4. Party Membership and Cadres

CONTINUOUS daily recruiting is the basic task of every Unit and each individual member of the Party. In the daily struggles of the workers in the factories and the neighborhood, the Unit must conscientiously develop its recruiting activities, getting into the Party the best fighters in these struggles.


Emphasis in the daily recruiting must always be placed on the basic proletarian elements, especially those from the big factories. Special efforts must be made to get the native-born workers and Negroes into the Party. The necessity of recruiting women workers must also be emphasized because of the strategic position the women workers have in many industries. Besides this we shall never lose sight of the fact that during war the Communist women will play an important role in organizing and leading the workers in their revolutionary struggles.

The best method of getting new members into the Party is to place individual responsibility for recruiting on the Unit members. Each individual Party member has friends in the factory where he works, in the union of which he is a member, in the neighborhood where he lives. Each individual Party member has the Communist duty of con- vincing these friends of his of the correctness of. the program of the C.I. and of the Communist Party, and in this way, recruiting them into the Party. It is understood that the individual Party members must pay special attention to those work- ers who prove to be fearless fighters on the picket line, in the unemployed struggles. The necessity for individual responsibility of each Party member in recruiting new members into the Party and in helping and guiding them after they join the Party cannot he over-emphasized.

While we have to bring into the Party tens of thousands of workers in order to build a real mass Party of the American proletariat, we must bear in mind always that our Party must be composed of the most courageous, most developed, most selfsacrificing elements of our class-the working class. That means that, in recruiting members, we must pay special attention not only to the quantity but also to the quality of the new recruits.


Any person from the age of eighteen up, who accepts the program and statutes of the C.I. and the Communist Party of the U.S.A.

If a worker who is less than 15 years of age wants to join the Party, and there is no Young Communist League in the town or factory, the Party Unit has the right to accept him into the Unit, get him a book and permit him to remain in the Party Unit until, with the help of the Party Unit, he is able to build up a Unit of the Y.C.L.


The conditions for membership in our Party are contained in the following pledge read by Comrade Browder to 2,000 workers who were initiated into the Party in the New York District in 1935.

"I now take my place in the ranks of the Communist Party, the Party of the working class. I take this solemn oath to give the best that is in me to the service of my class; I pledge myself to spare no effort in uniting the workers in militant straggle against fascism and war. I pledge myself, to work unsparingly in the unions, in the shops, among the unemployed, to lead the struggles for the daily needs of the masses. I solemnly pledge to take my place in the forefront of the struggle for Negro rights; against Jim-Crowism and lynching, against the chauvinist lies of the ruling class. I pledge myself to rally the masses to defend the Soviet Union, the land of victorious Socialism. I pledge myself to remain at all times a vigilant and firm defender of the Leninist line of the Party, the only line that insures the triumph of Soviet Power in the United States."

Our Party application carries this declaration:

"The undersigned declares his adherence to the program and statutes of the C.I. and the Communist Party of the U.S.A. and agrees to submit to the discipline of the Party and to engage actively in its work."

On the basis of this declaration we could enumerate the conditions for membership in the Party in the following way:

1. Activity in a unit;
2. Regular payment of membership dues;
3. Adherence to all decisions of the Comintern and of the Party;
4. Adherence to the discipline of the Party.


1. The membership meeting of the Unit into which the new member is recruited.
2. The application of a factory worker who works where a Shop Unit exists must be acted on by that Shop Unit, no matter where and by whom the worker is recruited (fractions, members of other Street or Shop Units).

In case the new member is not recruited from the shop or from the territory of the Unit, his application should be acted upon by the Unit to which the endorser belongs. The member who brings the application for acceptance to his Unit takes full responsibility for the new member.

The same procedure should be followed in cases where the new members are recruited by the fractions or members of fractions in unions or other mass organizations. The individual Party member who recruits the new member brings the application card to his own Unit The Unit acts on the application, holding the endorser responsible for the new Party member.


1. To the Shop Unit in his place of work.
2. If there is no Shop Unit where he works, he should be assigned to the Street Unit where he lives. If the new member wishes, he may be assigned to the Street Unit of the comrade who recruited him.


According to the Constitution of our Party, the individual Party members pay their dues weekly on the following basis:

1. Members receiving weekly wages of $15 or less (including housewives) pay 10 cents dues weekly.

2. Members receiving weekly wages of over $15 and up to $25 pay 25 cents dues weekly.
3. Members receiving over $25 and up to $30 pay 50 cents dues weekly.
4. Members receiving over $30 and up to $40 pay 75 cents dues weekly.
5. Members receiving over $40 and up to $50 pay $1.00 dues weekly.
6. Members receiving over $50 per week pay, in addition to their regular $1.00 weekly dues, additional dues (special tax) at the rate of 50 cents for each $5.00 (or fraction) of their weekly earnings above $50.
7. Members who are unemployed pay two cents dues weekly.

Distribution of Dues

Dues paid by the individual members are divided among the Party organizations in the following pro- portion: the Unit retains 40 per cent of the amount collected from every individual member; 15 per cent goes to the Section; 15 per cent to the District and 30 per cent to the Center, of which amount one-third is for the special national trade-union fund. For example, the unit pays 60 cents to the Section for a $1.00 dues stamp; the Section pays 45 cents to the District; and the District pays 30 cents to the Center, cut of which 10 cents goes for the national trade- union fund.

As we see from the division of dues payments, the largest proportion remains in the Unit-40 per cent. The Eighth National Convention of our Party made this decision in order to enable the Party Units to intensify their agitation and propaganda among the masses. This amount was intended to be used for producing more leaflets, shop papers, neighborhood papers, etc. All tendencies to use this money for other purposes should be fought by the Party Units.

Special Assessments

No Unit, Section or District has the right to assess the membership without the permission of the Central Committee. Special assessment may be levied by the National Convention or the C.C. of the Communist Party. If such a decision is made by any of these bodies, no member shall he considered in good standing unless he has such special assessment stamps in his book.

Members who are four weeks in arrears in payment of dues cease to be members in good standing of the Party. Members who are thre months in arrears shall be dropped from the rolls after all possible means to avoid this are exhausted. No member of the Party shall pay dues in advance for a period of more than six weeks. Exceptions can be made for such comrades who secure a leave of absence from the Party for a longer period.


If a member of the Party moves from one place to another, he must secure a transfer from the Party organization before he moves. No Party member has the right to leave his Unit without permission. The Units must not accept any member without a transfer. A transfer card must be secured from the Section Committee in order to transfer from one Unit to another in the same Section; from one Section to another in the same District, the transfer is issued by the District Committee; from one District to another, the Central Committee issues the transfer; from the Communist Party of the U.S.A. to a Communist Party in another country, the Central Committee issues the transfer.


The members of the Party can secure permission for a leave of absence in case of sickness or necessity for travel from the Party Unit or committees. If a member leaves the Party Unit without permission, his case will be handled in a disciplinary way.


One of the main conditions for developing the initiative of the Units is the systematic development of forces, cadres, leadership. We must realize that without good leadership in the Units and Sections the Party cannot function properly. We must have in each Unit of our Party a core of comrades who are politically developed, capable of making, quickly and boldly, responsible decisions in the most intricate situations--comrades who are experienced, steeled, stable, who will not be weakened under any circumstances, who will follow the line of the Party.

Where are these forces trained? They are trained in militant actions of the masses. These militant, courageous members are our future leading forces. We must help them, encourage them, school them in action, teach them in training schools, persuade them to study and read fundamental Marxist-Leninist classics. We need thousands upon thousands of such forces, in order to be able to give leadership to the Leftward moving masses.

There are other important problems to be considered in connection with the question of forces:

First, the development and proper utilization of the old and new forces. We have spoken already about the necessity of developing forces, about building up a mighty force of new cadres. This is done in our Party by the following methods:

1. Conferences of functionaries, where discussions about basic problems help to develop our cadres; 2. Regular meetings of Unit and Section functionaries, where the decisions of the Party committees are clarified through discussion; 3. Workers' schools; 4. Section schools; 5. District schools; 6. National schools; 7. Study circles composed of promising comrades; 8. Individual stcfdy with the help of a more developed comrade.

It should be emphasized that in discussing the question of training forces, we have in mind not only the new forces, but also the old forces who need further training, and in some cases re-education.

The Party, in selecting the members for further training, examines the comrade for the qualifications needed for leadership-not only reliability, loyalty, capacity for development, but also whether he is a mass worker, or capable of being one. Our Party emphasizes the need of American, proletarian elements, the need of Negroes and women in the leadership.

Party Must Know Its Forces

The Party leadership must know its forces, must be able to assign each one to the place where he is most suitable and most needed.

Comrade Lenin, dealing with the problem of the proper utilization of forces, gives a splendid example. To enable the Party leadership,

"... not only to advise (as this has been done until now), but really conduct the orchestra, one must know exactly who is playing first or second fiddle, and where, what instrument he was taught, where and how, where and why he plays out of tune (when the music begins to be trying to the ear), and what changes should be made in the orchestra so as to remedy the dissonance..."

The systematic control of the carrying out of decisions and the proper application of Bolshevik self-criticism, will help the Units and Sections to discover who is occupying a position which suits him, and who is in the wrong place, or who has no business to have any responsible position in the Party. Vie must know our forces. We must know who we can rely on, who can and who cannot, who will and who will not carry out decisions.

The second problem is the continuous control of the existing forces. We are conducting today, and will lead on a much larger scale tomorrow, mighty battles. In these struggles we are in the forefront. The fighting masses follow us, because they have confidence in the Party, because the communists are brave, self-sacrificing. But if the workers see that one of the communist leaders is a coward, or unable to lead them, this will have serious consequences. We cannot have in our leadership members who cannot stand up before the class enemy, who get panicky, who lose their heads in a serious situation. We must know whom we can trust under any circumstances, who will be shaken.

Comrade Stalin in his speech in 1929 in the American Commission, said:

"The struggle for the winning of the millions of the working masses to the side of communism must be intensified. The fight must be intensified for the forging of real revolutionary Party cadres and for the selection of real revolutionary leaders of the Party, of individuals capable of entering the fight and bringing the proletariat with them, individuals who will not run before the face of storm and will not fall into panic, but will sail into the face of the storm. But in order to carry out this task, it is necessary at once, without the loss of a single moment, for time does not wait, to set about cleaning the Communist Parties of Right and conciliatory elements, who objectively represent the agency of Social-Democracy within the ranks of the Communist Party. And we must set about this matter, not at the usual pace, but at an accelerated pace, for, I repeat, times does not wait, and we must not allow events to catch us unawares." Stalin's Speeches on the American Communist Party, p. 34.)

What Kind of Forces Do We Need Most Now?

We need proletarian forces who grow up from the masses, who are popular leaders of their fellow workers in a shop, union, block, town, or farm community, forces who are in close contact with the masses and reflect the feelings of the proletariat, who can best bring into life the correct fighting slogans of the Party. We need forces, first of all, from the native-born workers, from among the Negro proletariat, from among the women workers. The basic forces of the Party should come from the big factories. These members should be drawn into leadership, preparing them in the process of Party work for the actual carrying out of Party tasks, training them politically also. One of the main conditions of becoming a real mass Party, leading the revolutionary struggles of the American proletariat, is that the Party basically be made up of native American workers, and that its cadres consist of native American revolutionists.


Comrade Lenin in his writings always stressed the necessity of developing a core of comrades from among the best, tested mass leaders, to such a point that they would be able to serve the proletariat as trained, skilled revolutionary leaders. There is a misconception in the ranks of the Party as to what a professional revolutionist, in the Leninist sense, is. Some are of the opinion that a professional revolutionist is a comrade whom the Party takes out of the factory and assigns as full-time functionary; in other words, that the Party organization (Section -District--Center) supports him while he spends all his time on Party work. This notion is wrong.

A professional revolutionist is a highly developed comrade, trained in revolutionary theory and practice, tested in struggles, who gives his whole life to the fight for the interests of his own class. A professional revolutionist is ready to go whenever and wherever the Party sends him. Today he may be working in a mine, organizing the Party, the trade unions, leading struggles; tomorrow, if the Party so decides, he may he in a steel mill; the day after tomorrow, he may be a leader and organizer of the unemployed. Naturally, these professional revolutionists are supported by the Party organization if their assignment doesn't send them to work in shops or mines. From these comrades the Party demands everything. They accept Party assignments-the matter of family associations and other personal problems are considered, but are not de- cisive. If the class struggle demands it, he will leave his family for months, even years. The professional revolutionist cannot be demoralized; he is steeled, stable. Nothing can shake him. Our task is to make every Party member a professional revolutionist in this sense.


Collective leadership is composed of two inseparable parts:

1. All decisions of a Unit or Party Committee are made by the whole body and not by one or two members of that body.
2. Each member of the Unit or Committee is individually responsible for carrying out not only the decisions concerning himself, but of the Unit or Committee.

If one of the two conditions is missing, we are faced with the problem of bureaucracy or looseness in the organization. If the members of an elected committee do not participate in hammering out (discussing) the steps to be taken by them, but only the organizer or another functionary makes the decision, the carrying out of this decision will be mechanical. On the other hand, if the members are not held individually responsible for carrying out the decisions made collectively, the leadership will be narrowed down to one or two members of the Unit. The proper Bolshevik method of working collectively is the following:

The organizer or another functionary of the Unit or Party committee prepares the proposals and distributes them among the members of the Unit Bureau or committee at least one day before the meeting. The members come to the meeting well prepared for discussion, bringing additional proposals or amendments. These proposals are thoroughly discussed and the final decision is worked out together. It is not sufficient to adopt the plan of work: to lay down the line. This must be accompanied by the assignment of the tasks to the individual members. While the organizer is responsible for checking whether the assigned comrades carry out their tasks, at the same time each member of the Committee and Unit must feel the responsibility and must fight for the carrying out of the decisions.

In order to make it possible to divide the responsibility among the members of the Party Committees, the individual members of the Committee are assigned to be responsible for the various phases of the work of the Committee. Besides the organizer of a Section or District who is actually the political leader of the organization, we assign members of the Committee to he responsible for organizational work, agitational and propaganda work, trade union work, work among Negroes, work among women, work among youth, Daily Worker distribution, literature distribution, finances, etc. These comrades assigned to the various phases of the work are helped by a number of developed comrades who form a commission around them.

Rules and Methods for Disciplinary Cases