Proletarians of all countries, unite!
ON FACTORY AND STREET CELLS
2nd Organizational Conference
Communist 3rd International
|International Press Correspondence|
Vol. 4, No. 65
The Red Flag
ON FACTORY AND STREET CELLS
1. THE MOST IMPORTANT RESULTS SINCE THE 1ST ORGANIZATIONAL CONFERENCE
Since the 1st International Organizational Conference (March 1925) the reorganization of Communist Parties on the basis of factory cells has made considerable progress. The ideological resistance which at that time could still be met in some Parties has been almost completely overcome. In the most important Parties […] factory cells have been established which in essentials have already become the basic Party unit. In some Parties entire local and district Party organizations have been reorganized into factory cells.
In the light of these results it has been conclusively proved that:
- The factory cell is the appropriate basic unit for all Parties in capitalist countries.
- Reorganization on a factory-cell basis improves the social composition of Communist Parties, strengthens the influence of the lower Party bodies in the Party committees, creates close relations between Party committees and the membership, increases the activity of members, and thus provides guarantees for the operation of democratic centralism within the Party.
- Factory cells have proved to be the most reliable supports in the struggle against ultra-«Leftist» and Rightist groups, and the best guarantee for the execution of the Comintern line.
- By their daily work in the factory, by defending the workers‘ interests, and by enlightening the workers, factory cells strengthen and consolidate the influence of the Party over the non-party and social-democratic masses. They enable united front tactics to be applied fruitfully, and are an important preliminary for success in capturing non-party mass organizations, particularly trade unions. […]
- The arguments of the opponents of reorganization that factory cells were suitable for factory work, but not for carrying out mass political campaigns, and that therefore the old form of organization according to place of residence should not be dissolved have been refuted by experience. […]
- The publication of factory newspapers has turned out — where they are well edited and regularly issued — to be the most important instrument of factory-cell work. […]
- To organize those members who do not work in factories (housewives, intellectuals, artisans, and so on), and to make proper use of them for Party work, it is necessary to establish street cells. […]
2. ERRORS AND DEFECTS
The characteristic errors and defects are:
2.1. IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CELLS
Cells are still frequently set up either in an unplanned and unsystematic way the initiative being left entirely to the comrades working in the factory […] or in too minute and detailed a fashion, without any regard for the independent initiative of the Party membership in the factories. […] It is also no doubt due to mistakes in the work of reorganization that, as has happened in some cases, a large number of members are lost in the process. […]
2.2. IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE CELLS
Too many members are attached to the cells who either work in other factories or who do not work in a factory at all. […] Many cells still have no cell committee, but only a secretary, whose work is often only of a technical character. Where there is a committee, it is often inadequate. […] Sometimes the committee only carries out technical jobs, such as collecting dues and distributing literature, and does not undertake and carry through the work of planning and guiding the activities of the cell. […]
2.3. IN THE WORK OF THE CELLS
2.3.1. INADEQUATE POLITICAL ACTIVITY
The decisive defect in the work of the cells is that the majority of them have not yet managed to engage in political activity. They are not sufficiently concerned with Party questions, nor have they shown the capacity to combine their factory work with the political questions raised by the Party. Most of them react only to the questions arising in the factory itself.
2.3.2. IMPRUDENT METHODS OF WORK
It is another serious defect that many factory cells still do not understand how to work clandestinely, so that their members, while working steadily and energetically, do not fall victim to the terrorism of employers and governments. In practice this has often led to serious unheavals in cell work.
They also frequently neglect the job of creating a body of sympathizers around the cell and maintaining contact with them.
2.3.3. IN THE DAILY WORK OF THE CELLS
The following defects are most obvious: the lack of systematic planned work, and of careful organization and distribution of work.
Cell meetings are too long, badly prepared, uninteresting, and are not held regularly.
It is also clear from reports that many cells take no decisions on the questions discussed at their meetings.
2.3.4. FACTORY COMMITTEE FACTION AND CELL
The attitude of communist factions in factory committees to the factory cells is in many respects still unsatisfactory.
Many factions refuse to carry out the decisions of the cell, while on the other hand the idea prevails in many cells that communist work in the factory committee can replace cell work. It is not clearly enough understood that the function of communist factions in factory committees must be different from that of the cells, that the faction is subordinate to the cell and works on its instructions.
2.3.5. FACTORY NEWSPAPERS
It must be recognized as a special defect that, although the great agitational and organizational value of factory newspapers has been clearly demonstrated, their number has fallen and their publication is more irregular.
All the defects and errors noted here in the structure and work of the cells cannot however detract from the significant successes obtained in this field in the last few months. Few though they may be in number, and weak as many of them are, the fact that there are in existence in Germany, Italy, France, England, and other countries communist cells in large factories, which do good work, which extend the activities of Party members, which direct the workers‘ struggle against the employers, which strengthen and deepen the power and influence of the Party among the working masses in political struggles, has proved that the reorganization of the Parties on the basis of factory cells is an important prerequisite for bolshevization.