NOTES ON CADRE POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT-1988

1.The Need For A Policy: Points Of Departure
Suggestions have arisen from within our ranks that more of our cadres should: 1)
keep politics in command; 2) maintain the line; 3) take up more work among the masses.
These suggestions are used here as points of departure in outlining a policy to guide the
selection and development of New Afrikan communist cadres.

The proposed policy is based on the need to fulfill certain fundamental tasks
which emerge from our line for this period. The line, expressed by the slogan “Re-Build,”
broadly implies our need to re-organize, and our need to have this process (re-organiza-
tion) reflect and be guided by rectification and re-orientation.
Why do We need a policy on cadre selection and cadre development? Why must
We discuss the elements that such a policy must contain?

Stated simply, the proposed policy holds that: 1) qualified cadres are a precondi-
tion for the development of a revolutionary party organization and a revolutionary move-
ment; our cadres must be carefully selected, and primary attention should be given to
the level of their national and class consciousness, and their vanguard character; 2) the
development of our cadres should proceed in a systematic manner.

We need to guide the selection and development of our cadres with such a policy
because We don’t presently have one; without one We’ll (continue to) move along the
path of spontaneous and sporadic development, and amateurish political practice. We
must discuss and carefully choose the elements of the policy because We need consis-
tency in our ideology, our organizational development, and in our work among the masses.

Let’s return to our points of departure. Without raising any questions as to their
underlying assumptions or the circumstances which give rise to them, We could readily
agree with the suggestions that more of our cadres must “keep politics in command,”
“maintain the line,” and “take up more work among the masses.” However, as New
Afrikan communist cadres, We have been trained to “question everything,” and to seek
out, analyze and weigh the causes and/or circumstances surrounding the appearance
and development of all social phenomena.

For instance, in our unquestioning agreement with the suggestions, We’d be as-
suming that “our” cadres share a commitment to specific short-range and long-range
goals. There would also be unspoken assumptions relative to the words used, and to the
concepts that the words symbolize. That is, We’d be assuming that “our” cadres share
specific definitions of words, and concepts such as “cadre,” “politics,” “line,” and of
what it means to “keep politics in command.”

Furthermore, We’d be assuming: 1) that We HAVE competent cadres, which fur-
ther assumes the existence of a functioning organization, since We can’t speak of cadres without first speaking of an organized structure. Within such a framework, “cadres” generally refers to comrads who are “full-time Party workers, wholly and completely at the disposal of the Party”; comrads, who can insure the continuity of the Party’s policies and activities, and who have the discipline and skill required for successfully implementing the Party’s line and tactics; 2) that We have cadres who can keep OUR politics in command because they grasp them firmly, and they share the commitment to our ideological perspective; 3) that We have cadres who can maintain the line not only because they know what OUR line is (and the differences between our line and the lines of other formations—something which doesn’t generally characterize activists in the movement at present), but also because they’ve helped to shape it—they’ve rectified and re-oriented, studied the past and summed up its lessons, analyzed present conditions, shared their insight, and helped shape the common vision; 4) that We have cadres with confidence in themselves and in the masses; cadres with the acquired patience and wisdom that will enable them to work among the masses independently and effectively.

To further emphasize the point: Before We can expect cadres to competently
work among the masses, maintaining the line and keeping politics in command, WE MUST
FIRST HAVE CADRES. Let’s simply state here that a “cadre” is not the same as a mere
“activist,” someone “with potential,” or someone who, on the surface, seems to share
our political and military ideas. For us to expect cadres to “keep politics in command,”
We must have some assurance that they share our understanding of “politics,” and that
they know what OUR politics are. Similarly, to expect our cadres to “maintain the line,”
We must be assured that they know WHICH LINE to maintain and how to do it.

The emphasis on these points is required for an understanding of the policy and of
the circumstances which make it necessary. These points are fundamental to an under-
standing of the reasons for many of our past (and present) weaknesses and setbacks.
That is, We have failed in the past, in many instances, because We had tried to build an
organization without having sufficiently solid, mutual commitment to short-range and
long-range goals—goals encompassing the entire scope of the socio-political responsi-
bilities of a genuine revolutionary vanguard (e.g., the BLA was never an ideologically
homogeneous organization; it found its basic unity on the question of “armed struggle,”
and never moved beyond seeing itself as a conglomeration of military units which “politi-
cally educated” its members. It must be understood: a “military vanguard” is not the
same as a “revolutionary vanguard.” The former is narrow, and the latter is broad in the
scope of respective responsibilities. A revolutionary vanguard is representative of the
nation’s most revolutionary class and the people as a whole).

We failed in the past, in many instances, because We didn’t (and don’t yet) have
commitment to sufficiently developed, commonly held understanding of fundamental
concepts (e.g., “vanguard,” “nation,” “dialectical materialism”). We failed in the past
because We didn’t (and don’t yet) have qualified CADRES, in sufficient number and
compositions (e.g., the Black Panther Party didn’t have a class-based criteria for selec-
tion of members, nor a systematic process of cadre development. Thus, when many
party chapters were attacked by the state and leadership was removed, the chapters
were unable to rebuild. When the party split, the “East Coast Party” never consolidated
itself as a “new-style PARTY” operating on the basis of revolutionary scientific socialist
theory. Later the BLA bemoaned the loss of its “political leadership,” i.e., “the party,”
because its members had never fully had—or had abandoned—any realization that THEY
were in fact party members/cadres. The party can’t be “lost” so long as its members are
qualified to rebuild it, and accept the responsibility for doing so). Consequently, We
couldn’t help but NOT be able, as an organized force, to carry on ALL FORMS of work
among the masses (i.e., political, economic and social—as well as military), maintaining
OUR line, and keeping OUR politics in command.

2.On What It Means To “Keep Politics In Command”
For us, to “keep politics in command” means consistent adherence to the prin-
ciples of our philosophy, and our ideology; it means We must keep our theory, policies
and lines, in command of ALL our thoughts and actions.
As We re-build, We must base ourselves on an understanding of “politics” as AN
ENTIRE WORLDVIEW—an EVOLVING…new…WAY OF LIFE—forged in the process of
struggle to end our oppression and exploitation, and to build a socialist society.
We have no maps to guide us along the road leading to the new society. We will
confront many obstacles, and the means of overcoming them won’t fall from the sky;
many questions will be raised, and the answers to them won’t be found written in stone.
Only the outcome of day-to-day struggle will reveal the specific features of the
revolutionary, socialist culture that emerges as We “keep politics in command.” Correct
ideas come from one source—our social practice and proper analyses of it, made on the
basis of our evolving worldview, which stands on a foundation of dialectical materialist
philosophy.

In our movement, when folks use the phrase “keep politics in command,” they
usually mean: 1) to maintain a “political” versus a “militarist” perspective; or, 2) to
maintain a “revolutionary” perspective versus a liberal/opportunist or reactionary one;
or, 3) to base thoughts and actions on “political” versus “economic” considerations; or,
4) to remain steadfast in the grasp and implementation of the political LINE. Each of
these concepts are correct AS FAR AS THEY GO. However, each is also an example of the
one-sided, non-dialectical analyses that characterize the revolutionary movements on
this continent.

We’ve had difficulty maintaining a correct perspective—difficulty in “keeping poli-
tics in command”—largely because our understanding of the concept and practice of
“politics” has been too narrow, shallow, and inconsistent philosophically and ideologi-
cally.

“Politics” (i.e., ALL activity linked with relations between peoples, centered on the
seizure, retention, and use of state power), is most often thought of too narrowly when
described in terms associated with little more than the institutions and practices of
governments, or with the structures and activity of bourgeois political parties and the
bourgeois electoral process.

Thinking of politics in this way is also shallow or superficial, because it focuses on
only one or a few forms of political expression, and not on all forms or the essence of
politics. In this way, our theoretical orientation is limited to only one or a few levels of
socio-political practice. Consequently, as We interact in society as a whole—especially in
the course of a protracted, revolutionary people’s war—it’s easy for us to become disil-
lusioned and disoriented, as We’re affected by complex and multi-leveled phenomena
from ALL spheres of social life, i.e., economic, social, military, psycho-ideological.
For instance, because our concept of “politics” was so narrow, We felt the We had
no “ready-made” solutions to questions of morality, or We felt that our “politics” was an
inadequate source of possible solutions. We sometimes felt that We had nothing in our
“politics” to “lean on” or to support us and guide us through the confrontation with
psychological or emotional hardships.

We sometimes, too, felt there was nothing in our “politics” to help us resolve contradictions in our personal lives or contradictions within our families. We incorrectly drew a distinction between our “politics” and our “way of life,” i.e., the new culture that can only emerge in the course of struggle. We failed to realize that our “politics” and our “way of life” are—that they must become—one and the same. How is this so?
Again, because “politics”—in its essence—involves ALL relations between people
in society. ALL economic, social, military actions…ALL “personal” opinions, ideas and
sympathies, constitute the ESSENCE of “politics.” OUR politics, which is scientifically
grounded, is based on our knowledge and application of the laws of natural and social
development. Our politics is directed toward the realization of the all-round interest of
our society/nation.
Therefore, the fundamental meaning of “keep politics in command” begins with
the maintenance of philosophical consistency. In order to know and to apply the laws of
social development, We must build upon one of our previous declarations of a principle:

The tool of analysis is for us a further development of the
historical materialist method, the dialectical method…We
understand the process of revolution, and fundamental to
this understanding is this fact: Marxism is developed to a
higher level when it is scientifically adapted to a people’s
unique national condition, becoming a new ideology altogether. (1)

This declaration expressed the proper perspective, but carrying out the “further devel-
opment” proved easier to say than to do. As individuals, and as an organization, We
failed to see that We were dealing with much more than a simple “method of analysis,”
narrowly speaking. By narrow here, We mean our mistake of viewing the dialectical ma-
terialist “method” as something We do “after a fashion” or “according to plan,” rather
than as a philosophical process of arriving at knowledge and truth on the basis of a
consistent materialist interpretation of ALL natural and social development. In other
words, DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM IS THE PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATION OF OUR WAY
OF LIFE—IT’S AT THE CENTER OF WHAT IT MEANS TO “KEEP POLITICS IN COMMAND.”

Our failure to grasp and act on this point consequently meant that We’d stumble
or regress in the pursuit of national independence and socialism—the logical outcome of
consistent IDEOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT on the basis of dialectical materialism adapted
to our unique national situation. Only in this way could We have—only in this way can
We—keep OUR politics in command.

3. A Few Points On “Maintaining The Line”
Cadres can’t be expected to “maintain the line” if they don’t know what a line is,
generally speaking, and especially if they don’t know what OUR particular line is for any
period, stage, or field of struggle. Therefore, We should briefly discuss what a line IS, and
what a line DOES; then, We should discuss our particular line for this period, emphasizing
the tasks of cadres and our policy on the selection of cadres and their development.
Just as it would be an error to view politics only in the narrow forms of its expres-
sion, it would be just as erroneous to restrict ourselves to viewing only its essential or
general character. As We noted above, our (political) struggle is fundamentally con-
cerned with obtaining, keeping, and using state (political) power—to satisfy our national
(independence) and social (socialism) interests. Our politics, therefore, flows from the
general to the particular, expressing itself in ALL spheres of social life, i.e., as “lines” in
the economic, military, labor, and all other fields.

“Lines” are, therefore, particular expressions or applications of “politics” as de-
fined above. That is, lines reflect and apply the objective laws of social development in
each sphere of social life and in every form of the practice of revolutionary movements
and parties. Lines take their shape on the basis of philosophy (dialectical materialism),
ideology (national independence; New Afrikan communism), and theory (protracted,
people’s war), and manifest themselves particularly through policies and programs, strat-
egies and tactics.

Lines are formed through the process of study and analysis. For lines to be cor-
rectly formulated in each area of social life, analyses in these areas are necessary, e.g.:

To put forward a correct political line for the new party,
we must have concrete analyses of concrete conditions on
the major questions: class structure, the national question
trade union work, the woman question, the international
situation, etc. (2)

We can see from our own experience and from study of other revolutionary
struggles, that “The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line
decides everything.” That is, when lines are correct, We advance, and when they are
incorrect We suffer setbacks, We make “mistakes” and commit fundamental errors.
Our movement has a tendency to attribute the CAUSES of setbacks, “mistakes”
and errors to EXTERNAL sources, e.g., “J. Edgar Hoover destroyed the Party,” and
“COINTELPRO destroyed the movement.” Our primary attention has to be on the role
that WE played or failed to play in the undermining of our formations and in allowing the
diversion of our movement.

As We focus our attention internally, as We look to distant and recent past, We
ask questions about previous lines, and the answers to these questions become part of
the lines We form for present and future practice. What were the lines put forward in the
various fields, by the many political forces which were (have been proven) correct and
which were (have been proven) incorrect? WHY were these lines correct or incorrect?
What positions were raised in opposition to the correct lines, and what arguments were
raised in opposition to the incorrect lines? What have We learned from analysis of just
the past fifteen years that We can term essential elements of our present line—a line
that must take us into the 1990s and beyond?

We regard the “reluctance” to pay due attention to our own weaknesses and
shortcomings as a key link in the chain of our setbacks, therefore We’ll emphasize this
point: In order for falls into the pit to lead to gains in the wit, as We analyze concrete
conditions, We must study the past as well as the present, and We must focus on our
own weaknesses, OUR mistakes, OUR incorrect lines and the incorrect assumptions and
analyses upon which they were based.

Initiating and summing up the analyses that will form present and future lines,
requires a knowledge of previous lines on all related issues. Knowledge of previous lines
is an essential forerunner to the development of correct lines for the present.
It’s important to know the course of development of previous correct and incor-
rect lines (i.e., the actions guided by them, the results of these actions over a period of
time, which organizational, movement, and class forces supported or opposed the lines,
etc.), because all these are factors rooted in the class struggles that take place inside
the organization, the movement, and the nation. Moreover, incorrect lines re-appear
again and again in the course of struggle, in new forms. Therefore, it will be necessary to
be able to recognize them, distinguish one line from another, and to engage in struggle
with them and the forces representing them, so that they can be defeated and cor-
rected, and so that correct lines and revolutionary forces can emerge:

History tells us that correct political and military lines
do not emerge and develop spontaneously and tranquilly, but
only in the course of struggle. These lines must combat
“Left” opportunism on the one hand and Right opportunism
on the other.(3)

Cadres must take active part in the recurring and necessary ideological and theo-
retical struggles inside and outside the organization. They must take an active role in
the development of the correct political lines. They must bring to this task both rich and
varied practical experience, and a thorough, firm, creative and critical grasp of “politics”
and analytical ability (e.g., the laws of contradiction, principles of political economy,
criticism and self-criticism, etc.):
A wise political line produces good cadres. Cadres are
trained and mature under a wise line. On the other hand,
they take part in the making and development of the line,
they ensure the realization of the line. Without competent
cadres, even though we have worked out a line, it will be
useless. If cadres are bad, they will damage the line itself.
If cadres are good and able, they not only help to carry out
the line creatively but also contribute to its development…
(4)
(Not many of us will argue against the suggestion that continuous re-examination of the
past is essential to on-going development. However, from some quarters We’ll hear
defensive protests against the suggestion that We mustn’t fear or avoid the public
exposure and analyses of our mistakes, weaknesses, defeats. Some of those who raise
such cries will simply be trying to “protect themselves” in one way or another, from
exposure of their shortcomings. Others will act on an honest but mistaken idea that such
exposures are harmful to the course of struggle, and feel that telling the truth to the
people will undermine the masses’ faith in us and in the struggle. However, the harm
actually comes when We try to hide the truth from the people—because it deprives the
people of knowledge, consciousness, and fails to give them the opportunity to become
acquainted with the concepts and skills gained in using scientific principles and methods
of struggle. The masses will surely come to have greater respect for those of us who can
admit our mistakes, point out their causes, correct them, and continue to struggle. The
masses can only respect those of us who can unmask ourselves; they can only respect
those of us who show our faith in the people, and that We believe in their wisdom and
their abilities…We sometimes say “the people must learn from their own experience,”
but an event is not an “experience” to be learned from unless it is exposed, analyzed,
made part of the record and available to us so that We—the masses—can use it to
nurture ourselves.)

Based on the above, We can approach an understanding of the ways in which lines
provide ORIENTATION, i.e., offering stable points of reference, information and insight,
and provide guideline relative to the scope of activity (i.e., local or regional, high or low
profile, modest or extreme, broad or narrow, embracing all classes or limited to certain
sectors of the people, etc.).

Most importantly, (and especially for our present purpose), the line indicates the
tasks to be taken up (i.e., tasks for the stage, the period, the movement, the organiza-
tion, and for the cadres of the organization):

The problem of cadres is posed under the premise that the
line has been worked out. That is why a wise political line
is the precondition for the existence of good cadres. It is
quite impossible to have good cadres if the line is wrong…
After the Party has worked out a correct political line,
organizational work in general, and cadre work in particular,
are decisive factors for success in the revolutionary tasks…(5)

In turn, the tasks point out specific requirements relative to cadres entrusted with
their realization:

Cadre policy, if it is to be correct, must proceed from the
requirements of the revolutionary tasks. The revolution needs
a contingent of cadres who are equal to their political tasks,
with regard to their number and quality as well as to their
composition, a contingent of cadres capable of fulfilling to
the highest degree the requirements of the political tasks in
each period…(6)

The line is a result of our look back, a result of our analyses of past and present
conditions. As We form or articulate the line We say things like: “Such and Such were the
Conditions. In response to these Conditions, This and That happened—This was done by
So & So, because they believe that Up was Down, and they interpreted It to be As, and
Then to be Now. That was done by You-Know-Who, because they thought Up was Out,
and they interpreted It to be As only when Down was In. Consequently, nothing turned
out as anyone had predicted. However, So & So was right about That part of This, and
You-Know-Who was right about This part of That. It turns out that no one considered
These Factors or Those Factors, which even today continue to influence the course of
events. Therefore, We can see that not only was This happening Then, but it’s also
happening Now. In view of all this, We must…”

i hope i didn’t lose anyone. But the trip was similar to those normally made in
actual analyses, yet some of us usually stop short of checking out all sides of things and
tracing all interconnections and relationships. As We do so, We’re contributing to the
formation of lines. And these lines tell us not only what has happened and why, they also
tell us what We must do, why We must do it, and it gives us our general guidelines as to
how We must do it. In other words, the line indicates the tasks to be taken up, e.g., if the
line says the movement and the organization has suffered repression, it indicates that
We must re-build. If “re-build” comes to “symbolize” the line, We analyze this slogan to
discover its parts, etc., and in doing so We discover the tasks that must be taken up by
the movement, the organization, and by our cadres.

We believe “Re-Build” is a slogan/line that applies to the entire New Afrikan Inde-
pendence Movement, because the movement needs to (to some extent, has been) re-
orient and re-organize itself. In terms of re-orientation, the movement must adjust to
objective reality and establish new principles (or to reinforce old ones)). For instance,
We ain’t calling ourselves a “civil rights movement” or an ambiguously defined “black
power” or “black liberation” movement. We ain’t adopting lines from the CP-USA and
saying We gonna form united fronts against fascism, nor are We adopting lines from the
Trots and saying We gonna establish a “black dictatorship in amerikkka.”

The line for this stage says We’re waging a New Afrikan national liberation revolu-
tion, i.e., it’s a struggle for national independence, and socialism. In terms of re-organi-
zation, the movement must “modify” its structure, its style, seeing itself as similar to
resistance movements in those European countries that were occupied by Germany in
the 1940’s, or those Asian countries that were occupied by the Japanese; or, as similar
to those national liberation fighters in cities under the control of French, British, or
Portuguese forces on the Afrikan continent in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

(How did Malcolm say it: REAL REVOLUTIONS are hostile—it’s us against them, separate
and opposed…Some people talk about a “nation” but don’t really wanna be one (inde-
pendent), as evidenced by their efforts to crawl back on the plantation. How can We
tell? You can identify those trying to crawl onto the plantation by the way they identify
themselves, i.e. “blacks,” “Afro-Amerikkkans,” “Afrikan-Amerikkkans,” “ethnic group, “
“minority nationality,” “National minority,” “underclass”—anything and everything ex-
cept New Afrikans, an oppressed nation. Amerikkka is the plantation, and continuing to
identify yourself within the amerikkkan context is evidence of the colonial (“slave”)
mentality. Ain’t no two ways about it.)

The line for the period—again, “Re-Build”—indicates that everything We had con-
structed while “building to win” has been effectively destroyed. We’ve been attacked,
the subjects of a counter-revolutionary thrust; We’ve been dis-oriented and dis-orga-
nized; the masses have lost the revolutionary initiative; this is a “low-tide” and the focus
is on re-building political bases.

We must emphasize rebuild, i.e., that We must re-orient and re-organize, because
the destruction to our previous structures—and the reasons for it—wasn’t of a mere
quantitative nature. That is, the movement and our organizations didn’t suffer defeat
and setback simply because of the state’s repression, but also—primarily—because our
“minds weren’t right.” Our thinking was faulty. Our practice wasn’t up to par. The struc-
tures that We had built were unable to withstand the onslaught of the empire, so there
must have been something wrong with these structures. Consequently, We don’t wanna
simply reconstruct the “same” structures or the same kind of structures. We gotta re-
think the situation, and come up with some new designs and some new alloys that will be
able to withstand future waves of repression, while also being adequate means of help-
ing us secure power.
The line for our organization—Re-Build—says We get our minds right (in itself a
necessary form of revolutionary practice), and let the theory guide our other forms of
practice. We want our cadres to take up more work among the masses, but that work
has to be guided by the line(s), so that We can keep our politics in command. We want
our cadres to keep our politics in command, maintain the line, and take up more work
among the masses—but first We must have cadres, and good ones at that.

4.Our Policy On Cadre Development
The movement and its organization must be re-built—by cadres. We look to the
past and see that one of our major weaknesses was the lack of attention given to
properly selecting and training cadres. We claimed to base ourselves on Marxist-Leninist
theory (e.g., with respect to party-building), and to be aware of the class dimensions of
the national liberation struggle. Yet, We ignored or overlooked the need to use class-
based and vanguard criteria in the selection and training of party members and cadres.
In point of fact, We were more ignorant of the process of building revolutionary scientific
socialist parties than We realized. (There wasn’t much material on this in THE RED BOOK
or in Mao’s military writings, and by 1970-71, We’d been so disappointed by Huey New-
ton & Co., and so misguided by our own petty-bourgeois mentalities and our misinter-
pretations of certain South American experiences, that We, in effect, abandoned the
PRINCIPLE of the need for a party, i.e., THE NECESSITY FOR A PARTY ORGANIZATION IF
REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE IS TO BE EFFECTIVELY GENERATED AND SUCCESSFUL.)

As We stated earlier, We need a policy on cadres in order to help us abandon the
path of spontaneous and sporadic development, and to rise above amateurish political
practice. We need the policy as a means of helping us achieve consistency in our ideo-
logical and organizational development, and in our work among the masses. As with the
discussions on politics and line, We’ll outline the proposed policy by moving from the
general to the particular.

What is a “policy,” generally speaking? Some of us may respond with something
like: “A policy is the starting point of all practical actions of a revolutionary party, and
manifests itself in the process and the end-result of that party’s actions.” However,
does this tell us what a policy IS? We don’t think so. We think it tells us what a policy
does, why a policy is necessary, and why it must be articulated, understood, and ac-
cepted as one’s own—before initiating actions.

Stated simply, a policy is the objectives and/or goals that We set for ourselves,
and the means We adopt toward the realizations of these objectives:

A policy is a clear vision of a goal; the definite choice of
a path to be taken in pursuit of that goal. A policy guides
the selection of specific methods and/or acceptable
procedures to be used along the path; it helps determine
the decisions which have to be made as unforeseen
situations arise. (7)

Policies don’t fall from the sky; they are specific manifestations of philosophy,
ideology and theory, derived from analyses of concrete conditions. The proposed policy
is a result of an analysis of our practice, and a result of our examination of the experi-
ences of others who have waged (successful and unsuccessful) national liberation and
revolutionary struggles. Further, it’s a result of the requirements revealed by our line,
and is a specific application of the line. Again, our line is also a result of our analyses of
previous periods and stages of our struggle, with particular focus on the advances and
setbacks over the past twenty-five years in our efforts to build effective revolutionary
organizations and a national liberation movement.

Now that We have this general definition of “policy,” We can now restate OUR
policy on cadres and their development. We can’t re-build our party—a party able to
function under any conditions, in all spheres of social life—without cadres. We can’t
carry on work among the masses without cadres. We can’t give rise to, and sustain, a
vigorous, consistent, national revolutionary movement, without cadres. Thus, our goal is
to have cadres who are equal to their tasks (especially with regard to their quality and
composition), and to achieve this goal through systematic development (i.e., system-
atic recruitment, training, appointment, fostering, promotion, appraisal and evaluation).
At this point, We can’t repeat it too often:

Generally speaking, cadres are products of a movement.
They mature in the organization, in the life and activity
of the organization, in the process of work and struggle
to bring to reality the political line and tasks. On the other
hand, in order to give rise to a movement and to ensure its
more and more vigorous development, we must have cadres.
To ensure that our organizations can operate and operate
fruitfully, we must have cadres, and good ones at that. This
is why the foremost task of all revolutionary movements
and all revolutionary organizations is to endeavor to train
and foster cadres in a systematic manner. At the same time,
cadres must endeavor to train themselves and raise their
capabilities. This task is now posed before us in all its
urgency.      (8)
In a similar way;
…the transition to a new stage of political struggle usually
requires new people who can meet the new tasks and/or old
experienced people who can make a serious self-criticism
of their previous political habits and transform their political
personalities to meet the new needs. This kind of self-evaluation
and transformation is not easy for most people to make. As the
objective situation becomes more revolutionary, an increasing
number of militants begin to feel the need of an organization
to help them make the many decisions that now become pressing:
How to respond to the growing demands from the masses for
leadership or to the provocations and opportunities proffered by
the enemy to render one useless; what to do, what not to do,
how to organize one’s time and energies most effectively—all
these become decisions beyond the capacity of a single
individual to make. On the other hand, these same individuals
can find the discipline of the party constraining or “bureaucratic”
unless they are constantly internalizing through criticism
and self-criticism the urgent necessity for a highly organized,
disciplined structure as the key to black liberation at this
stage.        (9)
Now, who are or what are these “cadres” that We place so much emphasis on?
Why are they so important?
We must first note that party cadres are clearly distinguished from the rank and
file party members. In other words, while every party cadre is a party member, not every
party member is a party cadre. Cadres are those party members most responsible for
the organizational fulfillment of the party line. They are the core of the party, its ce-
menting foundation.

Membership in the party may, for example, be open to everyone who is recom-
mended by at least two party members, who accept the party constitution and the
party rules, and who joins and works in at least one of the party organizations (e.g., the
party’s armed organization, a party committee or a party-led mass organization). How-
ever, party cadres are those party members who, on the basis of their experience and
training, have been appointed by the party to perform functional (leadership) roles, and/
or to train other party members—they don’t walk in off the streets and have major
responsibilities placed in their laps.

Because cadres undergo an all-round development, they are multi-dimensional,
i.e., they’re not simply followers who would be lost if the “head” of the party were cut
off by the state. While all party members are encouraged to “specialize” in fields of
work, through the division of labor, party cadres must be CAPABLE of “doing every-
thing,” i.e., skilled in the implementation of party tactics in whatever form of struggle
they may be required to participate. Ideally, so long as one cadre survives, the party
survives, because the party can’t be destroyed so long as qualified cadres remain in the
field and maintain their commitments to themselves, to the party, the people, and to
the struggle, thus ensuring the continuity of the party and its activities.

Also not that We use the term “cadre” to refer to an individual member of the
party. Many people still use the term in the old (W. European) sense, when it described
a group or collective “framework.” The term/concept underwent change as revolution-
aries in this century critically reappraised and redefined it on the basis of their experi-
ence.

Russian and Chinese revolutionaries, for example, first used the term “cadre” in a
collective/framework sense, then in an individual sense, as the conditions under which
they struggled forced many cadres to work independently of other members or leading
party organs—especially during those periods when the party was under attack, and for
those cadres (as in China), doing work in the cities and forced to maintain a low profile
while organizing the masses. Many people also initially believed that the vanguard party
was a force that would spontaneously emerge from within the revolutionary class. Both
Lenin and Mao, each in their respective movements (Lenin during late 19th and early
20th century, Mao during the Yenan period) fought for a position which held that the
vanguard had to be developed, i.e., “created, trained, and cultivated.” Thus, today cad-
res undergo a process of selective recruitment, training, assignment, etc.—in short,
cadre development—in process of struggle, based on the fulfillment of the revolutionary
tasks for each period.

We saw above that cadres must be equal to their tasks in each period with regard
to their number, quality, and composition. We also say that the tasks emerge on the
basis of the line for the period. To get an example of what it means for cadres to be
equal to their tasks in terms of number: The line tells us that We must re-build, under
conditions of “illegality,” in an “all-round” way (the tasks). Since the party must function
under repressive conditions, the proportion (number) of cadres to non-cadre party mem-
bers must be greater. Repression forces the increased need for “professional” revolu-
tionaries—even (especially) on the “mass front.” If the mass front is the most open, the
most vulnerable, and has inevitable traces to more critical levels, then surely We want
our party members working on this level to be capable of working among the masses,
while also “avoiding the secret police,” and performing their tasks without drawing
roadmaps detailing the organization and its supporters.

We should also note that aside from the proportional relation of cadre to non-
cadre members, We need a sufficient number of cadres so that necessary attention can
be given to all tasks, and that the development of all work proceeds as evenly as pos-
sible. That is, We are responsible for serving the people in all spheres of their lives, and
for the conduct of struggle in all fields. Some bloods act and think as though the only
pressing needs We have are those related to the military field, or to the organization of
our youth; some of us focus our attention on issues in our local areas, not always recog-
nizing that We must develop the struggle as evenly as possible wherever our people are.

This not only forces us to recognize the need for a nationally organized and coordinated
(communicating) party, but for cadres, in sufficient number, who “specialize” in a wide
variety of tasks. Again: While no single cadre should attempt to perform too many tasks
at any one time, each cadre should be CAPABLE of performing any task, in any form of
struggle in which they’re called upon to participate.

One of the ways to insure that We have cadres with these capabilities is that We
not only bring into the party people with a wide assortment of skills, but that We bring
into the party people from a wide variety of backgrounds, i.e., people from different
classes and strata. As We said, cadres must be equal to their tasks as regards composi-
tion. Our tasks require that We work among the masses, i.e., people of all classes and
strata. however, our tasks, our line, our ideology, also require that the party be primarily
composed of cadres and other members from the working class, and who have a working
class stand or worldview.
One description of the needed qualities of cadres is as follows:

They must be cadres and leaders versed in Marxism-Leninism,
politically farsighted, competent in work, full of the spirit
of self-sacrifice, capable of tackling problems on their own,
steadfast in the midst of difficulties and loyal and devoted
in serving the nation, the class, and the Party. It is on these
cadres and leaders that the Party relies for its links with the
membership and the masses, and it is by relying on their
firm leadership of the masses that the Party can succeed in
defeating the enemy. Such cadres and leaders must be free from
selfishness, from individualistic heroism, ostentation, sloth,
passivity, and sectarian arrogance, and they must be selfless
national and class heroes; such are the qualities and style of
work demanded of the members, cadres, and leaders of our Party.(10)

Aside from the insight provided by Mao’s description, We can say that the quali-
ties of our cadres, in whatever period of struggle, can be listed as:
1) loyalty to the ideals of independence and socialism;
2) loyalty to the interests of the vanguard class and the nation;
3) loyalty to the party and its line;
4) a severe sense of organization and organizational discipline;
5) close contact with the masses;
6) an ability to independently fulfill all assigned tasks—to
organize the fulfillment of the party’s line, by using accumulated
experience, and improving upon it.
Cadres acquire these qualities through the process of their development in six
basic areas: 1) recruitment; 2) training; 3) appointment; 4) fostering;
5) promotion; 6) appraisal and evaluation.
The process of cadre development (training) involves study and struggle with
respect to:
1) the theory of national liberation revolution—in general, and
with regard to New Afrika in particular;
2) the theory of the party (in and out of power); a) in general,
and with regard to the practical experiences of others; b) with
regard to previous New Afrikan experience; c) with regard to
the present role of the party in the national liberation
revolution, under conditions of our struggle for state (political)
power;
3) the theory of the state (bourgeois and revolutionary/socialist),
in general, with regard to the practical experiences of others;
with regard to creation of the New Afrikan socialist republic,
e.g., the party/movement as “state in process”;
4) the theories of “collective mastery” and “socialist humanism”;
5) the theories of socialism and communism, in general, and with
specific regard to New Afrika;
6) the theory of social development (i.e., dialectical-historical
materialism), with emphasis on the Afrikan roots of both
dialectical and materialist philosophy;
7) theories of communal and private ownership (i.e., political
economy);
8) theories regarding a) organization; b) criticism and self-
criticism; c) democratic centralism; d) collective leadership;
e) party-army relations; f) party-mass relations (including united
fronts; g) mass line; h) protracted war; i) “public clandestinity”.

Although these notes merely outline the proposed policy for cadre selection and
development, they go a long way toward providing building blocks.
Re-Build!
1.    Message To The Black Movement, Coordinating Committee, Black Liberation
Army, 1975.
2.    What Is To Be Done?, V.I. Lenin.
3.    Selected Works, Vol. 1, Mao Tse-Tung.
“Some Problems of Cadres and Organization,” This Nation and Socialism Are One,
4.
Le Duan.
5.    Le Duan.
6.    Le Duan.
7.    “So That We Don’t Fool Ourselves—Again: Notes on a Movement Policy for
Secure Communications,” Study Notes On Secure Communications, Seldom Seen.
8.    Le Duan.
9.    “The Role of the Vanguard Party,” Monthly Review, April, 1970. James and
Grace Lee Boggs.
10.      “Win The Masses In Their Millions,” Selected Works, Vol. 1,Mao Tse-Tung.

Vita Wa Watu no 12-April 1988

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