Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Philadelphia Workers’ Organizing Committee

What is The Organizer?

First Published: The Organizer, Vol. 1, No. 1, January-February 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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THE ORGANIZER is the newspaper of the Philadelphia Workers Organizing Committee, a local communist organization. The capitalist class works overtime to convince workers that communism has nothing to offer them. They project an image of socialist society as a gray, bureaucratic world full of robot-like people and prison camps. Communists are pictured as sneaky subversives, out to rob the people of the US of their freedoms.


The reality is quite different. We as communists want to replace the rule of a handful of exploiters, the monopoly capitalists, with the rule of the working class, the producers of the wealth of society. We seek to replace the anarchy of capitalist production, with its depressions, inflation and unemployment, with a planned socialist economy, based on the needs of working people. We stand in opposition to the national oppression of Black, Puerto Rican, Chicano, Asian, and Native American peoples, which capitalism breeds and sustains. Similarly, we oppose the denial of full democratic rights to women, and their relegation by the monopolists to a passive role in the home or their exploitation as workers suffering from discrimination.

We fight for a socialist US in which full equality for all will be a reality and not a hypocritical slogan. We stand for the fullest democracy for the many – the working people – over the few, the handful of parasitic Robber Barons who rule the US today.

As communists we are partisans; we believe on every issue, every question, and in every struggle the working class has a special stake. It has interests different from and antagonistic to the monopoly capitalists. We do not sit on the sidelines and preach socialism to the workers.

Instead, we are involved in the actual struggle that working people are waging right now. In these struggles we seek to bring to the fore the interests of the whole working class. We oppose the viewpoint of the capitalists which appears in many disguises within the workers’ movement and always acts to weaken the fighting unity of the workers and neutralize their strength to the capitalists’ advantage.

The main area of practical activity of the PWOC has been in the trade unions. Here, along with others, we have fought to build a rank and file movement capable of transforming the unions from their present sorry state of bureaucratic inaction and coziness with the employers, to fighting democratic organizations that can really serve1 the working class. For this effort we have been singled out by the bosses, and the chair-warming bureaucrats in the unions who serve them, as “subversives.”

This is quite true. We seek to subvert the domination of the employers over the workers, the main form of which is the whole philosophy of labor peace – the idea that workers should cooperate with management for their mutual betterment. The results of this policy, which has guided most unions for over a generation, has been that the workers make more and more sacrifices, while the employers reap larger and larger profits.

It is not communists who are weakening or subverting the fighting strength and democratic traditions of the unions. Rather, it is the highly-paid, privileged labor bureaucracy who by virtue of their collaboration with the employers and their contempt for the needs of the rank and file, are wrecking our unions. We are prepared to let our activity in the unions and in the struggles of workers elsewhere speak for itself. We are confident that the mass of workers will come to understand on the basis of these struggles what it is that communists really stand for.


The PWOC was formed in 1971 by a group of activists who had been deeply involved in the struggles of the 1960’s, particularly the anti-war and civil rights movements. As a result of these struggles, all of us had come to understand that the problems of racism, war and the exploitation of working people were all products of the capitalist system.

The practical education we received in the 1960’s pointed to the conclusion that capitalism could not be reformed into a humane social system that served the people. It had to be overthrown through a socialist revolution that could then reconstruct US society along genuinely popular and democratic lines. What we lacked was an understanding of how this was to be done.

In the beginning we were united around two simple points. First of all, we believed that the revolutionary movement could not go forward without a theory – without an analysis that identified the concrete problems of the movement at every step of the way and pointed toward their resolution. We needed theory in the sense that Karl Marx used the term – as a guide to action – a means of charting the difficult route that lay before us.

To develop such a theory we turned to Marxism-Leninism the theory of scientific socialism. Marxism-Leninism represents the world view of the working class as developed in the work of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao and their followers. Far from being an academic affair, Marxism-Leninism is the most practical of sciences, representing the distilled experience of the revolutionary workers’ movement from its beginnings to the present. We saw the mastery of the fundamentals of Marxist analysis as the stepping stone to a revolutionary theory for the US.

But Marxism-Leninism does not become real theory until it is applied to the concrete conditions of the US. We see revolutionary theory not as a string of revolutionary phrases from Marx, Lenin and Mao, but as a concrete analyses capable of solving the problems confronting the revolutionary workers movement at every step in the way of the journey from where we are now to the seizure of power, the overthrow of capital, and the transition to a classless communist society.

Secondly, we shared a common conviction that our work had to be concentrated in the industrial proletariat. In common with other Marxists we believed that the industrial workers play the leading role in socialist revolution. Practically, this meant we had to build an organization made up of the most politically conscious, dedicated, and militant workers, and that this could only be done by situating ourselves where those workers were – in the large factories that compose the heart of basic industry.

We did not believe it was possible to win workers to socialism simply by leaf letting at shop gates. Instead, we were convinced that only through participation and concrete leadership in the class struggle, in the battles unfolding in the factories and the trade unions, could the relevance of Marxism-Leninism to the working class be firmly established.

Since 1971 the PWOC has changed and developed considerably. We have grown in terms of both theory and practice. Today we are united around a much broader and deeper understanding of our tasks. Yet we continue to think that the original tasks we set for ourselves remain correct, and to the degree we have grown and experienced success, it is largely because we have stuck to the course we determined several years ago.

Our development has not been a straight line forward; there have been many pitfalls and detours. But because we have consistently sought the development of theory capable of solving the real problems of the workers’ movement., and because we have steadfastly refused to be deterred from the task of rooting ourselves in that movement, we have gone forward.


The PWOC is one of many organizations that are striving to build a genuinely revolutionary working class party – a Communist Party. Elsewhere in this issue we explain why we think such a party is necessary, and what we see as the way to build it. There is, of course, already an organization in the US today calling itself the Communist Party as well as numerous other pretenders.

The original Communist Party (CPUSA) was once a proud revolutionary organization. Its great contributions to the working class have been concealed from the mass of workers by the capitalist class for obvious reasons For example, few workers know of the key role played by the CPUSA in laying the groundwork of industrial unionism and building the CIO unions in the 1930’s.

But today, that once proud party has forsaken its revolutionary past and sunk deep into the mire of reformism. They have abandoned the elementary Marxist-Leninist principle based on over a^ hundred years of experience, that the proletariat must overthrow the exploiting class by smashing the capitalist state, replacing it with a state of its own making. Today, these “communists” preach a peaceful, parliamentary road to socialism, the idea that the workers can vote the capitalist system out of existence.

Revolutionary Marxists believe that the capitalist state – with its huge bureaucracies, its courts, and most importantly its armies - has to be broken up and replaced by a working class state based on popular democratic institutions embracing all the working people, that assume the functions of government and are backed up by the strength of the armed workers organized into a revolutionary army. Without these measures, the old ruling class will block the path of the workers and at the first opportunity use its power to crush the revolutionary movement.

The tragic experience of the Chilean working class, where a popularly-elected, pro-working class government dedicated to building socialism was crushed by the capitalists who retained control of the military and much of the state apparatus under the Allende Popular Unity Government/only confirms this view. The CP USA’s strategy of a peaceful, parliamentary conquest of power acts as a fetter on the revolutionary development of the working class in the present period, and can only lead to disaster and defeat in the future.

In the international arena, the CPUSA is an uncritical apologist for the policies of the Soviet Union, policies that subordinate the interests of the world’s oppressed peoples and the international working class to the goal of achieving detente with US imperialism. The CPUSA also parrots the Soviet CP’s slanders of revolutionary China and defends its diplomatic and military maneuvers against her.

The CPUSA is a loyal adherent to the doctrine and policies of modern revisionism, the revising of Marxism-Leninism in order to rob it of its revolutionary content and transform it into a left cover for a reformist practice. Revisionism, which grew out of the changes in the CP of the Soviet Union following the death of Stalin, is an international phenomena and calls for an international struggle to defend Marxism-Leninism and reconstitute revolutionary communist parties. It is for these reasons that we, along with other genuine Marxist-Leninists in the US, seek to build a new Communist Party.


We want to make THE ORGANIZER a tool for building towards a new Communist Party and advancing the struggle in Philadelphia on all fronts. Besides promoting the understanding of the need for a Communist Party, we intend to use THE ORGANIZER to develop our particular understanding of how the party is to be built and what kind of political line and program it requires if it is to succeed in praying the leading role in the working class movement.

This is a period in which the young Communist movement is divided over these questions, and intense struggle is being waged over them. We want to use THE ORGANIZER as a means of participating in this debate and bringing this struggle to the workers in the shops who are beginning to examine the new Communist forces as a political alternative.

The involvement of these workers in the Communist Movement and in the struggle for revolutionary theory is going to be the acid test for the present Marxist-Leninist forces, determining whether we will go forward towards a party with a theory capable of leading the workers’ movement, or fall backward toward a handful of sterile sects and debating societies.

Secondly, we see THE ORGANIZER as bringing a communist perspective to bear on the various practical questions that face the workers’ movement. How do we fight the discrimination against Black and other workers from the oppressed nationalities? How do we fight back against inflation, layoffs, speed-up and other manifestations of the economic crises?

We will be reporting on the struggles of working people here in Philadelphia and elsewhere, with an eye on how to make these struggles stronger - how to advance them and how to bring them together into a single powerful movement against the monopoly exploiters. We will be trying to draw lessons from these struggles by analyzing their strengths and their weaknesses, in order to arm ourselves and others with the knowledge necessary to go forward.

As internationalists, we see that monopoly capitalism, or imperialism, oppresses peoples and the working class across national boundaries. We will be analyzing the international activity of imperialism and reporting oh the struggles that rise against it. We will try to explain the stake that US workers have in the battles being waged against US imperialism in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Also, we will have articles discussing the way of life in socialist countries and the problems of the working class in those countries as it builds socialism.

The first issue concretely illustrates the kind of newspaper we would like THE ORGANIZER to be. We seek to constantly develop and improve the paper along the lines we have outlined here. Towards this end we actively solicit criticisms, comments, and suggestions from our readers. We want to know what kinds of articles and news coverage will serve to aid you in your struggles. We want more workers to become involved m the production and distribution of the paper. Only if THE ORGANIZER can connect with the actual needs of the workers’ movement and serve to advance it, can it realize the task that its name implies.