Structure and Functions of the Party Organizations
What does the Communist Party say they believe?
1. Structure and Functions of the Party Organizations
THE most important points where the Communist Party must work untiringly so as to fulfill the task of winning the majority of the working class for the struggle against capitalism are the following:
1. The big factories, mines, mills, docks, ships, railroads, etc., where the great masses of the basic sections of the proletariat are employed. The Communist Party puts its main energy into building Party organizations in these places.
2. The A. F. of L. unions and Railroad Brotherhoods, where millions of organized workers can be won for the Party program and led in decisive struggles. The Communist Party realizes that one of the most important tasks in winning the majority of the decisive sections of the proletariat is gaining influence among members of A. F. of L. unions. In order to achieve this, every available Party member must join the union of his industry, craft or occupation and work there in a real Bolshevik manner, helping to build the union, fighting for better conditions, exposing the bureaucratic, treacherous leaders as the agents of the employers and, in this way, proving to the rank and file what the leadership of the Communists means in the labor movement.
3. The independent unions where the Communists must work with the same energy and perspective as as in the A. F. of L. unions.
4. The organized and unorganized masses of unemployed. The Communist Party fighting for unemployment relief and insurance leads and organizes the unemployed masses, maintains fractions in all organizations of the unemployed and forges an unbreakable link between the unemployed and employed workers in the fight for social insurance and better conditions.
5. The fraternal, cultural and sport organizations in which there are large numbers of working people. The Communist Party persistently works in the mass organizations of workers, especially workers in basic industries, and through the effective work of disciplined fraction leads them and wins their confidence in the Communist Party.
6. The Negro organizations (churches, fraternal, cultural, etc.). The Communist Party through well functioning fractions in these institutions of the Negro people, leads the fight for the special interests of the Negroes (against discrimination, segregation) for the liberation struggle of the Negro people.
7. The huge farms where large numbers of agricultural workers are employed. The Communist Party through its farm Units fights for the interests of the agricultural workers (farm laborers) and organizes them in unions.
The main strategic aim of the Communist Party is to win the majority of the working class for the proletarian revolution. In order to achieve this aim the Communist Party establishes closely knit organizations everywhere where workers work for their living (factory), where they live (neighborhood), where they are organized for the defense of their economic interests (unions and unemployment organizations), or organized for satisfying their cultural desires (clubs, sports and cultural organizations). These Party organizations which lead the masses in the struggle for their economic and political demands are the following: (1) Shop and Street Units. Both of these forms of organizations are full-fledged Party bodies. (2) Fractions. The Party leads the masses organized in unions and other mass organizations through the fractions which are instruments in the hands of the Party to carry the policy of the Party among the masses.
THE PARTY ORGANIZATIONS
The basic organization of the Party is the Shop Unit (Nucleus), which may consist of three members or more in a given place of employment, i.e., factory, shop, mine, mill, dock, ship, railway terminal, office, store, farm, etc.
The other form of membership organization is the Street or Town Unit, comprising a group of members living within a given territory.
The leadership of the Unit is the Unit Bureau, elected by the membership of the Unit.
The next higher organization is the Section. The Section is made up of a number of Shop, Street or Town Units in a given territory. The size of the territory of a Section is decided upon by the District Committee. The Party always strives to make the territory of the Sections as small as possible in order to be able to carry on work more effectively.
The highest body in the Section is the Section Convention. The Section Convention is a meeting of delegates elected by the Shop and Street Units of the Section. The leading committee in the Section is the Section Committee and is elected by the delegates at the Section Convention from among the best members of the Section. The Section Committee is the highest leading body in the Section between Conventions. It is responsible for all its actions and decisions to the Section Convention. The elected Section Committee must be approved by the District Committee. The Section Organizer is elected by the Section Committee, subject to the approval of the District Committee. Should the District Committee not approve the election of a Section Organizer the reasons for this action are discussed and explanation made to the Section Committee.
The next highest organization in the Party is the District. The District organization is made up of the Sections in a territory assigned to it by the Central Committee. The District covers a certain portion of the country (a part of one, or one, two and sometimes three states, depending upon the industries, on the size of the membership, etc.). The highest body in the District is the District Convention, which is a meeting of delegates elected at the Conventions of the Sections in the District. Between Conventions, the highest committee in the District is the District Committee, elected by the delegates of the Sections at the District Convention. The District Committee is responsible for all its actions and decisions to the District Convention and Central Committee. The elected District Committee has to be approved by the Central Committee. The District Organizer (political leader) is elected by the District Committee subject to the approval of the Central Committee.
The highest Party body is the National Convention. The National Convention is a meeting of delegates elected at the District Conventions. The highest committee of the Party in one country is the Central Committee, elected by the delegates at the National Convention. The Central Committee leads the Party organizations, with full authority, between Conventions and is responsible for its actions and decisions to the National Convention and to the Executive Committee of the Communist International.
WHAT IS THE BASIS OF REPRESENTATION TO CONVENTIONS?
The number of delegates to Conventions is not fixed in the Constitution of the Party.
It depends on the conditions in a given situation, plus the numerical strength of the given Units, Sections and Districts.
The strategic importance of a Shop Unit, or Concentration Section, or of a District is the governing factor in deciding the number of delegates to the Convention. For example, the Section Committee can decide whether a Shop Unit from a big factory sends proportionately more delegates to the Section Convention than a Street Unit with the same number of, or perhaps even more, members.
The conditions under which the Party works are also an important factor in deciding the number of delegates. For example, a District which works partly illegally will have a smaller number of delegates to the District Convention than other District with the same number of Units working more openly.
On the other hand, in one District, because of certain problems which have to be clarified before the broadest possible gathering, the situation may demand a much larger representation from the Units or Sections to the Section or District Convention than another District where no such problem exists.
At the Eighth Party Convention of our Party, the general rule of representation was the following:
1. The Units elected one delegate for each five members to the Section Convention.
2. The Section Conventions elected one delegate for each 15 members in the Section to the District Convention.
3. The District Conventions elected one delegate for each 100 members in the District to the National Convention.
THE PARTY CONFERENCES
The Sections, with the approval of the District Committee, and the Districts, with the approval of the Central Committee, may call meetings of delegates for a conference between Conventions. These conferences take up the work of the respective organizations and discuss problems concerning new tactics necessitated by changed situations. The difference between a convention and conference is that the conference does not elect a new leadership and that all decisions must be approved by the higher Party committee. The Party conference has the right to elect new members to the Committee if some old ones have been removed for one reason or another, and has the right to remove individual members from the committee if for sufficient reason it believes they are not fit to be leaders of the organization.
PARTY COMMITTEES AND THEIR SIZE
The Party committees elected at the Conventions are composed of the best, most developed comrades in the given organization. Representation to the Section Committee is not on the basis of representation from each Unit; nor does each Section elect a representative to the District Committee. At the same time we must bear in mind that the Section Committee or a higher Party committee must have among its members comrades who are working in the most important factories, as well as members of the most important trade unions, in order to maintain a living connection between the leadership and the masses at these important points.
The size of the Party committees always depends on the numerical strength of the organization which elects it, on the importance of the organization, and on the given situation. The approximate average size of the committee is the following:
Unit Bureau- 3-5 members
Section Committee- 9-11 members
District Committee- 15-19 members
Central Committee- 30-35 members
WHAT ARE THE PARTY BUREAUS?
The Bureau is the leading body in the Section, District and Center between committee meetings, acts with full authority during this period, and is responsible to the committee by which it is elected. Their approximate size is:
Section Bureau -about 5 members.
District Bureau -about 7-9 members
Political Bureau of the C.C.-7-9 members
As a general rule the Party committees meet as follows:
Unit Bureau-once a week
Section Bureau-once a week
Section Committee-twice, usually, but at least once a month
District Bureau-once a week
District Committee-once a month
Political Bureau-once a week
Central Committee once in two months
THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL (COMINTERN)
The Communist International is the international organization of Communist Parties in all countries. It is the World Communist Party. The Communist Parties in the various countries affiliated to the Comintern are called Sections of the Communist International.
The World Congress composed of delegates from all the parties affiliated to the Communist International (Comintern) is the highest authority in Communist Party organization.
The date of the Congress and the number of delegates from the various Communist Parties are decided upon by the Executive Committee of the Communist International (E.C.C.I.). But the number of votes allocated to each Party at the World Congress is decided upon by special decision of the Congress itself, in accordance with the membership of the given Party and the political importance of the given country.
The leading body of the Communist International during the period between Congresses is the Executive Committee of the Communist International (E.C.C.I), elected by the delegates at the World Congress. The decisions of the E.C.C.I. are binding for all Parties belonging to the Comintern and must be promptly carried out. The Communist Parties have the right to appeal against decisions of the E.C.C.I. to the World Congresses, but must proceed to carry out such decisions pending the, final action of the World Congress on the appeal. The leadership of the Comintern (C.I.) is composed of the best, most developed, experienced, tried, leaders of the various Communist Parties.
The meetings of the Executive Committee of the Communist International are in size similar to a World Congress. These meetings are called the Enlarged Plenums of the Executive Committee of the C.I. Besides the elected members of the Executive Committee of the C.I. there are invited to this Enlarged Plenum additional delegates from the various countries, so that these Plenums have 300 or 400 delegates present from the various Parties. The difference between a Congress and an Enlarged Plenum consists in the fact that while delegates to the Congress are elected on the basis of numerical strength and political importance of the Communist Parties, the number of additional invited delegates from the Communist Parties to the Enlarged Plenum is decided upon on the basis of the order of business of the Plenum. These delegates are selected by the Central Committees of the various Communist Parties. At the Enlarged Plenum of the E.G. C.I. only the members of the E.C.C.I. have the right to vote. The other invited delegates have the right to participate in the discussion, but have only a consultative vote.
The E.C.C.I elects from among its members a Presidium which is responsible to the E.C.C.I. The Presidium meets at least once a month and acts as the permanent body carrying out all the business of the E.C.C.I. during the period between meetings of the latter.
The Presidium elects from among its members the Political Secretariat, which is empowered to make decisions between Presidium meetings, and is responsible to the Presidium.
STRUCTURE OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL
Let us briefly sum up the structure of the Communist Party in the order of responsibility on the basis of the foregoing description (See chart inserted):
Unit Membership Meeting Section Bureau
Section Committee Section Convention District Bureau
District Committee District Convention Political Bureau of the C.C. Central Committee
Political Secretariat of the Cl. Presidium of the C.I.
Executive Committee of the C.I.
World Congress of the C.I.
SHOP UNIT (NUCLEUS)
The Shop Unit (Nucleus) is the basic organization of our Party in the place of employment (factory, shop, mine, dock, ship, office, store, etc.). Shop Units should be organized in every factory, shop, mine, etc., where there are three or more members of the Party.
The main strength of our movement is in the Units (Nuclei) in large factories because;
1. The large factories and railroads are the nerve centers of the economic and political life of the country.
2. In the large factories the workers are concentrated in large numbers.
3. Workers in these large factories have great influence on the workers in smaller shops.
4. The workers in large factories are better trained and disciplined by the process of large-scale production.
5. Workers in large factories are generally more militant because, concentrated in large numbers in one enterprise, they feel their strength.
Comrade Lenin, in "A Letter to a Comrade on Our Problems of Organization," states that;
"The main strength of our movement lies in the workers' organizations in large factories, because in the large factories are concentrated that section of the working class which is not only predominant in numbers, but still more predominanant in influence, development and fighting capacities. Every factory must be our stronghold."
ADVANTAGES OF SHOP UNIT FORM
Why is the Shop Unit (Nucleus) the best form of basic Party organization?
1. Workers feel the pressure of exploitation most in the factory where they are employed. There they have common interests and problems (wages, working conditions, etc.).
2. A properly working, well-trained, politically developed Shop Unit, although it may have to work under the most difficult conditions, because of the highly developed spy system, etc., cannot be found out and gotten rid of by the boss. In order to stop the work of such a Unit, the boss must close the factory. That means stopping production--shutting off the profits.
3. The Shop Unit is trained to work in a conspirative manner, in order to organize and lead the other workers, to safeguard the organization and prevent its members from being fired. Because of this method of work the Shop Unit will remain the most solid link with the masses under any conditions (terror, illegality).
4. The Shop Unit registers the reaction of the most decisive elements of the proletariat to every issue. The reaction, sentiment, opinion of the workers brought by the Shop Unit to the higher committee of the Party makes it possible to formulate the best policy or to correct and improve decisions. Through the Shop Units, Party Committees are in daily contact with the most important strata of the working class.
5. The leadership of the Party gets its strength from the Shop Units by drawing the most developed comrades into the leading Party committees. In this way direct contact with factory workers is established.
6. The Shop Units, through their daily activities in leading and organizing struggles in the factories, gain the confidence of the workers and spread the influence of the Party to wider and wider circles. At the same time the Shop Units bring into the Party the best elements of this decisive stratum of the proletariat, thus improving the social composition of the Party.
7. The Shop Unit is very effective in building real united fronts of workers on immediate issues (Grievance Committee, Shop Committee) and also on broader political issues (terror, election, war).
8. The Shop Units are instrumental in building and strengthening well-functioning fractions in the A. F. of L. and other unions.
9. The Shop Unit brings the Daily Worker, this mighty weapon of our Party, directly to the most important strata of the working class.
These are the main arguments for the necessity of building the Party in the factories. These arguments prove that in order to win the majority of the decisive strata of the proletariat, the Party must be rooted in the factories, mines, ships, docks, offices, etc.
"The working class will be in a position to fulfill its role as the most decisive class in the struggle against finance capital, as the leader of all toiling masses, only if it is headed by a Communist Party which is closely bound up with the decisive strata of the workers. But a Communist Party with a very weak and inadequately functioning organization in the big factories and among the decisive sections of the American industrial workers, a Communist Party whose entire policy, whose entire agitation and propaganda, whose entire daily work is not concentrated on winning over and mobilizing these workers and winning the factories, a Communist Party which, through its revolutionary trade union work, does not build highways to the broadest masses of workers, cannot lay claim to a policy capable of making it the leader of the working class within the shortest possible time." (Open Letter, p. 12.)
WHAT ARE THE BASIC INDUSTRIES?
The Party should concentrate all its forces and energy to build Shop Units, first of all in the basic industries.
Basic industries are those upon which the whole economic system depends. They include:
1. Those which produce material for production, like steel, mining, oil, chemicals.
2. Those which deliver material to the place of production or consumption, like railroad, trucking, marine, etc.
3. Those which produce power for running the wheels of industry, electric power plants, steam and hydro-electric plants, etc.
It is also important to concentrate all our energy to build the Party in the auto, textile and packing house industries because of their strategic importance in the economic system. Strong Party organizations (Shop Units) in these basic industries with a mass following could really influence and lead the millions of workers engaged in these as well as in all lesser industries in their daily struggles, and deliver decisive blows to capitalism.
While it is of the utmost importance to concentrate all energy of the Party to build and strengthen the Units in the basic industries,, the other industries cannot be neglected. The Party systematically builds Units in light industries (clothing, shoe and leather, etc., in offices, stores, laundries, hotels and restaurants, etc.).
HOW TO BUILD SHOP UNITS
The stronghold, the fortress of the revolutionary movement, is in the factory. But in order to build the revolutionary movement there, we must organize all Party members working in one factory into a Shop Unit. The main difference between the Communist Party and the Socialist Party form of organization is that the Socialist Party organizations (branches) are built on the basis of bourgeois election wards and districts while the Communist Party is built on the basis of the place of employment. Party members who work in the same shop cannot belong to different Street Units. If such forms of organization were permitted, Party members working in the same factory and not knowing each other, would carry on their Party work in an anarchistic way. Each one individually would try to give leadership to the other workers.
The first step, therefore, in building the Unit in a factory is to find who the Party members are. This can be done by checking the membership registration or by getting information from the fraction of the union. If we find three or more members, a Shop Unit should immediately be organized.
Since the most effective work of the Party is inside the factory, it is necessary to find ways and means whereby developed Party members can get a job in a given factory, and in this way to start building the Party there.
The Street and Town Units have many members who are working in big factories. These single members should know that their main task is to build the Party inside the factory. But it is not sufficient to assign this basic task to these members. Their Street Units must help them politically and organizationally (forces from outside, shop papers, Daily Worker distribution from outside, finances, etc.). There are many good examples in our Party which prove that with proper help, one member in a big factory can recruit two, three or more members for the Party in two or three weeks, and organize a Shop Unit.
There are thousands of very close sympathizers, readers of our press (Daily Worker or the language papers), members of the unions and various fraternal and cultural organizations, who are working in important factories. Conscientious effort will help us to recruit them into the Party and thus build Shop Units.
Besides these organizational measures, there are various other effective methods for organizing and strengthening the Shop Units. The best method is the co'acentra,tioit of our best forces around a factory. This concentration work consists of systematic mass agitation and propaganda among the workers in the selected factory through distribution of the Daily Worker, Party pamphlets, and other literature at the factory gates or at the workers' homes, combined with the holding of shop-gate meetings. This mass agitation will help prepare the ground for the carrying on of successful work by our members inside the factory.
A Shop Unit consisting of three members can be strengthened by adding one or two of the best, most developed, most reliable comrades from the Street or Town Unit. These comrades, as regular members of the Shop Unit, help in working out policies and making decisions for activity in the factory. They help the Shop Unit keep connection with the Section Committee, and help guide and participate in the mass work outside of the factory. It is absolutely essential that outside members (from Street Units) be always in the rninoritp in the Shop Unit.
WHAT IS THE GUIDING PRINCIPLE FOR THE ORGANIZATIONAL FORM OF A SHOP UNIT?
The form of Party organization in the factory, shop, mine, dock, etc., is determined by two factors, which are very closely linked to each other:
1. That organizational form which will make the Party Unit the most effective leader of the workers; and
2. That organizational form which will best safeguard the Party members and the other militant workers from the bosses' stool-pigeons and thugs.
The organizational form must be such that it becomes possible for the Unit to do mass work and at 50 the same time prevent, so far as possible, the exposure of the members, the discharge and blacklisting of sympathetic and active non-Party workers, and the exposure of militant union members.
The smaller the number of members who come together regularly, the smaller is the danger of exposure. The Shop Unit which grows to over 10-12 members should be divided into two independent working groups as quickly as possible. When we find it necessary to split a Shop Unit, the first question which should be considered is: Is it possible to organize a Unit in another department from among the Unit members? If there are three members in the Unit who work in the same department, a Unit in that department should be organized. If there are not enough members in one department, Party members working on several floors or in the same building should be organized in one Unit.
If a departmental Unit group is so big that it is too cumbersome for effective work, the department Unit should be divided into smaller groups on the basis of Party members working near each other in the department. The Shop Unit may also consider organizing Units on the basis of shifts. In this form of organization, the decisive factor will be whether the members on one shift are continually together in the same work group, and whether the changing of shift would not mean changing the composition of the members in the same group.
The best way to build an effective Party Unit in one factory is to concentrate on the most important, so-called "key" department or departments.
The Leading Bodies in the Factory
As the Party grows in one factory, the question arises: How will the work be coordinated? What body gives leadership for the whole factory? In order to make this problem clear, we will compare a factory in which we have many Units, with a Party Section. In the Section, the various units, as already stated, come to a Convention and elect their leadership, the Section Committee, which leads the work of the whole Section between Conventions. Because of the special conditions in a factory (spies, stool pigeons, etc.), it is inadvisable to bring all members together at one meeting. Therefore the best form of organization is the delegate conferences of the Units.
The Units in the various departments and shifts elect their representatives, according to the size and importance of the Unit, to a conference, where these delegates elect the leading body of the Party organization: the factory Unit Bureau. This Bureau works in the same way as a Section Committee. It has the right to make decisions for the whole body (Party organization), in the factory. These decisions are binding for each department and shift Unit and for each individual member in the factory. The factory Unit Bureau is responsible for all its decisions and actions to the delegate conference, which is the highest body in the factory.
SAFEGUARDING THE UNITS
In order to coordinate the work of the various department units, the Bureau regularly meets with the department Unit Organizers, receiving reports about the activity of the department Units, and guides them in their work. It is necessary to emphasize again that in order to avoid the danger of spies, the factory Unit Bureau should not bring all department Unit Organizers to one meeting. The best method is to meet with the individual organizers separately.
There is need for continuous exchange of experiences between the various department Units. Therefore, it is necessary to call delegates to conferences as often as possible, and at least once a month.
The department and shift Units meet regularly every week and have their independent life. They elect their own Bureau, work out plans and activity in the department, discuss Party problems, etc., in the same manner as any other independent Unit of the Party. There is no need to point out that the factory Unit Bureau is constantly in touch with the Section Committee and receives guidance and directives from this body.
WHAT ARE THE FRACTIONS IN THE FACTORY, AND WHAT ARE THEIR RELATIONS TO THE FACTORY UNIT?
It must be emphasized again that the factory Unit, or, in big factories, the conferences of the delegates of the Units, is the deciding Party organization in the factory. It is responsible for all activity of all individual Party members in the factory. Its decisions are final on every question and only the higher Party Committees-the Section Committee, the District Committee, and the Central Committee, have the right to overrule them. It is necessary to emphasize this fact in order to clarify the relation between the Party organization in the factory and the leading fraction of the union which has members in the factory.
To further clarify this problem, let us take an example. In one city there are a number of steel factories. The steel union has members in all these factories. This union has a leading fraction on a city-wide scale. This leading fraction has no rirht to make decisions for any given factory over the head of the Party organization in this factory. In order to coordinate the work of the Units in the various factories, the Section or District Committee assigns one member of the leading fraction to each factory as a regular member of the factory Unit. They discuss the problems of the industry generally with the Units and they guide them in their work, but they have no right to hand down decisions for the Unit. The decisions in this factory are made by the Unit itself.
FRACTION INSIDE FACTORY
Now, let us see how the fractions inside the factory are functioning. If there is only one union in the factory, we face the following problem:
Every member of the Party is or should be a member of the union. In other words, the Party Unit is at the same time the Party fraction in the local union of their factory. In this case there is no need for special fraction activities by the Party Unit as a whole. But even in this case we will have fractions. How? In the factory there are various committees elected by the members of the union (grievance committees, department committees, factory committees, etc.). These committees are elected by the workers in the factory. If the members of the Communist Party are active, are good fighters, and are recognized as such by the workers, we will have Party members on every committee. For example: The workers in the factory elect a factory or shop committee of fifteen. Out of this number, five are Party members. These five Party members compose the fraction of the committee, and they are responsible for all their activities in the committee to the factory Unit or delegate conference.
In factories where there is more than one union (craft unions), the Party members belonging to each craft union compose the fraction in that craft union. These Party members, as the fraction, are responsible for all their activities to the factory Unit or delegate conference.
Let us assume that in a factory there are other organizations, besides unions, such as a sports club, etc. The factory Unit appoints comrades to join these organizations and these comrades compose the fraction of the given organization and work under the direction of the factory Unit.
WHAT IS THE POLITICAL TASK OF THE SHOP UNIT?
The answer to this question may be divided into two parts: First, participation in working out the policy of the Party, and second, the application of this policy in the daily work (mass work) of the factory Unit.
The factory Units have not only the right, but it is their Communist duty to participate in formulating the general policy of the Party. How is this task performed? The policy of the Party is decided at the Convention in the form of adopted resolutions. These resolutions are prepared for discussion by the Central Committee. The draft (proposed) resolution is published in the Party press or in pamphlet form at least two months before the date of the Convention. The Unit meiribership organizes a thorough discussion on these draft resolutions. At the end of these discussions the Unit votes on this resolution, either adopting it as is, or making amendments as it thinks necessary.
The Unit always has the right to make proposals to the Section, District, or Central Committee as to the points on the order of business of the Convention as well as to suggest amendments to the draft resolutions. These amendments and proposals are presented to the Convention by the delegates. The delegates at the Convention, after discussing the resolution and the amendments, vote on them. The delegates who bring up amendments cannot be instructed by their organizations to vote under all circumstances for these amendments. If a delegate, at the Convention, after his amendment is discussed, becomes convinced that the amendment is incorrect, he will vote as a good Communist against the proposals which he introduced.
After the Convention, the delegates report to their Units. The Unit discusses the report and works out the details for applying the resolutions to the concrete situations before them.
The Shop Unit should discuss and express its opinion on all important political problems and tasks of the Party. In this discussion the members of the Nuclei should report the reaction of the workers with whom they are in contact (A. F. of L., Socialists, non-party, etc.), to the given issue. This discussion will help also the Section, District, and Central Committees to formulate correct slogans, to prepare proper actions, to react quickly and correctly to every happening, to all changes of the political life of the community, to work out a correct tactical line.
BRING PARTY CAMPAIGNS INTO THE FACTORY
The Units should participate in all campaigns and actions of the Party, that is, bring them into the factory. In order to he able to carry on this very important work, the Shop Units must develop their own initiative, and must be well acquainted with the general line of the Party. Otherwise, they will not be able to apply the line of the Party in their work in the factory.
It is especially important to understand how to carry on work during election campaigns. The Shop Units can counteract all the demagogy of the capitalist parties if concrete problems of the factory workers are used in exposing the programs of capitalist parties. The Units then can easily show the workers that only the Communists represent and fight for their interests.
The general task of the Party is to win over the majority of the working class for its program. To achieve this aim, the Shop Units must become the recognized leaders of the workers in the factories. In order to win the confidence of these workers, the Shop Units must react quickly on all issues. A Shop Unit must utilize the attacks of the bosses on their working conditions for agitation and organization, for the counter-offensive for higher wages, better working conditions, etc.
At the same time the Shop Unit must show the workers how, in their fight for their daily bread, they come up against the close connections between their bosses and the city, state and federal government, the political representative of the boss class. The Units conduct struggles for the daily demands of the workers in the shop, for social and unemployment insurance, against taxation of small incomes, against sales taxes, for better housing, lower rents, etc.
ANSWER THE WORKERS' QUESTIONS
In order to win the confidence of the workers, the Unit must be able to give a correct answer to every question which bothers the workers. However, this is possible only if the Unit systematically gathers as much material about the given situation as possible. With the help of the Section Committee, the Unit should equip itself with material about the profits of a company, e.g., the dividends paid out to the coupon clippers, the income of the bosses, how they live (house, apartment), how many servants and automobiles they have, and their political connections with the city, state and federal government. If a Unit is armed with such important material, it will be easier for it to bring these facts to the attention of the workers, in connection with their grievances, through shop paper, leaflet and Daily Worker.
The Shop Units must convince the workers of the necessity for organizing unions, of the necessity for united struggle for better conditions, for freedom of organization (union recognition), for equal rights gnition), for equal rights for Negroes, against police terror, against the factory spy system, against war and fascism, against lynching of Negroes, for the freedom of class war prisoners.
The Shop Units should mobilize the workers by continuous agitation for international solidarity actions (support of the struggles of colonial peoples; against fascism in Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, etc.;-for the defense of the Soviet Union) and should contrast the conditions of the workers in the Soviet Union with those in the given factory and neighborhood.
The Units must follow very carefully every step that is taken by the capitalist class in the city and county councils, state legislatures and Congress, and expose all their moves through leaflets, shop papers, and the Party press. This should always be done by starting out with the concrete problems of the workers in the given factory and neighborhood and bringing forward the slogans of the Party suited to the situation.
By bringing forward continuously the political problems of the workers, the Shop Units increase the general political understanding of the workers, increase their class consciousness and bring then into working class political activity.
In this way the circle of sympathizers will constantly broaden, the basis for recruiting new members into the Party will be established and thus increase its influence.
WHAT ARE THE ORGANIZATIONAL TASKS OF THE SHOP UNIT?
The main organizational task of the Shop Unit is to establish strong connections with all the workers in the factory. Thus the workers can be mobilized for quick action when the need arises. In order to achieve this aim, the factory Unit must throw all its energy into building the union in the factory and in organizing united front actions for the various campaigns of the Party (against war and fascism, election campaign, May First, etc.), and on the concrete issues in the factory (grievances, speed-up, wages, freedom of organization). In this organizational activity of the factory Unit, we must pay special attention to the problems of the Negro workers in the factory, because of the special form of exploitation they are subjected to and because they are discriminated against on the job. A special approach and methods should also be worked out to organize the women and the young workers in the factory. Every Shop Unit has the task of building as well as strenythening the Y.C.L. Unit in the factory.
The other organizational tasks of the factory Unit are the following: (1) To control and check whether the general decisions of the membership meeting and the concrete assignments are carried out by every member of the Unit. (2) To control the membership dues. (3) To get finances for the work of the Unit. (4) To see whether the members of the Unit are members of the union; to see whether Party members in the union and other mass organizations work regularly in the Party fractions. (5) To keep in constant touch with all sympathizers. (6) to distribute literature and to sell the Daily Worker every day. (7) To establish and carefully guard the printing apparatus which publishes papers and leaflets. (8) To find specific methods for detecting and exposing stool pigeons. (9) And last but not least, constantly to recruit new members into the Party.
The shop paper, the organ of the Communist Party Unit in a given factory, mine, dock, ship, office, etc., is the most effective instrument in the hand of the Unit for agitation and organization.
In every shop where we have a Unit, the shop paper should be issued regularly. In shops where there is no Unit as yet, but there are one or two Party members, the issuance of a shop paper will be a great help in building the Party Unit. Who Is Responsible for the Shop Paper?
The Shop Unit is responsible for the paper. That does not mean that the Street Unit which helps the Shop Unit from the outside has no responsibility. On the contrary, the comrades should consider it their duty to help the Shop Unit not only in distributing, but also in producing the paper. Especially at the beginning, the printing, financial help and distribution of the paper will be on the shoulders of the Section Committee or concentration Unit. It should be understood, however, that the policy of the paper, the text of the articles, etc., is decided upon by the Shop Unit and not by the concentration Unit. From the very beginning the Shop Unit members should be trained by the Section Committee to edit and produce the paper themselves. Every Shop Unit should be equipped with a machine for printing its paper. The Section Committee should continuously aid the Shop Unit in this and all other needs. Who Edits the Shop Paper?
The shop paper is edited by a committee elected by the Shop Unit. But we must keep one very important matter in mind. The shop paper as a Party organ is the paper of all the workers in the given shop, mine, etc. Therefore, it is essential to interest the best non-party workers in the actual editing of the paper. The larger the number of workers who stake part in editing the shop paper, the more effective weapon will it be, and the closer will these nonparty workers be drawn to the Party. Scores of workers should be induced to write articles for the paper. We must make every worker feel that the shop paper is his. The higher committees must give the utmost help in educating members for editing shop papers. Who Finances the Shop Paper?
The Shop Unit finances the paper by getting the greatest possible number of workers in the factory to buy and otherwise support the paper. If the paper is good, raises the basic issues confronting workers, explains them well, and gives correct advice to the workers as to what to do about them, the workers will support it. The paper which has no financial support inside the factory will find it hard to keep going. We must bear in mind that under certain conditions (as in Germany today) it will be quite difficult to get money for the shop paper from the outside. It will have to be supported by the workers themselves inside of the factory. This financial basis must be prepared now-today-by the Shop Unit (donations, subs, sale of paper, etc.).
The workers in Germany provide splendid examples of financing shop papers. There, under the most difficult conditions of terror, workers in the shop find ways and means of supporting their paper. For example, they leave their contribution for the paper either on the bench of the comrade who they think is a Communist, or in many cases put this contribution in the pocket of the comrade or leave it on their own bench, where the comrade can pick it up. Who Distributes the Paper?
The most effective distribution of a shop paper is from the inside. Each Shop Unit, each individual member, should use the experiences of other Unite and of other Communist Parties in methods of distribution. We realize how difficult it is in Hitler Germany to distribute shop papers and leaflets. In spite of this the Shop Units do distribute them. Members of the Shop Units will find thousands of ways of bringing the shop paper into the factory if we properly explain the importance of doing so. The shop paper could and should be distributed from outside also (Street Unit), but it must be emphasized that the workers will react more favorably to the paper if they get it from the inside, if they know that the paper is given to them by one who may be working in their department. The workers will have great respect for a Party which is skilled enough to spread the paper inside, in spite of the strenuous effort of the boss to keep it out. Besides this, we know that there will be a time when it will be more difficult to distribute Party material at the shop gate than inside the factory. We have to train ourselves, train our forces, inside the factories, today, for this work. The shop paper is and will be the most important link between the masses and the Party.
There is no need to emphasize that the printing, editing, financing and distribution of the shop paper must be organized in such a way that the company, through its stool pigeons, will not know what workers are involved.
WHAT IS THE STREET UNIT?
The Street Unit is the Party organization in the neighborhood.
The Street Unit is composed of those Party members who live in a certain territory, and cannot belong to a Shop Unit. (Housewives, professionals, small store-keepers, unemployed workers who are out of the shop for a long period and, for the time being, employed workers who have not as yet organized Shop Units.)
WHAT IS THE TOWN UNIT?
The Town Unit is the Party organization in a small town.
The Town Unit is composed of all those Party members in a given town who cannot belong to a Shop Unit and where there are not enough members to form Street Units.
WHAT ARE THE POLITICAL TASKS OF THE STREET AND TOWN UNITS?
The basic task of the Street Unit is to win over the majority of the working class in the neighborhood to the fight for the active support of the revolutionary struggles, and to make them conscious followers of the Communist Party.
In order to achieve this basic task the Street Unit must first of all concentrate on organizing and leading the struggle for unemployment relief and social insurance. In the daily work of the Street or Town Unit, we must always keep in mind that the Unit, as the Party in the territory, must win the confidence of the masses, must become the leader of the workers of the given street, district or town.
A Party Street Unit which is not involved in mass work, which does not organize and lead the struggles in the neighborhood, cannot become the leader of the proletarian masses. Patient, continuous, systematic work of the Unit among the workers in the neighborhood will bring results. The Unit must react to every issue which affects the workers. The problems of unemployment (relief, insurance) ; the high cost of living (high rent, high food prices, high electricity and gas rates, etc.) ; sanitary conditions (on the street, in the homes, in schools) ; free lunch, clothing for the children; the various taxes on necessities (sales tax, tax on small incomes, etc.) ; civil rights (free speech, assembly, press) ; police brutality; injunctions, and many other problems which harass the workers are the problems which the Street and Town Units must tackle.
The Unit which knows these problems, which quickly reacts to all these issues and brings forward the proper slogans for action, will succeed in gathering around itself the working masses in the neighborhood. The unemployed organizations will grow, our fractions in the different workers' organizations will be strengthened, and the Unit will become the established and trusted leader of the workers in the street or town.
Must Be Known as Fighters
In order to gain these results, the Unit as a whole and every individual member of the Unit should be known by the workers in the street or town as fearless fighters in the interests of the working class. In the daily work of the Unit we should systematically gather all relevant information about the workers and other sections of the population in the street or town. We should know who is who; we should know not only those workers who voluntarily gather around the activities of the Party organization, but those who are inclined to be sympathetic as well as those poisoned by the capitalist propaganda of the enemies of the working class and by the counter-revolutionary Trotsky renegades. We should know those workers who are in the Socialist Party and other organizations led and influenced by reformist and reactionary leaders.
A Street or Town Unit acquainted with the individuals in its territory could formulate the correct, most compelling slogans and actions for the mobilization of the masses. Such a Unit would not have any great difficulties in taking its part in an election campaign, or any other campaign of the Party. In the election campaign, the Unit should be able to enlist all the sympathetic elements in the territory. A Unit should know in advance who will vote Communist, and who is inclined to vote for the bourgeois parties, and should adjust its activities accordingly -not only in the mass campaigns, but also in personal contacts.
If the workers know, through the Unit's activity, how bravely and uncompromisingly the Party fights for the interest of the workers, and if at the same time the Unit can convince the workers of the anti-working class role of the other parties-such a Unit can gain tremendous influence and a large vote during election campaigns. Such a Unit carrying on daily mass work (street meetings, house-to-house canvassing, distribution of leaflets, mass meetings, distribution of the Daily Worker, publication of a neighborhood paper, etc.), during the election campaign, will show results, not only in the number of votes cast for the Party, but in gaining better conditions for the workers and new recruits for the Party, as well as new readers for the Daily Worker.
Aids Shop Unit
Another important task of the Street and Town Unit is to help the Shop Units in its territory or near to it, in their daily work. The well-organized assist. tanee of a Street or Town Unit to a Shop Unit can greatly increase the possibilities of building organization inside the factories. If there are not many forces in the Street Unit this assistance can be limited to one or two things: for example, systematic sale of the Daily Worker in front of the factory; or systematic holding of shop-gate meetings; distribution of leaflets or shop papers from the outside. The Street Unit can also help the Shop Unit do open work around the factory, in the street-car and bus stations, etc., etc.
The Street Unit must not adopt a patronizing attitude toward the Shop Unit. It cannot make any decisions for the Factory Unit. It must help from the outside in a manner determined by the Shop Unit.
Finally, a Street Unit or Town Unit should concentrate on a large factory in its territory. The concentration point, if there is more than one factory in the territory, should be decided upon in consultation with the Section Committee. The best method of organizing the work around the concentration factory is to set up a special concentration group from among the members of the Unit. This group should be composed of members who volunteer to carry out this very important task and at the same time have the necessary qualifications for the work.
It should be understood that after the group is set up on a voluntary basis, the carrying out of the work is compulsory. The Unit, as a whole, regularly discusses and controls the activities of this concentration group. This work needs patient, systematic daily attention by the whole Unit and also by the higher committees of the Party. The Street Unit supports actively and takes part in the strike struggles of the factory workers, and also mobilizes the tieighborhood for support, furnishing reserves for the picket lines, conducting demonstrations, collecting strike relief, etc.
Must Aid Members Working in Factories
We have listed the general tasks of the Unit in the street or town. All these tasks cannot always be taken care of by every Unit. Some of the Units will be able to tackle and carry out all of these tasks, and some of them only a part of them. We wish to emphasize again the need for systematic help and guidance for those members of the Units who are working in factories but who belong to the Street Units because there is no Shop Unit in their place of employment. These members should get con, tinuous political organizational and financial help in building the Unit in their factory. With proper work, the Street or Town Units will be able to transfer all those members who are working in a shop, mine, office, etc., to their respective Shop Unit.
The fact that the member of a Street Unit works in a factory far from the Unit territory does not exclude the possibility of help from the Unit. This member should be encouraged to raise the problems of the factory at the Unit Bureau or Unit membership meeting, where, after a thorough discussion, steps should be taken to build the Party in the factory. It would be of help to issue a leaflet in the shop which could be distributed by one or two unemployed members in front of his factory.
Is it difficult for a Party member to get two or three more workers in his factory to join the Party in a period of two or three weeks if he is constantly helped and guided? We do not think so.
THE ORGANIZATIONAL TASKS OF THE STREET AND TOWN UNITS
The organizational tasks of the Street and Town Units are in the main the same as those of the Factory Units. However, these organizations must consider the special problem of building unemployment organizations, of building fractions in all workers' organizations in their territory, of building united fronts with these organizations on concrete issues.
The Street Unit in a Negro neighborhood, especially if the Unit is composed of a large majority of Negro Party comrades, must remember that a vital task of the Party is to establish strong bonds with the broadest masses. In Negro neighborhoods this can be done best by penetrating the Negro organizations: churches, fraternal organizations, societies, etc. In order to carry out this task it is essential that every member of a Street Unit in the Negro territory be a member of a Negro organization. The best solution to this problem is for the majority of a Unit to join one such organization-the most important and biggest Negro organization in the territory. The Party members in these organizations will work as a fraction under the guidance of the Street Unit. It is understood, however, that Street Units will not give up the work in the neighborhood generally while the main attention is directed towards the work in the organizations where the Party members belong.
WHAT IS A FARM UNIT?
The Farm Unit is the basic Party organization in the rural sections of the country. We have two kinds of Farm Units: (1) Farm Units in big farms composed of agricultural workers. These Units have the same standing in the Party as the factory units; (2) Farm Units composed of farm hands, tenant farmers, sharecroppers, and small farmers in a given territory.
There is no need here for dwelling on the necessity of Communist work among the toiling rural population. The question of allies of the proletarian revolution, Of winning over the poor farmers and broad sections of the middle farmers to the side of the proletarian revolution, and of neutralizing other sections of the middle farmers as an important factor in a successful revolution, can be answered in our favor only if we succeed in building a strong Party organization on the big "industrial" farms, among the agricultural workers, and also among the poor, small farmers, tenants, sharecroppers, etc.
The main task of the Party in its work in the countryside consists first of all in the organization of the agricultural workers in the Party and trade unions, in organizing and leading strikes of these terribly exploited workers who play an important role in the development of the revolutionary agrarian movement.
The general task of the Farm Unit is about the same as that of other Units of the Party. The issues they deal with, however, are entirely different. Here the issues are mortgages, interest rates, high taxes, roads, schools, low prices of farm products, high railroad rates, relief, etc., problems which the Farm Unit must tackle. The Communist Party in the countryside is in the forefront in fighting for the interests of the exploited and poverty-stricken rural population, against the big landlords, commission houses, mortgage companies, farm implement trusts, grain trusts, railroad companies, milk trusts, banks, etc. In this fight, the masses of the countryside will inevitably come into conflict with the suppressive machinery of the bourgeoisie (city, state, federal government, National Guard, courts, etc.).
The Communist Party has to show to these vast masses the role of this whole suppressive set-up, the necessity of fighting against it, and the only road which leads out of the misery created for them by capitalism-the road to Soviet Power. In these fights, the poor rural population will learn through their own experiences and by the work of the Communist Party that their place is on the side of the proletariat.
We have to work untiringly in the existing farm organizations in order to isolate the rich farmers, to win the poor farmers, and sections of the middle farmers to the side of the workers, and at least to neutralize other sections of the middle farmers.
HOW IS A UNIT MEETING PREPARED?
The Unit Bureau on the basis of the general' directives of the Party (Central, District or Section Committees), prepares the agenda and proposals for the Unit meeting, and the activity for the coming week; In other words, it adapts the general campaign of the Party to the given situation in the shop or territory.
The Unit Bureau presents these well-prepared proposals to the Unit membership meeting, with a thorough explanation by one member of the Unit Bureau.
Are the plans or policies presented by the Unit Bureaus binding on the membership? No. The membership discusses the report of the Unit Bureau and decides the policy or activity by a majority vote, accepting, amending, or rejecting the proposals of the Unit Bureau.
HOW SHOULD A UNIT AGENDA (ORDER OF BUSINESS) BE DRAWN UP?
The first point should always be a well-prepared discussion on a certain actual political problem. For example: The city administration wants to put through a sales tax. The reporter assigned by the Unit membership or Unit Bureau should be given sufficient time to prepare this report-the meaning of the sales tax, how it will affect the workers in general, and in the shop or territory where the Unit is working in particular. Then he gives concrete proposals as to how to mobilize the workers to fight against the sales-tax proposal. In order to have a more effective discussion in the Unit, it is necessary not only to assign one comrade to prepare the report, but also to supply material for all members of the Unit on the subject at least one week in advance. A well-organized, well-prepared discussion should not last longer than from one to one and a half hours.
The next point on the agenda should be the checkup of the assignments of the individual members. The Unit membership as a whole should always know not only whether a comrade carries out his assignment, but also should discuss the experiences of the individual comrades in carrying out assignments.
The next point should be the plan of activity for the next week, with a proper evaluation of the work of the past week. This point also takes care of the assignments of tasks to the individual comrades. In discussing this point the problem of recruiting must be raised. How many members were recruited, and by whom as a result of last week's activities, and how many and through what activities do we intend to recruit next week?
The next point could be the problems of the unions or mas organizations in which the Unit is working.
The next point should be the problem of the Daily Worker (distribution, correspondence, routes, building circulation, etc.). Literature
Literature distribution is a basic part of every activity of the Unit. This question should therefore be taken up in connection with every item on the agenda. For example if the Unit prepares a political discussion for the next Unit meeting, the question of literature with which our comrades can properly prepare themselves must be brought up then and there. If the question is one of organizing a campaign of the Party, work in the shops, trade unions, mass organizations, house-to-house canvassing, or a street or mass meeting, the distribution of suitable literature must receive its rightful place in the discussion of the problem and in the assignments given to the comrades. The check-up of the assignments of the individual members must also include a check-up on the method of selling the literature, how much was sold, how it was received by the workers, what questions they raised about our Party policy, and what further literature is needed in. order to clarify these workers on the questions raised. In order to save time in the Unit meeting, the actual obtaining of the literature by the unit members for use in their assignments may be placed on the agenda just before the close of the meeting, but the mobilization and assignments on this work must be made in connection with every question on the agenda.
The dues payment should take place before the meeting opens, as the comrades come in one by one to the meeting. A special period may be allowed during the meeting for dues payment if it is necessary. The Financial Secretary should report to every Unit Bureau meeting about the dues payment and the Unit Bureau should prepare a report on this problem at least once a, month for the Unit membership meetings.
If the points on the agenda are well prepared, and the proposals are concrete, a Unit meeting could easily be finished in no more than two and a half hours.
It is necessary to emphasize the importance of starting the meeting on time, and not to wait for one or two comrades who may come a little later.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD THE UNIT MEET?
Only in exceptional cases, when it is impossible to bring together the members every week, should we make exceptions from the rule of one meeting per week for each Unit.
Every member of the Unit knows a week in advance where the next meeting will be held. Members wh