Meet the Communists
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn is a member of the National Board of the Communist Party, U.S.A., and a veteran leader of the American labor movement. She participated actively in the powerful struggles for the industrial unionization of the basic industries in the U.S.A. and is known to hundreds of thousands of trade unionists as one of the most tireless and dauntless fighters, organizers, lecturers and writers of the working-class and Communist movements. Recently she returned from Paris where she attended the International Women's Conference, meeting many of the heroic women who played active and leading roles in the resistance movements of the Nazi-occupied countries of Europe. She is the author of numerous pamphlets, and is at present working on a book of memoirs and experiences covering more than four decades in the American labor movement.
MEET THE COMMUNISTS
By Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
Every day, everywhere, Communists are news around the world—in China, France, Korea, Brazil, Italy, Belgium, and of course in the Soviet Union. Names of famous Communist leaders have become familiar headlines—Stalin, Tito, Duclos, Thorez, Mao Tse-tung, Togliatti, Pollitt, Dimitroff, Buck, Haldane, Prestes, Blas Roca, Gallacher, Pasionaria. Stories about them are history in the making.
COMMUNISTS ARE NEWS
Luis Carlos Prestes, leader of the Brazilian Communists, released from a Brazilian prison into which he had been thrown by the Vargas dictatorship, becomes a Senator.
The Italian Communist Patty, which fought Mussolini from the underground for at quarter of a century, now has 1,708,000 members and takes its place in the coalition government.
Chinese Communists, 1,210,000 strong, lend a coalition government of 95,500,000 people in the liberated area of China. The French Communist Party has 21 million members and received ﬁve million votes; 151 French Communists were elected members of the Constituent Assembly and eight Communists are members of the French Ministry, including Maurice Thorez, Secretary of the Communist Party.
Marshal Stalin announces a new series of Soviet Five-Year Plans to rebuild the war devastated areas and to continue the development of the entire country, interrupted by the Nazi invasion. The Communist Party of Cuba, with 151,000 members has has elected seven representatives, three Senators, and has the Vice-Presidency in both legislative bodies of that country.
There are strong Communist parties in Chile, Colombia, and other South American countries. Communists, men and women, are in every newly formed government of liberated Europe and Asia.
In fascist countries—Spain, Portugal, Greece and Argentina—Communists are among the leaders of the anti-fascist movement. In India, Egypt, Indonesia, Korea, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, among the leaders in the fight for national independence are the Communists of those countries.
COMMUNISTS IN THE VANGUARD
Wherever there are struggles for the freedom of the people—there you will find Communists in the vanguard.
The liberated people, so recently emerged from the horrors of fascism, can never forget either the earlier warnings of the Communists nor their heroism when these warnings failed. They tenderly recall Thaelman, German Communist leader murdered by the Nazis. They remember the French Communist editor of L'Humanité, Gabriel Peri, whose death words were: "If it had to be done all over I would take this road again!"
Thousands of Communists were shot, guillotined, beaten, starved, done to death in prisons, concentration camps and torture chambers by the fiendish Nazis. The blood of martyred Communists cries out forto the suffering peoples in whose cause they died. Communists who survived war and terror, who returned from exile or emerged from a living death, are now the trusted and revered leaders of their people. This is a logical result of the events of the past tragic period.
Communists had warned the people at the very beginning against Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and the scheming international bankers and capitalists who supported them. Even when the menace of these sinister figures was being minimized, the Communists clearly saw the dangers they foreshadowed. Later they warned against appeasing fascism by throwing one helpless country after another into its greedy maw—China, Spain, Ethiopia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, until all Europe was engulfed in a wave of terror.
Communists had cried aloud to the people of the world that only a strong alliance and abiding friendship with the Soviet Union, the sole workers' country in the world, could defeat fascist aggression. Communists had warned unceasingly in every country of traitors, fifth columnists, pro-fascists in government and among the economic royalists, scheming capitalists who flout the rights of the people, and who preferred Hitler to democracy. Communists had warned of those who would divide the people and pit one group against another by Red-baiting and Jew-baiting, labor-baiting and Negro-baiting—which were Hitler's sharpest and most divisive weapons.
THE COMMUNISTS ARE RIGHT
The people of Europe learned the truth of the Communist warnings through terrible disaster and indescribable anguish. They learned both in countries like France, where they had not heeded, or countries like Czechoslovakia, where they had not the power to resist, that the Communists are right.
They saw the Communists become bold leaders of the Resistance of France and the Partisans of Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Poland. They saw 75,000 known Communists shot as hostages by the Nazis in France who hoped in this way to break the backbone of the French Resistance movement. Today they honor the party as "the Party of the Executed."
Do you think that a Hearst, a Lindbergh, a Coughlin, could ever change the feelings of love and devotion which the European people have today towards the Communists of their countries?
The shame is that they can poison workers' minds here in America against our natural allies. Where people became steeled in blood and tears, they say now emphatically to all who will listen—"The Communists are right!" This is why Communists are news around the world. They are making news on every issue, and it's people's news.
Communists are working hard to build new democratic people's governments in the liberated countries. Pro-fascist kings find no "welcome" on the doormat. Government officials and rich families who took everything they could lay hands on and fled, leaving the people to the dire consequences of their treachery, are not wanted in those countries. Traitors who became puppets for the conquerers—not only the Queslings, Petains, Lavals, but countless others, are to be judged as war criminals and the Communists' demand that they be executed or imprisoned is cheered by the people. The Communist program of immediate action, that the big landed estates, the banks, and all the resources and industries of the country be nationalized meets with the heartiest approval of the people in country after country.
"Why return them to traitors who may again sell out to a new crop of Nazis? Why give them back the means to rule and exploit us?" the people ask. They are determined to crush "the men of the Trusts," to prevent the rebirth of fascism. They burn with hatred of those responsible for the bloodshed, ruin and death that engulfed every family and desolated their countries. The liberated people will never return power into such hands again. They are turning away from capitalism toward a new kind of democracy; yes, toward Socialism in Europe today.
Capitalism, like the system that preceded it—feudalism, when men were serfs tied to the land, has become its own grave-digger. It has been tried and found guilty of untold crimes in our generation. It has brought humanity to the brink of extinction.
Do we in America have to duplicate the actual experiences of Europe and Asia before we understand their thinking? Must we be plunged into fascism and war by the reactionary policies of the "men of the Trusts"? Whether Americans are fully aware of it or not, the fact is that there are already millions of people living under Socialism in the Soviet Union, and millions more will never feel that their children are safe under capitalism. They do not want capitalism as a way of life any longer. Capitalism exploits the people at home and colonies abroad; capitalism breeds war, fascism, poverty, slums, child-labor, unemployment; it regularly and inevitably calls forth crises of depression and shutdowns; it breeds racial and religious hatred, and makes a mockery of the words Peace! Security! Happiness! Brotherhood!
Millions of men and women are determined that these words shall become realities for the children of tomorrow, that these children shall be safe from the ravages of war and the crimes of fascism. That's why they have confidence in the Communists, who are militant fighters with faith in the people and hope for the future. That's why the Communists are growing strong and invincible around the world.
COMMUNISTS ARE HERE, TOO
But what of the United States—our own country, which is the headquarters of the most powerful capitalist class in the world today—a bold, ruthless, reactionary, predatory, imperialist class of profiteers and exploiters? What of our American monopoly capitalist class—the sixty families who own and control the economic life of our country—who are hated and feared by the people of Europe and Asia and in every neighboring country of the Western Hemisphere? We, the American Communist Party, fight their rule here at home and abroad. The Communists are anti-fascist, anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly, and for curbing the trusts here, as elsewhere.
The whole sordid and contemptible story of American monopoly capital's participation in the launching of Nazism and Fascism, of its secret relations with Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, of its ties with European cartels and of its present attempts to salvage the wreckage of European capitalism—is yet to be fully told. The disgraceful sale of American guns and airplanes to Franco and the refusal of Great Britain and the U.S.A. to sever diplomatic and economic relations with fascist Spain causes the Spanish people to cry out in despair: "Are the British and the Americans going to take Hitler's and Mussolini's place as allies of Franco to crush the Spanish people?" The murder by Franco of Spanish anti-fascists who were in the French Resistance aroused all France to demand: "Cut all relations with Franco!" While fascism exists in Spain and we fail to come to the aid of Republican Spain, we are cultivating a seed-bed of fascism.
War mongering raises its ugly head in our own country. "We'll have to fight the Soviet Union!" is heard. Not fascist Franco, but our brave ally, the Soviet Union, is the object of attack here.
In our foreign policy—at the United Nations Conference, the American delegation did not merely passively support Britain's bullying Bevin who insulted the Soviet Union when she defended the rights of the "little peoples" of the world and reviled the people's movement of Greece, Indonesia, and Yugoslavia.
The American delegation wielded its own "Big Stick." And it was not in the interest of the new democracies, the struggles of the colonial peoples for independence, the need to maintain world peace. No phrases of democracy and "internal good will" can hide the fact that American imperialism has embarked on a reactionary course in world affairs. Out to dominate the world, American imperialism uses its great wealth and power to blackmail the peoples everywhere. Witness its "get tough" policy with our great Soviet ally. Witness its record in the occupied zone of Germany—where it resists every step toward the de-nazification of Germany and the destruction of the monopoly holdings of the fascist industrialists. Witness its intervention in China—where it uses the strength of its armed forces on the side of Chiang Kai-shek to prevent the democratic unification of China. And today, these troops remain to encourage the reactionary Kuomintang clique to sabotage and fight the recently concluded Kuomintang-Communist-Democratic League unity pact. Everywhere—in all parts of the world—it sides with the decadent imperialist anti-democratic groupings against the new democratic aims of the people. Thanks to such performances as these, the "reservoir of good will" toward the U.S.A. is running low.
Poor and stripped of all resources, countries laid bare by fascism struggle to recover by their own efforts, apprehensive the American "aid" will give the predatory American capitalists mortgages on their countries and drives a hard bargain not sure how to capture the world in its oyster.
MUST CHALLENGE AMERICAN IMPERIALISM
The American people have the duty to challenge every step of Big Business toward world domination. What Big Business does to help fascism in Spain and Greece should cause Americans to most serious concern.
What capitalism is doing here in the U.S.A. to us and our children right now is also a forerunner of possible fascist development. Take a rapid glance around. What a mess capitalism has made in our country! The joyous celebrations of V-J Day were not yet over when thousands of workers were laid off in war plants, shipyards, and factories. Although there is a market for innumerable commodities which people actually need, the leading employers have showed no great haste in proceeding to reconversion. Why should they, with enormous tax rebates in the offing to cover all in their so-called "losses"?
Bloated with war profits and licking their chops over the prospective presents from Uncle Sam ($149,000,000 to U. S. Steel alone, for example, for the coming year) they entered into what Mr. Philip Murray, President of the C.I.W., calls correctly, "an evil conspiracy"—a plot to smash labor unions and to destroy price control. The National Association of Manufacturers has announced a press and radio campaign against price control that will cost a million dollars. They are interested in raising prices on everything except labor-power, namely, wages.
Labor worked devotedly to turn out the goods for our fighting men, kept its "no-strike pledge" under the greatest provocation and a pyramiding of unsolved grievances. The pay-off now is wage cuts, price raises, injunctions, the spectre of unemployment. The returned veteran meets a cheerless welcome—no jobs, no homes, no clothes, and no adequate provisions for his assistance in securing these essentials.
Negroes—soldiers and civilians alike—are even more shamefully Jim-Crowed than before the war by segregation, discrimination, downgrading in employment and by violence. Two Negro brothers, a soldier in uniform and a veteran, were brutally slain by a policeman in Freeport, L. I. A third brother, a sailor in the U. S. Navy, was badly wounded. The young men had protested in a bus terminal restaurant when service was refused them. In a Ku-Klux stormtrooper atmosphere, an all-white Grand Jury of property owners white-washed the killer-cop and said, "He was justified in doing what he did." The same ugly spirit animated the disgraceful filibuster against the Fair Employment Practices Committee (F.E.P.C.) which makes a mockery of our representative government.
The Rankin Committee attacks freedom of the air and proposes a strict censorship of broadcasters. Bilbo, Eastland, Rankin and other poll taxers from the South pollute Congress with their vile anti-Jewish, anti-Negro attacks.
POVERTY IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY
Voters who helped to elect the late President Roosevelt see his program being scuttled through the concessions of the Truman Administration to Big Business, to return to gang politics, and the determination of big business to run the government. The "Case Bill" and other anti-labor bills are boldly proposed to throttle the labor unions. Whatever gains labor, the Negro people, women workers made during the war are all either discarded or seriously threatened today.
Is this the brave new world the soldier in the fox-hole, the young wife at home, the girl in the bomber plant, the Negro pilot, dreamed of during the war? There was a common denominator of hope that ran like a golden thread around the world—of peace under a sunny sky and security out of the warm fertile earth and happiness with work and a family and a full life. It is all possible. This is a beautiful, bountiful country, abounding in natural resources. But they do not belong to the people. They belong to the Morgans, Rockefellers, Mellons, du Ponts, and their associates, with their network of interlocking directorates—thousands of companies, big and small—railroads, mines, public utilities (gas, electricity, telephone, transit companies), lumber, rubber, chemicals, steel, auto, department stores, restaurants, amusements, radio, newspapers, insurance companies. There is the highest degree of trustification and monopoly of ownership of the resources of the country and its industrial and financial system by a numerically small group. There is also the highest degree of technical development and of industrial efficiency as well as productivity, possible in the great modern plants, mines and railroads. But they do not belong to the people.
The safety and health of the workers is not a consideration for the capitalist owners of industry. Labor saving and labor displacing devices that could be blessings to humanity to eliminate drudgery and heavy work, deprive workers of their jobs. Inventions or improvements in working processes are deliberately suppressed for reasons of profit.
Plenty can be produced for all in America, an abundance of food, clothing, shelter and means of education, amusement, travel, recreation, for all the people. "Heaven on earth" is not an idle dream. The material basis is the utilization of labor, machinery and materials to full capacity in planned socialist production and in socialized distribution. Produce for use and not for profit!
Today, no matter how muck is produced, none of it belongs to the people. If the products of farm and factory cannot be sold for a substantial profit they are stacked in warehouses and granaries and allowed to rot. We have "shortages" of stockings, men's shirts, and baby's diapers, while plenty are stored away. If our scientists finally contact the moon and one of its inhabitants should drop down to visit us, it would be hard to explain such a crazy system to him!
A small tight-fisted, granite-faced, flint-hearted group of owners condemn millions of workers to a mere existence wage and throw millions of free Americans out to starve. We can work, to live and support our families, only when they say so. When they nod their heads factories and mines close or open up. This is free enterprise; this is the profit system; this is private ownership; this is capitalism. It has produced war and more war, hunger and want, unemployment and misery, in the midst of untold wealth. It has produced that "shame of the twentieth century"—fascism.
It solves no problems for the welfare of the people. For example, how does capitalism preserve the "great American home?" There are over 17 million homes in the U.S.A. today which lack running water, private toilets, or bathtubs. In the world's leading metropolis, the wonder city of gleaming skylines, New York, there are 85,000 homes without bathrooms, 19,000 without inside toilets. There are a thousand homes with no water supply within fifty feet, and another thousand with only hand pumps for water. That's capitalist sanctity of the home for you.
That a worker who is able, willing and anxious to work can be jobless, that the stench of the slums can arise in all our great cities, that a child can go hungry, should forfeit capitalism's right to continued existence.
Translate it into terms of your own life and experience. Are you satisfied?
Have you not asked: Is this the best of all possible worlds? Have you not wondered what you can do to help change these conditions? We are sure you have. Let us tell you what you can do.
MEET THE COMMUNISTS
"Do Communists all say the same things the world over?" you may ask.
Don't be taken in by that "voice of Moscow" stuff in the reactionary press. It's one world with the same hopes and dreams, heartaches, headaches, everywhere. One and one make two in any language. Chemistry, geography, art, music, sports are international. Women, youth, and trade unionists recently held international congresses to discuss their common problems.
Surely we can profit in America by the experiences of other countries. Must we go through fascism in America to realize the menace of fascism and the importance of fighting against it? Do we have to go through the actual physical agony and material destruction of fascist occupation, see our homes destroyed, our women raped, our Jewish-Americans and Catholic-Americans murdered because of their religion, our books burned, our labor unions smashed, our cities despoiled and our government become a puppet state? Do we have to go through this to realize that we need a powerful labor movement and a large and active Communist Party so that the people can say with assurance—"It will not happen here!"
Who are we—the Communists of America? We are Americans—native born and immigrants; we speak all languages; we are of all religions; of all colors; men and women; young and old. We are miners, steel, railroad, electrical, textile, office workers, trade unionists, farmers, veterans, professionals, housewives, students. We are a cross section of America—folks just like you. Communists are not hermits or highbrows—we like baseball, go to the movies, fish, work in the garden, relish a good Sunday dinner, like nice clothes, enjoy a joke, play with the children—are normal human beings.
We talk about the same things everybody else talks about. But with us it isn't like Mark Twain's famous story of the weather—"Everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it!" We talk about health, houses, jobs, Negro rights, unions, votes, newspapers, the price of butter, the atom bomb, but we don't finish a chat by shaking our heads forlornly and letting it go at that.
We know they all tie up together. We know something can be done. We don't drift mentally in a sea of unsolved problems. We act to lead the people in the fight to solve their problems.
Communists have no interests apart from the people, no narrow selfish "axe to grind." To be a Communist is not a career. Anyone who is found to be self-seeking or egocentric, who is not capable of collective thought and action or amendable to criticism is eventually eliminated from our ranks, no matter how important a place he may occupy. "The greatest good for the greatest number" is the ethical concept of the Communists. Communists practice an enlightened self-interest in a passionate willingness to work unselfishly so that by freeing the workers from wage slavery all humanity is freed from greed and tyranny.
How are Communists different? In their intense and ardent devotion to a purpose in life that directs and fills their days and nights with efforts in the interest of the people, to eliminate all exploitation and oppression. Communists struggle unremittingly for all the immediate necessary interests of the people. There is no contradiction between helping to better organize unions, to fight for an extension of full democratic rights to the Negro people, and other such general political activities, and the ultimate goal of Socialism which will come more quickly through the solidarity, class consciousness and understanding developed in just such day to day struggles of masses of people.
WHAT IS SOCIALISM?
Maybe you're asking at this point: "Just what do you Communists mean when you say—Socialism?" It's not complicated. We mean an advanced stage of social development which will abolish private ownership of the means of production which are today the property of a small group of capitalists and used by them to exploit the labor of millions for their own private profit. By Socialism we mean collective ownership by the whole people of all the socially necessary means of production (land, natural resources, industries, railroads, banks, communications, etc.) and their operation through a planned economy which will guarantee an ample supply and equitable distribution of all commodities and services to all the people. Socialism does not exclude private ownership of personal property; in fact, most of us would have far more under Socialism than we have now. Socialism denies the right to use any savings or possessions to exploit the labor of others. Under Socialism, work is the right and duty of all able-bodied adults in accord with the precept, "He who does not work—neither shall he eat."
Under Socialism, as demonstrated in the Soviet Union, there is no unemployment, no danger of the inevitable crises of capitalism, no "over-production" accompanies by under-consumption. There is work for all, under healthy and safe conditions; there is constant increase of public wealth under a national economic plan; there are steadily improving material conditions, more leisure, a raising of the cultural level, and a constant strengthening of their defensive capacity (as the war demonstrated). There is complete equality of women with men in all spheres of economic, political, cultural and social life and for all citizens regardless of race, color, or national origin.
Our perspective of Socialism becomes clearer and the need for it more imperative with each passing day, as history unfolds the contradictions, weaknesses and criminal inadequacies of capitalism and their terrible results, here and elsewhere.
The Soviet Union, after the tragic interruption of a cruel and hard-fought war, resumes her gigantic tasks, first to restore the war devastated areas where 25 million people were left homeless, and secondly, to reach and then to far exceed her pre-war level in industry and agriculture. Joseph Stalin said, on February 9: "Apart from the fact that in the very near future the rationing system will be abolished, special attention will be focused on expanding the production of goods for mass consumption, on raising the standard of life for the working people by consistent and systematic reduction, on the cost of all goods, and on wide scale construction of all kinds of scientific research institutes."
Here, in the U.S.A., by contrast, price increases, inflation and taxes, make the recent gain of 181⁄2 cents an hour by the U.S. Steel workers but one round won in a continuous struggle. Like a squirrel in a cage, we have to run furiously in order to stand still in capitalist America, while the workers in a Socialist country calmly proceed to triple their living standards by 1965.
DID YOU EVER MEET A COMMUNIST?
Did you ever meet a Communist?
Maybe you're a Communist yourself and didn't know it. We were all in the same state once. Thousands of Americans are today. If we could sit down with you for a friendly chat we would soon discover how much we agree with each other. It happens every day—talking to taxi-drivers, soldiers on trains, women on busses—I seldom find them disagreeing on basic questions.
Maybe you're saying to yourself, "Nothing doing, sister, I'm no Communist! I'm only reading this because John asked me to. There's a lot of sense in it, but I'm no Communist!"
Well, at least you've met a Communist. That should help you recognize the mental poison of anti-Communism spewed out by Pegler, Hearst, Bilbo, Rankin, and Coughlin. Many good people allow these Red-baiters to frighten and confuse them. Their minds are influenced by misconceptions and downright lies spread by the Red-baiters—like the spy-scare cooked up by Drew Pearson lately. Suppose a British, French or Italian worker asked one of these people, like many of our soldiers were asked, about the American Communists. He would be rated politically illiterate if he shouted: "Agents of Moscow! Trying to overthrow our government! Let them go back where they came from!"
Incidentally, this would give the majority of our members a "See America trip" to the four corners of the United States from where they come.
Find out for yourself what the Communist Party is and what it does. Read our papers, the Daily Worker and Sunday Worker, and our books and pamphlets, as an antidote for the poison of the Red-baiters.
Here's some big news about the Communist Party of the U.S.A. that those poisonous pro-fascists will not enjoy. On March 15, we opened our 1946 Party Building Campaign. Our goal is a comparatively modest one—to add at least 20,000 new members to our Party. Are you ready to be one of the 20,000? We are not addressing our invitation to a carefully selected exclusive list of prospective members, although we do anticipate that many with whom we have worked intimately during the period of the war and since—in shops, unions, political campaigns are "naturals" to join our Party now. If you, my reader, belong to this group, you have a real respect for our Party, I'm sure, and want to help us build a powerful Communist Party. But we are extending our invitation far beyond such immediate circles.
We especially invite veterans who may never have been in contact with us before their enlistment, but who met Communists abroad and learned to know their courage. Many American soldiers are looking for the Communists here. They met them in the Resistance Movement in France, in the Partisans of Italy and Yugoslavia. They shared their food with them. Many an American soldier owes his life to them. On a recent trip in Pennsylvania I heard from one steel worker of his son, from another of his brother, both fliers, who crashed in enemy territory and whose lives were saved by Communist Partisans. Thousands of returned soldiers view Communists with different eyes. I returned from the Women's International Congress in Paris recently on a troop transport, and I did not find a single soldier who was surprised or shocked when I told him I had represented the Communist Party. Instead they immediately asked me innumerable questions about conditions in the U.S.A., as if I must be an authority. They are not at all surprised to find American Communists in the forefront of the struggles related to them—for jobs, houses, G.I. Rights, and that our soldiers be brought home promptly out of all friendly countries. Neither the soldiers abroad nor their returned comrades nor their families want to see our armies shooting down oppressed people in India, Indonesia or China. Our occupation forces belong in Germany and Japan only. The military fighting is over. The soldiers' job, as fighters, is done. Our troops must not be used to police people who yesterday welcomed them as liberators and today are coming to regard them as agents of American imperialism. We want our soldiers back—as private citizens—in the shop, on the picket line, in the voting booth, and we welcome them into the ranks of the Communist Party, to continue the fight against fascism on the home front.
APPEAL TO NEGRO PEOPLE
We are especially inviting Negro Americans, men and women, who are deeply and justifiably stirred against segregation, discrimination, lynching and violence—North and South. They will find their efforts to wipe out Jim Crow and to attain full democracy shared by every Communist. The Communist Party is uncompromisingly opposed to all concepts of white supremacy as one of the same barbaric ideology which produced fascist Aryan supremacy and anti-Semitism. We are fighting for the full rights of Negro Americans and all our past activities demonstrate this. We first became known to the Negro people through the Scottsboro case and the fight to free Angelo Herndon. Any illusions that the winning of the war would automatically carry with it the complete equal rights of Negro Americans has proved to be a will-o'-the-wisp.
Negro soldiers fought and died gallantly. The record of the 92nd Division glows with their heroism. Negro women were nurses, WACS, Red Cross workers, and worked faithfully in every war industry. Negro seamen helped to "keep 'em sailing" and many were killed by submarine attacks. The names of Dorie Miller, Captain Mulzac, Mrs. Bethune, Ferdinand Smith, and countless others are identified with America's war effort. Capitalist America is now saying to our Negro citizens: "Go back to the kitchen, back to the porters' jobs, back to the mops and pails; back to the unskilled, underpaid, overworked, dirty, menial jobs; back to the plantations, back to share-cropping. Put on your maid's cap, put on the patched overalls, lay aside your diplomas, your natty uniforms, your service ribbons, your medals, your union cards (you're out—the last to be hired, the first to be fired); forget about the four freedoms, "keep your place"—back of the bus, sandwich in a bag, watch that sign: 'White Only,' keep your mouth shut if you don't want to be killed. No American Legion Posts in the South for the black soldiers and separate Jim Crow Posts in the North. Don't try to vote, soldier in the Southland, if you value your life!"
The Communist Party fights all such disgraceful Jim Crow practices—North and South. When a Bilbo froths at the mouth and shouts—"Communist" at all who fight for Negro rights, we are complimented. Unity of black and white workers and all other liberty-loving people is one of the main objectives of the Communist Party; solidarity to wipe out this fascist shame in our country.
We plan to double the membership of our Party in the South in this coming campaign, to strengthen our work in this direction. We are very proud of our Negro leader, Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., who is one of our two Communist Councilmen in New York City, which exceeds in population, many countries. Peter V. Cacchione of Brooklyn is the other Communist Councilman, a veteran of the last war, a leader of the unemployed demonstrations of the Hoover days, a staunch fighter for the people on every issue.
WOMEN BELONG IN COMMUNIST PARTY
We extend our invitation to every woman in the trade unions, in the ranks of the Negro people, as well as the wives and mothers on the farms, and in the homes of the cities. Women are harassed by the high cost of living, by the artificially created scarcities of necessities, by the need for child care facilities, by the fear of unemployment of the husband or of herself. Women yearn for peace and security for the family. Women are a most decisive group politically in all advanced countries, including our own. Women fought in all the occupied countries and are fighting against fascism today in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Argentina. Millions of women worked in war industries in Britain, the Soviet Union and America, to supply our armies with weapons. We Communists insist upon women's right to work, to equal seniority, to equal pay and to adequate protection at work. Women have seen the horrors or heard the harrowing accounts of what fascism did to children—wholesale deliberate murder of thousands to destroy the future citizens of Europe; starvation, torture, affecting their growth, emotional stability and mentality. To bring about a world where all children are safe, normal, happy, is the will of the women in Europe today. That is why they vote Communist by the millions in Europe. Women here, too, need the Communist Party to help shape political events so that peace will be maintained and our children not be called upon to suffer another more terrible and bloody war, or that women will not be degraded to the level of cattle as happened under fascism.
A WAY FOR YOUTH TO BUILD LIFE WITH A PURPOSE
We extend our invitation to the youth, whose lives were cruelly interrupted by a war, whose aspirations are thwarted, whose plans for a career in the arts, professions and sciences are cut short by poverty, whose success is bought only at the price of submission to commercialism, whose finest hopes and noblest ambitions are frustrated in the withering struggle for existence under capitalism. We offer to youth life with a purpose—a chance to help build a new, free world of Socialism. Where, except in the Soviet Union, does youth today have a chance to develop their intelligence, capabilities, capacities, and devotion to ideals? Socialism is the realization of youth's noblest dreams. "Our Party will always be a Party of Youth!" said Lenin.
Communist youth eagerly entered military combat against fascism. Not only did thousands of our American Communist Party young members fight in the Army, Navy and Air Forces, but as early as 1936, over 2,000 went to Spain to fight side by side with the Loyalists. The men of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and Canadian Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade were the first Americans to shed their blood on Europe's soil fighting Hitler, Mussolini—and their tool, Franco. They were the forerunners of the great American army of victory. The names of Communist youths who gave their lives for Republican Spain—Dave Doran, Milton Herndon, Joe Dallet, Harry Hines, Joe Bianco, Wilfred Mendelsohn—will be added to the lists of later American heroes, including many Communists, such as Ben Gardner and Herman Boettscher, who also fought in Spain, Henry Forbes, Party organizer of Western Pennsylvania, and many others. The Chairman of our Communist Party in New York State today is former Staff Sergeant Bob Thompson, who was awarded with the Distinguished Service Cross for "extraordinary heroism" on the Pacific Front, who also is a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
But beyond all others we are inviting workers (which includes Negroes, women, veterans and youth, of course) to join our Party. Our main concentration is among the workers in this campaign for new Communists. The working class is the living core, the heart and soul of any nation. The working class is the most advanced class in society. The trade unionists are the most advanced and class conscious element within the working class, and the Communists are the most politically advanced elements within the unions, because "they have the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement," as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote nearly a century ago.
A Communist Party cannot function without a wide, deep and firm base of a working class membership. Communists join with all progressive workers in every immediate demand to protect established union working and living standards, and to improve them. Communists were in the vanguard in organizing the unorganized, for the right to strike, to picket for collective bargaining, etc. William Z. Foster, Chairman of the Communist Party, has a record of over 50 years as a labor organizer, strike leader, and pioneer industrial unionist. Many progressive trade unionists have learned from the Communists to defend Negro rights, to fight against an imperialist foreign policy, etc.
Sometimes such trade unionists ask: "Why should I join the Party? What is the difference between me and a Communist trade unionist?" It is an important question. It arises from either the mistaken notion of the complete self-sufficiency of the union or lumping together the trade unions and a working class political party as identical. The first is what William Z. Foster aptly characterized as the "sterile desert of syndicalism," the second is what Marx warned against: "piling the Party and the trade unions into one heap." These two fallacies proved extremely harmful in the past stages of the labor movement, both in Europe and America.
It is important for trade unionists and Communists of a new generation to become familiar with the theoretical struggle that went on around this for several decades. (I recommend reading From Bryan to Stalin, by William Z. Foster, to learn its American aspects.) Unions are mass organizations, based on working together and on identity of economic interests, to control the conditions under which workers sell their labor power. Even the most backward worker must be a union member for his own interest. The main field of union activity is the place of employment.
However, many of the demands of our unions are political in character and a trade union must also work on the political field to win them. The C.I.O., profiting by all the past experiences of labor, does not attempt either to be a political party itself or to ignore the great importance of political action and the decisive power that trade unionists, as voting citizens can exercise. It is apparent that the economic and political interests of labor are intertwined and inseparable, we need both economic organizations and a political party interrelated but not identical.
A VANGUARD PARTY
The Communist Party is a vanguard political party of the working class, to bring together those who are ready not only to fight for day by day immediate gains, both economic and political, but who are also ready to curb and control by nationalization, and eventually to abolish through Socialism, the octopus of monopoly capitalism. As the struggles sharpen, here as elsewhere, greater numbers of militant workers are becoming Communists. Every struggle today brings them more boldly to grips with the economic and political power of the trusts and closer to the Communist program. The American working class is traditionally militant. Let us not forget Homestead, West Va., Colorado, Gastonia, Lawrence and Paterson of other days.
With millions of workers out in the biggest strikes this country has ever seen, the billion dollar trusts recently saw their enormous plants lie prostrate—dead as a cemetery. Only labor could breathe life into them again. This is the greatest demonstration of labor solidarity, the most united and articulate front labor has ever presented. Organized labor is far stronger, numerically, politically, and in its concepts of its power today than after the last war. Community, citizen and farmer support for strikers, the active participation of returned veterans on the picket lines—on labor's sidewere unheard of a few decades ago.
Labor is a force to be reckoned with in America today, able to take the offensive politically to supplement the defense of its wage and strike struggles. Strong as American capitalists are and ambitious as they are to rule the world, they nevertheless fear the rising tide of the people's movement.
We Communists have the deepest confidence in the workers, their militancy, honesty and courage. We Communists arouse among them not only a burning hatred of exploitation but a strong sense of their own power, of their historical destiny to free themselves and all mankind from all forms of oppression. We need more workers with Communist consciousness to help their fellow workers overcome weaknesses, prejudices and backward notions—the influence of the capitalist class on their thinking. We need more workers—Communists to help educate and organize their fellow workers in the fight for all their immediate needs and for the ultimate establishment of Socialism. If you, dear reader, are one of the militant and progressive workers who belong naturally in the ranks of the Communists, I urge you to answer our appeal.
Can we Americans lag behind when the rest of the world is moving forward? Join with us now to curb the power of the trusts. Let us protect ourselves and help the people of other lands by disarming these enemies of democracy and progress! Let us curb their power to dictate fascist economic, political and social conditions here and elsewhere!
Let us answer the warmongering Tory Churchill who called for war on the land of Socialism. Let us answer President Truman for his new assault against Big Three unity in sponsoring Churchill's unseemly call to war upon our brave ally—the Soviet Union. Let us rally the people of America against a World War III aimed against the Soviet Union, to preserve a tottering British Empire, and to usher in a fascist America.
Let us settle the score with all the enemies of mankind in our time and in our generation, so that our children can enjoy a happy free existence. Are you ready to carry on the traditions of Debs, Haywood, Ruthenberg? Are you ready to act in memory of Tom Mooney, Joe Hill, Sacco and Vanzetti, Frank Little, Centralia, the Everett victims, the Molly Maguires, the Haymarket martyrs, Fanny Sellins, Ella May Wiggins, and all of labor's heroes?
JOIN THE COMMUNIST PARTY
Are you ready to enlist in the cause of the people against capitalism? Then you are ready to join the Communist Party!
"Rise like lions after slumber,
In unvanquished number,
Shake your chains to earth, like dew,
That in sleep have fallen on you,
Ye are many—they are few." So sang the poet Shelly long ago.
Coal miners, steel, packing, maritime, rubber, lumber, textile, railroad workers; auto, aircraft, electrical-radio, shoe, farm equipment workers—we invite you, one and all, to join the Communist Party. We are proud of our Party, and we need fighting workers like you to deepen its ties among the people. It is a tough world! But men and women like you are strong to face the storms ahead. Come on in—it's a good life of struggle and comradeship, of high purpose and great ideals. Are you ready? THEN, JOIN THE COMMUNIST PARTY.