In this manual on how to build a Leninist party, James P Cannon outlines the concepts and procedures that guide a revolutionary workers' party. Of particular interest is his explanation of democratic centralism. This concept was first fully elaborated by Lenin before the Russian revolution, but is now a topic of increasing debate and interest among today's revolutionary activists. Although dealing with profound and difficult matters, Cannon presents his arguements clearly and forcefully.
This book is also valuable as original source material on the American revolutionary movement. It forms part of the documentary record of an internal political fight that took place within the Socialist Workers Party in 1939-1940. Of "The Struggle for a Proletarian Party," the major essay in this book, Leon Trotsky wrote: "It is the writing of a genuine workers' leader. If the discussion had not produced more than this document, it would be justified."
The author, a participant in American radical politics since 1906, writes from his experience as a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and Deb's Socialist Party, and as a founder and leader of both the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party. His other books include The History of American Trotskyism, The First Ten Years of American Communism, Socialism on Trial, Notebook of an Agitator, Letters from Prison and Speeches for Socialism.