the CPUSA; (2) the emergence of the CPUSA from an
illegal to a legal status and the combination of legal and
illegal activity; (3) policies in the American labor movement; (4) proposal for an independent Negro republic in
the South; (5) activity among the unemployed; (6) the
choice of leaders for the American party.
Since the present is a period in which tbe exigencies
of Soviet policy require that its American Communist
henchmen maintain an attitude of active hostility toward
the American government, since it has been only a short
time since American lives were actually being lost in
combat against Communist military forces, and since the
government, in self-protection, has been compelled to
adopt suitable restrictive measures, the Communist Party,
USA, has more and more resorted to underground methods. The party does not wait until the police crack down
on its members and organizations before it initiates precautionary measures.
Writing in the Communist International as early as
September 1, 1931, B. Vassiliev, a Russian specialist on
party organization, called upon all Communist parties to
safeguard themselves against "police terror." He declared
The question of an illegal organization must now receive the
closest attention of all Communist Parties without exception
in capitalist countries ° 8 °
He called for the "formation of an illegal apparatus alongside the still-functioning legal Party apparatus." The application of this basic instruction means that while the Communist Party, USA, is still legal, it has already built up a
parallel illegal apparatus. Mr. Vassiliev further indicates
that this illegal apparatus is "to take over the functions of
the legal apparatus as this is liquidated as the result of
We are fortunate in having available the Vassiliev
directive which furnishes the basic pattern for Communist
conspirative procedure which would otherwise not be
available in such convenient form under present circumstances. Basing himself upon the conspiratorial experience
of the Russian Communist Party, he goes into some detail.
The first steps for forming an illegal party apparatus which
he recommends are as follows:
1. Securing, a building for storing the party archives.
Such archives are usually entrusted to veteran Party members and are invariably located outside of known Party
headquarters. They may be at the home or office of some
wealthy Party member or sympathizer located in surroundings calculated to avoid suspicion.
2. Establishment of one or more illegal printing plants
for the printing of party organs in the event of their closure. These would, of course, be supplemented by auxiliary
apparatus such as mimeographs, multigraphs, etc. In addition, the instructions call for the establishment of one or
more legal Party organs, usually appearing under some
other assumed auspices. New editors must be appointed in
advance to replace those facing possible arrest. In the
event of the suppression of the Party paper, a complete
apparatus is to be prepared for its appearance under a
new name. Funds are even to be prepared for the payment
of fines and other incidental expenses.
3. Establishment of an apparatus for distributing illegal Party literature.
4. Selection of a definite group of leading Party activists to pass into illegality. Tlie history of the Party shows
innumerable cases of leaders who have suddenly disappeared from public mention in tlie Party press for a time
simultaneous with their assignment to illegal activity. This
has been the case with J. Peters, Jacob Golos, Whittaker
Chambers, Earl Browder, Charles Krumbein, Emanuel
Josephson, George Mink, Philip Aronberg, Morris Childs,
and many others.
5. Preparation of addresses and houses for illegal correspondence, for secret sessions of the leading Party committees and for housing the illegal Party leaders and for
conferences at specified hours between them and Party
members who are still operating on a legal basis. In this
connection, the homes and offices of wealthy contacts often
serve as a convenient cover.
6. Training of a minimum number of Party members
in the techniques of underground work (running an illegU'
l>rinting plant, code work, the technique of personal and
written contacts, the defense and ]>rotection of the illegi"
Party apparatus, etc.). For this purpose trained Russian
instructors or Americans who have had training in Sovie'
conspiratorial schools are usually utilized.
To supplement these measures, Mr. Vassiliev give5
specific instructions for individual Party members and
organizers, which have particular force in the preset*]
1. No documents of an incriminating character are to
be kept at the legal premises of the Party, and all Party
members are to be warned regarding the keeping of secre'
or incriminating documents.
2. Certain selected Party leaders engaged in special
work of an illegal character are warned against visitiim tW
legal Party headquarters. Meetings of Party leaders A'e
not to be held at these locations.
3. In a period of semi or complete illegality, the Con1'
munist-front organizations and unions assume niaj"
importance as legal covers for Party members. MoreovW
Party members are instructed to penetrate even non-Piuflj
and anti-Party organizations in order to carry on the"!
activity. (In recent years, for example, there has be^U
accumulating evidence of Communist efforts to penetra'
both the Democratic and Republican Parties, chi>rC
organizations, conservative unions, etc.).
4. Above all, Communist activity in specific factor^
is to be carried on on a strictly conspiratorial basis. M<"'
bers engaged in this work are cautioned:
(a) To act in such a way as not to reveal the
Party membership. (Recently the Party was hi''1.
with a dilemma in this connection, having urged ■'
members to actively circulate the Stockholm p1'-1
appeal which automatically revealed the Comim1"1
(b) Meetings of factory groups must be '"'',,
strictest secrecy, with the possible exception of "
admission of reliable sympathizers at times.
(c) Real names are not to be used at meeting!
Vassiliev urges that "breaches of police resin
should first of all be organized in the factories inlorn1
and directly, by attracting the working masses into
struggle. ° ' °" In other words, the individual (:oiiiii"""j,
vvill not stick his neck out to provoke defiance of the Y\,
icy, but will work behind the scenes to induce the WOflJ
in his factory to do so and take the consequences, (''on1" I
nists consider every such "breach " as an evidence of
tber weakening of our democratic government. j
J. Peters, in his authoritative Communist Party "
Facts Forum News, June, l
by a P