Editorial Notes

Bolshevik Organization

(June 1931)

Written: June 1931.
First Published: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 11, 1 June 1931, p. 2.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: This work is in the under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists’ Internet Archive as your source, include the URL to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

The revolutionary Marxists, who set for themselves the greatest of all historic tasks, have always prescribed commensurate forms of organization and methods of work. The principle of centralized party organization was laid down by Marx and Engels. Lenin, who stood on their shoulders, developed these conceptions to a higher degree and vindicated them in the living experiences of the Russian revolution. Bolshevism waged an irreconcilable war against every kind of looseness in matters of organization as well as in questions of theory and tactics. And rightly, for they are and must be inseparably united. It was not for nothing that a question of organization – Lenin’s insistence on active work in a party organization as the qualification for party membership – was the occasion for the first split between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. At the present moment these recollections have an exceptional importance for the adherents of the International Left Opposition.

The influence of the Marxist wing which declined with the depression of the movement will rise again with its upward swing. This development is already indicated by the situation in Spain. It will be reflected In the American movement and will impose new tasks and responsibilities on the Communist League. For this we must prepare. Our National Conference, now in the course of preparation, will confront the problem of hardening our organization for the coming events.

In recent months the New York branch has taken a number of steps which anticipate, we hope, the general decisions of the National Conference in this respect. A probationary period for new members, a stricter regulation of dues payments and a more precise definition of the individual duties of the members are among the motions adopted in the branch. In all of them a definite trend toward firmer Bolshevik forms and methods of work is expressed.

The Communist League did not begin by stressing organization forms and could not do so. Its primary engagement was to clarify in a broad discussion the great questions brought to the fore in the struggle of the International Left Opposition, and to popularize them in the Communist ranks. To have imposed rigid organization features in the first instance would have been to put the cart before the horse. Form cannot take the place of substance: it can only represent it. Now we can move on. for our work of education and preparation has not been in vain. The main lines of principle have been clearly established, and each successive attempt to muddle them has met with diminishing successes. It is not likely, therefore, that the Conference will be obliged to occupy itself with conflicts on the fundamental questions. It will be justified in the assumption that we can now proceed to emphasize those Bolshevik principles of organization which are necessary to bind our forces firmly together and develop their maximum effectiveness. The actions taken by the New York branch are to be welcomed as a push in this direction.

Last updated on: 31.12.2012