The Party Organization — 1: The Group and its Functions.-July 1920


This series of articles is published in order to familiarize the party members with the new form of organization and the work that each unit of the party is expected to perform. Every party group should have this and the succeeding articles read at its meeting and then thoroughly discuss the suggestions made. These articles do not pretend to cover all the methods of work of the various units of the party. Their purpose is to stimulate discussion and thus bring into the service of the party all the ideas which members of the groups may have to offer. If group discussions of these questions develop important suggestions not covered by the articles, the members are urged to put them in writing and forward them through the regular party channels for publication.

The basic unit of the United Communist Party is a group consisting of approximately 10 members, and wherever possible, not less than 5 members. Groups may be made up of members living in the same territory and of members speaking the same language, as is largely the case in the party at the present time. It will be a prime objective of the party as quickly as possible to develop groups made up of workers in the same shops or members of the same unions, or any other working class organization.

The party does not limit its groups to industrial and territorial groups, but will seek to build up groups of party members in every form that is feasible. There is only one test as to the value of the group to the party, and that is: is it able to function as a propaganda and organizing unit of the party?

While the basis of association of members in groups will be as varied as the relations in which men are thrown in capitalist society, the most important units of the party will be the shop groups. It is in the shops that the workers come in direct conflict with capitalist exploitation and oppression. It is in the shops that the tendency toward united action by the workers is strongest. It is through mass action developing out of the shops that capitalism will be finally overthrown. The United Communist Party must be in a position to carry on its propaganda in the shops and through the groups of members in the various factories. It must direct and guide the action of the workers there.

How to Develop Shop Units.

The task of completely transforming the present party organization, made up almost entirely of territorial and language groups, into shop groups offers serious difficulties and might also temporarily weaken the organization. It will be much more desirable to leave these groups intact for the present and to use them to develop shop groups on a larger scale than would be possible by reorganizing the present membership as shop groups.

Each member of a territorial or language group should, therefore, take up active work to develop an industrial group. He should secure the party publications, such as The Communist, which will be published in all languages; The Voice of Labor, which is particularly adapted for shop agitation; and the party leaflets, which will be issued at short intervals as quickly as the machinery for distribution is arranged, and distribute these among the workers at the place of employment. This work of distribution must be done in such a way as not to expose the distributor.

Only after he is sufficiently acquainted with his fellow workers to know which can be trusted not to denounce him to the management, should the distributor give literature quietly to fellow employees. Leaflets and other free literature can be left in such places where these will reach the workers. Such leaflets will arouse discussion and the party worker can through these discussions single out those who are interested and trustworthy. As such persons are singled out they can be supplied with party papers and pamphlets. The party worker should not acknowledge his membership in the party in doing this work.

A similar propaganda should be carried on in the unions. Party members who are members of unions should distribute literature at the union meeting in such a way that the identity of the distributor cannot be established. When these leaflets arouse interest and safe individuals can be picked out, they should be followed up with papers and pamphlets.

When 2 or more party members are employed in the same place or are members of the same union, they should constitute themselves a committee for the conduct of propaganda in that shop or union. As new members are found in the shops or unions, they should be added to the existing committee or constitute a committee together with the original party worker, and as these committees increase to at least 5 members, they will constitute industrial groups of the party.

Study Class Work.

Every group of the party should immediately constitute itself a study class and should hold regular meetings for the study of Communist principles. This is one of the most important functions of the present party groups. The party will become strong only as the party members are thoroughly grounded in Communist principles. It will develop workers only as this work of Communist education within the party proceeds. The Educational Committee of the party will as quickly as possible develop a course of study.

Until such time as this course is available the party program should be taken up section by section, discussed and criticized. Articles in the party papers discussing party principles and tactics, and party pamphlets dealing with the same questions, should also be used for the purpose of study and discussion. Each group has among its members one person who is capable of taking the lead in this study class work and he should be elected to lead the class.

Admission of New Members.

Every applicant for membership in the party must be recommended by 2 members. No application card is required, but the applicant must have read the Program and Constitution of the party before his application can be considered. When the name of an applicant is proposed and he is recommended by 2 members, the group shall consider the application without the applicant being present. Acceptance must be by unanimous vote.

The applicant is then placed on probation for two months. During this period he will be assigned to a recruiting group if such a group exists. If there is no recruiting group he should be permitted to attend meetings of the regular group for study purposes, but until full confidence is established he must be excluded from those meetings at which the organization plans are discussed. At the end of the 2 months the group will make final disposition of the application.

Party Administration.

The members of the groups should familiarize themselves with the organization problems of the party and discuss the policies determined upon by the Central Executive Committee. It is the right and the duty of every group member to discuss any act of the party administration and to send resolutions containing suggestions, criticism, and commendation.

The group should also concern itself with the organization and propaganda work in its territory and make recommendations to the group organizers who constitute the Branch Committee and through them to the Sub-District and District Committee.


The party constitution expressly provides that only such persons who are willing to participate actively in the party work shall be accepted as members of the party. Every members should be active as a party propagandist, active in the study class work of his group, active in the party administration. It is only by mobilizing for its work the ability and energy of all its membership that the party will become a powerful factor in the class struggle of this country.

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