‘Development of Work in the Harlem Section’ by James W. Ford and Louis Sass from The Communist. Vol. 14 No. 4. April, 1935.

1935 Scottsboro-Herndon rally in Harlem.

What will be of real interest to all students of Communist Party history, the Black workers’ movement and radicalism, Harlem in the 1930s, anti-racist, multi-racial organizing, the Depression, and much more. This substantial, fantastically detailed account of the Party’s work in Harlem was written by leading Black party member James W. Ford, and Harlem District Organizer Louis Sass. It largely takes in the previous two years of work, describing a variety of arenas and their successes and failures, including trade union work, the League of Struggle for Negro Rights and competition with other Black organizations, unemployed work, education and cadre building, elections and the Daily Work, Scottsboro and Angelo Herndon solidarity, rent and evictions, cultural work, and more. As this was being written the Harlem Riots broke out and Italian fascism invaded Ethiopia in a war that would also largely consume the work of the Harlem branches in over the following year. A veritable gold-mine of information.

‘Development of Work in the Harlem Section’ by James W. Ford and Louis Sass from The Communist. Vol. 14 No. 4. April, 1935.

IN REVIEWING the general political and economic situation of the country as it affects our community, we find: (1) Unemployment in Harlem reaching the tremendous figure of from 75 per cent to 85 per cent of the Negro population and to almost the same extent among the Latin-Americans; (2) The growing militancy among the workers in the struggle for unemployment relief and jobs. This struggle at all times took the form of a struggle against discrimination, jim-crow, which the Negro workers as well as Puerto Ricans and other colonials are subjected to. (3) The movements for the immediate economic needs of the masses were, we can safely say, conducted almost entirely by our Party and the organizations under its influence.

Another very significant point that we must here note is the political struggles that developed in the course of the past year. The Scottsboro struggle has reached increasingly higher levels, demonstrations and united front conferences exposing the role of the courts and the government. This struggle took on more and more openly the national liberation character, raising the most fundamental issues of Negro liberation. These political struggles have contributed tremendously to the further radicalization of the masses and the development of class consciousness on a broader scale, as demonstrated by the growing unity of Negro and white workers in the various actions in behalf of the Scottsboro boys, Angelo Herndon, etc.

Because of the tremendous radicalization of the Negro people, and as a result of the advance of our Party and its leadership of the masses, we find that there is not a single political group among the Negro masses today that has not at one time or another made gestures of cooperation towards the Party in order to deceive the masses. During the past year, we have carried on negotiations and actions with almost every group in our community, on a united front basis, not failing to expose the leaders of these groups in order to turn the masses to our program. ‘The reason for these negotiations and actions is obvious if we understand the national liberation character of our work. When we speak of the white Republican and Democratic leaders, we speak of out-and-out reactionaries in most cases. Speaking of the Negro leaders of these parties, however, we must speak of them as reformists who, being members of an oppressed nation, are at times forced to attack in words the policies of their party executives in order to retain their leadership over the masses.

James W. Ford.

The Amsterdam News, mouthpiece of one of the most reactionary reformist groups in Harlem, which today is engaged in a vicious attack on our Party and the I.L.D., not long ago offered its pages to us in connection with Scottsboro, Herndon, rent strikes, etc.

The movement of Father Divine, numbering thousands, which can best be illustrated by comparing it to the movement of Aimee McPherson or Billy Sunday, in form, based, however, on the tremendous desire of the masses to find solution to their economic and social problems, has conducted with us several united front demonstrations, against war and fascism and against relief discrimination.

The Urban League, in creating the Workers’ Committee, intended to divide the ranks of the workers, by establishing jim-crow labor organizations. Because of the immediate reaction of our Party to the policy of segregation which is typical of Negro reformists, they have not succeeded. They were forced to negotiate and work with us because the workers in the Workers Council immediately saw the correctness of the policy of the Party and revolutionary unions in demanding a unified body of Negro and white workers in the Workers’ Council.

The Garvey movement, even the Tiger Division, hailed Communism in the Scottsboro upsurge. Many of its honest rank-and-file members endorsed our Party in the elections and many of them joined our Party.

The Sufi movement which has called for the driving out of all Jews from Harlem, has been forced at times to “flirt” with us because of the movement developed for jobs by our Party, demonstrating the possibility of victory as a result of united struggle of Negro and white workers. The best example of this can be found in the Empire Cafeteria struggle which resulted in the hiring of four Negro workers without the firing of the white workers.

Among the Puerto Ricans, the Republican Torrez has participated in the united front initiated by our movement to end discrimination against Puerto Rican children.

All this emphasizes the national aspects of our work and the growth of the influence of the Party. But, here we must state that these movements have always been on the alert to attack most bitterly and viciously the activity of our Party and mass organizations in order to deliver the masses to their master, the white capitalists. We can further state, that in the course of our contacts with these groups, we have not been successful in thoroughly discrediting them and exposing them before the Negro masses. Though at times we have been successful in gaining the upper hand in important struggles (Scottsboro, unemployment, struggles for jobs, etc.), at other times, we were out-maneuvered. As, for example, the well-timed attack of almost all the reformist groups on our Party in connection with the Scottsboro case, just a few days before the elections. At this time the reformist groups were successful in creating confusion among the Negro masses in connection with the withdrawal of Leibowitz from the defense of the Scottsboro boys. This was seized upon by the Negro press, particularly because of the elections, to attack violently the Communists, thereby weakening our strength at the polls. The Amsterdam News and all other Negro papers in Harlem, as well as most of the influential papers the country over, sided immediately with Leibowitz and slandered the I.L.D. and the C.P. Certainly, these papers and the reformist preachers reach tens of thousands of Negro workers, and unless their vicious lying propaganda can be immediately counteracted, they inevitably harm the position of our Party in the community; and this is just what happened. For we were not successful in counteracting the lying propaganda at once, being isolated from the great fraternal organizations of Negro people. We were able to distribute leaflets and we called mass open-air meetings but this was not sufficient, for the Negro reformists were in a position to carry their propaganda inside of the large organizations which have tremendous influence over popular opinion in Harlem. While we dominated the streets in Harlem the reformists dominated the mass organizations, where the most decisive elements of the people are to be found.

A word should be said here about the national responsibilities of our Section. Our Section has well understood that just as the reformists give leadership to the entire country from Harlem, so the revolutionary movement also has to assist in the development of the Negro liberation movement all over the country. Our most important contribution in this respect is the work of Comrade Ford, who, in going to various parts of the country, assists comrades in building the liberation movement by transmitting our experiences.

Negro Liberator. January 15, 1935.

Secondly, the work of Comrade Ford in the developing of a Negro cadre, in which respect we can proudly point to scores of Negro comrades who have come forward in the past year into leadership in our Section as well as in the District. Whereas we can note advances in creating a Negro cadre, we can also note a great deal of inefficiency, lack of knowledge of the Party, unwillingness to know the difficulties of the basic organ of the Party—the unit. We have yet resistance on the part of a number of leading Negro cadres to doing day-to-day plugging in the Party—the belief that by pushing a button, the Party can be mobilized and put at their service, etc. Recently Comrade Ford called a meeting of these leading comrades and outlined to them the difficulties of the Party, the task of a Party member, the building of a solid collective Negro cadre in Harlem, etc. This had a very good effect on our comrades.

Unemployed Councils picket.

These meetings will be continued and we feel confident that we will succeed in further improving and consolidating our leadership, thereby fulfilling one of our most important tasks of creating a general staff in the national liberation movement.

Development of activities in Harlem for financial and other sup- port to the work in the South—the “Sharecroppers Supporting Committee”, etc., is also part of fulfilling our national responsibilities.

Our Section has in its territory a number of important shops, laundries, metal shops, transport repair shops, etc. “Thousands of Negro workers employed in restaurants, stores, thousands of Negro needle trades, marine, domestic workers and painters—all living in Harlem. In lower Harlem, there are great numbers of tobacco workers and food workers, etc.

We have been working on the establishment of a trade union center in Harlem. Only lately, in the past months, did we make any progress in this direction by organizing a Trade Union Commission, composed of all the unions and union groups in our section, with Comrade Manning Johnson in charge. At the present time, we have as follows: Tobacco Workers Union, Needle Trades Workers Club in upper Harlem, and in lower Harlem, a Metal Workers Union group, the Workers Council in the Urban League, a group of Food Workers and the Laundry Workers Union; also painters and domestic workers and the transport workers groups. Our section committee has been working together with all of these union groups.

In the case of the tobacco workers, we have helped the Union leadership in every important undertaking. In the case of the Food Workers Union, our Section was instrumental in organizing the Empire Cafeteria.

The Harlem Labor Union protesting a store on Lenox Ave.

We have been trying to work with the Laundry Workers Union. This was very difficult in the past. Now, however, as a result of the Trade Union Commission and the work of Comrade Johnson, we are in very close contact with this union and have been able to help it in overcoming some of the bad tendencies and difficulties in its leadership.

In the Workers Council, one of our chief weaknesses was our inability to get regular and consistent representation at all of the meetings of the Council. Recently we have reopened negotiations with the Urban League, with the help of the Central Committee (and because of the establishment of the Trade Union Commission), we hope to use the Workers’ Council to realize a Harlem Trade Union Center.

Leo Seltzer, Speaker at a Demonstration in Harlem, 1933.

One more word here, on the Alteration Painters and the Domestic Workers Union. In a short time our comrades were successful in organizing about one hundred alteration painters and about the same number of domestic workers. Both of these unions have conducted several struggles in the past year, winning better conditions for the workers. In all of these unions we are applying the tactic of orientating towards amalgamation with the A.F. of L.

The most important weakness in our trade union work is the fraction. Fractions are not functioning properly at all in many of the most important unions. Overcoming this very important weakness is one of the major tasks of our Trade Union Commission.

* * * * *

The main strength of the reformists in Harlem lies within the mass organizations, lodges, and churches; and because of the fact that the main part of our activity has been demonstrative, we have not made the necessary advance in these important mass organizations, which was possible because of the objective conditions. Here we have not even scratched the surface. We have fractions only in a few of the mass organizations, and we have made contacts from the outside with a few members of others. The membership that now comes into the Party comes from these organizations; and yet we were not successful in making them realize the importance of remaining and working inside them. This has been clearly shown by the recent Party registration, where a large number of comrades who belong to these organizations did not think it necessary to state so on their registration cards.

Daily Worker. June 21, 1934.

We have fractions in the Elks, in two churches, in the Caribbean Union, in the Union Mechanics Association, in the Phi Beta Fraternity, in the Alpha Phi Fraternity and, of course, in the Puerto Rican United Front Against Discrimination. The rapid organization of all our available forces in the most important mass organizations and the directing of our members who are in these organizations to do active opposition work becomes the central task of our fraction department which, of late, does good work, but solely with the fractions in the revolutionary mass organizations.

Now as to the mass organizations built by our movement—the Unemployment Council. At the present moment the unemployed movement in Harlem, in spite of shortcomings of the most serious nature, has won for itself the position of being foremost in the city, both in regard to dues payments and organizational strength.

During the past year, serious attempts have been made to orientate the organizational set-up properly. To this end, there has been successful establishment of new locals in the spring; there are now ten locals existing over six months in upper Harlem. Dues payments, as measured by purchase of stamps from the City Council and County Council, since September, have been upward, ranging from about three hundred a month to over four hundred in upper Harlem. If it had not been for the holiday season, it is certain that the four hundred level in December would have been more than maintained. New membership books have been purchased since September at a rate of from 110 to 150 per month. The trend in both is upward.

We may say that the regular meetings of the Upper Harlem locals attract about seven hundred workers a month. They have a registered membership of over three thousand.

To overcome the shortcomings, which may be summed up almost in one sentence, as the outgrowth of individualistic leadership, with very incomplete knowledge of the program, we are starting a class for leaders of delegations. This class starts immediately after the Congress. We expect to have over twenty students.

The outstanding thing about upper Harlem is that it functions and improves on the proper organizational set-up which is the basis of locals.

Lower Harlem: Recently, there has been established a Council in lower Harlem. For a very long time there has been one excellent local, the lower West Side Local, led by Martinet. Actually this local should be several locals, since it embraces in its territory about all of Spanish Harlem, west of Fifth Avenue. It has several hundred members and is pretty sound financially. Its greatest shortcoming is lack of collective leadership. In lower Harlem, there are three more locals.

Dues stamps purchased from the Council downtown amount to over two hundred a month, possibly 250. If this figure is added to what Upper Harlem, Washington Heights and the other locals of lower Harlem buy, the Section probably can show dues purchases of over 700 a month.


The I.L.D. has a functioning unemployed committee which sends almost daily delegations. In the past two and a half months, it has handled three hundred and fifty cases.

In lower Harlem, there are many mass organizations. There could be a local of the Council in all of these. This need is particularly urgent in the Italian Center. It should no longer be neglected, it will prove to be the missing link needed in Italian work generally, in lower Harlem.

The most important thing is a delegation properly led. Just yesterday, we went down with two cases—both were won. About ten workers who were just there by themselves, asked for the address of our Council in order to join.

However, this is not usually the case. Lately the leaders have not been insisting on immediate answers but accept decisions to come back later. The leaders often push their own cases and place them first on the order. Leaders should have their own cases presented by another member of the delegation. Leaders develop some curious notions, at various times arguing among themselves in the Bureau, thus weakening the effectiveness of their delegation. hey also develop in many cases, a procedure of individual negotiations with the officials, in which the workers have no part and in which they frequently leave the delegation to confer with the officials, an extremely legalistic procedure not involving the workers.

Harlem tenements, summer of 1935.

There is no follow-up on unsatisfactory replies. There should be a campaign in the neighborhood to build up struggles around refusal to give immediate relief. Too often the leaders make empty threats to the officials such as, ““We will be back with thousands later in the day”, and then they do not show up at all or with a mere handful. Leaders, instead of trying to keep the workers fighting the main enemy, the administration, frequently develop personal feuds with Home Relief Workers.

We have had in the Unemployment Councils a great deal of difficulties arising out of the undevelopment of our leading forces. Lately we have succeeded in drawing in some new workers, who have displayed exceptional ability to strengthen a collective leadership at the head of the Unemployment Councils.

The task of the Councils must be more than ever the raising of the level of the struggle of the unemployed by putting forth the Unemployment Insurance Bill, by bringing about a united front of all the unemployed organizations in Harlem and playing a role in the creation of a united front of all organizations around the issue of unemployment. The recent United Front Conference of twenty- nine organizations at Abyssinia Baptist Church against discrimination on relief is a very important step in this direction, which, if carefully followed up, will inevitably broaden our unemployment movement and strengthen its influence in our community.


The I.L.D. in the past year, has been able to take advantage of the Scottsboro struggles, has participated in the struggle for jobs and has figured as an important factor in rent strikes in Harlem. As a result, it has achieved a consolidated leadership and organization; and while we can speak of important weaknesses, such as weak fraction work, not enough attention on the part of the fraction to the campaigns of the Party, etc., nevertheless, we must regard the achievements of the I.L.D. as very significant in strengthening the Negro liberation movement. Our local I.L.D. has now to pay much closer attention to the Scottsboro-Herndon Action Committee, which it has already begun, through delegating from its branches, members to carry out the practical task of the Committee, which is the creation of a united front of all organizations on the issue of the freedom of the Scottsboro boys and Angelo Herndon.

In the Harlem I.L.D. section we have 11 branches—a total membership of 1090, with a solid membership of 850. The composition of our membership is 650 Negro, 440 white. We have a core of about 200 active comrades.

We are now in the process of changing our attitude towards members and methods of work in the direction of greater flexibility. We are now counting as I.L.D. members, all who sign a card, get a book and pay dues. We are organizing visiting committees to bring dues, literature, etc., to absent members and planning branch affairs to bring them out at least once a month.

We have recruited in the past two months, 127 new members; twenty-five per cent more signed cards, were issued books, but did not show up at any branch meetings.

Daily Worker. August 9, 1934,

The majority of the Section Committee consists of new I.L.D. members. There is a good representation of white members. Party comrades number less than one-third of these, most are new Party members. The committee, though largely inexperienced, is enthusiastic and willing to work. The chief weakness is lack of political development. Political discussions at each Section Committee meeting is planned to remedy this.

The I.L.D. is now on the road to becoming definitely a real mass organization. It must be noted, however, that in some most important fields of I.L.D. work this section has fallen down completely. It is not involved in the defense of employed workers in their economic struggles. The trade unions, during strikes, have not found the I.L.D. in Harlem to be their defense arm. We do not react to strikes at all. The very important laundry strike in Harlem has found us weak.

It is also true that we have neglected the fact that, just as the Party, the I.L.D. must be rooted in the shops. But we have done nothing in this field of work. The League of Struggle for Negro Rights is to be the organization that will serve as the main form for the crystallization of the Negro liberation movement. In this organization, our advances are slow. The line was made clear at the Extraordinary Party Conference and has been further clarified at the Eighth National Convention.

At the present time the L.S.N.R. orients itself towards becoming a broad united front council of many fraternal and church organizations in our community. This orientation leads the L.S.N.R. into united front struggles around the immediate issues of the Negro people as well as into struggles around the bill of rights, around the question of defense of civil rights, the Scottsboro case, discrimination on relief, etc. Since this new tactical line has been put forth forcefully by our Party, the L.S.N.R. has definitely gained in influence among some very important Negro organizations (Odd Fellows, Elks, Masons, Father Divine). The numerical strength of the L.S.N.R. is by no means a proper measurement of the influence and activity that it carries on in the community around the issues confronting the Negro people.

We are now concentrating forces of the L.S.N.R. in the Scottsboro-Herndon Action Committee to utilize this committee to build the L.S.N.R. Council, as well as putting forth the entire program of national liberation. ‘The circulation of the Liberator varies from 1,000 to 1,200 in Harlem, proving that unless an organization is developed the Liberator will not grow as the organ of the national liberation struggles.

* * *  *

Finnish workers participate in a November, 1934 Harlem Scottsboro protest.

Recently our Section Committee took up with the Y.C.L. its outstanding weakness. We have seen as its main weakness its inability to concentrate on the drawing in of young Negro workers in Harlem, and secondly, its inability to activize these workers, principally by giving them absorbing and valuable work. In order to assist the Y.C.L. out of its difficulties, the Party has decided to assign eight comrades to work with the League. Most of these comrades are already working with the Young Liberators. We have spent considerable time with the comrades that we have assigned to the building of this organization, to planning and defining its activities and making it a broad organization of working youth. The result can be seen in the continuous growth of the organization and is an excellent way of building a broad mass Y.C.L. in Harlem. (We want to say here that in spite of the many offers that our Party has made to the League leadership to assign the various comrades to Party committees for training, this is as yet something to be realized.) Our Party units are far from being political bodies that react to the problems of the youth. Therefore, the coming issue of our Section news- paper, The Harlem Organizer, will be a youth issue. Articles from the units of the Party as well as from the members of the Section Committee, analyzing our weaknesses in building the youth movement in Harlem and urging the Party membership to become conscious of the tremendous importance of building a mass Y.C.L., will be printed.

If our Y.C.L. and Party leadership will energetically follow up this issue of The Harlem Organizer by going to some of our units and helping them concentrate on the building of youth organizations and the Y.C.L., results will be obtained.


We have at present in the Section eleven Latin-American and Spanish organizations with an approximate membership of 1,500. These organizations are instrumental in reacting to the various events in the Latin-American countries. They have been the most important participants in the demonstrations arranged by our Section in support of the Cuban masses, against plunderers of Yankee imperialism in Puerto Rico and Cuba and in the demonstrations arranged in support of the Spanish Revolution. Though here we can say that our work has been far from satisfactory. With the exception of two mass meetings and a demonstration, we have done very little in support of the Spanish Revolution. Our Spanish organizations have succeeded in establishing the United Front Committee of all Latin-American organizations to fight discrimination against Puerto Rican children. The activity of this committee has been largely responsible for the high vote our candidates received in Harlem’s Latin-American section.

Our Section has succeeded, together with the Latin-American organizations in establishing a weekly newspaper, Unidad Obrera, about two months ago, which, at the present time, is self-supporting. The only powerful opposition is La Prensa. However, the Unidad Obrera, if it keeps up its present rate of growth, with the assistance of our Party units and mass organizations, will soon be in a position to measure up to La Prensa.

Space does not permit going into a thorough examination of the work among the various other groups. However, we can say that we have excellent relations with all of our mass organizations and language bureaus. We must particularly note the Finns, who have a tremendous political importance in Harlem, being the only large white group right in the heart of Negro Harlem.

New York Finns protesting against the reactionary regime in Finland.

Most of our campaigns have already been mentioned in connection with the various organizations in our Section. Or course, the main campaign of our Section, which is largely responsible for the building of our Section into the largest Section in the city, is the Scottsboro- Herndon campaign. Throughout the report we have referred to this campaign. Therefore, we will not deal with it here. We do want to say a few words on our election campaign, our Daily Worker Drive for circulation, the Daily Worker Drive for finances.


We have increased our vote fully 100 per cent. We led in Manhattan, both in Congressional and Assembly votes. But we have, at the same time, permitted the Negro reformists to deliver a very serious blow to our election results by their maneuvers to discredit our movement on the Scottsboro case just prior to the election date, as explained above. This accounts for the small vote in comparison to our activities, in comparison with the economic and political struggles of the masses during the year, though the increase was nevertheless significant.


We have increased our circulation from 500 at the time of the Section Convention to about 4,000 now, per week. We are now planning a conference to launch a new drive, the major task of which is to make every mass organization a reader and builder of the Daily. In the Financial Drive, we succeeded in going over our quota of $1,000.

Now as to our Party organization: At the time of the Convention we had five shop nuclei. We have at the present time eighteen shop nuclei. However only a few of these nuclei are in basic industry. We could speak of each shop nucleus separately and give examples as to their good work as well as to their shortcomings. However, we will single out only a few which have done very valuable work in basic industry.

We have at the present time, two shop nuclei in the I.R.T. system and one metal nucleus; one C.W.A. nucleus, two food, one laundry, five hospital and four H.R.B. and also two school nuclei involving industrial workers.

Daily Worker. June 20, 1934.

I want to single out the I.R.T. nucleus at the X shop. Our concentration unit, of carefully selected new members, has succeeded in organizing this nucleus first with three members and it has grown since to seven members. The union membership in this shop is about 350, directly the result of the nucleus and the concentration unit. This concentration unit and the nucleus were instrumental in creating organization at the Y power house and the Z power house of the L.R.T., which are outside of our Section’s territory. The concentration unit and the nucleus and the organization at the X shop, according to the comrades of the union, form the backbone of the union organization. We succeeded in defeating the new agreement at the company union meeting. At this same meeting we succeeded in electing a delegate to the Washington Congress. We have a shop paper now and we distribute the Daily Worker regularly. Our other nucleus in the I.R.T., in the A Department, is not in as favorable position as the X shop. Lately, however, it carried on a successful struggle to reinstate laid-off men, and at the monthly meeting of the company union local they succeeded in electing a delegate to the Washington Congress.

We have thirty street units. In the past year we have been engaged in putting through the group system, with some success. On several occasions the group system has been most effective in mobilization. Our units, however, are yet weak. We have not been able to digest the tremendous influx of new members. We must increase our educational activities in the units, through the Harlem School as well as through special functionary training schools. Our main weakness is the Unit Bureau. We have systematic meetings of unit organizers and meetings of other unit functionaries. However, the tempo of improvement is extremely slow. The task in connection with the unit must be, first of all, more attention by every member of the Section Committee to his particular unit, from which most of our Section Committee members and other leading comrades are unfortunately disconnected.

At the last registration, in December, 1933, our Section consisted of the present Section and what are now Sections Eighteen and Twenty. We registered 560 members. At the present registration, 1934, without Sections Eighteen and Twenty, we have so far registered over a thousand members. In 1933 we registered eight-seven Negroes. At this time we have registered over 300. However, registration is still a difficult job. Even now, weeks after the registration, comrades are coming in to be registered. To give an example of looseness which still prevails, let me cite the recent fraction meeting of the Tampa Workers Club, where out of twelve members present, only five were registered.


We have issued four popular pamphlets, all dealing with the Negro question. During the election campaign we disposed, through sales and distribution, of 60,000 election platforms in Spanish and English and of a great amount of other literature—the four pamphlets, leaflets against Sufi, etc. We have issued a special leaflet on every important political question. Speaking about our leaflets, however, we must state that often they are too long, not concrete, and what is most important, badly distributed.

We have established the Harlem Workers School—384 students registered, including 107 Negro students, half of them women; 60 from mass organizations.


1. Inadequate selection of students by units and organizations; assignments given by units and organization on the students’ school night.

2. The organization of the Student Council was attempted several times by calling the students to meetings in the class. At one meeting, entertainment and forum committees were formed, which, although they were called to meet, failed to do so. Nevertheless, a forum was organized without the help of the students and with very few attending. The forum has been held regularly for five weeks with an average attendance of 100 persons.

3. Party campaigns have not been brought into the classes, with the exception of an appeal made by the school for letters to be sent to the Scottsboro boys and resolutions passed in all classes for the release of imprisoned teachers of the Sacramento Workers School.

4. The Friends of the Harlem Workers School, an organization which supported the school financially last year, has not functioned at all this term. By giving affairs, this organization contributed largely to the social life of the school and was in a position to attract unorganized workers to the school. Steps are being taken now to reorganize this organization.

5. A school board has been organized to carry on the administrative functions of the school.

6. The Communist is sold regularly every month in the classes at 15 cents instead of 20 cents. Students are encouraged to buy the Party literature which is on sale in the office. Twenty-five copies of The Communist are sold on an average.

Here we can say that the School Board is still inactive, the agit-prop department still doesn’t give it sufficient attention. The agit-prop department must immediately begin the organization of a training school for unit functionaries in order to develop new leaders for our Party and mass organizations.

In making this report, it is impossible to cover all the phases of our activity and to give a very self-critical analysis of everything we do. We have not been able to speak about our other mass organizations, the various languages—Finnish, Estonian, the I.W.O., all of which play a very important role in our movement. However, it is impossible to deal with all of the questions in such a short space of time.

1935 Scottsboro-Herndon rally.

We can see from this report that our movement has grown. At the present time, we have direct organizational strength of 1,200 Party members and about 6,000 organized sympathizers and with the growth of our movement, grow our difficulties and responsibilities. We have not fulfilled all of our obligations. Our efforts must be intensified to work in true, Bolshevik manner. Under the guidance of the Central Committee and District Committee, our Section Committee should be in a position to achieve greater gains, more consolidation and a broad national liberation movement in our Section.

There are a number of journals with this name in the history of the movement. This ‘Communist’ was the main theoretical journal of the Communist Party from 1927 until 1944. Its origins lie with the folding of The Liberator, Soviet Russia Pictorial, and Labor Herald together into Workers Monthly as the new unified Communist Party’s official cultural and discussion magazine in November, 1924. Workers Monthly became The Communist in March,1927 and was also published monthly. The Communist contains the most thorough archive of the Communist Party’s positions and thinking during its run. The New Masses became the main cultural vehicle for the CP and the Communist, though it began with with more vibrancy and discussion, became increasingly an organ of Comintern and CP program. Over its run the tagline went from “A Theoretical Magazine for the Discussion of Revolutionary Problems” to “A Magazine of the Theory and Practice of Marxism-Leninism” to “A Marxist Magazine Devoted to Advancement of Democratic Thought and Action.” The aesthetic of the journal also changed dramatically over its years. Editors included Earl Browder, Alex Bittelman, Max Bedacht, and Bertram D. Wolfe.

PDF of full issue:https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/communist/v14n04-apr-1935-communist.pdf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s