James P. Cannon

For Industrial Groups on a

Broader Basis Than the TUEL

Written: October 29, 1926
Source: James P. Cannon and the Early Years of American Communism. Selected Writings and Speeches, 1920-1928 © Spartacist Publishing Company, 1992. ISBN 0-9633828-1-0; Published by Spartacist Publishing Company, Box 1377 G.P.O. New York, NY 10116. Introductory material and notes by the Prometheus Research Library.
Transcription\HTML Markup: Prometheus Research Library
Copyright: Permission for on-line publication provided by Spartacist Publishing Company for use by the James P. Cannon Internet Archive in 2005.

The following motions were presented by Cannon to a Political Committee meeting on 29 October 1926. They were counterposed to a plan for the reorganization of the party’s trade-union work which William Z. Foster submitted to the same meeting. Foster’s plan called for new, industrywide, united-front organizations with “progressive” trade unionists in three cities: Kansas City, Buffalo and Minneapolis. Elsewhere Foster advocated maintaining the Trade Union Educational League as a centralized trade-union opposition organized across industrial and craft union lines.

Cannon and William F. Dunne united with the C.E. Ruthenberg-led majority to defeat Foster’s plan. Cannon’s motions were adopted unanimously—Foster even voted in favor, insisting that Cannon’s motions were not in conflict with his original plan. The Political Committee also adopted a motion by Ruthenberg which insisted that “further investigation and effort should be made to organize progressive blocs.”

1. That we proceed in all cases with the organization of the industrial groups on a broader basis than the TUEL wherever possible.

2. That in cases where it is not possible at present to organize broader general left wing groups than the TUEL, the TUEL shall be maintained as the local center.

3. That we shall strive to develop local industrial groups towards centralization on a local scale.

4. That where the TUEL is maintained in the meantime as the centralized organization, it shall be conceived as an instrument to hasten the development of the industrial groups towards local centralization on a broader scale than the TUEL.

5. When the conditions mature for the centralization of the industrial groups locally, that the TUEL shall be merged into the newly formed group.