P. Vaillant-Couturier


Propaganda By Word

(From a sketch of the work of the Propaganda Committee of the French Socialist Party)

Source: The Communist Review, May 1921, Vol. 1, No. 1.
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Since Tours, in the midst of unheard of difficulties, the Party has been reorganising for action. The propaganda committee have now a definite task to fulfil. Delegations to the districts are coming to light. The Parliamentary group, placed under the immediate control of the Executive Committee, sees fixed with precision and severity its programme of propaganda. On a fixed date it must devote itself entirely to visiting for two days this or that federation. All demands for speakers are centralised at the Head Office. But it is not only sufficient to have delegates. If the danger of reformist pseudo-realism has to be averted, we shall have to beware of revolutionary verbalism, i.e., mere criticisms of the regime. But after the evil comes the remedy. We want explanations of practical Communist solutions. It must be understood once for all that to make propagandists, eloquence is not indispensable. What is indispensable is acquaintance with facts. Many comrades, relegated to the rear by professional talkers, are going to be able to make their voices heard. We have need of them. In our general plan of action there is room for all kinds of activities.

“Voix Pavsanne” (voice of the peasant) has been reorganised. Six pamphlets have been drawn up by members of the Executive Committee, and tens of thousands of copies placed at the disposal of the Federation. Fifteen thousand posters have been printed, bearing the emblem of the Communist International, with appeals to the workers. The Party has had drawn up a library catalogue containing a list, and the wholesale prices, of the essential pamphlets which the Federations will receive, to be sold at every meeting. Twelve pamphlets on “Communist Popularisation” have been ordered from qualified comrades to be written within the month and printed in thousands of copyies. The price of these will vary from 2d to 6d. The Party Information Bulletin, drawn up at the Head Office and containing an original leader, the facts of the week, International news, lecture announcements, reviews of books, and the announcements of the Party Secretariat, will appear on the 25th of this month. It will be sent to the Federations and the provincial papers, which will find in it documents at first hand to fill their columns.

Communist groups must meet only to work. Every meeting must arrange a lecture on Socialism, on international events, or on the local economic situation. If there is no comrade capable of lecturing, one will always be found able to read a pamphlet and make comments on it.

Every Communist has an example to set. The point of view of individual moral perfection preached by the anarchists has its good side. The Communist group must be unassailable, and must beware of drunkards and men of doubtful morality. Generally speaking, people drink too much in our provinces. When comrades meet in a café let them offer a contribution to our propaganda. This will mean that they will not drink and that the coppers may thus fall into the treasury of the Party, instead of going to the publican whom capitalism maintains, as it were, in ambush at the corner of every street.

Humanité, February 25th.