James P. Cannon

The Militant

December 15, 1934


Written: 1934
Source: The Militant. Original bound volumes of The Militant and microfilm provided by the Holt Labor Library, San Francisco, California.
Transcription\HTML Markup:Andrew Pollack


The New Militant makes its appearance as the official weekly organ of the Workers Party. As such, it will not be independent or neutral but will strive in all respects to represent the aims and ideals of the party as laid down in the Declaration of Principles and to reflect its revolutionary spirit.

The vanguard political party is the highest expression of working-class organization and a party organ, consequently, is the highest type of paper. Our aim, however, is not to publish a “house organ” for restricted party circles, but a political organ for the masses. We hope to popularize the New Militant without diluting its political and party character. Such a combination is what is needed to serve the aims we have in mind. If we succeed in this endeavor the New Militant will soon make a place all its own in the field of labor journalism.

The main line of the New Militant will be the attack against capitalism, the exposure of its frauds and infamies, and the advocacy of the socialist order of society. As we see the situation, the chief recruiting grounds of the new party, even in the early stages of its struggle, is among the politically unorganized but grievously oppressed and bitterly discontented masses of American workers. The main appeal of the New Militant will be directed to them.

They are the forces for the new party. They are the troops of the American revolution. They have long remained indifferent to working-class politics of any kind. The political labor movement, reformist as well as revolutionary, has been a comparatively small and isolated circle. But the conditions have matured for a great and rapid transformation. The two gigantic strike waves we have seen were heralds of a mass participation in the political movement as well.

The American workers are moving now in true American style rapidly and with militant disregard for any kind of obstructions. The New Militant will march with them in their struggle. To awaken the discontented workers to class consciousness and draw them toward the party in the course of their experiences in the class struggle—this will be the chief endeavor of the New Militant.

The road to the masses is through the vanguard. Our paper can become a power among the masses only if it organizes and educates the advanced workers as it goes along. The fundamental nucleus of revolutionary militants which has been assembled at the foundation of the Workers Party is only a beginning. Thousands of others, scattered and disorganized by the long period of disintegration in the movement belong with the party right now. The New Militant will help them to find their place in the party ranks.

In this field quality is what counts. Every class-conscious worker is important. Every honest rebel against capitalism is dear to us and we hope to make our paper their paper. To that end the New Militant will provide them with accurate information about all phases of the movement, about the activities of other labor organizations at home and abroad, and strive to illuminate all the important questions of the day With the light of Marxist principle.

We must make our revolution in America, not in some other country and not on the moon. That means, if we are to go at our work seriously, that our paper must concern itself primarily with the actualities of American life and talk to the workers in their own language. It is necessary to show that we understand them in order to make them understand us.

The American people have not inherited conservatism nor the tendency to balk at revolutionary solutions. They overthrew the rule of a king and broke the institutions of chattel slavery by means that were far from polite. The history of the labor movement of the country, on the whole, is a magnificent history of militant struggle. Our paper can and should appeal to these traditions in its agitation among the masses. It can and should be distinctively American in its methods of approach and its realistic concentration on the concrete tasks at hand.

But the world we live in is a unit, and the liberating workers’ revolution, as our Declaration of Principles truly says, is by its very nature international in character. One cannot even begin to think straight about a national revolution unless he proceeds from this point of view. We don’t believe in the dogma of “socialism in one country,” for the United States or for Russia. We see our American revolution as one link in the chain of revolutions which will emancipate the world from capitalism and establish world socialism. This conception stands in the center of the system of ideas which binds us together and animates all our work on national grounds. The New Militant, in all its departments, will reflect this revolutionary internationalist point of view.