William Gallacher

Communists in Industry

Source: The Communist, September 10, 1921.
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

WHILE it is obvious to any serious student of social development that Capitalism is in the process of decay, still we cannot afford to lie hack and await its final collapse, and then to the sound of trumpets march into proletarian possession.

The swifter the drift towards economic, political and moral, bankruptcy becomes, the more brutal will be the conduct of the possessing class in their effort to retain their position of privilege and power.

Fully aware of this, his mind clear of foolish delusions about peacefully persuading the bourgeois to give up possession, the true revolutionary sees before him the task of capturing or undermining every strategic position held by the enemy, against the time when the revolutionary crisis will bring the workers into deadly conflict with their age-long exploiters.

It is the recognition, and pursuance of this continual struggle for power that distinguishes the Communist Party (the organised revolutionaries) from the reformists and Parliamentarians of all other parties, who believe that by capturing one of the minor outposts that they will have capitalism at their mercy.

The intensification of the class war will sooner or later flatten out this fallacy, and leave the a present misleaders of labour stranded, with no other choice but to drift into the backwater of reaction or take the plunge into the stormy waters of revolutionary action. In the meantime there is work for every member of the Communist Party. Work that must not be neglected if we are to prove ourselves worthy of the great cause we espouse. There is no room in the movement for passive members, every one must be active and his, or her, activity must be directed in such a way as to bring the Party and its policy more and more into favour with the masses of the workers.

No members can be better placed to do this than those who are employed in the large industrial concern of the country, capitalism’s greatest stronghold.

There, if anywhere, we most make progress. If we can’t get the workers to act together in the workshops, it will be a very hopeless task trying to get them together outside of them.

Unity in the workshop, the linking up of the different departments, through a workers’ committee that will represent every worker employed in the plant, drawing no distinction between one group of workers and another, will prove the most effective method of combating the bureaucratic officials who thrive on the sectionalism that at present plays such havoc with the workers. In order to obtain such unity it is absolutely essential to have a Communist group in every industry that will act as a centre of attraction for the general body of the workers. Branches everywhere should appoint sub-committees for the purpose of dealing with industrial affairs, and ensuring that wherever possible industrial groups are formed and assisted in every possible way in their work of organising the masses within the workshop.

This, however, the question of method and the relationship of the workshop organisation to the Communist Party, will be dealt with and finally settled at the conference being arranged between the Communist Party E.C. and the National Administrative Council of the Workers’ Committee. What we must concern ourselves with in the conduct of group or individual Communists in relation to the fellow-workers.

For conduct is of a far greater importance than professions of faith. The Communist who affects a superior air, and remains content with looking on while the non-class-conscious workers painfully struggle with problems they do not understand, will not be of much service to the Communist Party. The sincere Communist will at all times place his services at the disposal of the mass, taking his place as one of them, ready at all times to subordinate his own personality when the requirements of the workers struggle demand it.

In working up influence in the industry there in nothing sensational or exciting. It is something entirely different from political propaganda. It means hard work—very hard work, and very often it seems as though no return would ever appear. But whenever there is trouble of any kind, those who are affected will turn to the Communists for advice or assistance. If they don’t, there is something wrong with the Communists. After their trouble has been got over, they will turn back again to their old pursuits, and it will seem as though the service rendered had been entirely forgotten. Many workers have been disheartened in the past by these continual lapses, from keen interest in their own affairs into hopeless apathy, that are so much a feature of working-class life, but the Communist must persevere.

It is only when a crisis comes, when serious trouble faces them and all other organisations have failed them, that the working masses of the country will turn to the Communist Party, the revolutionary vanguard of the working-class, recognising in it the only organisation that can successfully combat capitalism and carry them through the conflict to victory and emancipation. In like manner it is only when there is trouble in the workshop that the workers will give any attention to the Communist group. Just as the Party would be playing traitor to its mission if it failed at any time to render service to the workers nationally, when such service, was required, so is the individual or group within the workshop playing traitor to the cause if they do not at all times hold themselves in readiness to advise or help those who are associated with them in the industry, no matter whether the trouble be of great or little importance.

This is the important lesson every Communist must keep ever in his mind. Service only can bring strength and influence to the revolutionary, or the organised body of revolutionaries.

The Party is out to serve the workers, and in so far as it succeeds will merit, and obtain, their support. Many members spend their time criticising the Party or the Party Executive and give the impression from their criticism that the Party is something apart altogether, from the individuals who make up the Party.

Before finding fault with others, ask yourself if you are playing your part as a revolutionary conscious of the task that lies before the Party to which you belong. Have you gained the respect and trust of those workers with whom you come into contact daily? Do they turn to you in their time of trouble with the foreknowledge that yon can be relied upon to spend yourself in their behalf?

If not, if the individual members or groups with whom the workers are in continual touch have failed to inspire them with respect, how can it be expected that they will ever look to the Party?

Back to the masses is the slogan for the Communists. Back to the masses is what is wanted. But let us see to it that we go back to the masses with a full realisation of the task that lies before us.

The industries must be captured, and they will be captured for Communism, if the Communists will organise and become the trusted representatives of the toiling masses.