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Philadelphia Workers' Organizing Committee publications


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Philadelphia Workers' Organizing Committee (PWOC) was a local anti-revisionist and anti-dogmatist New Communist group founded in 1971 by Marxist-Leninists.The creation of the PWOC was part of the broader New Left political movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which saw the establishment of other forms of Marxism and Marxism-Leninism, such as the New Communist movement. Focusing on trade unions, the group emphasized both Communist theory and practice and also called for the establishment of a new Communist party, denouncing the CPUSA for departing from revolutionary tactics and instead opting for parliamentary procedures to defeat capitalism. In 1975, the group began to publish a monthly newspaper called The Organizer, which covered both local and international affairs in relation to the Communist movement and Marxist-Leninist theory. The PWOC played a crucial role in the establishment of the Committee of Five, which included El Comite, Detroit Marxist-Leninist Organization, the Socialist Union of Baltimore, and the Potomac Socialist Organization. In February 1978, the PWOC, Socialist Union of Baltimore, Potomac Socialist Organization and the Detroit Marxist-Leninist Organization, and other smaller collectives, met in Detroit and founded the Organizing Committee for an Ideological Center with PWOC leader Clay Newlin as its chair. Like many local Communist groups, the PWOC met with backlash from both members and other collectives. For instance, the Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee (MLOC) denounced the Black Liberation Today paper for arguing against self-determination of the Black Nation, declaring that the PWOC were chauvinist, imperialist, and revisionist. Ultimately succumbing to internecine fighting, especially regarding debates around racism, the PWOC dissolved by 1982.

This collection includes five publications by the Philadelphia Workers' Organizing Committee. Included in this collection are the following newspapers, which were published collaboratively with Oakland's Marxist-Leninist publisher, Inkworks Press: Reprints from The Organizer #1, Second Edition, Party Building: Against Revisionism and Dogmatism, Reprints from The Organizer #2: On Trade Unions and the Rank and File Movement Reprints from The Organizer #3: Independent Political Action: a Marxist Leninist Perspective The PWOC published other position papers that were significantly heavier in Marxist theory compared to The Organizer, indicating that the newspaper was designed for a broader audience compared to other materials which may have been distributed amongst Communist members. The collection holds the following: Black Liberation Today, Against Dogmatism on the National Question Trade Union Question: A Communist Approach to Strategy, Tactics, and Program

Arranged by publication date if known

Purchased March 2023

Processed by Katherine Hong, completed April 2023

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Katherine Hong
Finding Aid Date
April, 2023
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

Box 3

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