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Sol Dollinger

Paul Dollinger – A Model Revolutionist

(5 April 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 14, 5 April 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

March 25th was a sad day for the Trotskyist movement. After long suffering from cancer, Paul Dollinger, better known as Paul Kujac, passed away at the youthful age of thirty-five.

Despite his youth, Paul had faithfully served in the revolutionary army of Trotskyism almost from its inception. His adherence to the movement in 1931 at the age of 18, and his 17-year struggle symbolized the intransigent battle of American Trotskyism to become the bone and sinew of the American working class.

All through the years, with great singleness of purpose, he gave unstintingly to build the Party which meant so much to him. Inspired by the goal of Socialism, he adopted a pattern of life for all Trotskyists to emulate.

In his lifetime of service, we can witness the metamorphosis of Trotskyism from an ideological grouping on the road to a mass party. In his service we can understand the source springs of the tremendous vitality of our movement, its ability to bridge all obstacles and its unconquerable spirit.

Leaving home at the age of sixteen, Paul moved around the country during the last depression. He found employment on sharecroppers’ farms in Georgia, fruit orchards of Florida and cattle ranches in the west. He returned to New York City looking for a solution to the terrible crisis of U.S. capitalism – which had made an indelible impression on him.

While working in a small millinery sweatshop he made his first contact with the Party through a Trotskyist sympathizer. Paul soon made his decision to join in the struggle. Never once did he falter in his decision. It shaped his whole future life and in turn he helped to shape the development of our Party.

How fondly he would recall, those pioneer days. Ours was a party with a membership of only one hundred throughout the country but with unexampled conviction and determination. The Party and its leadership was consecrated to the sole purpose of hammering out its ideological program in preparation for penetration into the mass movement. All that American Trotskyism then had in its arsenal was its program, but Paul Dollinger valued this more than size and numbers ... He was firmly convinced that the tools of Marxist ideas would be the Open Sesame to the building of a mass party.

The rise of Hitler to power marked the graduation of Paul Dollinger from the Spartacus Youth League to full adult membership in the Party. Paul was on call at ony time to serve his party in any capacity. His personal life was subordinated completely to the fuller and richer life of building an officer corps of revolutionary socialists to help lead the social emancipation of the human race. He passed every test of demands of the Party with flying colors.

Strike Struggles

The strike struggles of the textile workers in Paterson, N.J., opened up possibilities for the Party in this area. The numerically small party needed comrades to bring its program to the striking workers. Without hesitation Paul quit his job, when jobs were hard to get, to do his part in winning the fight and advancing the ideas of revolutionary socialism.

From the middle Thirties on he worked in the Unemployed Councils, the Workers’ Alliance, and other unemployed organizations. He led hundreds of demonstrations, hunger marches, protests and sitdown strikes.

Slowly but surely he saw his party grow. And many workers found their way into the Party ranks as a result of the work and guidance of Comrade Kujac.

The expanding war economy of the late Thirties brought an end to unemployed work. Paul became a volunteer organizer for the AFL Upholsterers Union. In this work he introduced many new tactics in the organization of small sweatshops.

Party Organizer

At this time the Party found opportunities of expansion into new cities. The Party sent Paul to Buffalo to organize a new branch with the aid of a few comrades. Throwing themselves into the work with great energy, their successes began to mount. The climax was reached with the Lackawanna Steel strike where for the first time Bethlehem Steel buckled to the CIO. Kujac and the newly organized unit of the SWP played a memorable role in this epic struggle of industrial unionism’s rise.

With the first war draft of 1940, Paul was called into the Armed Forces. Released from the Army temporarily because of age, he was soon recalled. It was then he first became aware of his physical ailment. Hamstrung by bureaucratic disregard of the individual, the Army did not release him until he had become seriously handicapped physically.

Upon release from the Army he carried on intermittent activity as his health permitted. In 1944 he was third high nationally in obtaining subscriptions to The Militant. For several months he was organizer of the South Side branch in Chicago. In this post he led many a battle against Jim Crowism.

From 1945 on he had to battle with the cancerous growth that was ravaging his body. On his death bed he confidently told his close friends and comrades, “I shall not live to see the day of Socialism but you will see it in your lifetime.”

While immersed in the activity of the class struggle, he always found the time to wage ideological struggle to uphold the clear program of Marxism; He had nothing but contempt for the skeptics, revisionists and retrogressionists. At every stage of the struggle to build the Bolshevik party in this country he fought to keep the ideas of Trotskyism intact.

Everywhere, where Trotskyism lives there is a part of Kujac. Everywhere where revolutionary socialists band together in uncompromising struggle for social emancipation, lives a part of Paul Kujac. Wherever the unconquerable spirit and stubborn pursuit of mankind’s goals for socialist emancipation continue, there you will find living testimony that Paul Kujac did not die in vain.

It is only fitting and proper that his final resting place should be in Waldheim Cemetery, Chicago, close by the martyred Haymarket victims of 1886 and the ashes of Big Bill Haywood – fighters for social emancipation of another day.

As we pause in tribute to this Trotskyist warrior, in full justice to his contribution, we can only redouble our own efforts to bring about a world wide socialist society. This will be a fitting monument to his memory.

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