Party of Communists USA
The Political Weapon of Literature in the Class Struggle
A Guide for the PCUSA District and Clubs
By Larry Dunne
Chair, PCUSA Ideological Department
The reason that our Party places emphasis on publishing, selling and distributing political pamphlets, The Worker, periodicals, videos and books is to make our policy and program rouse the working people and the oppressed to action and to give them an understanding of the class struggle and the need for Socialism. In this course of action, we hope to win the most class-conscious and advanced workers to our Party.
In and of itself, the selling and/or distribution of The Worker is a political obligation on its own and should be taken as a given. The Worker gives the news and the everyday topics of concern to the working class and the oppressed, while our books, brochures, and pamphlets deal with specific and particular questions facing our class, i.e., Labor Today-Labor United in Class Struggle (LUCS) the Movement for Peoples Democracy (MPD), and U.S. Friends of the Soviet People, (USFSP).
However, our accomplishments are not won by relying on only one weapon, but the utilization of all our weapons. Each book, brochure, and leaflet has a critical role to play in our Party’s fight for peace and justice, and in the struggle against racism and National Oppression.
The Districts and Clubs should be aware of the wealth of material available from our Party’s “Red Star Publishers” in which a lot of our literature can be downloaded and printed. They should have a full list of the material available from “Red Star Publishers”. Our distribution should focus on the masses, and not other Leftist organizations, i.e., we don’t need to “Speak to the Choir”. Our focus should be on industrial concentration, and mobilize on localities that revolve around transportation, factories and the health care industry. The consistency of our distribution and developing interpersonal relationships is essential.
Whether the political weapon of our literature is effective or not depends on the extent which it is put into the hands of people around us and how they will identify us with the problems that they face for their daily survival under capitalism. There are times when a District or Club may decide that we can intervene more successfully in a mass organization, by the using the Movement for Peoples Democracy as a springboard for further progress in moving that organization to a place where they connect the single-issue priority of their organization, to other issues people are struggling against.
I would be remiss if the power of videos at our open meetings were not discussed here. For example, one of the ways we can demonstrate to potential members what real existing socialism was like, especially the strength of the U.S.S.R. in leading and guiding the World Communist Movement is by showing “Mission to Moscow” which undeniably is an inspiring message on the role of the Soviet Union in fighting Fascism as well as demolishing the myth of the “evil dictatorship” of Stalin. The video brings home the fact that there was a small gang of counter-revolutionaries in the Bolshevik Party that sought an alliance with the Nazis in order to take power by dividing up the Soviet Union and assassinating Stalin and the Bolshevik Party leadership.
Other examples include “Matawan”, a docudrama about the fight to build the Mineworkers Union and the fight against racism. The protagonists in this video are Italian immigrants, Blacks from the south, and the Appalachian people who are indigenous to the area. The video vividly demonstrates the necessity of unity, and how working people overcame their own isolation in order to fight the coal bosses. The same can be said of “Salt of the Earth”, which shows the fight of Mexican-Americans and Mexican-American women in particular in their efforts to destroy the myth that a women’s place is only in her home.
Districts and Clubs should access the PCUSA video and film archive so we can order videos and films to make the most of our political weapon.
The Responsibility of Club Leadership on Literature
The Club leadership, especially the education/literature Director needs to discuss each pamphlet or brochure, its political purpose, and how it can most effectively be used. The work of organizing the maximum distribution or sales of political literature is inseparable in order to display the public face of our Party.
We also need to download and distribute leaflets from the PCUSA on the topical and burning issues of the day, whether it be another police murder, an Imperialist provocation against Venezuela, an atrocity by Zionists against Palestinians, or a closing down of another factory. Sometimes we may not have “wait” for a demonstration to do this but can mobilize for distribution in a strategic area.
Tabling, and Street Sales:
Tabling: When the PCUSA is at an event focusing on a demonstration Comrades should have a table with our literature inclusive of the Worker, Labor Today, MPD, U.S. Friends of the Soviet People, books, pamphlets, leaflets, and voter registration forms. There should be at least two comrades manning the table.
Street sales: Comrades should distribute the Worker at mass events or an event sponsored by PCUSA, and if appropriate to the circumstances, a literature table.
PCUSA District and Clubs should strive to have an event at least once per month where a film, speaker, or panel discussion may be held. This is the ideal situation to present who we are and what we are about.
In conclusion, organizing our printed material for dissemination is essentially propaganda and agitation that can stimulate discussion as well as political activity that is closely linked with recruiting to the PCUSA.
Statements and Documents
- Communist Manifesto
- PCUSA International Department Bulletin #2
- Strategy & Tactics of the Comintern 1928
- What is the Red International of Labor Unions
- What kind of school do we need today - KNE
- Lenin and the Trade Union Movement