point we have the key problem to 
the future growth of our Party and of the revolutionary trade union 
movement. The problem of our shop nuclei is to win the leadership 
of the overwhelming majority of these 350,000 workers, bring the best 
fighters, the most capable forces, into the Communist Party and the 
whole mass of workers into the trade unions. Is it Utopian to set such 
a task for ourselves? No, it is not. Weak as our shop work has been, 
we already have examples showing that it can be done, and done 
quickly. 

Let us take, for example, the case of a certain metal shop, the ex- 
periences of which I have personally examined. This shop is of medium 
size in the lighter section of industry. It employs in this period about 
500 workers. A year ago we had a stagnant nucleus of three members. 
Following the Open Letter, the Party committeee in the section where 
this factory is located, assigned some politically capable comrades to 
work with and help the nucleus. In connection with the Metal Workers 
Union, the shop was drawn into a strike movement, together with 
many other small metal shops. The demands of the strikers were won, 
and the employers signed a contract with the union. The nucleus was 
still functioning very weakly. It had worked only as a fraction of the 
union, without showing the Party face. Consequently, it recruited very 
slowly. The workers in the shops didn't know the Party existed there. 
The union leaders were afraid that if the Party nucleus took any initia- 



68 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

tive it might disrupt the mass organization of the union in the shop. 
As a result of this poHtical weakness, the shop committee of the union 
elected as its chairman one of the most reactionary elements in the 
shop, a very conscious supporter of the Socialist Party leadership, and 
an enemy of the union. The opinion prevailed that this was the way 
to secure full unity of the shop, but this shop chairman sabotaged the 
work of the union. The shop nucleus meeting every week with the 
personal participation of representatives of the section, and discussing 
all the problems of the shop and the union, gradually became conscious 
of these weaknesses and dangers. They saw the boss becoming very 
arrogant again and threatening to refuse to renew his contract with 
the union, or to consider the new demands the workers were formu- 
lating. They saw a spirit of passivity and defeatism spreading among 
the workers in the shop. The nucleus decided that it must become 
active and make its presence known in the entire shop. Its first move 
was to secure the defeat and removal of the sabotaging shop chairman. 
A shop paper began to appear regularly. It is interesting to note that 
our trade union leaders resisted the developing initiative of the shop 
nucleus. They were afraid of it; they even developed the theory 
that the shop nucleus was merely a fraction of the union, and subject 
to the directives of the leading fraction of the union as a whole. But 
the nucleus correctly and successfully overcame this resistance. At 
the crucial moment when it seemed that the union in the shop was 
about to be wiped out, the nucleus distributed throughout the shop to 
every worker a leaflet in which, speaking as a unit of the Communist 
Party, it pointed out the dangers to the workers, called upon them 
to rally their forces to the union and to win their demands. Within a 
day the atmosphere in the shop was entirely transformed; defeatism 
and demoralization vanished. The Communist who had been discharged 
for distributing the leaflets in the shop was quickly reinstated in his 
job by the action of the entire body of workers, who threatened im- 
mediate strike if this demand was not complied with. The employer 
quickly changed his tone, and instead of tearing up the imion contract, 
he negotiated a new one, embodying additional gains for the workers. 
The union meeting in the factory thereupon invited an official speaker 
from the Communist Party to come and speak at their meeting; greeted 
the speaker with an ovation. It is the common talk of the shop that 
"our union is strong because we have an active, strong Communist 
Party nucleus among us." The Party and Y.C.L. membership in this 
shop now comprises 14 per cent of the whole body of workers. The 
shop is 100 per cent unionized in the revolutionary union. These 
workers are raw and inexperienced, the type usually known as "back- 
ward." The leaders of the shop nucleus and the shop committee of 
the union is now composed of new, active, capable forces in command 
of the situation, displaying strong initiative; the individuals who make 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 69 

up this leadership were three months ago looked upon as "backward 
workers," who rarely raised their voices in meetings. 

Imagine the tremendous steps forward our Party would make if the 
experience of this shop was repeated in just half of our existing shop 
nuclei 1 Imagine how quickly we could develop a mighty mass Party 
when we get a few hundred strongholds like this throughout the country, 
especially in the basic industries! WTiat a transformation would take 
place in the Chicago District! If the Packinghouse and Steel nuclei 
would repeat this experience, if the comrades had not forgotten their 
own good resolutions! What a new District Pittsburgh would become 
if a similar work were done in the Jones and Laughlin steel mill! 

The greatest weakness of our shop nuclei is that they are not so 
much secret from the bosses as they are from the workers in their shops. 
They are afraid to speak to the workers in the name of the Party. They 
rarely issue leaflets. Less than 15 per cent of our shop nuclei issue a 
shop paper of any kind. We even find theories popping up — for 
example, in Cleveland and in some sections of New York — that Party 
shop papers are really a danger and a hindrance to penetrating the 
factories, that we must work by stages and have first only union papers; 
then later on, carefully begin to introduce Party shop papers. This 
opportunistic hiding the face of the Party in the shops is the most 
serious right danger. 

Our street nuclei are also beginning in some cases to learn how to 
do mass work on their own account. We now have 1,482 street nuclei. 
What a tremendous power even these can become when they learn 
Bolshevik methods of work. That they are not such a power today 
is only because they still look upon themselves merely as dues-collecting 
agencies, as agencies to distribute leaflets handed down to them from 
above; at best, as political discussion clubs of a general character and 
a timid distributor of the Daily Worker. That is the picture of the 
average nucleus. But in these cases where a street nucleus begins to 
understand its independent political function as being the Party in its 
own neighborhood, as being the organizer and leader of the masses in 
that neighborhood, when it begins to set itself the task of winning 
the majority of the workers in its neighborhood, and to take the 
initiative in accomplishing this task, the results are simply tremendous. 
Street nuclei are finding out that very often with only a little attention 
they can, themselves, give birth immediately to important shop nuclei 
out of their own membership. They are finding that individual con- 
nection with particular shops can quickly be built up into a shop 
nucleus, and especially they are beginning to find the proper activity 
for a street nucleus, as such, rooting the Party among the masses in 
the neighborhood, building neighborhood strongholds for the Communist 
Party. 

Above all, the street nuclei must become serious organizers and leaders 



70 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

of the unemployed. From 60 to 70 per cent of our members are them- 
selves unemployed, but relatively few of them are active in building 
block committees and Unemployment Councils winning strongholds for 
the Party among the 16,000,000 unemployed. We must declare that 
just as it is the duty of every employed Communist to be a leader in 
his trade unions, so also is it the duty of an unemployed Communist 
to become the leader of 10 or 100 other unemployed workers in block 
committees and neighborhood councils. 

Let me cite only one good example of a street nucleus which is be- 
ginning to get itself on its own feet, politically. This nucleus has no 
great achievements yet in factory work. A year ago it was a rather 
discouraged group of good, loyal comrades who didn't exactly know 
what to do. They began to apply the Open Letter to their neighbor- 
hood problem. They opened a neighborhood Workers' Club and kept 
it open at all hours, especially for the young people in the neighborhood. 
They introduced organization of a primitive sort among these people, 
giving them activities, games, music, etc. In another part of the 
neighborhood, with a considerable Negro population, they began to 
build a branch of the L. S. N. R., with white and Negro members. 
Some members of the nucleus took the initiative in launching a branch 
of the C. W. A. Workers' Union. The nucleus undertook action in sup- 
port of strikes that affected the neighborhood, and rallied some support 
for picket lines. As a result of these activities, the unit began to grow, 
more than doubling its membership. It has drawn into the Party 
several excellent new Negro workers. At its last meeting, it spent a 
couple of hours discussing the most difficult problems that have arisen 
with the mass influx of raw young American workers from the streets 
into the neighborhood club. Large groups of such youngsters that had 
for months been avoiding the club as "disreputable red" headquarters, 
had suddenly changed their attitude, and presented themselves for mem- 
bership in the club, and were making all sorts of demands upon the 
leadership for organization and activities. The life of this unit is now 
rich and intense with the problems of the daily life of the neighborhood. 
It has become a mass influence among thousands of people. 

An interesting sidelight on our methods of work is given by an ex- 
perience of this unit in conducting its neighborhood club. In order 
to raise the political level of the club life, they have been inviting 
speakers from various mass organizations and the Party from other 
parts of the city. They report almost invariably these speakers are 
absolutely unintelligible for the neighborhood crowd that attends this 
club. The speakers never find any point of contact with their audience. 
They talk over their heads, use long phrases which may have been 
very good in a thesis, but of which these neighborhood workers haven't 
the slightest understanding. As a result, the audiences grow restless; 
the young people get boisterous, and even contemptuous of these po- 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 71 

litical spouters. This phase of politicalization has been a dismal failure, 
as it was bound to be with such an approach. Here is a lesson for the 
entire Party, in its work of mass agitation and propaganda, of political 
education of the new raw masses that are coming to us. It is the 
virtue of parrots and of phonographs that they mechanically repeat the 
phrases given to them. But that is no virtue for Commimist speakers. 
We must completely overhaul our methods of mass education; we must 
absolutely put a stop to this business of our Party speakers copying 
parrots and phonographs, putting forth the Party program in such 
unintelligible terms that it is just so much Greek to the audience and 
doesn't touch their lives in any way or arouse a spark of interest. 

The next central point in Party building after the shop and street 
nuclei is the Party Section Committee, Section bureau. This is the 
real cadre of the Party's mass leadership. To the extent that this is 
broadened and strengthened, to the degree that it becomes the decisive 
and controlling force in our daily work, to that degree, the Party will 
become a mass Party. That means that our sections must be small 
enough for the committee to actually know the problems, find the solu- 
tions, and give direct leadership in carrying through the work. A 
Section Committee must be the general staff of the revolution in its 
territory. It must know every house, street, and factory. It must 
know the daily problems of life of its population. It must know 
all our enemies and learn how to defeat them. It must turn its 
section into a Communist stronghold. That means a larger number 
of sections, more careful selection of leadership, and a better quality of 
leadership to the Sections from the Districts. 

We have made progress in development of Sections of our Party, 
but not nearly enough. Where in 1930 there were 87 Party Sections, 
there are today 187. The geographical extension of the Party organiza- 
tion is shown in the fact that these Sections include functioning Party 
committees in 463 cities. The works of these Section Committees have 
improved, but we must place before the leadership of the Party today 
as a decisive question for our future progress, much more decisive 
improvement of the quality of our Section leadership. 

A most serious problem of Party growth is the fluctuation in mem- 
bership. Since 1930, starting with a membership of 7,545? we had 
recruited up until February, 1934, 49,050 new members. If we had 
retained all old and new members, we would have had in February, 
56,595 members. Instead of this, we have dues-payment of only about 
25,000. Two out of every three recruited members have not been 
retained in the Party. Fluctuation is being reduced, but is still high. 
It is no explanation for us to cite the fact that organization member- 
ship is in America traditionally unstable and fluctuating. It is precisely 
the task of Bolsheviks to be different from everybody else. It is no 
explanation for us to cite the unsatisfactory character of this recruiting^ 



72 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

which was largely from the unemployed, from open-air mass meetings, 
etc., and not the basic building of the Party through struggles and in 
the midst of struggles in the factories, in stable neighborhood organiza- 
tions, in the mass organizations, trade unions, etc. It is precisely the 
task of Bolsheviks to improve the quality of recruiting itself, so that 
Party recruits are permanently assimilated into the life of the organiza- 
tion. The proper use of the new forces drawn to us, their activization 
and education in Bolshevism, is our basic task. This is the creation of 
the main instrument for building a socialist society in America. Every 
weakness, and especially such weakness as exhibited in this still high 
degree of fluctuation, signalizes a danger to the successful building of 
the revolutionary movement in America. The whole Party must be 
roused to a consciousness of this problem. All the forces of the Party 
must be concentrated upon the task of holding and consolidating every 
new recruit. 

On Using Our Strongest Weapon, the "Daily Worker" 

The Open Letter set a main task for the Party in improving and 
popularizing the Daily Worker and transforming it into a real mass 
newspaper. This problem has two distinct sides, which are, however, 
very closely interrelated. These are the editorial improvements of 
the Daily Worker contents and the creation of a mass circulation of 
the paper. In the first respect we have made a decisive step forward. 
Since last August the contents of the Daily Worker have been enlarged, 
enriched and improved in every respect. The paper has become of 
interest to its readers every day, and is more and more showing what 
an indispensable weapon it is in the building of a mass Communist 
Party, as well as for the conduct of the everyday struggles. It is still 
far from the ideal Bolshevik newspaper; the editorials are as yet weak, 
not simple and clear enough ; it is not yet sufficiently decisive in its role 
as political educator of the masses; it is not yet sufficiently bound up 
with the daily life of the masses in the decisive districts and factories. 
We can say it has made important steps in the right direction. 

Unfortunately we cannot say the same about the Daily Worker 
circulation. With regard to circulation the situation is really alarming. 
The number of copies printed daily (not taking into consideration the 
large special editions and the special Saturday circulation) still remains 
considerably below the level of 1931. True there has been a certain 
improvement even here, so far as payment to the office of the Daily 
Worker for this circulation. The amount of money received by the 
Daily Worker for its papers has slightly increased above 1931. It is 
also true that there has been an improvement in circulation from the 
low point of a year ago by about 50 per cent. But this has been almost 
entirely the product of the spontaneous response to the improved con- 
tents of the paper and only in a small degree the planned, conscious, 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 73 

systematic activity of our Party. Shall we wait until it costs us our head 
to be caught with a copy of the Daily Worker before we realize its 
inestimable value? We are only playing around with the Daily Worker, 
until we have given it a minimum circulation of 100,000 copies a day. 
We already have grouped around our Party, under its mfluence, far 
more than that number of workers who need a Communist newspaper 
and are not served by our language newspapers. To set the goal of 
100,000 circulation is merely to reach with the Daily Worker those 
workers with whom we are already in contact. Until this goal is 
reached we must declare the circulation of the Daily Worker is the 
weakest sector in our battlefront. 

Check-Up on Our Control Tasks 

The Open Letter set us the task of decisively strengthening our work 
in the A. F. of L. and other reformist trade unions. We can register 
some serious beginnings of improvement in this field. I have already 
sjx)ken of the broad scope of the movement for the Workers' Unemploy- 
ment Insurance Bill inside the A. F. of L. We can record that the 
work of the revolutionary oppositions under Communist direction is 
now the decisive leadership in approximately 150 local unions of the 
A. F. of L. with a membership of from 50,000 to 60,000. This opposi- 
tion work is improving in the most important industries such as mining 
and steel. In addition to those local unions in which the revolutionary 
opposition has the support of the majority of the workers, there are 
serious minorities in a larger and growing number of unions. The 
weakest field in this respect remains the railroad industry. Here we 
cannot yet say that the Party has taken up the task with full serious- 
ness, nor even made a considerable beginning. Throughout the work 
in the A. F. of L., the characteristic weakness remains the formal char- 
acter of the opposition work, its tendency to remain content with 
participation in union elections and formal debates, the legalism of the 
work, its failure to orientate itself to the shops and establish its or- 
ganizational base there, and its weakness in developing independent 
leadership of the daily struggles. 

The most decisive advance in the trade union field in the past year 
has been the emergence of the revolutionary trade unions as real mass 
organizations, directly leading the struggle of 20 per cent of all the 
strikers in this period, and winning a far higher proportion of the vic- 
tories won by the strike movement. Especially important has been the 
advances in steel, agriculture, marine, as well as the serious advances 
in lighter industries, such as, shoe, needle, furniture, etc. Over 100,000 
new recruits, offset by fluctuation of about 15,000 gives us at present 
about 125,000 members in the revolutionary unions. The increased 
stability of these organizations is due to the fact that they were built 
in struggle, that they are mastering the art of trade union democracy, 



74 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

are developing their own responsible trade union functionaries and 
exhibit a growing and active inner life. 

The Unemployment Council movement was only in its first beginnings 
in 1930. Four years of rich experience in local, state and national 
struggles and actions, the high points of which were the great March 
6, 1930, Unemployment Day Demonstrations, the National Hunger 
Marches in 193 1 and 1932, and the recent National Unemployment 
Congress in Washington in February, 1934, have crystallized real mass 
organizations on a nation-wide scale. In the Washington Conference, 
which brought together the Unemployment Councils, trade unions and 
all forms of mass organizations that support the struggle for the 
Workers Unemployment Insurance Bill, there was organized represen- 
tation of about 500,000 workers. In the Unemployment Councils, 
C.W.A. Unions, Relief Workers Unions, etc., there is comparatively 
stable organization of from 150,000 to 200,000. In spite of the fact, 
however, that the Unemployment Council movement under our leader- 
ship is the predominant organizational expression of the unemployed 
on a national scale, we must say in many localities it exhibits the most 
serious weaknesses. These weaknesses are both political and organiza- 
tional. Especially we have not fully involved the trade unions in 
unemployed work. The Party has answered in principle all the prob- 
lems and found the solutions to these weaknesses, but due to insufficient, 
direct political and organizational leadership by the Party, from top 
to bottom, units, sections and districts, and the weak functioning of the 
Party fractions, the full benefit of our experience has not been carried 
to the movement as a whole. The result is a big lag behind the possi- 
bilities on a national scale, with the most dangerous weaknesses in the 
majority of localities. As a result, we see in many places new organiza- 
tions of unemployed, in which the "left" social-fascists and renegade 
elements live off the capital of our weaknesses and neglect. The move- 
ment under our leadership is the only broad, unifying force, and the 
only section of the unemployed with a clear and consistent program. It 
has a growing cadre of the best leaders of the unemployed movement. 
If we will give it the proper guidance, with persistent, systematic 
support, it can in the coming year organize millions instead of the 
present hundred thousands. 

Since the 7th Convention, we have made another important addition 
to the list of mass revolutionary organizations. This is the mutual 
benefit society. International Workers Order. Since the Open Letter, 
the I.W.O., through its membership campaign, has multiplied itself, 
and now contains about 45,000 members. Even more important, it 
has built strongholds among the workers in the basic industries and 
has extended beyond its foreign language sections by recruiting native- 
born American and Negro workers. The I.W.O. has before itself the 
problem of how to consolidate and further extend its mass membership, 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 75 

without lowering its previous high standard of revolutionary activity, 
of political education of its members, especially through involving them 
more directly in the class struggle. 

Surveying the whole field of language mass organizations (including 
the I.W.O.), we find in 20 language groups that these mass organiza- 
tions have grown from about 50,000 in 1930 to over 133,000 at the 
present time. Besides these organizations led by Communists, large 
gains have been made in building revolutionary opposition movements 
inside the reformist language organizations, on which it is difficult to 
give reliable statistics. The Party's foreign-language newspaper circu- 
lation has increased from 110,000 in 1930 to 131,000 in 1934. Most of 
this increased circulation has come within the past year. It is clear 
that the language press is by no means keeping up with the extension 
of the language organizations. We must set for our language bureaus 
and language newspapers the task of raising the political standard of 
their work, to draw their membership much more intimately into the 
main stream of the American class struggle, to activize it, to bring 
forward new leading cadres, and to speed the process of a Bolshevik 
Americanization — that is, the welding of a united proletarian mass 
movement that transcends all language and national barriers. 

Especially important for stabilizing the lower Party organs and mass 
organizations has been the program for Bolshevizing our financial 
methods and accounting. A special sub-report will be made on this 
question. It is not a technical question. It is of first class political 
importance. Bolshevik planning, budgeting and a strict responsibility 
are being instituted. This must become the universal rule. There must 
be no loosening up on this question. 

Scores of smaller mass organizations have arisen in the past year, 
each serving some special need, and each contributing to the general 
strengthening of the revolutionary movement. We have no time to 
review them all here, important though many of them are. Special 
mention must be made of the International Labor Defense, which has 
won many serious political victories in this period, chief among them 
the conduct of the Scottsboro case. The I. L. D., however, lags seriously 
behind in organizational consolidation and in the systematic develop- 
ment of its whole broad field of activities. Most serious political 
guidance must be given by the Party to the work of the Communist 
fractions in the I. L. D. to overcome these weaknesses. The Com- 
munists who participate in the broad non-Party organization of the 
Friends of the Soviet Union, have done good work here. Only a hand- 
ful of Communists are in this organization, but they have rallied around 
it the most varied circle of sympathizers, individuals and organizations 
which was demonstrated in an excellent mass convention held recently 
in New York City. The many other organizations, which we will not 
go into in detail; one and all can find the road to strengthen themselves, 



76 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

to improve their work, by studying the methods of our Party in the 
larger fields of mass work, by mastering the art of Bolshevik self- 
criticism, and detailed study of their problems. Special sub-reports will 
deal with the problem of training new cadres and the related question 
of our growing system of Party schools. We have advances to record 
in dealing with these questions in a planned way, as special problems. 
But again we must say, this is not characteristic for the entire Party. 
Planned training and promotion of new cadres is the essence of 
Bolshevik leadership. 

If we make a conservative estimate of the total membership of mass 
organizations around the Party, and under its political influence, allow- 
ing for possible duplications of membership, we will see that we have 
approximately 500,000 individual supporters in these organizations. 
Compared with the estimated 300,000 at the time of our 7th Convention, 
this is not quite a doubling of our organized supporters. The quality 
of this support we must say, however, is on a far higher level; it is more 
conscious, more active, more consolidated, and has been tested in the 
fires of four years of struggle against difficulties, against the sharpening 
attacks of our enemies. The largest part of this gain has come in the 
past year as the result of serious efforts to carry out the line of the 
Open Letter, and to execute the control tasks set by the Extraordi- 
nary Party Conference. 

We have been able to make these advances because we have begun 
to learn how to apply Bolshevik self-criticism. We have learned to 
face our weaknesses and mistakes, boldly and openly. 

On Learning the Art of Self-Criticism 

We have learned to use the powerful corrective influence of collective 
self-criticism. Our enemies gleefully exhibit our self-criticism as the 
sign of a dying movement. We can afford to let them have what 
satisfaction they get out of this, when we know that it is precisely 
through self-criticism that we have begun seriously to overcome these 
weaknesses. We are beginning to master, according to our own weak 
abilities, the art of self-criticism, so ably taught to the Communist 
Party of the Soviet Union by Comrade Stalin. We can still, with 
great profit, read again and again the reports of Comrade Stalin to 
the Congresses and Conferences of the C. P. S. U. As one such con- 
tribution to our 8th Convention, I want to read a few pages from the 
report of Comrade Stalin to the 15th Party Congress in 1927, almost 
every word of which has a direct lesson for us in our work. Comrade 
Stalin said: 

Let us take, for instance, the matter of guidance of economic and other 
organizations on the part of the Party organizations. Is everything satis- 
factory in this respect? No, it is not. Often questions are decided, not 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 77 

only in the locals, but also in the center, so to speak, en famille, the family 
circle. Ivan Ivanovitch, a member of the leading group of some organiza- 
tion, made, let us say, a big mistake and made a mess of things. But Ivan 
Federovitch does not want to criticize him, show up his mistakes and correct 
him. He does not want to, because he is not disposed to "make enemies." 
A mistake was made, things went wrong, but what of it, who does not make 
mistakes? Today I will show up Ivan Ivanovitch, tomorrow he will do the 
same to me. Let Ivan Ivanovitch, therefore, not be molested, because where 
is the guarantee that I will not make a mistake in the future? Thus every- 
thing remains spick and span. There is peace and good will among men. 
Leaving the mistake uncorrected harms our great cause, but that is nothing! 
As long as we can get out of the mess somehow. Such, comrades, is the 
usual attitude of some of our responsible people. But what does that mean? 
If we, Bolsheviks, who criticize the whole world, who, in the words of Marx, 
storm the heavens, if we refrain from self-criticism for the sake of the 
peace of some comrades, is it not clear that nothing but ruin awaits our 
great cause and that nothing good can be expected? Marx said that the 
proletarian revolution differs, by the way, from other revolutions in the fact 
that it criticizes itself and that in criticizing itself it becomes consolidated. 
This is a very important point Marx made. If we, the representatives of 
the proletarian revolution, shut our eyes to our shortcomings, settle ques- 
tions around a family table, keeping mutually silent concerning our mistakes, 
and drive our ulcers into our Party organism, who will correct these mistakes 
and shortcomings? Is it not clear that we cease to be proletarian revolu- 
tionaries, and that we shall surely meet with shipwreck if we do not 
exterminate from our midst this philistinism, this domestic spirit in the 
solution of important questions of our construction? Is it not clear that 
by refraining from honest and straight-forward self-criticism, refraining from 
an honest and straight making good of mistakes, we block our road to 
progress, betterment of our cause, and new success for our cause? The 
process of our development is neither smooth nor general. No, comrades, 
we have classes, there are antagonisms within the country, we have a past, 
we have a present and a future, there are contradictions between them, and we 
cannot progress smoothly, tossed by the waves of life. Our progress 
proceeds in the form of struggle, in the form of developing contradictions, 
in the form of overcoming these contradictions. As long as there are classes 
we shall never be able to have a situation when we shall be able to say, 
"Thank goodness, everything is all right." This will never be, comrades. 
There will always be something dying out. But that which dies does not 
want to die; it fights for its existence, it defends its dying cause. There 
is always something new coming into life. But that which is being born is 
not bom quietly, but whimpers and screams, fighting for its right to live. 
Struggle between the old and the new, between the moribund and that which 
is being bom — such is the basis of our development. Without pointing out 
and exposing openly and honestly, as Bolsheviks should do, the shortcomings 
and mistakes in our work, we block our road to progress. But we do want 
to go forward. And just because we go forward, we must make one of our 
foremost tasks an honest and revolutionary self-criticism. Without this there 
is no progress. 



78 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

The task of our Party today, the tasks of this Convention, have 
been clearly and systematically set forth in the documents before us 
for adoption, especially the Theses and Decisions of the 13th Plenum 
of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, and the 
Draft Resolution prepared for this Convention by the Central Com- 
mittee. My report has been for the purpose of further elaborating these 
fundamental directives and discussing some of our central problems 
concretely in the light of these directives. All these tasks set forth in 
the documents before us are particular parts of the one general task 
to rouse and organize the workers and oppressed masses to resistance 
against the capitalist program of hunger, fascism and imperialist war. 
They are parts of the one task of winning the majority of the toiling 
masses for the revolutionary struggle for their immediate political and 
economic needs as the first steps along the road to proletarian revolution, 
to the overthrow of capitalist rule, the establishment of a revolutionary 
workers' government, a Soviet government, and the building of a 
socialist society in the United States. 

It is the source of our greatest strength that in our work in the 
U. S. A., we are not isolated from our brothers in the rest of the world. 
We are organizationally united in one World Party with all that is most 
fearless, devoted, honest and energetic in the working class of every 
capitalist country, as well as of the toiling masses struggling for their 
liberation throughout the world. We draw additional strength and 
inspiration from the magnificent achievements of our brother Commu- 
nist Party in China, which stands at the head of the powerful and 
growing Chinese Soviet Republic. We are proud and inspired by our 
unity in one Party with such fighters as George Dimitroff and his 
comrades, who, single handed, met and defeated the Nazi murder bands 
in the courts of Leipzig. It is our strength that we are of the same 
Party with Ernst Thaelmann, and the thousands of heroic fighters in 
the German Communist Party, who, through prison cells and concen- 
tration camps, defying the Nazi headsmen, maintain and carry on every 
day struggle for the overthrow of Hitler. We take special pride in 
the achievements of our brother Communist Party in Cuba, which 
roused and led the mass upheaval that overthrew the bloody Machado, 
and which is now gathering the forces of the Cuban masses to drive 
out Machado's successors and establish a Soviet Republic of Cuba. 
We are stronger in the knowledge that the Communist Party of the 
Philippine Islands stands shoulder to shoulder with us in the joint 
struggle to overthrow American imperialism. Our work in the United 
States gains additional power from the fact that, reaching across the 
border, both north and south, we grasp the hands of our brother Com- 
munist Parties of Canada and Mexico. Throughout Latin-America, our 
brother Parties are challenging us to socialist competition as to who 
can strike hardest and quickest against the imperialists and their agents. 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 79 

When we contemplate the tasks of struggle against imperialist war, 
for the defeat of our own imperialism, our muscles are further steeled 
by the knowledge that our brother Communist Party of Japan is blazing 
the way for us by their heroic struggle for the overthrow of Japanese 
imperialism in the midst of war. Above all, do we arm ourselves with 
the political weapons forged by the victorious Communist Party of the 
Soviet Union, with the mighty sword of Marxism-Leninism, and are 
strengthened and inspired by the victories of socialist construction won 
under its Bolshevik leadership, headed by Stalin. Our World Com- 
munist Party, the Communist International, provides us the guarantee 
not only of our victory in America, but of the victory of the proletariat 
throughout the world. {Prolonged applause.) 

SUMMARY 

We have come to the end of the discussion of our Eighth Conven- 
tion. In the main, these discussions have revealed a unanimity of 
political line in every essential problem before the Party such as our 
Party has never known before. 

There are not many political questions to clear up in the summary. 
A few points that have been the subject of controversy must be dealt 
with. I take in the first place the questions that stand between us 
and Comrade Zack. I will not attempt to go into a catalogue of the 
deviations of Comrade Zack. That would take entirely too much 
time. I will take just three points on which Comrade Zack has not 
only been in the past resisting the line of our Party, but on which 
Comrade Zack still stands stubbornly defending his errors. 

The question of work within the A. F. of L.: Comrade Zack de- 
clared that he is in complete agreement with the decisions of this 
Convention regarding the work in the A. F. of L., and then in the 
next breath he proceeded to declare that when the leadership of the 
Party removed him from New York they made an unwise and un- 
just decision, that his line on this question in New York was 100% 
correct. We have to tell Comrade Zack that evidently he simply does 
not understand the decisions of this Convention. He does not under- 
stand the line of the Party if he thinks he was carr)dng it out in 
New York. I will just cite the kind of thing that made it necessary 
for him to be removed as a warning that he had to correct his line, 
a warning which Comrade Zack did not take seriously. 

Here is a circular gotten out in New York by the independent 
union of Alteration Painters, addressed to the members of the Painters 
Union of the A. F- of L. 

[Interjection by Zack: "Not written by me."] 

which Comrade Zack endorsed and defended 

[Zack: "Not true."] 

and which represented the influence of Comrade Zack in the 



8o COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

leadership of this work, and this leaflet, in the midst of a struggle and 
the attempts on our part to develop a left wing in the A. F. of L. 
union, calls upon these members: "Come into our union — the doors 
of our union are open to every honest rank and filer, exchange your 
Brotherhood book for a membership book of the Alteration Painters 
Union." This kind of line has absolutely nothing in common with 
the line of our Party. Such a line is bound to result in pulling the 
militants out of the A. F. of L. unions at a time when the mass of 
the workers remains in them. Such a line means leaving the workers 
in the A. F. of L. under the complete influence of the reformists, 
instead of building a strong rank-and-file opposition to challenge the 
leadership of the corrupt A. F. of L. officialdom. 

On the qmstion of shop papers: Comrade Zack stated in his speech 
that he admits the mistake on the question of shop papers and stands 
corrected, but he said this only as a preface for a bitter denunciation 
of the article in The Communist, v^^hich polemized against his mis- 
take. According to Comrade Zack, such a polemic against his mis- 
takes is impermissible slander which cannot be allowed against such 
a leading comrade as Comrade Zack. It is clear that Comrade Zack 
has not corrected himself on this point in which his first formulation 
on the question was an apparent admission of his mistake. 

Finally, Comrade Zack has been of the opinion that the Central 
Committee and its Political Bureau is unsound on the whole question 
of trade-union work, that it is in constant danger of heading off 
into the swamp of opportunism and becoming objectively counter- 
revolutionary. Comrade Zack came into the open with this opinion 
in the article he wrote in the discussion, printed in The Commtmist. 
Comrade Zack's contribution to the pre-convention discussion was a 
warning to the Party not to trust its Central Committee. Comrade 
Zack has repeated his accusations in the Convention, and further 
specified who he believes to be the source of danger to our Party. 
He looks upon Comrade Stachel as the would-be liquidator of our 
trade-imion work and the rest of the leadership of the Party as under 
the influence of, and conciliatory towards, the liquidation tendency 
of Comrade Stachel. What is at the bottom of these accusations? 
What, but an obstinate resistance to the stress upon work in the 
A. F. of L. — a resistance that constitutes a downright opportunist 
deviation from the Party line on work in the trade unions? What 
can we say about such slander as this, which is at the same moment 
coupled with a verbal declaration of support for our resolution? Com- 
rades, we have to characterize this as double bookkeeping, and the 
attempt to establish a factional platform in the Party — a kind of 
thing which carmot be tolerated and which must be eliminated from 
our Party life. This is not Bolshevik political discussion, such posi- 
tions as these Comrade Zack has taken on these questions. Comrade 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 8i 

Zack has not spoken one word directed towards further strengthening 
the solid, firm unity of our Party, without which nothing can be 
achieved. Comrade Zack has yet to learn some of the first funda- 
mentals of Bolshevik work, namely, the ability to collectively hammer 
out a line, to arrive at unanimous decisions, and to proceed to turn 
all forces unitedly and unanimously into carrying out these decisions. 
(Applause.) 

And let me repeat: One of the most important tasks of the incoming 
Central Committee as well as of every District and Section Committee 
will be to organize a broad revolutionary opposition inside the A, F. 
of L. unions — an opposition that shall be able to win the workers 
from the influence of the reformists, to lead and organize the struggles 
of the workers against the will and over the heads of the bureaucracy. 
And we will not tolerate a single comrade in any leading position who 
is not prepared to carry through with all his energy this important 
work. We mean business and not such phrasemongering as indulged 
in by Comrade Zack. 

I pass on to the questions raised around the case of Comrade 
Nowell: I don't want to review the full discussion of our Negro Com- 
mission and the excellent contributions that we had there. We have 
had a rich discussion — a discussion that I am certain has been a help 
to everybody in the Party from the first to the last delegate at this 
Convention, and it will further serve the entire Party membership and 
the whole struggle for Negro liberation. The crushing convincingness 
of our correct line even forces Comrade Nowell to come before this 
Convention with an admission of the true character of his political 
tendency and his activities as petty-bourgeois, nationalist and fac- 
tional, and a confirmation of the correctness of the Central Commit- 
tee. Whether this statement by Comrade Nowell represents a true 
enlightenment on his part or whether it represents an additional 
maneuver, time and the work and activities of Comrade Nowell will 
demonstrate. The Party will be alert to see just exactly what this 
statement means in life. 

And Comrade Nowell should not imagine that we shall believe him 
so readily! Too long has he indulged in underhanded maneuvers 
against the Party. One more attempt in that direction, and the Party, 
in the interests of our revolutionary work, especially as concerns our 
work among the Negro masses, will clear him from its ranks. The 
Party has far too long been patient with such methods of disintegration. 

I pass on to the question of the activities of Comrade Harfield in 
Buffalo. Comrade Harfield has submitted a statement confirming 
the correctness of all the charges that we made against him. What 
are we dealing with, however, in the case of Comrade Harfield? We 
are not dealing with political unclarity or political differences. In 
this case we have an almost "pure" specimen of unprincipled fac- 



82 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

tionalism. It is deliberate, demoralizing, corrupting work in the Party, 
based not on any political objective or political opinion, but upon the 
desire to make Harfield an important person in our Party. For this 
purpose he was ready to use the position given him by the Party 
to create doubts among the new members, and even among leading 
comrades in the District, as to whether the Party really, in all seri- 
ousness, supported its own program on the Negro question. 

It is clear that we cannot be quickly convinced of the sincerity of 
Comrade Harfield 's statement, not so quickly as Comrade Harfield 
found it possible to write his statement. It is clear that the least 
measure possible in dealing with such slimy poison as Comrade Harfield 
dragged into our movement is to provide safeguards against such a 
comrade holding any responsible position in the movement until he 
has proven in practice his ability to do Bolshevik work in the ranks. 

I pass on to one further question that arose in connection with 
Buffalo. That is the question of whether the fraction in the Steel & 
Metal Workers' Union in Buffalo should have proposed a united front 
with the A. F. of L. union in the Buffalo mills. Comrade Johnson in 
his speech continued to defend the mistaken position of the Buffalo 
comrades that such a proposal would have been wrong because the 
A. F. of L. union has only a small group of old hardened reactionaries 
whom it is not possible to win over. But we must point out to Com- 
rade Johnson that his argument betrays a still somewhat shallow 
understanding of the whole purpose and meaning of our united front 
actions. Our united front proposals are not directed towards the 
purpose of winning over the hardened reactionaries and officialdom 
of the reformist organizations; our proposals are directed to the mass 
of the workers and not only the workers inside the reformist organiza- 
tions, but also to the workers outside the reformist organizations, in 
order to prove to them that if there is division in the ranks of the 
workers this division is not caused by the revolutionists; this division is 
brought there by the reactionaries, the reformists. (Applause.) 
Further, this argument shows too narrow an approach to the question. 
It is entirely limited to the effects of this tactic upon the particular 
locality. But the comrades in every locality must always remember 
that they are only a part of the whole national situation. Even from 
the point of view of the membership of the A. F. of L. unions only, 
there are in the steel industry not only a handful of hardened reac- 
tionaries, but some twenty to thirty thousand workers in some of the 
most important sections of the steel industry. Precisely because in 
Buffalo we were stronger organizationally, as compared to the A. F. 
of L. unions, for that reason it would be all the more necessary for 
us in Buffalo, because of the national effect it would have, helping us 
in those districts where we are weak, to make precisely this united 
front proposal to the A. F. of L. unions. Comrade Johnson should 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 83 

study questions over more fundamentally, avoid jumping to conclu- 
sions always on the basis of surface indications of the problem, to dig 
deeper into these problems, to grasp their essence. With regard gen- 
erally to the contribution of Comrade Johnson to our work and to the 
discussion of this Convention, we must state that Comrade Johnson 
exhibits quite strongly both the strong points and the weak points of 
our rising new cadres, white and Negro, and, first of all, along with 
serious mass work, a lack of mastery of that most important Bolshevik 
art, the art of self-criticism. Our comrades must all study self-criticism. 
We none of us are good on this activity yet. All of us are just be- 
ginning really to learn the full meaning of self-criticism. We are just 
beginning to learn that Bolshevik self-criticism has nothing to do with 
tearing down ourselves or one another, but on the contrary, is the only 
possible source of strength. Just think for a moment how Comrade 
Johnson himself could have multiplied tenfold his positive contribution, 
which is valuable but could have been ten times more valuable, if it 
had been presented to this Convention with just a little more funda- 
mental examination of his own weaknesses and errors. This is all said 
in the spirit of giving the utmost possible help to Comrade Johnson 
and making much stronger his contribution to our Party. 

Now I want to say one or two words about certain questions that 
were involved in the whole Negro discussion. 'During the discussion 
in the Negro Commission there was incidentally brought forward by 
one of the speakers the proposal of the slogan, something like (I don't 
remember the exact wording): "Lynch the lynchers." I think it is 
necessary for us to point out that the whole trend of such proposals 
as this is to lead us into very serious traps of the bourgeoisie. Our 
struggle against lynching, our struggle against capitalist terror of all 
kinds, can be answered only by our taking up, not the forms of 
struggle of the bourgeoisie which are strong only when used by our 
class enemies, but by finding our own special proletarian forms of 
fighting — always based upon mass action. {Applause.) Our slogan 
must be: Against the lynchers, the mass united front action of whites 
and Negroes! To break down the influence of the bourgeoisie, of the 
lynchers, the intensification of mass educational work among the back- 
ward white masses in the South, the broadest possible popularization of 
the Comintern program on the national question as it relates to the 
struggle for Negro liberation. And we must always carefully dis- 
tinguish our slogans, speeches — everything that we say — from our 
enemies. When we go up against the bourgeois state in the struggle 
for power, we don't put forward the slogan of dictatorship against 
dictatorship, but we put forward the slogan, proletarian dictatorship 
against bourgeois dictatorship. We must always carefully distinguish 
the class content and form of our action as distinguished from the 
attacks against us by the bourgeoisie. 



84 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

One other incidental question in the Negro discussion which has 
already been very ably answered by Comrade Ford, but which I want 
to mention for the purpose of emphasis — that is the idea which has 
been smuggled into our movement by our enemies that we have one 
policy for the American Negroes, United States Negroes, and another 
for the West Indian Negro. What is this? It is clear the essence of 
this is introducing nationalism and national division into our ranks. 
It is of precisely the same political content as all forms of chauvinism. 
After all, what is all chauvinism, including white chauvinism, na- 
tional chauvinism, the bourgeois nationalism of an oppressed nation? 
All of them are merely forms of the political ideology of the bourgeoisie, 
of our class enemy. We can't possibly breathe politically except in 
struggle against it. Our Party would be suffering from a dry rot in 
its very heart if it could for one instant entertain the slightest con- 
cession to national division among the Negroes, as between American 
and West Indian. It is of the same sort of chauvinism as is ex- 
emplified in that rotten poison that is more and more being spread 
in the United States today — anti-Semitism. We must imderstand 
that today the bourgeoisie is systematically exploiting and cultivating 
and pushing into every nook, cranny and comer it can, every form 
of chauvinism, nationalism, national division among the workers. 
White chauvinism is the most sharp and dangerous form for us, but, 
exactly the same political poison is contained in anti-Semitism and in 
such ideas as the division between West Indian and American Negroes. 
We are the Party of internationalism, against all forms of chauvinism. 
{Great applause.) We must answer the imperialist splitters of the 
Negro ranks with the revolutionary political slogans: For the inde- 
pendence of the West Indies! Demand the withdrawal of the armed 
forces of British, French, Yankee, and other imperialist powers from 
the West Indies and other Caribbean countries 1 For the abrogation 
of all slave treaties! For a united fighting front of West Indian and 
American Negroes in the joint struggle against imperialism! For the 
liberation of the Negro peoples throughout the world! 

I pass over to a brief restatement of the question of our inter- 
national tasks. Our Party is an international Paxty, even in its com- 
position. Our Party responds to internationalism very keenly. This 
is expedited by the fact that it is difficult for chauvinist tendencies 
to find growth in a Party which itself is composed of some 22 na- 
tionalities. But that does not mean that we are by nature good inter- 
nationalists in the Bolshevik sense. That never comes naturally, by 
itself; that has to be consciously cultivated and developed before it 
can possibly reach the plane of Bolshevism. We have not left our 
internationalism completely for resolutions, speeches, etc. We have 
many examples of action of directly international character. We have 
examples, such as the strikes of American seamen in support of the 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 85 

striking Cuban sugar workers, refusing to unload the cargoes. We 
have the recent beginnings on our part, even though belated, of or- 
ganizing material aid from our Party to the German Communist Party. 
In this respect, by the way, we must say that the initiative which 
was taken in New York, and intended as an example for the entire 
Party to organize a series of special great mass meetings and demon- 
strations for the specific purpose of raising as much money as possible 
for the German Communist Party, must be followed up much more 
energetically by the other districts. Further, we must say there is 
not yet sufficient keenness of our entire Party from the bottom up to 
carry on the monthly assessment we have placed on ourselves for the 
benefit of the German Communist Party. This German assessment, 
comrades, this little red strip stamp we put in our membership books, 
every month — this should be one of the most sacred things, and every 
one of us should check up and see that we do this, and that every 
cent of that money gets to the Central Committee, and check up and 
see that the Central Committee sends every cent every month to 
Germany. (Applause.) We had actions in support of our magnificent 
comrades in the Reichstag fire trial. We carried on mass actions in 
the United States. We can be proud of them. We can be especially 
proud that in this protest movement against the Reichstag trial, one 
of the most important parts was taken by precisely these supposedly 
"backward" Alabama sharecroppers. (Applause.) We had right here 
in this Convention a telegram of greetings from Baltimore, which 
reported that their form of greeting this Convention was to announce 
that they had set up an Anti-War Committee on a ship in the harbor 
in Baltimore. These are certain examples of the positive side of our 
work. But comrades, if we can do these things with such a very 
weak and partial mobilization of our forces, then is it not clear that a 
serious effort could have had a far larger result? And isn't it, com- 
rades, really a crime that holding such possibilities in our hands, we 
did not make use of them? Can we be satisfied with the campaign 
we are now carrying on for the freedom of Thaelmann? We cannot 
by any means be satisfied with it. It is still weak. It doesn't register. 
It does not even yet fully rouse all of our Party members. And yet 
we may find that if we would properly develop this movement — the 
movement for the freedom of Thaelmann may become of greater his- 
toric importance than that which saved our comrades Dimitroff, Popoff, 
Torgler and Taneff. 

Then we must point out that every day from the United States 
there is being shipped munitions and war supplies of all kinds to 
Japan, for war against the Soviet Union, and to Kuomintang China, 
for war against the Chinese Soviet Republic. What is our activity 
against this? We do a little journalistic work, sometimes good and 
sometimes not so good, but we yet don't have serious actions, mass 



86 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

demonstrations of protest against these shipments of munitions, actions 
on the part of the workers on the ships, to stop the loading and ship- 
ping. That is our task. 

We give a little support to the Cuban workers and their Party, but 
is this in any way representing adequate mobilization of mass support 
from the United States directly to the Cuban revolutionary struggle? 
In the Philippine Islands, the leaders of our brother Party there are 
in prison or exiled to the far and most barren islands, sent there di- 
rectly by the government of the United States headed by that very 
"liberal" ex-Mayor Murphy of Detroit, now Governor-General of the 
Philippine Islands. We have passed a few resolutions of protest, we 
have sent them over to the Philippine Islands to console our com- 
rades who are in exile, to remind them that somebody in America is 
thinking about them. But what have we done to rouse the masses 
of the United States to register, a protest in Washington that will force 
attention from this regime, and win the liberation of Comrade Evan- 
gelista and the other leaders of the Philippine Communist Party? We 
haven't enough learned the necessity of these things, which is not 
merely the necessity of the Philippine Party, but is our necessity if 
we are to realize our ambition to be a Bolshevik Party in the United 
States. This is the root of the whole matter; we haven't enough 
taken this question of internationalism out of our Conventions and 
resolutions into the trade unions, shops, factories, mines, neighbor- 
hoods, the homes, out of the holiday atmosphere to bring it down to 
real everyday life. We haven't made our internationalism the prop- 
erty of the masses, an essential part of their lives as well as of our 
inner Party line. 

I have already spoken, in dealing with Comrade Zack's deviations, 
of our A. F. of.L. work. I want to mention this again, not for further 
elaboration, but for additional emphasis. Comrades, we still have to 
carry through the task of making our whole Party understand that 
unless we do serious, stubborn, organized work inside of the A. F. of 
L. everywhere where it has any masses of workers, that we will not 
succeed in any other phase of our trade union work or in the main 
political tasks of our Party. There is still some resistance here and 
there in the ranks of the Party. There's still, in one form or another, 
the ideology that is expressed by Comrade Zack. We must liquidate 
it. We should endorse the proposals to the Convention by our trade 
union comrades, as the immediate tasks for overcoming our weaknesses: 

1. Strengthen the existing A. F. of L. rank-and-file committees. 

2. Arrange conferences of the A. F. of L. local unions for the 
Workers' Unemployment Bill, for the right to strike against com- 
pulsory arbitrations, for exemption of dues stamps for unemployed 
and for democracy in the union. 

3. Each section to select local unions in which to build the Party 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 87 

fraction and build the broad rank-and-file opposition based on the 
revolutionary program. 

4. Establish national industrial centers in the following industries: 
mine, marine, needle, painters, carpenters, auto, cleaners and dyers, 
textile and machinist. 

5. Increase the circulation of the Rank-and-file Federationist from 
10,000 to 25,000 in three months. (The Rank-and-File Federationist 
to become a mass organizer of revolutionary opposition groups in the 
A. F. of L. unions.) 

6. To secure the election of at least 10 delegates to the coming 
Convention of the A. F. of L. Half of these delegates to come from 
central bodies, the other half from federal locals. 

7. Prepare resolutions for the coming state and international con- 
ventions which are being held in the near future. Secure delegates 
to these conventions who will bring forward the rank and file pro- 
gram at these conventions. 

8. The A. F. of L. fraction to arrange a tour to cover the steel 
towns and mining field to strengthen our opposition work. 

9. Build the fraction and the opposition in the Central Labor unions 
and fight for all elective posts. 

10. Prepare a large rank-and-file conference in San Francisco to 
be held simultaneously with the 54th A. F. of L. Convention. 

These proposals to become part of the control task in every district. 

A central political task today is the struggle against fascism. The 
basic weapon of struggle against fascism is the development of eco- 
nomic struggles and, in connection with economic struggles, the sharp- 
ening fight to preserve and extend the civil rights of the workers, 
rights of organization, strike, free speech and free press, etc. Upon 
the basis of the growing proletarian movement and mass struggles, 
we must bring around the working class all other elements of the 
population suffering from the crisis and capable of being roused against 
fascism. We have had a very excellent discussion about the most 
important phase of winning these non-proletarians which becomes so 
important in the struggle against fascism, in the work of our Agrarian 
Commission. Because the entire Convention doesn't have yet the full 
benefit of the Agrarian Commission's work, all the more is it neces- 
sary for me to emphasize this here, so that every comrade will read 
the documents that will appear as the result of this work. We must 
make it clear that our work among the farmers is not a monopoly 
of our growing and valuable specialists in the agrarian work. Our 
Agrarian Department and its new and growing cadres is a very 
valuable addition to our army, but we are not going to leave the whole 
job of winning the farming population to them. We refuse to grant 
them a monopoly in this field; we insist that our District Committees 
and our District Bureaus and District Organizers have not only the 



88 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

right but the duty to do something themselves directly to win the 
farmers. 

Just in passing, in dealing with these non-proletarian strata which 
we must win; just a word about the important and serious student 
movement: This was not mentioned in the Youth Resolution which 
was brought to this Convention, an oversight which must be remedied 
in the editorial work that this Convention will authorize, I hope, so 
that this question will be included in the final document. 

In my report, I brought forward the question of the coming Con- 
gressional elections. I suggested perhaps we should set ourselves the 
task of electing a few Communist Congressmen this fall. I haven't 
been able to follow all the debates in the Convention, but so far as 
I can learn, nobody took up this challenge concretely. The Canadian 
Party told us about some important election successes. We have no 
such successes to report in the United States, and unfortunately we 
don't seem to have enough ambition in this line. We still underesti- 
mate the value of revolutionary parliamentarism. We are at a mo- 
ment when it is quite possible for large masses to swing over very 
quickly to the support of the Communist Party, especially in the Con- 
gressional elections. There is therefore no utopianism in suggesting 
the possibility of many successful Communist candidates if we work 
correctly and if we make a serious campaign. But the condition of 
success is a serious campaign. The workers will not come to us and 
hunt us up, especially when they can't even find our offices; we have 
to go to them. They do not know our leaders yet. We must let them 
know that the Communist Party is in the election campaign, who are 
its candidates, show the faces of these candidates, with a very short, 
snappy election platform, with a few main principal demands that 
everyone suffering from the crisis wants. 

After Comrade Hathaway's report on our work among the youth, 
there is nothing for me to add. Just a word of emphasis upon what 
he said, of the necessity to really carry through our resolution on this 
question, that is, that it must become a practical task which we have 
to work out in concrete terms of assigning certain jobs to certain people 
to be accomplished within a certain time, with check-up and control, to 
see that they are done, and if not, why. 

Similarly with the work among the women. It does not do very 
much good for our work among the women for us to give them com- 
pliments whenever we meet. What we need now is to start serious 
work in the factories, in the trade unions, in the neighborhoods, around 
the high prices and rents, in women's councils; to develop cadres and 
bring them boldly forward and to use for that purpose every such 
opportunity as we have in this campaign for delegates from America 
to the International Women's Congress to be held in Paris at the end 
of July. These are not impossible tasks, quite within our power, and 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 89 

they will mean, if carried through, a serious beginning in women's 
work. 

With regard to some general features of our task of Bolshevizing 
our Party: the discussions in this Convention have brought out the 
extreme importance of raising the political level of our Party. We 
are raising the political level. The level of this Convention is far 
higher than any gathering the Party ever had before. But we must 
take this into the life of our Party down to every unit. This raising 
of our political level, the mastery of Bolshevist theory and practice, 
concretely, in facing the problems of the life of the working class, 
this is the only possible weapon mth which we can clean our house, 
sweep out completely all remnants of factionalism, unprincipledness, 
bureaucracy, from our movement from top to bottom. The weapon 
for this is self-criticism. I said before we haven't mastered this weapon 
yet and here I must say that our Polburo and Central Committee is 
far too weak in the self-critical examination of its own work. We have 
to develop effective self-criticism, beginning at the top and, by ex- 
ample, carrying it throughout the Party. 

Our new Central Committee must work on a higher level than the 
old one. Every member of the Central Committee that we elect here 
must understand that he is personally responsible for carrying through 
the decisions of this Convention wherever he may work, and that the 
Central Committee as a whole is collectively responsible for the collec- 
tive organization of all this work. 

Our Party has grown materially in membership and politically in 
its grasp of politics and theory in the period since the Seventh Con- 
vention. We have become more a real leader of struggles. We have 
led successful strikes, unemployed movements, farmers' activities, 
movements of middle class elements. Through our activities since the 
Seventh Convention, four years ago, we have extended our basic capital 
of revolutionary experience and theory. But we made many mistakes, 
and many mistakes we made twice and three times, because of lack 
of sufficient understanding of the class relations in the country and 
the meaning of each particular struggle and situation. The only 
remedy for that is more systematic approach to the problem of mastery 
on a larger scale by a growing body of our cadres of the theory and 
practice of Marxism-Leninism. Our Party is largely new. The Cre- 
dentials Committee report read to you showed 66 delegates of this 
Convention joined the Party since the Open Letter, since our Ex- 
traordinary Party Conference. A majority of our Party members are 
less than two years in the Party. 

There is no miracle whereby workers become Marxist-Leninists by 
taking out a card in our Party. They will become Bolsheviks only to 
the extent that the Party organization sees to it that every Party 
member is interested in the study of theory as an essential part of 



90 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

the daily mass work. If every member is made to understand that the 
study of theory is not something which merely has to do with the 
improvement of his intellectual level, but is the forging of the weapons 
of struggle which have to be used every day in the fight, then we can 
not only train our membership but by training them we keep them 
in the Party and solve the problem of fluctuation and multiply mani- 
fold the force of the Party among the masses. 

Bolshevism is a science and to master it we must stu'ily it. Study 
is a necessity of our Party life. We have excellent cadres that have 
come to us out of the struggles that we organized and led, have been 
developed by these struggles. In all the ordinary questions of life 
these are far more practical and efficient than our ''old guard," but 
they still lack something. They haven't been equipped with that 
something beyond their own experience, with the tremendous treasury 
of the experiences of the entire world working class movement. That 
is what we must give them. When we give them that, we will have 
the force which will make the revolution in America and not before. 

A main immediate and practical task before us is the question of 
the Daily Worker and its mass circulation. Every district and section 
of our Party must set itself the task of giving the Daily Worker a 
mass circulation, a task that can be carried out during the year 1934, 
which by the end of the year will give us a minimum circulation, to 
be a little conservative, of 75,000. This means to a little more than 
double the present circulation of the Daily Worker. Can that be done? 
I'm sure it can. I'm sure every district committee will agree that it 
can be done. If we put this question seriously throughout the Party 
it will be done. It must be done if we are in earnest about any of 
our tasks. Without that, the rest of all that we say and write becomes 
so much chattering. 

Similarly with building our Party membership. Is it too much to 
say that we should have 50,000 members by the end of 1934? If 
you think it is too much we will compromise and say 40,000. But at 
least 40,000 members. 

These tasks — Daily Worker, membership — these are not tasks which 
will take us away from the mass work of the Party. These will not 
interfere with our preparations for making May Day the greatest day 
of struggle that has ever been seen in America. In fact I don't see 
how we will make May Day a success unless we use the Daily Worker, 
especially the May Day special edition. I think that May Day will 
be something of a failure for us if we don't recruit many new members 
out of it. Similarly, with the preparations for Anti-War Day on 
August I. 

Just a few words, in summing up, on the strong sides and the weak 
sides of our Convention which expresses the whole life of the Party. 
The Convention shows that the Party has grown. That is fine. 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 91 

Everybody feels good about that. But what about our fluctuation, and 
what about the hundreds of thousands ready for us whom we have not 
reached, and are not yet seriously trying to reach? The Convention 
does not show enough determination to remedy this weakness. If the 
figures of our growth cause any feeling of self-satisfaction, then it 
would be better to keep quiet about them. 

The Convention shows the Party is leading struggles everywhere. 
Good! That is the strong side of our Party, it is a fighting Party, 
it is in daily struggles. But the Convention also shows very important 
places where the workers are fighting, where strike movements are 
rising, where all the forces of capitalism are brought to bear to prevent 
these struggles — and we are not there, or there so weakly that our 
influence is not yet a decisive factor in helping the working class to 
break through. That is the weak side of our Party in this Convention. 
Why haven't we been able to go forward at the head of these 200,000 
auto workers who are burning with the desire to fight? Here we are 
weak. We haven't solved this problem yet. What is true of auto is 
true of many other key points. Our Convention shows, as one of its 
strong sides, the improving composition of our Party as a result of 
concentration, of leadership of struggles, of going into the factories, 
of beginning work in the A. F. of L., of building the militant trade 
unions, of winning Negroes, etc., but it also shows that we have only 
begun serious work in this respect. In many localities we have not 
yet a single important factory that we can call our stronghold. When 
we speak of our Party being the leader of these struggles, through 
our improving cadres, at the same time we must say our Convention 
discussion is still too much merely reporting on these struggles, not 
drawing the lessons of these struggles — the good lessons and the bad 
ones. We do not enough draw the conclusions, the directives that must 
be formulated from these experiences — the directives for ourselves as 
to how we must work better, and the directives for the masses as to 
how they must fight more effectively to win these struggles. The 
Party has a correct line of struggle against all varieties of social- 
fascism. That is good! We can be glad of that. But the discussions 
in this Convention have not enough shown that we are carrying on a 
stubborn unrelenting struggle every day among the masses against the 
concrete manifestations of this enemy ideology, in the midst of these 
mass struggles that we are leading. We could carry this analysis 
of our strong and weak points through a long list. And we must do 
this. We must have a perpetual and continually renewing self-exami- 
nation of our work, a searching out of every weak point and finding 
the way to remedy it. 

It is not sufficient to have a correct Party line. On this point I 
can't do better than to read what Comrade Stalin said at the recent 
Seventeenth Party Congress of the C.P.S.U. These words of Comrade 



92 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Stalin must become a directive for our daily work. They are meant 
for us just as much as they are meant for the Bolsheviks in the 
Soviet Union. Comrade Stalin said: 

Some people think that it is sufficient to draw up a correct Party line, 
proclaim it from the housetops, enunciate it in the form of general theses 
and resolutions and carry them unanimously in order to make victory come 
of itself, automatically, so to speak. This, of course, is wrong. Those who 
think like that are greatly mistaken. Only incorrigible bureaucrats and office 
rats can think that. As a matter of fact these successes and victories were 
obtained, not automatically, but as a result of a fierce struggle to carry out 
the Party line. Victory never comes by itself, it has to be dragged by the 
hand. Good resolutions and declarations in favor of the general hne of the 
Party are only a beginning, they merely express the desire to win, but it is 
not victory. After the correct Hne has been given, after a correct solution 
of the problem has been found, success depends on the manner in which 
the work is organized, on the organization of the struggle for the appHcation 
of the line of the Party, on the proper selection of workers, on supervising 
the fulfillment of the decisions of the leading organs. Without this the 
correct line of the Party and the correct solutions are in danger of being 
severely damaged. More than that, after the correct political line has been 
given, the organizational work decides everything, including the fate of the 
poHtical line itself, i.e., its success or failure. 

Comrades, this must be the keynote of our Convention also. This 
must be the leading thought in all our work throughout the Party, 
throughout the mass organizations. We have the beginnings of this 
spirit in our Party. As an example I may mention that yesterday I 
received a little resolution that came from that shop nucleus I talked 
about in my report. This resolution declares the nucleus has met and 
discussed the fact that the National Convention of the Party is exam- 
ining the work of this nucleus. The nucleus declares that this creates 
in them a feeling of great responsibility, and as a result they have 
come together and worked out control tasks for the next three months, 
to increase the number of Party members in the shop by so many, 
increase the circulation of the Daily Worker by so many, and so on 
and so on. This is an application of the line of Comrade Stalin's 
speech that I just read to you. (Applause.) 

Comrades, I think I have said enough. The work of our Convention 
has revealed to all of us that we have a Party stronger than we ever 
knew. We have a Party that already has forces capable of doing 
tremendous things in the United States. If we haven't done these 
things already, it is not the fault of these forces we have; it is only 
because we are still so badly organized, and because we who lead the 
Party are still not the kind of leaders that we must be. This Con- 
vention has revealed such forces which we must properly use to seri- 
ously carry out among the masses more practical everyday work, 



THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 93 

collectively organized, collectively criticized, collectively checked up 
on, tightening our organization, cementing its unity, fighting against 
and eliminating every deviation, raising the theoretical level of the 
Party, always and ever3rvvhere in the forefront of the rising struggle 
of the masses. If we do this, if we make use of these tremendous 
opportunities revealed to us here in this Convention, comrades, then 
we can be sure that in a short time we will be a mass Party in the 
United States; we will be leading serious class battles in this country; 
we will be challenging the power of American imperialism; we will 
be seriously preparing the American workers for then: revolutionary 
tasks. {Prolonged applause.) 



Ill 
The Fight for Bread * 

Our Convention meets in the midst of the greatest economic crisis 
ever known. The present ferocious attack against the toiling masses — 
that is the capitalist way out of the crisis. 

While millions starve, Hoover, chief of the Republican Party, leads 
the fight to save capitalist profits at the expense of the lives of the 
workers, their wives, and children. 

In this situation only the Communist Party rises and fights for the 
workers' demands for jobs, bread and peace. (Applause.) 

For three years Hoover promised "prosperity in 60 days." This 
prosperity takes the form of cities of unemployed, homeless outcast 
millions living in packing-boxes, in cellars, under bridges, in sewers. 
Hundreds of these cities, all over the country, have very properly paid 
homage to the fame and glory of the great engineer in the White House 
by adopting the name, "Hooverville." The very name of this man has 
become a symbol of degradation and misery for the masses. 

Fifteen million workers are unemployed, other millions have only 
part-time jobs, wage-rates for the employed have been cut by 25 to 60 
per cent, millions of farmers are being evicted from their farms because 
they are unable to pay taxes and interest on their mortgages. Starvation 
and diseases are sucking the blood of men, women and children in every 
state, every city, every working-class neighborhood. 

The issue of the elections is the issue of work and bread — of life or 
death for the workers and the farmers. (Applause.) 

All this occurs in the richest country in the world. Our warehouses 
are bursting with unused food and clothing. Our cities are full of empty 
houses. There is plenty to spare of all things needed for life for all 
people. 

Millions are starving precisely because there is too much of everything. 
That is what all the wise men of Wall Street tell us. That is the funda- 
mental law of our economic and social system. That is capitalism. 
That is the inevitable result of a system in which the machinery of 
production and distribution is the private property of the small parasite 
class. 

The Communist Party is the only Party which organizes the workers 
and farmers to create a revolutionary government which will confiscate 

* Keynote speech opening the Presidential Nominating Convention of the Com- 
munist Party, Chicago, May 28, 1932. — Ed. 

94 



THE FIGHT FOR BREAD 95 

the industries, banks, railroads, etc., from the parasite capitalists who 
have proved they do not know how to run them, and to put the industrial 
machinery to work for the benefit of the masses of workers and farmers. 
{Applause,) 

The question is not one of Hoover. It is of the system, of which 
way out of the crisis. Hoover's policies have been carried out by a 
coalition of the Republican and Democratic parties. Between these 
parties there is a fight only about who shall get the graft of office, but 
complete agreement that the workers and farmers shall pay all the costs 
of the crisis, complete agreement that the government treasury shall be 
used primarily for the benefit of the banks, the railroads, the great 
corporations. 

The Reconstruction Finance Corporation that gave two billion dollars 
to the banks and corporations, was the joint work of Republicans and 
Democrats, and was endorsed by the leaders of the Socialist Party whose 
only complaint was that "it didn't go far enough." 

The present projects before Congress supposedly for relief — from 
Hoover's billion, to Robinson's two billion, to Hearst's five billion, to 
the Socialist Party's ten billion — all differ from one another only in 
the degree of their demagogy. They all agree that nothing can be done 
except through restoring capitalist profits and placing the burdens of 
the crisis upon the masses. 

Even the shameful charity doles, which prolong the starvation of a 
portion of the unemployed, are not taken from the rich capitalists who 
own everything in rich America, but from the masses who have nothing 
except a remnant of a job at part-time. A classical example of this is 
the New York "block-aid" system. Under this system each block is 
to take care of its own starving; down on the East Side where two 
thousand are starving together in one block, the few himdred with jobs 
in that block shall take care of others; up on Fifth Avenue, Morgan, 
Rockefeller and Company will take care of all the unemployed in their 
blocks. 

In putting across this beautiful scheme, which includes a system of 
blacklisting all radical workers spotted by the "Block-Aid Committees," 
all those who support the capitalist way out of the crisis were brought 
forward: J. Pierpont Morgan spoke over the radio for it, and said: 
"You give a dime and I give a dime, and we all share equally": over 
the same radio Morgan was followed by Norman Thomas, leader of the 
so-called Socialist Party, who supported Morgan and attacked the 
Communist Party as "slanderers" of Morgan's pure motives. 

There are only two ways out of the crisis. One way is the capitalist 
way. That way is the attempt to restore capitalism, to restore profits. 
But to restore profits means to cut wages, to throw millions out of work, 
to refuse unemployment relief, to refuse social insurance, to pile heavy 
taxes upon the masses and reduce the taxes on wealth, to refuse the 



96 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

bonus to the ex-soldiers. It means "to balance the budget," in the words 
of the slogan that now unites all three capitalist Parties, the Republican, 
Democratic, and Socialist Parties. And it means war. 

The capitalist way out of the crisis is the way of misery, suffering, 
starvation, war, death for the workers and farmers. It is a way out 
only for the little parasite class of capitalists and their servants. 

The capitalists have two main weapons, demagogy and terror, to put 
across their attacks upon the workers. They use these weapons through 
their three parties — Republican, Democratic and Socialist. These are, 
first, to confuse the workers' mind with demagogy, with false promises 
of "prosperity in 60 days" and later, with the hope that "Congress will 
do something before long." Thus they try to keep the workers quiet 
and patient under all miseries and attacks. 

But when the demagogy fails to keep the workers from fighting for 
some relief, then police violence and terror, as well as illegal fascist 
attacks upon the workers. 

The working class already has a long list of martyrs, of dead and 
wounded and imprisoned, in the fight to resist the capitalist attacks. 

Melrose Park, in Chicago, where the underworld, the police and the 
American Legion opened machine-gun fire on an unemployed meeting, 
is only an outstanding example. Democrats in Chicago and New York, 
Republicans in Detroit at the Ford massacre, and in Pennsylvania 
"progressives" and reactionaries — it makes no difference for the work- 
ers. They all club, shoot, imprison, if they cannot keep the workers 
quiet with their lies. 

In Kentucky they already have an open fascist dictatorship, which 
differs from capitalist "democracy" in Chicago, Detroit and New York 
only by its discarding of all pretences and bragging about what the 
others try to conceal. 

And not to be outdone by its elder brother parties, the Socialist Party 
in Milwaukee (the only city it controls) sent the unemployed leader, 
Fred Bassett, to prison for one year for leading the demonstration of 
March 6, 1930, at the same time that Democratic Jimmy Walker of 
Tammany Hall, New York, who received gifts of a million dollars while 
in office, was sending Foster, Minor, Amter, and Raymond to jail for 
six months for the same "crime." 

The officialdom of the American Federation of Labor is openly sup- 
porting the Hoover program. It fights against the workers and for the 
capitalists on every essential point. It fights against unemployment 
insurance, against the bonus for the ex-soldiers, it prevents strikes and 
signs agreements for broad wage-cuts, it fights for huge grants of money 
to the corporations and taxation of the masses, it supports new laws 
to help build greater giant monopolies, it helps imperialist wars, es- 
pecially the war against the Soviet Union. Through its deceitful 
"non-partisan" policy of "rewarding friends and punishing enemies," it 



THE FIGHT FOR BREAD 97 

delivers the workers gagged and bound to the Republicans and Demo- 
crats, "progressives" and reactionaries, in order to further confuse and 
divide the working class. It decks itself out in "victories," like the so- 
called anti-injunction law, which fastens injunctions and yellow-dog 
contracts more firmly upon the workers than ever before. 

The reactionary officialdom of the American Federation of Labor is 
an agency of capitalism among the workers for putting over the capitalist 
way out of the crisis. 

Oppression of the Negro masses in the United States takes on the 
most bestial forms, rivalled only by the rule of the British in India, 
and by the Japanese and Kuomintang generals in China. Negroes 
are burned alive on the public squares of our cities, and their bodies 
mutilated in the most horrible manner by crazed and drunken agents 
of the landlords and capitalists. And it also takes on the most subtle 
forms, those of the "liberal" and "humanitarian" slave-owners, who 
with gentler means keep the black man "in his place" of servant — the 
ways of deceit and hypocrisy. 

The Democratic Party is the party of the lynchers; the Republican 
Party is bidding for the support of the lynchers and has completely 
discarded its tradition as liberator of the chattel slaves; the Socialist 
Party at its convention last week rejected the Negro demand for social 
equality, and one of its chief leaders, Heywood Broun, has openly 
declared against enforcing the right to vote of Negroes in the South. 
The Socialist Party conventions was even more "lily-white" than the 
Republican Party in its most degenerate days. 

It is clear that only the Communist Party fights every day in the 
year for equality of the Negro masses, complete equality without any 
restrictions, economic, political or social. {Applause.) Only the Com- 
munist Party comes forward with the demand for self-determination for 
the Negroes in the Black Belt where they constitute the majority of 
the population. Only the Communist Party fights every day for the 
unconditional freedom of the Scottsboro boys, and against each and 
every act of oppression of the Negro people. Only the Communist 
Party calls upon the white workers to defend their Negro brothers, and 
organizes the joint struggle of white and Negro toilers, side by side, in 
the closest fraternal unity. (Applause.) 

The climax of the monstrous brutalities' of the capitalist way out of 
the crisis is the preparation for a new imperialist war. 

Hoover, at the head of American imperialism, is one of the chief 
organizers of the war against the Soviet Union. Secretly and openly 
instigating Japanese imperialism to begin this attack in the East, the 
Hoover government at the same time pushes on the French military 
system in Europe. 

Hoping thus to destroy the Soviet Union, and at the same time weaken 
American imperialism's strongest rivals. Hoover and Company are drag- 



98 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

ging the American working class into a world slaughter for redivision 
of the world. 

The new world war, which will claim millions of working-class lives, 
can only be postponed by the most energetic, fearless, self-sacrificing 
action of the workers of all lands, especially of America, to fight agamst 
and halt the whole capitalist offensive. 

The Communist Party calls upon the workers of America to fight for 
the defense of the Chinese people, for the liberation of the Philippines 
and other colonies and semi-colonies, for stopping the shipment of 
munitions to Japan. We call for fraternal solidarity with and support 
of the heroic Japanese workers who fight for the overthrow of their 
semi-feudal ruling regime, and support the demand for the expulsion 
from this country of the representatives of Japanese imperialism. We 
call upon the workers to fight and defeat the war plans of American 
imperialism, and build a living wall of defense of the workers' father- 
land, the Soviet Union. (Applause.) 

Billions for the banks and corporations; hunger, starvation, oppres- 
sion and war for the workers and farmers — this is the capitalist way 
out of the crisis. 

Will American workers submit to this without a fight? No, they 
will not! (Applause.) This Convention, representing the most de- 
veloped workers and farmers from coast to coast, is itself one of the 
most important signs that the workers will fight, that they are already 
beginning to fight. 

There is no way out of the crisis for the workers and farmers except 
the road of militant class struggle. Against the imited forces of the 
capitalist class, which, in spite of all differences swings into action 
against the toiling masses — against this the working class must build 
up a fighting front of its own class forces. 

Class agamst class! That is the expression of the class alignment 
which the workers must fight for and secure in the elections. 

The elections struggle is not something separated from everyday life 
and problems. The election struggle grows out of, and must help con- 
duct, the daily fight for bread, clothing, shelter for the worker and 
his family. 

That is why the election platform of the Communist Party places in 
the very first place the fight for the most burning, the most immediate, 
needs of the toiling masses. 

Our six main planks in the election platform, represent the most 
pressing needs of the million-masses of America. They are: 

1. Unemployment and social insurance at the expense of the state 
and employers. 

2. Against Hoover's wage-cutting policy. 

3. Emergency relief for the impoverished farmers, without restric- 



THE FIGHT FOR BREAD 99 

tions by the government and banks; exemption of impoverished farmers 
from taxes, and no forced collection of rents or debts. 

4. Equal rights for the Negroes and self-determination for the 
Black Belt. 

5. Against capitalist terror; against all forms of suppression of the 
political rights of the workers. 

6. Against imperialist war; for the defense of the Chinese people and 
of the Soviet Union. 

It is the task of the Communist Party to make of the election cam- 
paign merely a part of the whole struggle of the working class for these 
demands, which is conducted every day in demonstrations, strikes, 
struggles of every sort, in which the widest class forces of the workers 
will be registered. The mass fight for these demands alone can build 
up effective resistance to the capitalist way out of the crisis. 

Only the fight of the masses can win these demands. {Applause.) 
Every Party that tells the workers to depend upon representatives in 
Congress to give these things to them, is fooling the workers, is trymg 
to keep the workers quiet while the capitalists continue to rob them and 
oppress them. 

Especially important is the fight for unemployment insurance. There 
can be no security of life, to the smallest degree, until the workers force 
the capitalist class, the ruling class, to give them unemployment insur- 
ance. (Applause.) 

Now, at a time when even if capitalist industry increased its produc- 
tion, still fewer workers would be engaged, because of labor-saving 
machinery and rationalization and speed-up — ^now, it is a thousand 
times more important that the workers shall force the capitalists to give 
a minimum guarantee of the means of life imder all conditions. 

The only project for such unemployment and social insurance which 
gives any guarantee to the workers, is the Workers Unemployment 
Insurance Bill which was presented to Congress last December 7th by 
the National Hunger Marchers who came from all over the country. 

The Communist Party election struggle will be, before all, the fight 
for the Workers Unemployment Insurance Bill. And the Communist 
Party is the only Party that fights for this bill. {Applause.) 

The fight for these demands is the first step to find the working-class 
way out of the crisis. The working-class way is, and must be, the 
revolutionary way, that is, it must be the way of a fundamental change 
in the whole system, it must take power out of the hands of the capitalist 
class and put it into the hands of the working class. 

The struggles of the working class must have as their aim the setting 
up of a revolutionary workers' and farmers' government. {Applause.) 

Only such a government can finally free the masses from starvation 
and slavery. Only such a government can open up every idle factory, 
mill and mine, and give jobs again to every worker and provide a decent 



100 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

living. Only such a government can immediately seize and distribute 
to the hungry masses the enormous stores of food now kept locked up in 
warehouses. Only such a government can open up the millions of 
houses, kept locked and empty by greedy and private landlords, and fill 
them with the homeless unemployed. 

This is the only working-class way out of the crisis. 

Of the three political parties of the capitalist class — the Republican, 
Democratic, and Socialist parties — the first two are open tools of Wall 
Street, while the third calls itself a "workers' party." But the Socialist 
Party is only the third party of the capitalist class. It is no more the 
party of socialism than is the Democratic party the party of democracy. 
It is the party of the betrayal of socialism. (Applause.) 

A new socialist s)rstem of society is actually being built in a great 
country, one-sixth of the entire world. That is in the Soviet Union. 
(Applause.) There the working class, allied with the farmers, took 
political power away from the capitalists, chased the capitalists away 
or put them to work, and set up a new kind of government, the Soviet 
Government. 

Today, finishing the Five-Year Plan of socialist construction with 
the most magnificent success, building giant new industries where there 
were none at all before, growing at a rate five to ten times as fast as 
anything the world ever saw before, the Soviet Union is the living 
example of the workers' way, the revolutionary way out of the crisis, 
the way to socialism and communism. (Applause.) 

But the Socialist Party is the bitterest enemy of the Soviet Union. 
Its brother-party in Russia joined the capitalists in trying to overthrow 
the Soviet government. The leader of the Socialist Party in the U. S. A., 
Morris Hillquit, was the attorney for those ex-capitalists of tsarist 
Russia who owned the Baku oil fields before the Revolution. Morris 
Hillquit signed the documents of these capitalists who asked the United 
States government to seize the oil shipped to the United States and 
turn it over to them because the Baku oil fields had been "unlawfully 
and wrongfully seized" by the Russian working class and really belonged 
by right to their former capitalist owners. 

Can the Socialist Party bring socialism in America, when its chief 
leader fights to restore capitalism in Russia? 

The Socialist Party has the same program as its brother party in 
England, the Labor Party, which, when in office, was the most aggressive 
initiator of wage-cuts, reduction of unemployment relief, inflation, and 
the whole capitalist way out of the crisis. It has the same program as 
its German brother party, the Social-Democracy, which is in coalition 
with the monarchist Hindenburg, and is negotiating a coalition with 
the fascist Hitler, for the capitalist way out at the expense of the 
workers. 

What is true of the Socialist Party is equally true of its self-styled 



THE FIGHT FOR BREAD loi 

left-wing, the "militants" and Musteites, as well as their Lovestone and 
Cannon winglets. These groups use radical phrases, and put on sham 
fights like that against Hillquit in Milwaukee, but they are all agreed 
on fundamentals. They are united in struggle against the Communist 
Party of the United States and against the Soviet Union. 

The Socialist Party puts itself forward as the champion of American 
democracy, capitalist democracy. It is for the democracy which puts 
Jimmy Walker in charge of New York City, to Secure a million dollars 
graft by farming out the right to exploit the masses; it is against the 
dictatorship in the Soviet Union which shoots such grafters as Jimmy 
Walker. 

But the workers of the United States are learning a great deal about 
the real meaning of capitalist democracy. They can no longer be 
fooled, as of old, so easily. The workers know that in the Soviet Union, 
the dictatorship of the working class means the first and only real 
democracy for the workers. (Applause.) That it is a dictatorship 
against the exploiters and their agents. They know that in the United 
States, the boasted democracy is a democracy of money, and a dictator- 
ship against the workers. (Applause.) 

Only the mass struggle for the demands of the workers contained in 
the platform of the Communist Party is an effective method of gaining 
concessions from the capitalist class here and now. (Applause.) 

There is no other practical struggle for immediate demands except 
the class struggle led by the Communist Party. (Applause.) 

A million votes for Foster and Ford and the Communist platform in 
the presidential elections will win many concessions for the workers 
from the capitalist class, who are filled with deep fear when the workers 
turn towards communism. 

A million votes for the Communist platform will be the first long step 
on the road of the revolutionary way out of the crisis. (Applause.) 

Forward to the revolutionary election struggle of the working class for 
its immediate needs and its ultimate goal! 

Organize a mighty mass movement of the workers and farmers, Negro 
and white, men, women and youth, to vote Communist on November 
8th, and to fight every day in the year against capitalism until it is 
destroyed and a Soviet government rules in the United States! (Loud 
applause — ovation.) 



IV 
Is Planning Possible Under Capitalism? * 

I AM afraid that Mr. Soule has played a little trick on me. He has 
put me in the position of declaring that it is impossible under capi- 
talism to make bad economic plans. It is impossible for me to defend 
this point of view. I will admit all the contentions that Mr. Soule 
makes about the existence of economic planning under capitalism. I 
don't deny that such plans are made. I don't deny that such plans 
are applied. I don't deny that such plans have ever growing effects. 
But I do deny that all of these efforts are in any way contributions 
toward the establishing of a planned economic system. 

So I would wish to restate the question a little before I can take up 
the negative and say, not, is economic planning under capitalism pos- 
sible, but is it possible under capitalism to establish a planned economy, 
that is, a stable economy not subject to constantly recurring, constantly 
deepening crises? ** 

It is, of course, entirely correct to say in one sense that the tradi- 
tional rugged individualism of capitalism has been transformed into its 
very opposite, the denial of individualism by monopoly. That is, in 

* Speech delivered at the debate with George Soule, January 13, 1933. — Ed. 

** Competition, profits, the driving force of capitalist production makes social 
planning impossible. The growth of productive forces are for the manufacturers 
compulsoiy under competition. Planning takes place in the individual factory in 
order to make competition more effective. This planning in the individual 
factory is based upon greater exploitation of the workers engaged in production. 
In the words of Marx, "... within the capitalist system the methods for raising 
the social productiveness of labor are brought about at the cost of the individual 
laborer. All means for the development of production transforms this into means 
of domination over the exploitation of the producers. . ." 

Thus we see that the greater planning in the individual factory, raising the 
productiveness of labor, is based upon greater exploitation of the workers. This 
sharpens the basic contradiction of capitalism, the contradiction between the 
social form of production and the private appropriation of the social product by 
the individual capitalist. The absence of social planning, the anarchy of pro- 
duction, with profit as a driving force, cause overproduction. Therefore the 
poverty of the masses is the basic cause for the recurrent crises under capitalism. 
This contradiction between the planning by the individual capitalist and the 
anarchy of production in society as a whole was referred to by Engels in his 
statement as the "contradiction between socialized organization in the individual 
factory and social anarchy in production as a whole." (Our emphasis.) The 
more the capitalists plan in their individual factories to increase productivity 
based on the exploitation of labor, the greater the development of "social anarchy 
in production as a whole." 

102 



PLANNING UNDER CAPITALISM 103 

reality, capitalism today is far from the original individualism (com- 
petitive capitalism) which remains only as a tradition from the days 
of the rise of capitalism.* The transformation of capitalism, however, 
has not been in the direction of peacefully transforming it into its op- 
posite, in the sense of a planned society, but in organizing all of its 
contradictions on a higher plane. Thereby it intensifies all of these 
contradictions within capitalist society and brings closer by these very 
steps (the growth of gigantic trusts, monopolies, and all other forms 
of organization within the capitalist system), not a planned economy, 
but a catastrophic collapse of the entire present system. 

Let us examine a bit more closely the planning that capitalism does. 
Of course it does lots of planning. I was in Philadelphia today and 
happened to pick up the Philadelphia Ledger and saw one of the latest 
plans. This plan comes from one of the "enlightened" capitalist states- 
men, from Governor Pinchot of Pennsylvania. What is his plan? It 
is a new plan for feeding the masses of unemployed in the State of 
Pennsylvania. And what is the purpose of this plan? The purpose of 
this plan is to abolish cash relief, and to substitute planned distribution 
of food by the state directly to the unemployed. The motive behind 
this plan of direct feeding and substitution of food for cash relief, thus 
avoiding the price system, is that the State of Pennsylvania will be 
enabled to cut the cost of relief from $1.10 a week pei^ person down to 
41C for adults and 27c for children, per week. Of this kind of plan, 
of course, we have a tremendously growing crop. Every day gives us 
a few hundred new plans of this kind. That is one kind of capitalist 
planning. 

Of course there are very important phases of capitalist planning that 
have to do with production. In the period of the rise of capitalism 
these planning efforts of the capitalistic system were generally summed 
up under the heading of scientific management. All of the plans of capi- 
talism that properly come under this head are merely phases of the 
growth of the productive forces and by no means make any contribution 

* The growth of trusts, of gigantic monopolies, does not do away with comf)e- 
tition between the capitalists. On the contrary, it sharpens the struggle for 
markets. The competition between Ford and General Motors is very bitter. 
The competition between General Electric and gas companies over refrigerators 
is by no means gentle. The crisis, which has narrowed the home and world 
markets, has intensified competition between the trusts at home and has led to 
the breaking up of many of the international cartels. 

"Marxists" of the type of Kautsky and Hilferding saw in the development 
of cartels and international agreements the beginnings of "organized" capitalism 
that will do away with crises and competition. But the present crisis has shat- 
tered all these theories into dust. The present talk of planning is merely an 
extension of the "new era" theories and of "organized capitalism" theories 
adapted to the present crisis and to meet the challenge of social planning which 
is making undisputed headway in the Soviet Union. 



104 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

whatever to overcoming those fundamental clashes and contradic- 
tions existing under capitalism, that bring about crises and catastrophes 
such as those at the present. On the contrary. What was the 
effect of all the contributions of scientific management, of all the 
achievements of the American engineers? It was precisely the achieve- 
ments of this kind of capitalistic planning that brought the present 
crisis and gave it its tremendous depth and duration. It is precisely 
because of the achievements of rationalization, of scientific manage- 
ment, of engineering, which so enormously expanded the productive 
forces and possibilities of American economy, that brought them to 
such fundamental and violent conflict with the political-social super- 
structure within which these forces had to work, and which paralyzed 
these forces. So, we must say quite finally and definitely that when 
Mr. Soule looks toward the further development of the processes started 
by Taylor and the Taylor Society as a way towards solving the funda- 
mental problems of the present economic system, that he is in a blind 
alley; that same blind alley which the whole capitalist system is in. 

There is another kind of planning. The planning of capitalism for a 
crisis. Capitalists make plans for crises, too. Let us examine a little 
bit some of the plans Mr. Soule mentioned, which are very much in the 
public eye today, and which won an overwhelming support of the 
electors on November 8. 

We have the farm allotment plan of Mr. Roosevelt, of the Democratic 
Party. What sort of plan is this? This plan has other characteristics 
besides the fact that it proposes a certain state subsidy to certain 
categories of farmers. It has the characteristic that it proposes this 
subsidy on condition that the farmer reduces his production. This 
supreme example of capitalistic planning today proposes that the 
masses of the population who consume the products of the farmer are 
to pay the farmer a double price, on condition that the farmer produces 
less than before. This is planning! Yes, but it is the planning of 
suicide — economic suicide! It is the planning of a society in decay 
and in collapse, and further it is a kind of plan which will not postpone 
this collapse, but will hasten it and will make the catastrophe of this 
collapse even deeper. This kind of planning is possible for capitalism. 
This kind of planning is being carried out every day. This kind of 
planning, however, is not taking us step by step towards a future 
planned economy, except in the sense that it is taking us step by step 
towards a catastrophic collapse out of the ruins of which will rise a 
planned economy. 

No one concerned with capitalistic planning ever pretends even to 
hope to overcome the basic contradictions of the capitalist system 
which render a planned economy impossible. The basic factor of 
capitalism is private ownership of the means of production, on the 
basis of which is established a class division of capitalists and workers. 



PLANNING UNDER CAPITALISM 105 

This division of society into two basic classes, in which a small para- 
site class controls the basic instruments of society, renders futile all 
attempts to establish a planned economy; renders impossible the mass 
participation in the planned economy; creates the kind of society that 
destroys its own markets; and which generates forces of civil disturb- 
ance in its very midst. 

Not only are there these class divisions, but the capitalist class itself 
is incapable of acting as a class for planned economy, and even if we 
could presuppose the benevolent neutrality of the working class, the 
capitalist class would find it impossible to plan as a class because it is 
torn to pieces with the most intense rivalries, and the only way in 
which groups of capitalists can cooperate is through the defeat of one 
by the other. So that trusts are almost never built up through the 
process of friendly mergers, but are created through the process of 
the most violent struggle in which one group destroys the other. The 
very fabric of the capitalist system is a competitive struggle, war. 

The capitalist class itself is the first to proclaim that a planned 
economy is impossible. That is why our gentle liberal friends who have 
gentle hopes for the gentle passing into a planned society, find a very 
convenient way of disposing of all those who proclaim the impossibility 
of this, by saying that extremes meet, that Communists who claim it is 
impossible, are equally reactionary with the capitalist class who claim 
it is impossible, and thus the revolutionary camp is thrown into the 
reactionary camp, and the gentle "revolutionaries" claim they are the 
only ones who stand for progress. {Laughter by the aitdience.) But 
they are the obstacles of progress. 

These are some of the contradictions within capitalist society which 
make planned economy impossible. But I am afraid I will not cover 
my outline if I pursue that line of analysis further. I hope to elaborate 
on this some other time. 

All of the contradictions which give rise to crisis and which bring 
home to the masses the fact that they are living in a chaotic society, 
in which plans have no large social significance, all of these contra- 
dictions rise out of the basic fact of private property in the means of 
production. There is no possible way toward progressing toward the 
establishment of a planned economy except when that progress begins 
with the basic step of abolishing private property in the means of 
production. 

The abolishing of private property in the means of production will 
not come as the product of a long evolutionary development of planned 
economy. The abolition of private property is the precondition for 
the beginnings of the development of planned economy. Here we have 
the basic dispute between Mr. Soule and myself, which is the dispute 
between liberalism (or radicalism which it sometimes prefers to call 
itself) and Marxism-Leninism. There is no road toward socialism 



io6 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

except the road of building up of the revolutionary forces within capi- 
talistic society, which will overthrow the system.* That is, the building 
up of forces of the working class, preparing it through the experiences 
of the daily struggle for its immediate needs, preparing it for the revo- 
lutionary seizure of power in alliance with other oppressed sections 
of the population. 

If capitalism can plan, and can begin the development of a planned 
economy, one would think that now is the time to do its stuff. Surely 
there are sufficient needs even from the point of view of the capitalists 
for some plan to be brought forward which will really convince the 
masses of the population that they have found some way out of the 
crisis. The final proof that capitalism cannot plan is the fact that 
capitalism is not planning. All the evidence brought forward by Mr. 
Soule to prove the capacity of capitalist planning merely proved the 
capacity of capitalism to plan new attacks against the working class, 
not its capacity to plan a way out of the crisis, a rehabilitation of the 
economic system. There is no plan for this purpose which is a serious 
plan, which faces the basic factors of the reestablishment of produc- 
tion. We have no such thing. There is not even a pretense to offer 
such a thing. When we say this, it applies not only to the Recon- 
struction Finance Corporation of Hoover, which is not and does not 
even pretend to be anything more than an emergency prop to prevent 
collapse, and is by no means something which promises to rehabilitate 
a system which cannot rehabilitate itself by its own inner forces; not 
only to the allotment plan of Roosevelt; but also to all of the other 
plans and theories about planned economy, including the new seven- 
day wonder, Technocracy. And one should say also, I think, even 
including the very intelligent discussions and proposals that have been 
made by Mr. Soule himself. 

There are many kinds of advocates of capitalist plans and capitalist 
planning. Some of them are of the type we call social racketeers; that 

♦The Soviet Union is at the present time the only country where social 
planning is possible. What was the first step which the toilers of Russia took 
towards social planning? That was the proletarian revolution — the dictatorship 
of the proletariat — which abolished private property in the means of production. 
Engels many decades ago posed the question, when does "socialized production 
upon a predetermined plan become possible?" His answer is clear. "The prole- 
tarian revolution, solution of the contradictions, the proletariat seizes public 
power and by means of this transforms the socialized means of production, slipping 
from the hands of the bourgeoisie, into public property. By this act the prole- 
tariat frees the means of production from the character of capital they have thus 
far borne and gives their socialized character complete freedom to work itself out. 
Socialized production upon a predetermined plan becomes henceforth possible." 
(My emphasis.) The Russian Revolution, the growth of socialist construction in 
the Soviet Union, is the hving example of social planning. The Soviet Union 
by its first and second Five- Year Plan is the most effective reply to the fallacies 
of social planning under capitalism. 



PLANNING UNDER CAPITALISM 107 

is, it is a racket with them — something they are selling as a business. 
I think that characterization should be given to the world-famous 
Technocrats. I don't think it is possible to take the contents of then: 
proposals or theories very seriously. 

With regard to the arguments of Mr. Soule, especially as expressed 
in his book, Planned Society, one has to examine these on a different 
plane. Mr. Soule is a serious person, who faces problems and argues 
about them on an intellectual plane. If he is wrong, it is not because 
he is deliberately prostituting his mental capacities to serve any section 
of the capitalist class. At the same time, even when we deal with 
the theories of Mr. Soule, we have to take into account the class mean- 
ing, the class significance, the class origin of such ideas. We never, 
if we wish to have a scientific understanding of social problems, can 
get very far away from the examination of the class forces that are at 
work.* The reason why Mr. Soule's analysis of the problem of plan- 
ning results in so little of any practical significance is because his 
thought process is so far away from the class struggle. 

A national plan requires a strong motive force behind it to put it 
into effect. A plan does not operate by itself. A plan is merely an 
instrument in the hands of some strong force. Where can we find 
the force capable of putting through a national economic plan for 
America? There is only one class which has the possibility of pro- 
viding this force — the working class. Not because we have some 
mystical conception of some force which has been placed by a mys- 
terious god within these people, the workers, but because historical 
development is hammering out of this human material which consti- 
tutes the working class, that force which, because of the nature of its 
existence, finds it possible and necessary to carry society forward to 
its next stage. It is not necessary for us to confine ourselves to the 
broad generalizations of history that have been made by our great 
teachers, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, to prove this fact. We also have 
our own experience right here in America, for all of our "backward" 
American working class. Some people like to talk a great deal of the 
"backwardness" of the American working class. I think that in the 
course of a very few years of the capitalist crisis, the American working 
class is going to take such a leap forward politically, that all this talk 
of the "backwardness" of the American working class will be for- 
gotten. {Prolonged applause.) 

We had one experience in the changes recently in the National 

* What is the class meaning of all of the theories of planning under capitalism ? 
The present crisis with its untold misery for the toilers dooms the capitalist 
system as a system which has completely outlived its historical usefulness and 
which only hinders the further development of mankind. The capitalists are 
trying through these theories of capitalist planning to hide the fact that "the 
bourgeoisie are convicted of incapacity further to manage their own social 
productive forces." 



io8 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Hunger March. The National Hunger March showed the revolutionary 
potentialities within the working class. Here was a great national action 
carried through on schedule, carried through without any financial 
resources whatever, except those drawn out of the masses, pennies, 
nickels and dimes, by the political attractive forces of the beginnings 
of class action. Three thousand delegates coming together from differ- 
ent parts of the country, very few having ever seen each other or even 
worked together before, and presenting such an exhibition of organiza- 
tion and discipline as has rarely been seen before in the history of this 
country. Does anybody think these things are the creation of some 
mechanical organizational apparatus of the Communist Party? Not a 
bit of it. These things are the creation of the political class conscious- 
ness of the workers of America who are beginning to wake up on a 
mass scale, and they demonstrated the tremendous creative power that 
is in the working class of this country. And by the way, this Hunger 
March was an example of a "planned" action. 

I must say that (although I can't take sufficient time to develop it 
as it deserves) with regard to the planned economy the Socialist Party, 
although it uses many phrases about socialism, occupies exactly the 
same position — no, rather a position somewhat to the right of — that 
occupied by Mr. Soule. What Mr. Norman Thomas offers in the 
name of socialism is a planned economy which is merely more planned 
capitalism, that is, state capitalism. 

Now I want to spend my last fifteen minutes with an examination 
of certain more fundamental questions involved in all of this debate. 
I am not exactly sure as to how to formulate this question. One could 
approach it from many angles. One could ask, for example, "Why is 
it that such a keen intelligence as Mr. Soule's, for example, can be so 
blind to certain very obvious facts in a field in which he has conducted 
prolonged and profound studies? Why is it that Mr. Soule, after all his 
study of the question, finally comes to such provisional conclusions as 
to make it even very difficult to debate with him?" One is not always 
sure just what he does believe after all. And in his book, which I 
studied in preparation for tonight, he tells us practically this: "Well, 
maybe the revolutionists are correct, maybe the reformists are correct. 
The only possible way we can know who is correct, is to let them fight 
it out and whoever wins is correct." Now, what significance does this 
attitude, which is not alone the attitude of Mr. Soule, have? It is an 
example of the typical philosophy of the typical American bourgeois, 
that is the philosophy of pragmatism, or, if one is to be "up-to-date," 
instrumentalism, which means the same thing. It is the typical attitude 
of the whole philosophy which is summed up in the expression, "Well, 
you will know what is the truth after the truth is established. There 
is no possible way to know it beforehand." That attitude is contained 
in the famous illustration that I think is to be referred to John Dewey 



PLANNING UNDER CAPITALISM 109 

(although I am not sure, not being an expert m this field, perhaps it 
is from William James) that the man who is lost in the forest cannot 
possibly know in advance the way out of the forest. He can experiment 
and try various ways out, and after he is out, then he can know the 
truth about the way out of the forest. This approach, by the way, is 
also typical of the Technocrats. 

Mr. Soule has written some penetrating criticism of Technocracy and 
has asked the Technocrats some very embarrassing questions. I have 
only wondered why Mr. Soule did not answer the questions himself. 
Because, though they are very keen and embarrassing to Technocracy, 
they are just as embarrassing to Mr. Soule. This pragmatism that 
recognizes the truth only a posteriori (as the learned gentlemen say) 
only as something that has already arrived, cannot distinguish the face 
of truth amidst falsehoods and illusions. It has an inherent inability 
to recognize the face of the truth, it proclaims that the only possible 
way to recognize the truth is when you see it from the rear, when you 
see its backside, when it has already passed into history. This is a 
convenient philosophy for that bourgeoisie which is "sitting on top of 
the world," the bourgeoisie in ascendancy. But when bourgeois society 
falls into a crisis, this philosophy of pragmatism falls into crisis also 
along with the whole capitalist system. Where in the period of 
"Coolidge prosperity" it gave all the answers required to all of the 
problems of the bourgeoisie, today it begins to give the wrong answers 
to the bourgeoisie. Even if we judge the capitalist system today by 
that final criterion of the pragmatists, Does it work? we have the an- 
swer, "No, it does not work." So capitalism stands condemned by the 
standards of the philosophy of the bourgeois themselves. By the same 
standard, if we ask about the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet 
Union, the new Socialist planned economy, and ask, Does it work? the 
answer is, "Yes, it does work. In the midst of a world that is going 
to pieces, it works." So pragmatism has failed its class creators in the 
crucial moment. It is unable to give capitalism any answer to the 
question. What way out? Because all the thinkers for capitalism 
are bound within the philosophical framework of pragmatism, they are 
unable to even formulate any proposals for a way out and are in the 
same position as the one who says, "Maybe the revolutionists are right, 
maybe the reformists are right, who knows? Let us wait and see." 

But if pragmatism is of no use to the capitalist class to find a way 
out of the crisis, we must say it is no use to the working class, either. 
The only effect of the influence of this ideological system upon the 
working class is a very poisonous one, to create hesitation, indecision, 
hesitation again, more indecision, wait and see, wait and see. 

The working class must have a different kind of philosophy, because 
the working class faces the future — ^not only faces the future, is already 
beginning to control the future. That is the essence of planning, to 



no COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

control the future. And you cannot control the future if your approach 
to the future is that it is impossible to know what is the truth until 
after the future has become the past. Those who are going to control 
the future have to be able to see in the future. Those who are going 
to control the future must know what is the truth before the event, 
before it happens, and by knowing it, determine what is going to 
happen and see that it does happen. That is the revolutionary working 
class, the only power that is able to put into effect a planned economy, 
and the only class that is capable of developing the whole philosophy 
and the understanding of society, which is necessary to put a plan 
into effect. 

In conclusion: I would read a short quotation from Stalin, which in 
my opinion is one of the best short answers that has ever been given 
to the question. Can Capitalism Create a Planned Economy? Stalin 
speaking at the Sixteenth Party Congress, said: 

If capitalism could adapt production, not to the acquisition of the maxi- 
mum of profits, but to the systematic improvement of the material conditions 
of the mass of the people; if it could employ its profits, not in satisfying 
the whims of the parasitic classes, not in perfecting methods of exploita- 
tion, not in exporting capital, but in the systematic improvement of the ma- 
terial conditions of the workers and peasants, then there would be no crisis. 
But then, also, capitalism would not be capitaHsm. In order to abolish 
crises, capitaHsm must be abolished.* 

* Joseph Stalin, Leninism, Volume II, p. 313. 



Why an Open Letter to the Party Membership * 

Why are we holding an extraordinary Party conference at this time? 
And why are we proposing that this conference shall issue an open 
letter to the Party? It is not alone because of the extreme sharpening 
of the crisis and consequently of the class struggle and of the danger 
of imperialist war. Above all the reasons for these extraordinary 
measures lie in the fact that in spite of serious beginnings of revolu- 
tionary upsurge among the masses, our Party has not developed into 
a revolutionary mass Party. 

This extraordinary conference and the open letter are designed to 
rouse all of the resources, all of the forces of the Party to change this 
situation, and to give us guarantees that the essential change in our 
work will be made. 

The draft open letter, which is the central document in this con- 
ference, is the result of long discussions and examination of our work. 
It represents the most serious judgment of the situation and tasks of 
our Party by our leadership. It will undoubtedly be endorsed by the 
overwhelming majority of our membership. 

BASIC TASKS OF THE 14TH PLENUM NOT CARRIED OUT 

But we must recall that more than a year ago, at our Fourteenth 
Plenum already the Party had adopted all the essential features of 
the program of action here laid down. Yet, although we had some 
significant successes in our work since the Fourteenth Plenum — the 
Hunger March, the Detroit strikes, the Farmers' Conference, victories 
in the Scottsboro case, the veterans' movement, some important steps 
forward in applying the tactic of the united front and so on — yet the 
point upon which we must concentrate all of our attention is this: 
that the basic tasks laid down at the Fourteenth Plenum have not been 
carried out. 

When we consider the especially favorable conditions for rousing 
and organizing a real mass movement around our Party, then it is clear 
that our small successes are important mainly to show the tremendous 
unused opportunities, to prove what could have been done everywhere 
and in the most important fields, if only we would seriously mobilize 
all our forces at the most decisive points. 

♦Excerpts from the Report to the Extraordinary Party Conference, New York 
City, July 7, 1933.— JSd. 

ziz 



112 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

What were these most decisive points? They were: (i) to win a 
firmer basis for our Party and for the revolutionary trade unions among 
the decisive strata of the workers in the most important industrial 
centers; (2) the strengthening of the Red Trade Unions, especially 
the miners', steel, textile and marine unions, and the organizing of a 
broad revolutionary opposition in the reformist unions — above all 
among the miners and the railroad workers; (3) mobilization and 
organization of the unemployed millions together with the employed 
for their most urgent daily needs and for unemployment insurance as 
the central immediate struggle of the Party; (4) the transformation 
of the Daily Worker into a really revolutionary mass paper, into an 
agitator and organizer of the masses; (5) wide development of new 
leading cadres of workers — the establishment of really collectively- 
working leading bodies and the improvement of these leading bodies by 
the drawing in of capable new working-class elements. 

In the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Plenums of the Central Committee, 
we clarified certain fundamental questions upon which confusion had 
arisen. It is not necessary to revise any concrete decisions taken 
at the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Plenums. They were correct. But 
it must be recognized that these two last plenums of our Central Com- 
mittee, in the face of continued failure to really concentrate the whole 
Party upon its basic task, did not arouse the whole Party to the seri- 
ousness of these tasks and did not let loose all the forces of the Party 
from below to secure the guarantee that the essential change would 
really be made. 

To remedy these central weaknesses must be the central point of 
this conference, which must launch and carry through the profound 
deep-going transformation. 

CLASH FOR MARKETS LEADS TO WAR 

Before passing on to detailed examination of some of these problems, 
a few words must be said about the international situation. It is quite 
clear from the events taking place that the tempo of the war develop- 
ment is speeding up very fast. The practical collapse of the London 
Economic Conference has revealed how irreconcilable are imperialist 
antagonisms, how sharply their interests are clashing. The British- 
American trade war which is raging throughout the world, and which 
has for a long time been conducted in South America in the form of 
armed warfare between the South American countries, has by no means 
been softened as a result of the developments of the London Con- 
ference. On the contrary, in spite of the attempts which are made 
in the public press to indicate that in London a certain amount of 
general agreement has been established between London and Wash- 
ington on the currency question and on other questions before the 
London Conference, the fact remains that the central antagonism 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 113 

upon which the whole conference was wrecked was precisely the war 
between the dollar and the pound. The British- American antagonism 
is coming forward sharper than ever before in the international scene. 
The Japanese-American antagonism is also assuming a very sharp 
form. Perhaps some of you already noticed that this afternoon's 
World-Telegram carries a big broadside editorial by Roy Howard, 
calling for building up the navy to full treaty strength as the "means 
of preserving peace in the Far East." These antagonisms among the 
great powers, and the measures being adopted for meeting the world 
problems of capitalism, make the development of the new world war 
a question of the day. 

The danger of war is by no means expressed only in these sharpen- 
ing main imperialist antagonisms. The sharper these antagonisms be- 
come, the stronger become the efforts of the leading capitalist statesmen 
to find a temporary solution in a common anti-Soviet war, to find a 
temporary solution of their antagonisms at the expense of the Workers' 
Republic. It is by no means an accident that precisely in the last 
days the relations on the eastern frontier of the Soviet Union have 
considerably sharpened. The attitude of the Manchurian "republic," 
puppet of Japan, has become extremely provocative. In Tokyo the 
newspapers are openly speaking about the necessity of annexing eastern 
Siberia. We can be sure that when Japan begins to take up seriously 
as a practical order of business the moving across Soviet borders, 
that they do so in certain agreement with at least some of the Western 
pov/ers. We must not under any circumstances allow ourselves to be- 
come lax in our vigilance as to the necessity of rousing the masses 
for the defense of the Soviet Union merely on account of the diplo- 
matic victories that are being won at this moment by the Soviet Union. 

When we say this we do not by any means want to underestimate 
the importance of these diplomatic victories. The extension of the 
system of non-aggression pacts between the Soviet Union and France, 
and France's satellites in Eastern Europe, constitutes a definite victory 
for Soviet peace policy. The cancellation of the trade embargo of 
the British against the Soviets is another victory of Soviet diplomacy. 
The beginnings of organized large-scale trade relations between the 
United States and the Soviet Union and the perspective of a possible 
recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States in the near future 
are also victories. But the winning of these victories does not soften 
the basic forces that are operating towards bringing together the im- 
perialist powers for a desperate war of intervention against the Soviet 
Union. It is necessary for us to weigh all of these factors in their 
proper perspective and to understand that the war danger is really 
an immediate question for the masses today, that we are really operat- 
ing in a world situation more explosive, more pregnant with all of the 



114 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

factors of imperialist war of the most destructive character than July, 
1914. 

ROOSEVELT "NEW DEAL" AND FASCISM 

This world situation is the outgrowth of the deepening of the crisis 
of world capitalism. This is bringing profound changes into the 
world relationships and into the domestic policies of the American 
bourgeoisie. In the United States these changes are expressed in the 
development of the Roosevelt "New Deal." 

The "New Deal" represents the rapid development of bourgeois 
policy under the blows of the crisis, the sharpening of the class struggle 
at home and the imminence of a new imperialist war. The "New 
Deal" is a policy of slashing the living standards at home and fighting 
for markets abroad, for the simple purpose of maintaining the profits 
of finance capital. It is a policy of brutal oppression at home and 
of imperialist war abroad. It represents a further sharpening and 
deepening of the world crisis. 

It has become very fashionable lately to speak about the "New 
Deal" as American fascism. One of Mussolini's newspapers declares 
that Roosevelt is following the path marked out by Italian fascism. 

Norman Thomas has contributed a profound thought to the question 
and has written several long articles in the capitalist press, to point 
out that the "New Deal" is "economic fascism," and that it is com- 
posed of good and bad elements, many of them even "progressive" 
in their nature, if not accompanied by "political reaction." And a 
group of honest revolutionary workers in Brooklyn recently issued a 
leaflet in which they declared that Roosevelt and Hitler are the same 
thing. Such answers as these to the question of the essential character 
of the "New Deal" will not help us much. 

It is true that elements of fascism long existing in America are 
being greatly stimulated, and are coming to maturity more rapidly 
than ever before. But it would be well for us to recall the analysis 
of fascism made at the Eleventh and Twelfth Plenums of the Execu- 
tive Committee of the Communist International, both for the purpose 
of understanding the situation in Germany and for accurately judging 
the developments in America. 

First, it must be understood that fascism grows naturally out of 
bourgeois democracy under the conditions of capitalist decline. It is 
only another form of the same class rule, the dictatorship of finance 
capital. Only in this sense can one say that Roosevelt is the same as 
Hitler, in that both are executives of finance capital. The same thing, 
however, could be said of every other executive of every other capi- 
talist state. To label everything capitalist as fascism results in de- 
stroying all distinction between the various forms of capitalist rule. 
If we should raise these distinctions to a level of difference in principle, 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER ii5 

between fascism on the one side and bourgeois democracy on the other, 
this would be following in the line of reformism, of social-fascism. But 
on the other hand to ignore entirely these distinctions would be tac- 
tical stupidity, would be an example of "left" doctrinairism. 

Second: the growth of fascist tendencies is a sign of the weakening 
of the rule of finance capital. It is a sign of the deepening of the 
crisis, a sign that finance capital can no longer rule in the old forms. 
It must turn to the more open and brutal and terroristic methods, not 
as the exception but as the rule, for the oppression of the population 
at home and preparation for war abroad. It is preventive counter- 
revolution, an attempt to head off the rise of the revolutionary upsurge 
of the masses. 

Third: fascism is not a special economic system. Its economic meas- 
ures go no further in the modification of the capitalist economic forms 
than all capitalist classes have always gone under the exceptional 
stresses of war and preparation for war. The reason for the existence 
of fascism is to protect the economic system of capitalism, private 
property in the means of production, the basis of the rule of finance 
capital. 

Fourth: fascism comes to maturity with the direct help of the So- 
cialist Parties, the parties of the Second International, who are those 
elements within the working class we describe as social-fascists because 
of the historic role which they play. Under the mask of opposition to 
fascism, they in reality pave the way for fascism to come to power. 
They disarm the workers by the theory of the lesser evil; they tell the 
workers they will be unable to seize and hold power; they create dis- 
trust in the revolutionary road by means of slanders against the Soviet 
Union; they throw illusions of democracy around the rising forces of 
fascism; they break up the international solidarity of the workers. 
They carry this out under the mask of "socialism" and "Marxism." 
In America this role is played by the S.P., "left" reformists and the 
A. F. of L. bureaucracy. 

The development of Roosevelt's program is a striking illustration of 
the fact that there is no Chinese wall between democracy and fascism. 
Roosevelt operates with all of the arts of "democratic" rule, with an 
emphasized liberal and social-demagogic cover, quite a contrast with 
Hoover who was outspokenly reactionary. Yet behind this smoke 
screen, Roosevelt is carrying out more thoroughly, more brutally than 
Hoover, the capitalist attack against the living standards of the masses 
and the sharpest national chauvinism in foreign relations. 

Under the New Deal we have entered a period of the greatest con- 
tradictions between the words and deeds of the heads of government. 

Hoover refused the bonus to the veterans and called out the troops 
against them, causing Hushka and Carlson to be killed. Roosevelt 
gave the veterans a camp and food, and instead of sending the troops 



ii6 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

he sent his wife to meet them. But where Hoover denied the bonus, 
Roosevelt also denied the bonus and added to it a cut of $500,000,000 
in pensions and disability allowances. 

Roosevelt's international phrases have only served to cover the 
launching of the sharpest trade war the world has seen, with the 
United States operating on the world market with a cheapened dollar, 
with inflation, that is carrying out large-scale dumping. 

Roosevelt's election campaign slogan of unemployment insurance 
and relief by the federal Government has been followed in office by 
refusal of insurance and drastic cutting down of relief, the institution 
of forced labor camps, etc. 

Under the slogan of higher wages for the workers he is carrying 
out the biggest slashing of wages that the country has ever seen. 
Under the slogan of "freedom to join any trade union he may choose," 
the worker is driven into company unions or into the discredited A. F. 
of L., being denied the right to strike; while the militant unions are 
being attacked with the aim to destroy them. 

With the cry, "take the Government out of the hands of Wall 
Street," Roosevelt is carrying through the greatest drive for extending 
trustification and monopoly, exterminating independent producers and 
small capitalists, and establishing the power of finance capital more 
thoroughly than ever before. He has turned the public treasury into 
the pockets of the big capitalists. While Hoover gave $3,000,000,000 
in a year, Roosevelt has given $5,000,000,000 in three months. 

As for the extra-legal developments of fascism, we should remember 
that it is precisely in the South which is the basis of power of the 
Democratic Party, that the Ku Klux Klan originated and is now being 
revived. It is the South that for generations has given the lie to all 
Democratic pretensions of liberalism by its brutal lynching, disfran- 
chisement and Jim-Crowing of the Negro masses, and upon this basis 
has reduced the standard of living of the white workers in the South 
far below that of the rest of the country. 

Large sections of workers in the basic industries in America, living 
in the company towns which are owned body and soul by the great 
trusts, have for long been under conditions just as brutal and oppres- 
sive as under Hitler in Germany today. 

It is clear that fascism already finds much of its work done in Amer- 
ica and more of it is being done by Roosevelt. 

But it would be incorrect to speak of the New Deal as developed 
fascism. With a further rise of the revolutionary struggle of the 
masses, the bourgeoisie will turn more and more to fascist methods. 
Whether a fascist regime will finally be established in America will 
depend entirely upon the effectiveness of the revolutionary mass strug- 
gle, whether the masses will be able to defeat the attacks upon their 
rights and their standards of living. 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 117 

What are the main features of the New Deal? Let us consider it 
as a whole, as a system of measures, and bring together all the various 
features embodied in new legislation and actions in Washington. We 
can sum up the features of the New Deal under the following heads: 
i) Trustification; 2) inflation; 3) direct subsidies to finance capital; 
4) taxation of the masses; 5) the economy program; 6) the farm pro- 
gram; 7) military and naval preparations; 8) the movement toward 
militarization, direct and indirect, of labor. 

MAIN FEATURES OF "NEW DEAL" 

First, trustification: Under the mask of the "radical" slogan of 
"controlled production," the Industrial Recovery Act has merely 
speeded up and centralized the process of trustification which has long 
been the dominant feature of American economy. There is now being 
carried out a clean-up of all the "little fellows." They are forced to 
come under the codes formulated by the trusts, which will have the 
force of law. The "little fellows' " doom is sealed and they are busy 
making the best terms possible for a "voluntary" assimilation before 
they are wiped out. Capitalist price-fixing has been given the force 
of law and the profits of the great trusts are guaranteed by the gov- 
ernment. As for "controlled production," we have the word of an 
administration spokesman that "competition is not eliminated; it is 
only raised to a higher plane." That is quite true. The further 
strengthening of the power of monopoly capital is intensifying all of 
the chaos, antagonisms, disproportions, within American economy. 
"Controlled production" is impossible upon the basis of capitalist pri- 
vate property. There is only the growth of the power of the big 
capitalists and the intensification of all social and economic contra- 
dictions. 

Second, inflation: The continuous cheapening of the dollar serves 
several purposes. First, it serves for a general cutting down of the 
living standards of the masses through higher domestic prices, and 
especially a reduction of workers' real wages (already over 20 per 
cent), and if we study the course of prices in the last few days, you 
will see that the reduction of real wages is now speeding up very fast. 
Second, inflation results in helping restore solvency to the banks and 
financial institutions by increasing the market value of their depreci- 
ated securities. Third, inflation carries out a partial expropriation 
of the savings and investments of the middle classes. Fourth, it results 
in the creation of a temporary expanding market to stimulate indus- 
trial production for a time, through the rush of speculators and profiteers 
to lay up stocks for higher prices. Fifth, inflation results in the 
launching of a tremendous commercial war of price-cutting and dump- 
ing on the world market. All of these results of inflation serve to 
strengthen finance capital, build up its profits at the cost of sharpened 



ii8 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

exploitation of the masses at home, and lead directly to imperialist 
war. 

Third, the direct subsidies: This is only an enlargement of Hoover's 
poHcy of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Many billions of 
dollars as gifts, disguised as "loans," are being poured into the coffers 
of the big capitalists. It all comes out of the lowered living standards 
of the masses, the expropriation of the savings of the petty bourgeoisie, 
and out of mass taxation. 

Fourth, the taxation program: There is being carried out under the 
New Deal an enormous shifting of even the present limited burdens 
of taxation on property and big income away from them and on to 
the shoulders of the masses, the workers and farmers. Almost all the 
increased taxation is in the form of sales taxes of all kinds, indirect 
taxation that falls upon the small consumers. All apparent measures 
of increasing income tax rates have merely fallen upon the middle class, 
while the big capitalists relieve themselves of all income taxes, as ex- 
emplified by the biggest capitalists of them all, Morgan, Otto Kahn, 
Mitchell, etc., who have gone for years now without paying any income 
tax. 

Fifth, the economy program: While new taxes have been piled up 
and new billions of dollars given to the banks and trusts, "economy" is 
the rule for all government expenditure that reaches the masses or the 
little fellows. The government sets the example for the entire capitalist 
class with wholesale wage-cuts, with rationalization, mass discharges, 
etc., of government employees. The war veterans have their disability 
allowances cut by half a billion dollars; unemployment relief is sub- 
stituted by forced labor camps; social services of all kinds is heavily 
slashed or discontinued altogether. That is the economy program of 
the New Deal. 

Sixth, the jarm program: While millions of workers are starving for 
lack of food, the Government turns its energies to cutting down farm 
production. Growing cotton is today being plowed under by direction 
of the Government. That is the New Deal. A 30 per cent tax is 
placed on bread in order that farmers shall get (at best) the same 
return for a smaller amount of wheat. Those farmers, in the best 
case, will still only maintain their bankrupt situation while the masses 
will have less bread at higher prices. The mortgage holders will 
absorb the great bulk of this government subsidy, at the expense of 
the stomachs of the masses. This year's wheat crop, already in the 
hands of the speculators, bought from the farmers at about 25 cents a 
bushel, sharply rises in price with enormous profits for the speculators. 
By the time the farmers can get 80 cents to $1 for the coming crop, 
the dollar will be so inflated that it will be worth just about that 25 
cents they got for wheat last year. Farmers will be at an even greater 
disadvantage in buying industrial products at monopoly prices sharply 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 119 

rising under the Allotment Plan provided in the New Deal which is 
used as an attempt to divide workers from farmers and set them in 
sharp rivalry, but the masses including the farmers pay all the bills. 

Seventh, the military and naval preparations: This is one of the 
chief features of the New Deal. The wild commercial war on the 
world markets, sharpened to an enormous degree by the falling value 
of the dollar, has already disrupted the London Economic Conference, 
has brought all imperialist antagonisms to a critical point. British- 
American relations are clashing in every field. Japanese-American re- 
lations are growing sharper. A government which carries out this 
bandit policy of inflation and dumping, while at the same time driving 
down the living standards of the masses at home, such a government 
really should logically go heavily armed. An inevitable part of the 
New Deal is therefore the tremendous building of new battleships, 
cruisers, new poison gases, explosives, new tanks and other machinery 
of destruction for the army, new military roads, the increase of armed 
forces, increased salaries for the officers. Industrial recovery is thus 
to be hastened by working the war industries overtime. Such war 
preparations have never been seen before since 191 7. 

Eighth, and finally, there is the movement towards militarization of 
labor. This is the most direct and open part of the fascist features of 
the New Deal. The sharpest expression of this is the forced labor 
camps with the dollar-a-day wage. Already some 250,000 workers 
are in these camps. This forced labor has several distinct aims. First, 
it sets a standard of wages towards which the capitalists will try to 
drive the so-called free labor everywhere. It smashes the old tradi- 
tional wage standards. Secondly, it breaks up the system of unem- 
ployed relief and establishes the principle that work must be done 
for all relief given. Thirdly, it furnishes cheap labor for government 
projects, mostly of a military nature, and for some favored capitalists. 
Fourthly, it takes the most virile and active unemployed workers out 
of the cities where, as government spokesmen have said, they consti- 
tute "a danger to law and order," and places these "dangerous" people 
under military control. Fifthly, it sets up a military reserve of 
human cannon-fodder already being trained for the coming war. 

But the provisions of the Industrial Recovery Act regarding labor 
provide a much more large-scale effort at militarization of labor, though 
in quite different form from the forced labor camps. In the industries, 
for the employed worker, the aim is to establish a semi-military 
regime, in many ways similar to the old war-time legislation, under 
government fixed wages, compulsory arbitration of all disputes with 
the government as arbitrator, abolition of the right to strike and inde- 
pendent organization of workers. These things are to be achieved 
through the industrial codes worked out by employers and given the 
force of law by the signature of Roosevelt, supported when and where 



120 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

necessary by the American Federation of Labor and the Socialist Party, 
who have already entered wholeheartedly into this pretty scheme. 

In the labor section of the New Deal are to be seen the clearest 
examples of the tendencies towards fascism. It is the American 
brother to Mussolini's "corporate state," with state-controlled labor 
unions closely tied up with and under the direction of the employers. 
Here we have also the sharpest American example of the role of the 
Socialist Party and the trade union bureaucracy, the role of social- 
fascism as the bearers among the masses of the program of fascism, 
who pave the way for the establishment of fascist control over the 
masses. 

SITUATION IN OUR PARTY 

New let us consider what is the position of our Party for facing 
and solving all the enormous problems that arise out of this situation. 
What is the basic situation of the Party? During 1932 our member- 
ship was doubled. But in the first half-year of 1933 it has remained 
stationary. We decided that recruiting should not be a special cam- 
paign, but should be an every-day activity. That was a very nice 
decision. But the way we carried it out was that we abolished the 
campaign feature of recruiting but we failed to replace it with serious 
day-to-day recruiting work; the result was that our Party has stopped 
growing. This is a most serious and alarming fact. It is clear that 
tens of thousands of workers are ready for membership but we do not 
bring them in. We do not consolidate those we bring in. The member- 
ship remains around 20,000 with average dues payments of 17,000 to 
18,000 per week. We cannot claim any serious growth in membership 
and we will not be able to claim serious growth of membership under 
present conditions until we reach and surpass 50,000 members. 

Secondly, our membership consists in its majority of unemployed 
workers, and the proportion of the unemployed constantly rises. What 
recruiting we do is mainly among the unemployed; partial figures 
available for some districts show that fully 80 per cent of the new 
members have no connections with the shops, mills or mines. Of 
course we want all these new members from among the unemployed, 
and more of them — but if this is not accompanied by simultaneous 
recruiting of employed workers, then a most serious danger arises that 
we may become a Party of unemployed; that we may find the very 
composition of our Party becoming an obstacle to the basic task of 
building unity of employed and unemployed workers. It is clear that 
in this respect we are following, not our plan of work, but are drifting 
along the line of least resistance. 

Thirdly, those new members we recruit are not, except to a small 
degree, brought from the most important strata of workers — from the 
basic industries, from mines, from among the steel workers, the railroad 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 121 

workers, etc. We have no serious planned recruiting work among these 
most important sections. Here again we drift and become the victims 
of spontaneity. 

Fourthly, our shop work remains disgracefully weak. Only four 
per cent of our members are in shop nuclei; no serious improvement 
can yet be seen. Hundreds of nuclei have been organized only to 
disappear, and very few leading committees are enough interested to 
even be able to tell us how and why they were destroyed and how 
they could have been saved and built up. In the main these shop 
nuclei have died because of lack of leadership, lack of concrete help, 
from the Political Bureau, from the Central Committee, from the 
District Committees, from the Section Committees. We did not learn 
how to obtain the necessary activity in the shop — without which a 
nucleus exists only in form and will dry up and blow away — combined 
with the necessary safeguards against victimization, without which a 
nucleus is destroyed by our enemies. We did not seriously study the 
methods of combating spies, exposing and driving them out of the 
shops by the mass pressure of the workers. We did not take up seri- 
ously the problems of conspiratorial work in the shop, did not seri- 
ously understand that shop work is illegal work, and that here we 
must find the most skillful combination of legal and illegal work. 
There was laxness in the Central Committee and in the Political Bureau 
in systematically pushing these questions forward and finding the way 
to lead the whole Party to their solution. There was too much me- 
chanical pressure from above for unprepared, unplanned activity; there 
was insufficient attention to concrete shop issues and the combination 
of these with the larger political questions. There were no steps taken 
to strengthen the weak inner political life of the shop nuclei. 

Fifthly, all our lower units suffer from lack of concrete tasks and 
concrete, planned work, based upon an examination of the situation 
of each one. Abstract, general plans, worked out above, are me- 
chanically applied to the life of each and every local organization. 
The result is lack of contact with real life, undirected general activities 
without results, therefore dampening the enthusiasm of the member- 
ship. This again results in surrendering to spontaneity, the line of 
least resistance; unplanned work, uncontrolled activity. 

That, briefly is the situation of the Party. . . . 

STRUGGLE FOR SOCIAL INSURANCE— A CENTRAL TASK 

Let us turn to an examination of our central struggle for social in- 
surance, where we have most serious weaknesses. These weaknesses 
have been examined in detail in the article of Comrade Gussev pub- 
lished in the Communist International and in the Daily Worker, We 
must all agree with the fundamental correctness of that article. We 
must search for the causes and remove them. 



122 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

While in theory we all agree that social insurance is the business of 
all workers, of all organizations, yet in practice we assign all concrete 
measures in the fight for unemployment insurance to the Unemployed 
Councils. In resolutions, we speak of unity of the employed and 
unemployed, but in practice our Red unions often ignore the whole 
question of social insurance. They do not undertake any concrete 
actions which show they understand it is their very central task to 
fight for social insurance also. We have the beginnings of a good 
movement for social insurance in the A. F. of L. local unions, but it 
is left isolated, working by itself. The districts and sections neglect 
their task of building the whole broad movement. 

Above all we have a general underestimation of the historical aim 
of the fight for social insurance, even within our Party, and yet worse 
among the leading cadres. We have not won mass support as it is 
quite possible to do because we have not been able simply and clearly 
to explain to the workers the need for struggle for social insurance. 
We will win the masses when every Party member and every Party 
leader can explain in the simplest terms that mass unemployment of 
millions of workers is a permanent feature of American society as long 
as capitalism lasts; and without unemployment insurance this condition 
results in degrading to a starvation level, not only the millions of un- 
employed but the millions who are in the shops. We must explain the 
difference between the real social insurance as proposed in the Workers' 
Unemployment Insurance Bill and the fake schemes of the reform- 
ists. . . . 

WORKERS' UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BILL AND 
BILLS OF OUR OPPONENTS 

I will list ten points that distinguish the Workers' Unemployment 
Insurance Bill, points upon which we can win the masses to us, to 
work with us, fight with us, to support our struggle, to join our organiza- 
tions. These ten points are: 

First. Whereas the fake schemes of the employers, reformists and 
social-fascists, direct themselves only to future unemployment, the 
Workers' Bill provides for immediate insurance for those now unem- 
ployed. 

Second. While the fake schemes all exclude some categories of 
workers, the Workers' Bill covers all those who depend for a living 
upon wages. 

Third. While most of the fake schemes place burdens upon the 
employed workers, the Workers' Bill places the full burden of the 
insurance upon the employers and their government. 

Fourth. While all of the fake schemes contain provisions that could 
and would be used for strike-breaking, wage-cutting and victimization, 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 123 

the Workers' Bill protects the unemployed from being forced to work 
below union rates, at reduced wages, or far from home. 

Fifth. While all fake schemes place the administration of the in- 
surance in the hands of the employers and the bureaucratic apparatus 
controlled by them, the Workers' Bill provides for administration by 
representatives elected from the workers themselves. 

Sixth. While all the fake schemes provide for benefits limited to a 
starvation level, a fixed minimum which is also the maximum, and this 
only for a few weeks in a year (thereby being in amount even below 
charity relief), the Workers' Bill provides for jtdl average wages for 
the entire period of unemployment, determined according to industry, 
group and locality, thus maintaining the standards of life at its previous 
level. 

Seventh. While the fake schemes establish a starvation maximum 
above which benefits cannot be given, the Workers' Bill establishes a 
living minimum, below which benefits shall not be allowed to fall, no 
matter what the previous condition of the unemployed worker. 

Eighth. While all the fake schemes refuse benefits to all workers 
who still have any personal property, forcing them to sell and consume 
the proceeds of home, furniture, automobiles, etc., before they can 
come under the insurance, the Workers' Insurance Bill establishes the 
benefits as a matter of right, without investigation of the workers' 
other small resources. 

Ninth. While the fake schemes limit their benefits to only able- 
bodied unemployed, the Workers' Bill provides for every form of in- 
voluntary unemployment, whether from closing of industries, from 
sickness, accidents, old age, maternity, etc. ; in other words the Workers' 
Bill is an example of true social insurance. 

Tenth, Whereas the fake schemes all try to turn attention of the 
workers to the 48 different state governments in an effort to split up 
and discourage the movement, the Workers' Bill provides for federal 
insurance, one uniform national system, financed through national tax- 
ation and all proposals to the state legislatures contain the provision 
that the state bills are only temporary, pending the adoption of the 
Federal Bill demanded in the state proposals. 

These ten points all protect the most vital interests of the entire 
working class. Each and every one of them is absolutely essential to 
protect the working class from the degrading effects of mass unemploy- 
ment. All that is necessary to win millions of workers to active struggle 
for this social insurance is to make these proposals clear, show how 
the fake schemes violate these fundamental interests of the workers, 
and show how mass struggle can win real insurance. 

With this Workers' Bill we can then proceed to smash the influence 
of the social-fascists and employers who claim that it is impossible 
to finance such a system of insurance. The Hoover and Roosevelt 



124 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

administrations have already shown that tens of billions of dollars 
are available to the government whenever it really decides to get the 
funds. But Hoover and Roosevelt got these billions only to give to 
the banks and trusts. We demand these billions together with the 
hundreds of millions used in war preparations to be used for social 
insurance. 

We really must begin a mass campaign along these lines, conducted 
in the most simple form with a real concentration of attention by all 
of our organizations and all leading committees. Such a campaign 
will rouse a mighty mass movement for the Workers' Bill. And this 
movement will be under the leadership of the Communist Party. The 
fact that our mass struggle for social insurance has been so weak, 
politically and organizationally, is largely to be attributed to neglect 
arising from serious underestimation of this issue; and also to lack of 
detailed understanding of our own Workers' Bill, and the vital differ- 
ences between it and the other bills. 

OUR UNITED FRONT POLICY— A LEVER TO 

WINNING THE MASSES 

In the last period of the struggle for a united front against the 
capitalist offensive, which began with the manifesto of the Communist 
International and the rise of fascism to power in Germany, our own 
Party has made some improvements in this field. The manifesto of 
our Central Committee in March was on the whole a correct and effec- 
tive application of the united front to our conditions. We made some 
concrete extensions on these good beginnings. But can we say that 
we have decisively overcome our former weaknesses in our struggle 
against social-fascism? No, we cannot say it. These weaknesses still 
remain and some of them in even more serious form just now. 

First is the lack of serious sympathetic approach to the rank-and-file 
members of the reformist organizations. Literally hundreds of our 
lower organizations still take a certain pride in the fact that they have 
no contact whatever with the workers of the Socialist Party, A. F. of L. 
or the Musteites. They make no effort whatever to reach them. They 
organize meetings only for "our own" workers, those who already 
agree with us on everything. If they happen by accident to meet a So- 
cialist Party or A. F. of L. member, these comrades assume a very high 
and scornful attitude. They appear very superior to these people. 
They are very free to speak of them as "social-fascists," applying the 
term to the workers and not the leaders. They think it is beneath their 
dignity to explain carefully, patiently and sympathetically how the 
Communist Party, or our various mass organizations, propose united 
struggles of all the workers for their most burning needs; to explain 
how the split among the masses arises because the social-fascist leaders 
sabotage and obstruct the struggle and thereby help the capitalist class. 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 125 

They do not see that it is absolutely necessary to convince each worker 
in the Socialist Party, Musteites or A. F. of L., through his own contact, 
that the Communists are the only sincere, active and efficient fighters 
for unity in the struggle for their own daily needs. Above all our 
comrades do not understand the need for sympathetic approach to these 
rank-and-file workers. Unless we really overcome this weakness in a 
more decisive manner we will not make the progress that is required 
for us towards winning the majority of the working class. 

Second, we have a tendency to neglect or slur over differences in 
principle between the Communists and the social-fascist leaders. We 
can never win the workers to a united front of struggle, which means 
winning them away from the social-fascist influence, unless we meet 
squarely and explain sharply the basic differences between us and them. 

Many comrades think that we will build up the anti-fascist front 
by keeping silent about the betrayal of the German Social-Democracy 
and its open going over to Hitler. But an anti-fascist front which keeps 
silent about this basic fact is no anti-fascist front at all. It is already 
beginning to go on the same route as the Social-Democracy — surrender 
to fascism. An anti-fascist fighting front must be built — and can only 
be built — through exposure of, and fight against, those who helped 
Hitler to power, who voted for Hitler's policy in the Reichstag. 

Third, there is a rising tendency, which we must very sharply fight 
against, to accept conferences, nice resolutions, new united front com- 
mittees with all sorts of fancy names — as a solution of our problem. 
These things become not a means of reaching, organizing and activizing 
the masses but an excuse for stopping work. This tendency must be 
smashed. Words must be checked up against deeds. Action must be 
demanded and carried out. New masses must be reached. Everyone 
who hinders this, everyone who sabotages or neglects this must be 
exposed, no matter who it is, and fought against. Every committee 
which does not work must be resolutely liquidated as an obstructor 
of progress and discrediting the united front. 

For example, we have a committee which was set up to collect aid 
for the victims of fascism in Germany. This committee has been 
allowed to drift along and spend most of the little money that it has 
collected for the expenses of the collection. This situation is a scandal. 
We cannot tolerate such things. It makes the situation not one bit 
better, rather all the worse, that the Communists who should be the 
most active in the committee sometimes leave the responsibility to 
non-Par ty elements who for some reason or other are unable to function. 
Thus, on this anti-fascist committee we placed Muste as chairman, 
without any question as to whether he would or could give active 
leadership, but merely as a ''united front" decoration. Such a united 
front is a miserable parody which discredits the idea of united front. 
It should be in the archives of the past history .^ 



126 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Every united front must be active, testing all its participants, in- 
cluding ourselves — above all ourselves. It must provide the masses 
with the opportunity of really forming their own judgment as to who 
is a really devoted, capable leader and fighter, who is a slacker, who 
is sabotaging and who has a tendency to surrender and collaborate with 
the enemies. 

Such weaknesses as these that we have just briefly described will 
become all the more dangerous in the coming months if they are not 
quickly and energetically overcome. We are entering a period of large- 
scale united front efforts and actions, of which the August 26 con- 
ference in Cleveland is only a beginning, which must be given the 
most solid roots and foundations down below among the masses. If 
we do not have a correct approach to the masses, if we do not keep 
our attention upon the masses, if we surrender to this game of playing 
around with leaders, then we are not serious revolutionaries at all, 
then we are surrendering to social-fascism, then we deserve the contempt 
of every revolutionary worker. . . . 

NEED FOR A CORRECT POLICY OF CADRES 

Another serious weakness in our work is the general lack of a well 
prepared and energetically executed policy of cadres — ^how to develop 
cadres, new leading forces, how to make use of them. This applies 
also to the question of the proper utilization of old cadres, the pro- 
motion of new forces and the establishment of collective leading bodies 
in such a way as to strengthen our connection with the masses, to con- 
solidate our organization, give more guarantees for the execution of 
all our complicated and difficult tasks. We do not give the necessary 
attention to the developing of new forces among the Americans, and 
especially the young Americans and the Negro Americans. The distri- 
bution of old forces has usually been according to the needs of the 
moment, without plan. Many excellent comrades, good material for 
leadership, have been misused, shifted around so many times they don't 
know where they are at, and lose the capacity for serious planned work. 
And many old comrades also have simply been neglected and left to 
one side without the assigning of serious work. Comrades with long 
standing and training in the movement and great capacity of work, 
through the lack of systematic cadre policy, are left in passivity and 
their capacities wasted. We must really insist upon every leading 
committee in the Party and every fraction in the mass organizations 
discussing this question and beginning to build up a conscious policy 
of how to deal with leading forces, how to provide the conditions so 
that comrades can really go into their work and master it, how to help 
in the education of these cadres and especially how to develop new 
cadres and bring in fresh elements. 

We must above all emphasize that there cannot be the old surrender 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 127 

to spontaneity. We must really plan this work and direct it to the 
most important points, i.e., we must give our main attention to new 
cadres and the proper use of old cadres, especially in the mining in- 
dustry, in metal, in railroad, and the heavy industries generally. And 
in these industries, to concentrate upon the biggest shops, the most 
important shops. There is where we must find our most important 
new cadres. If we do not find new cadres, we will not get new masses; 
and if we do not get new masses, we will not solve any of our problems. 

IMMEDIATE DEMANDS— THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT 

In the election campaign last year our Party made its first big effort 
to place before the masses the struggle for the revolutionary way out 
of the crisis, and its connection with the fight for the immediate needs 
of the workers. Our election platform placed this question correctly. 
But we have not yet learned how to make this connection in life among 
the masses so that large numbers of workers will understand the revo- 
lutionary consequences of their immediate struggles and become con- 
vinced Bolsheviks through these struggles. This is a weakness which 
has been further emphasized by our tendency to neglect the agitation 
and propaganda for the revolutionary way out. 

More energetic development of the struggle for immediate demands 
(shop struggles and strikes, fight for unemployment relief, against evic- 
tions, for social insurance, fight for civil rights, etc.) is the basic feature 
of all our tasks in the U.S.A. We must understand, and must bring 
this understanding to the masses, that under the conditions of the crisis, 
even the smallest of these struggles takes on a political character; 
places the workers before state power in the hands of finance capital; 
and raises the question of the struggle for power. This question, arising 
even spontaneously in the minds of backward workers, calls upon the 
Party to give the masses a more full understanding of the problems of 
the struggle for power, and of the program of the Party for the time 
when the workers hold power, the program of the revolutionary solution 
of the crisis and the building of a socialist society. 

There is no contradiction between the needs of the immediate struggle, 
and the propaganda of the revolutionary way out. On the contrary, 
the latter strengthens the former. 

Of course, it is the tactics of the S.P. and the A. F. of L. to shout 
that they represent the immediate interests of the workers, and that the 
C.P. subordinates these immediate interests to a far-off revolutionary 
goal. But the social-fascists betray not only the revolution, but even 
the smallest wage-struggle. Immediate demands can be won, even under 
the worst conditions of crisis, but only through revolutionary struggle 
and with revolutionary leadership. The more clear the leadership and 
the masses on the revolutionary implications of the fight, the more 
chance of winning immediate demands. 



128 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Any failure to understand this leads towards submission to the social- 
fascists and agents of the employers. We had a clear illustration of 
this during the Detroit auto strikes. Due to our own lack of vigilance, 
agents of the bosses came into leadership of the strike committee in 
the Briggs Mack Avenue plant. After they had established their posi- 
tions by using the prestige of the Auto Workers' Union among the 
workers, they turned against the Union, claiming it was led by Com- 
munists and they didn't want the issue of communism to prejudice 
the winning of their strike for wage increases. Our comrades hesitated 
in front of this "red scare"; they tried to avoid the issue. By this 
weakness they actually failed to avoid the issue, but on the contrary 
made it effective against the Union, instead of making it favorable to 
the Union. The results of the strikes proved that it was precisely 
the anti-Communists who betrayed the strike for higher wages; the 
Mack Avenue plant, which broke away from the Union, lost the strike ; 
those plants staying with the Union and Communist leadership won 
their strikes. 

We should, can and must make this clear to the masses with detailed 
facts and not leave it to them to learn this lesson by their own bitter 
experience. We must face the issue of a "red scare." We must ex- 
plain, not in the language of high politics but in simple, clear language, 
what is our aim. We must not shout empty phrases about hanging 
the red flag over the white house or over the factories, but quietly in 
every-day language explain that while we put all energy into the win- 
ning of immediate struggles, we know that strikes must go on and be 
broadened and deepened until the workers put their own representatives 
into a position of power, to open factories and give everyone work, to 
open closed apartments, to open to the hungry and ragged the ware- 
houses that are bursting with food and clothing. That can only be 
carried out by a workers' government which has driven the capitalists 
from their seats of power. To see and know these things in advance 
makes every worker a better fighter. The Party which sees these things 
in advance is the only party which is capable of leading the workers 
to successful fights for their immediate demands. The S.P. and A. F. 
of L. sell out, betray and sabotage the smallest struggles, precisely 
because they are against the revolutionary solution of the crisis; pre- 
cisely because they want to restore capitalism, precisely because, in the 
last resort, they always take their orders from the capitalist government 
which they are opposed to replacing by a workers' government. 

HOW TO FIGHT AGAINST THE N.I.R.A. 

The fight against the Industrial Recovery Act — ^how shall we organize 
it? This is not a simple task. The illusions about the New Deal as a 
road back to prosperity are still strong among broad masses. To expose 
and disperse these illusions will require more experience and above all 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 129 

requires the active, ceaseless, carefully thought-out intervention of the 
Communist Party. These illusions are based not only upon the "new- 
ness" of the Roosevelt regime, the demagogy of Roosevelt, but also 
upon two other important factors. These are, first: the appearance of 
"concrete results," as they say, in the increase of industrial production, 
and second: the active efforts of the A. F. of L. and the S.P. in support 
of the Roosevelt program. 

Let us be very clear about the significance of the increase in industrial 
production. It has been a big increase in certain industries. It would 
be the greatest stupidity to deny this fact. It has been greatly ex- 
aggerated in the capitalist press, and we may point this out. What is 
really important, however, is that in most industries rationalization 
and speed-up have made such strides in the past year that even with 
increased production, the total number of workers employed is less 
than it was a year ago. A classical example of this was brought out 
in the auto workers' convention, with regard to the Ford plants, where 
production has increased 10 percent over last year, and the number 
of workers declined by 20 percent. This is a striking example of the 
truth, now generally admitted even by the capitalists, that even the 
return of full capacity of production in all industries would not put 
the unemployed back to work but would leave eight to ten million 
permanently unemployed. When the masses understand this fully, and 
realize that this will determine their conditions even if they are among 
the lucky ones who get jobs, then a large part of their illusions about 
the New Deal will be undermined. 

Further, the increase in production does not represent an improve- 
ment in the consumption market. On the contrary, many of the most 
important indexes of consumption show a decline. Thus department 
store sales for June, one of the most important indications in the retail 
market, declined five percent from a year ago. But if consumption 
is not increasing (and it is not), then whence comes the demand that 
brought about increased production? Equally clearly, this production 
is for a speculative market caused by inflation. With the value of the 
dollar declining, that is, with increasing prices, all the speculators and 
profiteers are piling up goods in warehouses to speculate on the higher 
prices. Accumulated stores are increasing. In other words, overpro- 
duction, a greater amount of commodities than can be absorbed in the 
effective market, is more pronounced than ever. The stopping of infla- 
tion would immediately send the market crashing into a deeper crisis 
than ever before. That is why Roosevelt was ready to insult every 
imperialist nation and broke up the London Economic Conference 
rather than stabiUze the dollar. But even continued inflation, con- 
tinued indefinitely, cannot hold up this false market for more than 
a time. Sooner or later, probably sooner, the accumulated stores of 
materials will break down this speculative market. The indefinite 



130 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

storing of unlimited quantities of unused goods cannot continue. Even 
this limited revival of production, produced by inflation, cannot last 
very long. The end will be worse than the beginning. 

EXPOSE CONCRETELY A. F. OF L. AND S.P. 
SUPPORT OF N.I.R.A. 

The American Federation of Labor and the Socialist Party are playing 
a very important part in building up and supporting the mass illusions 
about Roosevelt. The bourgeoisie is very anxious that the masses 
shall not resist their attacks. Workers and farmers, however, resist 
the attacks (this is already shown in the rising strike wave) thus making 
it difficult for Roosevelt to put across his program. The administration 
can be forced at least to make concessions to the mass resistance. 
Roosevelt's problem is how to keep the masses from struggle. His 
most valuable helpers in this task are the American Federation of 
Labor and the Socialist Party. 

The A. F. of L. unconditionally accepts the Industrial Recovery Act 
and has pledged itself not to allow members to strike but to accept, 
without protest, whatever decisions are made by the employers and 
Roosevelt. These leaders cooperated with the bosses in working out 
the codes, as in the textile industry, with a wage scale lower than the 
present average, and 35 percent below four years ago. They make 
glowing promises to the masses of benefits under the Industrial Recovery 
Act if only they would join the American Federation of Labor. Great 
recruiting campaigns are being carried on ; the workers are led to think 
that they are joining a "trade union" which will conduct "collective 
bargaining" for higher wages. They do not yet realize that the "wage 
codes" are not even an imitation of collective bargaining, not to speak 
of struggle and that these "trade unions" are not a means of action 
but a means whereby employers obtain guarantees against any action 
by the workers. 

The Socialist Party has been very active in support of the New Deal. 
Already in the first days of the Roosevelt regime, Norman Thomas and 
Morris Hillquit paid a formal visit to Roosevelt in the White House 
and afterwards issued a public statement to the newspapers praising 
Roosevelt and recommending his program to the workers. At the 
recent meeting of the Socialist Party National Executive Committee 
at Reading, Pa., it was decided to cast their lot without reservation 
with the American Federation of Labor in putting over the industrial 
slavery law. The "Left" reformists, the Musteites, are wavering be- 
tween the position of the Socialist Party and the class struggle, under 
pressure of their own radicalized followers. They are forced, to hold 
their following, to pay lip service to the united front, and even some- 
times take practical steps for concrete struggles. Our task is to win 
these masses for clear and unhesitant policies. The social-fascists are .^ 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 131 

the shock troops of finance capital in pushing the New Deal into the 
camp of the workers. 

The first stage in arousing and organizing workers against the in- 
dustrial slavery law is to thoroughly understand what it means in 
actual life and explain this to the broadest possible number of workers. 
Even this very necessary educational work, however, requires actions 
and maneuvers in order to make the issue clear and understandable 
to the broadest masses. That is why the Trade Union Unity League 
and the National Textile Workers' Union sent a delegation to Wash- 
ington to appear at the hearings on the Textile Code. This delegation 
spoke and made proposals in quite a different sense from that of the 
representative of the A. F. of L. and the Socialist Party. Comrade 
Croll, spokesman for the delegation, exposed the whole purpose and 
effects of the Recovery Act as an enslavement and impoverishment of 
the workers. She declared that the workers would not surrender the 
right to strike against any conditions unsatisfactory to them. Then 
she proposed amendments to the labor code, the complete rejection 
of which exposed the true nature of the Code to all workers who followed 
the proceedings. The rejected amendments called for the establishment 
of a guaranteed wage not below $720 per year based upon a guarantee 
of not less than 40 weeks' work a year and not less than 30 or more 
than 40 hours' work per week. The fact that the administration refused 
to consider any provision directed towards really raising the standards 
of living of the textile workers, or to give any guarantees about employ- 
ment, exposes the whole purpose of the Act as being merely a guarantee 
of bosses' profits and to stifle any resistance by workers. In addition to 
the wage provision, the Trade Union Unity League proposed other 
safeguards to the workers that were also rejected. 

In line with this excellent example given by the Trade Union Unity 
League and the Textile Workers' Industrial Union at the hearings, it 
is absolutely necessary that every revolutionary trade union and group 
shall develop, each in its own industry, similar actions, and to bring 
those actions to the largest possible number of workers. The presenta- 
tion of our demands at the time of the formulation of the Industrial 
Recovery Code must be made an instrument of mass agitation and 
organization of the workers, the beginnings of organization of these 
workers for these demands and making these hearings one of the inci- 
dents in a battle for the organization of the workers for the direct 
struggle for these demands as presented for the Codes. 

The role of the A. F. of L. in the textile hearings is very instructive 
for the entire movement. We must study and learn how to expose 
these tricks before the masses. It is not enough merely to state that 
the A. F. of L. is helping the government and employers. We must 
prove it, and this means we must learn concretely how to expose all 
their maneuvers. The A. F. of L. bureaucrats are not so stupid as to 



132 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

think they can get away with their treachery without masking it with 
all kinds of clever and flexible tricks. Thus in the textile hearings, 
William Green, who helped formulate the code, succeeded in getting 
himself into the newspapers as in opposition to the Code, on the 
grounds that the wage-scale was not high enough, demanding $i6 
instead of $12. Then McMahon, President of the Textile Workers' 
Union, also found it necessary to speak, but more modestly, demanding 
only $14.40. Then one of the commissioners, Mr. Allen, who evidently 
was inexperienced and hadn't learned to "play ball" with the leaders of 
the A. F. of L. and allow them their necessary freedom to appear as a 
loyal opposition, let the cat out of the bag by indignantly exclaiming 
that McMahon had worked with him in the preparation of the Code 
and expressed his agreement with every feature of it. 

This revealing little incident is particularly valuable and should be 
carried to every worker in every industry. In the future we can expect 
that this will not be repeated. Undoubtedly Mr. Allen, and all the 
other commissioners, were called into a private conference and explained 
that they must not expose the collaboration of the A. F. of L. leaders 
behind the scenes, but give them liberty to make a fake opposition 
in the public hearings. 

It is also necessary to learn concretely how to expose the maneuvers 
of the Socialist Party, typified by Norman Thomas. Mr. Thomas is 
one of Roosevelt's most valuable assistants in putting across the New 
Deal. Of course, this does not mean that Thomas comes out openly 
to endorse it. If he did, then he would be no more valuable than any 
of Roosevelt's direct secretaries. On the contrary, he says he is 
opposed to the underlying philosophy of this bill, but goes on to say 
that these politicians in Washington are so stupid, so poorly prepared 
to draw up a bill that would really execute the wishes of the big 
industrialists, that they left a lot of loopholes for the workers to change 
it into something entirely different from what the capitalists intended 
it to be. Mr. Thomas assures the workers that they can turn this 
law into something for their own advancement instead of the enrich- 
ment of the capitalists. These golden opportunities, Thomas assures 
the workers, much more than offset the bad effects which the bill is 
intended to have in driving down the standards of the workers, destroy- 
ing the right to strike and herding them into company-controlled unions. 
This propaganda of Thomas and the Socialist Party is accompanied 
by declarations of 100 percent cooperation with the A. F. of L. which 
openly supports the bill in its entirety. 

UNITED FRONT MOVEMENT AGAINST N.I.R.A. 

It is highly important in the very first stages of the Industrial 
Recovery Act to secure the broadest possible crystallization of opposition 
against it and preparations for the development of mass struggles which 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 133 

are sure to come in the immediate future. On this vital issue affecting 
every phase of the workers' every-day life, we must crystallize a real 
united front of struggle. Here, if anywhere, are the need and oppor- 
tunity for applying the united front. 

From this point of view there has already been launched a serious 
move for imited action. In the next days there will be distributed 
a public manifesto against the Industrial Recovery Act which will 
have signatures of 70 or 80 leaders of various economic organizations 
of the workers. The signers will include the T.U.U.L. and various 
unions affiliated with it; Muste and various unions associated with 
his particular tendency; National Unemployed Council, and unem- 
ployed leagues with a Musteite leadership; a series of A. F. of L. 
local unions, the A. F. of L. Committee for Unemployment Insurance 
and some unattached independent unions. The manifesto gives a po- 
litically satisfactory characterization of the new deal, exposes the 
falseness of the promises of returning prosperity and lays down a six- 
point workers' program against the Roosevelt program. It then pro- 
ceeds to outline methods of struggle against the capitalist offensive. 
This program contains the following points which are the very center 
of every united front action today, and to the extent that we can 
mobilize workers and workers' organizations around this, we can really 
build a united front: 

(i) Initiate and support all efforts of the workers to organize in 
shops, mines, stores and offices; strengthen the existing class unions 
to carry on the class struggle of the workers against the bosses and 
boss-controlled government agencies; immediate conferences of all 
genuinely militant elements in steel, in mining, textile and other in- 
dustries to unite the masses for struggle. 

(2) Agitate and organize in all unions and other economic organiza- 
tions for the adoption of a fighting policy in line with the program 
here set forth and against those who follow the dangerous and decep- 
tive policy of "cooperating harmoniously" with the bosses. 

(3) Intensify the struggle against autocratic, corrupt and racketeer- 
ing elements in the unions and against the A. F. of L. officialdom which 
supports or tolerates such evils. 

(4) Build up the mass organizations of unemployed workers, bring 
them into close cooperation with the employed; promote the unifica- 
tion of all mass organizations of the unemployed, locally, state-wide 
and nationally. 

(5) Organize and support strikes and demonstrations of employed 
and imemployed workers. 

(6) Organize a broad campaign for federal social insurance through 
conferences, meetings, collection of signatures, etc. 

This United Front Manifesto concludes with a call to all workers' 
economic organizations to meet together in a general conference in 



134 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Cleveland, August 26-27, to work out measures for organizing the 
broadest possible mass fight. 

One of the important features of this Manifesto is the agreement to 
work for a unification of the unemployed, locally, state-wide and na- 
tionally. Serious progress is already registered in the unification of 
the unemployed. It is clear that in this broad movement, with strong 
representation of Musteites, the road to unity on the basis of class 
struggle will not be a simple and easy matter. It is easier to get 
agreement on a sound manifesto than to get bold and energetic action 
to carry it out. Only the most persistent and careful checking up on 
the actual performance of all those who claim to support the united 
front program, only the most fearless criticism of every failure to 
properly apply it, can provide a guarantee that the unity movement 
will consolidate the forces of the class struggle and not paralyze this 
struggle. 

Our Party will be put to the test in this united front movement. If 
we are to succeed it will be necessary for us to make a basic im- 
provement in all our methods of work and our approach to the masses. 
The nature of our criticism must be very clearly thought out, moderate 
and restrained in its tone and at the same time fearless in raising the 
necessary questions. We must learn to arouse mass criticism of every 
weakness and hesitation. Where arguments do not convince, mass 
pressure will often win. . . . 

ROOTING PARTY IN BASIC INDUSTRIES 

It is clear that the working class in America, and the Communist 
Party, are entering into a period of decisive events which will de- 
termine for many years to come the whole history of our movement. 
Whether the toiling masses of America will go upon the path of de- 
termined class struggle, whether they will take the road toward the 
revolutionary way out of the crisis of capitalism, or whether they 
will be turned into the channels of social-fascism or fascism — this 
question will be decided by the work of the Communist Party. If our 
Party can gather all its forces for a profound change in its work 
and really make a Bolshevik turn to the masses, can assume the full 
responsibilities of leadership of the growing strike movement, the 
struggle of the unemployed; really build a solid base for itself among 
the most decisive strata of the working class, the workers in basic in- 
dustry; if our Party can really gather around it the non-proletarian 
masses who are suffering under the crisis — only then will the Communist 
Party of the United States really have measured up to its historic 
responsibility. Only then will we really have shown that we under- 
stand the basic teachings of Lenin. 

When we search for the reasons of our previous failures to make 
this decisive change, we must emphasize one key question which explains 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 135 

most of our failures. The Open Letter states this very sharply. It 
clearly establishes that among all our weaknesses, the central point is 
the failure to understand the decisive role played by the workers in 
basic industries, in the most decisive industrial centers, in the most 
important big shops and mines. Without securing a solid foundation 
among these most decisive workers, all successes in other fields of work, 
no matter how important they may be, are built upon sand without 
any guarantee of permanence. 

Because of our weak understanding of this central question, the 
Party and its leadership, first of all the Central Committee and Political 
Bureau, has not been able to drive forward along a firm course de- 
termined according to plan. It has as yet been unable to make use of 
the most favorable possibilities for moving forward steadily from point 
to point, consolidating the growing forces of a rising mass movement. 
We have surrendered our planned work to the pressure of incidental 
problems of every-day life. We have become captives of spontaneity 
instead of masters of the development of events. We have surrendered 
to our weaknesses instead of overcoming them. Because the main body 
of our membership are unemployed, we allowed the growth of our 
Party to accentuate this one-sidedness, instead of decisively driving 
toward the recruitment of employed workers. Because our members 
are mainly in small shops, we have surrendered to the difficulties of 
penetrating the big factories. Because it is easier to win small tempo- 
rary victories in light industry, we have allowed ourselves to be driven 
back in coal, steel, railroad, etc. The practical work has been de- 
termined not by our plan, but by the pressure of the events of the day. 

When we give this most sharp emphasis upon the central importance 
of winning a solid foundation among the workers in the basic industries, 
we must warn against the interpretation that this means we are doing 
too much among the unemployed workers. Such an interpretation 
would be a serious distortion of the Open Letter. We do not have too 
many unemployed, we only have too few employed. It is not that our 
Unemployed Councils are too strong. On the contrary, they are 
seriously weak. It is only that our revolutionary trade union movement 
and the leadership of strike struggles in the basic industries are still 
stagnant. 

The decisive strengthening of our base and our activities among the 
employed workers in basic industry will not weaken our unemployed 
movement. On the contrary, it will give it an enormous impetus 
forward. At the same time our Unemployed Councils will grow in 
membership and power, if they are also orientated mainly upon the 
workers who have been thrown out of the most important factories and 
industries, thereby able to contribute to the growth of the revolutionary 
trade unions in these industries. 

Similarly, our emphasis upon winning the decisive proletarian masses 



136 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

must not be interpreted as in any way turning away from the task of 
winning allies among the non-proletarian masses. One of the impor- 
tant results that will follow from a decisive widening of our proletarian 
base will lie precisely in the strengthened abilities of the Party to lead 
the struggles of the farmers, of the Negro masses, the veterans, the 
students, etc.; to really bring them into the revolutionary struggle 
against the rule of finance capital. It is not a weakness of our Party 
that it has played an important role in the rising mass struggles of the 
American farmers. But our leadership of these militant farmers has 
suffered from the obscuring of the role of the Party and the Party's 
distinctive program. This leadership will always be under the danger 
of being broken by some clever demagogue until and unless our Party 
finds its proper foundation in strong organizational roots among the 
basic proletariat and until it works among the farmers as a strong, 
flexible, proletarian mass Party. Especially we must emphasize the 
importance of the agricultural workers, the part of the working class 
who are at the same time engaged directly in agriculture with the 
farmers, in close contact with the farming masses. Agricultural work- 
ers, many millions of them in the United States, beginning to ripen 
for organization, will give us a proletarian base among the farmers, 
the binding link between the workers and farming masses. 

With regard to the work among the women, we have very important 
experiences in this field which should be fully brought out, especially 
in the reports from the districts. I have in mind especially the strikes 
of the Negro women, the nut pickers in St. Louis and the needle workers 
on the South Side in Chicago. These are really historical strikes. The 
strikers were mostly young Negro women who were striking for the 
first time; they carried through struggles, established their own leader- 
ship, won battles and built up unions — these are things which certainly 
should fill us all with enthusiasm and confidence for a real tremendous 
mass movement in this country. When we see young Negro women 
doing these things while we are sitting around complaining that we were 
not able to do them, among miners, steel workers, etc., we must blush 
for shame. In this connection it is very interesting to note that these 
Negro women are doing good political educational work. In St. Louis 
they have just sent in an order for 500 copies of every issue of the 
Working Woman. They are carrying on a systematic campaign of 
education, distributing literature, holding discussions, etc. 

ORGANIZING BROAD NEGRO LIBERATION 
MOVEMENT 

With regard to Negro work I will only make a very brief observation. 
The latest victories of the Scottsboro Case have carried the influence 
of our program for the liberation of Negro masses far and wide and 
have created for us tremendous opportunities. We must say, however. 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 137 

that we are handling these opportunities clumsily, hesitatingly, not ex- 
actly knowing how to go about it, how to crystallize organizationally 
this movement of struggle around the Scottsboro case. Sometimes it 
seems we are afraid to admit that victories have really been won by our 
activities, there is sometimes the impression that these victories are 
merely diabolical maneuvers of a super-clever enemy who is outwitting 
us by making concessions to us. This kind of nonsense must be ended. 
Most important of all we have failed to find organizational instruments 
capable of embracing this broad mass movement of Negroes. Of course, 
it is necessary to give first attention to drawing Negro proletarians into 
the revolutionary trade union movement. The two strikes I spoke 
about are of significant importance in this respect. The fact that the 
same thing does not take place in other industries is not satisfactory 
however. Both of these successful strikes take on similar importance 
because they both resulted in building the trade unions and in creating 
leading cadres from the strikers. We must also emphasize the drawing 
of Negro unemployed into the Unemployed Councils, into leading posi- 
tions and the progress that has been registered by this. We must 
recruit the best fighters among the Negro masses into the Party, train- 
ing cadres for future important work. It is possible and necessary to 
build a bigger Negro membership in the I.L.D. and other organiza- 
tions. When all these things are said and done the question still 
remains unanswered, what are we going to do about these broad masses 
of Negroes who have been awakened by our struggles in their behalf 
and by our activities, but who cannot as yet be drawn into the Party, 
Unemployed Councils or I.L.D.? Every day this question is pressing 
upon us more sharply. Over two years ago we tried to find an answer 
in the League of Struggle for Negro Rights. Is it not possible that 
the time has now ripened, that the L.S.N.R. can be successfully brought 
forward as the answer to the problem of organizing the broad Negro 
liberation movement? 

SHIFT CENTER OF GRAVITY TO LOWER 
ORGANIZATION 

In order to carry out the profound change in our work called for in 
the Open Letter, it is necessary to make profound adjustments in the 
inner life of the Party. It is necessary to shift the center of gravity 
of Party life to the concentration points down below. Tliis also means 
that the Section Committees of the Party must play a much more 
responsible role than they have ever done before. 

The very heart of all the work which we are speaking about lies in 
the Party section and its leadership. It lies in the building of capable, 
energetic, responsible section committees. It is one of the most basic 
tasks of our Party. The sections must be developed to the point where 
they have more initiative and more sense of responsibility and power. 



138 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Where sections are now assigned big territories which they cannot effec- 
tively cover, they must be broken up into a number of sections of 
workable size. The section committee must have much more material 
resources with which to work. This must begin with a basic redistribu- 
tion of Party finances. The present distribution of dues income where 
half the Party funds come to the national office must be radically 
revised. This system had justification in the past when only the 
existence of a relatively strong central apparatus guaranteed the correct 
political line of the Party. Today the point of emphasis must be 
changed. Only the building of strong section committees of our Party 
can give the guarantee for our growth and the firmness of our political 
line. The strengthened Party sections can in their turn concentrate 
upon the most important factories in their territory and give serious 
leadership to all mass activities. 

In connection with the shifting of emphasis to the lower organizations 
it will be necessary to carry out a serious review of the apparatus of 
paid functionaries throughout the Party and mass organizations. It is 
clearly necessary to move decisively towards reducing the proportion of 
paid workers in the apparatus in relation to the size of membership 
which is served by it. Especially in all the national offices it is neces- 
sary to reduce the paid apparatus to a minimum. Many times in the 
past we have moved in this direction. After a few months, however, 
old habits get back and the apparatus grows again. It will be necessary 
now to take measures that will really make these changes permanent. 

REORGANIZATION OF OUR FINANCES 

The whole system of finances of our movement requires a thorough 
re-examination and re-adjustment. It is necessary to have from top to 
bottom an improvement of our financial system carried through by 
every responsible committee, applying the following principles: 

(i) The sources of financial support must be broadened out, must 
be placed upon a mass basis. Every organization must, in the first 
place, rely for its finances upon continuous and growing mass contacts 
and mass support. 

(2) There must be established with the utmost firmness, a strict 
system of accounting for all finances and the establishment of guar- 
antees that they are expended for the purpose for which they were 
intended. Auditing and reports to the membership must be made. 

(3) The personnel handling finances must be carefully selected from 
among the most trusted comrades and the financial apparatus should 
be small with the strict fixing of personal responsibility. This is espe- 
cially important in the mass organizations where organizational loose- 
ness often results in unreliable elements drifting into positions of 
financial responsibility, and by their misuse of these positions discredit- 
ing the movement. 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 139 

(4) Methods of making money collections in mass meetings must 
be seriously revised. The existing tendency to make long general 
collection speeches as the main feature of the meeting without any clear 
explanation of what the money is for, must be decisively done away 
with. The collection of money at mass meetings must be politicalized. 
The purpose of the collection must be very definitely stated. The 
audience must be moved to contribute by arousing its interest in the 
purpose of the collection and not by intellectual bludgeoning which 
defeats its own purpose. The carrying through of this change in meth- 
ods of money-raising will be such a relief to our audiences, they will be 
so thankful to us, that they will be more generous than ever before. 
Our present methods drive them away from us and seal up their pockets 
to our appeals. 

(5) The Party organizations must absolutely respect the independ- 
ence and integrity of the financial systems of the mass organizations. 
The Party can place no tax upon these organizations. When it needs 
financial support, it must approach these organizations and independ- 
ent bodies, stating the definite purpose of its needs and requesting these 
bodies to make voluntary donations for the stated purpose. The finan- 
cial relations between the Party and non-Party organizations must be 
known and approved by the non-Party membership. 

(6) The distribution of finances must be reviewed and revised ac- 
cording to the principle of concentration. Unproductive overhead 
expenses must be drastically reduced. First consideration must be 
given to the needs of the lower organizations which are closest to the 
mass work. The needs of finances for mass agitation, our papers, 
leaflets, pamphlets, schools, etc., must be given preference over the 
maintenance of unproductive apparatus. The most serious economies 
must be carried through, especially by the elimination of unnecessary 
traveling expenses, long telegrams that can well be substituted by air 
mail letters which will arrive two or three hours later; and this is a 
very serious question for the Daily Worker, comrades. When it is 
necessary to send a telegram, there is such a thing as telegraphic lan- 
guage. Some people think they are too important to consider such 
things, but everyone must consider them. 

( 7 ) The whole financial policy must be directed toward the aim that 
each organization shall build and maintain its own sources of revenue, 
to cover its own expense. It is clear that with the diversion to the 
lower organizations of much of the present revenue now received by 
the national office, the Center must make a very sharp cutting down 
of the present subsidies it gives to the weaker districts. This will have 
to be done gradually, while these weaker committees will, with the 
assistance of the Center, build up their own sources of revenue. We 
must take always into account certain organizations, which by their 
very nature require help from the other organizations. Here I refer 



I40 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

particularly to the National Committee of the Unemployed Councils, 
which is a very important strategic organization for us, and now plays 
an important role. The Unemployed Councils always and necessarily 
will for a long period, consume all the revenue they can raise in the 
local organizations. The National Office cannot depend upon them 
for money. For such an organization as this we must work out a 
regular system, a continuous system, which operates month after month, 
of all the organizations which support the program of the Unemployed 
Councils giving a very small amount each month to the National Com- 
mittee of the Unemployed Councils. If our organizations would give, 
for each member, five cents a year to the Unemployed Councils, this 
would support the whole national organization of the unemployed 
movement. 

(8) The system of financial responsibility and accounting must also 
be applied to the departmental activities within the Party which have 
their own financial systems. Funds for literature must everywhere be 
maintained intact; literature bills must be paid. This is not a business 
question, this is a political question, and you cannot have a serious 
mass educational movement until literature is sold, literature is paid 
for, literature funds are established and grow by the accumulation of 
the profits of literature sales. The proceeds from Daily Worker sales 
and collections must be strictly accounted for to the Daily Worker 
and not diverted to any other purpose. Sometimes our comrades take 
advantage of the business management of the Daily Worker continuing 
to send them papers although the bills are not paid; they sell the 
papers and then they use the money for whatever purpose happens to 
suit the fancy of the moment. Sometimes they want to start a new 
business, so they take the money of the Daily Worker and open up a 
book store, or further replenish the stock of the literature. By what 
right do they take the money of the Daily Worker to build the book 
shop? "Well, it doesn't make any difference — take it out of one 
pocket and put it in another, what difference does it make?" — "It all 
belongs to the movement anyway!" But, comrades, this is the kind of 
attitude that destroys our organization, destroys system, destroys re- 
sponsibility and prevents us from building up an)rthing. 

We must have the most strict, intolerant attitude towards any kind 
of irregularity in the handling of finances and we have got to begin to 
make the entire movement understand this in unmistakable terms. And 
if it is impossible to carry through these measures otherwise, we must 
begin to make examples out of people who violate these principles 
before the entire movement. 

HOW TO DISCUSS AND APPLY OPEN LETTER 

The carrying through of the re-orientation of the entire Party toward 
the decisive proletarian masses presupposes a stirring up of the entire 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 141 

Party from below, the release of all the Party's forces to expression 
and activity; the development of a healthy Bolshevik self-criticism; 
the development of collective leadership and collective work in every 
unit and committee of the Party. To make the Open Letter the in- 
strument to bring about this change, it will be necessary to discuss the 
letter in every unit and committee of the Party, in every fraction of 
the mass organizations. This discussion must not be abstract. It must 
be directed toward reviewing the work of that particular unit, fraction 
or committee in the light of the Open Letter and formulating on the 
basis of this discussion a resolution on the next tasks in which each one 
of these bodies sets itself a certain minimum set of control tasks, that 
we must do within a certain time, and that we will check up on every 
week to see whether we are doing it or not. Copies of these resolu- 
tions must be sent to the section, district and national office and 
furnish the basis for the further concretizing of the work of the higher 
bodies. The higher committees must base themselves on this work of 
concretization that is done in the lower units and fractions of the Party ; 
the Central Committee setting certain minimum control tasks for the 
principal concentration districts. 

What we are calling for is not merely a change in the work of the 
Central Committee but of the entire Party. We can build a mass 
Bolshevik party only through the conscious participation of every 
Party member. We can build it only through controlling the execution 
of our decisions, checking up on them, placing definite responsibility 
for particular work on each particular member — ^by helping the nuclei 
from the section committees, from the district committees and from 
the Central Committee to overcome their difficulties and solve their 
tasks. 

The Central Committee is proposing that the Eighth Party Conven- 
tion, originally intended to be held in May, shall be called together only 
toward the end of October. The motive of this proposal is in order to 
have time to really carry through the stirring up of the Party from the 
bottom, thoroughly review the entire work of the Party in every unit, 
committee and fraction, to formulate new plans on the basis of this 
review and have our first experiences in the serious attempt to carry 
through the turn to the masses started in the convention period. 

On the basis of this discussion, these experiences, we can expect 
to be able to carr>' through a real refreshing of the leadership of the 
Party from bottom to top. We can expect to draw into all leading 
posts those comrades who have distinguished themselves in mass work. 
We can draw the fires of serious Bolshevik mass criticism against all 
those who remain passive or resist the necessary transformation of the 
Party's work in its turn to the masses. We can carry through a con- 
solidation of all the healthiest and most energetic and most devoted 
forces of the Party in all the decisive points of Party leadership. The 



142 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

carrying through of this discussion does not mean a moratorium on 
practical work — on the contrary, it can only be fruitful if it is done 
in the midst of an intensified taking up of 9.11 the every-day tasks of 
the entire movement. The test of every comrade shall be not so much 
can he speak well about these problems, but can he work well in carry- 
ing out this line. How well can he put the Party Open Letter into 
practice in daily work? 

All of the many-sided and often complex tasks which confront our 
Party will be carried through with greater success than ever before, 
if we learn the methods of concentration, if we learn to gather our 
forces for the most important tasks, if we learn to rouse and organize 
new forces among the masses, if we learn to draw in the basic pro- 
letarian elements into the fight, if we achieve a correct approach to 
the masses, apply a correct united front policy, if we learn to promote 
fresh proletarian leading cadres and train them politically, if we carry 
on a relentless struggle against "Left" and Right deviations, and if 
we develop collective work and politically activize the entire Party. 

Are we able to carry through this change? Has the Party the 
necessary forces within itself to establish contacts with the masses 
and transform itself into a Bolshevik mass party? Of course we can 
do it. With all of its weaknesses, we have a Party which is proletarian 
in its composition, which is composed of the most loyal, devoted, 
energetic and enthusiastic elements, who are really the vanguard of the 
American proletariat. Our weaknesses can all be overcome, provided 
we really mobilize all of our forces, remove every obstruction, with the 
fullest utilization of every comrade, maintain Bolshevik unity of pur- 
pose and effort, establish a real inner Party democracy and fight 
energetically for the real carrying through of the turn to the masses. 
It depends upon us. The only guarantee for the carrying through of 
the line of this Open Letter is an aroused and active Party mem- 
bership. We have faith that the Party members will unitedly respond 
to this call. That is why we called this special conference. That is 
why we propose to issue this Open Letter to the Party. 

CONCLUDING REMARKS 

This special conference of our Party reflects the growing upsurge 
of the masses and the growing activity of our Party. This is its first 
characteristic. This conference constitutes additional proof of the 
ripeness of the situation for our Party to make some decisive steps 
forward in winning the masses and it also gives evidence of the grow- 
ing efforts of the Party to accomplish this task. 

Now to proceed to some of the questions of our discussion. The 
center of our discussions here has been how to understand, expose and 
combat the big offensive which the capitalist class is making upon the 
toiling masses, how to fight against the New Deal. We have con- 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 143 

siderably clarified this question for ourselves and have laid down 
the correct approach to the problems of carrying out in life the strug- 
gle against the New Deal. It was correctly said in the course of 
the discussion that the effects of this general attack upon the working 
class also provide us with an opportunity to make use of the broad 
uniform sweeping character of this attack to rouse the class-conscious- 
ness of the masses of America. Whether we will make this use of the 
situation, however, depends upon whether we can learn to get away 
from abstract slogan-shouting, down to very concrete work among the 
masses on the basis of their immediate needs, mobilizing them for 
struggle for these needs on the basis of the united front. 

Shop Base for Fighting N.I.R.A. 

First of all it is clear that the central point in this struggle lies in 
the shops, around the shops, the penetration of the shops, the develop- 
ment of the struggle in the shops; upon this will depend the whole 
development of every phase of the resistance to the capitalist offensive 
and the development of a counter-offensive of the workers. 

In the shops the fight against the New Deal must be taken out of 
the clouds of high politics and expressed in terms of the immediate 
working conditions in the shops, the smallest issue, the question of 
wages and hours; making use of every special circumstance that arises 
out of any situation, to raise these demands among the workers and 
organize them in struggle for these demands. That means making 
the fullest possible use of every step of the government and of the 
employers in applying the Industrial Recovery Act to transform it into 
the opportunity to mobilize the masses against the application of the 
Recovery Act. That means making use of the formulation of the 
codes by the employers, and the hearings upon these codes by the gov- 
ernment, to bring the demands of the workers, to fight for them, 
and to spread the knowledge of these demands among the broadest 
masses and rouse them to expressions of support and to concrete 
organizational measures. 

Second, this means taking some further steps. In the development 
of the Textile Code, for example, which has been cited in our reports 
here as a model for the other industries, we must declare that this 
is a model only in the sense that it is the best attempt in this direc- 
tion and indicates the general line which all of the other counter- 
codes that we present and fight for will have to take. 

However, this was not a model how to work out the demands. Per- 
haps I can betray a little secret and tell you that on the day before 
these demands were to be presented we did not as yet know what they 
were to be, concretely, and certainly the broad masses of textile work- 
ers did not know. A few leading comrades sat down a couple of 
hours before train time and hammered out these demands in an office. 



144 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Under the circumstances it is quite extraordinary how successful they 
were. But please don't take this, you comrades in the mining indus- 
try, steel and marine industry, as an example of how to work out 
these demands. Now we have sufficient time to take at least the first 
steps in the drawing in of the masses of workers into the formulation 
of further demands and spread them, broadcast them, among the 
masses before they are presented in public hearings. And only when 
we do this will we really begin the proper method of mobilizing mass 
struggle against the New Deal. 

It is unfortunate that in all our discussion there was so little atten- 
tion paid to the question of the concrete demands contained in the 
Textile Code as we presented it. 

Comrade Stachel in his excellent report went into great detail on 
this question. The fact that the comrades did not react to discussion 
of these things proves that the comrades have not really faced all of 
these issues yet down among the workers where all these questions of 
formulation of codes become an object of the most intense discussion 
and attention. 

We cannot take these formulations lightly. They are of the most 
serious importance to the workers and only if we engage the workers 
in a discussion on these things and also prove to the workers that we 
can intelligently discuss these things will we be able to mobilize them 
in this fight. 

Third, it must be made very clear that while our central attention 
is given to crystallizing our organizations in the shops and building 
up the revolutionary trade unions, in every case where the employers 
are carrying through their company union system — the system of em- 
ployers' representation organized by the companies — we do not boy- 
cott those elections but put forward, encourage and lead the most 
active and best elements, our members and sympathizers and everyone 
that we can reach, to put forward our demands in those elections and 
within those systems of employees' representation, fight for the codes 
and demands that we work out. We already have experience showing 
that this is possible and also proving the excellent results that we can 
achieve by making use of every opportunity of this kind. 

Next, we must emphasize the necessity to make use of every one of 
these issues from our shop basis and from outside the shop when we 
have no direct connection with particular shops, to raise these questions 
inside the A. F. of L. unions where they exist whether these are old 
established unions or whether these are the most recently called meet- 
ings of the A. F. of L. ; to go into every such meeting and every union 
of the A. F. of L.; to raise very concretely all these issues around 
the fight for conditions, for wages and hours contained in our counter- 
codes and to crystallize the Left opposition. 

All of this work must be orientated around the central problems of 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 145 

building trade unions in all those industries where we are building the 
Red unions now. We must make use of the very illusions among the 
workers, the illusions that they have some opportunity to organize, 
the illusions that they have some sort of choice as to what organization 
they shall join, and crystallize struggle to realize these things. And 
although we know that the purpose of the law is exactly to defeat 
these things, we can, by making use of their resentment against the 
denial of any of these rights, rouse and organize them into struggle 
and realize this by their own strength 

A tremendous role will be played in this process by making use of 
this activity that is going on, especially in the basic industries, to crys- 
tallize small struggles, to crystallize the dissatisfaction of the workers 
around the small demands for improvement of conditions, sanitary 
conditions, and every little victory that is gained will be a crystalliza- 
tion of class struggle organization inside the shops. 

And finally on the basis of all of this detailed work, agitation, propa- 
ganda, organization within the shops and around the shops upon the 
basis of the smallest questions leading up to the largest questions, to 
systematically bring before the workers the perspective of big mass 
strikes in order to realize their larger demands. 

Further Tasks Among the Unemployed 

Next in importance in the development of mass struggles is the fight 
around the question of the forced labor camps and public works. It 
must be said that we have not given sufficient attention to this. This 
work has tremendous possibilities and is directly connected with the 
shop problems and especially with the building of the trade unions. It 
is precisely the forced labor camps and public works that constitute 
one of the most direct and easily recognizable blows which the capital- 
ists are giving against the workers' conditions, hours and wages, espe- 
cially in the basic industries. The central point in this fight is the 
demand and struggle for trade union wages on all public works, the 
fight against forced labor and for the establishment of trade union 
wages. In the forced labor camps it is also the fight for cash payments, 
the elimination of all payments in kind and the withholding of money 
for long periods. We must put forward against the government plans 
for public works our own proposals; we must formulate definite pro- 
posals which we can place before the masses for a public works pro- 
gram, to provide housing for the workers, hospitals, schools, etc., as 
against the government proposals which are directed towards military 
purposes or the service of big corporations. We must develop in the 
forced labor camps the struggle against the military regime within 
them. We must make a fight for self-government, the regulation of 
these camps by elected committees within them to break down the 
military discipline. We must make a struggle for better food, housing 



146 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

and sanitary conditions. We must make mass exposures of the con- 
ditions that exist in these labor camps by letters from inside the camps, 
by leaflets based upon these inside exposures, the concretizing of 
these exposures in definite reports by those inside the camps, by 
sending delegations elected on the outside to go into the camps, by 
holding meetings to report on these conditions, and so forth. And ., 
finally, by directing the efforts within the forced labor camps towards 
large-scale strikes to realize these demands. 

Among the unemployed masses, the struggle is being exceptionally 
sharpened by the latest phase of the New Deal and we must develop a 
counter-offensive through our unemployed organizations, developing a 
real mass fight against those relief cuts which are taking place almost 
everywhere throughout the United States today, intensifying the fight 
for cash relief, against the system of food vouchers, etc. We must 
organize on a broader scale against evictions which now in the summer 
months have again greatly intensified. The problem of evictions is 
becoming an acute mass problem again. We must give more attention 
to the struggle for conditions m the flop houses. We have largely 
ignored the fact that this summer when relief generally is being cut 
down the flop houses are growing, the number of inmates is swelling 
and there is a definite program to force larger numbers who formerly 
got relief into the flop houses. It is one of the essential features of the 
struggle against the New Deal that we shall counter this move by 
real movement amongst these large masses, who have been forced 
into the flop houses by the cutting down of relief. Our experiences 
have proven that everywhere in these flop houses we are not dealing 
with lumpen-proletariaxiSf we are dealing with workers who come from 
the basic sections of the American working class, and everywhere 
where we have touched these flop houses, we have been able to find 
live elements among them, capable men, natural leaders. A little 
bit of attention will bring forward splendid cadres. 

Further, we must give more attention to the development of the 
work for taxation of the big companies to pay relief to the workers 
discharged from the factories. It should be recalled what an impor- 
tant part is being played by mass resentment against Ford's throwing 
of the tax burdens onto the small people, the home owners, property 
owners and the masses in Dearborn. This has roused the greatest 
impetus to struggle against Ford and has created the conditions where- 
by we have been able to emerge from illegality in the city of Dearborn. 
The same thing can be developed in every company town, provided 
we study every case very carefully, develop the issues very concretely 
and prove to the masses that we know what we are talking about. 

At the present moment we must very sharply bring forward a 
demand of the unemployed for the diversion of war funds for unem- 
ployment relief. At the present moment when hundreds of millions 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 147 

of dollars have been appropriated for the construction of war ships 
and other military purposes, this is most important for tying up the 
struggle of the unemployed masses with the anti-war struggle, deepen- 
ing the understanding of the whole class struggle. 

We must make much more effective use than we have hitherto of 
the fact that the government, while cutting down the funds for unem- 
ployed, is increasing tremendously the direct subsidies to the big capi- 
talists. We must follow up every development of the operations of 
the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and, for example, every time 
another $50,000,000 is given to the banks of Detroit, the comrades 
must make known through the masses of Detroit, that while the 
government is giving these millions of dollars to the banks, Detroit 
relief has been cut down below what it was in 1931. The demand to 
divert these government subsidies to the relief of the unemployed 
is an issue on which we can really rouse the masses. We must take 
much more energetic steps to bind together the struggle of the employed 
and unemployed, to bring expressions of support from the workers in 
the shops to every struggle of the unemployed, even if it is only a 
resolution or leaflet, even the smallest expression will grow and develop 
into something bigger. At the same time, more carefully and more 
systematically and energetically bring the unemployed workers into 
active participation in every struggle that takes place in and around 
the shops in support of the demands of the employed workers. 

In every city there is a whole maze of concrete issues surrounding 
relief funds, of graft and favoritism which mark their administration. 
It is a shameful thing for us to admit that the capitalist gutter press 
has done more to expose and exploit the graft in relief funds than the 
Communists have done, than the Unemployed Councils have done. 
We must take up this issue in every city and put up the demand for 
workers' inspection and control of all funds for unemployment relief. 

Additional Problems in Our Struggle Against Reformism 

Now just a few words about some of the problems connected with 
reaching the masses in the reformist organizations. We have 
emphasized in the report and in the discussion that the very first 
prerequisite for success in winning of these workers who are in organi- 
zations hostile to us is a creation of a sympathetic approach to them. 
This is the main significance of our maneuvers on the united front; 
the calling of conferences, the sending of letters; issuance of mani- 
festos, etc., directed to these organizations. It is to create the approach 
to these workers and provide the opportunity to raise these issues 
concretely. 

This requires not only the proper kind of documents and confer- 
ences. Above all it requires an active and sympathetic contact with 
these workers down below. The offering of joint actions for concrete 



148 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

demands, the methods that must be carried through at every step 
and especially in the development of the united front below, the devel- 
opment of such joint actions is the only possible basis for a real 
building up of a fighting united front. Our united front is a united 
front of struggle. 

The greatest weakness which we have in carrying through our united 
front policy is that our comrades carry over the very bad habits of 
commandeering workers, of not taking carefully into consideration all 
special organizational peculiarities and habits and traditions, of order- 
ing about workers as soldiers in an army, of which we are the officers 
and in which we direct their activities. All these habits of commandeer- 
ing, of arbitrary approach to non-Party workers, will mean death to 
every effort of the united front. Especially if we go down among the 
basic sections of the American working class, we will find every trace 
of this old military approach; this old commanding approach will not 
only hinder any progress among these workers, but even more, these 
workers will throw us out on our necks when we try to use these meth- 
ods among them. 

In the building of united front committees with these workers, a few 
little directives, if always kept in mind in the practical carrying 
through, will be of great help. For example, let us always remember 
that we want big committees and we will find the social-fascist leading 
elements will always want little committees. We want the biggest 
possible committees because the bigger they are, the more likely they 
are to have healthy proletarian elements among them who will join 
with us on the concrete issues that we raise. 

Second, never have secret negotiations on the united front. Let 
every step of the negotiations of the setting up of united front com- 
mittees always be reported to our members and to the workers gen- 
erally. 

Third, we must absolutely break down this idea that the establish- 
ment of a united front means the stopping of criticism. It is true that 
we have to learn much more effective methods of criticism. We have 
got to be restrained in our language in the development of criticism 
within these united front efforts. But we must be unhesitating, we 
must be bold in the raising of every issue on which criticism is required. 
Every hesitation of the leading elements of these reformist organiza- 
tions, to carry through struggles that have been decided upon, every 
hesitation to join in a mass action that is initiated by other organiza- 
tions, every sabotage, every holding back must be criticized. Failure 
to criticize these things on our part means to surrender to the social- 
fascists in the name of the united front. A committee which does not 
make fighting conclusions is not a united front. It is a sabotage of the 
united front. 

We must give very careful examination to all of the problems around 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER i49 

the penetration of A. F. of L. unions, Socialist Party and Musteite 
organizations; study the special prejudices that all of these workers 
have, and concretely develop our issues suited to the special circum- 
stances within each organization. 

The united front is not a peace pact with the reformists. The united 
front is a method of struggle against the reformists, against the social- 
fascists, for the possession of the masses. It is necessary to emphasize 
this, because it was not clear in the discussion that all the comrades 
understand it. Some of the comrades in the discussion here have 
given an argument like this: "Well, maybe you fellows in New York 
know what you are doing when you enter into a united front with the 
Muteites. We have our doubts, but we won't venture to criticize this 
much at the moment, but we want to tell you that this united front 
doesn't apply to our district. In our district, these Musteites are 
betraying the working class." But, comrades, whoever told you 
that the Musteites don't betray the working class in New York City? 
Did you think we are making the united front with the Musteites 
because we have suddenly become convinced that they are good class- 
conscious fighters, good leaders of the working class? Have you for- 
gotten that precisely the reason why we make the united front with 
them is because we have got to take their followers away from them? 
And if you want to enter into a struggle, you must get within striking 
distance. It is quite remarkable that we are told, for example, that 
down in the Carolinas, I think it is, a Musteite is systematically be- 
traying the workers down there, and therefore this Musteite who has 
signed some of our joint manifestoes can't have a united front with 
our comrades in the Carolinas. Why didn't the comrades make a cam- 
paign against this fellow before? If our united front with the Mus- 
teites has brought sharply before the comrades in Carolina the necessity 
of conducting a mass campaign against all the betrayals going on 
down there, that is a proof then of the correctness of our application 
of the tactic of the united front with the Musteites. Our united front 
with the Musteites is not a means of silencing our criticism of any 
one of their betrayals. It is a means of making our criticism more 
effective by making it reach their own followers and winning their 
workers to a line of class struggle. 

It is necessary to emphasize that the unorganized workers are also a 
proper subject of approach with the tactic of the united front. Just 
because a worker is not in an organization doesn't mean that we don't 
have to use special means to reach him and bring him into struggle. 
Hundreds of thousands of workers who are unorganized yet have a 
mentality which is determined precisely along the same lines as those 
of the workers within the A. F. of L. or the Socialist Party. They 
have the same prejudices to be overcome and they have to be ap- 
proached in much the same way. 



ISO COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

We must emphasize all of these things in connection with the call- 
ing of the conference in Cleveland on August 26 and 27, a United 
Front Conference for Struggle Against the "New Deal." This con- 
ference call which will be issued in a few days is a joint call by 
Communists, Musteites, leaders of Unemployed Councils, etc., quite a 
heterogeneous gathering of names that are signed to it. Let us again 
ask the comrades to assure all of our workers out in the field that 
when they get this manifesto, they are not to understand it as a 
declaration of peace between us and the reformists. On the contrary, 
this manifesto which sets down all of the basic proposals of our 
struggle against the New Deal must be taken as a test of the activities 
of every leader in every district, in every town on all questions about 
the Industrial Recovery Act, all questions about trade union struggle, 
all questions of the unemployed, and if any of these leaders don't go 
along with the struggle and really contribute to the struggle for these 
things, then it is our duty to begin immediate criticism, sharp criticism, 
rouse the masses against their violation of the program to which they 
or their leaders have affixed their signatures and use this as a weapon 
to destroy their influence among the workers among which they oper- 
ate. 

The movement for unity of the Unemployed Councils together with 
the Unemployed Leagues, and other unemployed organizations, must 
receive very careful attention. Let us again remind ourselves that this 
unity movement of the unemployed is not a love-feast, it is a struggle. 
We are fighting for unity, and we are fighting for the masses. We are 
fighting to win the masses to the support of our program. All of the 
elements in these other organizations, no matter who they may be, 
we welcome if they really support and fight for this program of 
struggle, but we will fight against them to the extent they hesitate, 
sabotage or oppose this basic program of struggle. 

In the development of the unity movement of the unemployed, we 
must concentrate on unity from below, the bringing together of the 
different unemployed organizations on a neighborhood, city, township 
and county scale, and try to create a solid foundation to actually 
achieve unity from below. On the basis of this, we can proceed to 
larger unity moves on a national scale. 

The concrete efforts towards applying this tactic to unify the trade 
union forces in each industry, especially in coal, textile, etc., are one 
of the essential features of this whole movement. In the August 26 
Cleveland conference, we hope to be able to have the central role 
played by the trade union and the trade imion questions — the questions 
of the struggle for shop conditions, hours and wages and the unifica- 
tion of the existing militant trade unions. 

In this whole struggle against the New Deal, the central unifying 
issue around which everything else is organized is the struggle for 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 151 

social insurance. In reviewing our discussion of the past days, social 
insurance and the concrete questions of how we are carrying through 
the campaign for social insurance in each industry and in each district, 
did not occupy a sufficiently central place. This reflects that we have 
not, even in the last weeks since we have begun to write good resolu- 
tions and articles about it, really taken up in a serious fashion the 
struggle for social insurance. 

Special Problems of Shop Concentration 

Now I want to speak of some of the special problems of shop con- 
centration. The first point in shop concentration is picking out the 
shop to concentrate on. There are three guiding lines for the picking 
out of a shop. First, we must make our main points the biggest, most 
important key shops in each industry and each locality. If we do 
not do that, we are running away from the main problem. The main 
important forces, the most able forces must be directed towards these, 
which are usually also the most difficult points. 

At the same time, let us keep in mind what the Detroit comrades 
described as picking out the strongest and weakest links for concen- 
tration. Some of the first successes of our Auto Workers Union came 
from concentrating not only on the biggest plants, but simultaneously 
also on some of the weaker and smaller plants. And especially when 
these can be combined in one region, one town, this combination will 
often be found very valuable. Of course, where we have forces on 
the inside, this is often a good reason for beginning some concentrated 
work on the factory. 

One of the problems of shop concentration is always the relation 
of outside and inside work and whether an outsider can do work in 
a shop or in a particular industry. In this respect I want to refer to 
the speech of Comrade Ray of the Marine Workers. I noticed par- 
ticularly that Comrade Ray said that what he was interested in was 
that the people who are going to do marine work must study the 
problems of the marine industry. He complained that this position 
of his had been misinterpreted as meaning that nobody could go into 
the marine work except marine workers themselves. This is very 
important for us. Comrade Ray is correct when he says nobody can 
do marine work who goes in with a know-it-all attitude, to run the 
marine workers' business like he once ran a cooperative store, or like 
a branch of the I.W.O. or the I.L.D. 

Every factory is to be studied concretely and a concrete plan of 
campaign mapped out. All that we can learn from other experiences 
is the general principle, to learn the mistakes to be avoided, to learn 
how to direct our forces towards these concrete questions. Different 
factories have different problems — big factories different ones from the 
little and all the experiences we have gained help us in all factory 



152 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

work. We have to work out special problems of approaching different 
kinds of industry. 

We must at the same time not forget that in all of the shop work 
the question of conspiracy is more and more important, the question 
of illegal work, how to get open organizations and at the same time 
protect our organization on the inside. 

In this connection the problem of winning new forces among the 
masses and giving them the opportunity of developing in the struggle is 
of growing importance. We have many good examples of this given 
to this Party Conference. One especially good thmg is in the speech 
of Comrade Abraham of Connecticut. This is an example of real 
mass work and the development of new forces. 

Comrades, in all of this work one of the things that we must learn 
is how to make use of small successes, to proceed further. We are 
often in this fix: as long as we are not successful in an immediate 
objective we always know just what to do. But when we win, we 
don't always know what to do next. 

The problem of penetration of the shops and the problem of the 
development of the strike movement, the problem of building the trade 
unions, is the problem of how to develop confidence among the masses 
in our leaderships by showing them we know how to do things, by 
winning one thing here and winning one thing there, always make 
one thing lead to another, to a higher stage of struggle, or broadening 
out the struggle, or deepening the political character of it. Moving from 
success to success, making of every success the foundation of imme- 
diately moving forward to another one. In this, we have one of the 
basic principles of concentration. 

Why do we concentrate on one key shop? Is it because we think 
that this big shop is important, but the whole industry is not impor- 
tant? By no means! Our concentration is no narrowing down. Our 
concentration is to win a strategic point precisely because a success 
there will move the entire industry, or move at least the entire locality, 
whereas if we concentrate on the whole locality and the whole in- 
dustry, it will take us so long to move it that the workers will be 
somewhere else by the time we get anything done. 

The whole principle of concentration is to throw all the forces into 
one point, and win a success there, and by that success you double 
your forces, and can go on to move the entire mass. The very example 
of a success in a strategic locality, in a shop or organization, will very 
often set the whole mass into motion, bring them either under our 
leadership, or in the direction moving towards us. 

In this respect, we have to give the most serious attention to the 
problems of consolidating the organization during and after an action. 
One of the most important contributions to our movement in this 
whole last period, has been the nut-pickers' strike in St. Louis, pre- 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 153 

cisely because it gave us a living example of the consolidation of a 
mass organization in the course of the struggle, maintaining it after 
the struggle. This problem as we have seen very clearly from the 
reports on the nut-pickers' struggle, the needle trades workers' strike 
in South Chicago, and more in the negative sense, although not nega- 
tive entirely by any means, our experience in the auto workers' strike. 
We see that this whole problem is one of involving the new members 
in tasks within the organization, inside the shop, and also giving 
them tasks outside the shop, in spreading the organization into other 
shops, and even into other industries. I am certain that one of the 
main reasons for the successful consolidation of the nut-pickers' union 
is the fact that this union immediately set itself the task not only of 
organizing all of its own industry, but of organizing the needle trades 
shops in the vicinity in St. Louis, and even begmning to organize the 
men folk of these women, who work in basic industries, railroads, metal 
shops, etc. 

I think that perhaps the best example of a very systematic, conscious 
carrying through of this approach to all of the practical problems of 
struggle, in the building of organization, was contained in the speech 

which Comrade M made, in which he told us about his work in 

the Black Belt, about the building of the Sharecroppers' Union. I felt 
as I listened to that report, that I was watching the working out of 
the theses written by Lenin. I don't know how much of Lenin's 

writings Comrade M has read, but one thing is certain, that he 

applies the teachings of Lenin in life better than most of our scholars 

in the American movement. Comrade M gave us a picture of a 

movement developed in what is usually considered the most backward 
section of the American toiling masses, and the astonishing complete- 
ness of each phase of this work is shown by the fact that in his short 
report of the activities of the past several months, we had every 
feature of the international class struggle, developed concretely in life 
from the smallest problem up to the largest problem in the fight against 
German fascism, imperialist war, and support of the Soviet Union. 

If there is anybody who thinks there is a contradiction between the 
struggle for the immediate demands and the highest politicalization 

of this struggle, just take a lesson from the work of Comrade M , 

who has politicalized the sharecroppers in the South, and made them 
an integral, conscious part of the international revolutionary move-^ 
ment. 

A few words about the concentration industries and districts. Here 
I want to utter just a little word of warning against some tendencies 
of crystallizing some brother theories to go along with the theory of 
concentration. Some comrades want to emphasize that concentration 
on one thing means the neglect of another. Now it is often true that 
we are so badly organized ourselves, and so badly prepared to con- 



154 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

centrate that in our first beginnings of concentration, we will tend 
to neglect other things. But let's not make a theory of it and justify 
that neglect. No. And especially let's not only avoid, but let's set 
ourselves the task of stamping out any tendency, such as was described 
by Comrade Ben Gold this afternoon, when he said that some comrades 
sneer at the needle trades work, the needle trades work is some kind of 
inferior work, that the only thing a respectable Communist would 
consider doing is the work among the miners and steel. It is true, 
and must be emphasized, that it is more important and a greater 
achievement to organize 500 workers in a steel mill than it is to or- 
ganize 5,000 workers in a multitude of small shops in light industry; 
that it is a basic guiding principle for us, the central feature of con- 
centration. But that does not mean that we are going to neglect 
the needle workers or that we are going to put work among the needle 
workers in a sort of second class citizenship. 

The building up of our forces in the basic industries is our first 
and central concentration not because we do not want workers in 
light industry, or because it is not important, but because we can more 
quickly win the masses and can consolidate the revolutionary organiza- 
tions among the masses by making our base the heavy industry. Pre- 
cisely the importance of heavy industry is that a little organization 
there will swing into action a broad number of workers in light indus- 
try, but a little organization in light industry will not swing heavy 
industry into motion. That is, we concentrate on heavy industry 
because it is a lever by which we can move the whole mass. The 
whole mass of workers are "our" workers, and every one of them is 
equally important for the revolutionary movement. Factories in light 
industry can also be made to help serve the task of conquering heavy 
industry, although the main feature is the other way around, that 
heavy industry gives us a lever by which we can move more workers 
in light industry into action. 

The Instruments of Concentration 

What are our instruments of concentration? Our concentration point 
for all our work is the unit and the section of the Party. The section 
organizations are going to be the backbone of the Party, and if the 
sections are weak the Party will be weak. If the sections do not have 
strong consolidated collective leadership with political initiative with 
capacity and self-confidence, then the Party will not move forward. 
We must make use of every means of concentration, every feature of 
our work must carry through the principle of concentration: Party 
organizations, the trade unions. Unemployed Councils, workers' clubs, 
I.W.O., I.L.D., language clubs, language press, all of these are tremen- 
dous instruments for us. We often forget that the language organiza- 
tions and the language press are still our greatest mass instrument or 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER IS5 

could be if we would make intelligent use of it. But the point we 
must continue to emphasize is that the central instrument for carrying 
through the turn to the masses is the Party section and the Party 
unit. . . . 

The cry for forces must be turned away from the center and down 
to the units and the sections. The cry for forces must be turned into 
the shops and we will get our forces from down below, and these 
forces gotten right out of the work and out of the movement will be 
worth a hundred times as much as the forces taken out of the ice-box 
of the national office and shipped around by mail order! {Laughter ^ 
applause.) 

Our task, comrades, is the task of the creation of new cadres — the 
building of a mass trade union is the building of cadres. If you don't 
build these new cadres you haven't built any union, you have only 
created the appearance of a union — ^you have built a paper house, a 
house that will fall down with the first wind that blows. And the 
reason why our unions that we rebuild and rebuild, year after year, 
don't stay built is because we are doing it always with outside cadres, 
importing the cadres, giving no attention to the building up of new 
forces down below that have a solid foundation there and will stay 
put year after year, whose only possibility of living is the building up 
of the union right there. If you do not do that you have not built 
anything. This is true of every mass organization. The only real 
solid building of anything is the building of stable cadres from among 
the masses, the membership of this organization. The role of the 
office in all of the work of building an organization is a very small 
one. You need a national office for a union to provide all of the 
organization with uniform organizational materials, to provide the 
apparatus for bringing together the consultations and conferences of 
all the various parts, you require a leader who works collectively with 
a larger group, a group that meets from time to time to work out the 
basic principles and tactics of the organization, and at least one national 
leader who makes it his responsibility to keep in touch with all the 
parts of this organization, to respond on the new issues, to advise 
for the various parts, but between this bureau and lower organizations, 
the masses, is about this ratio, one per cent the bureau, ninety-nine per 
cent the lower organizations. 

The approach to the problems of building an organization from the 
point of view of an office is bureaucracy and the only time when the 
office does not become a danger to the organization is when it is 
the product of the effort of an organization from below. 

Work Among Negro Farmers and Colonial Masses 

Some of the Negro comrades criticized my report for a lack of suffi- 
cient emphasis upon the importance of Negro work. I accept that 



iS6 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

criticism because I am sure that we have failed to get sufficient political 
emphasis upon the importance of the proper solution of all of our 
problems of work among the Negroes. We have not yet made a decisive 
change in our work in Harlem. We have not yet consolidated our 
political influence in Harlem into an organization which knows its 
tasks, which feels itself as an integral part of our Party, and which 
is proceeding boldly to the solution of its mass tasks in Harlem. Nor 
have we achieved this anywhere else, imless we except the South where 
the work that has been done by Comrade M with the Share- 
croppers' Union seems to be a real solid base about Which we do not 
have to have any uneasiness at all. But Harlem, Chicago, and the 
other big cities with a Negro population, we have not yet really 
consolidated our Party among them. At the same time we have really 
made enormous progress in extending our general political influence 
among the Negroes. Basically this question is a question really of 
overcoming the distrust that the Negroes have for white workers, a 
distrust which they also bring towards our Party, a distrust which 
will continue just as long as they see any remaining influences within 
our Party of the ideology of white chauvinism. The struggle against 
white chauvinism by the white comrades of our Party is the basic 
means for the liquidation of the distrust of the Negroes. At the same 
time there is another necessary task to be followed, and that is that 
especially our leading Negro comrades shall take it as one of their 
first tasks to try to instil confidence in our Party among the Negro 
masses, especially by giving examples to the Negro masses of Negro 
Party members and leaders who have the most complete confidence 
in the Party. A big step will be made in solving this problem by us 
when we really find the road to a mass organization of the Negro 
liberation struggle. 

The large part of the dissatisfaction among the Negro comrades arises 
from the fact that they feel that some important problems have not 
been solved. They may not be conscious of it but in the first place 
it is the feeling of the necessity that this Negro liberation struggle 
shall have a broad mass organizational expression, and this is one of 
the most important features of the consolidation of the Party among 
the Negroes. 

One criticism that has been made by some Negro comrades in 
Harlem with regard to the leaders of the Party we must declare is 
correct. We have not given sufficient attention to the solving of the 
problems of Harlem and have not given enough direct leadership from 
the leading comrades of the Center to Harlem. Harlem is certainly 
important enough for us to give our best forces as its leadership. We 
have discussed this question, we have taken up the spontaneous mass 
proposals that came out of this conference to have Comrade Ford go 
into Harlem as the Section Organizer. 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER i57 

One of the weaknesses of my report was that I gave little attention 
to the question of our work among the farmers. It is now so late 
that I can't remedy this weakness in my summing up either. Let me 
just say very briefly that Comrade Puro's report here at this conference 
and especially the very detailed resolution on our agrarian work which 
goes into the most minute examination of our basic problems must 
receive the attention of the entire Party. This resolution you are 
going to be asked to vote on and adopt at this conference. If you 
adopt it, it becomes a basic decision of the Party that there must be 
a discussion on the agrarian work in every unit of the Party, in every 
committee of the Party. The problem of the farmers, work among 
the farmers, is not merely a problem of those organizers that we send 
out among them. It is a problem of the entire Party, of the allies 
of the proletariat, a problem which is of importance to everyone who 
is seriously looking forward to the struggle for power in the United 
States. 

We can also accept the criticism that was made by our Latin- 
American comrades that this conference and that the Party generally 
gives insufficient attention to the colonial work, that is, to the work 
for the support of the liberation struggle in the colonies in Latin 
America, in the Philippine Islands, and also to our work among the 
colonial emigrants in the United States. That is certainly true. 

We must begin to find a way to remedy this weakness. We must 
especially strengthen our work among the colonial emigrants here. We 
must especially begin to have systematic work and a mass paper for the 
Latin-American emigrants, we must have a leading bureau among the 
Latin Americans. In this respect we should by all means at this con- 
ference send a message of greetings to the new Communist Party in 
the Philippine Islands {applause) whose leaders are under long prison 
and exile sentences, sentences which are being put into execution by 
the new "liberal" Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, Frank 
Murphy, from Detroit; and the sentence will be executed now, this 
moment, largely because the Philippine Party was not able to finance 
the court proceedings to carry these cases higher to the United States 
Supreme Court. And due to our slowness here we did not raise money 
quickly enough to get these papers. Certainly the least we can do is 
provide some support to the colonial movement, to at least carry 
through the appeals of the comrades to support them against the 
imprisonment. ... 

Open Letter Is Open Mass Criticism 

Now, comrades, how are we going to carry out the Open Letter? If 
there was one questioning note that was sounded in the discussion it 
was not about the correctness of the Open Letter, but some comrades 
were still doubtful as to whether we are really going to carry it through 



iS8 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

or not. Well, I think that we can say that we have more reason for 
expecting to make the change today than we had before. I received 
this afternoon some evidence of this. You remember, I think it was 
Saturday night, this conference heard the speech of a representative of 
a certain shop nucleus engaged in a government enterprise. Well, this 
comrade had no sooner made his speech to the special Party Conference, 
but the next day his unit met, took up the question of his report to 
the conference, discussed it, examined it, brought out the weaknesses 
of this report, and the nucleus itself worked out a resolution and sent 
it to this special Party Conference correcting all of the weaknesses 
of the report of its delegate and declaring its determination to really 
carry out the Open Letter of this conference. {Applause.) I think 
we have got quite a few units that are ready to work like that. This 
is the guarantee, and especially if we give them a little bit of leadership, 
if we begin to mobilize them from the bottom for this turn, then we 
will have a real guarantee that we will make the turn. And that is 
the reason for the Open Letter. It is to build a fire under all of our 
leading committees so that they can't sit comfortably on their chairs. 

This Open Letter is open mass criticism and open mass criticism is 
a powerful force that can change even the most stubborn habits and 
can even break down the worst sectarianism and bureaucratism. We 
have had a certain loosening up of the forces of the Party right here 
at this conference. We have had a little freer and more healthy 
development of self-criticism than we have had before, and that is also 
a guarantee for the execution of our decisions. I think that we can 
characterize most of the speeches in this conference as a step forward 
in the development of self-criticism. Of course, we have to distinguish 
between the self-criticism and the methods of developing criticism of 
the more responsible leading comrades and that of the comrades from 
the lower organizations. We demand much more of the leading com- 
rades in the way of accuracy, care, serious preparation of self-criticism 
beforehand, than we do of the comrades from the nuclei, from the 
sections. In this respect, I think we must say that the kind of criticism 
made of the center, of the Political Bureau and its work, by, for ex- 
ample. Comrade Johnstone from Pittsburgh, is a very healthy contribu- 
tion to the work of the Political Bureau. If we had more of this serious, 
healthy criticism for the center, I am sure the center would work much 
better. The center must work under the constant criticism of the entire 
Party organization. The districts must also work under the pressure of 
this criticism, and the sections must, because this criticism is the Bolshe- 
vik weapon for the steeling of the Party, for the correction of all our 
weaknesses, for securing the real guarantee that decisions will be carried 
out and not left on paper. 

The carrying through of the decisions, however, is a fight. It is a 
fight for the line of the Party. It is a fight against deviations. How- 



WHY AN OPEN LETTER 159 

ever, when we say "fight," let us warn the comrades. There are some 
comrades who might have an inclination to think, "Well, if it is a fight, 
it has to be a fight against somebody and if it is a fight against some- 
body, that means that we have to organize those that are against 
them. That means that in order to fight for the line of the Open 
Letter, we must form an 'Open Letter group' within the Party. {Laugh- 
ter.) All the sincere friends of the Open Letter will band themselves 
together to fight against the enemies of the Open Letter." That is not 
what we mean, not that kind of fight. There has been a little experience 
in the international movement with that kind of a fight and experience 
has proven that this is precisely the way to prevent the carrying out 
of the Open Letter. This is the surest way to sabotage the turn to 
the masses. Perhaps we can remember that our French brother Party 
had a sad experience with the organization within its ranks just a 
few years ago of a group that called itself "the group to fight against 
Right Opportunism" in the French Party. And this "group to fight 
against Right Opportunism" became a very handy instrument in the 
hands of the French police to disrupt the French Party. 

At the same time, comrades, I have heard that around the fringes 
of this Conference, there are a few comrades who are still addicted to 
political speculation and who are whispering to one another, "Doesn't 
the paragraph in the Open Letter mean that there are serious struggles 
going on in the Political Bureau of our Party?" and beginning to build 
all sorts of stories out of their own minds about this alignment and that 
alignment and that our Party leadership is divided into factions. Com- 
rades, I want to assure you that all of these speculations are baseless. 
There is no such condition in our Party leadership. We have had 
difficulties in our Party leadership last year. These difficulties were 
already largely solved and removed even before this Open Letter was 
written. And when the Open Letter warns the Party against the danger 
of any revival of factionalism it is not because there are any factional 
divisions or groupings in the leadership of our Party today. I hope 
the comrades will take that statement as the truth and will really put 
a quietus upon all remaining gossip mongers in our Party. {Applause.) 

Comrades, in conclusion, let us point out this, that although our 
report has emphasized the very precarious nature of the present in- 
dustrial production increase that is taking place, the nature of the 
inflation stimulus as a part of the New Deal, and we have emphasized 
the imminence of a fresh collapse of industry and emphasized the 
sharpening of the crisis in every respect — let us be very careful not 
to develop the idea of waiting for collapse to come in order to bring 
about the change in our Party. If we wait for something outside of 
ourselves to bring the change in our Party, the change will not take 
place. There is only one thing that can make this change and that is — 
you and I and every member of the Party. A conscious determined 



i6o COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

struggle is the only thing that will put into effect the Open Letter, 
and that is what we have to secure in the Party today. We must realize 
the truth pointed out in the Twelfth Plenum of the Executive Committee 
of the Communist International by Comrade Gussev where he spoke 
particularly in regards to America of the immediate future holding the 
prospect of very quick developments and changes in the situation. 
That is more true today than ever before. The American social con- 
tradictions and economic contradictions have reached such a proportion, 
have such explosive possibilities in them, that tremendous historical 
events may break out about us at any time. We must prepare our 
Party for its revolutionary role in the great upheavals coming in the 
United States. This role which is placed upon us by history will be 
really performed by us only if we prepare ourselves for these tre- 
mendous tasks. 

We can prepare ourselves only if we will actually carry through in 
life this course laid down by the Open Letter before this conference. 
Comrades, we can take up this task with greater confidence when we 
see how our brother German Party has met more serious tasks than 
this, and has overcome a thousand-fold more difficulties than we have, 
even in the conditions under which they are working in Germany at 
the present time. If the German Communist Party, with such de- 
termination and heroism, succeeds in meeting the conditions of struggle 
against the Hitler regime, certainly we also will be able to meet the 
offensive of the Roosevelt New Deal and establish our Party as a mass 
leader in America. Certainly, when we understand that the program 
of our Party is worked out on the solid foundation of the teachings of 
Lenin, upon the same foundation which has produced that marvelous 
revolutionary organization that has brought about the tremendous 
achievements of the building of a socialist society in the Soviet Union, 
when we understand that our Party is a part of the same world Party 
as the Soviet Union Communist Party, then we can feel real confidence 
in the ability of our Party, in the determination of our Party, to boldly, 
fearlessly, ruthlessly carry through the line laid down in the Open Letter 
of this conference. 



VI 

What Every Worker Should Know 
About the N.R.A.* 

Every newspaper is writing about the National Recovery Act and the 
industrial codes. Every radio carries speeches and propaganda. 
Speakers hold forth on the streets about it. Even our homes are vis- 
ited by N.R.A. advocates to talk to us. The Blue Eagle stares at us 
from every window and signboard. 

But what is it all about? What does it all mean in the daily life 
of a worker? It is not easy to learn the answers to these questions 
from all the mass of writing and speaking. 

Let us try to get at the truth in a simple, easily understood way. 

Why was the N.R.A. made a law by act of Congress? 

Because the economic system of America had broken down. Four 
years of crisis, closed factories, millions unemployed and starving, 
banks unable to pay and closing their doors, wages being slashed, 
strikes breaking out — these things forced everyone to see that some- 
thing was fundamentally wrong with the whole system. The thing 
simply wouldn't work any more. 

Nobody believes any more in the old system. Everybody demands 
a new system. Everybody demands that a way out of the crisis shall 
be found. 

The N.R.A. was the official recognition that the old system was 
smashed, that the masses of people who work, when they can get a 
job, and who depend upon a job in order to live, must be given some- 
thing new. 

That is why we have the New Deal and the N.R.A. 

What does the N.R.A. promise to give to the workers? 

It promises to remove the cause of the crisis. It promises to reopen 
the factories, restore production, bring back prosperity. It promises 
to remedy the disorder, the chaos, the anarchy of the economic sys- 
tem, and put in its place a planned economy without crises. It prom- 
ises higher wages, shorter hours, and the right of the workers to 
organize according to their own desire. 

All these things would be very fine, if we could get them. They 

♦Pamphlet, October, 1933. — Ed. 

161 



i62 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

would make life easier, they would remove the terrible conditions which 
today make life a horrible nightmare for millions of people. 

These are wonderful things that have been promised. Even the 
simple promising of these things, before any of them are realized, made 
Roosevelt a popular hero with millions of people. 

The masses want these things. They need them in order to live. 

Therefore it becomes a very important question as to whether these 
things are being realized through the N.R.A. 

We don't want to be fooled again, as we were fooled with the prom- 
ises of Herbert Hoover, when he was President and promised us 
"prosperity in 60 days." 

We have a right not to trust in anybody's words any more. We 
have been lied to so much, that we will be stupid fools to believe in 
any words that cannot be proven by facts. 

So let us examine what facts we can find. 

When we look for facts, it is no longer enough to read the newspaper 
headlines and front pages, or listen to the speeches of "big men." 
In such places we don't find those facts which show the true conditions. 
We must turn to the financial and business pages, read the economic 
journals, and get reports from the workers in the industries all over 
the country. 

Newspaper headlines tell us: "Roosevelt and the N.R.A. have started 
the factories to producing again. Prosperity is coming back." 

Is it true? Millions of workers wish it to be true, but if it is a lie, 
then it is a cruel one, raising high hopes only to dash them to the 
ground again. 

To judge this question, one must study the collected figures of the 
business of the entire country. Such figures are collected by organiza- 
tions supported by the big capitalists; we can be sure that they will 
show the situation as favorably as possible. Such an institution, for 
example, is the Index Numbers Institute, Inc., whose figures are pub- 
lished in big newspapers all over the country. At random we pick 
up the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for September 11, which publishes these 
figures. What do they show? 

Economic activity for August, 1933 (production, business, etc.), is 
represented by an index figure of 79. This means that if all economy 
of 1926 is represented as 100, then August, 1933, would be 79, or 21 
per cent less. Or if it is compared with a five-year period of pre-crisis 
times, which showed a combined index of 125, that means we are 40 
per cent below "normal." 

That is certainly not "prosperity," as yet, is it? 

"But things are better than they were," say the newspapers. "No 
matter how bad they are now, they get better, and move towards pros- ' 
perity." 



WORKER AND N.R.A. 163 

Is that so? True, things were going up for a while; now they are 
going down again; up and down, up and down, that is the way the 
capitalist system is always going. But how far up? 

Remember last year, during the presidential election, Herbert Hoover 
also told us things were getting better. And they were — in the same 
way as in April to July this year. Hoover's boom rose almost as high 
as the Roosevelt boom this year — up to the index of 76. But that 
did not mean that we were approaching prosperity again; instead we 
were coming to a new crash, which followed in December, January 
and February, the worst the country ever saw. 

Remember also, that Hoover's boom (which went almost as high as 
Roosevelt's boom this year), was brought about without much effort. 
Hoover did not do much of anything. Roosevelt's boom cost a thou- 
sand times the effort, and required inflation, going off the gold standard, 
the N.R.xA., the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the new banking law, 
the codes, the Blue Eagle, and so on — and still it went only 3 points 
higher than Hoover's, and now is already dropping below. 

We cannot say, with any truth, that "things are getting better" 
until, at least, things get better than in the last year of Hoover's ad- 
ministration. 

"Overproduction, which caused the crisis, is now being overcome," 
say the newspaper headlines. 

Is it true? Has the N.R.A. reduced the extent of "overproduction"? 

Unfortunately, the facts do not show it. On the contrary. No 
one will deny that last December there was "overproduction," that 
is, great stocks of unsold goods with nobody to buy them, which was 
the reason that more factories than ever closed down last winter. 

Are things any better in this respect as we approach the winter of 
1933-34? No, things are worse. Today there is twice as much goods 
in the warehouses as in December, 1932. 

Production did go up in April to July. But instead of making 
things better, it made them worse, because most of the goods went into 
storage, increased "overproduction." The goods were not being sold 
for consumption. 

But why would anybody buy and store up goods, if the markets 
were not expanding? Why did production increase, when the ware- 
houses were already full? 

The answer is: Because of inflation, the cheapening of the dollar, 
the going off the gold standard, which caused a tremendous increase 
in prices. 

When prices began to go up, every speculator and profiteer rushed 
to buy and store up goods, in order to make gamblers' profits. With 
the prospect of prices going up 30 per cent, or 50 per cent, or even 
100 per cent, they bought at the old prices, being willing to wait 



i64 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

many months before selling until the much higher prices came into 
effect. 

Now the warehouses are filled up. Prices are high. The speculators 
want to "cash in" on their speculative profits. They must sell their 
goods. But the real market, the consumers' market, is very little 
larger than it was before, and is shrinking again. The goods moving 
out of the warehouses therefore begin to squeeze out the goods coming 
from the factory. There is more than enough, already manufactured, 
to fill all demands. The factories are beginning to close up again. 

"Overproduction" is with us again, stronger than ever. The N.R.A. 
which was promised to cure "overproduction," we now see, really 
caused it to be worse than before. Inflation and higher prices, which 
were a part of the whole plan of the N.R.A. and "New Deal," have 
prepared a new crash. 

Roosevelt's boom lasts only a little longer than Hoover's. 

The N.R.A. forced up the figures of production for a few months, 
but since July 15 they have been dropping faster than they went up 
before. We can trace these facts, for example, in the weekly business 
index figure of the New York Times. This shows the high point of 
99 was reached on July 15, and then a drop, drop, drop, every week, 
until at the beginning of September it is below 85. 

Clearly, the engine of the N.R.A., which promised to pull us out 
of the crisis, is missing fire, it is backfiring. It is the same old engine 
trouble that wrecked the Hoover administration. 

"Even if all this is true," objects the spokesman of the N.R.A., "yet 
still some good has been accomplished; we are forcing the capitalists 
to pay higher wages for shorter hours, and thus improving the condi- 
tions of the workers." 

Is that so? Again we can trust more the statistics of the capitalists 
than we can their newspaper ballyhoo. Looking at their figures, we 
find that they tell a different story. 

Wages are worth what they will buy in food, clothing, and shelter. 
What they will buy depends upon prices. And prices are shooting 
upward like a skyrocket — this feature of the N.R.A. has been very 
successful. But the higher go prices, the lower go real wages — wages 
turned into the things which the wage-earner needs. 

How much have prices gone up? Different authorities give different 
figures, depending upon which particular items of goods they base 
their figures on. Retail prices move more slowly than wholesale prices, 
but it is only a question of time when the higher wholesale prices will 
be passed on to the workers in higher retail prices. 

The retail price of food, chief item in a worker's expenses, went up 
about 20% between April and the beginning of September, 1933. The 
Consumers' Guide, issued by the Agricultural Adjustment Adminis- 



WORKER AND N.R.A. 165 

tration, admits that a family market basket, containing meat, eggs, 
milk, butter, cheese, rice, potatoes, flour, bread and macaroni cost 
only $14.68 in April; but by the end of August, the family was paying 
$17.74 for this monthly basket-load. Potatoes went up 120%; flour, 
66%; navy beans, 49%; evaporated milk, 29%; lard, 27%. Bread 
rose 19%. 

Total cost of living, including food, clothing, rent, fuel, lighting, 
and other necessaries, went up at least 8.5% during the first six months 
of the "New Deal," according to the most conservative estimates, while 
the Labor Research Association estimates that the correct figure is 
at least 14%. 

What lies ahead is admitted by the employers' journals, in such 
statements as the following: 

. , . the advance in retail prices has not been exhausted. Many consumers 
will be surprised when the ultimate advance has reached its height. {Daily 
News Record, October 9, 1933.) 

. . . there is ample evidence to substantiate the statements of manufac- 
turers that opening prices for spring, 1934, will be anywhere from 33 1-3%, 
most conservatively estimated, to 40% or more, compared with wholesale 
and retail prices prevaihng last spring. {Daily News Record, October 13, 
1933.) 

If at the same time the total amount of wages paid to the workers 
(in terms of dollars) also rose by the same amount as the cost of 
living, then the total amount of real wages (in terms of what the worker 
buys) would be exactly the same as before, neither higher nor lower. 
If wages did not rise so fast, then real wages were being cut down. 

Everybody knows wages have not risen so fast. At the very most 
wages rose only by 6% between March and September, according to the 
official figures of the U. S. Department of Labor and the Interstate 
Commerce Commission. This little 6% increase has been eaten up 
in the increased living costs — 8.5% to 14% as we have seen. Thus, 
even if we use the more conservative figure of 8.5% for increase in 
living costs, the worker finds his real monthly income in September 
actually below March by 2.3%. What has actually happened, then, 
is a cut in real wages. 

The situation was described in the businessmen's newspaper. Daily 
News Record, for August 30, as follows: 

The latest index number (of prices) is 43 points higher than it was at this 
time last year. Textiles, house furnishings, and hke commodities are increas- 
ing. The increase is having its effects in two ways : helpful for the producers 
[capitalists — E. B.], but not any too good for the consumer, for the reason 
that purchasing power has not increased proportionately. 

Roosevelt promised that the N.R.A. would increase the purchasing 
power of the toiling masses, the workers and farmers. But in reality 



1 66 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

the opposite has occurred. There has been a tremendous cut in real 
wages. Under Roosevelt and the N.R.A., the millions of workers 
are getting less food, less clothing, less shelter, than they did under 
Hoover. 

Illusions are stubborn things. We showed the above facts to an 
enthusiastic supporter of Roosevelt and the N.R.A. He said: 

Maybe all you say is true. It is hard to deny, because these figures come 
from the Government and the big capitalists themselves, who have every 
interest to show things not worse but better. But still the N.R.A. has given 
more jobs by reducing hours, and increasing production even temporarily. 

Again we will play safe and ignore the newspaper ballyhoo, in order 
to take a look at the facts shown by official statistics. 

Production in July was 30 points higher than a year before. But 
employment was less than 12 points higher. 

What does this mean? 

It means that a terrible speed-up has been put across on the workers 
in the factories. It means that every worker must produce more than 
ever before, even with shorter hours. It means more workers dis- 
placed by machines. It means constantly fewer and fewer jobs for 
the same amount of production. 

It means a great increase in permanent unemployment. 

It means more starvation and catastrophe for the workers. 

That is what Roosevelt and the N.R.A. have given the workers in 
the matter of jobs. The reality is the opposite to the promise. 

But at least the N.R.A. has given one thing to the worker — argues the 
enthusiastic supporter of the Blue Eagle — ^it has given the worker the right 
to organize and fight for better conditions. 

In law and in theory, the workers have for many, many years had 
the full right to organize and strike. When this is written into a new 
law, and proclaimed again by big politicians, this still doesn't give 
the workers anything they didn't have before. It is still only a law, 
worth not one cent more or less than previous laws. 

Do you remember the War Labor Board, under President Wilson? 
Do you remember how it worked to strangle the strike movements of 
191 8-19, and hold down wage rates? Perhaps you do not remember 
that it conducted its work under a declaration of government policy, 
stated in almost exactly the same words as Section 7 of the N.R.A. 
The War Labor Board declared: 

The right of workers to organize in trade unions and to bargain collec- 
tively through chosen representatives is recognized and afiirmed. This right 
shall not be denied, abridged, or interfered with by the employers in any 
manner whatsoever. 



WORKER AND N.R.A. 167 

What was this worth to the workers? Just exactly nothing. Under 
it they had the rights they always had, to organize and defeat their 
enemies if they could, the right to take what they were able to get 
with their own power. Strikes were prevented or strangled by "arbi- 
tration." Under this declaration the steel workers, for the first time 
in history, organized and went on strike to enforce the "collective 
bargaining" guaranteed by the War Labor Board. But the U. S. Steel 
Corporation "denied, abridged, and interfered with" their rights, fired 
the workers who joined the union, and broke their strike with armed 
force, both with private police and government forces. No one ever 
heard of Judge Gary, the president of the Steel Trust, being arrested 
and tried for this crime against the law. But thousands of workers 
were jailed, and many killed, for trying to get these rights "guaranteed 
by law." 

The same thing is being repeated today. 

The N.R.A. "grants" the rights which the workers already have, in 
order to establish control over their organizations, tie them up in 
"arbitration," squeeze out or crush the militant trade unions, and 
in general to prevent strike movements by all possible means. 

But the N.R.A. has given the opportunity for organization, which the 
workers can take advantage of by organizing into the American Federation 
of Labor. William Green is even on the National Labor Board. Give it 
credit for that much. 

Thus pleads the advocate of the N.R.A. 

What is this "opportunity," whose is it, and how has it been used? 
These are interesting questions. 

The A. F. of L. officials had the opportunity to help work out the 
industrial codes before Roosevelt signed them. How did William 
Green utilize this "opportunity"? 

Green and his A. F. of L. fellow-bureaucrats signed a steel code, 
which fixed the existing wage-scales and hours of labor as the legally 
approved ones without any change whatever. This was done at a 
moment when rising prices and strike movements had succeeded in 
forcing wage increases in most other industries. This was at a mo- 
ment when steel workers themselves, in Buffalo, in McKees Rocks, 
in Cleveland, had shown by example that it is possible now to strike 
and win substantial wage increases also in the steel industry. But 
the leaders of the A. F. of L. signed away this movement to the Steel 
Corporation and the N.R.A. 

Clearly, the "opportunity" in the steel industry was grasped by the 
Steel Trust, with the help of the A. F. of L., to prevent either a wage 
increase or a strike movement. 

In the automobile industry, Mr. Green put the name of the A. F. 



i68 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

of L. to the Roosevelt code which gives government approval to the 
"open shop." 

Truly, this was a wonderful opportunity — but for General Motors, 
and especially for Henry Ford, who gets all the benefits without even 
signing the code, and for the whole "open shop" movement of the 
Chamber of Commerce of the U. S. 

Or take the coal code. Before it was adopted, after months of 
jockeying about, already it effectively was used to choke the strike 
of 60,000 Pennsylvania miners, and actually prevent even such wage 
increases as the workers are winning by their own actions in other 
industries under the pressure of rising prices. 

The coal code was thus also an "opportunity" — for the coal barons 
to stifle the fighting movement of the miners. The miners will win 
better conditions, not through the code, but through fighting against 
the code. 

Or look at a smaller but equally illuminating example: The Radio 
and Television Workers of Philadelphia seized the "opportunity" to 
organize into the A. F. of L., in Federal Labor Unions Nos. 18368 
and 18369. Mr. William Green used the "opportunity" personally 
to supervise the negotiation of a "contract" with their employers, 
"establishing their right to collective bargaining," with the personal 
collaboration of General Hugh Johnson. This wonderful contract also 
deals with wages. To obtain an increase? No, no, not at all! On 
the contrary, to guarantee to the employers that the workers will not 
demand any increase! The contract declares that the unions: 

will not demand an increase over present scale of wages rates unless such 
increased rates are incorporated in the N.R.A. code for the radio industry 
accepted and approved by the President of the United States. 

Yes, indeed, this was a wonderful "opportunity" — for the radio 
employers to secure the A. F. of L. guarantee that the N.R.A. "mini- 
mum" code shall also be in reality the maximum, without any incon- 
venient strikes by the workers! 

And if the workers go on strike an3nvay? Then the N.R.A. also 
gives a great "opportunity" — for the capitalists to fight the strike 
with material and moral support from the government, from the A. F. 
of L. and also from the Socialist Party, whose leader, Norman Thomas, 
has declared that, in view of the "New Deal" and the N.R.A.: "This 
is not the time to strike." 

Truly, the N.R.A. creates many "opportunities" — for the capitalists! 

But the N.R.A. gives the right to join any union the worker wants — 
say the Blue Eagle boys. — If you don't like the policy of William Green and 
the A. F. of L. join another union, such as the fighting unions of the Trade 
Union Unity League, or an independent Union. The N.R.A. will protect 
you in that right. 



WORKER AND N.R.A. 169 

Yeah? You don't say! But take a look at what the government 
and the employers, with the help of the A. F. of L., try to do to those 
who would exercise these "rights." 

The tobacco workers of Tampa were organized in the Tobacco 
Workers' Industrial Union, affiliated to the T.U.U.L. The government 
of Florida came in, destroyed its headquarters, sent its leaders to 
prison on frame-up charges so flagrant that even the U. S. Supreme 
Court was forced to reverse the verdict, and turned hundreds of its 
members over to the Washington authorities who deported them out of 
the country as "undesirable citizens" for daring to take their rights 
of organizing a union. 

Later, when the N.R.A. became law, the Tampa workers' faith in 
their legal rights revived — enough to organize an entirely independent 
union of their own on a local basis. They sent a delegation to Wash- 
ington to talk with the N.R.A. administration. General Johnson and 
his aides refused to talk with them. When the delegation returned 
to Tampa, they were arrested, turned over to the Ku Klux Klan, who 
beat them up severely and ran them out of town. The union head- 
quarters were again wrecked, and the members dispersed by police 
terror. 

That is the reality of the "freedom to join any union," as the Tampa 
tobacco workers found it. 

Or consider the case of the miners of Utah and New Mexico. In 
these two fields the miners, by overwhelming majority and secret 
ballot, decided not to join the United Mine Workers of the A. F. 
of L. They didn't trust it, because its officers came into the field 
as the personal friends of the coal operators and government officials. 
Instead they joined the National Miners' Union. They went on strike 
and won wage increases and union recognition. Then came word from 
Washington, from the N.R.A. administration, that the local employers 
made a mistake to settle with the union. The employers broke their 
agreement. The union went on strike again. The governors of Utah 
and New Mexico, with the open help of the U. S. Army, of which Mr. 
Roosevelt is Commander-in-chief, declared military rule, martial law, 
arrested all leaders of the N.M.U. and hundreds of its active members, 
holds them incommunicado without trial, while the A. F. of L. officials 
openly issue calls for scabs to come in and break the strike. 

These are typical examples of what is going on, in one form or an- 
other, all over the country, in all industries. "Unions of their own 
choice!" What a mockery! 

But even if everything you say is true — argues the blind follower of Mr. 
Roosevelt — that only means that we must all make some sacrifices for the 
common good that will come from an organized planned economy under the 
N.R.A. 



170 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

It is true that sacrifices are being demanded — and taken — under the 
"New Deal" and the Blue Buzzard. But who makes the sacrifices? 

First, the working class, whose income has been cut by two thirds, 
to less than one third part of what it was five years ago, and is being 
further reduced by higher prices every day. 

Second, the poor farmers, whose income has been reduced about the 
same as that of the workers, and who are losing their farms to the 
bankers and other mortgage holders, thus being turned into tenants or 
wage-workers. 

Third, the veterans of the World War, who are not only denied 
payment of the bonus (a debt acknowledged by the government by 
formal certificates) but who have further had taken away from 
them by Mr. Roosevelt and the "New Deal," a half-billion dollars per 
year from their pensions and disability allowances which they received 
under Hoover. 

Fourth, the Negro people, most of whom suffer as workers, poor 
farmers and veterans, and suffer further as an oppressed nationality, 
whose wage-rates are omitted from even the N.R.A. codes, or deliber- 
ately set at figures from 2 5 to 5o per cent lower than the general starva- 
tion level, who are more than ever bemg Jim-Crowed and lynched in 
this time of N.R.A. 

Fifth, the small bank depositors (some workers and many middle- 
class people) whose savings have been confiscated by the so-called "bank 
failures" (which is only another name for the process of big banks 
eating up the little banks). Many billions of dollars have been "sacri- 
ficed" in this way — to go into the vaults of J. P. Morgan, John D. 
Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon, and the rest of the little group of "rulers 
of America." 

Sixth, the small business men are also making sacrifices. The aboli- 
tion of the anti-trust laws has removed the last small restraints upon 
chain stores, monopolies, and big trusts. They are free to use their 
mass resources to the full to crush and absorb the little fellows. At 
the same time these monopolies are writing the "industrial codes" 
under the N.R.A., in such a way as to guarantee monopoly profits while 
squeezing out entirely the little fellows. 

On top of all these sacrifices, which all go to swell the treasuries of 
monopoly capital, of Wall Street, further billions of dollars are being 
taken by the government through taxation of the masses, and through 
the operations of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, are being 
passed on to the banks, insurance companies, railroads and great in- 
dustrial corporations. 

These sacrifices made by the broad masses of the people for the 
benefit of Wall Street, of monopoly capital — these are called, with a 
grim humor peculiar to the N.R.A., establishing a planned economy. 



WORKER AND N.R.A. 171 

But this is nothing else than a gigantic trustification of capital at the 
expense of the masses and of economy. 

This increased trustification does not and cannot overcome the crisis. 
It was the previous trustification that made the crisis so deep-going 
and protracted. It does not organize economy to overcome those 
features which bring about crises and catastrophes. It only deepens 
the crisis and drives the world even faster to the further disaster of a 
new world war. 

But the N.R.A. has nothing to do with war — says our faithful supporter 
of Roosevelt — the New Deal means more friendly relations with other 
nations. Therefore, why do you talk about war? 

So, Roosevelt is also going to abolish war? Yes, much the same 
as he is abolishing the crisis! Just as the N.R.A. talks higher wages 
but actually cuts real wages, so does the New Deal talk about peace 
but really prepares for and carries on war. 

The N.R.A. established a three-billion dollar fund, supposedly for 
"public works." This is being expended mainly to launch the greatest 
navy building and military program the world has ever seen. 

All these warships, bombing planes, tanks, poison gases, army camps, 
etc., these are the means for establishing "more neighborly relations"? 
Yes? Tell that to Japan and England, and see how much they believe 
itl 

Japan and England, France, Germany, and Italy — all are feverishly 
making the same sort of preparations for "more neighborly relations"! 
All arm to the teeth against each other — and all try to unite for a 
moment for war against the Soviet Union. 

How strange, how typical of the topsy-turvy times in which we live, 
that such blatant hypocrisy can fool anyone even for a moment. And 
such a moment, when the whole world knows that it is faltering on 
the brink of the most destructive war the world ever witnessed! 

Even the most "constructive" measure of Roosevelt's "New Deal," 
the Tennessee River development around the Muscle Shoals hydroelec- 
tric plant, is a senseless thing until it is seen as a part of a war program. 
At the same time that Roosevelt pays out many hundreds of millions 
of dollars (taken from the masses by special sales taxes) to the farmers 
in order to persuade them to reduce production^ to plow under every 
fourth row of cotton, to leave stand idle every fourth acre of wheat 
land, to slaughter six million pigs to reduce the production of meat — 
at this same moment he spends more hundreds of millions to complete 
and put into operation the Muscle Shoals fertilizer plant. To produce 
fertilizer is useful to increase production in agriculture, the opposite of 
Roosevelt's program. But the method in this madness can be seen 
when we recall that Muscle Shoals is a fertilizer plant only by after- 



172 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

thought. In the first place it is a monster munitions plant, to produce 
explosives for war. 

The N.R.A. is from beginning to end a part of the program of war 
and preparations for war! 

Yes, the selfish, bad capitalists are doing all the things you describe — 
admits our Rooseveltian enthusiast — but Roosevelt himself is a good, well- 
meaning man who is doing his best for us, and fighting against all these 
bad things. 

That reminds me of a story. An old Scotchman had for many years 
been a member of a savings and loan association. Came the day when 
he wanted to obtain a loan. He went to his old friend, the Chairman of 
the Board, with his application. The chairman said: "Sandy, I'd do 
anything in the world for you personally. But this is something that 
must be decided collectively by the entire Board." Sandy visited each 
member of the Board and got the same reply from each. Contentedly 
he waited for the Board to meet, sure of the support of each member 
as his loyal personal friend. After the Board meeting, the astonished 
Sandy was informed by the chairman that his application had been 
turned down. "Well," said Sandy, sadly disillusioned; "personally 
each member of the Board is a good man and my personal friend, 
but collectively I must say that you're the worst bunch of bastards I 
ever met." 

And so it is with that "good man" Roosevelt, who is such a firm 
"friend" of the workers and all the oppressed. He is at the same 
time the chairman of the Board that must make all decisions "collec- 
tively." He is the chairman of the executive committee of the capitalist 
class. That is what the job of President of the United States means. 

How childish it is to thmk that the "goodness" or "badness" of the 
individual Roosevelt can make the slightest difference in regard to the 
policies of government! 

The government, with Roosevelt at the head, is trying to save the 
capitalist system. To save the system makes it necessary to put the 
burden of the crisis upon the workers, farmers, and middle classes. 
They follow the class logic of their class position. 

In order to improve the situation of the masses, of the workers and 
farmers and impoverished middle classes, it is necessary to start out 
from the position, not of saving the capitalist system but of changing 
the system, of moving toward substituting for it a socialist system. 

Such an issue is above all questions of personal virtue or lack of it. 
It is a class issue. Roosevelt is bad for the workers because he is the 
leader of the capitalist class in its attacks upon the working class. 

To be a "friend" of the working class in any real — that is, political — 
sense, requires being against the system of private ownership of the 
means of production by the capitalist class. It requires building up 



WORKER AND N.R.A. 173 

the organized power of the working class in struggle against the capi- 
talist class. It requires helping the working class to take governmental 
power out of the hands of the capitalists, and establishing a Workers' 
Government, which takes the means of production away from the 
capitalists and organizes them on a new socialist basis, as the common 
property of all. 

Oh, so you're a radical, a Red — exclaims our defender of the Blue Buz- 
zard — ^you are one of those anarchists who want a bloody revolution in 
America, who preach force and violence. You are opposed to Americanism. 
That's why you criticize the N.R.A. ! 

What is a "radical" or a "Red"? Read your capitalist newspaper 
again and you will see that this name is applied to everyone and anyone 
who calls upon the working class to organize and fight for its rights, 
who helps to lead this fight, who refuses to trust in the promises of the 
class enemy, who exposes their tricks and maneuvers, who fights with 
all energy for better conditions now and who points the way to the 
final solution of all the problems, the revolutionary solution, the revo- 
lutionary way out of the crisis. 

You see, then, it is not so terrible to be a "radical" or a "Red." 

But we are not anarchists, we are not for disorder. The only real 
anarchists are the capitalists, who by their wild competition, their 
ruthless grabbing for individual profits, create this world-wide disorder 
and chaos of the crisis, of the many wars going on, of the bigger war 
preparing. 

We are not for violence and bloodshed! It is the capitalists who 
every day carry out the violent and bloody suppression of strikes. It 
is the capitalists who bring upon the world that supreme example of vio- 
lence and bloodshed — imperialist war. We fight against all such 
violence and bloodshed with all our power. The abolition of all such 
violence and bloodshed can only be achieved by the accomplishment 
of our aim, the overturning of capitalist power and the establishment 
of a Workers' Government. 

We are not for the destruction of goods and houses! It's the capi- 
talists and their government which is destroying wheat, cotton, milk, 
fruits — all the things people are dying for lack of — which destroys the 
productive forces by keeping them standing idle, rusting away, which 
keeps the buildings standing empty while millions freeze for lack of 
shelter. We are against all this destruction. We want all the wheat 
and cotton given to the people to feed and clothe them with. We want 
all the factories to open to make more things for the masses to consume. 
We want the houses opened up for the homeless to live in! 

We are not un-American! Since when has it become un-American 
to revolt against oppression and tyranny? Since when is it un-Ameri- 



174 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

can to call for revolutionary struggle to overthrow a tyrannical and 
destructive system? The United States was born in "treason" against 
King George and the British Empire. The United States was born in 
revolutionary struggle. It was born in the confiscation of the private 
property of the feudal landlords. That good old American tradition 
of revolution is today kept alive only by the Communist Party. We 
are the only true Americans. The Republican, Democratic and Social- 
ist Parties are all renegade to the basic American tradition of revo- 
lution. 

These fundamental features of Americanism were explained long 
ago by that eminently American historian, John Lothrop Motley, in 
the following words: 

No man on either side of the Atlantic, with Anglo-Saxon blood in his 
veins, will dispute the right of a people, or of any portion of a people, to 
rise against oppression, to demand a redress of grievances, and in case of 
denial of justice to take up arms to vindicate the sacred principles of liberty. 
Few Englishmen or Americans will deny that the source of government is 
the consent of the governed, or that any nation has the right to govern 
itself, according to its own will When the silent consent is changed to 
fierce remonstrance, the revolution is impending. The right of revolution 
is indisputable. It is written on the whole record of our race. British and 
American history is made up of rebellion and revolution. Many of the 
crowned kings were rebels or usurpers. Hampden, Pym, and Oliver Crom- 
well; Washington, Adams and Jefferson — all were rebels. It is no word of 
reproach. But these men all knew the work they had set themselves to do. 
They never called their rebellion "peaceable secession." They were sustained 
by the consciousness of right when they overthrew established authority, 
but they meant to overthrow it. They meant rebellion, civil war, bloodshed, 
infinite suffering for themselves and their whole generation, for they ac- 
counted them welcome substitutes for insulted liberty and violated right. 
There can be nothing plainer, then, than the American right of revolution. 

Americans have always been able to solve a basic crisis by revolu- 
tionary means. In 1776 we smashed the fetters of reactionary feudal 
rule by the European absentee landlord. In 1861 we smashed the 
feudal remnants of Negro slavery. With the same resolute and revolu- 
tionary determination we must, in 1933, turn to the task of smashing 
the oppressive and destructive rule of the Wall Street monopolist capi- 
talists who have brought our country to the brink of destruction. 

"// that be treason, make the most of it/*' 

That's a beautiful dream — admits our admirer of General Johnson and his 
blue bird — ^but it's Utopian. It wouldn't work. We can't get along without 
the capitalists. 

That used to sound like a crushing argument. But that was long 
ago, when the capitalist system was working, after a fashion, and there 
was no other example of social organization except the feudal, 



WORKER AND N.R.A. 175 

pre-capitalist societies. But today such an argument falls very flat. 

It is exactly capitalism that doesn't work. The whole system has 
cracked up so completely that nobody pretends to deny the fact any 
more. 

The only country in the world that has no crisis today, is that coun- 
try where they got rid of all their capitalists. That is Soviet Russia, 
the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. 

Russia, when it was ruled by the capitalists and feudal landlords, 
under the Czar, was the most backward country of Europe. But after 
the Russian workers and farmers defeated the old government and its 
landlord and capitalist class supporters, after they set up their own 
government of Workers' and Farmers' Councils (Soviets), after they 
chased out the capitalists or put them into overalls — since then that 
backward old country has made amazing strides forward. 

Just look at a few things they were able to do, at a time when our 
capitalist system was falling about our ears and threatening to destroy 
us. 

In Soviet Russia production has increased three-fold over the pre- 
war figure. Meanwhile, our production dropped more than one-half. 

The Soviets abolished unemployment entirely. In America we threw 
17 millions out of their jobs. 

The Soviets multiplied their schools and cultural facilities by five 
or six times, and turned billions of dollars into this development. In 
America our school system is falling to pieces, its revenues are drying 
up, our school teachers are unpaid, our culture is stultified. 

In America all is confusion, uncertainty, chaos, disaster. 

In the land of the Soviets, all is orderly advance, progress, certain 
planned economy, and an ever-growing socialist prosperity. 

Why this contrast? Why did we fall behind? Why do they forge 
ahead? 

A few years ago America was the richest, most prosperous land; 
Russia was the poorest, most backward. 

We had everything, they had nothing. 

So it seemed. But in reality it was our capitalists who had every- 
thing — we really had nothing. 

The Russian workers, because they had abolished capitalists and 
capitalism, while they seemed to have nothing, yet had everything re- 
quired for a glorious development of a new working class society — ~ 
of socialism. 

Because it was our capitalists who had everything in America, that 
is why we have fallen into starvation in the midst of riches. 

The Soviet Union proves that there is a simple and quick way out of 
the crisis. 

Push aside the capitalists, open the warehouses, distribute the goods 



176 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

to all who need them. They will soon be consumed. No overproduc- 
tion any more. 

Then open up all the factories. Give everyone a job. Produce all 
we need to fill the warehouses up again as fast as they are emptied. 
Nothing needs to be destroyed, and the unemployment problem is 
solved, and everyone has enough of everything. 

In America there are such enormous productive forces, such a wealth 
of factories, mills and mines, that if they work only eight hours a day 
in two shifts of four hours each, they will produce twice as much as 
we need in this country and the rest we can give to our less fortunate 
brothers in other lands until they catch up with us. 

There is no reason to be pessimistic about our country. What the 
Russian workers accomplished in a poverty-stricken land through years 
of painful efforts, we can accomplish in this country in a few weeks. 
We already have all the productive forces they had to create from the 
ground up. And our working class will prove to be just as capable 
when it becomes conscious of its power and its tasks. 

The Russian workers had the tremendous advantage of the leader- 
ship of Lenin. 

But we also have the teachings of Lenin to guide us, and of Lenin's 
teachers, Marx and Engels, and of Lenin's outstanding disciple and 
successor, Stalin, organized in our American section of the international 
Communist Party. 

We have a working class that is learning to fight for its interests, 
even against Roosevelt and the N.R.A. It is learning how to build up 
its own fighting trade unions to win higher wages and better conditions, 
by successful strikes; to build up powerful Unemployed Councils and 
to win adequate relief and Unemployment Insurance. 

As we learn how to expose the fakery of our class enemies, such as 
the ballyhoo around the Blue Eagle, as we learn to win the daily strug- 
gles for bread and the right to live — by this road we are also moving 
forward to defeat not only the N.R.A. attacks, but also to defeat the 
whole capitalist system, to overthrow it, and to establish a Workers' 
Government, a socialist society. 

There are only two roads before the working class. One is the road 
of the capitalist class, the road of Roosevelt and the N.R.A., the road 
of wage-cuts, starvation and war. The other is the working-class road, 
the road of revolutionary struggle for our daily needs, and the ultimate 
overthrow of capitalism, the road to socialist prosperity and peace. 



VII 
The Situation in the United States * 

The situation of the United States confirms most strikingly the cor- 
rectness of the draft thesis before us, when it speaks of "the tremendous 
strain of the internal antagonism ... as well as of the international 
antagonisms." The policies of the Roosevelt administration, known as 
the "New Deal," called into being by the crisis and by these "tremen- 
dous strains," have by no means softened these strains and antagonisms, 
but on the contrary have intensified them. Precisely the period of the 
Roosevelt regime has marked not alone the sharpening of the inter- 
national relations of the United States, but also the internal class 
relations. 

Roosevelt's policy called for "national concentration" and "class 
peace." But in spite of the apparent surface successes of his regime, 
even the "honeymoon period" of the New Deal has been marked by 
rising mass struggles, by great class battles, by a radicalization of large 
sections of all the toiling masses of the population. The protracted 
strikes of 70,000 or more miners in Pennsylvania, Utah and New 
Mexico; the long strike of 60,000 silk workers in New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania; the many strikes of steel workers, penetrating into the 
heart of the steel industry around Pittsburgh; and the hundreds of 
smaller strikes, in almost all industries and regions, increasing in num- 
bers and intensity from March to October — all disclose the hollowness 
of the "civil peace" of the Roosevelt New Deal, resulting from the fact 
that N.R.A., while promising wage increases, actually made a general 
wage-cut of exceptional severity. The mass struggles of the bankrupted 
farmers, quieted for a few months by the promises of the Agricultural 
Act and a moratorium on debt foreclosures, are breaking out again on 
a large scale and with full sharpness with the disclosures that the Roose- 
velt "allotment plan" has failed to meet a single one of the problems 
faced by the poor farmers. Even the middle classes are stirring with 
unrest, under the pressure of continued expropriations carried out by 
the closing of many hundreds of small banks, by the rapid progress of 
trustification in all lines, and by wholesale inflation. Never before in 
modem times has the "strain of internal class antagonisms" in the 
United States been so sharp and so general. 

Characteristic for the whole system of policies known as the New 

♦Speech at the Thirteenth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Com- 
munist International, December, 1933. — Ed. 

Ill 



178 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Deal is their nature as preparations for war. The economic contents of 
these measures are those of war economy. The famous three-billion- 
dollar building program turns out in reality to be a program of Navy 
building, mechanization of the Army, building of military roads, and 
the putting into operation of the Muscle Shoals explosive plant aban- 
doned at the close of the World War. The "unemployment relief" 
program turns out to be first of all the setting up of a network of mili- 
tary training camps, under the direction of the War Department, 
where 300,000 young men are being prepared for the Army. The 
National Recovery Administration follows the pattern laid down by the 
War Industries Board of the World War. Never before has there been 
such gigantic war preparations at a time when the "enemy" is as yet 
unnamed. Simultaneously, United States oppression of the colonies and 
semi-colonies takes on sharper forms, as the resistance of the colonial 
masses grows — witness the fifty-million-dollar loan to Chiang Kai-shek 
to finance the anti-Soviet campaign, the naval concentration in Latin- 
American waters, and especially in Cuba, where the anti-imperialist 
revolution has already partially broken through the chain of American 
imperialist puppet-governments. 

If we witness all these developments during what may be called the 
"honeymoon" period of the Roosevelt regime, when the illusions created 
by an unprecedented demagogy were bolstered up for a time by a 
rapid rise in production stimulated by an enormous speculative market 
(the flight from the dollar) — then we have every reason to expect the 
growth and intensification of class conflicts, and of all the contradictions 
of capitalism, now when the Roosevelt program has already exposed 
its inability to improve the condition of the masses, when production 
again declines precipitately, when rising prices and inflation cut further 
sharply into the living standards of the masses, and when demagogy 
is rapidly being reinforced with a sharp development of fascist ideology 
and terror directed against the struggling masses. 

International social-fascism has hailed the Roosevelt policies as "steps 
in the direction of socialism." The British Labor Party and Trades 
Union Congress have adopted the Roosevelt program as their own, 
demanding that it be imitated in Britain. In this way they are but 
continuing, in the period of crisis, that complete ideological subordina- 
tion to the bourgeoisie which, during the period of American prosperity, 
created out of the figure of Henry Ford the reformist "saviour." The 
American Socialist Party has not lagged behind in this respect ; Norman 
Thomas and Morris Hillquit hastened to pay a public visit to Roosevelt, 
upon his assumption of office, to congratulate him upon his policies, 
which they hailed as nothing less than a "revolution" in the interests 
of the masses. 

But the fascist direction in which the Roosevelt policies are carrying 
the United States is becoming clear to the whole world. Nowhere is 



THE SITUATION IN THE UNITED STATES 179 

this more manifest than in the efforts to merge the reformist American 
Federation of Labor into the machinery of government, under the 
avowed banner of the fascist conception of the "corporate state," pro- 
hibition of strikes, compulsory arbitration, governmental fixing of wages, 
and even control of the inner life of the trade unions. For the edifica- 
tion of the masses this was spoken of as a "partnership of capital and 
labor, together with the government." Under this program the A. F. 
of L. is given governmental support and even financial assistance, and 
a determined effort is made to control and eventually choke off the 
strike movement, by driving the workers into the A. F. of L. where it is 
hoped the official leadership will be able to bring the masses under 
control. 

THE A. F. OF L. AND THE T. U. U. L. 

During 1933 over a million workers have engaged in strikes. From 
six to eight hundred thousand workers have come into the various trade 
unions; of these, between four and six hundred thousand were recruited 
into the A. F. of L., about one hundred thousand into the Red Trade 
Unions of the Trade Union Unity League, and one hundred thousand 
into newly formed independent unions opposed to the A. F. of L. but 
not yet prepared to enter the Red Trade Unions. 

Of outstanding importance to us is the fact that the A. F. of L. has 
grown by about a half million members, placing very sharply before us 
the urgent task of organizing a mass revolutionary opposition and over- 
commg all hesitations in our ranks towards this work. This growth 
has resulted from the mass illusions built up around the N.R.A., from 
the direct support of the government, which looks upon the A. F. of L. 
as its main support within the working class. The A. F. of L. was able 
to capitalize these illusions and the mass faith in Roosevelt. It must 
be said, however, that the bourgeoisie has been disappointed by the 
performance of the A. F. of L., which could not control the masses nor 
prevent the strike movement, nor recruit such masses as was expected 
of them. 

The comparative failure of the A. F. of L. to recruit the great masses 
or control the strike movement arises from a number of factors. First, 
not all capitalists accepted the government policy, and especially in the 
basic industries most employers preferred to establish "company unions" 
instead of the A. F. of L. or even to continue to refuse to have any kind 
of union at all m their plants. Second, the crude and open strike- 
breaking policy of the A. F. of L. repelled large numbers of workers 
ready to join but disillusioned by their first contacts. Third, the 
A. F. of L. bureaucracy, which is of tremendous size, with 15,000 full- 
time paid officials, has, to a great extent, become so parasitically cor- 
rupted and degenerated by their past life, that it is incapable of the 
energetic activity demanded by a mass recruitment campaign, to the 



i8o COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

great disgust of the more virile leaders in the Roosevelt administration. 
And fourthly, the A. F. of L. unions have, in many places, been cap- 
tured by the underworld gangs, turned into typical American ''rackets," 
dealing in blackmail and bribery on a huge scale, and become incapable 
of conducting mass policy on the scale contemplated in the Roosevelt 
program. It is interesting to read, for example, the complaints in the 
stenograms of the last A. F. of L. Convention, voiced by the leader of 
the Chicago teamsters' union, who revealed that his union office must 
be fortified with steel plate and constantly protected by armed guards 
to prevent the dues payments from being seized by underworld gangs 
and even to prevent these gangs from taking possession of union elections 
and assuming the union offices. Revolt among the two and a half 
million members of the A. F. of L. against these primitive, semi-feudal 
conditions, not to speak of the more complicated betrayal of the no-strike 
policy and the New Deal, has been stimulated by the rising wave of 
mass struggles and by the influx of the half million new members. This, 
combined with the beginnings of more systematic and energetic work 
by the Communists inside the reformist unions, has played a great role 
in the development of the strike movement among the A. F. of L. 
workers, and begins to crystallize again into a broad revolutionary 
opposition movement. This becomes even more important when we see 
the determined policy of the bourgeoisie to bring forward the A. F. of L. 
especially in every case where the workers are mobilized in struggle and 
organized into the Red trade unions. 

The growth in the trade unions, and in the strike movement, after 
four years of decline during the first years of the crisis, is of tremendous 
significance to our Party. This is all the more true when we see the 
character of the strike movement. With only a few exceptions, these 
strikes were directed not only against the employers for economic de- 
mands ; they were also strikes against the official leaders of the American 
Federation of Labor, they were against the operations of the N.R.A. 
and the Labor Boards set up by the government — that is, they were also 
political strikes. This was true of almost all the strikes, whether of 
A. F. of L. members, of the Red unions, or of the independent unions. 
From this situation it followed that, when our Party (after some hesita- 
tions) began boldly to develop work inside the A. F. of L. as oppositions 
in combination with the independent building of the Red unions, even 
in the same industries and fields, and also to build independent unions 
where the workers hesitated to join the Red unions, our Communist 
and sympathizing forces played a constantly growing role in the whole 
strike movement. Thus it is that we have 45 per cent of all strikers 
(during 10 months of 1933) members of the A. F. of L. but fighting 
in opposition to their officials and the government, and to a growing 
extent openly following the lead of the Red unions, even while remaining 
in the A. F. of L. 



THE SITUATION IN THE UNITED STATES i8i 

THE STRIKE MOVEMENT AND THE RED TRADE UNIONS 

Very significant also is the comparatively large role played in the 
strike movement directly by the small Red unions. With about 40,000 
members at the beginning of July, they rose in membership to 70,000 
by September, and now stand at approximately 125,000, having re- 
cruited about 100,000 and having lost about 15,000 during the same 
period. The Red unions are thus about 5 per cent of the volume of 
membership of the A. F. of L. But these small unions directly led 
20 per cent of all strikers, and indirectly influenced in a decisive manner 
more than half the struggles of the A. F. of L. members and the in- 
dependent unions. 

During the strike movement, conditions often changed very quickly, 
making necessary quick changes of tactics on our part. At first we 
were very slow in recognizing the changed situation and adjusting our 
tactics. Thus in the Pennsylvania mine fields, our Red miners' union 
led the strike struggles of April and May directly, but after the estab- 
lishment of the N.R.A., the reformist United Mine Workers' Union 
(A. F. of L.) swept through the field with a broad recruitment cam- 
paign, and our Red union members (without even consulting us) went 
along with the masses, and together with them organized the strike 
movement of July and thereafter through the local unions of the 
U.M.W.A. We were slow in reorientating ourselves to work mainly 
through the reformist union, and therefore were weakened quite seri- 
ously for a period, and we are only now beginning to reestablish our 
forces organizationally in that field. During the same period, the 
coalfields of Utah and New Mexico were completely organized in our 
Red miners' union, which led long strikes, holding the miners solidly 
in the face of military rule and the jailing of most of our leaders. 
Even in these fields, however, we were also forced to maneuver, as for 
example in Utah; there, the protracted strike and military persecution 
caused some of these new and untrained forces to weaken and hesitate 
and to consider the possibility of settling the strike by joining the re- 
formist U.M.W.A. Just as we left America it became necessary to give 
directives to our Utah comrades, that if a split of the miners became a 
serious threat, we should avoid this by taking the entire body of miners 
unitedly over from the Red union into the reformist U.M.W.A. 

The silk textile strike furnished most interesting and valuable experi- 
ences, in a different form. In the beginning, the workers were also 
entirely unorganized. The strike began in Paterson, New Jersey, called 
by local leaders of the A. F. of L. as a means of organization with 
expectations of a quick return to work and settlement through arbitra- 
tion of the N.R.A. Both the A. F. of L. and the Red textile union 
began with only a few hundred members. The employers threw in 
their influence to drive the workers into the A. F. of L., telling the 



i82 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

workers that only the A. F. of L. could ever gain a settlement with 
them. As a result, the workers in their large majority joined the 
A. F. of L.; among them was a considerable sympathy for the Red 
unions, but they lacked confidence that they could win a favorable 
settlement, while they were influenced by the illusions that the A. F. 
of L., through its support by the government and bourgeois press, 
created for them more favorable conditions. We maintained our Red 
union throughout the strike, however, even though a minority, and 
fought for unification of the strike committees and picket lines. The 
open efforts of the A. F. of L. leaders to sell out the strike, repeated 
several times, were each time defeated by almost unanimous votes of all 
workers, in each case imder the leadership of the small Red union. The 
result was that the influence of our Red union continued to grow in the 
ranks of the A. F. of L., who more and more looked to the Red union 
for a lead on all questions, even though they remained formally within 
the A. F. of L. This influence became so decisive that when a large 
mass delegation was elected to go to Washington, to place the demands 
of the strikers before the National Labor Board, even the A. F. of L. 
leaders were forced to accept Ann Burlak and John Ballam, the two 
main leaders of the small Red union, as the leaders and spokesmen of 
the mass delegation, while the bourgeois press and employers openly 
declared that it was impossible to settle the strike unless they dealt 
with the Red union at the same time. The A. F. of L. leaders were 
forced by the workers to discontinue their attacks upon the leaders of 
the Red unions, and at the most decisive meeting the workers drove 
their leaders off the platform and invited our comrades to speak to them. 
These events were a revelation of the tremendous possibilities of a 
correct application of the united front tactic in strike struggles; they 
also showed how work within the A. F. of L. can be combined with 
building the Red unions, and can be strengthened thereby, provided a 
correct united front policy is carried out. 

Since June, all trade union questions have been dominated by the 
questions of policy regarding the N.R.A. For a time we had to conduct 
a sharp struggle within the Party on two fronts, against the tendency 
represented by the idea of "boycotting" the N.R.A. and against the 
tendency to surrender to the illusions concerning the N.R.A., to drag 
at the tail of the A. F. of L. and the Socialist Party. The latter, the 
open Right opportunist tendency, was the most serious and the most 
stubborn. Comrade Kuusinen has already in his report mentioned a 
few of the most crass examples. Some comrades were convinced that we 
would succeed m organizing mass unions only if we made them look 
before the workers as much like A. F. of L. unions as possible, in name, 
program and daily policy. Our fight to liquidate this tendency was 
helped considerably by the fact that as quickly as our comrades built 
unions in this fashion, they were immediately taken over by the reformist 



THE SITUATION IN THE UNITED STATES 183 

leaders, our people were kicked out of them without even any serious 
support among the workers. 

Our Party and the Red unions came out openly and boldly against 
the N.R.A., and exposed it as a general attack against the workers' 
standards, and as a movement toward fascism. In this we had to go 
sharply against the stream of mass illusions that had been aroused by 
the Roosevelt demagogy. These illusions were bolstered up for a few 
months by the rise in production, the opening of more factories, the 
appearance of "returning prosperity" brought about by the speculative 
market created for a time by inflation. When this speculative pro- 
duction broke down, when the factories began to close again, when it 
began to be clear that the N.R.A. itself had cut wages instead of raising 
them, the disillusionment of the workers which set in greatly increased 
the prestige of our Party and the Red trade unions which had from 
the beginning told the workers what they now see to be the truth. 

Our work to build a broad united front of struggle against the N.R.A. 
led to the calling of the Cleveland Conference in August. This was 
called jointly by the Red unions, the Muste group of "Left" reformists, 
and a few independent union leaders and various unemployed organiza- 
tions. This conference was very valuable to us, although it failed to 
build a real broad united front. The great body of the conference was 
composed of our own forces; besides ourselves and close sympathizers, 
only a small group of Muste leaders came. For us the conference was 
valuable, however, in that it was a good mobilization of our own forces 
for struggle against the N.R.A.; it was a broad school in the tactics and 
policies of the struggle; it was a public proclamation of our program; 
and it was a rehearsal for our forces in the problems of building the 
united front. With those Muste leaders who came, we had agreement 
on the most important questions of policy so long as it was writing 
general programs against the N.R.A., for unification of the unemploy- 
ment movement, etc. But we quickly came into conflict with them on the 
question of organizing the strike struggles in the steel industry, where the 
Red steel workers' union was already leading and winning strikes. This 
question already was too close and burning for the Muste group to 
commit itself to revolutionary responsibilities; we had an open clash 
with them in the Conference which cleared the air greatly, and educated 
our movement better than a hundred resolutions could have done. 

THE ANTI-WAR AND ANTI-FASCIST MOVEMENT 

Our most successful application of the imited front has been in the 
anti-war and anti-fascist movement. We led a highly successful United 
States Congress Against War, which brought together 2,616 delegates 
from all over the country, and unanimously adopted a manifesto and 
program which is politically satisfactory. The composition of the 
Congress was overwhelmingly proletarian with a core of 450 trade union 



i84 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

and shop delegates; it contained a very satisfactory youth delegation 
of about 500, a majority from reformist and Socialist organizations, 
which in a special meeting openly accepted the leadership of the Young 
Communist League in the Congress; a considerable delegation of 
farmers; representation from every important pacifist organization in 
the country; a group of local organizations of the Socialist Party and 
mass organizations under its influence; and a few important A. F. of L. 
trade unions with about 100,000 members. We also had a delegate 
from the United States Army. The Congress from the beginning was 
led by our Party quite openly but without in any way infringing upon 
its broad non-Party character, with the Party members at all times in a 
minority numerically, and leading by the quality of their work. This 
success was, of course, largely due to the very favorable situation, and 
the position of our Party as almost a monopolist of the anti-war move- 
ment in the United States. After the Congress a broad mass campaign 
has been launched to popularize its results, a campaign which has been 
highly successful, greatly helped throughout by the assistance of Henri 
Barbusse and Tom Mann, from France and England, whose presence 
added force and political significance to the Congress and the mass 
campaign carried on afterwards to popularize its work. The Congress 
set up a permanent organization on a federative basis, called the 
American League Against War and Fascism, which is publishing a 
popular monthly paper. 

Our campaign of solidarity with the German working class and 
against German fascism has been growing and involving new circles 
of workers. The American workers have been filled with enthusiasm 
by the magnificent defense, or rather counter-offensive, of the Com- 
munists in the Leipzig trial led by Comrade Dimitroff. 

Especially effective for the U. S. A. was our exposure of the work 
of the Nazi organization in the United States, which was even taken 
up by bourgeois organizations and resulted in a criminal indictment of 
the Nazi leader in America, Heinz Spanknoebel, and his disappearance 
into hiding. We secured and published a secret Nazi letter, written 
from New York to Berlin, a document which has been placed in the 
records of New York City, and now in the last days before a Committee 
of the Congress of the United States, with expert testimony which 
substantiates its genuineness. The character of this document is so 
sensational that I understand there has been some hesitation in pub- 
lishing and using it in Europe. I can assure you that the document is 
genuine. It is a letter written by W. Haag, adjutant to H. Spanknoebel, 
leader of the Nazi organization in the United States, addressed on 
September 23 to "Uschle Berlin Alexander platz." The letter contains 
the following paragraph which I read: 

I cannot find a place for Van Der Lubbe here, it is best if you throw him 
overboard into the ocean while enroute to another country. Whom do you 



THE SITUATION IN THE UNITED STATES 185 

intend to hang in his place in Germany? I agree with you entirely that it 
would be good to give the damned Communists in Leipzig an injection of 
syphilis. Then it can be said that Communism comes from syphilis of the 
brain. 

The leading Nazi committee in New York held a special meeting, 
with one of their important American friends, Congressman Hamilton 
Fish (a leading enemy of the Soviet Union) and discussed the question 
whether they should not bring a court action against the Daily Worker 
for publishing this letter. Unfortunately they finally decided agamst 
bringing suit against the Daily Worker, evidently understanding that 
we would be able to establish its genuineness. After two months the 
document is now accepted as genuine by the bourgeois press of America, 
but they consistently refuse to publish the paragraph about Van der 
Lubbe, which I have quoted above, and confine themselves to the other 
parts of the letter which show the Nazi violation of American immigra- 
tion laws, and the organizing of anti-Semitic agitation in America. 

Our Party work among the farmers, leading their mass struggles and 
raising their political understanding, has improved in the past period. 
We now stand at the head of a growing mass movement, which marches 
under the chief slogan of cancellation of debts and back taxes, and which 
actively fights against the dispossession of the bankrupt farmers, and 
which establishes the closest unity with the city workers, employed and 
unemployed. This farmers' movement has just concluded its second 
national conference, with 660 delegates from 40 out of the total 48 
states of the United States of America. 

THE INNER SITUATION OF THE PARTY 

A few words about the inner situation and growth of our Party. 
The Party leadership is fully united m carrying into effect the Open 
Letter, expressing the policy of the Communist International, which 
was adopted at our Extraordinary Party Conference in July. The 
efforts of the Party to concentrate on the basic industries has given us 
the beginning of a growing trade union movement in almost every 
district. About a hundred new shop nuclei have been formed in the past 
five months, of which two-thirds are in the concentration industries ; the 
proportion of Party membership in the shop nuclei has been raised 
from 4 per cent to 9 per cent. The Party membership which in 1932 
rose from 12,000 to 18,000 dues payments per week, with 21,000 mem- 
bers registered in March, 1933, remained at about the same level until 
September when it began to rise again after the question had been 
sharply raised in the Party, and at the present moment the dues pay- 
ments have risen to more than 20,000 per week, with more than 25,000 
registered members. Our Daily Worker has broken out of its stagnation, 
improved its contents, and begun to grow in circulation, selling 45,000 



i86 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

copies daily in October, with 100,000 on Saturdays when the paper 
gets out a special edition. Our eight other daily newspapers in various 
languages have all registered some improvement politically and some 
growth of circulation, and the same can be said for most (although 
not all) of our eighteen foreign language weekly newspapers. 

Our Party has made certain beginnings in carrying into effect the 
Open Letter, in becoming a mass Bolshevik Party. The beginnings 
have been uneven, and are not yet consolidated. The Party still lags 
far behind the objective possibilities. The danger of Right opportunism, 
especially opportunism in practice, still shows itself in our work, 
and requires a constant struggle, a constant education of the new Party 
members and especially of the new cadres that are gradually being 
built up. Examples of "Left" opportunism, also, are often seen. 

The last Central Committee meeting of our Party stated the immediate 
most pressing tasks of the Party as follows: 

Special emphasis must be laid upon the daily tasks of every Party unit, 
fraction and committee to (a) recruit immediately into the Party the broad 
surrounding circle of supporters and especially the most active fighters in 
the struggles now going on; (b) a real drive to establish mass circulation of 
the Daily Worker as an indispensable weapon of all struggles of the working 
class; to consolidate the improvements already made and to strengthen the 
Daily Worker as an agitator and organizer, and as an instrument to carry 
out the Open Letter; (c) build the revolutionary trade unions and opposition 
in the reformist unions, develop them as the real leaders of the growing 
struggles, paying special attention to the masses newly recruited into the 
A. F. of L., prepare for the coming convention of the T.U.U.L,, clarify the 
role of the Communists and the Party fraction in the trade unions; (d) give 
serious attention to carrying out the Party decisions on building a mass youth 
movement and Y. C. L. ; (e) develop and extend the mass movement of the 
unemployed, build the Unemployed Councils as the leading fighters for one 
united unemployed movement, and develop a broad mass campaign for unem- 
ployment insurance; (f) strengthen the work among the Negroes, especially 
for winning them into the trade unions, unemployed councils, share-croppers' 
union, etc., and organize a broad national liberation movement in the 
L.S.N.R.; (g) more serious extension of the Party among the farmers, leader- 
ship and support to their struggles, and practical assistance to the successful 
carrying out of the Second National Conference of the Farmers' Committee 
of Action; (h) to extend activities among working-class women and draw 
them into struggle against the N.R.A., in factories, among unemployed and 
against the increased cost of living; (i) build the united front movement 
against war and fascism on the broadest basis. 

The weakest point in all our Party mass work, from which most of 
our other shortcomings spring, is the weakness in bringing forward the 
revolutionary goal of our Party, the program of the revolutionary way 
out of the crisis. The deepening crisis, the growing misery of the 
masses, forces the wrokers to look for a way out. They want a leader- 
ship which can connect their daily problems with a wider perspective, 



THE SITUATION IN THE UNITED STATES 187 

with a possibility of final solution of their problems, with a program 
of building a new workers' state. They more and more realize that 
such a new society is being built in the Soviet Union. This opens their 
minds to what the Communist Party has to say to them. They want 
the Communist Party in their own country to give them the answers 
to all their questions, the question of power, the question of building 
the new society under American conditions, as well as the problems of 
the trade union and unemployed struggles. As we learn how to fulfill 
these demands of the American workers, we are succeeding, and we will 
more and more succeed, to build a mass movement of struggle around 
the Communist Party, building solid cadres which are more and more 
Bolshevized, which will place on the order of the day in America, 
perhaps not as the last capitalist country in the world, the question 
of Soviet power, of proletarian revolution. 



VIII 

New Developments and New Tasks 
in the United States * 

I. THE ECONOMIC SITUATION 

The third year of the depression, following the lowest point of the 
economic crisis reached in 1932, completely bears out the characteriza- 
tion of the depression as a "depression of a special kind which does not 
lead to a new boom and flourishing industry, but which, on the other 
hand, does not force it back to the lowest point of decline." 

The short-lived spurt upward of industrial production in the first 
months of Roosevelt's administration (April- July, 1933), was quickly 
cancelled by the declmes of the last months of the year, while 1934? 
beginning also with a rise in production, is also ending on the down- 
grade, which more than wipes out all gains in the first part. The zig- 
zag line representing the high and low points of the depression is indi- 
cated in the following figures: 

1929 average 100 July, 1933 82 

July, 1932 50 December, 1933 60 

November, 1932 58 July, 1934 72 

March, 1933 51 October, 1934 60 

(Based on Federal Reserve Bank index.) 

It would be hard to find signs of recovery in these figures. 

The above quoted figures show not only the present difficulties hin- 
dering the going out of the economic crisis on the basis of the mobiliza- 
tion of the inner forces of capitalism, but on the whole they reflect the 
results of the economic policies of the N.R.A. and New Deal. These 
policies have not succeeded in keeping industrial production above the 
level already reached under Hoover. It is true that Roosevelt's 40 per 
cent inflation of the dollar created a four-month inflation "boom," but 
this ended at the same moment that the N.R.A. with its system of 
industrial codes was established, and almost all those gains from infla- 
tion are again wiped out. 

A sober estimate from the point of view of finance capital, from the 
Business Bulletin of the Cleveland Trust Company (November 15), is 
the following: 

♦Written in November, 1934, as a report to the Executive Committee of the 
Communist International: published in The Communist, February, 193 S. — Ed, 

188 



NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW TASKS 189 

All the advance of the earlier months of this year has been cancelled, and 
most of the advance of last year. 

The financial journal, The Annalist (October 19, 1934), speaking of 
the September figures, declared editorially: 

This is the lowest level reached by this index since April, 1933. Only in 
the worst months . . . from April, 1932, to April, 1933, has this index stood 
at a lower level. . . , 

And concludes: 

We are entering the sixth year of depression with business activity almost 
at its extreme depth. 

Employment, wages and earnings have all declined for the working 
class as a whole, during Roosevelt's regime. Official statistics on 
employment show an increase, but this is accomplished by spreading 
part-time work (which is no increase in employment for the working 
class) and by listing as employed the workers forced to render labor 
services of non-productive character in return for unemployment relief. 
Official statistics show an increase in wage scales, but this is in terms 
of the dollar, which has itself been depreciated 40 per cent, so that real 
wages have actually declined. Weekly earnings of workers have 
declined even more than real wages, due to the shortening of working 
time through the spread-the-work system. Even the organ of finance, 
The Annalist y is forced to admit this (October 26) when it 533^5 : 

Factory employment, seasonally adjusted, was slightly lower than last 
December, though factory payrolls were slightly higher. If, however, allow- 
ance is made for higher living costs, the real wages of factory workers were 
no higher than last December. 

Such conservative sources as Hopkins, national relief director, and 
William Green, president of the A. F. of L., have publicly admitted that 
this wmter will bring the largest relief lists ever before seen in America. 
More than 20,000,000 people will be directly dependent upon relief, 
while an additional 20,000,000 will be supported by relatives, friends, 
and their own last accumulations. A total of 40,000,000, or 30 per cent 
of the population, will be without normal current income. 

II. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NATIONAL ELECTION RESULTS 

Results of the national Congressional elections on November 6, which 
greatly strengthened Roosevelt's control of Congress, were generally 
interpreted (both in the United States and abroad) as showing a big 
wave of mass sentiment in support of Roosevelt and the New Deal. 
This interpretation will not, however, stand up imder analysis. 

Total votes cast declined under the figure of 1932, by over 10,000,000. 
This mass abstention from the polls was greater than in normal times, 
indicating mass dissatisfaction with the programs of the major parties. 



190 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

This mass abstention was even greater among the followers of the 
Democratic Party than among those of the Republican Party. While 
the Republican vote declined by 3,000,000, the Democratic vote 
declined 7,000,000. 

Despite their greater loss of votes, the Democrats increased their 
strength in Congress. This is because, wherever it appeared that the 
Republicans had a chance of election, there usually the abstentionism 
was overcome — the votes turned out to defeat the Republicans. That 
is, large masses were supporting Roosevelt on the theory of "the lesser 
evil," in spite of their discontent, disillusionment, and even a growing, 
though vague, mass radicalization. 

This mood among the masses was even more sharply and clearly 
expressed whenever it had the opportunity to rally around candidates, 
factions or new party formations which appeared before the masses as 
being "to the Left" of Roosevelt, and which yet did not, in the estima- 
tion of the masses, represent a revolutionary departure from the present 
system. Wherever such "Left" alternatives to Roosevelt were offered, 
they gained unprecedented mass support. We need mention only four 
outstanding examples among a great number of lesser ones: 

1. Upton Sinclair, with his EPIC program, running on the Demo- 
cratic ticket, with his promise to "end poverty" without disturbing 
capitalism, received 800,000 votes out of a total of 2,000,000, and was 
defeated only by the intervention of the Roosevelt administration 
against the California Democrats in favor of the Republican candidate. 

2. Huey Long retained control of the Louisiana Democratic Party, 
against the Roosevelt administration, on a program of a two-year 
moratorium on debts, taxation of the circulation of the capitalist daily 
newspapers, struggle against the bankers, etc., and legalized for the 
next two years his one-man dictatorship of the state. 

3. The LaFoUette brothers in Wisconsin, sons of the late leader of 
the third-party movement of 1924, split away from the Republican 
Party, established an entirely new party (called "Progressive"), and 
carried all important state and congressional posts in the elections. 

4. Floyd Olson, heading the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, 
carried the state with an increased majority, on a vague but radical- 
sounding platform calling for "the cooperative commonwealth." 

In these events we have the characteristic feature of the November 
elections. Without being prepared as yet to come out in support of a 
revolutionary challenge to the capitalist system, the masses were seek- 
ing something new, something more radical, something which promised 
more definitely relief from their miseries. They rejected decisively all 
appeals of the Republican Party to return to the era of Hoover, appeals 
based upon the traditions of the two-party system in America — that 
discontented masses always vote out the party in power and put its 
established rival in office again. Where they had no other alternative, 



NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW TASKS 191 

they apathetically, without enthusiasm, supported Roosevelt as the 
"lesser evil." Where a "progressive" faction or party emerged, it at 
once gained enthusiastic mass support. 

We must conclude from the elections that among the broad masses 
strong currents to the Left have begun. These currents have already 
paralyzed the normal operation of the old two-party system, begin to 
present manifestions of its break up, of mass desertion of the old cap- 
italist parties, and indicate the probability that in 1936, with the con- 
tinued absence of economic recovery, with contmued prolonged depres- 
sion, there will emerge a mass party in opposition to and to the Left 
of Roosevelt. 

III. SOCIALIST AND COMMUNIST PARTIES 
IN THE ELECTIONS 

The Socialist Party vote in the elections was, on the whole, stagnant. 
In a few localities it succeeded in becoming the "progressive" oppo- 
sition, and elected state legislators in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. 
Its national vote will probably fall below that of 1932. (Information 
on the smaller party votes is not yet completely available.) This stag- 
nant condition was primarily due to its inner condition, which was one 
of partial paralysis, resulting from a deepening division which has split 
the Party into two main warring camps — one, which wants to take the 
Party to the Right and merge in the Progressive movement, and the 
other, which moves to the left under the general influence of the Com- 
munist united front activities, and a part of which operates under the 
slogan of united front with the Communist Party. 

The Communist Party vote increased over 1932 by 80 to 100 per 
cent. The total will be about 225,000. (These figures do not take into 
account exceptionally large votes for individual candidates, like the 
80,000 votes for Anita Whitney in California, but only that cast for 
the whole or major portion of the Party ticket.) In New York City 
the vote increased from 26,000 to 45,000; in Ohio, from 8,000 to 
14,000; in California from 8,000 to 24,000. In Arizona, the C.P. came 
second, the comparative vote being: Democratic — 45,000; Communist 
— 11,300; Republican — 2,500. 

In a nimiber of small communities in the mining area of Illinois, the 
Communist and Socialist workers put up Workers' Tickets on a united 
front basis ; in Taylor Springs, such a ticket was elected to office, includ- 
ing most of the county posts. In Trumbull County, Ohio, a united 
front between the local Socialist and Communist Parties, which had 
been formed in a series of struggles, was carried over into the elections, 
in a joint appeal to the workers to vote for the Socialist local ticket, 
and for the Communist state ticket (this was facilitated by the fact that 
the C.P. was not on the local ballot, while the S.P. was absent from 
the state ballot). 



192 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

In general, neither the Socialist nor Communist Parties' succeeded in 
engaging in its support the masses who were tending to break away 
from the two traditional capitalist parties. In the case of the S.P., this 
is to be attributed primarily to its inner contradictions, to its inability 
to make up its mind decisively in what direction it wishes to go. In 
the case of the Communist Party, the subjective weaknesses of insuffi- 
cient contact with these masses, remnants of sectarian approach, are 
supplemented by the still low degree of consciousness among the Left- 
ward moving masses, the main part of which is by no means prepared 
as yet to go boldly upon the path for the revolutionary solution of the 
crisis, which was given major emphasis by the C.P. during the election 
campaign. 

IV. THE STRIKE MOVEMENT AND THE ROLE OF THE C.P. 

The major manifestation of radicalization of the working class was, in 
1934, the strike movement, which has already involved well over 
2,000,000 workers this year, has taken on political character in the 
growth of general strike sentiment and actions, and represents the 
strongest revolutionary upsurge seen in America since the first post- 
War period. 

These strike actions, in their great majority, were carried through 
under the banner of the American Federation of Labor. This already 
is a great change from 1931-32, when most strike struggles were initiated 
and led directly by the independent revolutionary unions; and even 
from 1933, when the strike movement was initiated by the Red unions, 
which led the first successful strikes in the crisis period, in auto, mining, 
textile, steel, and other industries, and in which the A. F. of L. only 
came into the strike movement later, when its membership surged out 
of its control under the influence of the successful strikes led by the 
Red unions. 

In 1934, the Red unions definitely passed into the background in the 
basic industries, and to some extent also in light industry. The main 
mass of workers had definitely chosen to try to organize and fight 
through the A. F. of L. organizations, even though that meant also 
struggle against the official top leadership. 

The chief feature of the strike wave was the sudden crystallization 
of a movement for general strike and solidarity strike actions. The first 
important movement of this sort came in Toledo, Ohio, in May, when a 
small strike in an auto-equipment factory, on the verge of defeat, was 
suddenly brought to life again by the surging onto the picket line of 
ten thousand sympathetic workers, mostly imemployed, who had 
responded to a call by the Unemployment Councils led by the Com- 
mimists. The mass picket line, continuing for some days, was attacked 
by state troops, one worker killed, many wounded, hundreds gassed and 
arrested. The response to this attack was a vote in every union in the 



NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW TASKS 193 

city on the question of an immediate general strike; out of 91 unions, 
83 voted for the strike. Before the hour set for the general strike, the 
employers and union leaders hastily patched up a settlement of the 
strike, granting the striking workers some of their demands and giving 
guarantees against victimization. 

Within a week or two of the Toledo events, a similar solidarity move- 
ment took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in support of the teamsters' 
strike, where also lives were lost, where masses came onto the streets 
and took possession of them, and where also the general strike was only 
prevented by a hastily conceived settlement which could be paraded 
before the workers as a victory. 

Again within a few weeks, a strike of street car workers m Milwau- 
kee, Wisconsin, which seemed about to be broken, was suddenly made 
100 per cent effective by the surging onto the streets of 40,000 workers, 
who prevented a single street car from moving. Again the use of 
violence against the workers, and the killing of a picket, so roused the 
masses that a general strike vote swept through the unions; within 12 
hoiu-s the threat of general strike had secured the granting of most of 
the demands of the original strike and a quick settlement with the 
imion. 

During all this period of May, and on into June, the Pacific Coast 
marine workers (longshoremen, sailors and harbor workers) had been 
carrying on their general industrial strike over a 2,000-mile stretch of 
coastline. Early in July, the employers decided to smash the strike by 
violence, attacking the pickets on the streets of San Francisco, and 
killing two of them, one a member of our Party. Again the masses 
responded; at the funeral, 100,000 workers took possession of the main 
streets of the city. A general strike vote swept through the unions. 
The Central Labor Union leadership, which had been standing firmly 
against the general strike, suddenly changed front when they saw the 
movement going over their heads, came out for the general strike and 
took the leadership of it, and then proceeded in four days to betray 
the strike, hoping in crushing the general strike to smash at the same 
time the marine strike which was under revolutionary leadership. 

For four days, however, the City of San Francisco was in the hands 
of the workers, until the strike committee itself had step by step sur- 
rendered the strategic positions and then called off the strike. Only 
the betrayal of the San Francisco general strike stopped the develop- 
ment of general strikes in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. 

This wave of local general strike movements and solidarity mass 
actions is unprecedented in modern American labor history. I will 
not go into an analysis of these strikes, their strength and weakness, 
the role of the C.P. in them, etc. This has been done at some length in 
a special resolution of our Central Committee which has been discussed 
and approved in the Comintern. 



194 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

What is important here to establish, is the characteristic of the pass- 
ing over of even small economic struggles into great political class 
battles; of the engaging of entire communities in solidarity actions; of 
the winning of factory strikes by means of the solidarity actions of the 
unemployed; of the growth of class consciousness and the feeling of 
class power among the workers, the breaking down of fears and hesita- 
tions, the prompt mass responses to go on the streets as the answer to 
police and military violence. 

Within six weeks after the ending of the San Francisco strike, came 
the great general strike of the textile workers, involving about 400,000 
workers. This again was the expression of a great upsurge from below ; 
the strike was forced by the membership against the wish of their 
leaders; when the strike call was issued, it was met with response far 
beyond the limits of the organized textile workers, tens of thousands of 
unorganized workers streaming into the union during the period of 
strike; entirely new forms of mass action were spontaneously developed 
from below, outstanding among which were the so-called "flying squad- 
rons,'' consisting of 50 to 100 motor cars full of strikers, going from 
town to town to call out on strike the mills still working, and which met 
with tremendous successes. 

Troops were called out in eleven states against the textile strike; 
the Governor of Rhode Island called upon the Legislature to declare a 
"state of insurrection" and ask Roosevelt to send Federal troops; the 
State of Georgia erected concentration camps on the style of Nazi Ger- 
many, herding several thousand textile pickets into the camps. Some 
18 or 20 workers were killed, hundreds wounded, tens of thousands 
gassed and arrested. 

In spite of this extraordinary terror, the strike was growing stronger 
every day, extending to new mills, when suddenly it was called off by 
the leaders on the basis of a request from a Board appointed by Roose- 
velt, with loud claims of victory but without a single demand conceded 
by the employers. 

It is undoubtedly necessary to characterize this wave of struggle as 
a revolutionary upsurge of the American working class. This upsurge 
defeated the efforts of the A. F. of L. bureaucrats and the government 
to bring the trade unions under governmental control and transform 
them into semi-official agencies of the N.R.A. It defeated the efforts of 
the leaders to drive the Communists out of the unions, and opened up 
a broad field for revolutionary work where before it had been impossible 
to penetrate. It gave the masses vivid and clear lessons in the practical 
benefits of class struggle, when the only considerable gains conceded 
to any group of workers in this period were those given to the longshore- 
men who had followed Communist leadership throughout their struggle 
and afterward, and who continued the fight by always new forms even 
after their strike was ended. As a result of these battles, there is a 



NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW TASKS 195 

new relation of forces, a new social atmosphere, a new spirit among the 
masses, a new confidence and readiness to fight. 

In characterizing the strike wave of 1934, it can be said that its 
most significant features are: first, that for the first time since 19 19 
have we witnessed such a great wave of struggle, developing on a con- 
tinually rising level, directed against the effects of the Roosevelt New 
Deal policies; second, the masses have been aroused to an unparalleled 
fighting spirit and desire for imity in action, as expressed in the develop- 
ment of solidarity actions and movements for local general strikes, and 
the participation of the unorganized workers, the unemployed, and 
even the poor farmers; third, the mass urge of the unorganized workers 
for organization, and struggle against the company unions, which breaks 
through all the barriers which the trade union bureaucracy of the 
A. F. of L. attempt to put up. 

The struggles for the most elementary economic demands develop 
into struggles of highly political character. Every effort of the reform- 
ist leaders to prevent or sidetrack these struggles did not succeed, and 
they were forced to go along with the strike movement in order to 
avoid being swept aside and be in a better position to betray the 
struggle through arbitration. In this they were ably assisted by the 
Trotskyites (Minneapolis), the Musteites (Toledo), and the Socialist 
leadership (textile). 

This strike movement took place mainly through the channels of 
the reformist unions, and the Communists in the main were unable to 
exercise a decisive influence in the leadership of the workers because 
we were not entrenched as yet inside the A. F. of L. unions which the 
masses were entering for the purpose of carrying on struggles for their 
daily interests. 

Nevertheless, the Communists played a growing and effective role, 
in some instances relatively weak as in Minneapolis (but even here of 
decisive importance at certain moments), in other cases of great 
influence though unorganized, as in the textile strike, and were able to 
issue timely slogans which were seized upon by the masses and trans- 
lated into action (mass picketing, general strikes, solidarity actions). 

Where the Communists were firmly established inside the A. F. of L. 
unions and had strong position, as in the Pacific Coast longshoremen^s 
strike, we played a leading and decisive role from first to last, and were 
instrumental in forcing the calling of the San Francisco general strike. 

What is of supreme importance is this, that out of the strike wave 
the A. F. of L. bureaucracy emerged weaker, the S.P. emerged weaker, 
the Muste group and the renegades emerged weaker — ^but the Com- 
munist Party emerged stronger in every instance without exception. 



196 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

V. THE CHANGE IN TRADE UNION POLICY 

Serious changes in our current trade union policy were found to be 
necessary, in order to achieve these positive results in our work. In 
all the basic industries it was necessary to shift the main emphasis to 
work inside the A. F. of L. This we proceeded to do, at first with some 
hesitation, but, with our growing satisfactory experience, with increasing 
boldness. Among the longshoremen in San Francisco we threw all 
forces into the A. F. of L. union, with excellent results, not only estab- 
lishing leadership of the most important strike, but winning victories 
for the workers, and maintaining our organizational positions after the 
strike; the big majority of all offices in the union in San Francisco were 
filled, in the September elections, by Communists and sympathizers. 

In the textile industry, we joined the small and scattered locals of 
the National Textile Workers' Union into the United Textile Workers' 
of the A. F. of L., thereby multiplying our organizational base by four 
or five times, and becoming an influential minority in the great strike 
movement of 400,000. 

In the steel industry, we withdrew our Red union, the Steel and 
Metal Workers' Industrial Union, and confined it to the field of light 
metal and machinery, sending all our steel workers into the A. F. of L. 
union, the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers, 
with the result that in a few weeks we have begun to crystallize a great 
national rank-and-file movement to prepare for strike in the spring, a 
movement which already has serious organizational strongholds in the 
union, basic American cadres of leaders, and excellent prospects for a 
great mass movement. 

In the auto industry, we have dissolved the Red Auto Workers' 
Union, sending the members into the A. F. of L. federal local unions, 
and already have under way a serious movement for the uniting of the 
80 to 90 locals in the industry into an industrial union within the 
A. F. of L., a movement which forced the recent national convention 
of the A. F. of L. to grant industrial union form of organization to the 
auto industry, as well as to others. 

Even in light industry, we had circumstances where it was necessary 
to send our forces into the A. F. of L., as in the case of the New York 
dressmakers, and here agam with the excellent results of considerably 
strengthening our influence over large masses of workers. 

The resolution before us today proposes to confirm these changes in 
our trade union policy, and to set the Party even more firmly and 
energetically upon this path. 

At the same time we do not propose a general and immediate aban- 
donment of all independent revolutionary trade unions. While gener- 
ally, in all industries, putting forward the line of trade union unity, 
we recognize that in some cases the cause of unification can be best 



NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW TASKS 197 

advanced by strengthening the Red unions, or the independent unions 
not directly under our leadership. 

There are still some seven national unions in the Trade Union Unity 
League, as well as a whole series of local unions, with a membership of 
about 75,000, for whom the perspective for the immediate future is con- 
tinued independent existence; there are three or four unaffiliated 
national independent unions of which the same must be said. 

That these unions have big possibilities of growth is demonstrated, 
for example, by the Metal Workers' Union, about which news has just 
come that it has held a unity conference with 12 smaller independent 
unions, of about 10,000 members, which decided to organize a joint 
council for common action. 

The independent United Shoe Workers' Union (in which we merged 
our Red shoe union a year ago) is much larger than the A. F. of L. 
union, and must talk unity with it in much different terms than in 
other places where we are relatively weak. 

At our Eighth Party Convention, we put forward the perspective of 
the organization of an Independent Federation of Labor, which would 
unite the Red trade unions with the then growing independent unions, 
and with the expected movements of splitting away from the A. F. of L. 
of those newly-organized workers who rejected the plans of the 
A. F. of L. to split them up into craft unions. This was a realistic per- 
spective, a possible development, at that time; but now we must say 
that this project has receded into the background for the next period. 

When we are sending a number of our unions into the A. F. of L., 
when the independent unions are not growing as they did last year, and 
when the split movements from the A. F. of L. have been halted by the 
concessions granted at the last convention for industrial unions, it is 
clear that a new situation has arisen, in which immediate organizational 
steps for the Independent Federation of Labor would not serve to 
strengthen the movement. Whether this issue will again come to the 
foreground will depend upon future developments. 

VI. FINDING NEW ORGANIZATIONAL FORMS 

In our latest resolution the concepts of ^'minority movement" and 
"opposition," as the organizational forms for our work in the A. F. of L., 
are sharply rejected, as tending to limit the movement to Communists 
and their close sympathizers; the task is set to find such forms which 
will lead to the Communists becoming the decisive trade union force, 
winning elective positions, becoming the responsible leaders of whole 
trade imions, and bringing the decisive masses behind them in their 
support. This position is fully confirmed by our experience in recent 
months. 

Our most successful work has, in every case, found organizational 
forms which arise out of the established life and work of the individual 



198 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

union, in most instances having as its main center one of the union 
organs, either a local union in which we gain a majority, or a district 
council or other body of elected delegates. 

We have rejected the proposal to attempt to transform into a general 
"opposition" center the A. F. of L. Rank-and-File Committee for Un- 
employment Insurance. This body has a specific role to perform, 
which would only be hindered and perhaps destroyed by trying to make 
it an all-embracing "minority movement." Its influence extends far 
beyond its active participants, as shown by the fact that it has won to 
the support of the Workers' Unemployment and Social Insurance Bill 
more than 2,400 local unions and seven national unions, with a very 
large part of the members of the A. F. of L. It furnishes a broad 
recruiting ground for the gathering of new forces into the revolutionary 
movements in the different industries and unions, which is a much more 
valuable function than to try itself to become the form for the revolu- 
tionary movement in the unions. 

An increasingly important role will now be played by revolutionary 
delegates in trade union conventions and conferences and councils. 
Even in the A. F. of L. National Convention, which is very tightly 
controlled by the top bureaucracy, it is possible to develop effective 
"revolutionary parliamentarism." These possibilities we are now begin- 
ning to use; thus, while in 1932, there was not a single revolutionary 
delegate to the A. F. of L. Convention, and in 1933, there was only one, 
in 1934 we had 15 delegates standing on our revolutionary program and 
fighting for its adoption in the Convention, putting forward our various 
measures before the whole working class through the participation in 
the Convention. 

VII. SOME UNITED FRONT SUCCESSES 

An outstanding feature of our united front efforts was the Second 
United States Congress Against War and Fascism, held in Chicago at 
the end of September. At this Congress were 3,332 delegates, from 
organizations with a total membership of 1,600,000. That represents 
an extension of the influence of our movement over about a million 
organized persons more than we have ever before had gathered around 
us. The quality of this representation was higher than ever before; 
it came after a year of the most intense attacks against the American 
League against War and Fascism by the A. F. of L. and the S.P., who 
denounced the League and its Congress as a "Communist innocents' 
club." 

In spite of these attacks, the Congi-ess represented considerable 
expansion in both the A. F. of L. and the S.P. For example, among 
the 350 trade union delegates was an important delegation of A. F. of L. 
union leaders, all workers from the mills but influential officials of the 
union, representing a district which a few weeks later in its convention 



NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW TASKS 199 

voted to confirm its affiliation to the League. Further, there were 49 
S.P. members present, headed by Mrs. Victor Berger, widow of the 
former Socialist Congressman, who formed themselves into a national 
committee to fight for the united front of the S.P. with the C.P.; since 
the Congress this Committee has gained notable victories. For instance, 
the Milwaukee S.P. organization, which had threatened to expel 
Mrs. Victor Berger for attending the Congress, and which actually did 
expel a member. Compere, has in the past days been forced to partici- 
pate in a united street demonstration and march, headed by the expelled 
Compere, together with the secretaries of the local S.P. and C.P., and 
addressed by Mrs. Berger, among others. 

The League Against War and Fascism also made significant advances 
among women's organizations, in connection with the campaign to send 
a delegation to the Paris Anti-War Congress of Women. Having set 
itself the task of getting 15 delegates to Paris, it surprised everyone by 
obtaining twice that number in a short campaign of 60 days, including 
that most difficult of all tasks, the raising of sufficient money to cover 
the heavy expenses of such a long trip for a large delegation. 

An autonomous Youth Section of the League held a separate Youth 
Congress in connection with the main gathering in Chicago, with over 
700 delegates. In this Youth Section are included all organizations of 
youth in the United States who in any way consider themselves "to the 
Left" of Roosevelt. 

A unique achievement of the youth united front movement was the 
building of an anti-fascist bloc inside the American Youth Congress, 
which was called together by a certain young woman named Viola lima 
with the backing of Mrs. Roosevelt, Anne Morgan, a half-dozen State 
Governors, members of the Roosevelt Cabinet, etc., with the purpose 
of adopting a program for American youth which was distinctly fascist 
in its tendencies. 

To this Congress came delegates of all varieties of youth organizations, 
including Y.M.C.A., Y.W.C.A., Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church youth 
organizations, trade unions, student organizations, the Socialist youth, 
the Young Communist League, etc., representing a membership of 
1,700,000. The anti-fascist bloc in this Congress took control of it at 
its opening, adopted an anti-fascist program which included the immedi- 
ate demands of the working youth, consolidated the overwhelming 
majority of the delegates behind this program, set up a continuation 
committee to which almost all the participating organizations continued 
to adhere after the Congress, conducted a series of conferences and 
meetings over the whole country, captured away from lima various 
state conferences which she tried to organize afterwards, and gathered 
another Youth Congress in Washington in January, to present the 
youth demands to Congress and to President Roosevelt. 

Our united front approaches to the Socialist Party have been involved 



200 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

in the divisions within that Party which came into the open in the fight 
for and against the Detroit Convention declaration of principles. Two 
distinct camps have crystallized, which already have many of the 
characteristics of two separate parties (separate national committees, 
headquarters, funds, etc.), and which conduct negotiations with one 
another like two parties. 

The so-called "Left," headed by Norman Thomas, is very heter- 
ogeneous, and really is a bloc of several distinct groups. The Right 
wing is very militant, while the "Left" with Thomas, the Centrist, at its 
head, is very conciliatory, although it controls the Party. In the Detroit 
Convention the Right wing wrote the trade union resolution which was 
adopted with the vote of the "Left" majority. The Right wing still 
dictates or decisively influences many of the current decisions of policy 
of the National Committee, of which Thomas nominally has a big 
majority. Thus on the issue of the united front with the C.P., Thomas 
swings back and forth with the wind of the moment, following no con- 
sistent line. 

Shortly after Thomas had made a public speech hailing the French 
united front, and expressing the belief that it could be duplicated in 
the United States, he participated in the action to reject the united 
front by the S. P. National Committee. This action was itself a classi- 
cal study in hesitation and equivocation. On a Saturday the Committee 
debated the question, coming to a decision favorable to opening negotia- 
tions with the C.P., by a vote of 7 to 4. A few hours after the meeting 
closed for the day, a capitalist newspaper appeared on the streets with 
big headlines announcing, "S.P. Decides to Join the Reds." Some of 
those who had voted for the united front went into a panic at the sight 
of this capitalist newspaper publicity on their action, and without a 
full or formal meeting of their committee, decided to reverse their vote, 
hastily wrote a statement to this effect and gave it to the newspapers, 
which came out with the news of the unfavorable vote two hours after 
they had announced the favorable vote. 

The conflict was smoothed over later by a compromise decision, that 
the question of united front was only postponed until December, to 
obtain the advice of the Second International, to see the further devel- 
opment in France, and to have the results of the Seventh Congress of 
the Communist International (at that time expected in September); 
and further, to send a delegation of "observers" to the Chicago Anti- 
War Congress to report back with recommendations as to whether the 
S.P. should affiliate or not. 

All the conciliation and waverings of Thomas, however, and all his 
concessions to the Right wing, have not served to bridge over the 
split, but seem, on the contrary, only to drive it deeper, to make the 
struggle develop more sharply. This is because in the lower organiza- 
tions the controversy is raging, with the adherents of the united front 



NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW TASKS 201 

becoming ever stronger, more organized, more clear and effective in 
their demands. In this the "committee for the imited front," formed at 
the Chicago Congress, has been a decisive influence. The Revolution- 
ary Policy Committee, while containing many energetic advocates of 
the united front, has been singularly passive and irresolute as an organ- 
ized group. It is too heterogeneous in composition to become a forceful 
leading center in the inner-Party struggle. 

Present indications are that the National Committee of the S.P. will 
try to obtain a temporary settlement of the conflicts on the imited front 
by a decision to enter into the American League Against War and 
Fascism, with a series of conditions, such as the addition of a list of 
leading S.P. members to its leading committees, certain limitations upon 
criticism by the C.P. against the SJP. leaders and policies, etc. Our 
policy is to facilitate so far as possible, without concession in principle, 
the entry of the S.P. into the League; but at the same time to use this 
to raise even more sharply than before the question of direct negotia- 
tions between the two parties for a general united front on all the most 
burning questions of the class struggle, including the fight for the 
Workers' Unemployment and Social Insurance Bill, the Negro Rights 
Bill, Farmers' Relief, and the current strike movements. 

VIII. THE QUESTION OF A LABOR PARTY 

The political changes taking place among the American masses 
already require that the Communist Party shall agam review the ques- 
tion of the possible formation of a Labor Party, and its attitude toward 
such a party if it should crystallize on a mass scale. The correct basic 
approach to this question was formulated at the Sixth World Congress 
in 1928, which said: 

On the question of organizing a Labor Party, the Congress resolves: that 
the Party concentrate on the work in the trade unions, on organizing the 
unorganized, etc., and in this way lay the basis for the practical reaUzation 
of the slogan of a broad Labor Party, organized from below. 

Since 1929 until now, this correct orientation has necessitated 
unqualified opposition by the Communist Party to the current proposals 
to organize a Labor Party which, in this period, could only have been 
an appendage of the existing bourgeois parties. 

Developments in 1934, however, begin to place this question in a 
new setting, in a new relation of forces. 

The decisive new features are, in brief: 

I. Mass disillusionment with the New Deal and Roosevelt adminis- 
tration, shown by the development of the strike wave against the codes, 
and against the Government conciliation and arbitration boards, also 
shown negatively in the fall of the Democratic Party vote from 22,000,- 
000 in 1932 to 15,000,000 in 1934. 



202 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

2. The bankruptcy of the Republican Party policy, which attempted 
to utilize this disillusionment and turn it into openly reactionary chan- 
nels, according to the traditional two-party system, but without success. 

3. The mass support given in the election to groupings and leaders 
within the old parties and to new and minor parties standing (in the 
eyes of the masses) to the Left of Roosevelt (Sinclair in California; 
LaFollette and the new Progressive Party which captured the State of 
Wisconsin; Olson and the Farmer-Labor Party who won Minnesota 
with an unexpectedly large vote; Huey Long faction of the Democratic 
Party in Louisiana, with its two-year moratorium on debts, etc.; and 
a number of less significant examples all over the country). 

4. Renewed mass interest in the trade unions in all forms of pro- 
posals that the workers' organizations engage directly in political strug- 
gle against the capitalists and their parties, whether through a Labor 
Party, through workers' tickets, or in other forms. 

It is clear that mass disintegration of the traditional party system 
has begun; masses are beginning to break away from the Democratic 
and Republican parties. There are all probabilities that the discon- 
tented, disillusioned masses will already be moving during the next two 
years sufficiently to give birth to a new mass party, to the Left of and 
in opposition to the existing major political alignments. 

As to the character of such a new mass party, the major possible 
variants are the following: (a) "Peoples" or "Progressive" Party, based 
on the LaFollette, Sinclair, Olson, Long movements, and typified by 
these leaders and their program; (b) A "Farmer-Labor" or "Labor" 
Party, with the same character, differing only in name and extent of 
demagogy; (c) A Labor Party with a predominantly trade imion base, 
with a program of immediate demands only (possibly with vague 
demagogy about a "cooperative commonwealth" a la Olson), dominated 
by a section of the trade imion bureaucracy assisted by the Socialist 
Party and excluding the Communists; (d) A Labor Party built up 
from below, on a trade union basis but in conflict with the bureaucracy, 
with a program of demands closely associated with mass struggles, 
strikes, etc., with a decisive role in the leadership played by militant 
elements, including the Communists. 

The major task of the Communist Party is to build and strengthen 
its own direct influence and membership, on the basis of the immediate 
issues of the class struggle connected with its revolutionary program 
for a way out of the crisis. It cannot expect, however, that it will be 
able to bring directly under its own banner, and immediately, the 
million masses who will be breaking away from the old parties. 

At the same time, it cannot remain indifferent or passive towards 
the development of these millions, nor the organized form which their 
political activities will take. It must energetically intervene in this 
process, influence the development towards assuming the form of a 



NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW TASKS 203 

real Labor Party based upon the working masses, their struggles and 
needs, ally itself with all elements willing to work loyally towards a 
similar aim, and declare its readiness to enter such a mass Labor Party 
when the necessary preconditions have been created. 

At the same time, it must conduct a systematic struggle against all 
attempts to capture this mass movement within the confines of a 
"Peoples" or "Progressive" Party, or within a Party of the same charac- 
ter masquerading as a "Labor" Party. This will at the same time be the 
most effective basis for struggle against a Labor Party bureaucratically 
controlled from above by Right-wing reformists with the exclusion of 
the Communists and rank-and-file militants. 

In this situation the simple slogan "For a Labor Party" is not an 
effective banner under which to rally the class forces of the workers. 
This will be also the main slogan of a section of the reformist bureau- 
crats, who will transform its contents into that of a mild liberal opposi- 
tion; its undifferentiated use by the Conmiunists would therefore play 
into their hands. Every effort must be made, therefore, to bring a 
clear differentiation into two camps of those who are trying to turn 
the mass movement into two different channels, on the one hand of 
mild liberal opposition masking class-collaboration and a subordination 
of the workers' demands to the interests of capital, of profits and private 
property, and on the other hand of an essentially revolutionary mass 
struggle for immediate demands which boldly goes beyond the limits of 
the interests of capital. In this struggle for differentiation, care must 
be taken to avoid all sectarian narrowness, which would only play into 
the hands of the reformists; that means, first of all, that die basis of 
unity of the working-class camp must be the immediate demands with 
the broadest mass appeal. At the same time the Communist Party 
energetically conducts its own independent political mass work for the 
revolutionary way out of the crisis. 

All premature organizational moves should be carefully avoided. The 
Communist Party should not itself and alone initiate the formation of 
a new Party. In the various states this problem will present itself with 
all variations of the possible relation of forces. It will be necessary 
to study carefully the situation in each state, and the tempo of develop- 
ment, adjusting our practical attitude and tactics in accordance with 
these differences. There is much greater possibility of the final 
crystallization of a mass Labor Party in certain states, in the immediate 
future, than upon a national scale where the contradictions and compli- 
cations are more intense. 

It is necessary to strengthen systematically all mass connections of 
the Party, and the Party itself, politically and organizationally, pre- 
paring to face and to solve without undue hesitation the various practi- 
cal phases of this question that will present themselves in life, and 
which will be especially subtle and intricate in the earlier stages of 



204 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

development. The basic means to this end is the bold and energetic 
expansion of our united front work in all fields, but before all in the 
trade unions, especially in the A. F. of L. 

Every phase of the struggle for the political leadership of the masses 
now breaking away from the Democratic and Republican parties is 
dependent upon the constant growth and strengthening of the Com- 
munist Party as an independent revolutionary force, with its full pro- 
gram made familiar to ever broader masses. It depends upon, and 
must always be subordinated to, the daily mass struggles of the workers, 
before all, of strikes and other economic struggles, the struggles of the 
unemployed, of the farmers, the movement for Unemployment Insur- 
ance, etc. 

Under the conditions of the crisis, in its present phase of protracted 
depression, with sharpening and broadening mass struggles, of growing 
difficulties of the bourgeoisie, the only forces capable of leading a mass 
struggle really to win the immediate demands of the toiling masses of 
the United States, is the revolutionary vanguard of the working class 
under the leadership of the Communist Party. 



IX 

Three Main Policies of the Communist Party* 

TRADE UNIONS, LABOR PARTY, UNITED FRONT 

First of all on the developments of the international situation. 
It is one of the signs of the times that yesterday the newspapers re- 
ported the speech of Senator Nye, in which he declared that "it is safe 
to say we are closer to war today than we were thirty days before the 
World War." Senator Nye is not talking as a private individual not 
only as Senator, but as the head of the munitions investigation which 
has led him very close to the question of the imminence ot war. His 
utterance is not an isolated one. Where a year or two ago the Com- 
munists were the only ones to talk about the war danger, today every- 
one speaks of it much in the same terms as those used by Senator Nye. 

Since the last meeting of our Central Committee there has been a 
series of outstanding events to underline this question. There was in 
the first line the assassination of our Comrade Kirov, one of the out- 
standing leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, one of 
the closest co-workers of Comrade Stalin. This assassination was with- 
out question part of a highly organized conspiracy of international 
ramifications, designed to answer the tremendous achievements of our 
socialist fatherland in the construction of the new order by not only 
attempting to throw confusion into the ranks of the Russian workers, 
but at the same time to encourage and provide the imperialist attack 
against the Soviet Union. It is a definite part of the drive towards war. 

The events surrounding the Saar plebiscite, the results of which are 
just announced this morning, are by no means ended with the announce- 
ment of the poll. The Saar remains one of the points of greatest strain 
in the imperialist system around which forces of imperialist war are 
revolving. The break-up of the naval negotiations further emphasizes 
this situation and brings forward in the center of the war danger, espe- 
cially in relation to the tasks of the American Party, the sharpening of 
the Japanese-American antagonisms, which play a decisive role on the 
whole process of the regrouping of the imperialist forces of the entire 
world. There is no doubt that but for the threat of revolutionary up- 
heavals and the enormously growing defensive powers of the Soviet 
Union, backing up the aggressive peace policy of the Soviet Union, that 
war would long ago have broken out. 

The rising tide of revolutionary struggles — outstandingly the battles 

♦Report to the Central Committee of the Communist Party, January 15-18, 

30S 



2o6 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

in Spain and the growing revolutionary crisis in Cuba, right at our 
own doorstep, strengthen the forces of the struggle against war, but 
at the same time bring it closer to the point when some event, more 
or less casual or accidental, may explode the powder barrel of imperialist 
antagonisms. 

All of the work of our Party has to be conducted in the light of this 
world situation. It is not necessary for us to give again a detailed 
analysis of all of these problems, but it is necessary to remind ourselves 
of these as the foundation for all our treatment of the daily problems 
of our work. 

Now I want to say just a few words about the developments of the 
economic situation since the last meeting of the Central Committee. 
During this short period, there have been ups and downs of the eco- 
nomic trends. In October and November the economic activity of the 
United States had reached the bottom of a new decline, which was 
approximately about the same level which had already been reached 
under Hoover in November, 1932, two years before. 

Now there is again a slight upturn. We cannot say definitely how 
far it will go, the exact moment at which the decHne will again come, 
but we can establish the fact that all of the fluctuations, up and down, 
in the last year and a half have taken place within the limits below the 
high point of the inflation policy of the first months of the Roosevelt 
Administration and above the low levels of the Hoover Administration, 
That is, all of these ups and downs serve to emphasize that characteriza- 
tion given by Stalin a year ago when he pointed out that the crisis has 
entered a period of depression, but it is a depression of a special kind 
— a prolonged depression which gives no hope for a return to boom pros- 
perity. Everything that is happening confirms this analysis. 

It is necessary to say just one or two words about new features of 
the policy, as carried through by the Roosevelt Administration. Since 
our last meeting the Administration has definitely moved to the Right. 
It has definitely set itself to bridge the gap between itself and the poHcy 
of the Liberty League. The policy on unemployment and the so-called 
"security" program fully confirms this. 

It hardly even has a demagogic value any more. The labor policy, 
the policy towards the American Federation of Labor unions has moved 
even further, more definitely away from the demagogic promises of 
Section 7A, more decisively towards the possibility of company unions, 
necessary to prevent the organization of real trade unions and against 
any unionism at all where that is possible. 
This first policy of the Roosevelt administration is particularly im- 
portant for us to note because it serves to emphasize greatly the 
favorable opportunities for our work among the broadest masses, espe- 
cially in the organization of the A. F. of L., because this development 
brings out before the masses in much sharper form than ever before the 



THREE MAIN POLICIES 207 

contradictions between the immediate interests of the masses and the 
policies of the leadership of the A. F. of L. Circumstances under which 
the bureaucracy carry out the policy today are much more difficult, 
and the maneuvering ground has been narrowed, and all possibilities 
of leading the masses and winning them to our class struggle policy in 
much broader numbers have been greatly increased. 

Coincident with this whole development, which serves to emphasize 
the economic results of the year 1934 for the bourgeoisie, which has been 
one of increasing profits for the capitalists and a decline in the living 
standards for the masses, we have the concurrent development of fascist 
mass movements in their first stages. The concerted attack against the 
living standard of the masses is necessarily, more and more, supple- 
menting the methods of demagogy with that of open fascist violence. 
Not that demagogy is passing out of the picture, but rather that it is 
incorporating within itself more and more the direct physical attacks 
against every manifestation of revolutionary mass organization and 
action. 

The revelation of Smedley Butler throws an interesting Kght on all 
of these things which are going on underneath the surface, and by no 
means has revealed the most important facts. The rising of the figure 
of the half-fascist Huey Long as a major national political figure has 
also an important connection with this problem. 

The beginnings of a national mass organization around the radio 
priest Father Coughlin are also a symptom of this development. And 
above all we must note the open fascist campaign of Hearst in the 
Hearst press which is already in the case of Hearst's attack against all 
even Hberal tendencies in universities and schools in the United States, 
taking on all the characteristic features of the first stages of Hitler's 
campaign in Germany. 

We have already in documents, and in articles which have been made 
available for the whole Party, analyzed the main features of the up- 
surge of the working class, the toiling masses generally, which has 
developed during 1934, as the response to these attacks by the bour- 
geoisie. It is not necessary for us to take the time of this meeting to go 
over all of this ground again. We will note here these things as basic 
to our further discussion. 

We must emphasize that as a result of all of these developments, pro- 
found changes have taken place in this country in the recent period. 
We have been adjusting ourselves to these changes step by step during 
the course of the year. We have been modifying and hammering out 
our policy, trying at every step of the development to keep our feet 
firmly upon the ground, not going off into any speculations, testing 
the ground as we go along, and making the further steps in the develop- 
ments of our policy, the correctness of which has been proven not only 
to the Central Committee leadership of our Party, but to the Party 



2o8 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

membership as a whole and to the broad masses surrounding our Party, 
and the correctness of the decision after that development. We can say 
that the most successful feature of the work of the Central Committee 
of our Party in this past year has been precisely this feature: that we 
have carried the Party and the workers who are with us almost loo per 
cent without the slightest doubt being left in their minds as to the cor- 
rectness of these policies in connection with every change and every 
shift of emphasis that we have made. 

I will speak first about the new development in our trade union policy. 
This is basic to all of our work. We have made important changes in 
our trade union tactics in the course of 1934. Some of these we dis- 
cussed at the Eighth Convention of the Party. We developed this 
further in the two following meetings of the Central Committee. The 
general direction of these changes has been clear to the Party from the 
beginning. It consisted of a shift of emphasis away from the inde- 
pendent organization to the work within the larger mass organization, 
in the American Federation of Labor. It is clear, the forces that pre- 
determined this shift were the influx of many hundreds of thousands 
of new workers from the basic industries, including large numbers of 
unskilled and semi-skilled, including mass production plants as well as 
basic industries, into the A. F. of L. unions and the growing radicali- 
zation of the old membership in the reformist unions. 

These factors opened up new and greater possibilities of mass work 
within the larger reformist unions, opened up a field which had not 
existed for several years. Now as a result of our concrete developments 
in carr5dng through this shift of policy we are able to summarize the 
results of our last year's work now at this meeting of the Central Com- 
mittee and to give a general clarification of the whole question in much 
more precise and comprehensive terms than before. The Hne is clear. 
The problems have been worked out in principle, we have proven in 
action among the masses the correctness of the policy which we have 
developed. We are now able to say very clearly and definitely that 
the main task of the Party in the sphere of trade union work must be the 
work in the A. F. of L., so as to energetically and tirelessly mobilize the 
masses of their members in the trade unions as a whole for the defense 
of the everyday interests, the development of the policy of class struggle 
in the mass unions of the A. F. of L., fighting on the basis of trade 
union democracy, for the independent leadership of these struggles in 
spite of the sabotage and treachery of the reformist bureaucrats. 

We have established unquestionably an enormous increase in strength 
which we are getting from taking the initiative boldly, aggressively 
for the struggle of the unity of the trade unions, the struggle for one 
united trade union movement, for their industrial structure, for the 
organization of the unorganized, for amalgamation of the craft unions 
along industrial lines; the struggle for trade union democracy within 



THREE MAIN POLICIES 209 

these unions, within the general framework of the A. F. of L. We have 
established that in this development a very serious and important role 
is played by the revolutionary unions. I don't think it is necessary for 
me at this meeting again to go over the ground of establishing the 
historical justification of the revolutionary independent unions. They 
proved themselves in the class struggle as necessary instruments without 
which we could never have had the present situation of great advance 
within the A. F. of L. And also at this moment, the independent revo- 
lutionary unions have a great role to play in the fight for the general 
unification of the trade union movement and for the establishment of 
class struggle policies within the A. F. of L. 

The revolutionary unions which have taken the initiative in leading 
this struggle have strengthened themselves and not weakened them- 
selves, and where there has been the merger with the A. F. of L. unions, 
it has not been at the cost of weakening the revolutionary movement, 
but greatly broadening and deepening the mass roots of the revolu- 
tionary trade union movement. 

An outstanding example of this has been the Paterson silk workers 
and dyers, which gives an answer that should convince the most skepti- 
cal of our comrades, that should convince everybody except the incur- 
able egomaniacs and renegades like Zack. We have established the fact 
that while practically we will for a long time be faced with the problems 
of the necessity of independent unions in one field or another, that we 
cannot have Utopian hopes of quickly securing the immediate unifica- 
tion in the trade union movement within the A. F. of L., yet in principle 
even the maintenance and strengthening of these independent unions, 
which must continue independent, are best served by the approach to 
the questions that in principle we are for the complete unification; that 
the independent existence of smaller trade unions is a temporary thing 
and not in any sense a question of principle with us. We have proven 
that this approach does not weaken the work in the independent unions. 
Those who have tried to come forward against these changes, against 
this trade union line, who have put themselves up as the champions 
of the independent unions and declare that we now want to mechanically 
liquidate them, have been fully answered by the fact that these inde- 
pendent unions, which are growing and strengthening themselves, are 
precisely those which are closest to the Communist Party. And we 
have proven in life that the pohcy of the C.P. is the best protection of 
the interests of those workers and the best defense against any Hquida- 
tion tendencies. We have learned in the carrying through of these 
changes that the change that we are in the process of making, must be 
much more profound and deep-going. So far this change has not been 
completely carried through. So far it has not yet sufficiently penetrated 
and affected and changed the habits and methods of our work of our 
comrades down below. This is reflected especially in the question of 



210 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

our daily response to the daily questions of our relations with the 
A. F. of L. unions. 

At this meeting it is necessary for us to see that we must from top 
to bottom in our movement change the tone with which we approach 
and deal with A. F. of L. unions. We must not have the tone of an 
approach toward enemy organizations. While criticizing and exposing 
more concretely, more effectively, the treacherous leadership of the 
officialdom, we must make it in a manner that is really convincing to 
the broadest rank-and-file, and with the tone which gives not one single 
worker the excuse for believing that in us he finds an obstacle towards 
the building and strengthening of his union — ^what he regards as his 
union. We must have the approach not of fighting against the func- 
tionaries in the trade union movement, but of drawing in all of the 
honest functionaries — and there are thousands of them down below — 
and winning them for our movement, and making these lower activists 
of the A. F. of L. real forces for the revolutionary trade union 
movement. 

And we must establish that we are not an irresponsible criticizing 
opposition within the union, but that we are the most active and most 
responsible section of the union; ready ourselves to take the full re- 
sponsibility for the leadership and the administration of the union as a 
whole and responsible to the whole mass of the membership. And in 
this connection we must speak very concretely against old habits of 
thought and old methods of work in the reformist unions which have 
crystallized around the conception of opposition and minority move- 
ments. Around these two terms there have crystallized whole sectarian 
habits of thought where we have withdrawn ourselves from the life of 
the union, with no expectations and hopes of ever becoming the leader- 
ship and administration, but become a small group of opposition on 
principle, whom the membership always expects to be against everything 
and never doing responsible work in the unions for the solution of the 
problems. 

The same thing appUes to the conception of minority movements, 
of a permanent minority. We come in the unions not to be the 
minority, but to win the majority in the shortest possible time, to break 
down the whole ideology of our forms and habits which we have. 

This means that while we must give the struggle an organized form, 
that this must not be a blue-print uniformly and mechanically applied 
everywhere, but that the organized form must grow out of the intimate 
Kfe of this union so that all the members will understand that this is 
not an outside body, but even those who are against us must see that 
it is something natural and legitimate that grows out of this union, the 
members of the union. 

These are the main features that we establish in our Resolution, 
before you, on the trade union question. We take a further step in this 



THREE MAIN POLICIES 211 

Resolution. But a step which is logical and inevitable, summarizing 
and rounding-out all of the steps we have been taking in the past year. 
With this Resolution, I think, we can say that the evaluation of our 
trade union policy to meet the present situation has now been com- 
pleted, that our problem from this becomes the finding of the concrete 
roads through which we can establish everywhere and in every industry 
such powerful foundations by our movement as have already in a few 
short months been developed in the few places in textile, some begin- 
nings in steel, in mining, etc. 

Now a few words about some of the special problems of the united 
front. The trade union question is, of course, basic to the whole prob- 
lem of the united front. The signs of the development of the united 
front moves and movements among the workers are above all demon- 
strated in the trade unions. Precisely in this connection we have spoken 
about the various industries and such phenomena as the rebuff given to 
Green's circular for the expulsion of the Communists. 

In the United States more than in most of the leading capitalist 
countries, the problem of the united front is broader than winning the 
workers in and around the SociaHst Party. The problem of the united 
front is, first of all, the problem of the trade unions, of broad circles 
of non-party workers or followers of the old parties, and of the non- 
proletarian strata. However, we must not on this account underestimate 
the importance of the question of our relation to the Socialist Party 
workers. The Socialist Party has in spite of its weak and demoraHzed 
condition at the present time, enormous potentialities for harm for the 
working-class movement, which can only be countered and overcome by 
us with the correct united front approach and the winning of the fol- 
lowers of the Socialist Party for united front actions. The central 
question which we have not yet sufficiently solved in practice in the 
development of all phases of our united front activity is the carr)dng 
out throughout various united front work of a very broad mass agitation 
and propaganda about the role of our Party. This problem we used 
to express in the caution against hiding the face of our Party. But that 
old phrase has perhaps become too much of just a label which is me- 
chanically applied to certain situations and mechanically answered. 
Let us restate this problem. Let us place this question from the point 
of view of the tasks of our Party to make use of the united front activity 
to educate the broadest masses as to what our Party is, what our pro- 
gram is, what our practical program is, to bring this through our united 
front activity, not merely in touch with our membership, but giving 
them knowledge of our Party as the organized driving force within the 
united front. 

We have been in the past year trjdng to teach the Party by example 
how this can be done and how there is no contradiction between this 
talk of educating the masses on the role of our Party, with the simul- 



212 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

taneous task of building the united front on the broadest possible basis. 
Any attempt to broaden out the united front, by putting into the back- 
ground this task of teaching the masses about our Party, is a fatal 
opportunist error, which not only places our Party in the background 
and hides it from the masses, but defeats and destroys our efforts to 
broaden and build the united front of struggle for important and imme- 
diate issues. 

I think that in the recent Washington Congress on Unemployment 
Insurance, we gave an example of how the sharp bringing forward of 
the Party and its role and its whole revolutionary program not only 
doesn't endanger the broadest united front, but serves to cement it, 
to crystallize it together as a conscious, organized movement which 
cannot be shattered and dispersed by any casual event of the day. 

We must make the whole Party conscious of the problem, and on the 
basis of the best examples of our Party work, carry this method of work 
down into every neighborhood, down into every trade union and into 
every workers' organization. We must make a determined effort now to 
liquidate the still-strong sectarian tendencies in the daily work of our 
Party. 

We have talked a great deal about the struggle against sectarianism; 
we have been struggling against sectarianism quite consciously in an 
organized way for several years. But now we must bring this struggle 
against sectarianism and methods and habits of sectarianism to a new 
stage, which does not mean increasing the amount of our talk against 
sectarianism. 

Now it is the question of bringing the whole Party actively into mass 
work and liquidating through practical experience every old habit, and 
every old idea that stands as an obstacle between us and the masses. 
That means, of course, getting the whole Party active in carrying 
through these trade union tasks, these tasks of the united front, getting 
every Party unit, every Party committee, every Party member daily 
facing and solving concrete problems of contact with broad masses of 
workers; to throw the whole life and attention of the Party from the 
inward orientation, to the outward, so that their whole life is dominated 
by the problems of the masses around them and not by their own inner 
difficulties and discussions. 

We have in the past year made a whole series of approaches to top 
leadership, especially of the Socialist Party, in the development of our 
united front activities. We will have to make such approaches in the 
future. At this moment, however, it is necessary to emphasize this 
point — that whatever advances the united front is able to make through 
these approaches from the top, in the final analysis, it always depends 
upon our work down below among the membership of the Socialist 
Party and the American Federation of Labor unions. 

The united front from below — this remains basic to everything that 



THREE MAIN POLICIES 213 

we are doing in this field. It is impossible to think that we could have 
built up the various organized phases of our united front activities 
even to the inclusion of these leading strata which we have drawn in, 
except upon the basis that we had below a growing mass pressure upon 
these leaders, so that they are not moving independently ; they are being 
carried along in mass streams of thought and activity of their own 
membership and of the surrounding population. This is the thing 
that changes minds of leading elements, activists, in the various 
organizations. 

Our arguments may help to change their minds. But much more 
potent to change their minds than our arguments is the pressure of the 
masses. Our arguments, the development of the explanation of our 
position on every question — this is basic for the gaining of the masses 
down below. But basic for the gaining of the leading cadres and top 
leadership is not our arguments to them, but the fact that the masses 
have taken our arguments and bring pressure against them. That is 
why we will continue on appropriate occasions the approaches from 
above. But here again we emphasize that all united front activity is 
basically the building of the united front from below. . . .* 

Finally, let us again emphasize what we made the main note of the 
last Party Convention, which we have a tendency to forget, the making 
of decisions is only the first step to the solution of a problem. If we 
make a decision we have to organize the execution of that decision, 
control its execution, control its carrying out, and unless we do that, it 
is better not to make the decision in the first place, because a decision 
which is not carried through has a demoralizing effect in the Hfe of the 
Party. It disorganizes, discourages, demoralizes the whole Party mem- 
bership. We see continuously decisions being made and not being 
carried out. We have got to establish the most strict attitude through- 
out the Party to the question of decisions — and be not so ready to 
accept decisions. It appals me sometimes when I sit in on committee 
meetings to see the light-hearted way they make the most far-reaching 
decisions. Why do they make so many excellent decisions on paper? 
Because they have no intention of carrying them out; because they are 
interested only in expressing their excellent intentions. There is such 
a light-hearted approach to the question of whether a decision is to be 
carried out or not. These are remnants from a non-Bolshevik past. 
This is the enemy of Bolshevism, the enemy of the Bolshevization of 
our Party, and we must guard ourselves and make a rule against it. 

We must demand that every decision be carried out, and if it is not, 
a formal explanation why, and a registration of our failure. Only if we 
approach our problems with this strict Bolshevik standard can we seri- 
ously expect to meet the tremendous burdens and difficulties that are 

♦Here is omitted a discussion of the Labor Party question and other matters 
which are fully covered in other documents in this book. — Ed. 



214 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

going to fall upon us. It is true that we are expanding and growing, 
and strengthening ourselves. This not only multiplies our problems, 
but it requires a higher degree of organization and responsibility. 

Unless we improve the quality of our leadership, the quality of our 
daily work, and the quahty of our execution — the more we get among 
these moving masses, the more certainly we are going to be lost among 
them, broken up and disintegrated, unless we concentrate all attention 
on the supreme instrument without which the whole movement cannot 
go forward a single step. 

This instrument is our Communist Party. The building of the C.P. is 
the building of responsible leading cadres. The committees and organs 
of our Party should never make decisions except that they carry them 
out in life; every line we write into our minutes has an immediate 
repercussion among the masses, and we can control and direct events 
among the masses, move these masses towards revolutionary struggle, 
towards the transformation of society, because we are able to control 
and guide our own inner-Party life, control the execution of our own 
decisions. 



X 

The Communist Program : Only Way Out for 
Labor Now * 

THE SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL STRIKE 

The efforts of the Industrial Association, the shipowners and Cham- 
ber of Commerce to whip up a frenzy against the Communists, is a 
part of this drive to destroy the trade unions, to keep down wages, 
to build up their monopoly profits. Such shameless lies and slanders 
as filled the columns of the San Francisco daily press have rarely been 
seen before. This campaign is from the school of Hitler. 

These gentlemen know full well that they are lying, and that their 
slanders cannot stand a moment's investigation. That is why they 
carry on a terror campaign which has converted San Francisco into a 
kind of "Little Germany." 

While the vigilantes, organized by the police and paid by the ship- 
owners, are raiding private homes, burning libraries and printing plants, 
chopping up pianos and smashing typewriters in workers' halls, it is 
such a moment they choose to charge the Communists with advocating 
violence. 

But they have been unable to bring one single definite case of a 
single act or word to support their charge. All concrete cases of vio- 
lence are those where violence is used against the workers. 

Why this frenzy of hate against the Communists? Are the Com- 
munists proposing to make a revolution now, beginning in San Fran- 
cisco? No, that is absurd nonsense. The Communists do not propose 
to make a revolution until, by comradely discussion and conviction 
of the toiling masses, they have majority support securely behind the 
Party. We have not yet got this support. But we will get it, and the 
more the bosses rage, the earlier. And the terror, suppression by 
the shipowners, the police, the vigilantes, the gunmen, will only help 
us to convince the toiling masses quicker that this system of misery, 
starvation, suppression of the poor, has to be changed as quickly as 
possible in the interest of the overwhelming majority of the population 
of this country, against the handful of bankers, against Wall Street 
and their lackeys, Rossis, Vandeleurs, etc. 

* Statement by Earl Bro,wder and Sam Darcy, District Organizer of the Com- 
munist Party and Communist candidate for governor of California, issued at the 
height of the campaign of terror and repression against Communists during the 
San Francisco general strike. Reprinted from the Western Worker, August i, 
igS4,— Ed. 



2i6 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 



WHAT WE FIGHT FOR 

Now, the Communists are fighting to help the poor farmers who 
are being crushed beneath the burdens of mortgage charges, taxes, 
marketing monopolies and drought. 

Now, the Communists are fighting to protect the small home-owners 
whose taxes are being doubled to pay the strike-breaking bills of the 
rich shipowners. 

Now, the Communists are fighting to recover the savings of the 
small depositors, which have been confiscated by the big Wall Street 
banks who closed down the little banks. 

Now, the Communists are helping the veterans to fight for their 
back-wages [the bonus]. 

The Communist Party alone fights with all its energy for these 
things. 

The monopoly capitalists fight against these things. That's why 
they hate the Communists. That's why they lie about us. That's 
why they raised a fund of five million dollars to "drive the Reds out 
of California." But gentlemen, you won't succeed in making Cali- 
fornia yellow. 

That is why the Luckenbacks and Fleischackers give such high 
praise to Vandeleur, Ryan, Lewis, Casey and their kind. These fakers, 
who pretend to be trade union leaders, use their position to break 
strikes, to defeat the demands of the workers. It is true these strike- 
breakers are not reds. They are also yellow. 

"LABOR LEADERS" SELL OUT 

For the same reason that the capitalists praise the "labor leaders," 
the Communists fight against them and expose them. They are yellow. 
They are paid stool-pigeons of the capitalists. So long as the workers 
follow them, defeat is inevitable. When they stand at the head of a 
strike, it is not to win it, but to smash it — just as they did in the San 
Francisco general strike. Just as the British labor fakers did in the 
British general strike. 

But every time these gentlemen hit the workers, and every time they 
hit the Communist Party, they are only furnishing new proof to the 
workers that what the Communist Party told them is correct. 

The Communist Party has pointed out to the longshoremen and 
sailors how arbitration was used to smash and defeat the auto workers, 
the Minneapolis drivers, and the steel workers. By soldiers, police, 
clubs, gas, bullets, terror, the employers have forced the workers to 
accept arbitration. Now, they will have to prove to the workers that 
the Communists were right when they warned them against arbitration. 

The workers are learning by bitter experience that if they do not 



SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL STRIKE 217 

want yellow leadership, then they must choose Red leaders, and the 
fully militant workers. 

The shipowners boast that they will drive out all Communists. It 
can't be done. Hitler tried it in Germany and failed. So also the 
little Hitler imitations in California will fail. The Communist Party 
is of the bone, blood and flesh of the working class. The capitalists 
must always have the workers to feed them — that's why they can 
never get rid of the Reds. 

It is to be regretted that free speech and civil rights in California 
are so crushed at the moment that it was impossible to obtain a hall 
for a meeting so Comrade Browder could publicly discuss these ques- 
tions. But this will not always be so. California workers will not 
be content until they regain freedom of speech and sweep aside the 
fascist assemblage. 

We are certain that many tens of thousand of California workers 
will register their indignation at the Hitlerism of the powers that 
now are in California by voting for the Communist ticket in the coming 
elections — and that this will be the first step for thousands of them 
to join the Communist Party. 

Long live the brave longshoremen and seamen of California! 

Long live the heroic battle of the California workers! 

CaUfornia workers! Forward to victory against the capitalists and 
their yellow helpers ! 

(Signed) Earl Browder, 
Sam Darcy. 
San Francisco, Calif. 
July 24, 1934. 



XI 

Make Betrayals of the Workers Impossible! 

THE GENERAL TEXTILE STRIKE 

To Every Communist Party Unit: * 

Every revolutionist must be filled with indignation at the base be- 
trayal of the textile workers' strike.** What a heroic struggle of 
hundreds of thousands of workers was here stabbed by the treachery 
of the Gormans and Greens! 

But our hatred, our indignation alone are not sufficient. It is one 
of the most important lessons of this struggle that it was because 
there were too few Communists in the locals of the United Textile 
Workers, because we Communists were too weak in our influence in 
the U. T. W. locals, that it was possible for the U. T. W. officials to 
betray the strike. In their treachery, the U. T. W. leaders did not 
sufficiently encounter the resistance of workers firmly organized in the 
U. T. W. locals by revolutionaries. We Communists must face this 
truth squarely if we are going to make progress. 

To those reactionaries and renegades who try to do business and 
think to make capital on the basis of our self-criticism, we answer: 
"Yes, gentlemen, we plead guilty to having failed to drive you from 
the ranks of the working class with sufficient speed." To drive these 
treacherous leaders from the ranks of the workers and the working- 
class organizations in the interests of the labor movement, in the 
interest of the liberation of the entire working class — this is our task! 
Whoever does not understand this, and does not bend all his energies 
to achieve it with far greater speed than has been the case up to now 
is not yet a fully conscious revolutionary. This is the task not only 
among the textile workers, but it is now more than ever the task of 
the whole working class. 

Not only to agitate, but to plunge into the practical work of organiz- 
ifig the workers in the A. F. of L. unions to resistance against the 
treacherous policies of the A. F. of L. leadership is now one of the 
most vital links in the chain of our revolutionary policy. The experi- 
ences in the textile strike proved this again, for the hundredth time, 
and with even greater urgency. We must quickly prove in our prac- 
tical work that we understand this, that we know how to work better 
among the workers in the A. F. of L. 

What is to be done? In the next two weeks, every unit must take 

* From The Daily Worker, September 26, 1934. — Ed. 

** The general strike of 600,000 textile workers, September, 1934. — Ed. 

3X8 



THE GENERAL TEXTILE STRIKE 219 

up one central question: the work in the trade unions and especially 
the work in the A. F. of L. unions. At the unit meeting the buro 
must have each member report as to whether he is organized in a trade 
union, and where he is organized. If the comrade is not organized in 
a trade union, the reason must be found out, and he must be assisted 
to find his place in the proper trade union. If any comrade refuses to 
do this work, he must be convinced in a firm, comradely way of the 
urgent need for work in the trade unions. 

But this is not enough. In addition, every comrade in the unit must 
report on the work that he is doing in his union, whether he belongs 
to a fraction, and what the possibilities are for organizing a fraction 
in his work. He must report to the unit on how he connects his Party 
work in the shop with the work in the shop organization of his trade 
union. 

These will not be dull discussions. This is to take measures to make 
impossible future betrayals by the A. F. of L. leadership. This is to 
organize, more successfully and with greater speed, our revolutionary 
forces against the reactionary forces among the masses of the working 
class. This means to learn the lessons of the textile strike, to prepare 
for coming struggles, to make, at once, the necessary preparations 
for the approaching struggles of the seamen and longshoremen. In 
short J this means to act as a revolutionary, to organize the revoltUion, 

This must be done within the next two weeks. Every unit must 
report directly to the District and to the Central Committee on the 
carrying out of this work and on the results. These reports will be 
published in the Daily Worker. 

The quickening of our tempo of work is indispensable if we are to 
defeat the betrayers. It is indispensable if we are to organize the 
tremendous mass of workers who are eager to struggle, eager to resist 
the attacks of the employers. We must draw the practical, revolu- 
tionary conclusions from the tremendous indignation which the textile 
workers feel at the unparalleled treachery of the U. T. W. leaders. 

Comrades, to work! Every unit must become an instrument for the 
organization of victorious struggle among the workers organized in the 
A. F. of L., as an organizer of victorious mass struggles of the work- 
ing class. 

* 5le * 

To Every Party Member: * 

Is there a single Communist who would not have wished that our 
Party had been five or ten times stronger among the tetxile workers 
to prevent Gorman's betrayal? Is there a single Communist who 
would not have wished that there had been more organized groups in 

♦From The Daily Worker, September 27, 1934— £(i. 



220 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

the thousands of mills, that there had been more organized Communist 
fractions in the locals of the United Textile Workers, in close contact 
with the textile workers? Is there a single Communist who would 
not have wished that there had been twenty times as many Com- 
munists in the mass meetings and on the picket lines than there were? 

There is no such Communist. And every Communist worked in the 
strike for the victory of the strike, to help the workers in the best pos- 
sible manner to organize themselves, to overcome the bosses' resistance, 
to organize the picket lines, to warn of the betrayal — m a word: every 
Communist tried his best to help the strike to victory. It is therefore 
evident that every Communist wishes that twenty or thirty times as 
many Communists had worked among the strikers. 

Just as among the textile workers, so it is in the other industries, 
in the struggle of the unemployed, in every section of the exploited 
population. 

This is why we have before us the burning problem: We must have 
more, many more Communists among the steel workers, among the 
marine workers, among the longshoremen, among the railroad workers, 
among the miners. 

If we Communists share the indignation of the hundreds of thou- 
sands of textile workers over the despicable treachery, we must draw 
these conclusions. 

And, comrade, this depends on you. 

Do not thousands of workers in every one of these tremendous 
struggles show capabilities, heroism? Are there not thousands of 
Communists of tomorrow among the fighters? Thousands of workers, 
where only very little is needed, to break them away from the links 
that still chain them to the capitalists, to the forces still under their 
influence. 

Who can deny this? And this is why your personal work is needed, 
comrade, the utilization of all your connections in the shop, in the 
house in which you live, in the club which you visit, your personal 
friends, in order to make these Communists of tomorrow Communists 
today. 

Every comrade should ask himself personally: Have I done every- 
thing by strengthening the Communist Party to make betrayal im- 
possible for the betrayers? Every active worker brought into the 
Party, as a part of the organization, strengthened by the organization 
of the revolutionaries, and strengthening the organization of the revo- 
lutionaries, makes it easier to make these betrayals impossible for the 
reactionaries and to lead the workers victoriously. 

Comrade, your answer and the answer of every individual comrade 
must be: In answer to this base betrayal of the textile worker we 
must bring thousands of workers into the Party, strengthen the ranks 
of the Party, strengthen the Party's connections with the workers. 



THE GENERAL TEXTILE STRIKE 221 

That means, strengthening the capability of the Party, in the ranks 
of the workers, to lead the struggles against the attacks of the bour- 
geoisie and against the base treachery of the labor lieutenants of the 
capitalist class. 

To bring the best fighters from the ranks of the strikers into the 
Party is the task of every individual comrade. It is a task of honor of 
every revolutionary. 

The unit, the section, the district, the Central Committee, our press, 
our literature will help you, comrade. But every comrade must trans- 
form his indignation over the treachery into organizing action. The 
Party's offensive to prevent such betrayals must be sharpened. 

Can anybody deny that if the Communists had had more well- 
organized Communist nuclei of groups in every textile mill, or at least 
in the most important textile mills, in every U. T. W. local, or at 
least in the most important U. T. W. locals, that then it might have 
been possible to prevent this betrayal? 

He who really is a revolutionary can draw only one conclusion from 
this treachery of the textile workers: Make the absolutely firm de- 
cision for himself, the plan to bring within the next three or four weeks 
at least five w^orkers, five active fellow-fighters into the Party. 

Comrades, to work! 



XII 

Unemployment Insurance — The Burning Issue 

of the Day 

I. THE WORKERS' BILL BELONGS TO THE WHOLE CLASS * 

The Workers' Unemployment and Social Insurance Bill, which is the 
main concern of this Congress, has the active and unconditional support 
of the Communist Party, for which I am speaking. {Applause.) 

I want to express my appreciation for the support that was expressed 
by the previous speaker, Mr. Mitchell, a leading member of the Socialist 
Party. We Communists are very glad to extend a hand to all Socialists 
who join with us in this fight, together with all of the other workers of 
all parties who are rallying around this workers' bill. {Applause.) 

It is also good that we should have had the letter of good wishes to 
the Congress from the principal leader of the Socialist Party, Mr. Nor- 
man Thomas. We can express the hope that this letter may help to 
bring the whole Socialist Party into this movement in the not distant 
future. {Applause.) 

The President of the American Federation of Labor, William Green, 
has denounced this Bill, in a letter to all trade unions of the A. F. of L., 
which cites two main arguments in opposition. These are, first, that the 
Bill was written and proposed by the Communist Party; and second, 
that it is unconstitutional. 

As to the first charge: It is true that the Communist Party worked 
out this Bill, after prolonged consultation with large numbers of 
workers, popularized it, and brought millions of Americans to see that 
this bill is the only proposal for unemployment insurance that meets 
their life needs. But that is not an argument against the Bill; that is 
only a recommendation for the Communist Party — for which we thank 
Mr. Green most kindly even though his intentions were not friendly. 
We Communists have no desire to keep this Bill as "our own" private 
property; we have tried to make it the common property of all the 
toiling masses; we have tried to bring every organization of workers 
(and also of farmers and the middle classes) to look upon this Bill as 
"their own." Thousands of A. F. of L. locals, scores of Socialist Party 
organizations, dozens of Farmer-Labor Party locals, claim the Bill as 
theirs. That is good, that is splendid; the Communist Party, far from 

* Speech delivered at the National Congress for Social and Unemployment Insur- 
ance, Washington, D. C, January 6, 1935.— -E(f. 

22a 



UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE 223 

disputing title to the Bill with anyone, agrees with everyone who claims 
the Bill. We are ready to support any better proposal, no matter who 
should make it. Of course the Bill is yours; it belongs to the entire 
working class, to all the toiling masses of America. In this fact we 
find our greatest triumph. 

Mr. Green's second charge, that the Bill is unconstitutional, is a more 
complicated question. This is a legal point, on which the last word will 
be said by the Supreme Court, a small body of elderly gentlemen who 
are famous for their obstinate defence of capitalist property and profits 
rather than for the defence of the vital interests of the masses. But we 
can warn the Supreme Court and the capitalist class for which it speaks, 
that on the day when the Court declares the Constitution forbids the 
only measure that promises to remove the daily menace of starvation 
from over the heads of millions, on that day it has struck a blow against 
the Constitution far deeper and more effective than anything revolu- 
tionists have ever done. If the Constitution prevents the principles of 
the Workers' Bill from becoming law, then millions will conclude, not 
that the Workers' Bill must be given up, but that the Constitution must 
be changed. They will remember the words of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, that "whenever any form of government becomes destructive 
of these ends (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), it is the right 
of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, 
laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its power in 
such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and 
happiness" . . . "It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such 
government, and to provide new guards for their future security." 

This revolutionary spirit which gave birth to the United States, still 
lives and grows in the working class. Never was security more shattered 
for the masses of the people than today; never were new guards for 
security more needed. If the Constitution stands in the way, then the 
Declaration of Independence points out the right, nay the duty, to 
"throw off" this Constitution and write a new one in keeping with 
modern needs. The toiling masses must prepare a new Declaration of 
Independence — this time independence from the capitalist class. 

Of course, the real obstacle is not the Constitution but the greedy 
interests of the profit-makers, of the capitalists, of Wall Street. Unem- 
ployment and Social Insurance must be paid for ; it will cost great sums. 
There is plenty of wealth in this great, rich country to pay for it — but 
it is all in the hands of the rich, the bankers, the monopolists. These 
gentlemen know full well that the poverty-stricken masses cannot pay, 
because they have stolen all the accumulated wealth and natural 
resources of the country. That fact is itself the cause and basis of the 
crisis, of unemployment. These gentlemen are determmed not to pay 
one cent; instead, they wriggle out of paying even the present legal 
taxes, and indeed obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in tax refunds. 



224 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

The Workers' Bill, and the Communist Party, declare that the cost 
of full insurance for all must be paid by the only ones who can pay — 
by the rich. Instead of the Roosevelt New Deal policy, which is taxing 
the poor in order to further subsidize the rich, which increased profits 
while lowering living standards, we demand that the government shall 
tax the rich to feed the poor. 

It is not alone the unemployed and their families who need and 
demand the Workers' Bill. Also the workers in the factories, in the 
trade unions, need it just as much, to remove the pressure of the starv- 
ing millions, to prevent their recruitment into the factories at lower 
wages, to prevent strikebreaking, to help build powerful trade unions, 
to hold up the whole standard of living of all the masses as the precon- 
dition of holding up the standards of even a part. It is needed by the 
farmers, who cannot sell their produce to millions without income, and 
who are therefore told to destroy their crops while these millions go 
hungry. It is needed by the middle classes, professionals, small business 
men, who are also being crushed into poverty because the impoverish- 
ment of the masses destroys their own field of business. Everyone needs 
the Workers' Bill except the bankers, monopolists, big capitalists, Wall 
Street. 

President Roosevelt, when appealing for election in 1932, promised 
unemployment insurance. Two years have passed, and nothing has 
been done about it. Last summer he renewed his promises, in anticipa- 
tion of the Congressional elections, and broadened it into the high- 
sounding phrase of "social security." But with the elections over, he 
has discovered once more that "social security" must wait upon the 
security of private profits of the rich. Once again we are given the 
mockery of the Wagner Bill and forced labor for a part of the unem- 
ployed at subsistence wages, the systematic forcing down of the living 
standards of the whole American people; once again we are told that 
insurance can only be in the form of "reserves" collected from the 
workers by the various States for juture unemployment, ignoring the 
16 million now out of work. They forget that if present unemployment 
is not met by real unemployment insurance, all their measures for the 
future will also become meaningless, for the masses will rise and throw 
off their power and write a whole new set of laws. 

The Democratic Party, controlling Congress, is against real unem- 
ployment insurance. The Republican Party, which would like to control 
Congress, is even more unanimously opposed to it. Both these parties 
are owned, body and soul, by the capitalist class. They will do noth- 
ing — until we convince them that the masses of the people are "fed up" 
with their old two-party system, and are preparing to "vote with their 
feet" by walking out of the old parties in million masses. 

Millions of toilers already showed, in the great strike wave and in 
the November elections, that they are getting tired of the old game. 



UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE 225 

It is not an accident that seven million who voted Democratic and three 
million who voted Republican in 1932, stayed away from the polls 
entirely in 1934. Millions of voters could see nothing in either Party 
to justify the effort of walking to the ballot box. And some enthusiasm 
in the elections could only be found (aside from the followers of the 
still small Communist Party) only where the voters thought they could 
see something "more radical" than Roosevelt. That is the meaning of 
Sinclair and his EPIC program in California; of LaFollette and the 
"Progressive" party in Wisconsin; of the Farmer-Labor Party victory 
in Minnesota in spite of the vicious record of Olson; and even of that 
half-fascist demagogue, Huey Long in Louisiana, with his moratorium 
and similar measures. Dozens of similar though smaller examples could 
be cited. The strikes of marine and textile workers, the Toledo, Mil- 
waukee and Minneapolis strikes, and above all the great San Francisco 
general strike, point the same road. Millions of toilers are beginning 
to look for a new path. They are taking the first steps to break away 
from the old two-party system which denies unemployment insurance 
and every other measure in the interests of the toiling majority of the 
people. A mass break-away from the old parties is in preparation. It is 
this great movement of strikes and demonstrations, and the break-away 
movement from the old parties which give promise of forcing the adop- 
tion of the Workers' Bill. 

This great mass movement is still confused and ineffective. It has 
not yet foimd itself. It will have to go through many bitter disap- 
pointments and disillusionments before it finds the right way. It will 
have to see how the Progressive Party of LaFollette clings in practice 
to the Roosevelt apron-strings, and uses its "radicalism" to catch votes 
but not even to write laws. It will see its Farmer-Labor Congressmen 
voting with the Democrats against their demands, and its Olsons calling 
out the National Guard agamst strikers. It will learn that it must find 
a program and a leadership which frankly and openly comes out in 
struggles against the big capitalists who own 90 per cent of the country, 
in the interests of the toiling masses, the 90 per cent of the people who 
do all the work. It will find that it must become an anti-capitalist 
party, a Labor Party. 

Just imagine what a different situation in Congress we would have 
on Capitol Hill if the millions of workers had been organized to vote 
for their best strike leaders, the unemployed to vote for the builders 
of the Unemployed Councils, the farmers to vote for those who led their 
picket lines and "Sears-Roebuck penny sales," the Negroes to vote for 
those who lead the fight against lynching and jim-crowism and for free- 
dom of the Scottsboro boys. Just imagine in the U. S. Congress a strong 
group of these leaders of the masses, supported by a mass movement, 
and imagine how much quicker we could force Congress to enact the 
Workers' Bill into law. How different such a Congress would be from 



226 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

this one composed entirely of lawyers, bankers, and the hired men of 
Wall Street! 

Every honest fighter for the Workers' Bill must realize that precisely 
this is the only sure road, the road of mass struggle supporting par- 
liamentary action, to the enactment of real unemployment insurance. 

The Communist Party is a Party of Labor, of all those who toil. 
And it is not an ineffective Party. In comparison to its membership 
and vote, it is the most effective Party that ever existed in the United 
States. A vote for the Communist Party registers deeply; just think, 
for example, how much easier it would be to "persuade" even the 
present Congress to adopt the Workers' Bill tomorrow, if they had 
been frightened to death by the ghost of a few million Communist 
votes last November, and by a greater mass strike movement, by 
greater street demonstrations, by growing mass organizations! 

But the Communist Party is a particular kind of a Labor Party. 
Our program goes far beyond Unemployment Insurance, which after 
all is only an emergency measure. We propose a revolutionary solu- 
tion of the crisis of capitalism, by abolishing the whole rotten capitalist 
system, by setting up in its place a socialist system which would put 
everyone at work, not at the New Deal slave-labor, but with the most 
modern machinery producing the goods we all need for our own use 
and not for capitalist profits. We propose to travel the same road 
already shown by the glorious victories of the Russian working class 
and with the rapidly expanding socialist system. It is unfortunately 
true that the millions now preparing to break away from the old parties 
are not yet prepared to go the whole way now with the Communist 
program. 

We Communists are often accused of being "unrealistic" and 
"sectarian," because we bring forward such a far-reaching revolutionary 
program. But we are convinced that our program is the only realistic 
one, the only program which can solve the problems now vexing 
humanity. We are sure that all of you, all the broad masses, will be 
convinced in the not distant future, by experience. We do not pro- 
pose to "make a revolution" by ourselves, as the fantastic lies of the 
Dickstein Committee and Hearst tell you, not by absurd conspiracies, 
by "kidnapping the President," not by bombs and individual terror, 
all of which we denounce as police provocation, but only with the 
majority of the toilers, by mass action, when they have been convinced 
of the Communist program. 

And we do not sit idly waiting until the masses are convinced of our 
program. We Communists work and fight together with all of you, 
among the broad masses, for all these partial demands, for the daily 
life-needs of the masses which are already understood. It is not an 
accident, for example, that it was left for us, the Communists, to 



UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE 227 

formulate the Workers' Bill which is the center of the great mass move- 
ment represented in this Congress. 

So, also, when it comes to the mass break-away from the old Parties, 
which will play such a great part in finally forcing the adoption of the 
Workers' Bill. We would welcome these masses at once into the Com- 
munist Party. But we are realists. We know that for a time they 
will stop short of the full Communist program. We do not separate 
ourselves from this mass movement for that reason. We encourage and 
help the movement in every way. We call upon all of you to do the 
same thing. We propose that all of us get together in a great effort for 
unity, unity in struggle for immediate demands against the capitalists, 
unity upon the broad basis of the class of those who labor against 
those who exploit our labor, unity on the basis of every-day needs, 
unity of the poor against the rich, of the producers against the parasites. 

We Communists are prepared to join hands, with all our force, all 
our energy, all our fighting capacity, with all who are ready to fight 
against Wall Street, against monopoly capital, in the formation of a 
broad mass party to carry on this fight, into a fighting Labor Party 
based upon the trade unions, the imemployment councils, the farmers' 
organizations, all the mass organizations of toilers, with a program of 
demands and of mass actions to improve the conditions of the masses 
at the expense of the rich, for measures such as the Farmers' Emergency 
Relief Bill, the Negro Rights Bill, and the Workers' Unemployment and 
Social Insurance Bill. 

The Congress on Capitol Hill, to which you will tomorrow present 
the Workers' Bill, is packed against us. It is composed of the paid 
agents of the bankers and monopolists, of Wall Street, and the parties 
controlled by them. You cannot convince them by arguments. You 
can change their votes only by threatening their power, by more unity, 
more organization, more powerful organization of the workers. The 
mass movement in support of the Workers' Bill is potentially such a 
threat. We must, from this Congress, go out to the country to rally 
millions for the necessary next step — to build a great, broad, united 
front of Labor, economically and politically, which will begin to take up 
the question of state power, of control of the government, which will 
begin to fight to end the power of Wall Street, to realize the political 
power of labor — which will launch the struggle that, though it begins 
with the Workers' Bill for Unemployment and Social Insurance, can 
end only with a complete Workers' Society that will abolish forever 
even the terrible memory of hunger, misery and unemployment. 



228 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

2. ONLY THE WORKERS' BILL MEETS THE IMMEDIATE 
NEEDS OF THE MASSES * 

The Bill under consideration, H. R. 2827, has the unqualified support 
of the Communist Party. This bill embodies the principles which alone 
can provide any measure of "social insurance" for the workers, and, 
thereby, also alleviate the condition of impoverished farmers, pro- 
fessional and middle class people. 

It is noteworthy that among all political parties, the Communist 
Party alone has a clear, definite, unequivocal position on this question. 

Enemies of the Workers' Bill have failed to present their arguments 
against it, relying rather upon an attempt to smother it with silence. 
To make this more plausible, there has been trotted out, as the main 
alternative to the Administration program, the Utopian "Townsend 
Plan" which provides an ideal straw-man for administration supporters 
to knock down. But, as many workers have told this committee, the 
only real alternative to the administration's Wagner-Lewis Bill is H. R. 
2827, the Workers' Bill. 

The enemies of real unemployment insurance have, however, prepared 
carefully to attack the bill should it come up for vote in the Congress. 
They would be acting more in good faith if they presented their argu- 
ments to this Committee. Their absence thus far makes it necessary 
to answer them without having in hand the definitive text of their 
arguments. 

It is known that the main argument against the Workers' Bill is that 
it costs too much, that the country cannot afford to pay such a tre- 
mendous sum as would be called for. This argument ignores the fact 
that the country must pay the full costs of unemployment, that there 
is no way to avoid it. The only question is, what part of the population 
shall pay, those who now pay with the lives of their women and children, 
the price of degradation and misery, or the rich who still evade pay- 
ment, whose profits are going up while mass starvation increases, who 
alone can pay in any currency except the life-blood of the country. 

We Communists are accused of being the enemies of our country, 
of being a menace that demands, in the language of Hearst and Liberty 
magazine, unceremonious hanging, "shoot first and investigate after- 
wards," or, in the more decorous proposals of the spokesmen for the 
McCormack-Dickstein Committee, the legal prohibition of the Com- 
munist Party after its "investigation" refused to hear the official 
spokesmen of the Communist Party. 

Allow me to denounce all these current slanders against the Com- 
munist Party. We Communists yield to no one in our love for our 

♦Statement made at the Hearings on the Workers' Unemployment, Old Age, 
and Social Insurance Bill, H, R. 2827, conducted by the Sub-committee of the 
House Committee on Labor, February 12, 1935.— £d. 



UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE 229 

country. It is because we love our country that we fight for the 
Workers' Bill, which alone can save millions of men, women and 
children from utter degradation. When we declare our love for our 
country, we mean we love these millions of people who are being re- 
duced to an Asiatic standard of living; we must seriously doubt the 
quality of that love for country which says that profits must be main- 
tained even though these millions starve. 

This country has half of the accumulated wealth and productive 
forces of the entire world, with much less than ten per cent of the 
population. Yet we are told that "the country cannot afford" to 
guarantee its workers a minimum standard of decent living I It is clear 
that this phrase, "cannot afford," has a special meaning. It does not 
mean that the country has not the necessary resources; it means that 
those who rule the country, that small, infinitesimal fraction of the 
population which owns all the chief stores of wealth and means of 
production, considers it contrary to their selfish class interests. 

This ruling class, monopolists, the Wall Street financiers, have dic- 
tated the administration program. They do not hesitate to condemn 
tens of millions to a degraded standard of life, just too much to die on 
but not enough to live on. These are the real enemies of America; 
here is the real menace faced by our coimtry. 

If revolution, or the threat of revolution has become a major prob- 
lem of this country, this is only secondarily the result of the work 
of the Communist Party. In the first place, it is because millions 
have lost their last hopes of relief after being disillusioned with all 
promises, one after another, based upon the present system. Com- 
munism, and the threat of revolution will not be crushed by outlawing 
the Communist Party; it will grow in spite of everything, unless the 
conditions of life of the masses are improved, unless real social security 
is provided. 

Precisely because those who rule are determined not to grant any 
real measure of social security, that is the reason for the attacks upon 
the Communist Party. These attacks are designed to prepare rejection 
of any real unemployment insurance. When the ridiculous charge is 
made that the Communists are "plotting to kidnap the President," 
that is only a cover for a real charge that the Communists are arousing 
a great mass demand for the Workers' Bill, H. R. 2827, that is only a 
cover for the "open shop" and the company-union drive, exhibited in 
the renewal of the auto code and the Wolman anti-Labor Board, which 
threatens destruction to the American Federation of Labor. Even 
those staunch servants of the President, the Executive Coimcil of the 
A. F. of L., have been forced to recognize in these events the begiiming 
of fascism in the United States. Germany taught the whole world to 
understand that fascism, begirming with the demand to crush the 
"Communist Menace," ends with the crushing of all trade unions, all 



230 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

civil rights, even all religious liberties. Fascism can only be halted if 
determined resistance is made to its first steps. That holds good for the 
U. S. A. as well as it did for Germany. 

The demand for enactment of the Workers' Bill, H. R. 2827, the 
fight for the only proposal of real social security, is the front-line 
trench today in the battle for preserving a measure of life, liberty and 
the pursuit of happiness in this country. It is the essential foundation 
for preservation of a measure of civil liberties, for resistance to fascism 
and war. It is a fight for all those good things of life, which the masses 
of the people, as distinguished from the professional patriots, mean 
when they speak of ''Americanism." 

If real unemployment insurance is denied, this will only add fuel 
to the fire of discontent, sweeping through the working population 
today, rising into waves of struggle and radicalization. The American 
masses are approaching that mood and temper, in which our ancestors 
penned those immortal words of the Declaration of Independence. 
These words have been outlawed in many states of this country, but I 
hope that it is still possible to quote them before a sub-committee of 
Congress. The declaration contains the following words: 

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of- these ends 
(life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness), it is the right of the people to 
alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations 
on such principles, and organizing its power in such forms, as to them shall 
seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. It is their right, it is 
their duty to throw off such a government, and to provide new guards for 
their future security. 

This fundamental right of revolution, inherent in the masses of the 
toiling population and represented today by the Communist Party and 
its program, is the ultimate guarantee that the principles of the Workers' 
Bill, H. R. 2827, will finally prevail. If not enacted into law by the 
present Congress, or if refused entirely by the rulers of the present 
system, they will appear again and again, and finally will be enforced 
by a new government representing a new social-economic system, that 
of socialism. 

3. THE WAGNER-LEWIS BILL CANNOT STILL THE DEMAND 
FOR REAL UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE * 

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Committee: Speaking for 
the Communist Party, for the approximately 600,000 organized workers 
who have endorsed our program, and for the several millions who have 
endorsed our position on unemplo5mient insurance, I want to oppose 

* Statement made at the Senate Finance Committee Hearings on the Wagner- 
Lewis Bill, February 19, igsS.—Ed. 



UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE 231 

the Bill before this Committee which embodies the Administration con- 
ception of unemployment, old-age, and social insurance. 

It is the position of the Communist Party that it is the responsibility 
of the national government to provide, against all those vicissitudes of 
life which are beyond individual or group control, a guarantee of a 
minimum standard of decent livelihood equal to the average of the 
individual or group when normally employed. This, always a vital 
necessity, has now, due to the economic crisis and the protracted de- 
pression, become literally a matter of life and death for millions, and 
for the main bulk of the population a basic factor for maintaining 
standards of life. 

Any proposed legislative enactment which claims to forward this aim 
of social security must be judged by the degree to which it embodies 
the following provisions: 

1. It must maintain the living standards of the masses unimpaired. 
Anything less than this is not "social security," but merely institu- 
tionalizing the insecurity, the degradation, of the masses. It must 
provide for benefits equal to average normal wages, with a minimum 
below which no family is allowed to fall. 

2. It must apply to all categories of useful citizens, all those who 
depend upon continued employment at wages for their livelihood. 

3. Benefits must begin at once, when normal income is cut off, and 
continue until the worker has been re-employed in his normal capacity 
and re-established his normal income. 

4. The costs of social insurance must be paid out of the accumulated 
and current surplus of society, and not by further reducing the living 
standards of those still employed. That means that the financing of 
the insurance must come from taxation of incomes, beginning at ap- 
proximately $5,000 per year, and sharply graduated upward, with 
further provisions for taxation of undistributed surpluses, gifts, 
inheritances, etc. 

5. Social insurance legislation must provide guarantees against being 
misused by discriminations against Negroes, foreign-born, the young 
workers never yet admitted into industry, and other groups habitually 
discriminated against within the existing social order. 

6. Guarantees must be provided against the withholdmg of benefits 
from workers who have gone on strike against the worsening of their 
conditions, or to force workers to scab against strikers, or to force 
workers to leave their homes or to work at places far removed from 
their homes. 

7. Administration of insurance must be removed from the control 
of local political machines, to guarantee that the present scandalous 
use of relief funds to impress masses into support of the Democratic 
Party shall not be made permanent under pretext of "insurance"; this 
means, that administration must be through the elected representatives 



232 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

of the workers involved, making use of their existing mass organizations, 
relying upon democratic self-activity and organization. 

The Communist Party opposes the Wagner-Lewis, Administration 
Bill, because it violates each and every one of these conditions for real 
social insurance. It does not provide for any national system at all, 
and the systems permitted for the various 48 States in effect prohibit 
the incorporation of any of the above-mentioned seven essential features. 

The Wagner-Lewis Bill prohibits benefits of more than a fraction of 
average normal wages. It specifically excludes from its supposed 
"benefits" whole categories of workers, such as agricultural and domestic 
workers and those employed in small establishments, who need insur- 
ance the most because they are the most insecure, the most exploited 
and oppressed, and which include the majority of the Negroes. It 
provides for a benefit period which is only a small fraction of the average 
period of unemployment. 

Examining only these three phases of the Wagner-Lewis Bill, the 
conclusion cannot be escaped that the result of the Bill would be to 
provide even less than is now being given in relief, miserably inadequate 
as that amount is, and to cut off from even this reduced amount the 
great masses now unemployed. The plain intention of this Bill is to 
reduce the volume of governmental aid to all those suffering from mvol- 
untary unemployment. 

When it comes to provisions for financing this parody of insurance, 
it becomes even more clear that the intention is to relieve the rich and 
to place all burdens upon the poor. Nothing is to be taken from the 
social surplus, which exists only in the form of the higher-income 
brackets, undistributed surpluses, etc. ; everything is to be taken directly 
out of the meagre and decreasing wage-fund and indirectly from the 
same source by a tax on payrolls which inevitably is passed onto the 
masses of consumers in a magnified amount. 

Instead of guaranteeing against further intensification of discrimina- 
tion against Negroes, the foreign-born and young workers, the Wagner- 
Lewis Bill does the opposite; it provides explicitly for such further 
discrimination, by excluding from benefits those who need them most, 
agricultural and domestic workers. 

Instead of guarantees against the use of insurance as a strike- 
breaking machinery, this Bill in application would become an elaborate 
black-list system for the destruction of the trade unions. The only 
system of organization that could flourish under the Wagner-Lewis Bill 
would be the "company unions," those menacing forerunners of fascism 
m the United States. 

Instead of providing for democratic administration of the insurance 
system by the workers, the Wagner-Lewis Bill would impose an enor- 
mous bureacracy, entirely controlled by appointment from above, which 
would make into a permanent institution that system which in present 



UNEMPLOYMENT INSUBIANCE 233 

relief administration has already shown itself as the greatest menace 
to our small remaining civil liberties and democratic rights. We already 
have enough examples in the Labor Boards which are doing tremendous 
damage to organized labor. 

These are the reasons, in concentrated outline, why the Communist 
Party opposes the Wagner-Lewis Bill. These are the reasons why we 
declare this Bill is not even a small step toward real insurance, but, on 
the contrary, a measure to prohibit, to make impossible^ a, real social 
insurance system. 

The alternative to the Wagner-Lewis Bill is before Congress for its 
consideration, in the form of the Workers' Unemployment, Old-Age, 
and Social Insurance Bill, H. R. 2827, introduced by Congressman 
Ernest Lundeen of Minnesota. This Bill, H. R. 2827, while still 
suffering from a few defects, embodies in the main the principles which 
we support energetically and unconditionally, and for which we have 
been fighting for many years. Only the principles embodied in H. R. 
2827 can provide any measure of real social security for the toilers of 
the United States. 

It is one of the symptoms of the irrationality of our present govern- 
mental system, from the point of view of the interests of the masses of 
the people, that this Committee is considering legislation on unemploy- 
ment insurance without having before it the Workers' Bill, the only 
project which has organized mass support throughout the country based 
upon intelligent discussion involving millions of people. The Workers' 
Bill is supported not only by the Communist Party and its 600,000 
supporters for whom I speak, but by several million other organized 
workers, farmers, and middle class people. 

There is a fashion, nowadays, for every upstart demagogue to try 
to impress Congress and the country with fantastic figures of tens of 
millions of supporters for each new Utopia, each quack cure-all, which 
exploits the misery of the masses. I have no desire to compete in this 
game, the paper-coimters of which cannot be checked against any reality. 
The figures which we cite of organized supporters of the Workers' Bill 
are verifiable membership figures of established mass organizations, 
almost all of them of long standing and including a great section of the 
American Federation of Labor. 

An attempt is being made to smother in silence the Workers' Bill, 
both in Congress and in the newspapers. To make more plausible this 
silence on the Workers' Bill, which is the only practical alternative to 
the Wagner-Lewis Bill, there has been trotted out as the "alternative" 
a straw-man in the shape of the so-called Townsend Plan. It is very 
easy to tear to pieces this straw-man, in spite of its very praiseworthy 
desire to care for the aged, and to consider that this disposes of the 
Workers' Bill, which makes really practical provision for those over 
working age. But it will not be so easy to get the masses to accept 



234 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

this verdict. Even such loyal servants of the Administration as the 
Executive Council of the A. F. of L., who have swallowed one after 
another the injuries and insults dealt the workers for two years, and 
who have bitterly opposed the Workers' Bill, have been forced to draw 
back before the discredit and mass revolt against them which must 
inevitably be the lot of all who identify themselves with the Wagner- 
Lewis Bill. 

The Workers' Bill is before the Congress and before the country. 
You have not answered it. Your present Bill is no answer, but only a 
new insult to the suffering millions. You cannot continue to answer 
only with silence. 

We know, of course, that the enemies of the Workers' Bill have pre- 
pared and are preparing their arguments against it, when it shall finally 
force itself upon the floor of Congress. It would be more honest if they 
would at once place their arguments, and the comparison of the two 
alternative programs, before this Committee and others, and before 
Congress as a whole. 

All arguments against the Workers' Bill finally resolve themselves 
into one, the argument that "it costs too much," that "the country 
cannot afford it." 

What does this mean, the statement that "the country cannot afford 
it"? 

Does it mean that our country is too poverty-stricken to care for its 
own people at a minimum decent living standard? Does it mean that 
in our country we do not have enough productive land, natural re- 
sources, plants, machinery, mines, mills, railroads, etc., or that we lack 
trained, skilled people to operate them? 

Such an answer would be, of course, only nonsense. All the wise 
men and authorities of the coimtry are wailing that we have too much 
of these things and of the commodities they produce. The Government 
has been exerting all its wits to reduce the supply, to destroy the surplus 
which it claims causes all the trouble. 

Does it mean that the Government is unable, is too weak, to raise 
vast sums of money on short notice? That answer, too, is excluded. 
Our memories are not so short that we fail to recall how, in 19 17-18, 
the Government raised tens of billions of dollars for participating in a 
destructive war; if we can afford to sink tens of billions in explosives, 
poison gases, battleships and other materials to destroy millions of 
people abroad, why cannot we spend similar sums to provide food, 
clothing and shelter to save the lives of millions of people at home? 

No, that phrase "the country cannot afford it," can only have one 
meaning, that the small group (an infinitesimal fraction of the popula- 
tion) which owns all the chief stores of accumulated wealth and pro- 
ductive forces, and which dictates the policies of government, refuses to 



UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE 235 

pay, while the masses of people who need insurance precisely because 
they have been robbed of all, cannot pay. 

But our country cannot and does not avoid paying the bill for un- 
employment, old-age, maternity, and other hazards. Now the country 
pays, not in money but in the lives of men, women, and children. This 
is the price which, above all other prices, the country really cannot 
afford to pay. 

We propose that our country shall begin to pay the bill in that only 
currency we can afford, in the accumulated wealth and productive forces, 
by taxing the rich. 

We propose to reverse the present policy, which taxes the poor in 
order to relieve and further subsidize the rich; we propose to tax the 
rich to feed the poor. 

Those gentlemen who argue that, despite our country's immense 
wealth, it cannot afford real unemployment insurance because the cost 
would dig into profits, and that our present system cannot operate if it 
touches these sacred profits, are really pouring oil on the fires of 
radicalization that are sweeping through our country. Millions of our 
people, the useful ones, those who work, are sick and tired of being 
told about the sacredness of profits, while their children starve. They 
are more and more getting into that mood which, in a previous crisis 
of our national life, produced the Declaration of Independence. The 
direction of the masses now, as then, is a revolutionary one, with this 
difference, that then it was independence from King George and a dying 
feudalism that was required, while today it is independence from King 
Profits and a dying capitalism which tries to prolong its life at the 
cost of denying social insurance. 

We Communists have been denounced in this Congress, as well as 
in the daily press, as enemies of our country, as a "menace," because 
we speak of the possibility and necessity of revolution to solve the 
problems of life of the great majority of the people. We have been 
accused of all sorts of silly things, such as "plots to kidnap the Presi- 
dent," of being bombers, conspirators, etc. All that is nonsense, but 
very dangerous nonsense — it is a screen of poison gas to hide the attacks 
that are being made against all democratic rights, against the trade 
unions, against the living standards of the people. History has shown 
beyond dispute, that such attacks, beginning against the Communists, 
never end there, but in a full-fledged fascist dictatorship which destroys 
all rights of the people. 

The Communist "menace" really means that those moneyed interests 
which finance this great campaign against Communism, knowing that 
millions of people are in a really desperate situation and a desperate 
frame of mind, are afraid that these millions will go over to the Com- 
munist Party and program. 

But those gentlemen who really want to remove this "menace" 



236 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

should listen to the advice which we, the Communists, give you gratis. 
Remove the desperate situation of these millions, grant that minimum 
measure of real social security such as is provided in the Workers' Bill, 
prove in fact, in life, that it really is possible for the masses to continue 
to live under capitalism. We are accused of making political capital 
out of the misery of the masses, but in reality we are fighting to improve 
the living standards of the masses; when revolution comes, it will be, 
not because we Communists have "plotted" for it, but because the 
rulers of this country have proved that there is no other way out, that 
there is no other way towards a secure life. 

It is worth remembering that after 1776, when our Declaration of 
Independence acted as the spark that set fire to the democratic revolu- 
tion in France and thoughout Europe, the reactionary forces of the 
world fought against the "dangerous" ideas that were supposed to be 
"imported from America." Today the same comedy is repeated, but 
this time the revolution is said to be "imported from Moscow." In 
both cases, the deep reality behind the nonsensical slogan is, that the 
country attacked is the one that is showing the way to the solution 
of the problems of the people. "Moscow," that is, the Soviet Union, 
has adopted complete social insurance, has solved unemployment, is 
improving the living standards of all the people, is enormously expand- 
ing its economic life. Do a better job, or even just as good, and 
"Moscow" will be not the slightest danger. 

Present proposals which, while denying real unemployment insurance, 
would enact some new Alien and Sedition Laws, to crush down the 
growing demand for a better life, also recall moments in the past history 
of our country. We had a period of Alien and Sedition Laws in the 
early 1800's, also adopted and carried out in the interests of established 
property and designed to crush a democratic movement arising from 
the masses of the people. The Party which sponsored those laws went 
down in disgrace and defeat, the laws were repealed after long suffering 
and struggles, those against whom the Alien and Sedition Laws were 
directed came into direction of the affairs of the country. Any attempt 
to solve today's problems by Alien and Sedition Laws will be as futile 
as those of the times of Madison and Jefferson. 

There is no substitute, there is no way to avoid, the demand for full 
unemployment, old-age and social insurance. Its denial will only 
accelerate the growing revolutionary mass unrest, intensify the social 
struggles. The Wagner-Lewis Bill is a transparent attempt to sidetrack 
this demand. The new legislation against the Communist Party is only 
a futile attempt to silence the movement. Neither can succeed. Only 
the Workers' Unemployment, Old Age and Social Insurance Bill can 
satisfy the aroused masses of the useful people, the working people, 
of the United States. 



XIII 

The United Front Against Fascism and War ^ 

This meeting, and the Congress which opens tomorrow, are prom- 
ising signs of the rise of a great united movement against fascism and 
war. 

Surely such a united movement is sorely needed. The United States 
is driving rapidly toward fascism and toward a new imperialist war. 

Revelations of the Senate Armaments Investigation Committee 
have slightly lifted the lid of exposure; the resulting stink of corrup- 
tion shocked the world. The governments of our own and other 
countries were shown as participants in a gigantic game of mass mur- 
der for profits. 

These extreme nationalists, these loo per cent Americans, these 
fighters against the Reds, are disclosed as international murderers, 
they arm the United States against Japan, and Japan against the 
United States; they sell munitions impartially to both sides in the 
South American wars; they rearm Germany and help rouse fear at 
this rearmament. The stink of this cesspool of murder and bribery 
has frightened our statesmen. They conclude that what is dangerous 
is not the condition, but its exposure. 

Now the lid has quickly been clamped down again; the Senate in- 
vestigations expressed fear that their revelations, if continued, would 
cause upheavals and revolutions. 

It is very easy to shout complaints against the war preparations 
of other countries. But that does not help to stop war, that only 
strengthens the hands of the war-makers, who live on the fears of what 
the "other fellow" may do. The only way to fight war is to begin by 
fighting the war-makers in our own land, to extend this fight into the 
factories, especially in munitions factories, docks, etc., to bring this 
fight into every mass organization, trade unions, fraternal societies, 
clubs, farmers' organizations, churches, among the Negroes, soldiers, 
veterans, women and youth. The Roosevelt administration is carry- 
ing through the greatest war program ever seen in peace time. The 
very "recovery appropriations" for relief of the starving are turned 
into war appropriations, into gigantic naval expansion, into army 
mechanization, into poison gas, bombs, tanks, airplanes. Every per- 
son and party who helps this program is helping prepare the new 

* Address at the opening of the Second U. S. Congress Against War and Fascism, 
Chicago, September 28, 1934. — Ed. 

337 



238 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

World War. The only way to fight war is to begin by fighting the 
war program being carried through by Washington. 

A part of the drive toward war is the rising wave of fascist violence 
against workers, farmers and the discontented middle classes. Con- 
centration camps already exist in Georgia, hailed by Hitler himself as 
following the Nazi model. National Guards have been called out in 
twelve States in the past months, to shoot down strikers and demon- 
strators. More than fifty workers have been murdered, hundreds 
wounded, thousands sent to prison. In California, the so-called vigi- 
lantes have burned, destroyed, tortured, maimed, openly violated every 
item on the Bill of Rights, on the call of General Hugh Johnson, 
speaking for the Washington administration, and with the active co- 
operation of local police and officialdom, on the best model of Hitler. 

Already they are taking the Communist Party off the ballot, and in 
some places even the Socialist Party also. Now comes the self-styled 
American Liberty League, which is furnishing a political and financial 
center for fascism, which demands yet more and quicker fascist vio- 
lence. As in Germany, fascism in America becomes a serious problem 
because it is being organized and financed by big capitalists, by mo- 
nopoly capital, by Wall Street. 

Also as in Germany, fascism rises here under the slogan, "Drive 
out the Reds." It is no accident that Hearst, whose yellow press leads 
the anti-red campaign, visited Hitler a few weeks ago, and now cam- 
paigns in his support. The first and fiercest attacks are against the 
Communists. But let every trade unionist remember Hitler Germany, 
where the suppression of the Communist Party was followed in a few 
weeks by the destruction of all trade unions. Let every Socialist re- 
member that even the surrender by the German Socialist leaders could 
not save their party also from destruction. Let every church member 
recall that German fascism trampled down the churches a few weeks 
after the Reds and trade unions. Let every writer, liberal and pro- 
fessional remember the burning of the books, the banishment of every 
fearless and intelligent person, that followed the outlawing of the 
Communists. Fascism can be defeated only if all who suffer from it 
rouse themselves now to unhesitating, energetic united action against 
fascism and war. 

I am speaking as a representative of the Communist Party of the 
U. S. A. We Communists greet this great united movement against 
war and fascism represented at this Congress. We are happy to see 
the growing numbers of American Federation of Labor unions in it. 
We are happy to see increasing numbers of Socialists and Socialist 
Party locals; we hope the whole Socialist Party will soon end its hesi- 
tations and come into the united front. We are happy to see the 
great youth movement, firmly rejecting the attempts of fascism to take 
leadership of it, and moving solidly into the anti-fascist united front. 



AGAINST FASCISM AND WAR 239 

We are happy to see the most important peace organizations, and 
women's organizations, the churches and religious societies, coming 
into the American League Against War and Fascism, and its Congress. 
We are happy to see the outstanding intellectuals, writers, artists, sup- 
porting this movement. This great, progressive people's movement 
against fascism and war is looked upon by us Communists as the most 
promising development in America today. We pledge our full, most 
loyal and energetic support and participation in all its work. 

This movement already has a program, approved unanimously one 
year ago at the great First Congress in New York, with 2,616 delegates. 
This program has stood the test, has proved its correctness, has made 
it possible for this greater Congress to gather in Chicago. This pro- 
gram is not a Communist program; it is a minimum united front 
program, to which every honest fighter against war and fascism can 
subscribe. We support this program wholeheartedly. 

We can do this with all the more enthusiasm, because we are sure 
that finally, in the course of the struggle to save civilization from 
fascist barbarism, every honest progressive is going to learn that, in 
full earnestness, the choice before the whole world really is the choice 
between fascism or communism. What fascism offers the human race 
has been demonstrated by Hitler Germany; what communism has to 
offer is shown by the triumphant construction of a new socialist society 
of peace and prosperity for the masses in Russia, in the Union of 
Socialist Soviet Republics of Marx, Lenin, Stalin. We know what the 
final decision will be. Today the first steps toward a better society 
are taken in the first steps of organizing a broad united mass struggle 
against fascism and imperialist war, against "our own" war-makers and 
fascists in the United States. 



XIV 

The Struggle for the United Front "^ 

Comrades, I want first to give you a few words of news about the 
health of Comrade Foster. I just received a letter from him in which 
he gives us a detailed report on his condition, in which I am sure every- 
one is interested. Comrade Foster, you will be pleased to hear, has 
made substantial health gains since he left New York, but the process 
is slow. He now has a feeling of complete confidence that he is getting 
well. 

He further informs us that he will be returning to New York in 
two or three weeks, and expects gradually to get in touch with the 
work again, and gradually, over a long period, resume his work. 

I take it for granted that this meeting of the Central Committee 
will send a message to Comrade Foster, hoping for his quick recovery, 
and hoping that he will be present at our next meeting. 



I will now take up the report of the Central Committee, of the de- 
velopment of the work of the Party since the Eighth National Con- 
vention. 

THE DEEPENING CRISIS AND THE DIFFICULTIES 
OF THE NEW DEAL 

All the events since the Eighth National Convention confirm the 
Party analysis of the course of the crisis, of the direction of the New 
Deal policies, of the regrouping of class forces that is going on, the 
rising wave of mass struggles and of the developments towards fascism 
and war. In these past three months the difficulties of the New Deal 
policies, the development of their inner contradictions, have come to a 
head. Precisely out of the successes that have been achieved in accom- 
plishing the central objectives of the New Deal — the restoring of 
profits to monopoly capital at the expense of the workers and farmers 
and small capitalists — comes this maturing of the contradictions of the 
Roosevelt policies. All of these contradictions are sharpening, many 
of them are coming into open tiead-on conflict between strata of the 
bourgeoisie, between various tendencies within the bourgeoisie, and 

* Report to the Central Committee of the Communist Party, September 5-6, 
1934.— £(f. 

340 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 241 

above all, between the two basic class forces, the capitalist class and 
the working class. 

Dissatisfaction with the New Deal is becoming a general phenomenon 
throughout all classes. Among the capitalist class, including the high- 
est strata, this dissatisfaction is expressed through, for example, the 
recently formed Liberty League, a coalition of leading Tory politicians 
of both old parties; it is shown in the attitude of Hearst and his chain 
of newspapers, which are leading the attack against the New Deal, 
although a few months ago Hearst was a declared supporter of Roose- 
velt. 

The dissatisfaction among the petty bourgeoisie found its classical 
expression in the report of the Darrow Committee on the effects of the 
N.R.A. on the development of monopoly capital. The facts of the 
dissatisfaction among the farmers are well known, and even well pub- 
licized, being admitted in the administration circles, and tremendous 
masses of farmers are now in motion against the A.A.A., the crop 
reduction program, etc. 

The dissatisfaction of the workers is expressed primarily in the 
growing strike wave, and even in the maneuvers of the A. F. of L., 
which is a most direct lackey of the Roosevelt administration, but is 
forced, in order to maintain its hold over the masses of members, to 
join in the general demand for the reformation of the New Deal. 

The central conflict upon which the New Deal has, one can almost 
say, broken down, is the question of regulation of labor relations in 
the industries; the question of Section 7a, problems of the relation of 
the A. F. of L. and company unions, the contradiction of the decline 
of earnings in face of rising prices, which has aroused upheaval among 
the masses. This is t3^ified by outstanding strike struggles in this 
period in Alabama, in Toledo, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, the Pacific 
Coast marine strike, the San Francisco general strike, and now the 
national textile general strike. Other great mass battles are maturing 
in the immediate future. This was spoken of in a recent issue of the 
Kiplinger Letter, confidential advice for business men, which remarked 
that "it would be hard to exaggerate the worry caused Washington of- 
ficials by labor troubles. The government will not be able to prevent 
the spread of strikes." 

The tempo of this development is accelerated by the economic trends. 
The whole course of economy in this period has served to emphasize 
the correctness of Stalin's explanation of the depression into which 
the capitalist class had entered at the end of 1933, as a special kind of 
depression. We examined this in some detail at the Eighth Conven- 
tion of our Party. We can now declare that all developments since 
then confirm the correctness of our thesis. 

There has not been a single sign of development towards recovery. 
On the contrary, everything points to long-continued depression with 



242 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

ups and downs and unevenness between different industries, localities, 
etc. This perspective of a long-continued depression is also recognized 
now by the bourgeoisie. Again I quote from the Kiplinger Letter, 
often the frankest spokesman of the capitalists: 

Business sentiment has taken a turn for the worse. Prospects for busi- 
ness have dimmed a bit, even allowing for excessive business jitters. Earher 
beHef that recovery would resume in a healthy fashion this fall is now giving 
way to fears that any marked revival of business will be delayed until 
spring of 1935 at the earhest. Relative low level of business will continue 
through the fall and early winter. High rate of industrial production reached 
in July, 1933, will not be reached again until sometime in 1935. 

Some specific features of the present depression as analyzed at our 
Eighth Convention are now accentuated — the stimulation of industries 
through government subsidies has reached into the basic industries 
very weakly, no expansion of capital investment has taken place, new 
capital issues are overwhelmingly non-productive in character. Accu- 
mulated stocks are again rising, whereas at the Eighth Convention we 
noted a declining tendency in accumulated stocks. This is especially 
true in raw materials, due to the relative narrowing of the inner mar- 
ket by the restoration of profits at the expense of the masses. Business 
indices as a whole are considerably below July, 1933, at the time of 
the inauguration of the N.R.A. There has been a 30 per cent decline 
in economy since the N.R.A. went into effect and all indications are 
that the economic indices are not again reaching the point where they 
were m July, 1933. 

A new economic feature is the drought. This natural disaster which 
has brought whole sections of the country face to face with famine, 
has in fact carried out the objectives that were set for the Agricultural 
Adjustment Act. The A. A .A. had been facing failure due to the off- 
setting features of many evasions of the crop reduction program carried 
through by fertilization and mechanization of reduced acreage. But 
the Roosevelt administration has been seriously embarrassed by the 
tremendous revelation that the aim of their effort was precisely the 
same as that condition which was brought about by the drought, which 
must be recognized as a calamity. The Roosevelt regime declares that 
while the drought was beneficial, they fear its effects in destroying 
illusions in the A.A.A. 

Unemployment is again heavily increasing. This increase is more 
rapid than the decline in production, due to the heavy stretch-out and 
speed-up. Even during the period of the upward movement of the 
economic index, the increase in employment always lagged behind the 
increase in production and the lagging continually grew. Now that 
production is going down and unemployment increasing at a greater 
rate, the problem of unemployment and all the attendant questions of 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 243 

relief, relief methods, unemployment insurance, etc., are becoming again 
outstanding problems of millions. Official spokesmen of the adminis- 
tration predict 5,000,000 families on the relief rolls this winter, with 
approximately 4,000,000 families on relief at the present time, with an 
average of four to five to a family. Problems of maintenance of the 
unemployed are even further intensified by the progressive exhaustion 
of the resources of those who have been long unemployed, with larger 
proportions of the unemployed claiming relief. 
And, to quote the Kiplinger Service: 

Unemployment relief next winter will cost more than last winter. Num- 
ber on rolls will be greater. 

While all of these authorities and the capitalist press try to minimize 
the extent of the problem, they are all forced to recognize the direction 
in which it is developing. The crisis in the- New York relief plans is 
duplicated more or less intensively everywhere. 

The tremendous growth of the movement for the Workers' Unem- 
ployment and Social Insurance Bill, H.R. 7598,* which is carrying 
strongholds of conservatism in the A. F. of L., Y.M.C.A.'s, etc., has 
forced a general acceptance of the principle of unemployment insur- 
ance in words by employers. 

Big efforts are being made to direct mass sentiment behind this 
movement to some scheme based upon actuarial principles, as they 
call it, for protection against future unemployment at the cost of the 
workers. The rising wave of local struggles around relief issues, 
revival of unemployment councils, unions of relief workers, reflect the 
crisis in unemplo3mient relief and the bankruptcy of all present relief 
plans now in operation. 

On the basis of these economic and political trends, we must note 
that the radicalization of the workers, farmers and middle classes is 
coming to a higher stage, finding newer, broader, more political modes 
of expression. The basic feature of this is the general strike and 
solidarity strike movement that sweeps the industrial localities and 
even whole industries, like the textile strike. From strikes around small 
economic issues, it broadens out into political class battles that even 
raise the whole question of state power, as in San Francisco. The 
elemental force of the workers' movement sweeps into the broadened 
stream of this radicalization representative strata of undifferentiated 
masses such as churches, Y.M.C.A.'s, small home-owners, small de- 
positors, as well as definite middle-class groups, intellectuals and pro- 
fessions. To keep this upsurge in safe channels, new forms of 
demagogy are arising, such as Upton Sinclair's EPIC movement and 
the Utopians in California. Sinclair's sweeping of the Democratic 

♦Later introduced as H. R. 2827.— £d. 



244 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Party primaries is a distorted reflection of mass radicalization, which 
obtained a clearer, more direct expression in the phenomenal vote of 
180,000 * for Gallagher, running openly as an independent associate 
of the Communist Party. 

A distinct new feature of the radicalization of the masses is the 
sharply favorable response that is arising and rapidly spreading to the 
call for a united front against the capitalist offensive, against fascism 
and war. We must immediately note that this is accompanied by the 
equally sharp and rapid spread of measures of fascist suppression of the 
mass movement which are especially directed against the Communist 
Party. In the center, as the conscious moving and directive force of 
the united front movement in all its phases, stands the Communist 
Party. Our position in this respect is clear and unchallenged. That 
is why the main fascist attack is against us. Thus, the fascist repres- 
sive movement must be judged dialectically. It is a blow against the 
working class and its vanguard; increases our difficulties, but at the 
same time it registers the growing effectiveness of our work in mobi- 
lizing the masses, in building the united front of struggle, and stimulates 
the development of the united front. 

The A. F. of L., in its open leadership of the anti-Red campaign 
among the workers, is trying to buy its recognition by the employers 
through putting itself forward as the bulwark against communism 
among the Workers. Our great movement for H.R. 7598, the Con- 
gress Against War and Fascism, the unexampled Leftward movement 
of the Youth Congress under Communist influence, the numerous 
united front actions with locals of the S.P., the successful leadership in 
vast strike struggles and in innumerable small ones — these are the 
reasons why the bourgeoisie and its agents. General Hugh Johnson, the 
Liberty League, William Green and the A. F. of L. bureaucracy, 
the Elks and Eagles, the American Legion, launched the present nation- 
wide offensive against the Communist Party. This is a characteristic 
feature of the development of fascism in its first stage. Every political 
party and grouping in America finds it necessary today to define its 
attitude towards, or its relation with, the Communist Party as a 
major question of its whole orientation. Our Party by its correct 
policy and the growing effectiveness of its work has become an in- 
escapable factor in the political life of America. 

The fascist concentration against the Communist Party in the anti- 
Red drive cannot hide the growing disintegration, confusion and con- 
flicts within the camp of the bourgeoisie. The bi-partisan coalition of 
the Tories in the Liberty League to the Right, the Sinclair development 
to the "Left," the breaking away of LaFollette from the Republican 
Party in Wisconsin, and also the crisis in the S.P, — these are all 

'*' Later revealed as being over 200,000. 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 245 

symptoms of the flux, disintegration and regroupings of the whole 
bourgeois camp. The rising mood of revolt among the masses, their 
radicalization, the mass struggles growing broader and deeper in 
combination with the impact of the world situation, have shattered the 
whole foundation of the bourgeoisie. We can say, without trying to 
draw any exact analogies which would lead us astray, but roughly 
comparing the stages of development, that the situation in the United 
States in this respect, the atomization, the breaking up into cliques 
and groups, and the organization of fascist groups among the bour- 
geoisie, are comparable to the pre-fascist atomization of bourgeois 
parties in Germany in the period of Bruening. 

THE INNER DIFFERENCES WITHIN THE BOURGEOISIE 

Serious dissatisfaction with the development of the N.R.A. has arisen 
in the past few months in the ranks of the big bourgeoisie. This cen- 
ters around two points. 

First and most important, there is a growing fear that the demagogy 
in connection with Section 7a, which tended to smother the big strike 
movements in automobile and steel, is now no longer effective, or is 
even having the opposite effect. There is a growing demand that the 
government come out more decisively to prevent strikes before they 
happen, that the government shall end the ambitions of the A. F. of 
L. to enter the basic industries. This is not at all because they distrust 
the good intentions of the A. F. of L. leaders or their desire to prevent 
strikes. It is rather because the bourgeoisie begins seriously to question 
the ability of the A. F. of L. leaders to control the mass upsurge of 
their members. This doubt has grown since the San Francisco and 
textile strikes. 

Secondly, there is a growing conviction that of all of the New Deal 
policies only three points have seriously contributed to restoring the 
prosperity of finance-capital, namely: (i) inflation; (2) repeal of the 
anti-trust law and the institution of the control of the big monopolies; 
and (3) the government subsidies to big business. These sections of 
the big bourgeoisie became acutely conscious of all of the inner con- 
tradictions of capitalism in the form in which they are expressed 
through the New Deal institutions, the N.R.A., the A.A.A., etc., and 
the other new structures that have been built up like mushrooms from 
the New Deal. The idea grows among them, therefore, that inasmuch 
as these contradictions appear in the building of this new machinery, 
they can be abolished by doing away with this machinery, and handing" 
the code authorities over directly to big industrialists. Roosevelt un- 
doubtedly s)anpathizes with them and finds it daily more difficult to 
find a way out, although he has made many moves and more gestures 
in that direction. 

The emergence of the Liberty League under the slogans "protect 



246 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

the Constitution," etc., is an attempt to influence the Roosevelt admin- 
istration more sharply toward fascism in this period of reorientation. 
It is also a preparation for more serious action in the way of political 
realignment for the presidential elections in 1936. It is, of course, not 
a demand for restraining fascist developments. Neither is it concerned 
with cutting down governmental expenditures which go for big business, 
for this is considered protection of private property, but it is deeply 
incensed against the growing expenditures for unemployment relief, 
even though the amount of relief to the individual unemployed family 
is steadily going down. 

Closely connected with the Liberty League is the position of Hearst 
and his big chain of newspapers. Hearst openly charges that Roose- 
velt's administration is more Bolshevik than the Communist Party 
itself. He attempts to turn the anti-Red crusade, of which he was 
pioneer and remains the sustained leader, into a mass movement to 
force the administration sharply to the Right. Approximately the 
same position is taken by the official Republican leadership, although 
in many localities the Republican policy is not followed by local leaders 
wishing to keep more friendly relations with the New Deal. 

We must avoid the error of seeing in these divisions merely a "divi- 
sion of labor" carried out by agreed-upon plans by the decisive strata 
of the bourgeoisie. They are real differences over which the most 
bitter controversy rages, controversy which may have serious conse- 
quences. They cut through all the main bourgeois groups. They seri- 
ously impede the development of a united bourgeois policy. 

But it would be equally wrong to consider these differences as going 
any further than the question of how best to throw the burden of the 
crisis upon the masses for the benefit of finance capital. These dif- 
ferences do not go beyond the policy of monopoly capital. 

The pressure to increase the demagogy rather than to decrease it is 
applied upon those sections of the ruling apparatus which deal most 
intimately with restraining the mass upsurge and in those places where 
the problem is hottest for the moment, as, for example, in the LaGuar- 
dia Progressive administration in New York, where the number of 
unemployed workers in New York exceeds the number of unemployed 
in most capitalist countries — one-fourth of the population depending 
on the city dole. It is seen in the LaFoUette Party in Wisconsin, which 
is the center of a storm of agrarian unrest; it is seen in Sinclair's 
capture of the Democratic nomination for Governor in California, as 
a result of the strikes and the extent of the mass unemployment. 

The Roosevelt administration tries to be flexible. It will give way 
to both forms of pressure. It tries to give the Liberty League and the 
Hearst elements the essence of what they demand, while giving the 
masses the old demagogy in ever new forms. Spokesmen for the ad- 
ministration give repeated pledges that "private profits" and "business 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 247 

confidence" are their innermost motive and heart's desire. At the 
same time, Roosevelt agrees to meet Sinclair, and the New York Herald 
Tribune could write, without contradiction, the following frank analysis 
of the situation: 

Prior to the primary yesterday, Mr. Roosevelt, it is known, received com- 
munications from prominent California Democrats which took Mr. Sinclair's 
nomination for granted and urged that the national administration be pre- 
pared to get behind him. The tenor of this advice was that Mr. Sinclair 
should be surrounded with practical New Dealers who could keep him from 
going too far or too fast. It was pointed out that he was bringing into the 
Democratic Party a great many thousands of votes which otherwise would 
go to more radical candidates outside of both major parties. . . . According 
to this analysis of the California political situation which was circulated 
several days ago among important members of the administration, Mr. Sin- 
clair is a powerful deterrent to the breaking away of large blocks of votes, 
especially among the unemployed, into the arms of communism. 

That this analysis of Sinclair's role is absolutely correct is proved 
beyond all doubt, by the fact that over 180,000, most of whom voted 
for Sinclair, also voted for Gallagher, who was running with the en- 
dorsement of the Communist Party. Without Sinclair m this field, 
most of these votes should have gone for the straight Communist 
ticket. 

Roosevelt, and the bourgeoisie generally, try to draw some advan- 
tages out of their mounting inner differences and difficulties. Both 
the Liberty League and Sinclair are used to try to reburnish the dulling 
halo of "Savior" about Roosevelt's head. Roosevelt, while yielding 
to the pressure of the Liberty League, poses as its antagonist; while 
yielding nothing in deed to the "Left" Sinclair he gives a carefully 
chosen flow of soft words to bmd Sinclair's followers to the New Deal. 
It is our task to make use of these developments in the opposite way, 
to expose the inner political unity of finance capital behind all these 
differences, at the same time showing the unsolvable contradictions of 
capitalism which they express; especially to expose the reactionary 
utopianism of Sinclair's program; and to brmg forward sharply and 
clearly the revolutionary way out of the crisis, given by the Com- 
munist program, upon the basis of an ever more energetic unfolding 
of the daily struggle for the most immediate needs of the workers. 

LESSONS OF THE MOST RECENT STRIKES 

The strike wave which began early in 1934, the first period of which 
was examined by the Eighth National Convention, has since that time 
risen to new heights. The strike movement not only grew in number 
of strikers, intensity and duration of strikes, but also qualitatively en- 
tered a higher stage with the emergence on a nation-wide scale of a 



248 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

general strike movement. This general strike movement came to the 
verge of realization in Toledo, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Portland, 
Seattle. It was realized in San Francisco in a four-day general strike 
of solidarity with the Pacific Coast marine workers' struggle of twelve 
weeks involving the overwhelming mass of all workers in the San 
Francisco Bay region. At the same time the strike movement further 
penetrated the deep South and the basic industries. At the present 
moment a great movement for a nation-wide industrial strike of textile 
workers has forced their A. F. of L. leaders apparently to submit for 
the moment to the fighting determination of the rank-and-file and issue 
a general strike call for September 4. These struggles, and especially 
the San Francisco general strike, mark a new high point in the develop- 
ment of the American working class and are of historic significance 
even on a world scale. The lessons of these struggles are of first 
importance for the development of the entire revolutionary movement. 
The history of these battles must be thoroughly studied and their les- 
sons assimilated by the entire revolutionary movement and the whole 
working class. 

Already at the Eighth Convention the first manifestations of the 
tendency to mass solidarity strikes were noted particularly in the 
local general strike embracing all workers in the small industrial town 
of Centralia, Illinois. 

In May the same tendency rapidly grew in Toledo, Ohio, around 
the relatively small strike of the Auto Lite Corp. This strike, on 
the point of being crushed, was suddenly revived by a great solidarity 
action of mass picketing, initiated and led by the Unemployment Coun- 
cil, involving principally unemployed workers, which completely tied up 
the plant and made the strike again 100 per cent effective. The 
declaration of martial law and the throwing of several companies of 
the Ohio National Guard into the strike area with the consequent 
killing of two picketers, aroused the entire Toledo working class to 
action, and a sympathetic attitude even in broad circles of the lower 
middle class. The slogan issued by the Commimist Party for general 
strike to answer the declaration of martial law, was quickly seized by 
the trade union membership, which in a period of ten days had forced 
the adoption of general strike resolutions in 83 out of 91 trade unions 
in Toledo. The general strike was prevented only by a hasty last- 
minute settlement of the strike demands, on a compromise basis, 
engineered by the local A. F. of L. bureaucracy after being aided by 
Muste & Co. to regain the ear of the masses; by the National Labor 
Board, and put across on the masses with the help of Socialist Party 
leaders hastily brought from the S.P. Convention in Detroit. 

Similarly in Minneapolis a general strike movement arose in May 
as a response to the Employers' Association's effort to break the truck- 
men's strike by the violent attack of a force of deputized business men 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 249 

against the strikers, which resulted in two deaths. Here also the 
solidarity action was halted by a hastily-contrived settlement, heralded 
by the Farmer-Labor leaders and their Trotzkyite lieutenants as a 
glorious victory, but actually a return to the pre-strike conditions while 
leaving hundreds of strikers victimized. 

In Milwaukee a strike of street railway men to stop the dismissal 
of union members, a movement which seemed hopelessly weak on the 
first day of the action, was in the second day suddenly swept into 100 
per cent effectiveness by a mass solidarity action of 40,000 sympathetic 
picketers mobilized by the Party and Unemployment Councils, who 
went to the car barns and into the streets and forcibly stopped all 
street car movements. The efforts of the police of this Socialist Party- 
administered city to suppress this mass picketing brought, on the fourth 
day, the decision of the power housemen to go out in sympathy and an 
insistent demand in dozens of local unions for a general strike. The 
tremendous pressure of this mass movement brought the sudden capit- 
ulation of the street railway management on the evening of the fourth 
day of the strike, which halted the general strike movement. 

From these three experiences the general strike slogan had spread 
throughout the country. The outstanding lesson, that the mobiliza- 
tion of the class forces of the bourgeoisie against strikes could only 
be answered by a similar mobilization of working-class forces in defense 
of attacked strikes, even small ones, had spread through every industrial 
center among all the most active and intelligent workers. 

It was with this experience and against this background that the 
San Francisco general strike of July came about. This historic action 
was the climax of the protracted Pacific Coast general marine workers' 
strike, the special problems of which we examme later on. 

The marine workers' strike, which began on May 9, tied up all 
ports on the Pacific Coast except San Pedro, which was partially 
operated by scabs. In the beginning of July, after almost two months 
of complete tie-up of the ports, the Industrial Association and the 
Shipowners' Union of San Francisco, decided to "open up the port by 
all means." These means were a planned massacre of striking workers 
on the streets, in which two strikers were killed and many dozens 
wounded, in a premeditated firing upon an unarmed crowd. Even 
previously the solidarity movement had begun in the decision of the 
truck drivers not to transport scab cargo from the docks. The massacre 
of July set off a veritable explosion of working-class indignation and 
the demand for solidarity action. At the funeral of the slain strikers 
(one a Communist) a spontaneous procession, estimated as high as 
100,000 workers, marched behind the coffins, taking possession of the 
main streets of San Francisco, causing the police to be completely with- 
drawn from view in fear that another collision might put the mass 
movement completely beyond the control of the bourgeoisie. From 



250 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

this demonstration, the slogan of general strike swept through the 
unions. But not entirely spontaneously. We must emphasize, it swept 
through the unions with the assistance of organized visits of the unions 
by representatives of the basic central strike movement, the Marine 
Workers' Joint Strike Committee. 

Against the open opposition of the A. F. of L. local officials of the 
Central Trades Council, union after union in overwhelming majority 
was voting for the general strike. Unable to stem the tide, the local 
A. F. of L. leaders suddenly took a new tack. Announcing that the 
general strike would be considered, they appointed a specially chosen 
Committee of Strategy composed of the most hard-boiled reactionary 
officials, who placed themselves at the head of the movement. It was 
this committee, together with the so-called General Strike Committee, 
composed not of elected delegates, but of appointed officials, which 
issued the official call for the general strike. 

In the San Francisco general strike, as in the other strikes spoken 
of, we have a classical example of the Communist thesis, that in the 
present period of capitalist decline, a stubborn struggle for even the 
smallest immediate demands of the workers inevitably develops into 
general class battles, and raises the whole question of state power and 
the revolutionary solution of the crisis. Beginning in a typical eco- 
nomic struggle over wages and working conditions of longshoremen, 
there took place, step by step, a concentration of class forces in support 
of one or the other side which soon aligned practically the entire popu- 
lation into two hostile camps: the capitalist class against the working 
class, and all intermediate elements towards support of one or the 
other. It became a well-defined class struggle, a test of strength be- 
tween the two basic class forces. The economic struggle was trans- 
formed into a political struggle of the first magnitude. The working 
class understood that if it allowed the concentration of capitalist forces 
to defeat the marine workers, this meant the defeat of the entire work- 
ing class, general wage-cuts, speed-up and worsening of conditions. 
The capitalist class knew that if the marine workers should win their 
demands, this would launch a general forward movement of the entire 
working class which would defeat the capitalist program for their way 
out of the crisis, a program based upon restoring profits by reducing 
the general living standards of the masses. It was the capitalist class, 
which, in panic before the rising giant of the class action of the masses, 
cried out that this strike, which they could have settled very quickly 
at any moment by the simple expedient of granting the workers' eco- 
nomic demands, was actually a revolutionary uprising organized by the 
Communist Party to overthrow the whole capitalist system in San 
Francisco. Of course, this strike did not have revolution as its objec- 
tive, certainly not a revolution in a single city, but only winning the 
immediate demands of the workers. The unity of the workers, how- 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 251 

ever, raised before the employers the spectre of working-class power, 
with the potentiality of revolution. 

On the side of the workers, their experience was leading them step 
by step to more serious challenge of the capitalist class, teaching them 
the necessity of extending the struggle for power, bringing them face 
to face with the state power as the guardian of capitalist profits and 
the force driving down the workers' standards ; at the same time it was 
giving the workers a new understanding of their own power and ability 
to shake the very foundation of capitalist rule. In this sense, the strike 
was truly the greatest revolutionary event in American labor history. 

LAUNCHING THE TERROR AGAINST THE REDS 

After four days, the San Francisco general strike came to an end. 
the working class had earned a brilliant victory through its heroic 
struggle, but it was cheated by a miserable compromise. Not yet 
fully swung into action, with its fighting spirit high and mounting 
higher every day, the working class of San Francisco was defeated not 
so much by the superior strength of the open capitalist forces, but 
primarily because these worked in close co-operation with the capitalist 
agents inside the working class, the A. F. of L. leaders who occupied 
the post of formal leaders of the general strike. The local A. F. of L. 
officialdom, headed by Vandeleur & Co., had placed themselves at the 
head of the general strike precisely in order to smash it from within, 
to prevent it from going over their heads, and further hoping to use its 
betrayal as an instrument to smash simultaneously the prolonged heroic 
marine workers' battle. 

While the strike was betrayed from within by the A. F. of L. leaders, 
from outside it was attacked by terror unexampled in American history. 
San Francisco and the Bay area waterfront were military camps. 
Armed vigilante fascist bands were turned loose against all Left-wing 
organizations — the Marine Workers' Industrial Union, the Western 
Worker, official organ of the strike as well as of the Communist Party, 
the offices of the Communist Party, International Labor Defense, Work- 
ers' Ex-Servicemen's League, Workers' School, various workers' clubs, 
etc. The offices were wrecked and their contents destroyed. Homes 
were invaded, and treated in the same manner. Hundreds of militant 
workers were arrested. These fascist gangs, organized and directed 
by the police, were followed up by police detachments to finish the job 
and to arrest the attacked workers. All this was the necessary prelude 
to forcing through a vote to end the strike by the A. F. of L. leaders.' 

Precisely in the midst of this terror came William Green with his 
infamous contribution where he disowned the strike, declaring it was 
unauthorized and inadvisable. Even under this tremendous assault 
the strike remained firm and the pressure upon the officialdom by the 
rank-and-file was so great that even in the General Strike Committee, 



252 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

composed of officials of all the unions, the decision to end the strike 
was declared to be carried only by a vote of 191 to 174. Even this 
slim majority was declared by Harry Bridges, the longshoreman leader, 
to have been achieved by the last minute rushing in of dozens of new 
and unaccounted-for "members" of the committee. Further, even in 
this body of officials, in order to obtain this narrow majority, it had 
been necessary to combine with the campaign of violent suppression 
and the anti-Red hysteria a series of concessions of a very important 
character. The original capitalist program of open-shop smashing of 
the mass trade unions had to be publicly renounced. A few days later, 
in order to conclude the marine strike, which they had thought to smash 
through this betrayal, the employers were forced to make further 
concessions, to agree publicly to treat with all the striking marine 
unions on all questions in dispute and to acknowledge the Solidarity 
Pact between the marine unions, whereby they had pledged to stand 
or fall together, by providing for similar and simultaneous settlement 
of all demands of all marine unions. Tremendous power, generated 
by the general strike movement, was thus effective even in the hour 
of its betrayal to register some fragments of the victory which had 
been won by the workers and snatched away from them by their 
leaders. 

The terror campaign against the San Francisco general strike, which 
quickly extended throughout the State of California and since has 
broadened through the entire nation, requires special study because of 
the far-reaching character which it has taken on. Who initiated, or- 
ganized and led this campaign? Who was participating in it? It must 
be registered, first of all, that the signal for the terror was given by 
General Hugh Johnson, who the night before the raids delivered a 
speech in the University of California in which he declared that the 
Communists had gained control of the trade unions and were planning 
a revolution as a result of the strike. He called upon all patriotic 
citizens to join together to "exterminate them like rats." General 
Johnson was declared in the newspapers to be speaking as the personal 
representative of President Roosevelt. It is clear that the Roosevelt 
regime placed itself at the head of, and accepted full responsibility for, 
all the fascist outrages that followed. General Johnson was ably sec- 
onded by the liberal Secretary of Labor, Madam Perkins, who simul- 
taneously announced a campaign of deportation of all foreign-born 
workers handed over to her by the local vigilantes and police. The 
Republican Party, locally, in the State, and nationally, organized a 
serious competition with the Democratic Party as to which should 
have the most "credit" for the fascist terror. Upton Sinclair seized the 
opportunity not to protest against the fascist terror, but to denounce 
the Communist Party, to disclaim the slightest connection with the 
hunted "Reds," and to place upon the Communist Party responsibility 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 253 

for the terror. The New Leader, organ of the S.P., Right wing, de- 
nounced the Communists as being responsible for the breaking of the 
strike and provoking the fascist terror. Even the "militant" Socialist 
leader, Norman Thomas, while mildly disapproving of the terror, gave 
his blessings to the betrayal of the strike with the declaration that 
"the general strike was soon called off by labor itself." 

General Johnson's command to the A. F. of L. officials that they 
should "exterminate the Communists like rats" found a quick response 
from William Green of the A. F. of L. Executive Council, who pub- 
licly proclaimed a campaign of expulsion of all militant elements in 
the trade unions. This campaign has already resulted in the expulsion 
of whole local organizations, notably Local No. 499 of the Painters' 
Union in New York. The campaign has been taken up by the Ameri- 
can Legion, the fraternal societies of the Elks, Eagles, etc., as well as 
by all the professional Red-baiting societies throughout the country. 

The capitalist press, with Hearst at its head, is carrying on the 
most vicious incitation to fascist violence against all Reds, which means 
all militant workers' leaders. The growing list of criminal-syndicalist 
cases reflect the terror as applied by the courts, while dozens of reports 
come in every day showing a mounting wave of fascist criminal assaults 
against militant workers. In Oregon the campaign takes such form as 
the publication of lists of all signers of the Communist election petitions 
and the inciting of fascist violence against the signers unless they 
publicly repudiate their signatures. The leaders of the American 
Legion Convention in California climaxed this hysteria by proposing a 
concentration camp in the wilds of Alaska for all Reds, a proposal 
which was widely publicized throughout the country. The terror used 
to break the San Francisco general strike has thus been spread over the 
whole country and serves as an enormous stimulus to the whole tend- 
ency toward fascism inaugurated by Roosevelt's New Deal. 

It is becoming clear that the growing strike movement and espe- 
cially the San Francisco general strike has brought about a certain 
crisis in the evolution of the New Deal policies. Already in the early 
spring of 1934 decisive circles of finance capital had placed a serious 
check upon the Roosevelt demagogy around Section 7a which was first 
expressed in the automobile and steel settlements negotiated by Roose- 
velt with the assistance of William Green. In connection with the 
automobile settlement Roosevelt declared: "We have charted a new 
course." The nature of the new course was explained by the auto 
manufacturers who "were particularly pleased that the clarification of 
Section 7a seems to uphold their contention in behalf of the company 
union." But even this new course of the New Deal which was a sharp 
rebuff to the trade unions in the basic industries, together with all the 
ensuing maneuvers of National Industrial and Regional Labor Boards, 
of Arbitration Committees, with the wholehearted collaboration of the 



254 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

A. F. of L. officialdom, has not been able to keep down the rising 
anger of the masses or halt the mounting strike wave. Capitalists 
generally were willing to accept the Roosevelt demagogy as useful in 
1933, after the bank crash when, as General Johnson said: *'Both in- 
dustrial and banking leadership had fallen in the public mind to com- 
plete and utter disrepute." But now that their profits are mounting 
again, while the working class is breaking from control of all their 
elaborate machinery, they are beginning to ask whether this demagogy 
has not outlived its usefulness. 

This is the spirit behind the fascist terror, behind the newly formed 
American Liberty League, behind the announcement of the steel in- 
dustry that it will withdraw from the code in order to evade the 
application of Section 7a; it is behind the proposals for new legislation 
against general and sympathetic strikes and for government control of 
the trade unions, etc. 

It is a foregone conclusion that the decision of the leading circles 
of finance capital on these issues will immediately be carried through 
by the Roosevelt administration, with each step carefully camouflaged 
by Roosevelt's sweet smile and soft speech about the necessity to pro- 
tect human rights and property, etc. While the precise forms of such 
new features as will be introduced into the New Deal cannot yet be 
accurately forecast, their general direction is clearly along the lines of 
further legal limitation upon the trade unions, their effectual exclusion 
from basic industries of mass production, and further progress of 
fascization. 

SPECIAL FACTORS IN THE SAN FRANCISCO STRIKE 

In addition to those general influences producing general strike sen- 
timent throughout the country, there were special factors at work 
in San Francisco, which, combined with the general factors, brought 
the general strike into being there in 'Frisco and not elsewhere. It 
is false to seek to explain the higher stage of the strike movement there 
through any supposed higher level of the radicalization of the workers. 

The special factors at work were concrete and measurable things. 
Chief among them were: First, the San Francisco general strike arose 
out of a broad industrial general strike of the whole Pacific Coast 
marine industry. It was thus given a broader base and a sharper 
appeal than the general strike movement in any other locality. At 
the same time San Francisco was the concentration point of the Pacific 
Coast marine strike. Second, the strike-breaking A. F. of L. officialdom 
had no strongholds inside the organizations of the longshoremen, who 
were the determining driving force in the whole strike movement, whfle 
the militant Left-wing elements dominated this strategic center. This 
factor was due to the extent to which the treachery of the International 
Longshoremen's Association officials had resulted in wiping out the 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 255 

San Francisco locals for over ten years and with them the entrenched 
local bureaucracy, substituting for them the company unions. When 
the I.L.A. locals arose again in 1933, militant elements who built these 
unions kept them in the control of the rank-and-file. Third, the ex- 
treme open-shop, union-smashing program of the Pacific Coast em- 
ployers and the government, centering in San Francisco, who had 
refused to adopt the Roosevelt demagogy of the New Deal, with its 
tactic of combining corruption of trade union officialdom, arbitration 
boards, etc., and double-meaning promises to the workers, and had by 
its open threats roused all existing trade unions to the realization of 
immediate life-and-death danger. The Left-wing and Communist 
groupings, small and of comparatively recent origin, were thus enabled 
to exercise a mass influence out of the ordinary proportion to their 
number and maturity. This favorable relation of forces placed the 
revolutionary elements, with Communists in the center, at the head of 
this great elementary upheaval. 

What were the decisive features of the Pacific Coast marine strike? 
The marine workers on the Pacific Coast were able to develop a general 
strike movement while on the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf ports, 
although suffering even worse conditions, they could not do so. This 
is due to the relatively weaker position of the American Federation of 
Labor officialdom, in the first place the officials of the International 
Longshoremen's Association, headed by Joseph Ryan of New York. 
This weak position was not confined to San Francisco, but arose out 
of the betrayal of the longshoremen's and seamen's strike in 1920-22. 
In those struggles the marine workers had learned two main lessons, 
namely: (i) that divided action and leadership among the marine 
unions, faced with a united enemy, brought defeat, and (2) that this 
division was deepened and accentuated by the national officials of their 
own unions. In some of the local unions that survived the period since 
1922, militant rank-and-file elements thus came to leadership. To 
this Left-wing nucleus was added in 1933 the decisive influence of 
the rank-and-file militants who revived the longshoremen's union in 
San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, San Pedro, and which in 
San Francisco played the decisive role from the beginning. 

Thus it was that the regular routine N.R.A. strike settlements broke 
down in the Pacific Coast marine strike. Through rank-and-file initiative 
the Pacific Coast Conference was held in February, formulated demands 
and decided upon strike action to enforce them. The I.L.A. officials, 
unable to head off the movement, in March appealed to Roosevelt 
for direct intervention. Roosevelt's promise to adjust the demands 
succeeded in postponing the strike, but after two months of the usual 
N.R.A. procedure, producing nothing for the workers, the local union 
took matters into their own hands and called the strike on May 9. 

It is interesting to note that on May 9 when the decision for strike 



256 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

was taken by the San Francisco longshoremen, this decision came as a 
surprise to the officials of the A. F. of L. and the International Long- 
shoremen's Association, and at the same moment came as a surprise 
to the revolutionary group, the leader of which spoke against the de- 
cision to call the strike at that moment. 

HOW THE M.WI.U. SPREAD THE STRIKE 

Up to the point of the beginning of the strike, the Marine Workers' 
Industrial Union had played a minor role. In the organization of the 
longshoremen it had thrown its full support to those militants who 
had revived and reorganized the International Longshoremen's Associa- 
tion's locals, and had refrained from all competitive organization among 
them, concentrating its independent organizational activities upon the 
seamen, who were almost entirely unorganized. The International Sea- 
men's Union had relatively few members. Its activities were confined 
to that of a group of hard-boiled trade union bureaucrats, tj^ified by 
Paul Scharrenberg, maintained not by the workers, but pursuing inde- 
pendent careers as labor politicians. The I.S.U. officials allowed no 
membership meetings. They even refused to recruit new members. They 
set themselves solidly against the seamen being involved in the strike. 
But with the docks tied up, the seamen on every ship that came to port, 
burning with their own grievances, fired by the dockers' example, were 
eager for strike action. The only organizing center they could find 
was the Marine Workers' Industrial Union, which openly entered the 
situation, calling the seamen to strike, opened recruiting halls, recruited 
over 800 seamen in a brief time, tying up every ship which came into 
port. This intervention of the M.W.I.U. was decisive in breaking the 
official A. F. of L. embargo on general action in the industry. In order 
to maintain even a pretense of representing the seamen, the I.S.U. 
was forced, finally, to declare itself on May 19 for the strike and begin 
recruiting and call meetings. As a result of this the small unions of 
harbor workers of various crafts were also soon drawn into a complete 
industrial general strike. It was thus that the energetic action of an 
independent industrial union was the essential factor that brought 
into the battle the other A. F. of L. unions, made the strike general, 
and laid the basis for the next forward step, the setting up of the Joint 
Strike Committee' of all unions, and the signing of a Solidarity Pact 
between all the striking organizations. 

It was the conscious and growing spirit of industrial solidarity among 
all the marine crafts, eventually crystallized during the course of the 
strike in the Joint Strike Committee and the Solidarity Pact, which 
again and again defeated all efforts of Joseph Ryan, International Long- 
shoremen's Association head, and Edward McGrady, Roosevelt's repre- 
sentative, to bring about a separate settlement for longshoremen along 
the lines of the notorious auto and steel industry settlements. It was 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 257 

this which after the defeat of Ryan's second attempt to sell out the 
strike enabled the militants to carry through the slogan "All Power to 
the Rank and File Strike Committee" and publicly declare that Ryan 
had no right to speak for the strikers, repudiating him in a great public 
mass meeting. These events demonstrated the enormous importance and 
power of elected strike committees responsible and reporting back to 
the members and taking complete control of strike negotiations and 
settlements. 

THE PROBLEMS OF THE ORGANIZED RETREAT 

The San Francisco general strike in the ninth week of the marine 
workers' struggle, brought the whole marine movement to a climax. The 
betrayal of the general strike discouraged and choked off similar 
solidarity movements on the verge of explosion in Portland and Seattle. 
The expressed intention of the Vandeleur gang of betrayers was to 
smash not only the general strike movement, but also the whole Pacific 
Coast marine strike and take the marine unions out of the hands of the 
militant rank-and-file. It was the firm determination of the trade union 
bureaucrats and the employers that the ending of the San Francisco 
general strike would be followed by a demoralized rout of the marine 
workers. But they reckoned without the steadying influence of the 
organized rank-and-file strike committees, and the firm guidance given 
by the Communist Party in this critical moment. It was, however, the 
judgment of the strike committees that under these conditions, the 
strike could not hold out much longer. They decided that a retreat was 
necessary, but this retreat was an organized one, salvaging all possible 
gains, however small, out of the betrayal by the officialdom, and guard- 
ing to the last moment, as a matter of proletarian honor, the sacredness 
of the Solidarity Pact between the marine unions. 

The strikers and their committees stood firm, with the result that 
after a few days the capitalists announced new concessions to the 
workers. This appeared in the newspapers in the extraordinary form of 
a joint statement issued by a meeting of the Industrial Association, the 
Shipowners' Union, all independent shipping companies, and the six 
daily newspapers in the San Francisco Bay area. This statement in 
substance recognized the Solidarity Pact of the marine unions by, 
for the first time, agreeing to settle with all the unions simultaneously 
and by the same procedure. Previously they had stood fast for arbi- 
trating only the demands of the longshoremen and refusing any con- 
sideration to the demands of the other unions. They further agreed 
to the hiring of workers without discrimination at the docks, thus in 
effect abolishing the company-union hiring system, although not accept- 
ing the demand for union-controlled hiring halls. 

On the basis of these concessions, they proposed all demands relating 
to wages and working conditions be submitted to the arbitration of 



2s8 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

the President's Board. The Strike Committee agreed to submit these 
questions to a referendum of the membership, at the same time passing 
a special motion reaffirming the Solidarity Pact which required that 
an affirmative vote by the longshoremen would only take effect when 
and if the proposal was ratified by the other unions involved. The 
marine strike continued solid for another week, while the votes were 
being taken on the entire coast and organizational guarantees estab- 
lished for the simultaneous return of all marine unions in all ports. 
The ending of the marine strike is an outstanding example of orderly 
retreat in a defeated strike. 

THE ROLE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY 
IN THE STRIKES 

That the open shop offensive of the California employers was beaten 
back and the trade union movement on the Coast generally is stronger 
than ever, is in the first place to the credit of the Communist Party 
which placed itself at the head of the militant rank-and-file, helping 
them to find organizational forms for their struggle, to establish rank- 
and-file leadership, to defeat the intrigues of the A. F. of L. bureaucracy 
in many critical moments of the strike, and when the strike was finally 
betrayed, leading them in orderly retreat which salvaged some basic 
gains from the struggle. 

It was the concentration work of the Communist Party on the 
waterfront, especially in San Francisco and Seattle, which consolidated 
the nucleus of militant leadership in 1932 and 1933, which in February, 
1934, crystallized in a Coast-wide rank-and-file delegates' conference 
that organized the marine strike, making it general along the whole 
Coast. It was the stubborn struggle of this leadership which kept the 
strike out of the hands of Joseph Ryan of the I.L.A., and defeated 
his repeated attempts to sell out the strike, break up the solidarity 
of the marine unions, and send them back to work demoralized and 
disrupted. It was this solid leadership in the heart of the marine strike, 
that made it possible to develop the general strike movement against 
the will of the A. F. of L. leaders in San Francisco, Vandeleur & Co. 
The work of the Communist Party brought this elemental upheaval to 
a higher level of consciousness and organization than any previous great 
labor struggle in America. 

With the rise of the anti-Communist terror, at the ending of the 
strike, the Party went through a testing by fire, all along the Coast. 
It was driven underground, all known premises destroyed, printing 
plant burned down in San Francisco, hundreds assaulted by fascist 
vigilantes, more hundreds thrown into prison, private homes were 
violated and smashed, vigilante and police dragnets hunted down all 
known Communists and sympathizers, even the homes of suspected 
middle- and upper-cjass sympathizers were attacked. 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 259 

The Party stood up very well under these attacks, especially in 
San Francisco and Seattle. The Party committees never ceased to 
function, nor lost their connections with the main body of the lower 
organizations. Connections with the masses was maintained by a con- 
stant stream of leaflets, both from the District Committees and from 
the units on their own initiative. We must verify all of these things 
because as yet we have only very fragmentary reports and we should 
have further reports of the functioning of the Party organizations, 
especially the lower organs of the Party during the strike. However, 
we can say that there was sustained connection with the masses through 
the issuance of literature, initiative by the lower organs in getting 
out leaflets, etc. We also have what is usually a very important indicator 
for the Center — the continued growth of the dues payments through- 
out this period down to today. 

Already on August i in San Francisco the Party broke through 
the terror, holding an open public meeting under the auspices of the 
American League Against War and Fascism; within two weeks the 
Western Worker appeared again, as well as the Voice of Action in 
Seattle. In both of these main cities where the terror was sharpest, 
the Party came through this most severe test in a manner which 
must obtain our approval. The Party never ceased to fimction. We can 
be proud of the fact that these two important districts, in this most 
difficult situation, showed their ability in this respect. Similar conditions 
have existed in Alabama, District 17, in connection with the strike 
movement there, with arrests, confiscation of the Southern Worker, 
etc. Here also a young district, with relatively few members, stood up 
excellently and strengthened the Party during the struggle. The same 
sort of experience can be reported from Southern Illinois, which has 
gone through an exactly similar period of fascist terror, and in which 
the Party has been strengthened in the course of the fight. 

WEAKNESSES AND MISTAKES IN THE STRIKES 

However, we must not spend too much time congratulating ourselves 
upon our achievements. More important for us is to give some detailed 
attention to the mistakes and weaknesses of our Party, in the first 
place of the Party leadership, in the most important struggle in San 
Francisco. There are such weaknesses, mistakes, we must say, not- 
withstanding the excellent work of the Party, a series of weaknesses 
and mistakes showed themselves in the course of the strike. In con- 
ducting a self -critical examination, we by no means want to set up a 
standard of perfection. We do not demand that our comrades shall be 
all-conquering heroes — that is too much to demand of our comrades. 
We cannot demand that they shall always be victorious, or that they 
always defeat the enemy the moment he comes on the scene. It is not 
in this sense we make our criticism. But we must do our best always 



26o COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

to see that no mistakes of political orientation shall serve to weaken 
the struggle. 

Our comrades in California made such mistakes of orientation — 
serious ones. In the struggle against the A. F. of L. official strike- 
breakers, our leading cadres saw the main danger to be guarded against 
as coming from the "Left," in the form of stupid or clumsy or im- 
timely exposure, which the masses would not be prepared to accept. 
They saw no danger or very little, from the Right ; from lagging behind 
in the exposure, or entirely failing in this central task. Against "Left" 
deviations the comrades were very, very sensitive. But Right deviations 
they could not see at all. As a result, they made Right deviations of 
the most serious kind. 

When Ryan went to the Coast to make his first sell-out effort, our 
comrades were of the opinion that his past record of strike-breaking 
activities, which should have been popularized among the broadest 
masses before he arrived, was not of particular advantage to the masses 
in California. The comrades seemed to think that anything happening 
outside of California was not a legitimate subject for criticism inside 
of California; they had no warning lesson to the strikers to whom Ryan 
was coming as their international president. When Ryan was defeated 
in his first sell-out, and retreated, in order to gain a second chance to 
sell out, the opinion was expressed, and not fought against, that this 
maneuver of Ryan's should be greeted as a conversion of Ryan to 
the point of view of the Strike Committee, under the illusion that if 
this was not true, it was at least clever tactics for us to make it seem 
that way! 

This completely wrong conception of what is clever tactics was not 
criticized by our comrades, except in the form of making the expression 
of it more vague when it got into the Strike Bulletin. When the Central 
Committee and the Daily Worker criticized this vague formulation 
and pointed out what was behind it, the comrades were quite indignant 
against us. They thought we were hunting for small things to be hyper- 
critical about. They even protested against us in the columns of the 
Western Worker, They did not understand the serious danger behind 
this seemingly small matter. There was even rising (as in the case of 
Comrade Morris, editor of the Western Worker, who expressed this 
tendency in a sharp form) something like a theory that precisely what 
the Central Committee was pointing out as weaknesses and mistakes 
were really the greatest virtues of the leadership in California. Comrade 
Morris seemed to think that these mistakes out there were destined to 
become the dominating line of the Party nationally in its trade union 
work, and were correcting the whole Party's trade union line. 

Comrade Jackson, a very militant, courageous comrade, whom we 
all value very much, under the influence of this tendency in the Cali- 
fornia leadership, wrote a letter to the Central Committee after we 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 261 

had raised a few points of criticism, in which he invited us to leave 
the direction of the strike in the hands of those on the scene, and for 
the Central Committee to busy itself with the more fruitful tasks of 
organizing strike relief on a national scale! 

Comrade Darcy's article in The Communist of July, while very 
valuable for the information it contained, and treating many separate 
questions correctly, took its main orientation from this mistaken point 
of view, which even brought an approving thesis from the Lovestone 
group, who saw in this some concession to their trade union line. 

It was precisely at the moment when we raised these questions with 
the California comrades that the general strike movement began to 
rise in San Francisco. And here we received the conclusive proof that 
our misgivings were well-founded. Before that, our comrades thought 
they had a complete answer to all criticism; they said: "You say we 
don't criticize Ryan sufficiently. But look, we kicked him out, we 
drove him out of San Francisco." And the comrades thought that 
closed the question. But came the general strike, and there we per- 
ceived the proofs of our position. The comrades carried on practically 
no preparations to expose in any decisive manner the role of the 
bureaucrats of the Central Labor Council. Some agitational material 
directed against them beforehand, was directed exclusively to attacking 
their opposition to the general strike, but not one word of the greater 
danger of these fakers at the head of the general strike movement. 
When these fakers suddenly made a maneuver to head the movement; 
even while they were still openly opposed, by appointing this so-called 
Committee on Strategy, our marine workers were so unprepared for 
this maneuver that the mere announcement of it was sufficient for them 
to practically disband the rank-and-file conference that had been called 
under our leadership to organize the general strike, to take no decisions 
in that conference in spite of the demands from the rank-and-file. Pre- 
cisely at the moment when the general strike movement was coming 
to a head, when the moral leadership of the masses was absolutely in 
the hands of the leaders of the marine strike committee, when the 
Vandeleur family of fakers was isolated from the masses and stood 
exposed before them as opponents of the general strike movement for 
which the whole masses had declared themselves — at that moment our 
leaders declared that inasmuch as Vandeleur and Co. had set up a 
committee on strategy, we handed the general strike movement over 
into their hands. 

When the Committee on Strategy, seeing that the movement was 
going over their heads, came out a few days later for the general strike, 
our comrades had laid absolutely no basis for any struggle to elect a 
General Strike Committee from below. It is true appeals were made 
for the election of such committees, but the rank-and-file certainly 
didn't feel — had not been prepared to feel — that this was such a burning 



262 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

issue it should have to be the subject of struggle inside the unions. 
And no such struggles took place. 

It was impossible afterward to remedy the fatal weakness of those 
24 hours, when we handed over the leadership of the masses, that was 
in our hands, into the hands of these discredited fakers. 

We have no guarantee, of course, that even the best policy would 
have succeeded in pulling this leadership from the head of the general 
strike. But we know that we could have been much stronger, and that 
by this wrong policy we certainly were guaranteed defeat. Most surely 
a serious effort to lead the general strike, to take it out of the hands, 
from the beginning, of Vandeleur & Co., would have strengthened our 
position many times, have increased the vitality of the general strike 
so that it would have lasted more than four days — five, six, eight days, 
stimulated the general strike movement in Portland and Seattle into 
activity instead of serving to choke them off by giving them an example 
of a broken general strike. Certainly our whole position would have 
been improved, the power of the trade unions would have increased, 
the concessions which were forced out of the employers made more 
far-reaching, and generally the interests of the workers would have 
been advanced, the leadership of the workers would have been 
strengthened. 

The comrades in Seattle came out with a more bold policy — at the 
same time our positions in Seattle were not so strong. Most of the 
work had to be done from the outside, that is to say, by Party leaflets 
rather than through inside official positions in the strike apparatus. 
Comrade Darcy wrongly concludes that our stronger position in the 
San Francisco strike was a result of our more timid (or, as he would 
say, more skillful) criticism — that our weakness in Seattle was because 
of our more bold criticism. But we must reject any such theory. Pre- 
cisely because of their superior position in San Francisco they could 
more boldly and effectively carry out this criticism. 

When we demand a policy of bold criticism no one can accuse 
us of asking for stupid, clumsy, untimely criticism. We demand that 
the criticism be as intelligent, as skillful as possible, that we choose 
the right moment. But we must insist that in choosing the right mo- 
ment we do not wait so long for that right moment that we find, as 
in the San Francisco general strike, for example, that our criticism 
and warning against the Vandeleurs come after the damage has been 
done. Here we could quote the old saying that when thieves are around, 
it is better to lock the barn door before the horse has been stolen. 

We must say that in the last days of the strike, our California 
comrades responded to the pressure of the Central Committee, they 
improved their work in many respects. Also they made some steps 
in overcoming the weakness in which the Party appeared before the 
workers in its own name. . . . 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 263 

PROBLEMS OF THE UNITED FRONT 

I want to review briefly some of the problems of the movement for 
united action — building the united front. The comrades are familiar 
with the various proposals that we have made to the Socialist Party 
National Executive Committee. We are also familiar with the corre- 
spondence that developed on these proposals with Norman Thomas, 
and the action taken just a few days ago by the National Executive 
Committee in its Milwaukee meeting. 

Perhaps we should give a brief characterization of the N.E.C.'s 
decision as it was reported in the New York Times. We have not yet 
received an official letter that they are reported to have sent to us. 
Briefly, the action as reported is a rejection of the united front on 
the grounds that the united front with the Communists would endanger 
their united front with the A. F. of L. bureaucrats. They cover this 
up with a platonic endorsement of the idea of a united front, what a 
good thing it would be if it were possible, and bring out some of the 
stock tricks to avoid squarely meeting the issue — united action on 
specific questions. Nowhere do they mention their attitude towards 
the measures for which we propose united action. 

We have already discussed this question in the Political Bureau. In 
this morning's Daily Worker you have an editorial which gives the 
main lines of our answer to the Socialist Party decision. I must 
mention in passing, however, that in this editorial there is one mistake, 
when in speaking of the concrete proposals which we make to the 
Socialist Party, the editorial speaks of these as "conditions'^ of the 
united front. This is wrong. We never made "conditions." We made 
proposals, which we are ready to discuss, to consider any modifications 
or limitations that the S.P. wanted to make with regard to them, and 
to deal with all, or a part, or a single one of these issues. In addition 
to this editorial, we expect to have within the next few days a formal 
answer to the Socialist Party, as soon as possible, after we receive 
their official letter. 

In the formal answer we propose to take up precisely as the center 
of our letter, that question they expressed in the words: "No united 
action on specific issues is possible between Socialist and Communists 
except on a basis which also gives hope of ending fratricidal strife 
within the trade imion movement." 

We propose that we will quote this from their letter, and raise 
very sharply a demand for a further explanation of what they mean 
by this. We will say that there are two possible interpretations of this. 
It may mean elimination of the fratricidal strife between workers who 
follow the two parties— the Socialist Party and the Communist Party — 
in which case we are for the ending of this fratricidal strife and are 



264 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

ready to take all measures necessary to end it and bring all workers 
together against their common enemy. 

On the other hand, this formulation may mean, and to many people 
it does mean, the ending of the struggle by the Communists against 
the policy of William Green, Matthew Woll, John L. Lewis, McMahon 
and Co. — the official leadership of the A. F. of L. Perhaps it means, 
and for some it certainly means, the demand for the extension of 
the united front to include those who are part of the Roosevelt govern- 
mental machine. And we declare that if this is what they mean by 
the united front, or conditions for the united front, this condition the 
Communists will never accept, because this condition is a united front 
against the working class, making permanent the split in the working 
class. The fight for the unity of the working class is precisely against 
this. 

We can make use of our letter to the Socialist Party in a broader 
leaflet which we propose to issue, including this letter, and giving 
further elaboration of the answers to all of the arguments of the 
enemies of the united front. This letter is to be addressed to the 
membership and followers of the Socialist Party and distributed in 
many hundreds of thousands of copies. We further propose that we 
will have a special pamphlet dealing with the history of our fight for 
the united front, especially since March, 1933, reprinting all of our 
documents and correspondence with the Socialist Party, etc., down 
to these last letters. A sort of a handbook on the history of this 
struggle in the United States, a cheap pamphlet, perhaps two or three 
cents, especially for sale among the S.P. followers, as well as for the 
better education of our whole Party on this question. 

We further propose that in every locality the comrades shall engage 
in an intensified campaign to approach the lower organizations of the 
Socialist Party. We must absolutely eliminate any tendency to react 
to this question by saying, now that the N.E.C. has spoken, we are 
through with the chapter to win the Socialist Party. Quite to the 
contrary is our program. This merely opens new efforts to win every 
branch and member of the Socialist Party from below to the united 
front. 

Any hope of swinging the Socialist Party as a whole and any kind 
of united action depends entirely upon this basic activity from below. 
If we do this basic work from below, we do not have to worry as to 
whether the Socialist Party leadership ever agrees to the united front 
or not. Because if we do this work from below, we will get the 
membership, and if we get the membership for united action, we should 
not worry as to what the leaders are doing. We will worry about them 
to the extent that they keep their followers away from united struggle. 

In addition, we propose that a series of meetings, at least one big 
meeting in each important district be held at which leading comrades 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 265 

shall report to the workers on this question, inviting leaders of the 
Socialist Party to come and state their case to the assembled workers, 
with special attention to get members and followers of the Socialist 
Party to these meetings. 

We must say that in these past months our Party is beginning to 
understand that for us the united front is a very serious matter. It 
is a question of fundamental strategy. It is a matter of a long time 
struggle, a long time perspective, a long time policy. It is not a mere 
trick in the struggle against the misleaders. It is a basic policy of 
struggle for the class unity of the workers against the bourgeoisie. 
Because we more thoroughly understand it in this sense, we are making 
progress. We have serious developments in the lower ranks of the 
Socialist Party in practically setting up united front actions — in New 
Orleans the united front of our Party and the Socialist Party in the 
magnificent mass demonstration right in between the lines of the rival 
armed factions of the Democratic Party of Louisiana, demanding that 
the State and city finances which are being spent in this factional battle 
over the spoils of corruption should be given to the unemployed, for 
the relief which had been cut off. This action is being followed up 
by systematic collaboration by the two parties in New Orleans on 
current issues, on the calling of a local congress of the American 
League Against War and Fascism to prepare for the Chicago Congress, 
etc. In Camden, N. J., the united front August i anti-war demonstra- 
tion was carried out successfully with the participation of the Socialist 
Party and the Communist Party. A growing number of individual 
Socialist workers are entering into our struggles ; dozens of organizations 
have demanded of the N.E.C. that it act favorably on our proposals. 

The greatest progress has been made among the youth. Without 
any formal negotiations the Young People's Socialist League and the 
Young Communist League already find themselves standing upon an 
agreed platform. This achievement came out of the struggle against 
the fascist Central Bureau which called the American Youth Congress 
in which the anti-fascist united front won a complete victory in winning 
over almost the entire body of delegates to a program entirely opposed 
to the one proposed by the leaders, with government support, adopting 
instead a program of struggle against war and fascism, and for the 
immediate needs of the youth, including unemployment insurance, etc. 
This victory, the basis of which had already been laid by the Youth 
Section of the American League Against War and Fascism which, 
was already a growing united front from below, reaching all strata 
of youth, now comprises 1,700,000, ranging from Y.M.C.A.'s, 
Y.W.C.A.'s, church youth organizations, trade union youth sections, 
settlement houses, etc., clear down to the Y.P.S.L. and Y.C.L. In 
this, the political center of gravity is the work of our Y.C.L. Prac- 
tically all the basic proposals and policy came from us or from those 



266 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

circles influenced by us through the unanimous support of this broad 
youth movement. 

The growing movement for united action in the trade union move- 
ment is a characteristic feature of the day. In the steel industry, united 
front conferences included the Steel and Metal Workers' Industrial 
Union and the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers, 
in the period of preparations for the strike later choked off by the 
officials. In the auto industry, serious work in this direction is beginning 
in Cleveland. In the fur industry, a group of shops are carrying out 
a united strike of both the A. F. of L. and T.U.U.L. unions, in spite 
of the bitter opposition of the A. F. of L. officials. In the shoe industry, 
the struggle for a single industrial union is making progress in spite 
of the obstacles placed by the reactionary section of the officialdom 
and their Lovestoneite allies. In the preparations for the great textile 
strike and in the heat of its first days, we have succeeded in making 
some decisive moves for unity in Paterson, with possibilities in other 
places, which had been impossible hitherto when the masses were not 
in motion. In Paterson our small Textile Workers' Union has amalga- 
mated with the United Textile Workers' locals, with two of our 
outstanding leaders placed on the executive board, membership secured 
by exchange of cards, with full rights. 

The key point in the whole united front struggle at the moment 
is the Second U. S. Congress Against War and Fascism to be held in 
Chicago, September 28-30. In connection with this is a special Youth 
Congress called by the Youth Section. In the American League Against 
War and Fascism and in this Congress, we have a broad united front 
which met and defeated the attempts made to disrupt it last spring. 
We must say that the Communists have not given the League the 
help and attention that it deserves and there has been too much of 
a tendency to place the daily functioning of the League into the laps 
of the middle class elements. 

These elements are valuable; their contribution to the League has 
been considerable, but they will themselves be the first to admit that 
the most important work of the League — rooting it among the workers 
in the basic and war industries, cannot be done by them, but only 
the trade unions and workers' organizations, and first of all by the 
Communists. The final work of the Congress in the next three weeks 
must mark a decisive improvement in the work in this field — engaging 
of the workers' organizations in this Congress and into active affiliation 
in the American League. 

The biggest political struggle now going on in the United States 
is the fight for unemployment insurance. The great movement for 
the Workers' Bill is now taking on a broader form with the preparations 
for the Social Security Congress in Washington at the time the U. S. 
Congress opens. It is clear that the time is ripe for broadening the 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 267 

organizational base of the movement such as is proposed in this Con- 
gress for Social Security. The sweep of support for the Bill in the 
A. F. of L. unions which has carried unanimous endorsement in five 
national union conventions — Holders' Union, Amalgamated Association, 
United Textile Workers', Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers' Union, 
Full Fashioned Hosiery Workers'; the endorsement by the City Coun- 
cils of 48 cities and towns, including Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Buffalo, 
Canton, Toledo, St. Louis, Bridgeport, Portland, Des Moines, Allen- 
town, Rockford — in 15 States, endorsement by over 5,000 outstanding 
professionals; the American Newspaper Guild, innumerable locals of 
the S.P. and lately Norman Thomas; the Farmer-Labor Party of Minne- 
sota; practically all important independent unions, including Progressive 
Miners'; by practically all mass unemployed organizations, even those 
under the control of the enemies of the Bill, who have been forced 
by mass pressure to endorse it. All these things — and we must mention 
the American Youth Congress which unanimously endorsed the Bill — 
all this disclosed a mass support for our Bill which if it can be con- 
centrated and centralized will be a mighty power to force the adoption 
of this Bill at the coming session of Congress next January. 

We have many questions coming up out of this movement for united 
front which we have to clarify continually to our Party. We find 
obstacles being placed in the way, questions being raised as to whether 
we are not making serious opportunistic deviations when we reach out 
and get these masses into these movements. For example: we have 
questions raised around the participation of Father Devine, the "Negro 
God," in the anti-war movement. Father Devine brought his followers 
into the August 4 demonstration of the American League Against War 
and Fascism; previous to that in the demonstration of National Youth 
Day, and the participation of this section with its fantastic slogans 
aroused very grave doubts in the minds of many comrades whether it 
wasn't a serious mistake to allow these religious fanatics to march in 
our parade with their slogans: "Father Devine is God"; "Father Devine 
Will Stop War," etc. 

We have answered this question in editorials in the Daily Worker. 
We must emphasize the correctness of this answer which we have given 
to point out that this is not a special, isolated problem. This problem 
is perhaps an exaggerated example of the whole problem of reaching 
the backward masses and bringing them into participation with the 
most advanced section of the working class in revolutionary struggles. 
This is our task — not only to bring in the already politically developed 
vanguard of the workers, but to bring in the millions of masses who will 
bring with them all their religious superstition, all of their reactionary 
ideology and to clarify them and to give them political consciousness 
in the course of the fight. This is the basic task of the united front; 
and don't think that this merely applies in the aspect of the fight against 



268 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

superstition among the Negroes. You will find exactly the same re- 
ligious ideology in broad sections of the white working class, and 
especially you will find it among the broad masses in the Middle West 
and West of the United States. I grew up right in the midst of just 
such religious fanaticism, and when I was a boy it was taken for granted 
that if you were a Socialist, you must at the same time explain which 
one of the religious sects you belonged to. That went along with 
socialism in Kansas in the period of 1906-10. This condition is not 
over. Many workers moving into the struggle are very often carrying 
with them some extreme religious prejudices. We have to learn to 
bring them into the struggle and in the process of the struggle to 
educate them; not first to educate them and make good Leninists of 
them and then bring them into the Party. 

The mass demand for united action is clearly growing into a mighty 
movement. This is even moving such "advocates of unity" as the 
Muste group. These estimable gentlemen only a year ago, on two 
occasions, met with us in formal open conferences of delegates from 
many organizations, and pledged themselves to united action for the 
Workers' Unemployment Insurance Bill, for unification of the mass 
organizations of the unemployed, and for the fight against war and 
fascism in the American League, whose program was produced by a 
committee of which Muste was chairman; but they didn't seem to 
take these public pledges very seriously, never did anything to carry 
them out, and after months of sabotage they broke away from these 
united front agreements without any explanation. Now, we received 
a letter from Mr. Muste and Mr. Budenz. They propose to start a 
long proceeding of negotiations with us and the S.P., together with 
their Trotzkyite and Lovestoneite friends, at what they call a "round 
table" on how to get unity. These gentlemen should understand that 
the best way to get unity is to carry out agreements when they are 
made. However, if mass pressure from below is again moving them 
from their position of open sabotage, we will not give them a negative 
answer. They deserve serious attention as long as they still exercise 
some mass influence among the unemployed in three states. We shall 
propose that those issues closest to the masses whom they influence, 
namely, the Workers' Bill, the unity of unemployed organizations — 
these should be made the beginning of some real actions toward unity 
without wasting too much time in again talking over the state of the 
whole world. Let them take one single move toward imited action 
among the masses and our faith in their serious support of a more 
general unity will be raised above zero. Our attitude toward all 
minor groupings, or leaders, such as the Musteites, is determined by 
the question whether they have any mass following and where, and on 
the issues that relate to the daily life of the masses that follow them 
we will negotiate united actions with them. But by no means do we 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 269 

accept the idea which is being carefully cultivated by enemies of 
united action, that the united front means to bring the S.P. and C.P. 
together with the small groups of renegade leaders like the Trotzkyites, 
the Lovestoneites, the Musteites, the Gitlowites, the Weisbordites, etc., 
etc. We consider that such united front has absolutely nothing in 
common with the needs of the masses. In this respect we have an 
illuminating example of the mistake made by the youth in Belgium. 
Over there, the Y.C.L., the Belgian Y.C.L., met with the Socialist Youth 
organization and the Socialist Youth brought forward a proposal as the 
basis for the united front that they come out for the defense of Trotzky, 
for the protection of Trotzky against the "persecution" that the capi- 
talists were inflicting upon him. And our Young Communists in their 
desire for unity at any cost signed their names to the pledge for the 
defense of Trotzky. That is, to defend the unity of the working class, 
they would defend the leader of the forces of counter-revolution among 
the working class. What masses of workers they expect to reach with 
such a slogan as this is hard to see, because all the Trotzky organizations 
in all the world combined certainly do not run into even a few thousand. 
In the face of the burning issues of the class struggle and the fight 
for bread and civil rights, and against war, against fascism, these people 
have the nerve to bring forward slogans for the defense of Trotzky, 
and we have comrades who are even ready to fall for such things! 
We have to use this example from Belgium as a very severe warning 
to us against such dangers which will arise here also. 

Now, a few words on the textile strike. I refer you to the basic 
policy which has been outlined in the editorials of the Daily Worker 
to emphasize also that these editorials are political directives of the 
Political Bureau and Central Committee. Evidently our Party does 
not understand this fully. We find district leaderships of the Party 
coming to political conclusions and acting upon them in exactly the 
opposite sense to the editorials of the Daily Worker. We had this in 
the preparation for the textile strike. The line which we put for- 
ward in the Daily Worker and also by many special directives to the 
districts, was the line of preparing for strike struggle. The com- 
rades, however, talked it over among themselves, decided that 
these A. F. of L. bureaucrats will never lead a real fight, there won't 
be any real strike; why then should we prepare for it? — it is a waste 
of time and energy, and nothing was done. Exactly nothing. The 
comrades were convinced there would be no strike, no matter what 
we said from the Center, and so they acted upon their conviction. This 
is really a serious problem, for us, comrades, and it represents one of 
those serious political weaknesses that in different forms we have 
hammered at time and time again, this idea that the bureaucrats won't 
lead any struggles. Of course, there will be no struggles if it depends 
upon the bureaucrats; but it does not depend upon the bureaucrats. 



270 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

It depends upon the masses. And when the masses are going into the 
struggle an5rway, the bureaucrats go along and head the struggle, and 
even call the struggle, in order to bring it to an end more quickly. If 
we beheve only that they will never lead the struggle, we disarm our- 
selves in the fight against the misleaders, as the comrades did in San 
Francisco in regard to Vandeleur and the general strike. They only 
shouted that Vandeleur is against the general strike; they did not point 
out how Vandeleur can mislead the general strike. The comrades make 
exactly the same mistake in the textile situation. This is no way to 
fight against the misleaders, this strengthens the bureaucracy whenever 
the fight really gets under way and prevents us from mobilizing the 
opposition to block the betrayal of the struggle. . . . 

A few words on the question of the drought and our struggle for 
the Farmers' Emergency Relief Bill. We must say that this problem 
has not received any attention from the districts, and has not received 
the serious attention even of the Center. The districts have absolutely 
neglected it. Every district can do some work among the farmers, 
every district can reach farmers with the Emergency Relief Bill. We 
must make this part of the Party's work, not merely of the special 
apparatus of the Agrarian Commission. In connection with this bill 
we must point out that many corrections will be made in the form of 
this bill and will be published in a week or ten days. The amendments 
that we are making are primarily in the way of eliminating all of those 
elaborate provisions for farmers' committees to administer the bill, 
much simplified, and more directly guarding against the creeping in 
of class-collaboration tendencies and the setting up of confusion among 
the farmers. 

It is necessary to say a few words about the elections. The election 
campaign is the bearer of all phases of our struggles, that is, it should 
be. We are making some progress in that direction but there is still 
too much of a tendency to keep the election campaign separated from 
the general activity of the class struggle as a departmentalized, spe- 
cialized form of activity. There is a special weakness in bringing 
the election campaign into the mass organizations and especially into 
the trade unions. 

In the elections we must give special attention to such issues as the 
development of the Sinclair movement. The fight against the Sinclair 
illusions is an essential feature of our whole struggle against social- 
fascism. Sinclair's type of social-fascism is going to grow in this 
country. He is going to have a lot of imitators. I am sure that every 
good "practical politician" in the Socialist Party is searching his heart 
today to find out how it is that "we practical politicians are sitting 
around with a few votes; Sinclair goes out and gets half a milHon." 
In California the latest was Packard, member of the previous N.E.C. 
of the Socialist Party, who now announces himself a convert to the 



FOR THE UNITED FRONT 271 

Sinclair program. This will increasingly become a feature of the 
whole political life of America. 

Now, I must say a few words on the Daily Worker. First, the cir- 
culation. Do you comrades realize the significance of the fact that 
on the day of the opening of the strike of 600,000 textile workers, the 
biggest strike the United States has ever seen, the Party extended 
the circulation of the Daily Worker by the "enormous" sum of 7,000 
copies? Monday's paper circulated 43,000 and Tuesday's strike spe- 
cial was 50,000. That's our estimate of the value of the Daily Worker 
among half a million striking textile workers. Most of them were not 
even ordered; we just printed them in the hopes that they would be 
distributed. And a special textile edition is not just a concession on 
our part to the needs of the particular industry ; a special textile edition 
is directed to the working class of America. It is just as much of 
interest to the workers of California and Chicago as it is to the workers 
of the South and New England. 

What can we do to wake up the Party to the question of the Daily 
Worker? We must pose this question as one of the most serious prac- 
tical matters for the Central Committee and for the Party as a whole. 
When we will not have the Daily Worker y when all our papers will be 
suppressed, which is quite possible and even probable in the not dis- 
tant future, when that time comes, when we will have to substitute 
the Daily Worker by the most sacrificing work of printing and spread- 
ing small illegal organs at the cost of the sacrifice of lives, then we will 
wonder what were we doing in the days when we had freedom of 
action and circulation of a splendid six- and eight-page Daily Worker. 
When we had all this we made no serious attempt to give it a mass 
circulation. How are we going to answer it? Something must be 
done to make the Party conscious of the Daily Worker. I want to 
ask everyone to say a word on the matter, to say one word of ex- 
planation why we don't go forward seriously in the circulation of our 
paper. . . . 

We must say one or two words about certain features of the Negro 
work. Especially we must mention some considerable victories that 
have been achieved in this period. In the first place, the victory of 
winning the release of Angelo Herndon on bail, of getting the Scottsboro 
appeal before the Supreme Court again. We can register certain small 
advances, as yet very small, in raising Negro questions in the work 
of the trade unions. It is extremely interesting, for example, to hear 
from the comrades in San Francisco that the Longshoremen's Union 
is systematically setting itself to break down the Jim-Crow regulations, 
the exclusion of Negroes from the docks, and as a matter of policy 
taking in Negro workers into the docks and getting work for them, 
working side by side with the white longshoremen. Every small sign 
of work of this kind is "pure gold" for our movement. We must 



2 72 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

popularize it in order to put much more pressure behind the drive in 
all the unions to begin to win the basic Negro masses into our trade 
unions, both the T.U.U.L and the A. F. of L. unions. . . . 

I will close with a final word about the problem of cadres. With 
the rise of the present big mass movement, everywhere there rises the 
cry for forces. Everywhere you hear the old slogan: we are short of 
forces; we have no cadres. Again the cry goes up from every district 
to the National Office: send us more forces. But from where to get 
these new forces, nobody says. Do we lack forces? I think that we 
are involved in a serious contradiction if we say that because the 
working class is rising in great activity, therefore the Communist Party 
has a greater lack of forces. It is precisely with the rise of the masses 
to activity that we have released to us tremendous new forces. Why 
do we cry about a shortage? Because we have not learned to take 
these forces from the masses and make use of them; because we have 
too many bureaucratic tendencies reflected in the feeling that nobody 
can take responsible, leading positions in this mass movement unless 
he has first gone through our various training schools. 

I am a friend of our training schools. I think they have contributed 
much, but they have also contributed some bad things to the move- 
ment. Sometimes our training schools, especially in the districts where 
not enough attention is paid to them, take a group of good, fresh 
forces out of the masses and, in from three to six weeks, turn out 
finished bureaucrats, completely divorced from the masses they just 
came out of. We have plenty of forces, but we must develop initiative 
in bringing forward these forces fearlessly, giving them organizational 
responsibility, helping them and giving them a training and education 
in the course of the development of their work as leading factors in 
the movement. In addition, we must have serious development of 
the school work, which is an essential phase of training of cadres, 
more serious attention to the t5TDe of teaching, more serious check-up 
in getting a concrete answer to the question — are your teachers teach- 
ing Bolshevism or a thousand varieties of Menshevism and Trotzky- 
ism, especially on organizational questions? On these organizational 
questions there is the widest field for the most fantastic deviations 
with very little check-up by the districts and sections of the Party. 

We have plenty of forces if we learn how to use them. The Amer- 
ican working class is ready to give us all the forces we need if we work 
correctly, go out and get them and bring them into action and show 
the capacity of bringing these forces into our Party; making them 
ours. This is the answer to the problem of forces and the answer to 
the problem of building the revolutionary movement and winning 
victories in every field of the struggle. This is also the answer to the 
problem of building a mass Communist Party. 



XV 

The Situation in the Socialist Party ^ 

We have a double reason for being interested in and discussing the 
events that are taking place inside the Socialist Party. The first is 
the necessity for the Communists to keep up with all the currents of 
thought, moods and action among all workers including those in the 
Socialist Party ; and the second is the duty which we owe to the Socialist 
workers who not only ask our opinion on these developments, but who 
even approach us for information of what is going on in their own 
party. 

A great many developments in the Socialist Party are hidden behind 
a veil of censorship. There is a sort of martial law in the Socialist 
Party rising out of the civil war in their ranks. It is very difficult for 
Socialist workers to learn what is going on inside their own party. 

It is hardly necessary for us tonight to review the whole develop- 
ment of the past year in the Socialist Party. We can assume that 
everyone is generally familiar with the background of the most recent 
events. 

The high-spots of the struggle that is now rending the ranks of the 
Socialist Party, are of course, the Detroit Convention and the Decla- 
ration of Principles and especially the development of the struggle for 
the united front which is now making deep inroads among the Socialist 
workers in spite of the fight against the united front by all main 
leaders. 

We can describe the general process taking place as a distinct leftward 
movement of the rank-and-file members of the Socialist Party and their 
working-class followers — a movement which is a part of the general 
radicalization of large masses of the working population in the United 
States. The response to this radicalization of the workers on the part 
of the leading elements in the Socialist Party is not uniform. It is 
quite varied. Out of this variation and difference of opinion as to 
how to deal with the radicalization of the masses and how to meet the 
issues as they arise, there has come a series of divisions within the 
leadership of the Socialist Party. 

One of the basic features of the division has been the constant ex-- 
posure of the bankruptcy of the positions that have been taken up 
from time to time by the leadership of the Party on various issues 
of the day, above all on the question of the attitude towards the New 
Deal, the N.R.A. and the Roosevelt administration generally. The 

* Extracts from a speech, February 23, 1935.— £d. 

373 



274 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

overwhelming majority of the Socialist leaders, you will recall, in the 
beginning of the New Deal hailed it as a step towards socialism. 
Norman Thomas, proud of being a non-Marxist, said the New Deal 
represented about as much as the workers could get under capitalism 
and that it represented a distinct step in the direction of socialism, 
although he also admitted that there were certain fascist possibilities 
within it. 

Already, now, this policy of support for the New Deal, the N.R.A., 
is so thoroughly and completely discredited that the whole position has 
had to be completely abandoned. This is true not only of the Socialist 
Party, even the leaders of the American Federation of Labor, firm 
and loyal servants of Roosevelt as they are, have been forced to break 
with Roosevelt on the auto code, the N.R.A. Boards, the $50 per 
month wage on public works, the 30-hour week issue, etc. 

In this abandonment of support of the New Deal, the Socialist 
leaders have not led the way even in relation to the A. F. of L. leader- 
ship. They have been driven to abandon their old position by the 
force of events just as the leaders of the A. F. of L. were driven. We 
can recall that there was no serious effort even to critically approach 
the New Deal on the part of the Socialist Party leadership until even 
the Republican Party finally launched its national attack against the 
New Deal last year. In this development of the political life of the 
country as a whole and the part that the Socialist Party leaders played 
in it, we can clearly see pictured the general process that is taking place, 
that is, a movement to the Left of the masses of the workers and even 
considerable sections of the middle class, while the Socialist Party 
leaders, instead of leading and organizing this Leftward movement, 
resisted, struggled against it, tried to hold it back. It was only the 
rise of mass strike movements directed against the N.R.A., its Labor 
Boards and codes, which finally forced these official leaders to break 
from open alliance with Roosevelt. 

The methods of resisting this development by the leaders have not 
been uniform. There have been sharp differences of opinion on how 
to hold back this movement, that explain the break-up of the leadership 
into various groupings. 

There is a growing element of active workers and local leaders in the 
Socialist Party who are sincerely responding to the Leftward movement 
of the masses to the best of their ability. These elements, to some 
degree represented in the Revolutionary Policy Committee and its ad- 
herents and also represented in those committees that have been set 
up in various places in the country for the support of the united front 
with the Communists (especially in the trade unions and unemployed 
associations), represent an earnest striving to go along with the Left- 
ward movement of the masses. It has very serious weaknesses and 
shortcomings, but in general represent a tendency which can only be 



SITUATION IN THE SOCIALIST PARTY 275 

welcomed, especially insofar as it rallies itself around the united front 
in immediate class struggles of the day. 

Before approaching more concretely the current events within the 
Socialist Party, we should also say a few words about the position of 
the Socialist Party leadership towards one of the most burning issues 
before the country, namely, unemployment and social insurance. As 
illustrating these general facts that I have just reviewed, we read in 
the newspapers just a few days ago the announcement on the behalf 
of the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party that it had 
endorsed the Workers' Unemployment, Old Age and Social Insurance 
Bill (HR 2827) now before Congress. This is the first official word 
that the Socialist Party as a whole has spoken on this question — this 
in spite of the fact that the Workers' Bill has been in Congress for 
considerably more than a year and has been before the country for 
several years past. This in spite of the fact that the Communist Party 
and the National Unemployment Councils have made repeated ap- 
proaches to the Socialist Party proposing united action in support of 
this Bill and offering to discuss with the Socialist Party any questions 
they wished to raise with regard to the Bill. This was, further, in 
spite of the fact that the Labor Committee of Congress itself had 
officially invited leaders of the Socialist Party to appear before it at 
its hearing on the Bill. 

The Socialist Party was not able to make up its mind. The leadership 
was not able to speak on this question, to declare itself, until after 
the Congressional hearings had concluded; and even then, declaring 
their support of the Bill a conditional support. They appointed, too 
late, a committee which was supposed to speak for them at the Con- 
gressional hearings. To make this seem plausible they named Socialist 
Party members who had previously appeared at the Congressional hear- 
ings as individuals or as representatives of non-party organizations in 
support of the Bill before they were authorized to speak for the Socialist 
Party. They were named too late to get to committee hearings. 

Previous to this public announcement of support for the Workers' 
Bill, the Socialist Party leaders and organizations and members have 
been in a very confused position on the unemployment insurance ques- 
tion. Some have openly supported the Wagner-Lewis Bill, the Ad- 
ministration Bill. Some have supported the Workers' Bill. Others 
have vacillated between the two unable to make up their minds without 
guidance from the Party; and even today when the National Executive 
Committee weakly declares its support of HR 2827, in the same issue 
of the New Leader which announces this, there is also printed an appeal 
to support the Byrnes Bill in New York, which is an emasculated 
copy of the Wagner-Lewis Bill. 

This very weak and indecisive position on the most burning question 
before the American masses typifies the paralysis of the Socialist Party 



2 76 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

leadership today. There is no leader of the Socialist Party today who 
dares to come before the masses and boldly declare a position in the 
name of his Party, without fearing he will immediately be repudiated 
by the other leaders of his Party. This condition in the Socialist Party 
comes after a period of over ten months of the most intense discussion 
following a convention, a discussion which culminated in the referen- 
dum vote on the Declaration of Principles, in which "democratic pro- 
cedure" was carried out in a most prolonged and exhaustive fashion 
such as is rarely seen in political life. But the more the Socialist Party 
applies these so-called democratic methods, the less it seems to be able 
to bring about any decisive conclusion to its inner discussion, the less 
able it is to unite on any well defined program of action, not to speak 
of a Declaration of Principles. 

The referendum vote on the Detroit Declaration of Principles regis- 
tered a majority for that declaration, a majority which was a victory 
for the center group, usually identified with Thomas, the Militants, 
although this is not a unified, homogeneous group, but a block of sev- 
eral groups. This victory for Thomas and his group in the referendum 
did not result, however, in clearing up the situation in the Socialist 
Party. 

Thomas and his group were frightened by this victory. They did 
not seem to know what to do with the victory after they got it. They 
had not fought for the victory while the discussion was going on. They 
let the Right wing do the fighting, and "let nature take its course." 
But "nature" produced a victory for Thomas that frightened him and 
his group. 

The result of this fright was that afterwards the National Executive 
Committee, fresh from its victory, went into the meeting in Boston in 
December and used its victory in order to surrender to the Right 
wing. The Right wing brought its forces to the December N.E.C. 
meeting in a big demonstration. Thomas and the N.E.C. majority 
backed down completely on their former proposals with regard to the 
united front, further accepted measures directed against the Revolu- 
tionary Policy Committee and its followers, and generally adopted 
decisions which were dictated by the "defeated" Right wing. 

The Thomas group had hoped to work out a compromise with the 
Right wing on the basis of this capitulation, a compromise which would 
give the Right wing its political demands, while saving the face of the 
Thomas group and preserving its position as ostensible leaders of the 
radicalizing trend among Socialist Party members. 

This hoped-for compromise with the Right wing as a result of the 
concessions made in the December N.E.C. meeting did not materialize. 
Thomas sacrificed the united front, which was demanded by his fol- 
lowers, but despite this could not buy peace with the Old Guard. In 
spite of all of the concessions, in spite of all of the practical surrender 



SITUATION IN THE SOCIALIST PARTY 277 

of the majority of the N.E.C., they could not make peace with the 
Right wing. 

All efforts at a compromise failed. They failed so completely that to- 
day we see a new outbreak of factional warfare throughout the Social- 
ist Party on a national scale with a sharpness that has never been seen 
before since 1919 when the Communists were expelled from the 
Socialist Party. 

Thomas' resignation from the staff of the New Leader a couple of 
weeks ago is merely a symptom of that sharp factional warfare that 
is tearing the Socialist Party to pieces. 

What was the cause of the failure to achieve a compromise settle- 
ment? We can point out two main causes. The first one was that 
the Right wing elements, who had been on the offensive from the begin- 
ning of the fight, although in a minority, had been taught to have 
nothing but contempt for the N.E.C. decisions. They had seen time 
after time majority decisions registered against the Right wing to 
be followed immediately by surrender to the Right wing. The Right 
wing therefore was not encouraged to compromise by the surrender 
of the Thomas group. They therefore sharpened up their demands 
and increased factional struggle in the Socialist Party instead of slack- 
ening it down and creating the conditions for a compromise. 

The second factor which brought about this failure is that at the 
same time the Thomas majority was losing its authority by its in- 
capacity to follow any one line, the Right wing itself was being 
seriously compromised by the development taking place in the main 
leadership, i.e., the New York City leadership in the Socialist Party. 
This Right wing itself is more and more being divided into two tenden- 
cies. One of them was entering into official relations with the La- 
Guardia Fusion Party. This was openly expressed in LaGuardia's 
appointment of Panken to a judgeship, with the endorsement of the 
New York Socialist Party leadership, a political alliance which was 
publicly celebrated at a banquet to induct Panken into his new posi- 
tion, a banquet at which Socialist Party leaders sat side by side with 
LaGuardia and at which Abe Cahan made a speech in which he wel- 
comed LaGuardia as "one of us." 

On the other hand, another part of the New York leadership repre- 
sented by Waldman was entering into very practical relationships with 
Tammany Hall. 

These two diverse political alliances within the same Right-wing 
group at the head of the New York Socialist Party not only created 
the threat of a split among them, but served to seriously discredit the 
leadership as a whole and make it dangerous for Thomas and his 
group to conclude the compromise they had in mind. 

The extreme belligerency with which the Right wing was conducting 
its warfare against the Thomas leadership had created a whole series 



278 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

of difficulties for the N.E.C. of the Socialist Party. I will not take 
time to go into details of this factional fight, but it is necessary to 
point out a few outstanding developments. First, in the New York 
City and State organizations there was the developed offensive of 
e^^ulsions against Left-wingers, against adherents of the Revolutionary 
Policy Committee, which, while carefully excluding any public decla- 
ration that it was directed against Thomas and his group, was actually 
designed in the first place to undermine the position of Thomas. The 
New York leaders further reorganized the whole New York Party in 
such a way as to effectively exclude the militant group from any real 
participation in the leadership of New York. They organized a whole 
series of new branches with a careful distribution of their trusted forces 
in such a way as to secure an iron-clad majority in the City Com- 
mittee. 

At the same time in many Western States, controlled and directed 
by the Old Guard, they sharpened up the fight against Thomas, the 
N.E.C. Thus in California a State Convention has been called on 
the agenda of which is placed the question that the Socialist Party of 
California will withdraw from the Socialist Party of the U.S.A. pending 
the repeal of the Declaration of Principles for the declared purpose 
to safeguard its members from persecutions under the California S5m- 
dicalism Law, thus practically declaring Thomas as "illegal." 

The Oregon State organization carried through its decision to with- 
draw from the Socialist Party of the U.S.A. The Oklahoma organiza- 
tion carried through its withdrawal. The Indiana organization was 
conducting a referendum on withdrawal when Thomas and the N.E.C. 
finally stepped into the situation, revoked the charter of the Indiana 
section of the Socialist Party, and seized the records and property of 
the Indiana organization, proceeding to reorganize the Party and ex- 
cluding the leadership who had fought against the Declaration of 
Principles. It was this fight that finally led to the open break between 
the Old Guard and the Thomas N.E.C, which resulted in Thomas' 
resignation from the New Leader after the New Leader refused to 
publish the statement of the N.E.C. 

The New York City and State organization is now in the position 
of open rebellion against the national leadership of the Party. At 
the same time rumors are current that they have prepared a list of 
50 more expulsions of leading Left-wing elements from the New York 
Party. Norman Thomas is represented as saying in private conver- 
sations that these events have proved that the period of attempted 
compromise is over and that the attempt was a mistake in the first 
place. Just in the last few days the Militant faction has had a regional 
caucus — a caucus of their leading elements throughout the East gen- 
erally. For some time Thomas had formally kept independent of 
caucus groups and had publicly criticized the Militants. But this 
recent caucus meeting received a message from Norman Thomas, I 



SITUATION IN THE SOCIALIST PARTY 279 

understand, a message of encouragement and support which is generally 
taken to be a formal, political unification of the faction as an organized 
group, an endorsement of the general course that was mapped out at 
this caucus. 

The Militants are talking quite bravely now — speaking about de- 
mands to be placed before the N.E.C. to reorganize New York — re- 
organization and reconstituting the membership excluding the Old 
Guard and restoring the Revolutionary Policy Committee members. 
There is talk of expelling Waldman from the Socialist Party. With 
regard to this question of Waldman's position in the Socialist Party, 
there are even rumors that a section of the Old Guard itself is willing 
to throw Waldman to the wolves because they find his connection with 
Tammany is "worse" than their connections with LaGuardia. 

It is interesting to note that the renegade from Communism, Gitlow, 
took a prominent part in the militant caucus. Gitlow was a sort of 
ideological leader in the caucus. In nothing else is their poverty of 
leadership so demonstrated as in this pathetic seizing upon the rubbish 
cleaned out of the Communist Party. 

While all this war-like atmosphere prevails in which the Militants 
come forward as brave fighters against the Right wing, against the 
Old Guard, it is very instructive to take note that precisely at the 
same moment, the Thomas majority of the N.E.C. is actually carrying 
through the pledges that they gave to the Old Guard at the Boston 
meeting of the N.E.C. in December. That pledge was for an un- 
compromising struggle against the united front and postponing any 
consideration of this question until 1936. No matter what the changed 
relations may be with the Old Guard, this fundamental agreement with 
the Old Guard they are carrying through 100 per cent. Thus, just a 
few weeks ago, Clarence Senior, the Secretary of the N.E.C, sent out 
in the name of the Thomas majority of the N.E.C. a letter of instruc- 
tions to States and localities from the N.E.C. not to consider any 
sort of a united front with the Communists. This action was even 
more drastic than that embodied in the resolution officially adopted in 
December. In fact, the Old Guard had complained that the December 
resolution was too lenient in allowing State and local united fronts, 
so they carried out a referendum vote by mail after the N.E.C. meeting, 
changing the decision so as to prohibit State and local united fronts. 

It is clear therefore that the fight which the Thomas group has been 
forced to take up against the Old Guard does not mean that they are 
modifying their course toward the Left. The course of the Thomas 
majority is distinctly to the Right of what it was during last summer 
and early fall when they were still playing with the slogan of the 
united front. 

What we see taking place within the Old Guard in New York of 
orientation towards two different camps in bourgeois politics, is to a 
certain degree taking form on a national scale as between the Thomas 



28o COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

group and the Old Guard group. All of the different leading groupings 
in the Socialist Party are looking forward and speculating upon the 
shifts that are expected to take place in national politics between now 
and 1936. That group that is typified by the partnership between 
Thomas and Hoan, mayor of Milwaukee, has a general orientation 
of flirting and negotiating for more formal connections with the La- 
FoUette progressive and the Olson group in Minnesota. Their tendency 
is towards this open middle-class section of the third party movements. 
The Old Guard is banking upon connections with the more solid ele- 
ments such as LaGuardia in the New York Fusion movement, even 
with Tammany itself, and Tammany will probably emerge in the next 
elections as a fusion movement also. It might even be with Louis 
Waldman as candidate for mayor. It has orientated more towards 
the official A. F. of L. leadership, hoping to have a combination of 
a third party movement with at least a section of the A. F. of L. 
bureaucracy. 

The chances for these two currents to be united in 1936 largely 
depends upon their finding a common leader from the camp of the 
bourgeoisie. Possibly they may be united in the new third bourgeois 
party under the leadership of Huey Long by that time. This is not 
idle speculation. Although only a few weeks ago it was very fashion- 
able to speak of Huey Long as a clown, in the last few weeks wonderful 
changes have been taking place. Huey Long is taken into the sacred 
"progressive" caucus of the LaFollettes, the Shipsteads, the Wheelers. 

Another example of the orientation of the Old Guard leadership is 
to be found in Connecticut. Connecticut is one of the prize show 
pieces of the Socialist Party leaders. There they have the mayor of 
Bridgeport, and the city administration. Jasper McLevy, formerly a 
member of the N.E.C. of the Socialist Party, and one of the leading 
figures of the Old Guard nationally, is unchallenged boss, unchallenged 
effectively so far in the Socialist Party of Connecticut. His election 
victories have been hailed as one of the outstanding achievements of 
the Socialist Party. This morning's Daily Worker reports a very 
typical example of what is going on among the Connecticut leaders, in 
the McLevy group. One of McLevy's associates, Mr. Harry Bender, 
Socialist representative from Bridgeport in the state legislature, intro- 
duced a bill calling for the establishment of the oath of loyalty by 
teachers and all employes of the State educational institutions, a law 
which is a direct response to the campaign of Hearst and which is 
along the lines of the notorious Ives Law in New York. This is such 
an open reactionary measure that no Republican in the State of Con- 
necticut could be found to introduce it, and a section of the Republicans 
are criticizing this proposal as too reactionary for them. 

At the same time there are even more serious things going on in 
Connecticut. McLevy's group in the State legislature has formed an 



SITUATION IN THE SOCIALIST PARTY 281 

alliance with the Republican party for the control of the State. Local 
newspapers are openly speaking about the fact that McLevy, as they 
say, "is becoming too big for his Party." McLevy is now a very seri- 
ous factor in State politics, more serious than his Party. They do not 
take his Party so seriously, McLevy they take very seriously. They 
have excellent reasons to take him seriously, because he is going along 
with all the measures of the Republicans in his State. At such a time 
as this, in face of the fact that the Socialist Party organization went 
on record against the sales tax in Connecticut, McLevy has openly been 
working for the sales tax and includes the revenues from it in his pro- 
posed budget for the city of Bridgeport. 

It is generally known and discussed in Connecticut that McLevy is 
negotiating a form whereby his alliance with the Republicans will be 
made more organic and open with a view towards electing McLevy as 
the next governor of Connecticut with the support of the Republicans. 
The form of this fusion with the Republican Party may perhaps be 
covered by the name of "Labor Party." The Labor Party fig-leaf will 
be provided by a group of Republican A. F. of L. leaders in the State 
of Connecticut. It is quite within the realms of possibility that we 
may see this fusion with the Republican party in Connecticut with 
such a fake label of Labor Party and possibly we may see the fusion 
even without that fake label. We have in the figure of McLevy in 
Connecticut a perfect American imitation of Ramsay MacDonald. 

Meanwhile what is going on with the Revolutionary Policy Com- 
mittee? The R.P.C. has played a role which does not measure up in 
practice to the possibilities that it has within the Socialist Party. It 
has not been able to rally around itself the Left-wing trends, the revo- 
lutionary trends among the Socialist Party members. This weakness 
has been due to the lack of homogeneity in the R.P.C. leading group. 
It is not uniform either in ideas, or in social position, subject to vacilla- 
tions and retreats, which hamper its effectiveness as a revolutionary 
force. It tries to maneuver in this very complicated situation within 
the Socialist Party. Maneuvers are of course necessary in practical 
political life, but the trouble with the maneuvers of the R.P.C. is that 
most of them turn out to be retreats. They are maneuvers which are 
undertaken without having established any base to maneuver from, 
and without having established some advanced objective that they are 
maneuvering towards. The result is that most of their maneuvers de- 
generate into futility. For example, to illustrate this general criticism 
of the work of the R.P.C, we have their recent announcement that 
they had requested their former chairman and secretary, J. B. Matthews 
and Ruth Shallcross, to resign. Why did they request these leading 
figures to resign? Because the association embarrassed them in the 
inner-Party struggle since Matthews and Shallcross had published a 
book in which they came out very sharply and categorically against 



282 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

the Old Guard in New York and characterized them as counter-revo- 
lutionaries, and at the same moment Matthews had declared openly 
for serious united front activities. Surely any fighting Left wing 
within the Socialist Party should welcome the development of two of 
its leaders taking a strong and bold position in spite of previous vacilla- 
tions. But the R.P.C. seems to consider boldness as the most danger- 
ous thing in the inner-Party struggle and when two of its leaders 
become bold, they are asked to resign. 

These criticisms are made in the most friendly spirit. We are quite 
friendly disposed to the efforts of the R.P.C. to find the path of revo- 
lutionary struggle in the United States. 

Because we have a friendly attitude towards every revolutionary 
effort, no matter how confused, we consider that the best help is 
friendly criticism. This kind of politics in the fight within the So- 
cialist Party is merely dragging along at the tail of Norman Thomas 
and Centrism. It has the same relation towards the Thomas Centrist 
Militant group that Thomas has towards the Old Guard — the same 
formal opposition while surrendering the essential political positions. 

Why do we criticise the Thomas group so sharply? Because in 
practice it carries out the line of the Old Guard. That is something 
every Socialist worker must understand if he expects to travel along 
the revolutionary path. It is not possible to find the class struggle 
line while carrying out a policy which is daily surrender to those 
who are in secret alliance with the old political machines. What is true 
of Thomas and his group in relation to the Old Guard is true, in spite 
of all the best intentions, of the Revolutionary Policy Committee in 
relation to Thomas. Every time they attempt to be "clever tacti- 
cians," they repeat on a small scale what Thomas carries through in 
relation to the Old Guard. This is not serious politics. This is the 
politics of surrender, of Ramsay MacDonald — typical Social-Demo- 
cratic opportunism — and is not improved because it is dressed in nice 
revolutionary-sounding phrases. 

We have to speak so clearly, even when we are talking to the Revo- 
lutionary Policy Committee, whose intentions we have the greatest re- 
gard for. If our advice is worth anything to them, it has to be along 
these lines: take a bold and principled position and fight for it; estab- 
lish thereby a center around which can rally the large majority of 
workers who are really for united front of struggle, who are against 
the capitalists and the capitalist political machine. 

We think we know the members and followers of the Socialist Party 
even better than many leaders of the Socialist Party. We have had 
quite a bit of experience coming in contact with Socialist Party workers. 
When some Socialist leaders say to us: "Yes, we are for the united 
front personally, but the members are against it; and we believe in 
democracy," we answer: "We know your members better than you do. 



SITUATION IN THE SOCIALIST PARTY 283 

You cannot place the responsibility on the Socialist workers." No, 
that responsibility has to be placed on the leaders who are blocking 
the workers in achieving their desire which is to fight shoulder to 
shoulder with the Communists. 

If there is to be any stop put to the growing demoralization among 
the Socialist Party members and supporters; if we are to prevent a 
large mass of these workers from being disgusted and dropping out of 
activity; if we are to bring these members into the class struggle with- 
out allowing them to fall by the wayside — it is necessary that we 
Communists not only do everything to help these workers and establish 
working relations with them — (we are doing our best to overcome all 
our past weaknesses in this respect, we are learning how to work with 
all these workers) — while we do this, we have a perfect right to call 
on those who aspire to revolutionary leadership among the Socialist 
Party workers, to ask them to adopt effective tactics of the united 
front, to come out boldly and courageously, raising high the banner of 
working-class unity, and to join their efforts with ours in this fight for 
the uniting of all the revolutionary forces of the working class. 

It is in the light of our most earnest and sincere desire to achieve 
this unification as quickly and effectively as possible that we criticize 
the past and to some extent the present tactic of the Revolutionary 
Policy Committee elements and many who are associated with them in 
the struggles now going on in the Socialist Party. 

There is a burning necessity for unity on the every-day issues of 
the class struggle. There is a necessity that that unity be fought for 
everywhere where workers are organized. The issue of the Workers' 
Bill (HR 2827) is merely an outstanding example of a dozen issues 
upon which working-class unity can and must be built, such as unifica- 
tion of the unemployed organizations, the strike struggles and building 
the trade unions, the program of the American League Against War 
and Fascism. The Communists are prepared to cooperate with every- 
one who is ready to fight for that unity. We are sure that the final 
solution of all problems of class struggle will only be achieved when 
one party — the Communist Party — has won the leadership of the over- 
whelming mass. But we recognize that this process of organic unity 
goes through a period more or less protracted. We must at once estab- 
lish a unity which begins with and is forged around immediate issues 
that can unite groups and organizations of different ideologies and po- 
litical opinions. It is this immediate united front we are fighting for 
now because it represents not only the life needs of the masses today, 
but it also represents the highway towards revolutionary achievements 
and struggles, toward the defeat of our class enemies, towards revolu- 
tion and the reconstruction of society. 

This is why we fight for unity. It is from this point of view we 
evaluate current events in the Socialist Party. 



XVI 

The Communist Position on the Labor 
Party Question * 

The Communist Party is now discussing the change in tactics pro- 
posed by its Central Committee on the question of a Labor Party. 
After five years in which we opposed all proposals to make the Labor 
Party a practical issue, we have now changed this negative attitude, 
we now come forward as the advocates of a Labor Party to be built 
upon the basis of federating the trade unions and other workers' mass 
organizations, on a platform of the immediate issues of the class struggle. 
We make no change in principle in the Party line. Our approach 
remains the same as that formulated in the Sixth World Congress, in 
1928, which, on the proposal of Stalin, resolved unanimously: 

On the question of the organizing of a Labor Party, the Congress resolves : 
That the Party concentrate its attention on the work in the trade unions, on 
organizing the unorganized, etc., and in this way lay the basis for the practi- 
cal realization of the slogan of a broad Labor Party organized from below. 

This decision registered the fact that the issue of a Labor Party, as a 
practical mass question, had passed into the background. Since 1929, 
any attempt at a Labor Party could only have resulted in either a new 
appendage to the old parties of the bourgeoisie, or else a mere sub- 
stitute for the Communist Party with all its weaknesses and none of its 
strength. 

The events of 1934 begin to place this question in a new light. Mass 
disintegration of the old two-party system has begun. A new mass 
party, to the left of and in opposition to Roosevelt, will in all probability 
occupy the foreground by the time of the 1936 presidential elections. 

For the opportunists and renegades this is the end of the question, 
but for us this is only the beginning. For them this development is 
welcomed because it contains within itself the opportunity to find sub- 
stitutes for the Communist Party, find means to lead the masses away 
from class struggle into class collaboration, find the channel to lead 
those who break away from one bourgeois party immediately into an- 
other essentially the same. We Communists look for precisely the 
opposite elements of the situation, we seek to make the break with the 
old parties mean a break with the bourgeoisie, we seek to lead these 

* Speech at St. Nicholas Palace, New York, February 10, 1935. — Ed. 

284 



COMMUNIST POSITION ON THE LABOR PARTY 285 

masses onto the path of class struggle, to break the power of the class- 
collaboration leadership, to bring the working class face to face with the 
problem of state power, the problem of which class shall wield this 
power. 

Thus in no way do we bring forward the Labor Party as a substitute 
for the Communist Party. For us, it is merely a part of our struggle 
to build and strengthen the Communist Party itself among the masses, 
to extend its authority, to root its principles, tactics and organization 
deeper among the masses. We stress this even more today, precisely 
because life itself places the Labor Party as a practical question of the 
moment; precisely because we are now pledging our readiness to 
actively participate in the establishment of a Labor Party, all the more 
must we insist that the Communist Party is the indispensable weapon 
of the working class, without which it can neither fight successfully 
for its immediate needs nor find the way out of capitalist oppression 
into the new socialist society. 

To successfully bring those millions now being disillusioned about 
the New Deal, over fully to the revolutionary path, is, however, a 
process that can only be completed over a period in which their own 
experience teaches them, and in which the persistent, unwavering, grow- 
ing work of the Communist Party completes their education. 

Every day brings new evidence of the extremely rapid breaking of 
the old political bonds. Events of the past two weeks are of historic 
importance in this respect. Roosevelt's decision on the Jennings Case, 
in which he threw the Government on to the side of the newspaper 
publishers and against the Newspaper Men's Guild (incidentally for- 
getting in most cynical fashion, his direct demagogic promises to the 
officers of the Guild) was the first open repudiation of the demagogy 
which has become famous as the National Run Around. Heywood 
Broun, president of the Guild, coined a clever bon-mot when, com- 
menting on this decision, he said: "The newspaper owners cracked 
down on the President, and the President cracked-up." But this wise- 
crack could not hide the fact that what really cracked-up was Broun's 
illusions about Roosevelt and the New Deal. It had become impos- 
sible any longer to maintain the fiction that Roosevelt's administration 
does, or wishes to, aid the labor movement ; the fact has emerged before 
the eyes of millions that Roosevelt heads the offensive of monopoly 
capital in its determination to save profits at the cost of the degrada- 
tion of the life of the masses. Broun, who used to write laudations 
of Roosevelt in his column in the Scripps-Howard newspapers, who 
regularly reproved the Communists for their "short-sighted" opposi- 
tion to and exposure of Roosevelt and the New Deal, is silenced on 
these questions in his column, since his new "revelation." His boasted 
"freedom of the press" was freedom only to praise Roosevelt and damn 
the Communists. As a trade union executive whose organization has 



286 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

felt the heel of Roosevelt's boot on its face, he must find other channels 
for his protests. Broun's education is important only because it typifies 
a similar process going on in the minds of millions. 

Roosevelt's renewal of the automobile code and the Wolman Board, 
which even Wm. Green and the A. F. of L. Council did not dare go 
along with any longer, even though they were jointly responsible with 
Roosevelt for its establishment last March, has brought the whole 
question to a head. Green himself is forced to repeat the words of 
the Communist Party, that the New Deal is introducing fascism. Just 
a month after the C. P. announced its present Labor Party policy, 
Green finds it necessary to "threaten" Roosevelt with the prospect of 
a Labor Party led by the A. F. of L. Executive Council. Such a threat 
by Green cannot frighten Roosevelt very much, knowing as he does by 
practical experience, the narrow limits of the "fighting" ability of these 
"leaders," but behind that is the more real threat of a Labor Party over 
the heads of Green & Co., just as the real strike threat is never that 
voiced by the A. F. of L. leaders, but that which threatens to go over 
their heads. 

At the 53rd Convention of the A. F. of L., the Communists called 
for the withdrawal of all trade union representation in the New Deal 
committees and Labor Boards; we were denounced as impossibilists 
and disrupters by Green, by Thomas, by Lovestone. Today Green & 
Co. are forced to take the path we pointed out then, or stand forever 
discredited before their membership. 

The open bankruptcy of the A. F. of L. — Socialist Party leadership's 
policy towards the New Deal, creates at once the most serious danger 
of destruction of the trade union movement by the sharpened capitalist 
attack, and at the same time the opportunity to revive the trade unions 
with a new policy and a new leadership. Equally important, it opens 
wide the doors of the labor movement for the development of a real 
mass Labor Party. The change for a deep-going regeneration of the 
trade unions is exemplified, above all, by the most promising and 
healthy rank-and-file movement that has arisen among the steel workers 
in the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers, which 
the officials are combating with terrorism and mass expulsions. 

Not a single argument of the slightest plausibility can longer be 
raised, in the light of these events, against the decision on Labor Party 
policy adopted by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. 
Already it has been endorsed by the overwhelming majority of our 
membership, without a single vote against it, and with only a few 
scattering abstentions. What remains, however, is the mastering of 
the thousands of detailed problems involved in carrying this policy out 
in life. It depends upon our practical work to decide what this policy 
will look like in life. 

The major problem connected with the Labor Party is the fight to 



COMMUNIST POSITION ON THE LABOR PARTY 287 

prevent the mass movement of millions, breaking away from the old 
parties, to be drawn into the channels of a third capitalist party, a 
"progressive" party of the LaFoUette type. 

There does not yet exist a clearly-defined Labor Party movement. 
There is only the beginning of a mass break-away, within which a 
struggle is going on between two main class forces. These two forces 
are those who, on the one hand, will move heaven and earth to prevent 
this movement going beyond the limits of the fundamental interests 
of monopoly capital, of profits and private property in the means of 
production; and, on the other hand, those who would throw this move- 
ment into struggle against capital, for the preservation and improve- 
ment of living standards at the cost of profits and private property of 
the rich. 

Our main political task among the million-masses is to bring out 
clearly these two antagonistic class forces, to differentiate the general 
movement into these two main camps, to raise the issues of this struggle 
so sharply and clearly that the millions can see and understand, and to 
secure thereby the defeat and isolation of the leaders who are the agents 
of capital in this movement, trying to direct it into channels harmless 
to Wall Street. 

The leaders and groups which typify the pro-capitalist tendency, 
are the LaFollettes, the Upton Sinclairs, the Olsons, the Huey Longs; 
they are being joined by that part of the Socialist Party leadership 
t5T3ified by Louis Waldman and the right-wing New York Committee; 
William Green threatens to join them, and may even be forced to do 
so before long. But it is clear that a party dominated by such a leader- 
ship, even if it called itself a Labor Party, would only be another edition 
of the LaFoUette movement of 1924, which in a previous period of 
upheaval, led the movement off into a blind alley, betrayed it, and 
dispersed it. 

Against such a party, organized from above by such leaders and 
controlled by them, the Communists must fight, allying ourselves with 
all loyal fighters for a Labor Party of struggle against capital. 

In this struggle, we must guard against two deviations, two errors, 
which will appear again and again, in all sorts of disguises. First, is 
the error of narrowing down the broad class-struggle section of the 
movement only to its revolutionary wing, to those who accept the class 
struggle clear up to and including the revolutionary overthrow of 
capitalism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Against such a 
narrowing tendency we must fight, demanding the fullest united front of 
all who are ready for the militant fight for the immediate demands 
of the workers, for support to the trade union struggles, strikes, etc.; 
for the Workers' Unemplo5mient, Old Age and Social Insurance Bill 
(HR 2827) ; for Negro rights, for civil rights generally, against develop- 
ing fascism and war, and for a Labor Party democratically controlled 



288 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

from below. Beyond these basic items, there should be no further test 
of loyalty to a real Labor Party, except the actual carrying out of a 
disciplined and organized fight for these things. 

The second error, or deviation, which must be guarded against, is 
that of compromising with, or failing to struggle against, the enemy 
camp within the general mass movement, with the top trade union 
bureaucracy, with the LaFollettes, the Olsons, the Sinclairs, the Longs, 
the Waldmans. The Labor Party is not, for us Commimists, a means 
of making peace with these gentlemen, but on the contrary a means 
to make more effective war, to defeat them and isolate them from the 
masses. Unless this dominates all our thought and activity, we will 
be certain to make damaging opportunist mistakes which objectively 
betray the interests of the masses. 

To what extent do we propose that the Communists shall take initia- 
tive in bringing about the formation of such a Party as we endorse? 
We propose the fullest immediate initiative by all Communists, every- 
where, in raising this question, discussing it among the masses, and 
bringing the organizations to adopt resolutions of support for such a 
movement, thus creating the solid foundation to bring such a party into 
existence. 

We do not propose to initiate at once a movement to organize such 
a Labor Party on a national scale. Before that is done, we want all 
the political-class issues involved in the party and its program to be 
raised clearly before the masses; we want to give the masses the 
opportunity of an intelligent choice between the class-struggle line we 
propose, and the class-collaboration line of the enemy camp. It is the 
opportunists, the reformists, the conscious social-fascists, who want to 
rush quickly into the organizational crystallization of the Labor Party 
from the top, on a national scale, before the masses below have had a 
chance to prepare themselves for an effective participation in deciding 
the character and form of the Party. We, on the contrary, base our- 
selves upon the masses m the lower organizations, in the localities. And 
in the localities we find many places where the issues are more clear, 
the movement more matured than is true on a national scale. In all 
such localities, the moment the time seems to be ripe, we urge all who 
follow us to join in taking the initiative for the formation of a local 
Labor Party of the sort we have described. A measure of ripeness for 
such a move is to be seen in whether or not the majority, or a consider- 
able section, of the local trade unions and other workers' organizations, 
are ready for participation in the movement. 

The question is being asked, would the formation of a local or State 
Labor Party mean that the Communist Party would disappear from the 
ballot, would cease to conduct its own independent campaign? The 
answer to this is: No, by no means. The Communist Party, par- 
ticipating in such a Labor Party, would register its own ticket on the 



COMMUNIST POSITION ON THE LABOR PARTY 289 

ballot, placing in nomination the same candidates who are named by 
the Labor Party as a whole. It would conduct its independent cam- 
paign, urging all workers to vote the Labor ticket, and urging all who 
agree with the necessity to strengthen the revolutionary section to vote 
Labor through the Communist list which contains the same names. 
This technique of elections is a common-place in American election 
procedure, which time and again has seen the same candidates appear 
on different tickets. This is done even among the big capitalist parties; 
thus, in California last November, Hiram Johnson was nominated on 
Republican, Democratic and Commonwealth tickets. The technique 
these gentlemen use for their own opportunist, capitalist aims, we can 
appropriate for our own revolutionary needs. 

The key to the break-away of the masses from the Roosevelt New 
Deal is in the economic struggles, in the trade unions. The present 
struggles in auto and steel are the center, and give the type, of the 
process which we must hasten, further develop, and guide into correct 
channels. 

It is therefore clear that all achievements in the fight for a Labor 
Party will, in the first place, depend upon fearless, energetic, and correct 
work in the unions of the A. F. of L., upon the leadership of economic 
struggles, and especially the strike movement. Our Labor Party 
policy, therefore, depends upon and is an outgrowth of, our general 
trade union policy and practice. The changes in this field, which we 
are now completing after a year of cautious experiment and testing of 
our ground, have proved their correctness up to the hilt, have kept us 
among and at the head of the most important mass struggles and 
movements. The Party membership has already mastered most of the 
lessons of this changed trade union policy. It will more quickly 
master the Labor Party policy in all its details, when it understands this 
as only a further extension of the trade imion policy, of the whole 
struggle for the united working-class front against capital. 



XVII 

For National Liberation of the Negroes! 
War Against White Chauvinism ! * 

I HAVE purposely refrained from preparing a formal report, my pur- 
pose being to give the views of the Central Committee as informally 
as possible. I want to speak fully, frankly, and intimately about all 
the problems, especially the incidents showing the influence of white 
chauvinism, that have arisen in the school. I hope it will be possible 
to make this a Party meeting in the fullest sense of the word, that no 
one comes here with any reservations whatever, that we will liquidate 
all differences and unify the Party on the basis of the single Bolshevik 
approach, of one Bolshevik line. 

We approach our problems here by speaking first of all of the Party, 
because we have failed to find a clear understanding among the stu- 
dents that the Party and its Leninist theory is the only possible instru- 
ment for solving our problems. On the contrary, we found a tendency 
toward groupings, toward a division of the Party members, instead of 
unification. The disintegrative tendency had affected the entire student 
body. We consider this to be one of our gravest problems, because 
when the unity of the Party is threatened, when groups of Party mem- 
bers begin to look toward group tendencies and attitudes for solution 
of their problems rather than toward the Party, then we are in a bad 
way, for then we are in danger of losing the only instrument whereby 
our problem can be solved. 

Wliy do we have such problems as these white-chauvinist mistakes by 
our white comrades? Are these problems in the school of an accidental 
nature, or have they a connection with the state of our struggle among 
the masses? I think we will entirely fail to understand these problems 
in the school, of relation between white and Negro students, unless we 
take them in direct connection with the problems of the mass struggle 
arising in the United States. 

What have we in the U. S. A. today? We have an unprecedented 
economic crisis which has shattered the old mass illusions about "per- 
manent prosperity," and the new ''Victorian Age" of American impe- 
rialism. The crisis has gone so deep that it has plunged large sections 

♦Extracts from a report to a meeting of American students, on behalf of the 
Central Committee, Communist Party of U. S. A,, on the subject of the struggle 
for Negro rights in connection with the relation between white and Negro students 
in the School, in 1932.— JEd. 

290 



AGAINST WHITE CHAUVINISM 291 

of the working class into starvation, is submerging sections of the 
lower middle classes and farmers, and is sharpening every antagonism, 
every contradiction, of American society. 

In the past year the C. P. U. S. A. has been able in this situation 
to mobilize increasing masses of the oppressed for struggle against these 
conditions. We have proved the effectiveness of the Party line by cer- 
tain results in the fields of struggle, in strikes against wage-cuts and 
speed-up, building the revolutionary unions; in mass struggles for 
unemployment relief and insurance, for building the Unemployed Coun- 
cils; and the struggle for Negro rights, mobilizing white and black 
workers for joint battle on concrete issues. We have shown that our 
program is correct, and that we are beginning to find the forms and 
methods of work, whereby it can be brought into life among the 
masses. We must approach our inner problems upon the basis of these 
mass struggles. 

Among the political advances of our Party during 193 1, the most 
decisive was precisely in the struggle for Negro rights. In what did 
these victories consist? In this, that the Party raised concretely the 
issues of Negro rights on the basis of the Leninist program on the 
national question, and aroused masses of Negroes and also of whites, 
to struggle upon these concrete issues. The masses have responded to 
our program, and in the struggle there has begun a sharp class differ- 
entiation among the Negroes. 

Our Party for many years has raised the slogan of struggle for Negro 
rights. Why have we only now begun to arouse mass struggles? 
There are objective and subjective reasons for this. First, the results 
of the crisis, which fall heaviest upon the Negro masses, including the 
sharpening repression and lynch terror. The second includes pri- 
marily the improved work of our Party, based upon clarification of its 
political line and its concretization in immediate issues and daily 
struggles. 

The reason for our comparative lack of success in the previous years 
cannot be found in lack of sincerity, determination, energy, in carrying 
on our work. There were weaknesses in these matters, but the main ex- 
planation was the unclarity of our program, the lack of Leninist theo- 
retical approach to the Negro question. Because we failed concretely 
to apply Bolshevik theory we fell into errors in the nature of bourgeois 
liberalism, and of a social-democratic approach to the Negro masses. 
We tended in practice to approach them with the attitude of bourgeois- 
liberal humanitarianism, unrelated to the consideration of the Negro 
masses as an oppressed nation. We failed to develop the Bolshevik 
conception of the Negro question, in sharp contradiction to all the 
varieties of bourgeois thought. Consequently, we fell into the position 
of competing with bourgeois liberalism on its own terms, dragging at 
its tail. 



292 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

It was the assistance of the Comintern which enabled us to overcome 
these fatal weaknesses on the Negro question. The Bolshevik program 
on the Negro question was not simply a generalization of our own 
experiences in America. It was an application of Lenin's program on 
the national question which summarized the world experience of gener- 
ations of revolutionary struggle and especially the experiences of the 
revolutionary solution of the national question in the Soviet Union. 
We could not have arrived at our program only upon the basis of our 
own American experience. It was the existence of the World Party 
of Communism which made possible for us the elaboration of a correct 
Leninist program on the Negro question. 

Have we used this program? Yes, only a beginning, but still suffi- 
cient to prove how tremendously powerful it is. But, comrades, we have 
not made the entire Party master of this powerful weapon, and there- 
fore our progress lags far, far behind its possibilities — and necessities. 

We can mention three or four high points in our work in the past 
year, which stirred the masses. First, was the war against white 
chauvinism, which we dramatized in the now famous Yokmen trial. 
We seized upon an incident of discrimination against a Negro by a 
member of our Party, held a public mass trial, which proved the guilt 
of white chauvinism, and expelled the guilty one from the Party. 

It is impossible for the Communist Party to lead the struggle for 
Negro liberation unless it begins by burning out of its own ranks every 
manifestation and trace of the influence of white chauvinism, of the 
bourgeois system of ideas of Negro inferiority which stinks of the 
slave market. The Yokinen trial was mass propaganda for this be- 
ginning of the struggle. 

The purpose of our work on the Negro question is to establish unity 
of white and black proletariat in a common struggle to overthrow 
capitalism, and the leadership of the proletariat over the Negro masses 
in the struggle for their national liberation. The purpose of the ruling 
bourgeoisie is to destroy this unification, and to establish the leadership 
of the bourgeoisie over the Negro masses. The main ideological weapon 
of the bourgeoisie is that of white chauvinism; secondarily, it makes 
use of Negro nationalist tendencies. Therefore white chauvinism is the 
main enemy, against which we must conduct an intolerant war of ex- 
termination, against all its forms, open and concealed, a war of political 
fire and sword. That was the meaning of the Yokinen trial. 

At first we expected only our Party and its close sympathizers to be 
interested and affected by the Yokinen trial. But we received a surprise 
and a great political lesson. We learned that the Bolshevik idea is so 
powerful that when we began to apply it seriously even within the 
confines of our own Party, this becomes sensational news for all America. 
The trial was reported at length with photographs by every important 
newspaper in America. Why? In the first place, because all America 



AGAINST WHITE CHAUVINISM 293 

was interested in a public challenge dramatically flung into the face 
of a basic bourgeois principle of social relationships in America. Sec- 
ondly, the bourgeoisie thought by this publicity to arouse a storm of 
white chauvinism against us. They were mistaken. There was mass 
interest, the entire country was "shocked" to hear of such a bold chal- 
lenge to the "American institution" of Jim-Crowism. But instead of a 
storm against our Party, the result was a big wave of sympathy and 
approval, in the first place among the Negro masses, but also among 
the white workers. This shows us how the smallest events inside of 
our Party may have most profound consequences among the masses. 
This applies both ways, favorably and unfavorably. Our mistakes drive 
the masses away from us, while a firm Bolshevik line draws them to 
us. The expulsion of Yokinen, expressing our declaration of war against 
white chauvinism, exerted a tremendous influence to draw the Negro 
masses closer to us. At the same time we must say, that whenever we 
allow to go unchallenged within our Party, any manifestation, even the 
smallest and most indirect, of white chauvinism, this echoes and re- 
echoes among the masses and drives them away from us. The Negro 
masses know everything that goes on in our Party that relates to the 
Negro question. It is not possible for us to extend our political in- 
fluence among them except upon the basis of daily, continuous, un- 
compromising, relentless war against every manifestation of white 
chauvinism. 

Soon after the Yokinen trial, followed the mass struggle to save the 
nine boys at Scottsboro from legal lynching. If we had not previously 
had the experience of the Yokinen trial, probably the Scottsboro boys 
would have become merely another item in the long list of Negro 
lynchings which disgrace America daily. If our Party had not been 
awakened, made politically alert on the Negro question, by the Yokinen 
trial, then in all likelihood the Scottsboro boys would have been executed 
with little ceremony and less protest as so many hundreds and thousands 
of others equally innocent have been. But because the Communist 
Party had been politically armed and prepared, this made it possible 
to seize upon the Scottsboro case for a national mobilization of protest 
and struggle which aroused large masses throughout the country, and 
even throughout the world. 

We had many weaknesses in the Scottsboro struggle. But on the 
whole, we must say the Party conducted it correctly and with great 
effect among the masses. Already in this struggle we begin to achieve 
a sharp beginning of the process of class differentiation among the 
Negroes. At first, the Negro bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaders and 
newspapers were thrown into confusion by the Communist raising of 
the Scottsboro issue so widely and effectively. In the first days some 
of them came out in our support. But very quickly the deep-going 
nature of the Communist appeal to the masses frightened them and 



294 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

forced these petty-bourgeois elements to turn sharply against us, and 
to make common cause with the Southern state power of the lynching 
white bourgeoisie. Very soon we had the mass movement, on one side, 
headed by the Communist Party and sympathetic organizations; while 
on the other side, we had the lynch-law government, the Negro petty- 
bourgeois leaders, the Socialist Party and the white liberals; and these 
two sides engaged in the sharpest political struggle. This was a tre- 
mendous step forward in the education of the masses. It threw a 
searchlight upon the machinery of class rule in America, for all to see. 
Here we begin to see the slogan of unity of white and black workers, 
taking on its full political significance, while the masses begin to under- 
stand that the Communists are quite different from the liberal hu- 
manitarians who speak of "human brotherhood" and "class peace," but 
tolerate and actively support the machinery of legal and extra-legal 
lynchings and Jim-Crowism. 

In the midst of the Scottsboro campaign we made another political 
step forward, in the struggle of the Negro share-croppers in Camp 
Hill. This battle was the first struggle directly resulting from our 
penetration of the Black Belt, of the agrarian population. It brought 
out the basic question of the Negroes as a nation, the question of the 
land and land-tenure, the question of the agrarian revolution, the over- 
throwing of the semi-feudal agrarian relationships. While immediately 
Camp Hill was only a struggle for certain partial demands, and cor- 
rectly so, it threw a bright light upon the basic problem of the land, 
and thereby became a political milestone in the development of our 
Negro work. 

We have other experiences of political importance. For example, in 
Detroit we were able to hook up together the struggle for Negro rights 
with the struggle for protection of the foreign-born workers, by a joint 
movement of the Scottsboro case and against the alien registration law 
of Michigan. This effectively countered the efforts of the bourgeoisie to 
develop among the Negroes anti-foreign sentiment on the grounds 
that "foreigners are taking away the jobs of American Negroes," and 
anti-Negro sentiment among the foreign-bom on the basis of white 
chauvinism. When two such struggles are united together they take 
on multiplied political importance and power. Our Communist Party 
is the only organization that can even conceive the idea of such fusion 
of the two mass movements for joint effort. 

In Chicago and Cleveland, we had a higher development of unity 
of white and black in mass action, in the protest movements against 
the police massacre of Negro workers fighting against eviction of unem- 
ployed workers from their homes. These movements led by the Party 
and Unemployed Councils stirred the masses to their depths. In Chi- 
cago, more than 60,000 white and Negro workers marched shoulder 
to shoulder in the streets in defiance of police prohibitions, supported 



AGAINST WHITE CHAUVINISM 295 

by 50,000 more in the meetings in addition to the marchers. Before 
this demonstration the capitalist press was openly agitating and organ- 
izing for a repetition of the so-called "race riots" of 1919, when they 
tried to smash the union of slaughterhouse workers by instigating 
armed struggle between white and black masses; the demonstration 
on August 8, effectively smashed these efforts, and instead of "race 
riots," the bourgeoisie was forced to begin to talk about "the menace 
of unemployed riots led by the Communists." In Cleveland the same 
experience was repeated on the smaller scale called for by the smaller 
size of the population involved. These two mass actions greatly stimu- 
lated the growth of the Unemployed Councils; previously the white 
and Negro workers were slow to come into the Councils, but after they 
experienced the tremendous power of joint actions on the streets when 
white and black fought shoulder to shoulder, fighting for the demands 
of the unemployed and for Negro rights in particular, masses began 
to flock into the Councils. The greatest success of the Unemployed 
Councils followed directly from the taking up of the mass struggle 
for Negro rights. 

Comrades, I have spoken at length about our experiences lately in 
the mass struggle in order to show, first of all, how everything that 
touches upon the Negro question is for our Party a question of funda- 
mental principle importance, a matter of life and death. This is equally 
true of the questions that have arisen among the students in the school. 
When we saw our students dividing themselves into groups, fighting 
among themselves, with the main line of division being whites versus 
Negroes, it was at once clear to us that we are dealing with the influ- 
ence of bourgeois ideas among our students, the influence of an enemy 
class, which could take effect because our students have been insuf- 
ficiently armed with Bolshevik theory. Just as the tremendous prob- 
lems of the mass struggle in America require the instrument of Bolshevik 
theory to solve, so also do the smallest problems in the school. 

We have a difficult situation among the students; relations are 
strained and passions are inflamed. But it is not impossible of solu- 
tion, if we can secure the collaboration of every Party member, upon 
the Party line, to raise these questions to a political level and apply 
Bolshevik theory. The Central Committee of our Party is determined 
that such a scandalous, disgraceful situation of white and Negro Party 
members quarreling among themselves, unable to unite in daily prac- 
tical work, shall be immediately liquidated. 

Have we the ability within ourselves to overcome these difficulties? 
I think we have. Let me recall to your minds the words of Comrade 
Stalin, when he pointed out that "our difficulties are such that they 
contain within them the possibility of overcoming them." This also 
applies to our present problems. For you students, members of the 



296 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

C. P. U. S. A., the meaning is that, by coming together as members 
of one Bolshevik Party, by applying in practice our Bolshevik theory, 
we will find everything necessary to solve these problems. 

Of course, we will fail to solve our problem if we look outside of 
ourselves for the solution. There is no magic formula, no vague 
^'higher power," which will come and do the job for us. This meeting 
here, your collective and individual participation in it, must provide 
everything necessary to set into motion such forces as weld solidly to- 
gether, in unbreakable unity, the white and black members of our 
Party for our common Party purposes, and liquidate every trace of 
the influence of enemy class ideas, first of all, of white chauvinism. 

It is my distinct impression that among the students there has been 
a process of disintegration, of breaking up into groups and grouplets. 
Perhaps there are no definitely crystallized groups, but the tendency 
has affected the entire student body. The main reason for this is, 
that when faced by certain mistakes by some white comrades in the 
direction of white chauvinism, the student body as a whole was not 
sufficiently mature politically to squarely face this situation and liqui- 
date it. Instead, there developed a subjective and personal approach, 
and then to form groupings to solve the problem. Immediately, this 
resulted in the rise of a great zeal to find and correct the mistakes, not 
of one's self and one's little group, but of someone else and another 
group. I must say that there has been no lack of zeal among the 
students for the correction of mistakes — but always the mistakes of the 
other person. There is no eagerness for self-correction. But it is clear 
that mistakes have been general, both political and practical, and 
that what is required is a general self -correction and joint effort of 
the student body as a united fraction of our Party. Unfortunately, 
our students were insufficiently armed with Bolshevik theory for this 
task. 

If you, students, had sufficiently understood the Leninist theory of 
the national question, how could the white comrades have left the task 
to the Negro comrades of correcting the errors of white chauvinism? 
No one denies that white chauvinist errors were committed; but we do 
not see white comrades coming forward as the champions for their 
correction, as is your duty. On the contrary, the white comrades had 
the tendency to admit such errors only to pass on at once to the de- 
tailed examination of errors of the Negro comrades, which they put 
in the foreground, and to also develop some really grotesque ideas of 
how to solve the problem. 

It is not my purpose in this report to deal with the particular errors 
and identify them upon certain individuals. That must be done, but 
I am not the best person to do it, because I have not the closest ac- 
quaintance with the details of these errors and their authors. Who 
is best qualified to really expose each particular error? I think the 



AGAINST WHITE CHAUVINISM 297 

person who committed the error could do this best. In the name of 
the Central Committee I invite each one of you to expose and com- 
bat your own errors; we will help you, and if it is then insufficiently 
done, we will supplement your self-criticism. It is necessary to attack 
individuals only when they defend their mistakes; when they join with 
us to attack the mistakes, then we are all on one side fighting shoulder 
to shoulder, the mistakes are on the other side and will thus be driven 
out of our ranks. Anyone who holds tightly to a mistake, refuses to 
abandon it, considers it is an essential part of himself which he must 
protect at all costs, such a person and only such will find himself in 
conflict with the Central Committee and eventually outside the Party. 

What are the mistakes that have been made? They have been con- 
cessions to white chauvinism; setting up artificial separation between 
white and Negro comrades during the journey to the school; a pater- 
nalistic attitude toward Negro comrades by white comrades, assuming 
direction of their daily behavior; failing to correct such mistakes when 
they occurred, insufficient political sensitivity to the meaning of such 
mistakes ; efforts to counter one mistake of white chauvinism by setting 
up against it a mistake of Negro nationalist character; allowing the 
development of bad personal relations, calling of names of "bourgeois 
nationalist" and "f actionalist" ; development of ideas of systematic 
separation of white and Negro, in a proposal of a "Negro Federation" 
within the Communist Party; and so forth. Further, there was a 
tendency to minimize the political importance of the whole situation. 

These mistakes were contained in what have been described by some 
comrades as "very little" incidents. But comrades, you must under- 
stand that it is precisely such "little" things inside the Party that are 
the most dangerous because most difficult to combat and eradicate. It 
is comparatively easy to fight open, unashamed white chauvinism. 
There is no particular merit in that inside the Party, because there is 
and can be no such manifestations of white chauvinism tolerated inside. 
White chauvinists who should happen to find themselves inside our 
Party are quickly expelled without ceremony. Therefore, all mani- 
festations of the influence of white chauvinism within the Party always 
and necessarily take on a more or less concealed form, in some "little" 
incident. We must, as Bolsheviks, have a keen political nose for such 
hidden chauvinism, drag it out in the open and liquidate it, without 
vulgarizing the struggle or creating anything where it does not really 
exist. That is a test of our ability to defend the Bolshevik line, tested 
in practice by our ability to develop daily solidarity between white 
and Negro comrades in the common work. 

Were these mistakes the results of bad intentions? I am sure they 
were not. I am sure the comrades involved were shocked to find they 
had fallen victims to bourgeois ideology. But there is an old saying: 
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The comrades, in 



298 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

spite of the best of intentions, fell into the swamp of bourgeois ideol- 
ogy and the whole student body was soon floundering about in con- 
tradictions, unable to liquidate the situation. 

What was the basic cause of this helplessness? Is this such a bad 
body of students? No, I think it is on the whole, a very good body of 
students, of Communists. It represents a selected group of our best. 
But they all made one fundamental mistake, represented in its crassest 
form in the statement: "We are faced with a practical problem, not a 
problem of theory." 

Whenever we approach a problem from the viewpoint of narrow 
practicality, we will inevitably fall into rotten liberalism, a form of 
bourgeois degeneration. You should understand this now, since in our 
school we are studying at this moment the issues on the theoretical front 
in the Comintern. This should give you a keener appreciation of the 
practical implications of theory than before. The greatest weakness of 
our Party is still its low theoretical level, and the main purpose of your 
attendance at this school is to equip you with theory, not abstract 
theory, but Bolshevik theory, which means theory organically connected 
with daily life and practice. 

There have been some complaints that the discussions and struggles 
on these theoretical questions have interfered with the studies in the 
school and broken up the regularity of classes. Such a view is a com- 
pletely formal understanding, and separates theory from practice in 
such a way as to destroy the revolutionary significance of both. I want 
to read to you a quotation from Comrade Stalin on theory, which was 
used in the recent speech of Comrade Kaganovich. It is worth repeat- 
ing many times. Comrade Stalin said: 

Theory is the experience of the movement of all countries, taken in its 
general aspect. Theory becomes, naturally, objectless, if it is not connected 
with revolutionary practice, just as practice becomes blind if it fails to 
illuminate its path with revolutionary theory. But theory may become the 
greatest power of the workers' movement if it is indissolubly connected with 
revolutionary practice. Theory, and only theory, can add to the movement 
certainty, the power of orientation, and understanding of the inner connec- 
tion of surrounding events; theory, and only theory, may enable practice 
to understand not only how the classes are moving at present, but also how 
and where they must turn in the immediate future. 

It is precisely from this Bolshevik approach that we must say that 
the situation among the students is a disgraceful one, because it reveals 
that weakness, fundamental for a Bolshevik, of separation of our 
revolutionary theory from the practice of everyday life. We are not 
bourgeois liberals, humanitarians, ethical culturists. We are Bolsheviks, 
members of a fighting Party of the working class, who know that the 
only road to the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and the estab- 



AGAINST WHITE CHAUVINISM 299 

lishment of Communism is through welding together the iron unity of 
our Party, the vanguard, in relentless struggle against all the enemy- 
class ideology which penetrates into our ranks, as the prerequisite to 
the effective struggle against the class enemy physically. 

To the white comrades it is necessary to say openly: You are pri- 
marily responsible for the bad relationship, because through you it was 
possible for the bourgeois ideology of white chauvinism to be reflected 
in our school, which was the root of the situation. You were not 
sufficiently armed theoretically, not enough on your guard, against 
alien influences. You have not been Bolshevik enough. You must 
realize your responsibility. You must also make an end of the game 
of balancing off your mistakes as against those of the Negro com- 
rades, like a little shopkeeper balancing his petty books. You must 
realize that your mistakes are much more serious for our Party than 
those of the Negro comrades. If you cannot understand these things, 
then you are still unable to understand the fundamentals of the Leninist 
program on the national question. 

Does this mean that the Negro comrades have made no mistakes? 
No, they have also made mistakes, which we will speak of openly. 
And when we say those of the white comrades are much more serious, 
this does not mean that we minimize the importance of correcting the 
Negro comrades. Furthermore, the mistakes of Negro and white 
comrades are not disconnected. Every sort of deviation from the Bol- 
shevik line is a concession to the ideology of an enemy class. The 
white chauvinist mistakes were deviations in the direction of the 
American ruling imperialist bourgeoisie; those of the Negro comrades 
were deviations towards Negro bourgeois nationalism, in the main. 
These are two roads toward the same camp. 

We thus give the class characterization of these mistakes. At the 
same time it is necessary to speak sharply against those comrades who 
speak of the Negro comrades as "Negro nationalists," etc. This is not 
a Bolshevik method of criticism, it turns the attention away from the 
political problem toward the person, while our desire is the opposite, to 
raise the discussion above persons to political issues. Let there be a 
stop finally to this whole method of political discussion which consists 
in attaching an enemy label to a Party comrade; when the time comes 
for such labels, the discussion is over and the issue has become one of 
putting a non-Communist outside the ranks of our Party. 

Both deviations that came to the foreground in this discussion, would 
have the effect of serving the interests of the bourgeoisie, of American 
imperialism, by perpetuating the separation of the working class into 
two parts, white and Negro. It is therefore clear that we have to 
struggle on two fronts, simultaneously, against both deviations. The 
main front is that against the white imperialist ruling bourgeoisie, and 
the main danger is therefore white chauvinism, against which we must 



300 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

make intolerant systematic war of extermination. This struggle must 
be led by the white comrades, whose special duty it is to react sharply 
and quickly for struggle against every manifestation of white chauvinist 
influence. 

The front of struggle against Negro nationalism is more complicated 
and must be handled more carefully. With the beginning of class- 
differentiation among the Negroes, which we have noted during the 
Scottsboro campaign, the struggle on this front has become hot. This 
is our struggle against DuBois, Pickens, Kelly Miller, Walter White 
and Company of the N.A.A.C.P. (National Association for Advance- 
ment of Colored People), and against Garveyism. It is on this front 
that we especially need the services of our Negro comrades, fully 
armed with the weapons of Lenin's theories. Your work here in the 
school should be carried on especially with this in mind. How im- 
portant this is for our Party can be seen by the highly important place 
won by our Negro comrade, Harry Haywood, who is one of our lead- 
ing theoretical workers today, precisely by his contributions on this 
front. 

Comrades, my report was deliberately informal, because I feared that 
a well-prepared formal report might be taken formally. I have spoken 
extemporaneously, hoping thereby to come more intimately into your 
problems, and influence each of you to make an entirely new, fresh 
approach to the problems of your daily life. 

The questions you are dealing with practically today occupy a cen- 
tral place for our Party's development. This very situation must be 
looked upon as an important moment in the history of our Party, as 
a crucial test of our Party's ability to face and overcome first of all 
within itself those problems which must be faced and overcome in a 
thousand-fold intensified form in the development of the revolution. 
Thus, today is one of the important moments in our Party develop- 
ment. Each one of you, by the nature of your participation in our 
discussion, will decide how you are going to influence the future of 
our Party. 

That decision which each of you must make, is not the formal one 
of whether you hold up your hand for or against a resolution. We 
might all hold up our hands for the same resolution, but if we then 
go back into the school, not to remedy the present relationships but to 
make them worse than before, such a decision would be worse than 
a waste of time. No, the question each of you must answer is this: 
''Shall I join with the Central Committee, not only in voting for a 
resolution, but in transforming the whole life of the school, beginning 
with a transformation of my own part in it, toward complete unifica- 
tion on the basis of Leninist theory?" 

In the discussion that is to take place, it will be important what 



AGAINST WHITE CHAUVINISM 301 

each one of you will have to say. More important is, what are you 
thinking? One of the obstacles to achieving the results we wish from 
this meeting is that some of you are at this moment thinking such 
thoughts as this: "Yes, I will help the Central Committee; I will help 
by not saying what I really think." But that is precisely what will not 
help the Central Committee. It is your very thinking which is at the 
base of the whole problem, and if we cannot change your thoughts, 
so that your thinking helps to unify the Party, then your words are 
worth exactly nothing. With such thoughts you are repeating the 
mistake of Comrade Mintz, who, discussing the mistakes in the History 
of the C. P. S. U. tried to separate the "politically expedient" from 
the "objectively true." Such an attitude means one of two things: 
either one does not understand the fundamentals of dialectical ma- 
terialism, or one declares that the Communist Party can find "ex- 
pedient" that which is objectively false, which would mean a belief that 
the Party line is false. No, with such thoughts you cannot in any way 
help the Party. 

This problem in the school is not accidental, as we have shown. 
And it cannot be isolated to the school. Its effects will spread far 
beyond. It is our task to so transform it, that we find within it not 
only the immediate solution, but also transform this incident into a 
weapon to raise the whole struggle for Negro liberation to a higher 
level, and an instrument for the further Bolshevization of our cadres. 
That means that we must make such a discussion here, and conclude 
it with such a unanimous resolution, that can be spread far and wide as 
the best kind of repudiation of all slanders against our Party, and the 
best proof that our Party not only wants to fight against white chau- 
vinism, and for Negro liberation, but also that it knows how to make 
the fight, boldly and effectively. By taking part in this discussion 
now, you will be passing a real test of the Bolshevik qualities of a 
selected group of the leading cadres of the Communist Party of U. S. A. 

CONCLUDING REMARKS AFTER DISCUSSION 

Comrades, after some sixty speeches in two days' discussions, I am 
sure at this late hour no one expects a complete summary. Therefore 
I will speak only a few concluding words. 

In this discussion the line presented for the Central Committee has 
met a genuine response from the students, which is gratifying. It proves 
that the Central Committee did not make very big mistakes when it 
selected this student body; that it has basic Bolshevik qualities in 
spite of mistakes. We have made a good beginning of real self- 
criticism. But we cannot be satisfied with this ; this must start a proc- 
ess in the daily life of the school, and only then has it permanent 
significance. 

In our discussion we have spoken about the struggle for Leninism 



302 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

now going on on the theoretical front in the Comintern. In the light 
of our discussion, which has been a step forward for our Party in 
concretely applying Bolshevik theory to daily life, in liquidating the 
gap between theory and practice, we can say that we have begun to 
carry the line of Comrade Stalin's letter into the life of the Com- 
munist Party of the U. S. A. 

A few words must be spoken about some general problems raised 
in the discussion. First as to the extent of white chauvinism among 
the workers in the United States and in our Party. Two errors must 
be guarded against on this question. One is, to try to find some me- 
chanical limitation to the influence of white chauvinism among the 
workers. While it is correct to speak of the labor aristocracy as the 
special bearers of white chauvinist influence among the workers, be- 
cause this aristocracy finds a material interest in Negro subjection, it 
is not correct to limit this influence to the aristocracy of labor. White 
chauvinist influence penetrates as deeply among the workers as the 
whole influence of bourgeois ideology; that means, just so far as we 
have not broken it down by revolutionary education and re-education 
of the workers. There is a limited spontaneous breaking down of 
white chauvinism among the workers, but on the whole we can safely 
say that only to the degree that our Party organizes and leads the 
conscious struggle against white chauvinism, is this influence destroyed 
among the workers. The opposite kind of mistake is to speak of the 
whole working class as "white chauvinists." The masses are influenced 
by white chauvinism but they are not active bearers of this bourgeois 
poison. Active white chauvinists among the workers are a distinct 
minority. Similarly, within our Party, we must say that white-chau- 
vinist influences are still widespread, but it is absolutely wrong to 
speak of white chauvinism as "rampant" within our Party; on the 
contrary, within the Party it is characterized by its sneaking, slinking 
character, trying to hide itself, because here it is an outlaw. These 
facts give us the scope of our inner struggle against white chauvinism, 
and show its difficulties. It is an essential part of the struggle against 
the whole system of bourgeois ideology. Each individual white worker 
finds it necessary to free himself from this influence by conscious inner 
struggle, as well as participate in the organized Party struggle against it. 

Some comrades have tried to develop here the conception of two 
kinds of "nationalism," one bourgeois and reactionary, the other prole- 
tarian and revolutionary. Here is some confusion which must be 
briefly clarified. We are not dealing with two kinds of "nationalism," 
but with the national liberation struggle of the masses of the oppressed 
nation, on the one hand, and with the "nationalist" system of ideas 
of the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation, on the other hand, which 
attempts to control the national liberation movement for its own class 
interests, and in the era of imperialism almost invariably subordinates 



AGAINST WHITE CHAUVINISM 303 

it also to the interests of the oppressing imperialist power. These are 
two different and contradictory factors. The efforts of the subject 
people to liberate itself from oppression, this is a revolutionary struggle, 
an integral part of the world struggle to overthrow imperialism as a 
whole. Our task is to bring this struggle for national liberation under 
the leadership of the proletariat, defeating the influence of the bour- 
geoisie which can lead it only to betrayal. This is precisely the central 
point of Lenin's program on the national question, which is the instru- 
ment for unifying these two main forces for common struggle against 
imperialism. It is precisely a distinguishing feature of the Second 
International, of reformism, that in the name of a false '^terna- 
tionalism" it denies the right of national self-determination to the 
oppressed peoples. True internationalism, that is Leninism, places the 
right of self-determination as a basic programmatic point. The "inter- 
nationalism" of the reformists is in reality the nationalism of their 
own respective imperialist rulers; while the national program of Lenin 
is an essential part of internationalism. Any "internationalism" that 
denies the right of self-determination to the subject peoples is false, is 
a mere cover for imperialist chauvinism. 

Comrades, these discussions have indeed marked a real mobilization 
for a political war against white chauvinism, for broader and deeper mo- 
bilization of the masses of white and Negro workers in the U. S. A., for 
the struggle for Negro liberation. This is an essential part of the class 
struggle, of the struggle for overthrowing the dictatorship of the bour- 
geoisie. We live and fight within the world fortress of capitalism, of 
imperialism, which finds one of its main instruments of rule in the 
division between white and Negro workers. But this division also 
represents one of the weakest spots of American imperialism, where 
we can strike quickest and hardest, it represents a pre-capitalist sur- 
vival, a relic of slavery and feudalism, a crying anachronism, embody- 
ing all the contradictions of the decaying imperialist world. In this 
discussion we have more effectively armed ourselves with the Leninist 
theory, whereby we can call forth for struggle all the revolutionary 
forces generated by this national oppression of the Negroes, link them 
up with the rising forces of the proletarian class struggle under the 
leadership of the Communist Party, and thus with multiplied capacity 
for effective battle against the oppressors, the imperialist bourgeoisie, 
we will "sail into the face of the storm" of the revolutionary mass 
struggles that are being prepared in America on a gigantic scale. 



XVIII 

Wipe Out the Stench of the Slave Market '^ 

Now I must speak especially about ... the work among the 
Negroes, wimiing the Negro masses to the revolutionary movement. 
New York has perhaps the worst showing of any part of our Party on 
the question of Negro work. Both absolutely and relatively, New 
York City is the largest center of Negro population in the world, and 
these hundreds of thousands of Negroes here are at least 95% prole- 
tarian, overwhelmingly working class. They suffer from the most 
extreme exploitation and oppression, the most exploited section of 
workers in New York. But what do we have among them? What 
work are we doing among them? How much organization have we got 
among them? Almost nothing. Is this because the Negroes are es- 
pecially difficult to approach, because we have not found a political 
program which will win their support? Not at all. This mass of 
Negro population has its eyes turned towards the Communist Party. 
They are distinctly friendly to our Party. Why aren't we able to ef- 
fectively work among them? 

In the first place, the reason for our failure is that the Party as a 
whole still has not mastered our Party program on the Negro question. 
How many of our Party members in New York understand that the 
Negro question is a national question? How many of our comrades 
understand that when they echo the Socialist Party slogan that the 
problems of the Negroes are simply class problems of the working class, 
that this is an opportunistic refusal to recognize the national question 
among the Negroes? How many of our comrades in this district under- 
stand that it is wrong to say that we give equality to the Negroes by 
treating their problems exactly the same as we would the problems of 
the workers everjrwhere? And because our members do not understand 
these things, it is impossible for us to win the Negroes organizationally 
and consolidate our influence among them. 

The Negroes understand that our Party is something good for them. 
They understand that something new has come into their life with 
the coming forward of the Communist Party with its program on the 
Negro question, and therefore they are friendly to our Party, they 
listen to us. But when we go among them, our members are not able 
to consolidate this influence that we have. On the contrary, a very 

♦Extracts from Report for the Central Committee, at District Convention, 
District Number Two, June 11-12, 1932.— Ed. 

304 



THE STENCH OF THE SLAVE MARKET 305 

large proportion of those Negroes who have come to our Party in the 
past have not remained, that is, when they were outside of the Party, 
they saw something good that they want to join but when they got 
inside they did not find themselves at home. 

I know that many very honest workers, members of our Party, get 
very indignant when we say to them that they are suffering from the 
influence of white chauvinism. But the fact remains that most every 
white worker who has grown up under the influence of American insti- 
tutions, is influenced by the ideology of white chauvinism. The only 
way in which we can destroy the influence of this ruling class system 
of ideas about the inferiority of the Negro in the minds of the workers, 
is by the conscious development of the understanding of the Communist 
program on the Negro question and the development of a sharp strug- 
gle against every manifestation of the influence of white chauvinism. 

White workers express white chauvinist ideas without even being 
conscious of it. We have lived so long in this poisonous atmosphere of 
the American capitalist system that we no longer smell this stink of 
the slave market that still hangs around our clothes and we carry 
this stink around with us without knowing it. But the Negro can 
smell it. Oh, the Negro can smell it, you can't hide it from the 
Negro masses, and because he smells this stink of the slave market 
still around our Party units and our Party committees, he doesn't 
believe what we say about our program. He has had promises from 
political parties ever since the Civil War destroyed the system of chat- 
tel slavery, and he no longer has any faith in promises. Our program 
will only mean something for the Negroes when we begin to realize it in 
daily life, to realize absolute unconditional equality of the Negroes in 
our movement, in our trade unions, in the unemployed councils and 
in our Party, and a complete liquidation of unconscious and half- 
concealed examples of the influence of white chauvinist ideas. That 
means that we must systematically carry through a program of political 
education of our Party on the Negro question. Secondly, we must 
carry on serious mass activities in the Negro neighborhoods to raise the 
struggle for the immediate needs of the Negro masses, and thirdly, 
upon the basis of this mass struggle and the development of mass 
organizations, recruitment of the best workers from among the Negroes 
into our Party, and the systematic promotion of leading cadres from 
among the Negroes. 

CONCLUDING REMARKS 

One final point on the question of Negro work. I think it is neces- 
sary that in approaching this question we shall have a very clear 
understanding of its fundamental importance for our party. The Party 
cannot become a mass Party, cannot become a Bolshevik Party, unless 
it wins masses of Negroes, the most active, honest, devoted loyal prole- 



3o6 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

tarian Negroes. We have not accomplished this. We cannot rely upon 
formulas, correct as our formula may be, for the solution of this 
problem. One thing is clear. Just as long as honest, energetic workers, 
Negroes, do not feel themselves thoroughly at home in our Party, just 
so long is something the matter with us and we have got to find it and 
correct it. Just so long as the Negro workers who come in contact 
with our Party do not naturally unite with us, and stay inside the 
Party, the influence of white chauvinism is still at work, and the 
responsibility for this rests primarily upon the white comrades, and we 
cannot compromise by one-thousandth part of an inch on this question. 
That means that the struggle against the influence of white chauvinism 
must be a permanent feature of our work. The struggle against white 
chauvinism will not end until after the revolution — and some time after 
the revolution. What is true of our Party is much more true of the 
trade unions and still more true of the working class generally. And 
we have got to make the white comrades, especially those who occupy 
responsible posts, we have got to make them understand politically the 
program of the Party, we must make them politically sensitive to every 
concrete problem of the day that has any relation to the problem of 
the Negroes. And we must say that our Party is not yet sensitive 
enough to react to these problems. And very often we drive Negro 
workers away simply by our lack of sensitiveness, lack of reaction to 
these problems, by our failing to see them, even the smallest one when 
it arises. 

The very smallest problem may become of the most extreme impor- 
tance in winning the confidence, not only of one Negro worker, but of 
thousands of Negro workers. This, the white comrades must under- 
stand, especially the leading comrades — that it is they who have to 
win the Negroes. At the same time it is also necessary to say that the 
Negro comrades have a very special part to play. Our Party certainly 
will not be able to win over the Negro masses without the assistance 
of the Negro comrades, members of the Party. We must struggle to 
break down the distrust of the Negro masses, the distrust which they 
have of all organizations in which the white workers predominate in 
numbers; a distrust which is absolutely justified by their historical ex- 
perience. We must and can break it down by our work and primarily 
by the work of the white comrades. At the same time, the Negro 
comrades have to furnish that absolutely essential part of the work by 
giving to the Negro masses the concrete example, the live example of 
Negro workers who have put their absolute confidence in this Party. 
The Negro comrades have to consciously understand and carry through 
this task of dissolving the distrust towards our Party. They can do 
this not by putting forward the Party as a perfect and complete organi- 
zation from which the influence of white chauvinism is completely 
absent. Such an attempt to defend the Party would defeat itself 



THE STENCH OF THE SLAVE MARKET 307 

because every Negro worker who comes into the Party will inevitably 
have experiences that prove to him that white chauvinist influences do 
exist. But our Negro comrades have to point out to the non-Party 
Negro masses, not that the Party is perfect, but that the Party is 
conducting an organized struggle against this, and that the Party is 
not only the organization that will conduct this struggle against white 
chauvinism, but it will ultimately destroy white chauvinism. 



XIX 

"Theory Is Our Guide To Action!"* 

I THINK we had a most excellent contribution from Comrade Olgin. 
After listening to Comrade Olgin's speech, I wondered what one could 
add, except to emphasize the thought which he brought forward, that 
our revolutionary theory develops right out of and is a part of our 
revolutionary practice in the class struggle. 

Bourgeois society has not only separated the people into owners and 
workers. It has also separated the human faculties and placed them 
in opposition to one another. Knowing and doing are two entirely 
different categories in bourgeois society. Those who know — they do 
not do anything. And those who do anything — they are not supposed 
to know anything. Bourgeois society has placed a deep gulf between 
theory and practice — so much so, that in the ordinary popular sense 
one who is particularly ineffectual in action is spoken of as a "theorist." 

Of course we cannot accept these traditions and conditions of bour- 
geois society. Just as it is our task not only to understand present-day 
society, but to change it, so also it is our task to smash this seeming 
contradiction between idea and action, between theory and practice. 
Theory is our guide to action. Theory grows out of action. Theory 
for us is the instrument of revolutionary action, and it can be the 
instrument of revolutionary action only insofar as it is theory which is 
drawn from international experience of the class struggle and the devel- 
opment of human society. 

We do not create theory out of our heads. Our theory grows organ- 
ically out of the development and maturing of the revolutionary class, 
the working class. It is a historic product. It has the same objective 
character as all scientific principle. And in just the same way as it is 
necessary to be very intolerant with all those who wish to revise the 
fundamental knowledge of mankind in order to insert in its place 
the arbitrary creations, the phantasies of the individual mind, so also, 
it is necessary to be intolerant in the struggle against all tendencies to 
replace our scientific knowledge and our scientific practice with individ- 
ual, small-group revisions of our revolutionary body of theory. For it 
is only the proletariat, the only revolutionary class in capitalist society, 
which is capable of understanding and developing the scientific princi- 
ples of social development. 

* Speech at the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the Workers School, New York, 
December 9, 1932. — Ed. 

308 



"THEORY IS OUR GUIDE TO ACTION I" 309 

Our Workers School of the Communist Party is often accused of 
being narrow, dogmatic and intolerant, lacking in broad-mindedness, 
because we struggle against all individuals and groups who try to revise, 
change and water down the essential features of Marxism-Leninism. 

In our approach to the masses whom we are striving to win, to 
organize, to mobilize for the revolutionary struggle, we always must be 
tolerant and patient, as well as stubborn and persistent. 

But in the field of revolutionary theory, to accomplish our main task 
of winning the broad masses, the majority of the working class for the 
proletarian revolution, we must be resolutely intolerant with every 
deviation in theory, with every effort to revise Marxism and Leninism. 

This theoretical intransigence, this unyielding adherence of the Com- 
munist movement to the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism 
is not sectarianism. It is not dogmatism. It is the necessary pre- 
condition for the smashing of sectarianism, of all opportunist tendencies 
in the working class. 

Our theory is developed not in schools. Our theory is developed in 
life, in mass struggle. Only through mass struggle can this theory 
grow and develop further. Our schools are auxiliaries to the mass 
struggles. Our schools are those places where we make available the 
knowledge that has been accumulated from the experience of the past 
struggles in order to solve the problems of present and coming struggles. 
Only in these struggles, by arming ourselves with the lessons of the 
past struggles, do we develop the theory, the knowledge and the prac- 
tice that makes up Marxism-Leninism. 

It is in this sense that we understand the Workers School and its 
place in the revolutionary movement. This phase is becoming more 
and more important. And more and more keenly do we feel the neces- 
sity of our school, of the service that it renders. 

Under the conditions of the class struggle today, it is impossible to 
imagine that we could tolerate for one moment such influences as in 
the past have exerted themselves quite strongly on our institution, the 
Workers School, during the ten years of its existence. 

The Workers School itself is the product of struggle. The Workers 
School was built and grew strong in the course of our struggle against 
Trotskyism, and the driving out of the influence of the representatives of 
Trotskyism in America. Perhaps you at present in the Workers School 
may not know that an influence in shaping the early years of the 
Workers School was Mr. Cannon, the outstanding representative of 
Trotsky in America. And for the development of the Workers School 
it was necessary to fight against deviations and drive out of the move- 
ment these Trotskyites and Trotsky theories. 

Perhaps some of you can still remember the days when the destinies 
of the Workers School were in the hands of Bertram D. Wolfe, repre- 
sentative of the right-wing revision of Marxism-Leninism in America. 



310 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

Another big struggle was necessary to defeat this open opportunism 
in the Party, in the movement and in the Workers School and to purify 
the Workers School from the opportunism of Mr. Bertram Wolfe and 
company, representing the Lovestone group. 

The building and the development of the Workers School is a constant 
struggle, just as the building and development of a revolutionary 
workers' party is a constant struggle, against all of the influences of 
the ideas of the class enemy. The Workers School is that institution 
where we arm our leading cadres with weapons which give them the 
ability to resist the influence of class enemy ideas, to combat them, to 
overcome them. The school is where they master the ideological 
weapons of Marxism-Leninism and put them into effect in the mass 
struggles. Let us grasp the full meaning of that slogan of our great 
leader, Marx, that an idea becomes power when it is seized upon by the 
masses. Our ideas are not forces in themselves. They are instruments 
of the masses for the carrying through of the class struggle. 

As our class struggle develops, we more and more need the Workers 
School. We more and more need to sharpen these weapons, because we 
are rapidly approaching the time when the struggles in which we are 
engaged are taking on a more and more decisive aspect, becoming more 
and more serious, more widespread, involving greater masses. We are 
coming closer to the days of decisive struggle, when through these 
instruments that we are forging in the Workers School and in the 
class struggles led by our Party, we will begin the transformation of 
society to Communism which is inaugurated with the seizure of power, 
by the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship. This historical 
moment is coming in the United States just as inevitably as it came in 
the Soviet Union. 

We celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Workers School because 
it has become one of the essential instruments for the preparation and 
the carrying through of the proletarian revolution in the United States. 



XX 

Communism and Literature * 

The Congress which we are opening tonight is unique in the his- 
tory of our country. Strange as it may seem at first glance, there has 
never before been a large gathering of writers, the creators of our fine 
literature, to consider the problems of their work and its relation to 
the masses of the population, its relation to the problems of the coun- 
try. Its significance is attested not only by the notable array of 
participants, but by this meeting, a mass welcome which expresses a 
much broader mass interest in the Congress. Like most of the many 
new things we are experiencing, it is one of the products of the crisis — 
a crisis which is not confined to our industries, but which is threatening 
the destruction of the whole cultural heritage of mankind. 

How does it come about that the secretary of the Communist Party, 
who has neither the ability nor the time to be able to count himself 
among the literary creators, is invited to address this Congress, which 
is overwhelmingly unaffiliated with our Party, at its opening meeting? 
The answer to this question not only indicates the function of my 
talk, but throws a bright light on the basic problems of the Congress. 

The answer is clear. The overwhelming number of writers who are 
producing living literature have become conscious, in one degree or 
another, that the class struggle between capitalists and workers — the 
two basic forces in modern society — is forcing novelist, dramatist, poet, 
critic, to choose on which side he shall stand. This Congress consists 
of those who, having faced the issue, have definitely taken their position 
on the working class side against the return to barbarism involved in 
the fascism and war of the decaying capitalist system. 

Writers, moving more and more into contact with and participation 
in the class struggle, have one and all found this current rejuvenating 
and enriching their artistic work. They have escaped from the corrup- 
tion that is debasing bourgeois intellectual life. They have found that 
basic contact with life, for want of which the cultural sphere of capitalist 
society is rotting and withering away. They have found their place as 
indispensable forces in the struggle for a better life. In this current 
they have learned that they are not embarking upon uncharted seas, 
in some wild adventure for which they must throw away all the treas- 
ures of culture accumulated through the centuries; they learn that it 

* Address delivered at the opening session of the American Writers' Congress, 
held at Mecca Temple Auditorium, New York, April 26, 1935. — ^d. 

3" 



312 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

has a long history, proletarian culture dating from Karl Marx and 
Frederich Engels — the two most cultured men of history who brought 
the fruits of ages of culture to the working class. They learn that the 
school of Marx is not a sect enclosed in the four walls of study or po- 
litical committee rooms; they learn that it is a growing flood of men and 
women, struggling for progress on every front of human endeavor, from 
the struggle for wages, for unemployment relief and insurance, up to 
and including the struggle for a literature capable of satisfying the 
cultural needs of humanity in the period of break-up of the old social- 
economic system, the period of chaos and readjustment, the period of 
searching for the values of the new society. This new society is not 
yet in existence in America, although we are powerfully affected by 
its glorious rise in the Soviet Union. The new literature must help 
to create a new society in America — that is its main function — giving 
it firm roots in our own traditional cultural life, holding fast to all that 
is of value in the old, saving it from the destruction threatened by the 
modern vandals brought forth by a rotting capitalism, the fascists, com- 
bining the new with the best of the old world heritage. 

Writers who are coming into this cultural stream are traditionally 
not interested in political life and problems. In their vast majority 
they are sceptical of all political parties, if not contemptuous. They 
find, however, in the new life in which they participate, there is a 
political party which plays an increasingly influential role, the Com- 
munist Party. They find it necessary to define their attitude towards 
this Party which actively participates in their chosen world. They see 
that this Party is a force in fine literature, as well as in strikes, in 
unemployment struggles, in battling for Negro rights, even in a re- 
actionary Congress where it rallied through mass pressure 52 votes for 
the Workers' Insurance Bill without having a single Communist con- 
gressman — as yet. Yes, the Communist Party is a force, in every phase 
of life of the masses, even that of poets, dramatists, novelists and critics. 

In these circumstances, the writers who organized this Congress saw 
fit to put an official spokesman of the Communist Party on your pro- 
gram. We understand quite well that this does not constitute a 
commitment of the participants to the Communist Party ; we also under- 
stand that if you could have found any other political party which had 
anything significant to say about cultural problems, you would also 
have invited it to be represented. It is one of the signs of the times 
that there is no such other party in the United States. 

The great majority of this Congress, being unaffiliated to the Com- 
munist Party, are interested in what it has to say because all recognize 
the necessity of establishing cooperative working relations, a united 
front, of all enemies of reaction in the cultural field. Such a imited 
front against reaction is unthinkable without the participation of that 
group of cultural workers directly affiliated with the Communist Party 



COMMUNISM AND LITERATURE 313 

and working under its general direction. This group, though a minority, 
is rapidly growing in influence, an influence that arises directly from 
the electric current of Marxist-Leninist thought which it transmits to 
the whole body of progressive fighters on the cultural front. 

While recognizing the dynamic role of the avowed Communists, there 
are many writers in this Congress who have certain misgivings about 
the possibility of fruitful work in this united front. Most of these 
doubts are based upon lack of information about the policy of our 
Party in this field; some of them arise from the fact that Party policy 
is sometimes distorted by overzealous Communists, particularly the 
most recent recruits without proletarian background. In my few min- 
utes it will be my task to make clear the Party policy, and to dispel 
some of these misunderstandings. 

First, is the question: Does the Party claim a leading role in the 
field of fine literature? If so, upon what basis? 

Our Party claims to give political guidance directly to its members, 
in all fields of work, including the arts. How strong such leadership 
can be exerted upon non-Party people depends entirely upon the quality 
of the work of our members. If this quality is high, the Party influence 
will grow — if the quality falls down, nothing in the world besides this 
can give the Party any leading role. We demand nothing more than 
to be judged by the quality of our work. " 

That means that the first demand of the Party upon its writer- 
members is that they shall be good writers, constantly better writers, 
for only so can they really serve the Party. We do not want to take 
good writers and make bad strike leaders of them. 

The Party has such a leading role as its members can win for it by 
the quality of their work. From this flows the conclusion, that the 
method of our work in this field cannot be one of Party resolutions 
giving judgment upon artistic, aesthetic questions. There is no fixed 
"Party line" by which works of art can be automatically separated into 
sheep and goats. Within the camp of the working class, in struggle 
against the camp of capitalism, we find our best atmosphere in the free 
give and take of a writers' and critics' democracy, which is controlled 
only by its audience, the masses of its readers, who constitute the final 
authority. 

We can therefore reassure all those who fear there is some truth 
in the stories about the Communists that we want to "control" you, 
to put you "in uniform," and so on, ad nauseam. I think that Com- 
munist collaboration in the gathering of this Congress, and further in 
its work, will forever lay this venerable ghost. 

Second, is the question: Does the Communist Party want to "po- 
liticaHze" the writers of fine literature, by imposing upon them its pre- 
conceived ideas of subject matter, treatment and form? 

We would desire, so far as we are able, to arouse consciousness amon^ 



314 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

all writers of the political problems of the day, and trace out the rela- 
tionship of these political problems to the problems of literature. We 
believe that the overwhelming bulk of fine writing also has political 
significance. We would like to see all writers conscious of this, there- 
fore able to control and direct the political results of their work. 

By no means do we think this can be achieved by imposing any pre- 
conceived patterns upon the writer. On the contrary, we believe that 
fine literature must arise directly out of life, expressing not only its 
problems, but, at the same time, all the richness and complexity of 
detail of life itself. The Party wants to help, as we believe that it 
already has to a considerable degree, to bring to writers a great new 
wealth of material, to open up new worlds to them. Our Party interests 
are not narrow; they are broad enough to encompass the interests of all 
toiling humanity. We want literature to be as broad. 

One of the means whereby the Party hopes to assist in linking up 
literature with life, lies in participating with you in organizing this field ; 
organizing the writers, organizing a growing audience, and furnishing 
the connecting links between these two basic factors in cultural life. 

We think organization of writers should be concerned, first of all, 
with the establishment of certain standards, certain beacons marking 
the main channel of our stream of literary thought. Next, it should 
be concerned with winning new collaborators, broadening and deepen- 
ing the movement by drawing in more established writers and training 
new ones. Third, it should tackle the economic problems of the writer, 
on the basis of organizing his market and setting up certain standards 
to work toward. 

The Communist Party has given its help to the weekly New Masses, 
precisely because we saw the possibility of this paper, in its new role, 
as serving some of these needs. The New Masses, since it was changed 
from a monthly sixteen months ago, is no longer primarily a cultural 
organ. It is a political weekly with strong cultural interests; it is one 
of the links between the cultural field and the broader life of the masses ; 
addressed primarily to the middle classes, its task is to link them up 
with the working class, the bearer of the new socialist society. While 
not a party organ, the New Masses represents the Communist line, in 
linking up these related but different phases of life. Its new role has 
not served to discourage cultural publications as such; on the contrary, 
it is precisely in the last sixteen months that we have witnessed the 
greatest growth of purely literary publications on the ''left." 

We are all of us bound together, forced to work out our common 
problems collectively, by the menace of a common enemy which 
threatens to destroy everything that we hold dear. The fight against reac- 
tion, against fascism in the inner Hfe of nations and against imperialist 
war internationally, is our common bond. We cannot fail in our efforts 
to unite all progressive forces without being guilty of treason to our- 



COMMUNISM AND LITERATURE 315 

selves and to toiling humanity. We are not alone. We have brothers 
in every land. We have a mighty stronghold in this battle, in the land 
where socialism is being built, where a new culture is blossoming — the 
Soviet Union. This fortress against reaction is at this time our greatest 
protection against the wave of reaction sweeping the world. We must 
protect it as it protects us. Even in the vast territories of Asia, in 
China, Japan, India, the Philippines, we have brothers and allies, fight- 
ing the same battles against reaction, struggling to build up a new life, 
a new culture. We must, while organizing our forces nationally, digging 
deep into the treasures of our national traditions and cultural in- 
heritance, link up our work organically with the forces of progress all 
over the world. National chauvinism, national limitedness, is the char- 
acteristic of reaction, of fascism; those who will build the new world, 
who will help humanity find the way out of chaos and destruction, will 
be internationalists. 

It is with these thoughts that the Communist Party greets this historic 
Congress of American Writers. We are all soldiers, each in our own 
place, in a common cause. Let our efforts be united in fraternal 
solidarity. 



XXI 

The Revisionism of Sidney Hook 

In The Commimist for January, Comrade V. J. Jerome opened up a 
very interesting and valuable discussion of the fundamentals of Marxian 
theory in the form of a critical examination of the writings of Sidney 
Hook. Comrade Jerome traced in great detail some of the essential 
departures of Hook from the principles of Marxism, and came to the 
conclusion that Hook's interpretation of Marx represents a systematic 
revision in the direction of the philosophical doctrines of the American 
bourgeoisie, notably the instrumentalist philosophy of John Dewey. 

For American Marxist-Leninists, the question of relationship to the 
specific American forms of bourgeois philosophy is a crucial one. Marx- 
ism-Leninism is the ideological armory of the rising proletariat in mortal 
combat with bourgeois society. It is the weapon for the destruction of 
the principal instrument of the bourgeoisie for the enslavement of the 
toiling masses; namely, the control over the minds of the toilers, the 
control over their very methods of thinking, exercised through the press, 
church, radio, schools and in the last analysis by the various philo- 
sophical systems which they seek to impose upon all thinking minds. 
The fundamental struggle between Marxism-Leninism and all systems 
of bourgeois philosophy has the same sharp, deep-going character as the 
struggle between the capitalist class and the working class for the 
control of society. It is the class struggle on the philosophical field. 

It is essential, therefore, that the issues, which have been so sharply 
raised in Comrade Jerome's valuable article, shall be followed up with 
all thoroughness in all their ramifications and details. It is further 
necessary that out of the detailed examination we shall bring forward 
in the clearest possible manner the large central issues involved in this 
ideological battle. Our interest lies in establishing these issues with the 
greatest objectivity and clarity. We want to deal with real issues and 
not with imaginary or manufactured ones. We want to conduct the 
struggle on the plane of precision and clarity and not upon that of an 
exercise in opprobrious epithets. In this respect the writer wishes to 
disassociate himself from the tone and method used by Comrade H. M. 
Wicks in reviewing The Communist in the Daily Worker of January 
10. There we had an example of a certain harmful misconception as to 
what constitutes "strength" in ideological struggle. 

Comrade Jerome's article, on the other hand, is a serious, well-docu- 

316 



THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 317 

mented preliminary examination of the battlefield wherein must be 
fought out the struggle against Hook's revisionism. In the main this 
article establishes its point quite firmly. Certain secondary questions 
may require further examination and restatement, with some small cor- 
rections (which we will deal with later) as a necessary accompaniment 
to the further development of the polemic. 

Sidney Hook has submitted to the editors of The Communist a reply 
to Jerome's article.* This reply is divided into two sections: First, an 
indictment of Jerome's method of interpretation of Hook's philosophical 
thought, and, second, a brief positive exposition of his own understand- 
ing of Marxism. It must be said that in the second part of Hook's 
reply, he effectively proves the thesis of Jerome's article which in the 
first part he disputes; namely, the thesis that Hook's philosophical 
thought represents a fundamental revision of Marxism. 

What is the main characteristic of this reply by Hook? It is that 
Hook, in the most agile fashion, dodges or slurs over the main points 
of controversy. Instead of meeting the issues squarely, he takes refuge 
in the role of a misunderstood and abused person, the role of a martyr 
to stupidity. He complains of the *'epitiiets of fascist and social- 
fascist" seemingly under the belief that here we have possible applica- 
tion of that "principle" of instrumentalist philosophy which Hook stated 
in the following quotation: 

Marxism therefore appears in the main as a huge judgment of practice, 
in Dewey's sense of the phrase, and its truth or falsity (instrumental 
adequacy) is an experimental matter. Believing it and acting upon it helps 
make it true or false. ("Marxism and Metaphysics," The Modern Quar- 
terly, Vol. IV, No. 4, p. 391.) 

We are not in agreement with this pragmatic idea that we can make 
a fascist or social-fascist of Sidney Hook merely by "believing it and 
acting upon it." It is our opinion that Hook's anxiety upon this score 
is groundless. In whatever direction he moves and in whatever camp 
he finally makes his home, he must look for the explanation within 
himself, and in the connection between his own thinking and acting and 
the social struggles of the day. And if it should chance that Hook 
some day becomes a consistent Marxist, it will be found that the 
"epithets" of which he complains have broken no bones. If they should 
play a role in the future development of Hook, it will be in the opposite 
sense to that embodied in the above quotation, i.e., if Hook should move 
toward Marxism and not away from it, they may help him to discard 
some of the ideological baggage which now weighs upon him and pre- 
vents such progress. 

Now to the examination of some of the specific complaints by Hook 

* Sidney Hook's complete reply was published in Th$ Communist, February and 
March, 1933.— £fi. 



3i8 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

of misquotation. Out of a long series of quotations he picks five which 
he claims are either distorted or show his own correctness as against 
Jerome. Let us examine the last one first as being the most important 
because most directly poHtical. "The last shall be the first, and the 
first shall be the last." 

Hook contends that Jerome, in denying Hook's assertion that the 
labor theory of value is not contained in the Communist Manifesto, 
merely exposes Jerome's "ignorance" of the fact that the theory of 
surplus value was formulated by Marx sometime after writing the Com- 
munist Manifesto. In this argument of Hook we are presented with 
some very interesting phenomena. Hook, the stickler for exactness, 
freely interchanges as synonymous the terms "labor theory of value" 
and the "theory of surplus value"! Without for the moment raising 
the question of the "fundamental intellectual integrity" of this juggling 
with two terms, it is certainly necessary to challenge Hook's "true 
scholarship" on this question. 

What is the true history of the labor theory of value in relation to 
Marx's system? Perhaps we can prevail upon Hook to accept Lenin 
as an authority on this question. Lenin pointed out in his article, 
"Three Sources and Three Constituent Parts of Marxism" that: 

His (Marx's) teachings came as a direct and immediate continuation of 
the teachings of the greatest representatives of philosophy, political economy 
and socialism. . . . 

It is the lawful successor of the best that has been created by humanity 
in the nineteenth century — German philosophy, EngUsh political economy 
and French socialism. . . . 

Adam Smith and David Ricardo, in their investigations of the economic 
order, laid the foundations of the labor theory of value. Marx . . . showed 
that the value of every commodity is determined by the quantity of socially- 
necessary labor time spent in its production. (V. I. Lenin, Marx, Engels, 
Marxism, p. 52.) 

Why, therefore, is Hook so indignant that Jerome should be so "un- 
scholarly" as to quote from the Communist Manifesto that terribly 
"Ricardian" paragraph expressing the labor theory of value? Marx 
never claimed to be the originator of this theory. He took it over from 
the classical economists and developed it further. It is true that the 
full development came only with the distinction between labor and 
labor-power, and the theory of surplus value, in Marx's Critique of 
Political Economy which appeared in 1859. On the basis of this, how- 
ever. Hook denies that the Communist Manifesto contains the labor 
theory of value. But of course it contained the labor theory of value, 
even though not in its final Marxian form, and of course this labor 
theory of value was an essential element in the Communist Manifesto. 
According to Hook, the labor theory of value only appears in Marx's 



THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 319 

system in 1859. But what then is the significance of Marx's pamphlet, 
Wage-Labor and Capital, which appeared in 1849? ^oes Hook insist 
that even Wage-Labor and Capital does not contain the labor theory of 
value? But of course it contained the labor theory of value, already 
so far developed that Engels in preparing this pamphlet for reprinting 
in 1 89 1, was able to make it fully consonant with Marx's completed 
economic system by a few changes in the text. As Engels himself 
explained : 

My alterations center about one point. According to the original reading, 
the worker sells his labor for wages, which he receives from the capitalist; 
according to the present text, he sells his labor-power. (Karl Marx, Wage- 
Labor and Capital, International Publishers' edition, p. 6.) 

But of course Hook knew these things when he wrote his reply to 
Jerome. He knew that the labor theory of value was a constituent part 
of Marxism as expressed in the Communist Manifesto. Of course he 
knew that the development of Marxism after the Communist Manifesto 
was not by the introduction of the labor theory of value, but by its 
further elaboration in the theory of surplus value and the distinction 
between labor and labor-power. Of course he knew that Marx and 
Engels never "repudiated" the labor theory of value as expressed in the 
Communist Manifesto, but developed it further and completed it as 
the keystone of their economic system. 

We have for this the most authoritative statement — ^Marx's and 
Engels' preface of 1872 to the Communist Manifesto. Hook is aware 
of this statement, since he makes reference to the preface in his reply. 
The statement reads: 

Though conditions may have changed in the course of the twenty-five 
years since the Manifesto was written, yet the general principles expounded 
in the document are on the whole as correct today as ever. A detail here 
and there might be improved. 

It is in connection with possible improvement in a detail here and 
there that the authors state further in the preface that: 

Meanwhile, the Manifesto itself has become a historic document which 
we do not feel we have any right to alter. 

Certainly the principle of the labor theory of value is not "a detail 
here and there." When, therefore. Hook seeks to make the authors' 
hesitancy to introduce any change refer to the labor theory of value, 
we have the right to question the frankness of his argument. 

Hook further tries to obscure the question by saying, with regard 
to the disputed quotation from his article "Towards the Understanding 
of Karl Marx," that "all it asserts is that the Marxian theory of value 
in the form in which it is found in Capital is not contained in the 
Communist Manifesto." But that is not what he said in the disputed 



320 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

paragraph, the argument of which was directed to proving that the 
theory of surplus value is not a necessary part of the Marxian system 
because it did not spring forth fully-grown like Minerva from the brow 
of Jove. 

So much for the "distortion," in the examination of which we receive 
additional light on the "scholarship," not to speak of the "intellectual 
integrity," of Hook in conducting theoretical polemics. We will deal 
more fully with this point in dealing with the second section of Hook's 
reply, where he restates his revisionist theory. 

On this point all that can be conceded to Hook's criticism is that 
Jerome did not bring forth the historical aspects of the development 
of the labor theory of value in Marx's system. But Jerome was abso- 
lutely correct in attacking this point in Hook's writing, and in inter- 
preting it as an attempt to separate Marx's method from Marx's 
conclusions. This is even more clearly brought out when we examine 
the more extended quotation offered by Hook. There we see clearly re- 
flected Hook's fundamental idea of a contradiction between "objective 
and scientific" knowledge, on the one hand, and "revolutionary philos- 
ophy," on the other hand. This is only another expression of the idealist 
trend of Hook's thought. In the above it shows itself in placing the 
Communist Manifesto against Capital. In another place it shows itself 
in his placing Lenin's What Is To Be Done? in contradiction with his 
Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.. In each case it is a way of placing 
theory in opposition to action. In each case it is a denial of the 
objective scientific validity of the revolutionary program of the Com- 
munist Party. 

Now let us consider "distortion" number two, i.e., the quotation 
of Hook's characterization of Lenin's polemics against the idealists in 
Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. Jerome clearly and correctly ex- 
posed Hook's acknowledged and unacknowledged "genuine disagree- 
ment" with Lenin and Marx on the theory of cognition. Here it might 
be said by the over-fastidious that Jerome proved too much when he 
interpreted this as expressing Hook's personal "disgust" with Lenin's 
polemics, because this is not a necessary but only a possible conclusion. 
And the necessary conclusion from the full paragraph as quoted by 
Hook, is that it is an example of an apologetic attitude towards the 
characteristically Marxist-Leninist nature of the book under examina- 
tion, its character as an energetic assault upon bourgeois philosophical 
systems. To apologize for the polemical nature of Marx's and Lenin's 
writings means to attack the essence of Marxism. Precisely the absence 
from Hook's writing of any attack against the bourgeois philosophies, 
precisely its replacement by a conciliatory attitude at best and in the 
worst case of the open indentification with these bourgeois philosophies, 
serves as one of the best indications that Hook's Marxism is in reality a 
fundamental revisionism. Jerome would have made a stronger case 



THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 321 

against Hook on this point if he had ignored the irrelevant question of 
Hook's "stomach" and given more attention to Hook's mind where 
the disorder was more serious. 

Now to "distortion" number three. Can it be said that Hook has 
improved the situation by giving the largest paragraph from which 
Jerome took the sentence about the dangerousness of the God idea? 
Hardly. It is quite true that in evaluating philosophical trends, 
Marxists have always gone behind the verbal form to find the true 
nature of the thought; and that they have found essential elements of 
materialist philosophy, and even the rudiment of a materialist system, 
embodied in the thought of idealist and deist philosophers. But can 
one jump, as does Hook, from this fact to the position that "God is 
dangerous to the social revolution only if he is an active God — only 
if he creates worlds"? By no means. One cannot do this, unless he 
abandons the ground of Marxism. It is not only a fully developed 
theology that is "dangerous to the social revolution," but also every 
fragment of religious ideology, even it its most attenuated form. Hook's 
refutation of Jerome, therefore, only serves to emphasize and round 
out the judgment, that on this question Hook departs from Marxism 
in a serious manner. That is, indeed, at the very least, opening the 
doors for "smuggling in religionism." 

"Distortion" number four. Here Hook complains of a particular 
paragraph from which he is interpreted as ascribing to Marx himself 
the responsibility for the varying interpretations of Marx. Against this 
he quotes a different paragraph which, in a vague way, indicates an- 
other possible interpretation. Perhaps if these two paragraphs stood 
alone, it would be possible to concede a "Scotch verdict" to Hook on 
this question: "Not proved"! But unfortunately for Hook's rebuttal, 
this question has to be considered in connection with other things he 
has written. It would have been more to the point that Hook should 
explain the meaning in this connection of the quotation from his article 
reproduced in the January issue of The Communist, p. 66. There he 
said that "in Russia it (Marxism) is a symbol of revolutionary the- 
ology; in Germany, of a vague social religion; in France, of social re- 
form; and in England and America, of wrong-headed pohtical tactics." 
If in the light of this paragraph Hook wishes to refute Jerome's specific 
charge, it can only be by confirming the general charge that Hook had 
(and by implication still has until he publicly corrects himself), an 
understanding of Marxism in conflict with that of the Communist Party 
and the Communist International. But he cannot eat his cake and have 
it too. He cannot cry out against "distortions" and proclaim that 
our differences have been willfully created by us, for some mysterious 
reason, and at the same time maintain his own freedom to light-heart- 
edly dismiss the Marxism of Lenin and Stalin as "theology." 

And now the final "distortion"; namely, the quotation from the para- 



322 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

graph regarding the German Social-Democrats' vote for the war budgets 
in 19 14. Here, if we were confined to the evidence given, formal justice 
would require a verdict for Hook against Jerome. Jerome's crime in 
this respect is serious, because he thereby detracted slightly from the 
full force of his attack against Hook's revisionism. The connection 
between Hook and Bernstein is more deep and fundamental (and at the 
same time more subtle) than can be disclosed by any interpretation 
of a crude endorsement of, or apology for, the voting of the war budgets. 
But this must not allow us to forget the substantial point under exami- 
nation, that Hook insists that Bernstein's economic views "could all be 
retained with certain modification within the framework of the Marxian 
position." In other places Hook goes out of his way to praise Bernstein. 

Jerome was fully justified in relating Hook to Bernstein. The true 
depths of this must be traced, however, in their common denial of ob- 
jective scientific validity to Marxism, their common rejection of the 
goal of the proletarian movement as something that can be a matter 
of knowledge before it is reached, the exaltation of method over the 
product of the method, etc. It is not in the complicity in a particular 
historical action, or judgment of that action, that the unity of thought 
between Hook and Bernstein is expressed, but rather in the funda- 
mental direction of their thought on basic questions of philosophy, 
resulting in each case in efforts to revise the Marxian system. 

So much for the first section of Hook's reply to Jerome. It is clear 
that Jerome's indictment stands. When Hook thought he was deUv- 
ering a smashing "left hook" that would score an ideological knockout, 
he was swinging wide of the mark, and left himself more open for 
counter-attack than before. This may serve as an additional object- 
lesson in the futility of logical agihty in conflict with the objective truth 
of the m,onolithic Marxian system. From the light exercise of counter- 
ing these puny blows, we may pass on to more serious business. 

II 

In the first part of this article, we refuted complaints of Sidney Hook 
that his views had been distorted and misrepresented. In the course 
of answering these questions, we already indicated the most essential 
features of a critical examination of Hook's system as a whole. Facili- 
tating the further development of the argument, we have Hook's own 
formulation of what he considers the most essential features of his 
understanding of Marx, written as the second section of his reply to 
Comrade Jerome's article. 

What is the outstanding feature of the self-characterization of Hook's 
Marxism? In my opinion it is, on the one hand, the critical attitude 
towards and attempts to correct Marx, Engels and Lenin, accompanied 
by, on the other hand, the uncritical acceptance of the theories of John 
Dewey as the basis for a revised Marxism. 



THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 323 

Already I indicated the significance of the absence from Hook's writ- 
ings of any consistent or sustained polemics against the various schools 
of bourgeois philosophy. This in itself constitutes sufficient proof that 
Hook is a revisionist of Marxism. There still remains the question of 
who is correct. Is it Marx, Engels, Lenin and StaHn? Or has Hook, 
with the assistance of John Dewey, really discovered some profound 
truths which escaped the minds of the greatest revolutionary thinkers? 
It is this question that we will attempt to briefly answer in the present 
article. 

What is the great contribution of John Dewey which Hook thinks 
has "improved" on Marx and Lenin? It is Dewey's theory of cogni- 
tion or "theory of perception." Just what this theory signifies may be 
seen from a few quotations directly from Dewey himself: 

It may well be admitted that there is a real sense in which knowledge 
(as distinct from thinking or inquiring with a guess attached) does not 
come into existence until thinking has permeated in the experimental act 
which fulfills the specifications set forth in thinking. {Philosophy of John 
Dewey, selected and edited by Joseph Ratner, George Allen & Unwin, p. 
159.) 

And further: 

The object has to be "reached" eventually, in order to get clarification 
or invalidation, and when so reached, it is immediately present. . . . Short 
of verificatory objects directly present, we have not knowledge, but infer- 
ence whose content is hypothetical. The subject matter of inference is a 
candidate or claim to knowledge requiring to have its value tested. {Ibid., 
p. 210.) 

This is the theory which, according to Hook, "is part of the science 
of our day and no thinking dialectical materialist can reject it." 

A classical application of the theory is contained in the hypothetical 
case of the man lost in the forest and seeking a way out. (I think this 
originated with James and was taken over by Dewey. I am sorry not 
to have had time to hunt up reference to text on this and am forced to 
quote from memory.) According to this example, the lost man be- 
ginning to think about his plight, projects various inferential ways out 
of the forest and then proceeds to act upon one or other of these in- 
ferences. When one of these has been acted upon successfully and has 
led him out of the forest, then and only then, in the process of realizing 
the truth of an inference, has the man gained knowledge. The knowl- 
edge gained in one experience is of value for other experiences only in 
enriching his stock of inferences from which to choose. The process 
of accumulation of knowledge is one of broadening the possible choice 
of various inferences. According to this, only the ignorant man can 
feel sure of anything before it happens and the more knowledge he 
acquires, the more he has to hesitate in face of his growing stock of 



324 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

inferences from which he must choose. The truth cannot be a matter 
of fore-knowledge because it is a product of the action of the subject, 
who has created the truth by successfully acting upon an inference. 
It is in order to make room for this pragmatic theory that Hook 
rejects the basic postulate of dialectical materialism that an idea is 
"an image corresponding to the perception of the external phenomena," 
and that "sensation is nothing but a direct connection of the mind with 
the external world; it is the transformation of energy, of external exci- 
tation into a mental state." (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. XIII, 

p. 31.) 

In order to more effectively attack this Marxian understanding (which 
is an essential feature of the thought of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin), 
Hook proceeds to make "images" into "carbon copies"; i.e., he makes 
the dialectical materialism of Marx synonymous with the mechanical 
materialism of the Encyclopedists. He tries to prove that correspond- 
ence between objective reality and mental processes results in fatalism 
and reliance upon the automatic processes ; he declares that only when 
this is "corrected" according to Dewey, does Marxism really become 
an effective theory and practice of social revolution. He sums up this 
thought in his formulation that if "Marxism is not fatalism," then 
"commimism is not inevitable." 

In support of his contention that communism is not inevitable. Hook, 
in true revisionist manner, aims to bring forward Marx as his supporter. 
He cites the passage in the Communist Manifesto which, in referring to 
class struggles in past societies, says of the classes: 

They carried on perpetual warfare, sometimes masked, sometimes open 
and acknowledged; a warfare that invariably ended, either in a revolutionary 
change in the whole structure of society, or else in the common ruin of 
the contending classes. 

Basing himself on this passage. Hook contends that he has Marx's 
sanction for the theory that communism is not inevitable, that the 
struggle of proletariat against bourgeoisie may likewise end "in the 
common ruin of the contending classes." 

In advancing this argument, Hook merely betrays his utter inability 
to apply dialectic materialism to history, shows his metaphysical con- 
cept of historic parallelism for all ages and all class societies, and inci- 
dentally, his ignorance of Marxism. For, in Die Deutsche Ideologic 
(Adoratsky Edition, Volksausgabe, pp. 43-44), Marx and Engels ex- 
pressly state: 

It depends entirely on the extensiveness of commercial relations whether 
or not the attained productive forces, namely inventions, of a locality are 
lost for later progress. As long as there is no market extending beyond 
the immediate vicinity, each invention must be specially made in each 
locality, and mere accidents such as the invasions of barbarian peoples, even 



THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 325 

ordinary wars, are sufficient to bring a country with developed productive 
forces and wants to such a pass that it must start again from the begin- 
ning. In early history every invention had to be renewed practically daily 
and in each locality independently. How Httle assured developed productive 
forces are against complete decline, even those with a relatively very exten- 
sive trade, is shown by the Phoenicians, whose inventions and discoveries 
were for the most part lost for a long time through the exclusion of this 
nation from trade, through the conquest by Alexander, resulting in its com- 
plete decay. Likewise the art of staining glass in the middle ages, for 
example. Only when commercial intercourse has become world trade and 
has as its base large-scale industry, and all nations have been drawn into 
competitive struggle, only then is the duration of the attained productive 
forces assured." (Die Deutsche Ideologic, pp. 43-44. Italics mine. — E.B.) 

It is clear from these words of Marx and Engels that it was to past 
societies and not to capitalist society that the reference to "the common 
ruin of the contending classes" was made in the Manifesto. Let the 
authors of the Manifesto attest to this. The following passage from 
the Communist Manifesto certainly leaves no doubt as to the views of 
Marx and Engels on the inevitability of the fall of capitalism — ^not 
together with the proletariat, but attended by the rise of the proletariat 
as the ruling class: 

What the bourgeoisie therefore produces above all, is its own grave- 
diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. 
(ItaUcs mine. — E. B.) 

We offer this instance of Hook's attempt to rest on Marx as t)^ical 
of the manner in which the revisionists seek to hallow their revisionism 
with "quotations'' from Marx. 

What Hook is accomplishing by this revision, is to surrender dia- 
lectical materialism to idealism — to that specific brand of idealism 
which calls itself pragmatism, or instrumentalism. He promises us 
that through this exchange we will emerge from a condition of helpless 
puppets of blind forces, into a condition of masters of social processes 
— that we will emerge from the kingdom of necessity to that of free- 
dom. But his advertisements for his wares are highly exaggerated. 
It is one of the contradictions of all idealist philosophy that the more it 
promises, the less it delivers. This is excellently illustrated in the 
case of Hook. 

In the course of a debate with Mr. George Soule, I have already 
had occasion to evaluate briefly the relation of pragmatism to the 
problems of the revolutionary working class. I repeat what I said 
then, because it applies fully at this point: 

This pragmatism that recognizes the truth only a posteriori (as the 
learned gentlemen say), only as something that has already arrived, cannot 
distinguish the face of the truth amidst falsehoods and illusions. It has an 



326 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

inherent inability to recognize the face of the truth, it proclaims that the 
only possible way to recognize the truth is when you see it from the rear, 
when you see its backside, when it has already passed into history. This 
is a convenient philosophy for that bourgeoisie which is "sitting on the 
top of the world," the bourgeoisie in ascendancy. But when bourgeois society 
falls into a crisis, this philosophy of pragmatism falls into crisis also along 
with the whole capitaHst system. Where in the period of "Coolidge pros- 
perity" it gave all the answers required to all of the problems of the bour- 
geoisie, today it begins to give the wrong answers to the bourgeoisie. Even 
if we judge the capitalist system today by that final criterion of the prag- 
matists. Does it work?, we have the answer, "No, it does not work." So 
capitaUsm stands condemned by the standards of the philosophy of the 
bourgeoisie itself. By the same standard if we ask about the dictatorship 
of the proletariat in the Soviet Union, the new Socialist planned economy, 
and ask. Does it work? the answer is, "Yes, it does work. In the midst of 
a world that is going to pieces it works!" So pragmatism has failed its 
class creators in the crucial moment. It is unable to give capitalism any 
answer to the question. What way out? Because all the thinkers for capital- 
ism are bound within the philosophical framework of pragmatism, they are 
unable to even formulate any proposals for a way out and are in the same 
position as the one who says, "Maybe the revolutionists are right, maybe 
the reformists are right, who knows? Let us wait and see." 

But if pragmatism is of no use to the capitaHst class to find a way out 
of the crisis, we must say it is of no use to the working class, either. The 
only effect of the influence of this ideological system upon the working class 
is a very poisonous one, to creatie hesitation, indecision, hesitation again, 
more indecision, wait and see, wait and see. 

The working class must have a different kind of philosophy, because the 
working class faces the future — ^not only faces the future, is already begin- 
ning to control the future. That is the essence of planning, to control the 
future. And you cannot control the future if your approach to the future 
is that it is impossible to know what is the truth until after the future has 
become the past. Those who are going to control the future must know 
what is the truth before the event, before it happens, and by knowing it, 
determine what is going to happen and see that it does happen. That is the 
revolutionary working class, the only power that is able to put into effect 
a planned economy, and the only class that is capable of developing the 
whole philosophy and the understanding of society, which is necessary to put 
a plan into effect. 

Ill 

Before passing over to an examination of the consequences of 
Hook's revisionism, we will briefly examine the other three points of 
his statement. 

Hook is quite delighted with the fact that Morgan's anthropology, 
which was accepted by Engels has been basically corrected on a certain 
point by modern research. He cites this, however, not from any interest 
in the questions involved, but because behind this he thinks he can 



THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 327 

smuggle in his whole system of separating Engels from Marx, both of 
them from Lenin, and their system of thought from the working class 
and its revolutionary Party. The significance of this point in his 
reply above, is to be found not in the text, but in what he has written 
elsewhere. Just a few quotations will suffice to indicate this system. 

Certainly there is no justification for the easy assumption made by the 
self-styled orthodox, that there is a complete identity in the doctrines and 
standpoints of Marx and Engels. 

It was Rosa Luxemburg, however, and not Lenin who delivered the classic 
attack against revisionism from the standpoint of dialectical Marxism. 

There must have been aspects at least of Marx's doctrines which lent 
themselves to these different interpretations. 

In these efforts at the disintegration of the Marxian system into an 
eclectic combination of more or less contradictory tendencies, we have 
at once both the rejection of Marxism as a science and also, an expres- 
sion of the theory of inferences, of numberless possible ways out. 

Behind these statements is the concerted effort of international re- 
visionism to break the unity and continuity of Marxism in Marx, 
Engels, Lenin and Stalin. The effort expresses itself in various ways, 
but the central purpose of the revisionists is to show that Marxism 
was variously interpreted by its very founders, and at the same time 
to make Engels appear to sanction the opportunism and open treachery 
of the Second International. In this effort the revisionists stop at 
nothing, not even at forgery, as in the case of Bernstein's proved for- 
gery of Engels' preface to Marx's Class Struggle in France, wherein 
Bernstein sought to make Engels appear a supporter of opportunist 
parliamentarism. The attacks upon Engels by social-fascism today 
are particularly directed against his development of the Marxian theory 
of the state and the seizure of power by the proletariat, m his Anti- 
Duhring * and The Origin of the Family. 

Following upon his distortion of the role of Engels in the develop- 
ment of Marxism, Hook turns his attention to Lenin. We repeat in 
this regard, the above mentioned quotation: 

It was Rosa Luxemburg, and not Lenin, who delivered the classic attack 
against revisionism from the standpoint of dialectic materialism. (Towards 
the Understanding of Karl Marx, p. 350.) 

We dwell on this statement because in it is contained the essence 
of the semi-Trotskyist article by Slutzki, "The Bolsheviks and German 
Social-Democracy in the Period of its Pre-War Crisis," which appeared 
in the Proletarskaya Revolutzia (No. 6, 193 1), and against which 
Comrade Stalin launched his famous attack. 

♦Frederick Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution in Science (International 
Publishers).— £d. 



328 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

The position that Slutzki took in that article was that, in the period 
before the war, Lenin and the Russian Bolsheviks failed to carry on a 
relentless struggle for a breach with the opportunists and the Centrist 
conciliators of the German Social-Democracy and the Second Interna- 
tional, that Lenin and the Bolsheviks failed to give full support to 
the Left-wingers in the German Social-Democracy (Parvus and Rosa 
Luxemburg), thus retarding the struggle against revisionism and op- 
portunism. 

Comrade Stalin lays bare the falsity of this contention by recalling 
the revolutionary, anti-opportunist role of the Russian Bolsheviks who, 
as far back as 1903-04, worked for a breach with the opportunists, not 
only in the Social-Democratic Labor Party of Russia, but in the Second 
International as a whole, and especially in the German Party. Com- 
rade Stalin brings Bolshevik critical judgement to bear on the role of 
the German Left-wingers at that time — a role that was far from being 
Bolshevist, and which prevented the influence of Lenin and the Russian 
Bolsheviks from being exerted in the German Party against the oppor- 
tunists and the Centrists. 

Comrade Stalin declares: 

And what point of view was adopted by the Left Social-Democrats in 
Western Europe? They developed a semi-Menshevist theory of imperialism, 
rejecting the principle of the right of self-determination of the nations accord- 
ing to the Marxist conception (including separation and the formation of 
independent states), repelled the thesis of the serious revolutionary signifi- 
cance of the Hberation movement in the colonies and oppressed countries, 
the thesis of the possibility of the united front between the proletarian revolu- 
tion and the national emancipation movement, and counterposed the whole 
of this semi-Menshevist hodge-podge, representing an entire underestimation 
of the national and colonial question, to the Marxist idea represented by the 
Bolsheviks. It will be remembered that later on Trotsky seized upon this 
semi-Menshevist mixture and employed it as a weapon in the fight against 
Leninism. 

These are the errors, known to all, of the Left Social-Democrats in 
Germany. 

Admittedly, the Left-wingers in Germany did more than commit grave 
errors. Their record contains great and truly revolutionary deeds. 

It was against Lenin's criticism of the semi-Menshevism of the 
German Left-wing that Slutzki brings the charge of failure to support 
without serious reservations the Left Social-Democracy. 

Comrade Stalin shows up this anti-Leninist "historianship" as the 
work of "a calumniator and falsifier." 

Sidney Hook advances the same charge against Lenin, when he 
states the Slutzkist thesis: "It was Rosa Luxemburg, however, and 
not Lenin, who delivered the classic attack against revisionism from 
the standpoint of dialectical materialism." 



THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 329 

And what more correct characterization can be given to Sidney 
Hook's version of history than Comrade Stalin's characterization of 
Slutzki — "calumniator and falsifier"? 

Of the same nature is Hook's placing one part of Marxian theory 
against another, of which we spoke in the previous article. He also 
invades the field of economics to declare that the fetishism of com- 
modities is "the central doctrine of Marx's sociological economics" 
and considers "the theory of surplus value as an abstract and derivative 
expression." (Modern Quarterly, Vol. V, No. 4, p. 435.) This simply 
means he understands neither, and that he is substituting both. It is 
an old revisionist trick to try to fight Marx with Marx, but it has failed 
for some generations as it will for many more. The exposure of the 
fetishism of commodities is a part of the theory of surplus value, and 
the two can no more be placed in opposition than can the kidneys be 
cited against the lungs. Only a revisionist, one who denies Marxism 
as a system, can play at such a game. In insisting that the theory 
of surplus value is an "abstract and derivative expression" Hook robs 
Marxism of its very foundation in understanding the exploitation of 
labor and the class struggle. Not a metaphysical abstraction, not a 
secondary expression, but "The doctrine of surplus value is the essence 
of the economic theory of Marx." (Lenin.) 

This basic tendency of Hook's thought is also expressed in his ex- 
cluding of dialectics from the field of nature and confining it exclu- 
sively to the consciousness of man. Because consciousness is involved 
in the dialectical movement of society, Hook concludes that where 
there is no consciousness there can be no dialectics. Hook poses the 
question thus: either "social life is merely a chapter of physical life 
and explicable in physical terms," or, if this is not so, Marxism must 
be "freed from its coquetry with Hegelian terminology and disassociated 
from the illegitimate attempts to extend it to natural phenomena in 
which human consciousness does not enter." (Towards the Under- 
standing of Karl Marx, p. 63.) 

In the face of this very clear denial by Hook of dialectics in nature, 
one marvels at the sudden lapse of memory, to put the matter mildly, 
that causes him to protest in the statement he has just submitted — 
"and I have never denied it." The fact is that Hook's denial of the 
universality of dialectics is typical pragmatism, with its denial of the 
possibility of a unified body of knowledge, corresponding to a material 
universe, of which man and society is an expression and product. 

Hook's final point in his reply above is also masked and not open 
and frank. Under cover of the platitude that no man "has said the 
final word on anything," he is really affirming his own license to change 
at will the Marxian system and to reassemble its fragments under the 
hegemony of the pragmatist philosophy. The fact that he calls this 
disintegration of Marxism by the euphonious name of "creative Marx- 



330 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

ism" does not need to confuse us. This is only another example of 
what Lenin described in the following words: 

But after Marxism had dislodged all the diverse teachings hostile to it, 
the tendencies expressed in these teachings began to search for new outlets. 
The forms of, and the reasons for, the struggle have changed, but the 
struggle itself continues. The second half century of the existence of 
Marxism began with the struggle within Marxism against the tendencies 
inimical to it. . . . Pre-Marxian sociaUsm is smashed. It continues to 
struggle not on its own ground any longer, but on the general ground of 
Marxism, as revisionism. 

The struggle against revisionism is a struggle against bourgeois 
philosophy. But this bourgeois philosophy does not appear openly in 
its own name, it comes forward as ^'Marxism," even as "creative Marx- 
ism," it proclaims itself as "dialectical materialism" with only the "lit- 
tle correction" of substituting Dewey's for Marx's theory of cognition. 
The revisionists "agree with the Party's political program in the main, 
but retain a few philosophical reservations." The example of Hook 
helps us to understand the feeling with which Lenin exclaimed: 

It is a shame to confess, yet it would be a sin to conceal, that this open 
enmity towards Marxism makes of Chernov a more principled hterary 
opponent than are our comrades in politics and opponents in philosophy. 
{Collected Works, Vol. XIII, p. 73.) 

IV 

What are the practical consequences of Hook's pragmatism parad- 
ing as Marxism? Hook's views have been eagerly seized upon by the 
reformists and renegades. This is not only because he furnishes them 
with philosophical justification for existence, as alternative inferences 
which are "candidates for truth." More important is his justification 
of all schools of revisionism by denying the existence of any body of 
established Marxian truth. What could be more sweeping in its con- 
temptuous dismissal of the various Communist Parties and of the Com- 
munist International, than Hook's article in Modern Quarterly, 
Volume 5, No. 4? In that article it is made clear that Hook believes he 
alone truly understands Marx, that the Commimist Parties are merely 
repeating with mechanical stupidity the formulae of Marx. Let us 
recall again Hook's description of Marxism as expressed practically 
in world mass movements. 

In Russia, it is a symbol of revolutionary theology; in Germany, of a 
vague social religion; in France, of social reform, and in England and 
America, of wrong-headed pohtical tactics. 

Modesty may require us to ignore Hook's cynical characterization 
of the Communist Party of the U. S. A. as an expression of "wrong- 



THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 331 

headed political tactics." We merely note in passing that in this 
judgment, he unites with the renegades and reformists of all brands. 
But what shall we say of a man, who professing to be a Marxian and a 
dialectical materialist, was able to dismiss the gigantic achievements 
of Marxism in the Soviet Union as "a symbol of revolutionary theol- 
ogy"! This is nothing but the sickly egotism of an idealist closet- 
philosopher, who thinks that the advances in human knowledge are 
being produced by his own brain, rather than by the mass action of 
the millions for whom Marxism is not an intellectual exercise, but a 
guide for transforming the world. 

Hook puts forward his ideas in the name of Marxism. Those who 
are more open and frank bring forward the same ideas to explain their 
rejection of Marxism. For example. Max Eastman, who conducts a 
feverish crusade to destroy dialectical materialism, does so because he 
agrees with Hook that "it is a symbol of revolutionary theology." A 
close kinship with this thought is also expressed by Mr. Norman 
Thomas, who wrote in the same issue of the Modern Quarterly with 
Sidney Hook, the following: 

I agree that the philosophy of dialectic materialism is "disguised religion." 
The psychological resemblances between communism and religion are indeed 
so great as scarcely to be disguised. Which makes me wonder whether 
its prophet, Lenin's mind was essentially scientific, despite his genius for a 
ruthless realism and the large element in him of the creative will. These 
things are not uncommon in great leaders of religious movements. 

This agreement between Hook, Eastman and Thomas is not an 
accidental one. No matter how varied may be the philosophical facade 
with which each one distinguishes himself from the others, the sub- 
stantial foundation of each is identical; namely, pragmatism. It is 
true that in the national elections Hook supported not Thomas, but 
Foster. It is clear, however, that he was brought to this act not by 
the logic of his revisionism, which would lead straight to Thomas, but 
by something else. That other factor was the rise of a considerable 
mass movement of intellectuals toward the Communist Party, a move- 
ment which carried with it precisely that public to which Hook makes 
his most immediate and direct appeal. After all, a vote for Foster 
and Ford, even though not entirely logical for a revisionist, is a small 
price to pay for the privilege of passing unchallenged as "the foremost 
Marxist in America"! But the Communist Party does not, and can- 
not participate in such business. 



We pointed out above that dialectical materialism, free from the 
pragmatic revisions of Hook, is necessary for the working class because 
the working class represents the future development of society. In 



SS2 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

the working class we have that complete correspondence between the 
objective and subjective factors of society, between the laws of eco- 
nomic and social development and the class needs of the workers, 
which for the first time makes possible the unity between the class 
needs and aspirations and the most coldly objective, scientific study 
and understanding of the society in which that class conducts its strug- 
gles. Precisely this is what Hook does not and cannot understand. 

It cannot help the working class to perform its revolutionary tasks 
to teach it, as does Hook, that our program has no objective validity, 
except that we may by acting on it make it true to some extent. It 
is quite correct to emphasize the active character of the working class 
as the maker of the revolution, but to put this in Hook's form, means 
to demorahze and divide the working class into groups and sections 
each of which has its own separate program with equal claim to truth 
(objective validity), and each of which will actually be made true to 
the extent that workers believe in it and act upon it. This idealistic 
conception of Hook, while it puts on a brave revolutionary face as 
emphasizing action, more action, achieves the opposite result in reality 
by laying the foundation for confusion and disruption. The necessary 
precondition for effective action of the working class is its unification, 
not around any or all programs, but around that single program which 
alone corresponds to the laws of social development and the needs of 
the masses. 

Only this understanding of the objective and scientific character of 
our program and our philosophy, gives us the capacity for carrying 
through the proletarian revolution. The revolution is not, as Hook 
falsely states, merely the struggle for power, it is the struggle for 
power in order to use that power for a definite, specific purpose; 
namely, the establishment of socialism as the first stage of communism. 
This is not some general abstract goal in the nature of a "social myth." 
This is a concrete program of action, directed towards the development 
of a planned society, all the essential features of which are matters 
of fore-knowledge and plan. 

Of course, while we reject the idealistic inflation of the role of con- 
sciousness given by Hook, we simultaneously reject unconditionally 
that imderstanding of the historical process as the product of those 
large impersonal forces, of which men are mere automatic reflexes. 
Communism is inevitable, but it is only inevitable because the working 
class will inevitably fight to overthrow capitalism and consciously 
establish communism. The inevitability of communism by no means 
belittles the active role of the working class, as Hook would have us 
believe, but on the contrary. 

Hook and all revisionists, by rejecting the scientific character of 
Marxism, contribute not to the development of the revolution, but to 
the building of obstacles against the revolution. In order to further 



THE REVISIONISM OF SIDNEY HOOK 333 

intensify the confusion on this question, they assure the workers that 
to refuse to follow the Hooks, to insist instead upon mastering the 
science of Marxism, that this means in reality to fall into the swamps 
of religion. Such an argument may sound preposterous. And it is! 
But it is seriously made by Sidney Hook. 

It is no longer possible for Sidney Hook to explain away our con- 
troversies with him on the basis of "distortions and misunderstand- 
ings." It is quite clear that we have two sharply opposed conceptions 
of Marxism, expressed by Hook and by the international Communist 
movement. Our first task was to prove that these two lines existed in 
conflict with one another. Our second and larger one, is to prove 
that all revisionist theories, such as those of Hook, are objectively 
false and subjectively dangerous to the working class. To fully carry 
out this second task is a long process of class struggle, political and 
ideological. We gain mastery of the science of dialectical materialism 
through the development of the struggle for control of society; and 
we win control of society only through our growing mastery of dia- 
lectical materialism. 



XXII 

Religion and Communism * 

I. What is the official position of the Communist Party of the United 
States on the question of religion? 

The Communist Party takes the position that the social function of 
religion and religious institutions is to act as an opiate to keep the 
lower classes passive, to make them accept the bad conditions under 
which they have to live in the hope of a reward after death. From 
this estimate of the social role of religion it is quite clear that the 
Communist Party is the enemy of religion. We Communists try to 
do the opposite of what we hold religion does. We try to awaken 
the masses to a realization of the miserable conditions under which 
they live, to arouse them to revolt against these conditions, and to 
change these conditions of life now; not to wait for any supposed 
reward in heaven, but to create a heaven on earth; that is, to get 
those things which they dream about as good things, to realize them 
in Ijfe. It is clear that any serious movement to rouse and organize 
the masses to the realization of a better life now, must struggle against 
anything that tends to create passivity, to create the idea that it is 
better to submit passively to the powers that be. 

On the other hand, the Communist Party is absolutely opposed to any 
form of coercion on religious matters. Communists are for religious 
freedom unconditionally. The Communists do not consider religion a 
private matter when it concerns revolutionists. But they consider that 
in relation to state power, to governmental policies, religion is a private 
matter. The state should not interfere with, or in any way dictate to, 
the religious institutions and beliefs. This explains the seeming paradox 
that fascism, which puts itself forward as essentially a religious move- 
ment, discloses itself in practice as a supreme denial of religious liberty, 
whereas communism, which has a negative attitude towards religion, is 
the only social movement today that releases religion from all artificial 
constraints and regulations, from the denial of freedom. 

In Germany we have had a very thorough and convincing demonstra- 
tion of what fascism means for religion and for religious institutions. 
I do not think that I need to elaborate. I think everybody is familiar 
with what is going on in Germany. We have an equally thorough 

* Discussion with a group of students of the Union Theological Seminary on the 
question of Religion and Communism, February 15, 1935.— £d. 

334 



RELIGION AND COMMUNISM 335 

example of what communism means in governmental policy towards 
religion in the development of more than 17 years of workers' and 
farmers' government in the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union there 
is complete religious freedom. At the same time, the Communist Party, 
which is the government Party, carries on an active anti-religious cam- 
paign. This anti-religious campaign is purely educational. The Com- 
munists consider it would be the greatest mistake to use coercion in the 
fight against religion. We consider that this would defeat our own 
purpose. We consider that the most effective fight against religion, to 
remove it completely as that social factor which stands in the way of 
reorganizing society, is precisely the granting and guaranteeing of 
complete religious freedom. Complete religious freedom, of course, 
means the complete withdrawal of governmental support of religion and 
of all special privileges for religious institutions. It also means that 
the religious education for the young stands on its own feet without 
any artificial support. 

As for the religious workers, the Communist Party does not make 
the abandonment of their religion a condition of joining the Party, 
even though it carries on educational work which is anti-religious. 
You may be mterested m knowing that we have preachers, preachers 
active in churches, who are members of the Communist Party. There 
are churches in the United States where the preachers preach com- 
munism from the pulpits, in a very primitive form, of course. In one 
particular church service described to me, the substance of the sermon 
(I do not remember the exact title) was that the Commimists were 
the angels of God that had been sent like Moses to lead the people 
from the wilderness, while the representatives of the devil were the 
capitalists and their agents. This, of course, is not an expression of 
the official Communist attitude on these questions, as you will under- 
stand; but we do not expel such people from the Party. The test for 
us is whether such people represent the social aspirations of the masses, 
which may take on a religious form, but which are essentially social 
rebellion. When such is the case, we welcome them into our Party. 
Even within the Party, where we do not consider religion a private 
matter, we have no sort of coercion towards such religious remnants, 
even towards their active religious expressions. 

2. Would you say, Mr. Browder, that religion might serve a revolu- 
tionary junction? 

I would say that revolutionary social movements may sometimes take 
on a religious form; this form, however, would not be an accelerating 
factor, but a retarding one. That does not mean that there could not 
be — ^and in fact there are to an increasing extent — common objectives 
between the Communists and religious organizations, for which joint 
efforts and struggle would be put forward. We have seen this in the 



336 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

political field recently in the Saar, where some sections and prominent 
leaders of the Catholic church, realizing the loss of religious freedom 
which would be involved by incorporation in the Hitler regime, formed 
a united front with the Socialists and Communists to fight for the status 
quo in the Saar. Such concrete joint struggles will develop more and 
more, in which instances it could be said, from a certain point of view, 
that the religious movement was serving a revolutionary purpose. There 
it is not religion as such which serves the revolutionary purpose, but the 
struggle against oppression, the struggle for the right of the masses 
to express themselves even in their confused fashion. The struggle 
for this right is revolutionary, and in that sense religious organizations 
and movements can play a revolutionary role. 

3. What do you mean by saying religion is not a private matter where 
revolutionaries are concerned? I took it to mean that you would not 
consider anyone holding a religion to be a revolutionary ; yet you said 
that you accepted religious workers into the Party. 

When workers come into the Party still actively religious, we accept 
them, not because we accept their religion, but because we know that 
the process of discarding religious beliefs, which are in the last analysis 
reactionary, is a more or less protracted one. We expect religion 
to be eliminated only in the course of a few generations of the new 
society, the socialist society. 

We do not consider this religious belief a private matter among 
revolutionaries; for those who join the revolutionary movement will 
have to submit all their beliefs to criticism. As members of the revolu- 
tionary movement, everything they think and everything they say 
affects the development of this movement which they have joined and 
of which they have become a part. While we do not exact of them 
that they give up their religion, we will subject their religious beliefs 
to a careful and systematic criticism, and we expect that the religious 
beliefs will not be able to stand up under such criticism. We would 
not, for example, place in the most responsible leading positions of the 
movement people who had strong religious beliefs. We consider that 
they would be dangerous because they would be left open to social 
influences which would endanger the direction of the masses they would 
have in their charge. 

4. On the other hand, since a large proportion of the American 
population is either connected with the church in one form or another, 
or even very sympathetic to the church, won't your tactics, in order to 
win these people over, have to take that into account pretty thoroughly? 
That is, are you able to present a front against religion in America com- 
parable to that used in Russia when you are working with the American 
masses? 



RELIGION AND COMMUNISM 337 

Certainly we will have to take the religious beliefs of the masses into 
account and respect them — and we do. Certainly, the revolution, 
which will be an act of the majority of the people, will involve those 
holding religious beliefs. If religion stands as an absolute barrier to the 
revolution, that would postpone the revolution for a considerable 
period. We do not think that it does. We think religious-minded 
people will participate in the revolution, will help to carry through 
the change. This is in no way a concession in principle to religious 
ideas. Concessions to the desires and prejudices of masses who hold 
religious views — yes. The utmost respect for their right to hold these 
views, by all means. Complete absence of any system of coercion on 
these questions, by all means. In this form, taking these religious beliefs 
into account and respecting them, do we meet the question, but not 
with any concessions in principle. 

5. Suppose that the members of this group go out into the various 
churches that they will serve and that they^ together with the people 
in their congregations , would become revolutionized and would feel 
that they were being animated by religious motives, would the Com- 
munist Party examine that evidence and give it scientific weight, and 
possibly modify its conviction that religion cannot be a revolutionary 
force? 

I would not want to hold out any hopes that the Communists will 
be converted to religion. For us as Communists the question is 
answered and, while we always examine all evidence that is brought 
forward scientifically, we have no reason in our experience to believe 
that any future evidence will modify our conclusions. We would 
not want to give the slightest indication that there is any prospect 
of a rapprochement between communism and religion as such. 

6. Are you sure there will never be any evidence? 

While we always examine every bit of evidence that comes for- 
ward, we consider the question as settled for us. We do not expect 
to have to reopen it. 

7. Do you distinguish between the religious spirit and religion 
as it is institutionalized? 

Yes, we do. 

8. Do you think there are any values in the religious spirit nk)t 
found in the church or the institution of religion? 

Values, no. But the institutionalized religion is the particular 
enemy. Institutionalized religion is still used by the present rulers 
99-44/100 per cent for strengthening the present regime, whereas the 
unorganized sentiments act only as a brake upon the development of 
the individual. 



338 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

9. It wotdd appear to me from your definition of policy that the 
very policy which you define for the Communist Party is coercion 
in a very subtle form in case the Communist Party should come into 
power. The Communist Party separates all education from the church 
and makes it all secular, and at the same time carries on an active anti- 
religious campaign through the secular means of education, at one time 
disarming all forms of religious education and at the same time arming 
yourself with all the power of secular education to destroy any religion 
that remains. Now, if propaganda is coercion, which I think most 
Communists say it is, is it not in that case? 

No, not coercion. The whole concept of freedom of religion becomes 
real only when it includes freedom not to be religious. That is something 
that most religious institutions do not accept. I think it is one of the 
accepted maxims of religious institutions that the mind of the child 
should be molded so that he will not be capable of rejecting religion. 
How can such a child have religious freedom if in his formative period 
he is very carefully isolated from any ideas which challenge these 
religious beliefs? So long as the child in his formative years is con- 
trolled by religious institutions, religious liberty is denied him. 

10. Is that not true when Communists separate him from all religious 
influences and subject him to communism? 

He is free to develop his full powers, and if religion has any basic 
value and responds to any basic need in the human being, it certainly 
does not need to be imposed upon the mind of the child, but will come, 
as the product of a full social life. 

11. But religion is not any more spontaneous than communism is, 
and both are products of education, petty much. 

If one takes that view of religion, then he is rejecting its basic 
claim. That is a Communist view of religion. 

12. Is it true that they stopped Paul Robeson from singing in Mos- 
cow as soon as he sang religious songs over the radio station? 

That never happened. About a week after that lie was circulated, 
Paul Robeson was greeted in Moscow as an honored guest of the 
Soviet Union. He sang in the biggest state theaters of Moscow and 
declared to the newspapers his great pleasure at the comradely recep- 
tion accorded him in the Soviet Union, the like of which he had 
received nowhere else. Robeson sang every song he wanted to sing. 

13. Does not the Communist Party forbid parents to give religious 
instruction to their children? Are they allowed to carry on family 
worship and instruction of the children? 

The socialist state, under the leadership of the Communist Party, 
permits and guarantees full liberty of religious education and practise. 



RELIGION AND COMMUNISM 339 

14. Most of the things you have said about religion are critical from 
the standpoint of function, but I wonder what you say from the 
philosophical point of view. Communism has a certain world view, 
and particularly a conception of man's relationship to nature and to 
the world. You believe that man can cooperate with, and fundamentally 
subdue, the plain forces of nature. It seems to me that you have an 
irrational belief, certainly not a thoroughly scientific belief, concern- 
ing something that is distinctly in the psychological realm of thought. 

It is true, communism differs basically in its philosophy from all 
religions. That is, essentially all religions presuppose a power outside 
of the human realm directing human beings. There are religious schools 
that take on philosophical form, veiling their religious character; 
but essentially religion is the belief in a higher, supernatural 
directing power to which man must submit himself. Often, a certain 
analogy has been drawn between this feature of religion and that 
feature of the Communist process where the individual merges himself 
in the great mass movement and finds his completion in a larger 
whole. This analogy, however, fails to bring out the essence of the 
difference. For, whereas in religion the individual merging with God 
and finding his completion in his religious unity with God becomes 
separated from the tasks of mankind, in the Communist larger unity 
he realizes the tasks of taking charge of these problems himself together 
with his fellows, establishing social control of his own life. 

15. What objections would you have to a group of ministers going 
out and working with the people in their congregations, proclaiming that 
God is a revolutionary God, that God is definitely working for the es- 
tablishment here on earth of a Communist cooperative society? 

We would consider such a move a distinct social advance over the 
ordinary type of preaching. It would represent one step in the emanci- 
pation from religion. 

16. How do you fit religion into dialectics — what is the role of 
religion in dialectical materialism? 

Religion does not fit into a dialectical materialist system of thought. 
It is the enemy of it. One cannot be a thorough materialist, that is, a 
dialectical materialist, and have any remnants of religious beliefs. Both 
the older materialism that preceded the dialectical materialism and the 
non-materialist dialectics were in the final analysis of a religious char- 
acter; but not so dialectical materialism. Dialectical materialism is 
completely materialist and excludes religion, but, of course, it includes 
the explanation of religion. 

17. Could you not be convinced of dialectical materialism and con- 
sider religion of value? 

No. This was already answered in the previous question. 



340 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

1 8. Became when you begin to work out the unity of opposites and 
contradictions, you would have to have religion in the picture — 

Yes, religion must be in the picture in order to be eliminated. 

19. Would your dialectics move towards some sort of synthesis? 
Well, the dialectical conception of S5mthesis does not include carrying 

over obsolete and outlived forms of thought. Some of the functions 
that are performed by religion will certainly be performed by certain 
other institutions. There is no question about that. A large part of 
the functions of organized religion are purely social. All such functions 
will certainly be taken over by new forms of organization and thinking. 

20. What will be the regenerative center of the Communist move- 
ment in about another century when it has gotten a pretty good foothold 
and achieved its end? What will keep it from degenerating? En- 
thusiasm, you know, cannot last. Will they go back to Lenin and 
Marx, do you suppose? 

No, the guarantees against degeneration are in the living forces of the 
people. They will, of course, make use of the teachings of the best 
thinkers of the past, but they will have their own lives. The teachings 
are the instruments representing merely the past growth, which are 
further developed by the living force of the people themselves. 

21. Does this development come through contradiction? It is a little 
hard to see how these contradictions could rise in a Communist world; 
yet according to dialectical materialism we get development through 
contradictions. 

The contradictions of the future society will not arise from the 
economic base. Contradictions in the present society arise from the 
economic base of society, which fundamentally divides society into 
warring classes. With the rise of socialist society and its passing over 
into full communism, this, of course, will be absolutely gone. That 
means that the class struggle will disappear as the motive force of 
history. In classless society, the dialectic contradictions will not assume 
the form of class antagonisms. 

22. / jmt wonder how your philosophical concepts would be able to 
keep these contradictions in a materialist sense in a materialist realm? 

There will be no fundamental contradictions in the material base of 
society under communism. 

23. Do you mean by that that man can completely conquer nature, 
that such things as drought and earthquakes and floods can be com- 
pletely regulated? 

Man can progressively move in that direction. For example, even in 
this past year the Soviet Union already demonstrated the power to 
control droughts. The Soviet Union was hit by droughts, as bad as 



RELIGION AND COMMUNISM 341 

those which hit the other countries, but the results were vastly different 
from those in the other countries. In the Soviet Union, where farming 
had already been brought into the socialist economic structure, they 
were able to fight against the drought and reduce its effects so much 
that the total production of grain dropped only two per cent and the 
total collections of grain actually increased over the previous year. 

Similarly, floods are generally looked upon as a natural phenomenon, 
but to a great extent they are social phenomena, economic phenomena. 
The country that suffers the most from floods is China; but anyone 
who has been in China must recognize that the floods of China are 
distinctly the product of the militaristic rule of that country and not of 
anything else, that they are not the product of water, that they are the 
product of the breaking down of the social control of that water. 

24. Are not the attitudes of devotion and sacrifice which characterize 
many ardent Communists religious? 

We consider them social. We consider them as rising out of the 
sense of social solidarity and the understanding that the individual 
completes himself in the social whole of which he is a product, and that 
isolated from it he is nothing. We believe that devotion and sacrifice 
do not come from the outside to mankind, but arise from the natural 
development of man. 

25. But you do have, that is the Communists have, a transcendent 
value, which, the attitude of devotion and — one might be tempted to 
use the word worship — indicates that these attitudes are religious? 

We have values which transcend everyday life, but which do not, 
however, transcend human life as a whole. Our values arise right out 
of life. They are not given to us from on high or from God. Our 
values which transcend daily life are drawn from the whole experience 
of the human race. 

26. Do you recognize loyalty to this ideal of great importance? 
Yes, but we should say, not loyalty to an ideal, but loyalty to our- 
selves. Loyalty to our best values. 

27. Would you say communism contains the combination of the 
dialectic process as far as economic forces are concerned, that is eco- 
nomic forces as the motivating force in the change of history? 

Yes, the economic organization of society, that is, the way in which 
mankind makes its living, is the basic fact; that is what we mean by 
economics. That does not eliminate the human factor, for economics 
is what man does in order to provide food, clothing and shelter. 
Economic forces are not different from and exclude the actions of man, 
but on the contrary exert themselves only through human beings. 

28. Do you explain according to the Communistic theory that the 
whole process of history is due to this economic force? Then, if we 



342 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

attain this Communistic society then does that thing end the dialectic 
process — or would you say there would still be dialectic forces going 
into higher development? 

According to our understanding, dialectical thought is the growing 
awareness of the human mind of the natural processes that go on out- 
side of it, and human action upon nature guided by this understanding. 
It is not an invention of the human mind which is imposed upon the 
world, as Sidney Hook maintains it is. It is not merely an instrument 
of the mind which happens to be useful for the moment by an accident. 
Dialectics is this growing understanding in the human mind of the 
process of change and development that goes on throughout the universe. 
We do not limit it merely to the social sphere or to the class struggle 
going on now. Dialectics is universal. There is a dialectics of nature, 
there will always be a dialectics for every phase of life. Since life 
changes its forms, dialectics will never be eliminated. The dialectical 
■process will not be eliminated in the future society. It will take new 
forms; it will no longer assume the form of the basic antagonisms of 
class society. 

29. Do you not consider that dialectical process a hypothesis at all? 
You consider it as an established fact? 

We consider it as the most generalized truth. 

30. Many of us are interested in seeing a new society brought about 
and we feel that in the ideals of Jesus we have presented a goal towards 
which we are moving and we feel that this gives us something of a 
motive power. In what way would you say a group of people feeling 
that way can best work towards a new society, or are they entirely up 
the wrong tree? 

I think that they could best serve the movement, not by concentrating 
too much upon the question of religion and its relation to the revolu- 
tionary movement, but by concentrating upon the practical questions 
of the day, as, for instance, to what extent there can be brought about a 
practical cooperation of all forces, religious and non-religious, for certain 
practical aims. In this field there is great room for work. I thmk, 
for example, that people who are essentially religious today and who 
see that their religious freedom is threatened by the growing reaction 
in America, could very well find those points in the social set-up in 
which they could cooperate with the non-religious forces in the fight 
against reaction. So that even from the essentially religious interests 
of such people there could be points of contact with the anti-religious 
revolutionary movement, such as the fight against fascism, the fight 
against war. Certainly war, which has become an immediate menace, 
is something that violates the religious beliefs of the masses; and to 
mobilize these religious feelings for an effective struggle against war, 
could be very helpful. 



RELIGION AND COMMUNISM 343 

31. Is it became of this basic argument that the Communist Party 
is willing to enter into the American League Against War and Fascism 
and enter into a united front with religious groups to fight a given 
enemy? 

Yes, in the American League the Communists are only one small 
section and are in a minority; but perhaps a large majority of the 
people in the American League are religious people, even though they 
did not come into the League from the religious organizations. A 
growing number of religious organizations have affiliated, and of all 
those who have become affiliated through other organizations, undoubt- 
edly the majority are religious. Communists have no hesitation what- 
ever in such contacts with religious people. We do not shy away from 
religious people at all. 

32. To what extent does the Communist Party cooperate with such 
church federations which are for the destruction of capitalist society? 

We have no direct contact with these organizations as such. Some 
of the leading individuals in these organizations are active in imited 
front organizations where we are active. In the American League 
Against War and Fascism, Dr. Harry F. Ward, who is connected with 
the Methodist Social Service Institution — I forget the exact name — is 
chairman of the League. Also connected with the League is Dr. Wm. 
Spofford, who I believe is one of the leaders of the Church League for 
Industrial Democracy. Only in this indirect way have we contact with 
these church organizations. Indirectly all of these forces which have an 
anti-capitalist tendency come into a certain broad cooperation through 
the American League Against War and Fascism. 

33. You said that religion opposes revolutionary activity on two 
grounds — on the ground of belief and on the ground of its institutional 
form at the present time. Do you find that in its educational and 
organizational set-up there are tendencies towards a reactionary or 
passive attitude in the present belief and the desire to keep the belief 
reactionary? 

I would say that the outstanding feature of the development of 
thought in religious organizations today is the growth of revolutionary 
trends, and not a growth of reactionary trends. A prominent churchman 
said to me some months ago that the Communists are going to "capture" 
the church before we do the A. F. of L. Of course, we do not believe 
that; but it is more than a joke, because it tends to emphasize 
that there is a surging growth of social thought even within church 
organizations, which is essentially revolutionary thought. It is a 
struggle against the reactionary character of present capitalist rule; 
it is a revolt against all of the reactionary features of capitalism which 
become more and more pronounced from day to day. 



344 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

34. As regards the content of teachings that you discuss. If one 
were an instructor, one would assume there are forms of teachings 
which would tend to produce an uncritical attitude to things, an accept- 
ance of the status quo in the way the thing was taught, apart from the 
content of what was taught. Do the Communists, in the way in which 
they teach their own doctrine, promote a critical attitude that can be 
seen in the method of teaching? 

The Communist teaching is essentially critical, and, indeed, it is not 
directed towards developing uncritical acceptance. Sometimes those 
who champion the cause of criticism do not understand this, however, 
because the critical approach of the Communists does not involve the 
splitting up of the movement into its separate parts, but on the contrary 
serves to weld it closer together, creating greater unity of thought, so 
that the very thought process and the very criticism itself become a 
social and not an individual act, a social act in which the individual 
participates, but of which the individual himself is not the expression. 
In the Communist Party this expresses itself in our inner-Party life. 
We develop our thought through discussions and a very intensive de- 
velopment of literature. We probably circulate more literature per 
member of our organization by ten times than any other organization 
in existence. It is very intensive collective thought life in which is 
involved the whole critical approach to everything. The revolutionist 
is first of all a critic of the universe and everything that is in it, includ- 
ing himself.- But we avoid at all costs the type of criticism which 
comes from the individualist society where criticism is purely an in- 
dividual function. For the Communist, criticism is a social function, 
an organized function. In bourgeois society criticism is essentially a 
divisive process. With us it is the opposite; it is the process of 
consolidation of the masses. 

35. You do that by keeping this constant circulation of criticism so 
that whatever anyone thinks is immediately registered? 

Every view established as the view of our movement has been estab- 
lished as the result of the most thorough criticism. No point is ever 
established as the view of the Communists until it has met and answered 
every possible criticism that can be made. After the question has been 
faced and answered, we do not consider it necessary that it shall forever 
continue to be an open question. There are many questions which 
are closed for us. Therefore, those people for whom this is still an 
open question consider that our approach is uncritical because for us 
the question has already been answered. That is only because we have 
met and answered these questions before. 

36. Do you claim that this increase in revolutionary temper which 
shows itself in the church is a social product and not a product of 
religious idealism as we do? 



RELIGION AND COMMUNISM 345 

We consider that essentially this comes not out of the religion, but 
out of the conditions of life of the people who make up these bodies and 
who, having no better channels through which to express it, express it 
through their religious channels. 

37. 7/ such religious organizations enter into a united front with the 
Communist Party, then, in the coming years when the social revolution 
is successful, will the Communist Party, if it is in power, enter into 
a campaign against these organizations that have helped in achieving 
this new society? 

Communists will never carry on any kind of activity which the masses 
will feel is against their interests. The Communists will never carry 
on any kind of coercion against religious institutions. Let that be 
clear. In the Communist fight against religion, the Communists will 
limit themselves purely to ideological weapons, the weapons of argu- 
ment and thought, the expression of thought. 

38. // the expression of social thinking that you find in churches is a 
result of the social situation of the people that are doing the thinking, 
why do you not find the same amount expressed in other professions? 
We are not patting ourselves on the back, but I think you will agree 
that there probably is more social thinking done in the ministry over 
the country than in any other profession. 

We would not say more. There perhaps is still, for the time being, 
a little more freedom of expression in the church than in the schools. 
In the schools we have laws directed against the expression of social 
thinking. Outside of the Catholic church, it is not yet true of the church 
institutions. However, I wouldn't if I were a member of these church 
organizations, congratulate myself too much on this. You do not know 
how long it will last. You may have your Dickstein Committee in the 
Methodist church soon and in the Protestant churches generally. 

39. When you mention the fact that the Communist group would 
not carry on any offensive against church institutions, are you assuming 
there, that church institutions would be taken over by the masses who 
do not control these institutions at present? 

We are assuming that there would be no capitalist class organized 
and controlling these churches. These religious institutions would be 
controlled by the people who are in them. They would not be enemies 
of the new society, because the masses who would be in them would be 
actively cooperating in the new society. 

40. If a church group were definitely counter-revolutionary and act- 
ing against the Communist regime, there would be no hesitation in 
wiping that group out? 

It would be dealt with on political, not religious, grounds. 



346 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

41. Would you agree that there is a gambling chance that the people 
in the religious organizations might make such a powerful force work- 
ing for social justice in case we have a revolution, that the Communist 
Party might reopen the question? 

I think the more the masses now in the churches become active in 
the social struggle, the less need will they find for religion, so that the 
more they participate in the revolution, the less likelihood is there of 
the church becoming any essential feature of the new social set-up. 

42. Would you say that the participation in building a new social 
order would be a substitute for religion? 

Religion itself, even where it does not disappear, will tend to become 
de-institutionalized. 

43. // we are going forward into a period of fascism, is there not the 
possibility of religion keeping alive this spirit of revolt, because of 
certain factors that have always been more or less connected with 
religion and for that reason it may become a very powerful ally? 

I think the church as an organized institution is much more likely to 
fall under the control of the fascist forces. 

44. Where do you find the evil — in the capitalist or in capitalism? 
Both, the capitalist system is so essentially evil that it cannot produce 

good men at the top. 

45. Which is first — man or capitalism? 
Mankind is first, but not man as an individual. 

46. // in the social struggle the church does not line up with the 
fascist organizations, but proves to be helpful to the social revolution, 
will there be any recognition of that fact? 

Certainly, I think the Communists would be more happy about that 
than anybody else. Perhaps we will be surprised. 

47. I do not think religion today, as we understand it, will postpone 
happiness for the future life. We are working definitely for an abun- 
dant life here, rather than in the future. Some of us do not believe 
in the hereafter, and are striving to establish a good society here. I 
think we are "working towards the same objective. 

It is incorrect to draw an analogy between the vague socio-religious 
aspirations and Communism. There is, of course, a positive social 
content accompanying some religious teachings, though not all; but 
this is not the feature which gives them the character of religion. 

48. / think we are arguing about terms. What we call religion you 
call something else. It is a matter of definition. 

I think the things that we Communists call religion are, you might 
put it, the "established truths" about religion. They may take very 



RELIGION AND COMMUNISM 347 

subtle forms, but they will always reveal that supernatural character 
that we are speaking about here. 

49. Every idea has its political and social effect. You cannot have 
an idea without having it have some political connection. Therefore, 
in the Communist set-up we are open to your definite pattern of 
thought, ideology. Any variation from that would be counter- 
revolutionary, even if perhaps some people think it a higher step. In 
other words, the Communist pattern may become crystallized just as 
the capitalist system is now, so that there will be no progress, no change. 

The Communists have no fixed system in the sense of a hard and fast 
strait-jacket. The very essence of Communist thinking is the pro- 
gressive development and realization of all the creative forces of the 
human mind. That is the essence of the whole Communist position of 
life as seen in the Communist program of practical action. Certainly, 
no one can say that where the Communists are the directing power, 
as in the Soviet Union, the mind has been put into a strait-jacket. 
There has never been in human history such a release of all initiative 
of the individual and the development of capacities as in the Soviet 
Union. You can go into the Soviet Union and find men occupying the 
highest positions in every field of life, from the arts and sciences to 
government, who but five or six years ago were backward people on 
the land, the most backward illiterate peasants. What society in the 
world ever showed such an enormous development of the capacity of the 
individual human mind? Never in history has anything like it been 
seen. So, if you judge by experience, you cannot draw the conclusion 
that communism tends to strait- jacket human development. 

50. A little while ago, you said the individual, as such, is not worth 
any consideration at all. 

I said the individual finds his development and completion only as a 
part of the group, as a part of society. Isolated, the individual is 
nothing. 

51. Do the Communists consider it psychologically possible to build 
up a classless society, a society in which no classes exist? 

Yes, the Communists accept that view. 

52. But in practice there is always a class. 

In the Soviet Union classes still exist, that is true. And the class 
struggle within the Soviet Union is still sharp. But enormous progress 
is being made towards the classless society precisely through that 
struggle. Precisely through the class struggle, do we come to the class- 
less society. Some believe that the way to get a classless society is to 
stop fighting, to stop the class struggle; on this we disagree. We say 
that precisely the only way to come to a society without classes is 
through the development of the class struggle to the point where one 



348 COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES 

particular class — the working class — obtains power. By making this 
one class predominant, that particular class whose historic revolutionary 
role is to remove the basis for class division, we can reach the classless 
society — but only in this way. The interests of this class lie in doing 
away with that material foundation of society which produces classes. 
Only when you abolish that which produces classes, can you abolish 
the class themselves. What produces classes is the division of society 
into those who own and those who work. When that is abolished and 
those who work are also those who own, then it is only a matter of time 
that all classes in society will disappear. 

53. Has the Communist line on religion changed in the last three or 
jour years y particularly in regard to the Negro in America? Now 
people who still maintain religious beliefs can join the Party. Is this a 
change in the line oj the Party, or has it been a development? 

It may be said to be a change in the growing understanding of Party 
members on the meaning of Party line, but in the authoritative expres- 
sions of this line there is no change. Our standard text-book is the 
writings of Lenin on these questions — ^writings that extend over many 
years, mostly before the revolution in Russia. There certainly is no 
essential change. There are, of course, certain changes in our applica- 
tion of this line because of the changing situation. There were, for 
example, a few years ago very few practical questions concerning our 
relations to social movements within the church because such social 
movements were largely non-existent. Today their existence takes on 
an immediate practical political importance that brings out features of 
the Communist attitude towards religion which were not outstanding 
before. But it is a change of development of events of the day rather 
than any change of the development of the Party Ime. 

54. On that same question, the official tactic perhaps jor the immedi- 
ate situation has been changed in regard to some oj these groups, but 
is it not true that many oj the rank-and-file have jailed to catch up with 
the change? I rejer to your discussion be j ore oj the inner-Party lije, 
the discussion that goes on within the Party, it seemed that that indi- 
cated that many oj the Party members, whom we consider to be Party 
members, do not seem to jollow the official line on many oj these ques- 
tions. I am thinking in particular oj instances in the American League 
where trouble seems to have come out oj the jailure oj Party members 
to adopt a united jront policy. 

I have an idea that probably most of such difficulties that you speak 
of come not from Party members, but from non-Party people who may 
call themselves Communists. It is true that many of our best friends 
are sometimes our worst enemies because they do not familiarize them- 
selves with the correct position on fundamental questions. Of course, 
it is also true that not all Party members are fully grounded in all of 



RELIGION AND COMMUNISM 349 

these questions, for our Party reflects all the shortcomings of the work- 
ing class. We have 31,000 members where a year and a half ago we 
had from 17,000 to 18,000 members. That means we have had 14,000 
members coming into the Party in a year and a half ; some have been in 
for only a couple of months and are certainly not experts on the policy 
of the Party. 

55. Is there also Communistic propaganda among the Negroes? 
Is there a good field there? 

Considerable. It was reported in the newspapers that a Negro 
religious leader had stated that the churches were in danger of losing 
their hold over the Negroes because of the tremendous inroads made 
by the Communists and had therefore called upon the churches to fight 
the Communists more energetically; this is some evidence of how strong 
is the political influence of the Communists among the Negro popula- 
tion generally. We have not any great organization among the Negro 
masses. Our organizational strength among them is growing; but the 
influence of our ideas, especially those ideas expressed in the practical 
day-to-day struggle for Negro rights, creates a tremendous effect among 
the majority of Negroes in America. In this sense many say that the 
majority of the Negroes are influenced by the Communists. 

56. Do you regard the Hebrew prophets and Jesus as historical 
figures y and if so, have they social significance? 

They are historical figures at least in the sense that they have played 
quite a role in the historical development of the human mind. WTiether 
they were the product of the human mind or whether they had some 
more direct material basis is not important to us. We do not enter 
the field of higher criticism. 

57. How seriously is the Communist Party taking the present drive 
to outlaw it? Todays papers give the report of the Dickstein Com- 
mittee which, if it is embodied in bills and these bills are passed, will 
eventually put the Communist Party out of business. 

We take them very seriously; not that we thmk that that will put 
the Communist Party out of business, because the Communist Party 
will never be put out of business. We take these proposals very seri- 
ously because we see that they are part of a system of development 
which is represented by Roosevelt's actions in the automobile situation, 
by the whole company union drive, by the drive to smash the trade 
unions and to outlaw the Communist Party as an inevitable feature of 
such a drive against the working class as a whole. Under the legislation 
proposed by the Dickstein Committee, it would become illegal to quote 
the Declaration of Independence. 



Index 



Agricultural Adjustment Act, 242 
Agricultural Workers Union, 41 
Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel 

& Tin Workers, 60, 286 
American Federation of Labor, 15, 28, 
32, 36, 38, 51, 79, 86#., 96#., 128, 
i30#., 144, 167, i79#., 216, 222, 238, 
264, 266, 267, 286; racketeering in, 

133 
American Federation of Labor Rank 
and File Committee for Unemploy- 
ment Insurance, 53, 198 
"Americanism," defined, 18 
American League Against War and Fas- 
cism, 43#., S3ff; 184, 198, 259, 265, 
343 
American Liberty League, 206, 245-246, 

254 
American Newspaper Guild, 285 
American Writers' Congress, 311 
American Youth Congress, 199 
Anti-red campaign, 244, 251, 349 
Anti-war movement, 43, 85, 183^. 
Austria, 17, 29 

"Bank failures," 170 

Black Belt, 294 

Black Bill, 153 

Bonus, war veterans', 43, 170 

Bourgeois-democratic revolution, 46 

Bridges, Harry, 252 

British Labor Party, 178 

Broun, Heywood, 285 

Budget, government, 33 

Butler, Smedley, 207 

Cadres, problem of, 126^., 272 

Camp Hill, 294 

Chiang Kai-Shek, 29 

Chinese Soviet Republic, 29 

Churches, 33 7#. 

Civilian Conservation Camps, 14, 34 

Civil Works Administration, 37 

Coal code, 168 

Codes, under NRA, 167 

Commonwealth Party, 289 

Communist International, 78; theses 
and decisio;ns of, 27; 13th Plenum of 
(1933), 78, 177 

Communist Manifesto, 319, 325 

Communist Party, of the United States, 
Agrarian Department of, 87; anti- 
imperialist work of, 84, 98; in basic 
industries, 134; Bolshevization of. 



64#.; concentration work of, 154; 
Eighth Convention of, 13, 21, 242; 
election platform of, 1932, 98^.; in 
elections of 1934, 191; Extraordinary 
Conference of (July, 1933), m; 
finances of, 138^.; foreign language 
press of, 75; in Harlem, 156; mem- 
bership of, 66, 70, 89, 118, 184, 349; 
Nominating Convention of (1932), 
94; report to Central Committee of 
(January, 1935), 205; role of in 
strikes, 258; sections of, 71; Seventh 
Convention of, 66; struggle against 
reformism of, 147; training schools 
of, 272; trade union work of, 80, 196, 
20s ff.; in textile strike, 218; work 
among colonial masses of, 1 55 ff.; 
work among Negro farmers of, issff-; 
work among unemployed of, 145^. 

Company unions, 38 

Concentration camps, in Georgia, 194 

"ControUed-production," 117 

Corruption, of A. F. of L. officials, 133 

Cost of living, 165 

Coughlin, Father, 207 

Crisis of capitalism, 16, 22, 26, 105, 240 

Cuba, Communist Party in, 78 

Daily Worker, 62, 69, 72^., 90, 140, 271 
Darcy, Sam, 261; jomt statement of, 

215 

Declaration of Independence, 18, 230 
Democracy, 28 

Democratic Party, gsff., 190, 224 
Dialectical materialism, 324, 339 
Dimitroff, George, 182 

Economic situation, 129, 162, 188 

Economy program, 118 

Elections, of 1932, 94^.; of 1934, i89#. 

Electric Auto-Lite Co., strike in, 248 

Engels, Frederick, 324 

EPIC program, 190, 225, 243 

Farmer-Labor Party, of Minnesota, 

190, 225 
Farmers, 170 

Farmers' Emergency Relief Bill, 270 
Farm organizations, 42 
Farm program, 118 
Fascism, 23, 28, ii4#., 23 7#.; defined, 

27, 114; and religion, 335; struggle 

against, 87 



3SO 



INDEX 



351 



Ford, James W., loi 
Foster, William Z., lOi, 240 

Germany, 17, 28, 29, 238, 334 
Green, William, 168, 222 

Harlem, Communist Party in, 156 

Haverhill, 56 

Hearst, William Randolph, 246, 253, 207 

Hillquit, Morris, 130 

Hitler, see Germany 

Hook, Sidney, 316^. 

Hoover, Herbert, gsff., 116, 162 

Housing, 34 

Independent unions, 38, 39 
Industrial production, by countries, 24 
Inflation, 31, 33, 117, 188 
International Labor Defense, 75, 137 
International situation, 129, 205 
International Workers Order, 74-75 
I. W. W., 41 

Jennings case, 285 

Johnson, General Hugh S., 31, 33, 252, 
253 

Killings of workers, 96 
Ku Klux Klan, 116 
Kuusinen, report of, 182 

Labor Party, 20i#., 205#., 225^., 284^. 

Labor Research Association, 165 

LaFoUettes, 190, 246 

La Guardia, 36, 61 

League of Struggle for Negro Rights, 

49, 137 
"Left" opportunism, 186 
"Left" social-fascism, 61 
Lenin, V. I., 318, 324, 330 
Literature, and Communism, 311 
London Economic Conference, 112, 119 
Long, Huey, 190, 280 
Lovestoneites, 53, 55^., 62^. 

Marine Workers' Industrial Union, 256 
Marx, Karl, 45, 324 
Mass organizations, 76 
Mass struggles, 30 

McCormack-Dickstein Committee, 228 
Mechanics' Educational Society of 

America, 60 
Militants, of the Socialist Party, 2'jgff. 
Militarization of labor, 119 
Militia, 169 



Milwaukee, Socialist Party in, 96 ; street 

railway strike, 249 
Morgan, J. P., 95 
Muscle Shoals, 171 
Musteites, 44, 51, 149, 183, 195, 248- 

249, 268 

National Association for the Advance- 
ment of Colored People, 300 

National Civic Federation, 44 

National Congress for Social and Un- 
employment Insurance, 1935, 212, 222 

National hunger march, 108 

National income, 34 

National Labor Board, 39 

National Student League, 43 

Nazi organizations, in United States, 
184 

Negro, 42, 97, 170, 304#., 348, 349; Jim 
Crowism, 45, 46; Uberation move- 
ment, 136-137, 290#.; problems of, 
45#v 83; Negro rights, 44^., 291 

Negro Rights Bill, 201, 227 

New Deal, 13-14, 22, 30, 32, 35, 114^., 
146, i6i#., 177, 24oif., 245, 274, 28s 

New Masses, 314 

NRA, 14, 28, 52, 119, 2i8#., 143, 161^., 
183, 242 

Open Letter, 65, 66, iii#. 
"Over-production," 163 

Perkins, Secretary of Labor, 252 
Philippine Islands, Communist Party 

in, 78, 86, 157 
Planned economy, 102^., 170 
Price-fixing, 33, 117 
"Progressives," 203, 287 
"Public works," 171 

Racketeering, of A. F. of L. officials, 

133 
Rank-and-File Federationist, 87 
Rank-and-file movement, in A. F. of L., 

53, 198 
Reconstruction Finance Corp., 33, 95, 

106, 118, 147, 170 
"Red," defined, 173 
"Red scare," 128 
Relief, unemployment, 37, 95; number 

on, 189; 243 
Rehgion, 334^. 

Republican Party, gsff., 190, 224 
Retail prices, 164-165 



352 



INDEX 



Revolutionary Policy Committee, of the 

Socialist Party, 63, 278^. 
Right opportunism, 186 
Robeson, Paul, 338 
Roosevelt program, 14, 104, ii4#., i77#. 

San Francisco strike, 193, 215^., 249- 

250, 25s 
Schools, 3S 
Scottsboro case, 47, 48, 75, 97, 136-137, 

293 
Second (Socialist and Labor) Interna- 
tional, 17, 30, 47, IIS, 200 
Sedition laws, 236 
Self-criticism, 76, 83 
Senate Finance Committee Hearings, 

February, 1935, 230 
Sharecroppers' Union, 153 
Shoe industry, 56 
Shop concentration, 151 
Shop nuclei, 66ff., 143 
Sinclair, Upton, 190, 225, 243, 246, 252, 

270 
Small business men, 170 
Social-economic planning, 102^. 
Social insurance, 121 
Socialist Party, 15, 28, 36, 51, S3#v 61, 

9S#., 128, i3o#., 178, 195, 200-201, 

211, 238, 263, 264, 273#.; of Japan, 

64; in 1934 election, 191 
Soule, George, 102^. 
Southern Worker, 259 
Soviet China, 29 
Soviet Union, 24, 97^., 106, 113, 236, 

312, 347; achievements of, 175 
Speed-up, 129 
Stalin, Joseph, reports of, 24, 76-77, 92, 

no, 284, 298, 328 
Steel and Metal Workers' Industrial 

Union, 60, 196 
Street nuclei, 69, 70 
Strikes, 31, 35, 4©, 136, i77, i8i#., 192, 

22s, 247#. 
Subsidies to capitalists, 118 

Tammany, 280 

Taxation, 118 

Taylor Society, 104 

Teachers' salaries, 35 

Technocracy, 109 

Tennessee Valley Authority, 171 

Terror, of mill owners, 194 

Textile code, 132 

Textile strike, of 1934, 194, 218^. 



Theory, importance of, 90, 308^. 
Thomas, Norman, 132, 200, 278^.; on 

dialectical materialism, 331 
Tobacco Workers' Industrial Union, 

169 
Townsend Plan, 233 
Trade competition, 112^. 
Trade Union Unity League, 38, 40, 60, 

131, i79#v 192, 197, 266 
Trotskyites, 53, 62#., 195, 309 
Trustification, 117 

Unemployed movement, 31 
Unemployment, 166, 242-243, 294 
Unemployment Councils, 59, 70, 74, 

150, 29s 
Unemployment Insurance, 53, 99, 222^., 

266#. 
Unemployment relief, 37, 95; number 

on, 189, 243 
United Farmers' League, 42 
United front, 51^., 58^., 124^., i32#., 

148, 205^., 211, 237, 240^., 244, 263^., 

236 
United Mine Workers of America, 181 
United States, imperialism, 178; and a 

workers' government, 19 
Utopians, 243 

Violence, 173 

Wages, 34, 189 

Wagner Bill, 36 

Wagner-Lewis Bill, 230^. 

War, 23 

War danger, 237^. 

War preparations, 119, 171, 178 

Western Worker, 259 

White chauvinism, 290^. 

Women, 88, 136 

Workers' education, 308^. 

Workers' Ex-Servicemen's League, 43 

Workers' government, program of, 19 

Workers' School, 309 

Workers' Unemployment and Social In- 
surance Bill, 16, SI, 99, i22#., 222, 
228#., 243, 266#., 268, 27s, 312 

Yokinen trial, 292-293 
Young Communist League, ^o^., 265 
Young People's Socialist League, 26s 
Youth, 49#., 88 

Zack, Joseph, 79^. 



//7/