Reds in America - Richard M. Whitney

Relief Drives: The Agrarian Program

Millions of American dollars have been poured into Russia, ostensibly for the relief of famine sufferers. It is now known that little of this money, except such as was sent through the channels of the American Relief Administration, the official organization directed by Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce in the Cabinet of President Harding, was used primarily to aid the famine sufferers. It went first to the Communist Soviet Government in Moscow where its disposition was determined. There was the Red Army to feed, clothe and equip; and the multitude of officials in Moscow to be cared for. It is known that occasionally some of the American-contributed funds went to famine relief, but it is also known that much of it never reached any famine sufferer.

One of the most pretentious "drives", which was intended to secure thirty million dollars for the Russian Communists, was that launched in 1922 by Captain Paxton Hibben, acting for the Russian Red Cross, an integral part of the Soviet Government in Moscow. This "drive" was directly under the supervision of the Soviet regime. Captain Hibben is a Princeton graduate, received a Master's degree at Harvard, and studied law for a year at the same University. He is an ex-diplomat, ex-soldier, is a member of various clubs, and has connections which enable him to enter the homes of many loyal American citizens. His plea was based upon the suffering of the children of Russia, and appealed to the well-known generosity of Americans toward people in dire distress.

Capt. Hibben came to New York from Moscow where he had perfected his plans for this great relief drive with the Soviet authorities. The American people, Capt. Hibben knew, could not close their ears to an appeal to save innocent children from starving. The American Relief Administration, which was, as has been said, the only organization through which relief could be sent directly to the famine areas without giving the Soviet authorities an opportunity to take as much as might be needed to keep the Red Army well supplied and to satisfy the needs of numberless Soviet officials, was utterly ignored in Capt. Hibben's scheme to raise funds and supplies to be distributed under the supervision of the red Moscow authorities. Capt. Hibben, besides being Chairman of the American Committee for Relief of Russian children, was secretary of the mission in America of the Russian Red Cross, which, as was shown in a previous chapter, is a part of the Soviet government in Moscow both by its own by-laws and by the laws of the Communist regime now in control of Russia.

Captain Hibben was employed by the Russian Red Cross in March, 1922, taking the place of V. V. Chikoff as secretary of that organization. In a circular widely distributed by the Friends of Soviet Russia, with which he later became officially connected, Hibben is quoted in praising the present government of Russia, saying that they "have fought the good fight". A part of this statement of Hibben's reads as follows:

"What I am interested in, and what we are all interested in, I take it, is those people over there who have fought the good fight; who have existed for four years in the face of an enemy world . . . I don't want to see them lose that fight for lack of food of which you and I have plenty. . . and if millions of workers all over this country want to take up the job of feeding the starving of Russia, when the supplies of the American Relief Administration are exhausted, as workers, to help the workers of the only Government of workers, by workers, for workers in the world, it is nobody's business to interfere."

This would indicate that Hibben suspicioned that the supplies furnished through the Friends of Soviet Russia and through the Russian Red Cross were going first to the Soviet authorities so that they might not "lose that fight for the lack of food," although what was left might find its way eventually to the famine sufferers. And he intimated in this statement that the American Relief Administration, under the direction of Secretary Hoover, was about to cease its actual work of feeding the real sufferers in the famine districts of Russia. Naturally, if the Hoover organization ceased functioning there would be a better chance for the Soviet organization with which Hibben was connected to raise funds in this country.

On July 1, 1922, Hibben sailed for Berlin on the steamship Homeric to be present as a delegate from the Russian Red Cross in America to the International Convention of the International Workers' Famine Relief Committee which was to open July 9 and which was convened at the initiative of the Supreme Central Executive Committee for Famine Relief. It was called by the foreign representative of this committee, Nicholas Krestinsky, former plenipotentiary representative of the Soviet Government in Germany. But Hibben arrived in Berlin too late for this convention. He did, however, have a number of talks with Tchitcherin and made the statement that he had conveyed information between Tchitcherin and L.C.A.K. Martens, the Bolshevist "ambassador" to the United States whose activities in aid of the Communist party of America led to his departure. On July 19, Hibben left Berlin for Moscow, where he said he was to act as a representative of the Society of American Relief for the Children of Russia, of which he was a director, and where he achieved much publicity.

Hibben's work was fulsomely praised in the Moscow Izvestia, the Soviet official organ, of August 11, 1922, which printed an interview with him in which he said that the American Relief Administration would drop its work in Russia and then relief would all have to be done through the Russian Red Cross. He also spoke of his relations with Dr. David H. Dubrowsky whose activities here in behalf of the Communists have already been told. He mentioned the fact that there were in Moscow at that time four members of the national committee of the American Committee of Relief for Russian Children, Rev. John Haynes Holmes, Frank P. Walsh, Dr. M. Michailovsky, and John G. Ohsol. The records of Holmes, Michailovsky and Ohsol in activities connected with the Communist regime have been told in previous chapters. Frank P. Walsh returned from Moscow by way of Montreal and immediately launched a campaign of bitter criticism against the United States Government for failure to recognize the present Russian Government, and spread propaganda as to the wonderful progress made in that country under the Communist regime. He later became chief counsel for the Bridgman conspirators at an enormous fee. The Izvestia article says in part;

"In our interview with Captain Hibben he declared that Americans are very much interested in the welfare of Russian children, and that children who became orphans in consequence of the war and famine can count on thousands of friends in the United States who will help them through the American Committee of Relief for Russian Children, which is now under the charge of Mary Lena Wilson. The activities of the American Relief Administration developed to such a degree that many people forget the existence of other organizations in America and other countries which also carry on famine relief work in the Volga region."

Then, quoting Hibben, it says:

"The Russian Red Cross deserves all praise for its remarkable work done with the perfectly insignificant sum at its disposal, getting the public of foreign countries interested in the relief of Russian sufferers. The American Relief Administration will, sooner or later, stop activities in Russia and will leave the country. But the work of the Russian Red Cross, of course, will continue and try to cure the wounds of the Russian people caused by the famine and the blockade. . . . During the period October, 1921, to June, 1922, the Russian Red Cross in America shipped food supplies, clothing and medicine worth $342,895 which were contributed in the United States and Canada. The collection of money and other kinds of distribution is still going on. I have just received a cablegram from Dr. Dubrowsky, who is head of the Russian Red Cross in America and is just back from a trip to Mexico; his cablegram says that Mexico shipped 10,000 sacks of corn and 5,000 sacks of rice and a shipment of medicine to the Russian Red Cross to be distributed among the starving. This shipment is the second one from Mexico as a result of Dr. Dubrowsky's efforts."

It will be interesting to note here by way of parenthesis that the Mexican officials had no illusions as to the disposition of these shipments. They were admittedly for the Red Army of Russia because, as E. Plutarcho Calles, premier in the Mexican cabinet, said: "We are working toward the same end," viz., the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, and that Russia had the better opportunity because she did not have the United States hanging over her head like the Damoclean sword. These are almost, if not quite, the exact words of Calles to Dubrowsky. The references to the "Damoclean sword" is Calles's picture to the Russian emissary.

Hibben's praise of the Russian Red Cross in America, of which he was at the time secretary, in "getting the public of foreign countries interested," has a double significance; for it is a part of the work of all agencies of the Soviet Government, as officially prescribed, to disseminate Communist propaganda on all possible occasions. Hibben went on, in the Izvestia interview, to describe a new plan for subtle propaganda by means of "Red Cross" shops to be established in the United States to show how industrious the Russian people are under the Communist rule and at the same time to raise money for the Soviet relief movement. He is quoted as saying:

"In the United States the Russian Red Cross intends to maintain its own existence quite independently and not to spend for administration a single copek out of the amount collected for famine relief in Russia. Necessary means for the realization of this intention will be given by a long row of Red Cross shops in important cities of the United States in which home made articles will be sold for the benefit of the orphans, victims of war and famine in Russia. This enterprise will be not only a new source of funds for relief work but will give to Russian home industry a new market, for through these shops America will be given an opportunity to get acquainted with articles made under such circumstances. Right now I am dealing with the President of the Centroyuz (the Central Executive Committee of the Russian Soviet), Comrade Khinchuck, about methods to realize this plan in fact. WE ALSO ARE ANXIOUS TO ARRANGE A TRIP OF RUSSIAN DRAMATICAL ACTORS TO THE UNITED STATES, TOGETHER WITH MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS, who will under the auspices of the Russian Red Cross help to collect means for the relief of Russia AND AT THE SAME TIME WILL PROVE TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THE HIGH STANDARD OF RUSSIAN ART REACHED DURING A TIME OF REVOLUTION."

It is interesting to note that there are constantly offered for sale in this country by the Friends of Soviet Russia, literature and supplies to raise money for Russian relief. On circulars the public is urged to "buy books, pamphlets, pictures, postals, leaflets, posters," and the order blank on which this appeal is made lists busts of Lenin for $3 and of Trotsky for $2, which are said to be replicas of the work of Claire Sheridan. Books like "Communism and Christianity," by Bishop William Montgomery Brown, are also offered for sale in this appeal, as well as writings of John Reed, Albert Rhys Williams and Isaac McBride. Communist magazines and Red buttons are on the same list.

Hibben's activities in behalf of Soviet Russia make it interesting to note that his experience has been vast and varied. His brilliance of mind has never been questioned. His scholarship, while at college, qualified him for Phi Beta Kappa, but he was not admitted. During the war in Europe his anti-British and pro-German sentiments made it seem advisable that he be not used for certain purposes in France. The authorities have documents showing that he was a paid propagandist for the Greek Royalists before the United States entered the war.

He has frequently referred slightingly to the United States Government and criticised it severely for its stand in regard to Communist Russia, this at a time when that same Russian Government was directly using every means at its command to effect the overthrow of the United States by armed rebellion. Hibben had a troublous career while he was in the diplomatic service of the United States, which covered practically seven years in Russia, Mexico, Colombia, Holland, Luxemburg and Chile.

Hibben has stated that he was always "passionately French" in his sympathies but that did not prevent him from challenging a French correspondent to a duel in Athens on one occasion early in the European War when a Frenchman made a scene in a hotel room where Hibben was entertaining a German correspondent and his wife at luncheon. The duel was fought with no injuries on either side. He was a great admirer of John Reed, the brilliant Harvard anarchist, later a Communist, and whose spectacular career was cut short by his death in Moscow. A year after Reed's death Hibben was in Moscow, and in October, 1921, he was photographed placing a wreath on Reed's grave. Reed's widow, Mrs. Louise Bryant, was later associated with Hibben in his pro-Russian work.

Through his connection with the Russian Red Cross, Hibben's plan received the endorsement of the Friends of Soviet Russia and the Workers' party, both Communist "legal" branches. It is interesting here to note that the latter organization was in desperate straits because of the raid at Bridgman, Michigan, in August, 1922, when William F. Dunne, the party's candidate for the governorship of New York, was arrested with a number of other Worker's party men for attendance at the illegal convention. Official orders issued by C.E. Ruthenberg, Executive Secretary of the Workers' party of America, called for immediate and effective aid from all members of the party because "we are in the midst of a great campaign of self-defence." He urged all foreign-born to become citizens, "not for patriotic reasons but in order to draw them into the political life of the United States." These official orders were sent out from the "national office" on September 14, and announced that a Labor Defense Council would be organized at once and that it was necessary to raise "tens of thousands of dollars".

Frank P. Walsh was retained and conducted the defense of the Bridgman prisoners. Robert M. Buck, editor of New Majority, official organ of the Chicago Federation of Labor, was chairman of the Labor Defense Council just referred to, and Sam T. Hammersmark, one of William Z. Foster's right-hand men who was active in the steel strike and the recent convention of the Trade Union Educational League, was secretary-treasurer of the newly formed organization. The appeal was addressed to "District Organizers, Federation Secretaries, Local Secretaries, District Executive Committees, Federation Executive Committees and Local Executive Committees," and read:

"Comrades: For your guidance the following statement of our policy and immediate plan of action has been formulated by the Central Executive Committee.

"We are in the midst of a great campaign of self-defense by the working masses against the ruthless capitalist offensive and the Central Executive Committee instructs all party units to put the following into action.

  1. "Today our major campaign is to be directed against Governmental authorities who are attacking us rather than against the yellow socialists and trade union bureaucrats. The immediate struggles of the workers are becoming more tense and taking on wider scope. We must develop to the highest point the resistance of the workers to the brutal attacks of governmental authorities on the fundamental rights of the workers. The situation necessitates our following a policy which will draw into the conflict the great mass of the workers regardless of political differences.
  2. "We must energetically propagate the idea among the workers that the onslaught on the Communists and militants is a part of the attack launched against the working-class. Our activities in the strikes are the basis for this attack.
  3. "Our main slogans in this campaign should be 'Workers, Fight For Unrestricted Right to Organize, Strike and Picket. Defend These Rights By means of All the Political and Industrial Power at Your Command.' Our members must urge the workers to disobey the Strike Injunction and to carry on the strike in defiance of the injunction. Our rallying cries are:

        'Down with Government by Injunctions!'

        'Down with the usurped power of the courts!'

        'Down with the use of armed force against the workers!'
  4. "It is our task to organize the workers to demand and to attempt to take the rights of the much vaunted American democracy. The Communists and all militant workers are part of the working class, therefore, the Communists and all militants must also have the unrestricted right of free speech, press and assemblage.
  5. "We must fight energetically to secure for all the foreign-born workers equal civil and economic rights. We must wage an intensive campaign for removing restrictions on citizenship and against the anti-alien laws. We must demand that the foreign-born workers have unrestricted right to work. We must work diligently for the development of the solidarity of the native and foreign-born workers. The party must make the following organization steps toward carrying out this program of agitation and action.

        "Our Federations should wage a vigorous campaign to have the foreign-born workers become citizens. Not for patriotic reasons but to draw them into the political life of the United States.

        "Our Federations should wage a vigorous campaign to have the foreign-born workers join the labor unions.
  6. "We must persistently propagate the idea in the unions and among the workers generally of independent political action by the workers and the need of a working-class political party.

"Fraternally yours,

Executive Secretary."

That the raid of the Michigan authorities on the illegal, underground convention of the Communist party of America at Bridgman upset the plans of the Workers' party as well as those of the Communists, was evident from another appeal, also sent out by Ruthenberg on September 14, 1922. It was difficult to conduct a political campaign when the party's candidates were under arrest for conspiracy to overthrow the Government by armed force; and in this case the head of the principal ticket, that of New York State, was caught at Bridgman. William F. Dunne, candidate for governor of New York on the Workers' ticket, could hardly appeal for any votes outside his traitorous party while in jail or out on bail facing such a charge. This second appeal was addressed "To All Branches, District Organizers and Federation Secretaries," and read as follows:

"Comrades: The National Convention of the party, which was to have been held in Chicago, August 28th, will be held in New York City beginning on December 25th.

"The immediate reason for the postponement of the convention was, as you know, the arrest of the executive secretary, a number of district organizers and other party workers as part of the campaign of terrorism which the capitalists are waging against the workers in connection with the great strike battles which have shaken the country during recent months.

"The first decision was to postpone the National Convention for two weeks, in the hope that those suffering under the persecution of the ruling class could be quickly released and take their places in the ranks of the party.

"The party, however, finds itself face to face with this situation:

"During the next month or two we must mobilize all our forces for defense work. We must raise tens of thousands of dollars for bail so that all our comrades can be freed and carry on their party work during the period in which their cases are pending. Only six weeks remain before the November elections. We must nominate candidates and carry on campaigns wherever possible.

"The present industrial struggles will be over by December, the lessons of this struggle will be clear and we will be able to base our new policies upon the developments which this struggle has brought to the American labor movement. The period from now on to December will be a period of preparation. The convention must and will be a greater demonstration of strength to our party. Details about the convention such as agents, delegations, finances, etc., will be forwarded later.

"Let us take up immediate tasks of the party with enthusiasm and courage. Let us build more strongly than ever during the coming months, and make the December convention a demonstration of the power of our movement.

"Fraternally yours,

"C. E. Ruthenberg,
"Executive Secretary."

Details of the plans for the Labor Defense Council were also announced on the same date by Ruthenberg. This announcement stated that the Central Executive Committee of the Workers' party initiated this plan and would carry out the work, hut city central committees and branches were instructed to organize local labor defence councils, to function under the national organization, and to invite other working class organizations to send delegates to the local councils. But in order that it might appear to be a spontaneous movement of all workers, instead of a carefully engineered scheme by the Communistic Workers' party, the organizers were cautioned to send these invitations "in the name of the provisional committee as a provisional committee of the Labor Defence Council and NOT [capitals are Ruthenberg's] in the name of the Workers' party." The instructions specified:

"The local Defence Council should at once begin a compaign of agitation and money raising. It should hold public meetings, send speakers to the unions, have resolutions introduced in the unions and in every way possible stir up the workers to the need of a united stand against the capitalist attack."

A part of the plans of the drive of Captain Hibben for funds and supplies was directed at the small farmer and farm workers, who are already being assiduously cultivated by the Communist party of America. Captain Hibben's idea was that the farmers had excellent crops, but a poor market, in 1922, and that, therefore, they would be ready to contribute out of their surplus products to feed the Russians. This appeal was started by the Communist-controlled 'Friends of Soviet Russia' and with the launching of the new drive by the Hibben organization the small farmers and their hired help were flooded with carefully prepared propaganda designed to appeal to their hearts for suffering humanity and at the same time convey to them unsound ideas regarding "capitalist" society.

The Communist party's agrarian program which is now being put into effect throughout the United States and which is admittedly a program which will require time and patience to carry out to its fulfilment, is one of the most cleverly prepared and thought-out programs thus far produced. In its preparation is shown surprising appreciation of the psychology, conditions and sympathies of the small farmer and farmhand. The program contains many pages of carefully prepared statistics, maps and charts, showing "population-distribution," "jobs of those engaged in agriculture," "farm wages and farm income," "farms and farm tenure," "comparison of East and West," "crops—production, distribution, consumption," "the agricultural press," "farmers' organizations in the United States," "the negro farmer," "farm propaganda," etc.; maps showing yields, in million bushels, of corn, wheat and oats; primary markets, export markets, cotton area; farm organizations and agrarian press circulation.

Following out the program of the Communist party of America students have been "planted" in various agricultural schools in the country, whose duty is to become proficient as farm laborers primarily. They are also supposed to inculcate as much of the Communist doctrine in their fellow students as may he done without creating trouble; but that is not their first duty as students. After having been prepared at the agricultural schools these students are sent to various parts of the country as county agents to seek employment as farm hands, which is easily found, owing to the shortage of farm labor in these days. Then their real work for the party begins. They are organizers and propagandists, first, last and all the time. They form nuclei wherever they are two or three companions being enough at any one place. This movement, according to the plans of the Communists, will have the ground prepared by the time the great general strike comes and the Communists themselves will be able to supply the necessary food for the fighters on the side of the proletariat.

Notes among the pages of the statistics contain such sentences as these:

"The concentration of industry in the Eastern half of the United States makes a comparison from an agrarian point of view important because it seems to me the city proletariat will approach revolt more rapidly where concentrated and would, therefore, become more dependent upon the immediate farms than upon those at great distances."

"True proletarian organizations among farm laborers are possible in a limited way only where large numbers of workers are employed together as they are during harvest in the wheat and fruit lands of the West. These harvest workers are entirely distinct in type from the great mass of farm laborers. The 'harvest staff' migrates from farm to farm with numbers of his fellows specializing in only one farm operation. He comes from the city and drifts back to it for the winter. He is more nearly of the city. The farm laborer is an all-round farmer. His point of view is more like that of his employer; he is paid by the month, eats with the boss, and he is isolated from other workers. All these combined make wide-spread organizations among this strata of the agrarian population impracticable if not impossible under a system of capitalist agriculture."

The program opens with a division of the United States into sections in which the Communists are working. This portion of the program reads:

"The American problem is not composite; it consists of several distinct problems. This is true because of the differences in historical backgrounds and developments which have followed separate courses, determined mainly by geographical conditions.

"The United States should be divided into four geographical divisions . . . and each section studied separately. First, its reaction to the common capitalist pressure. Second, the particular policy and programs which will reach the individual farmers peculiar to that section—teach him that in resisting capitalist exploitation his interests join those of the city proletariat.

"Studied from the point of view of the Proletarian Revolution the following chapters of statistical references will show that four geographical sections have a relative importance as agrarian units of the problem.

"Least in importance is the West. It is the Siberia of America. This great area, thinly populated, thousands of miles from the great industrial centers of the country, is too remote to figure decisively in an Industrial Proletarian Revolution.

"Next in importance comes the New England section. Agriculturally it is not self-supporting. It imports 75 percent of its food supplies, but this section is important above the West as a unit in the agrarian problem because New England farms adjoin the great industrial section of the country.

"The South ranks above the West and New England for two reasons; first, it is distinctly an agricultural community, whose markets are within easy reach of the great industrial centers; and second, because it involves race problems. Some of the state populations in this section are half negroes. These descendants of the slaves and the poorer whites are competing for the crusts under the lash of the Landlord System.

"This competition has sharpened the race antagonism between those members of the same exploited class, whether skilled or unskilled laborers or farmers.

"This condition must be considered in ths program for Southern farmers. It holds a menace to the proletarian revolution which will be seized by the bourgeoisie.

"Above all the rest comes the great producing empire stretching from the middle Atlantic and including the Middle West, producing more food per man than any other country in the world. Here industry is concentrated. Here the city proletariat and agrarian are but a few hours apart. This section must be won over to the side of the city proletarian. All others are secondary to the vital importance of this section as a factor in the success of the proletarian revolution."

It is explained that the statistical material used in preparing this report containing the "agrarian program" has been compiled from the latest available sources, Government, state and corporation figures being used. After many pages of interesting statistics the report takes up the question of farm propaganda of different radical organizations, as follows:

"The Non-Partisan League is an organization of farmers in the West North Central States. They have gained control of the State government of North Dakota and several State offices in other States; also congressional representatives from North Dakota. . .

"Their propaganda teaches the farmer to 'Fight the Capitalist' but is spoiled by holding the Non-Partisan League legislative program as the cure-all. The following is quoted from a summary of a history of the League which was issued recently by them:

"'It is a typically American institution dedicated to the principle that the people should rule and that the ballot offers the remedy for economic and political wrongs.'

"As a matter of fact, the actions of the Non-Partisan League are more direct than their policies indicate. There is a Left and Right struggle within the League at present. Connections with the Left elements should be made and they should continue inside the organization. Some of their farm papers have a wide circulation; if controlled they could reach out into more important agricultural sections.

"The I.W.W. has based its farm propaganda on the mistaken assumption that agrarian conditions in the wheat States are typical; that the migratory 'harvest stiff' is the typical farm laborer.

"In the most developed regions the same relations prevail upon the farms as are found in other industries. . . . The farm hand has become a migratory laborer, possessing all the characteristics of his industrial brother.

"As the migratory workers specialize in only one farm operation, spend only a portion of their time on the farms and drift back to the cities in the winter, it seems obvious that they are not typically farm laborers.

"The Socialist party farm propaganda was concerned principally in getting votes. Some of their leaflets were unscientific enough to use modern methods and machinery as a warning;

"'Mr. Farmer: The great machine is invading your field of labor. The combine is coming your way. With it comes the big machine drawing thirty-two ploughs with its seeder and harrower, the steam harvester and thresher of the capitalists. With them are leagued the railroads and the mills. In a few more years the capitalists will have you hunting a job as a day laborer because you cannot compete with the corporation which combines capital, the land, the railroads, mills, elevators and farm machinery that does the work of forty horses and eighty men at the same time.'

"Combined farming should not be used as a bugbear; it is a desired end. Neither should the level farms of the Middle West where thirty gang-ploughs can be used be looked upon as typical. A thirty-gang outfit could hardly turn around in the average farm field. On the other hand, the 'steam thresher of the capitalists' which they mention is universally used wherever cereals are grown; operated generally by a neighborhood farmer as a side line. Farm propaganda should at least be edited by farmers."

Particularly interesting in this report is "an outline of policy" which was adopted and is now being followed out by the agents and the Communist party under direction from the agrarian section of the party. It reads as follows:

  1. Emphasize the necessity for work among the largest element of the agrarian mass—the small farmers.
  2. Use the common interest in the struggle against capitalism which exists between the small farmer and the proletariat as a wedge to separate them as a class from the capitalist and petty capitalist elements.
  3. Use the farm organizations of the small fanners as a field for propaganda, teaching them to strike rather than arbitrate.
  4. Organize the agrarian proletariat wherever possible to further the work of preparation and separation of the agrarian elements.
  5. Recognize the literal necessity for the city proletariat to give up some of its members to agrarian work.

"I believe that proletarians in any occupation will react uniformly to a proletarian revolution. That is, they will support the interests of their class. Therefore, the agrarian proletariat can be expected to support the revolution of the city proletariat.

"An agrarian policy must recognize, however, that conditions today prevent the organization of the true farm proletariat. Nothing short of revolution will bring them together as a class.

"The policy must be directed to a preparation of the ground by propaganda to clarify the interests of the several strata within the agrarian population.

"When the city proletariat overthrow the bourgeoisie, the agrarian population should begin a gradual process of reorganization; first, the true farm proletariat must be organized into Soviets; this will be strengthened by later addition of the more oppressed semi-proletarians: gradually the small farmers will begin to drift over until only those are left whose interests are directly opposed to the proletariat.

"This process will be completed rapidly and without friction only if the agrarian policy during the pre-revolutionary stages is directed mainly to work among that element which makes up more than sixty percent of the total farm population—the small farmer.

"The proletarian and semi-proletarian elements in the farm population are comparatively small. No practical agrarian policy can direct itself to these small unorganized elements as its dominant purpose. These elements will of necessity support the proletarian revolution.

"On the contrary, a practical policy must be dominated by the purpose to guide the largest exploited elements of the agrarian—the small farmers. These are organized; and their organizations are formed to resist capitalist pressure. These farmers must be taught the direct issue between themselves as a class and the bourgeoisie.

"While their interests are not entirely those of the proletarian class, in so far as they are the same they must be united with the proletarian.

"From a revolutionary point of view it must be recognized that as a whole the farm population is generations behind. The overthrow of the bourgeoisie will bring the agrarians in one jump to the necessity of considering the reorganization of the very basis of their existence, that is, the small farm unit—a farm operated by the farm family and one farm laborer. The combination of these farm units is a development which will follow the revolution; will come, as it should, gradually as a result of the separation of the agrarian population according to their class interests. Wherever big farms exist the confiscation of these lands by the farm proletariat for the state must be the first step.

"The organization of agriculture should be much more rapid in America than in any other country, because of the wide-spread knowledge of the advantages of modern machinery applied to the efficient unit of acres.

"Communism cannot be preached to this small farmer element before the revolution; and only by demonstration after the revolution. But whatever unity of interest exists with the proletarian must be taught; and the use of economic weapons such as food strikes be advocated in their organizations as the only effective means to gain anything from the bourgeoisie.

"This policy will be effective only when well-grounded Communists can be spared from the ranks of the city proletariat actually to live and work among the farmers."

The program now in effect called for a budget of $35,000. It included as outlined in this report, the organization of a "legal Agrarian Bureau"; buying or establishing a farm weekly paper; training of county agents; an inventory of all radicals in the agrarian population; and regular conferences of agrarian leaders. In elaborating the subject of training of county agents, the report says:

"Believing that it is easier to make farmers than to make Communists, well-grounded young Communists who are physically strong and understand the situation they volunteer to enter, should begin training at once. Training will consist of four months intensive practical work on special farms under the direction of the bureau. This will be followed by a winter's course in a scientific agricultural college. After this the county agent will be placed in an important agricultural section. He then becomes the outpost in three lines of work: distribution of propaganda, source of information, agrarian party organizer."

It was decided to start ten young men at once on this course of training. They must he self-supporting until they enter their scientific training in college, and $300 each was allotted for this college work. It is interesting to know that the "intensive practical work" is now being done on one farm in Connecticut, one in the South and others in the Middle West.