DID the American Communists gain or lose from Bolshevization?
Did the membership figures rise or fall?
Was the new type of party able to retain its members any better than the old one?
Did the party change its foreign-language character by wiping out the foreign-language federations?
To what extent did shop nuclei and fractions succeed in winning over the American working class?
How many party members belonged to trade unions?
What was party life like for the rank and file? For the top and middle leadership?
The answers to these questions should enable us to take stock of the social make-up of American Communism in its first decade. There are available enough facts and figures from official party sources to do away with much of the obscurity that has surrounded this aspect of the subject. But can these facts and figures be trusted? Several factors must be considered. It should be remembered that it was in the interest of every leadership to make the best possible showing in the growth and composition of membership. Thus the official figures represent the maximum rather than the minimum, and it is usually safer to discount them than to exaggerate them. The continuous factional warfare must also be taken into consideration. It was not