Marxism for Our Times: C.L.R. James on Revolutionary Organization

By C. L. R. James; Martin Glaberman | Go to book overview

Education, Propaganda, Agitation
Post-War America and Bolshevism

I: The General Problem of the Trotskyite Movement

We have found it necessary to make the main item on the plenum1 agenda the organizational question. The cause is a widespread recognition of the fact that after three years of grinding work in the factories the recruiting of new members has not only been far below expectations, but from all appearances is likely to continue so. The idea that the lag in recruiting is due to the unorganized, unsystematic methods of the members has been more or less discarded. It was not a serious contribution to the question. What we are facing now and will increasingly face is the whole problem of building the mass Bolshevik party in the USA. The war in Europe is coming rapidly to an end and the whole country is aware of the tremendous social conflicts which the post-war will bring. The building of a mass party to lead the proletariat is for us the problem. This is the question I propose to discuss here, but from one aspect only, the aspect of education, propagnada, and agitation. There are others equally important. I do not propose to deal with them here.

First of all I have to make it clear what is not being done in this document.

I am not dealing with the general problem of how a party is built.

I am not touching at all upon mass trade union work except insofar as this affects or is affected by education, propaganda, and agitation.

I am not dealing with the objective situation in America except insofar as it is impossible to discuss propaganda and agitation in a vacuum.

With this limitation constantly borne in mind, we can and must remind ourselves of what we are in general attempting to do. All studies of dialectic, of historical materialism, of political economy, of the history of the working class and of the revolutionary movement are for the most part meaningless if they do not concretely contribute to and culminate in the theoretical analysis of party building. The plain fact, too often forgotten or ignored, is that in the past fifty years only one effective Bolshevik party has been built in any of the

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Marxism for Our Times: C.L.R. James on Revolutionary Organization
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Notes xxvi
  • Education, Propaganda, Agitation - Post-War America and Bolshevism 3
  • Notes 40
  • Marxism for Our Times 43
  • Notes 65
  • Letters on Organization 67
  • Perspectives and Proposals 130
  • Notes 178
  • Appendix: Theory and Practice 181
  • Notes 200
  • Index 201
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