CP reaches for the cloud to talk to new members

BY:Joe Sims| November 3, 2016
CP reaches for the cloud to talk to new members


Over the last few years almost 5000 people have joined the Communist Party online – 4491 to be precise. Last Saturday the party conducted a day long phonathon to  encourage them to participate in the elections. The calls were organized in different locations around the country by cloud computing.

“What a surprise!” said John who was out walking his dog in Phoenix. John who joined recently had already voted and had been active in registering people to vote all over the state. He confirmed that Latinos in the state were registering in large numbers. “We’ve been at it several months and the response is fantastic.” he said.

Many if not most of the members live in small towns and cities across the country. Getting involved is a challenge. Justin who operates a forklift in a small town in Alabama was one such member. While planning to vote on November 8th, he wasn’t sure how else to get involved. He cut his political teeth while living in Washington state in a struggle sparked by a police murder of a young Latino. He reads the peoplesworld daily likes the articles and would like to see more Marxist analysis. All told he’s pretty happy with what he sees.

The Communist Party offers a few online opportunities for involvement for members who find themselves alone in unorganized areas.  There’s a “message and action of the week”  featuring a petition or phone call to a politician on a prominent political campaign; a peoplesworld labor story of the week focusing on an important working-class struggle, or an online class organized by the party’s education department.

A few hundred new members have participated in these online Marxist classes over the last year.

A few hundred new members have participated in these online Marxist classes over the last year.

Another member John, reached on Saturday, is a teacher in Massachusetts. John was also planning to vote on November 8th. Trump, he said scared the hell of him.

Members were also asked to pay dues and contribute a monthly sustainer. When able members sign up to have a $5, $10, $20 or another amount automatically deducted from their account.

Many of the new members are students. One, Alexander from Minnesota goes to school in South Dakota  is leading a group of fellow students to the DAPL protest at Standing Rock.

Some 14 party members from around the country participated in the phonathon made over 1000 calls. They found close to 100 people at home.

Not all the calls were positive. One member said though he had joined several years ago no one had ever reached out to him. “That doesn’t bode well,’ he complained before hanging up.

Another didn’t agree with the CPUSA electoral policy. “Trump and Clinton are basically the same” she said.

Franklin joined another left group. “I’ll check y’all out later” he said.

Consistently reaching out to new members have proven to be a problem. Some regard joining the Communist Party in the same way one becomes a Republican or Democrat: you simply sign up and vote. Not a few are surprised when they get a phone call.

Clubs and districts find such outreach challenging.  When a new member doesn’t respond to an email or phone call they often give up.

Rosanna Cambron, the CP’s new membership engagement coordinator, points out that it’s important to reach out to new members in the avenues they communicate on. “Many are on Facebook, some correspond on by text messaging. We’ve got to  go where they are,” she said.

We’ve got to  go where new members are that includes in how we communicate with them.

About 20 calls resulted in us taking the names off the lists, said, John Bachtell. “They had either changed their minds, been signed up as pranks, or were bad numbers. Not bad out of 100 good calls. We’ve got to do it again in a couple of months.”

That’s for sure: with over 5000 names there are several months of calls ahead.It’s so rewarding when you get a positive call.” said Tony Pecinovsky, the St. Louis party leader who set up the call.  “People are eager to hear from the Communist Party. The response was so positive. It made my day to know that our members – from all over the country – are playing a important role this election cycle.”



Comments (5)

Timothy Tarkelly | November 12, 2016 at 2:31 AM

I find this surprising. I joined a long time ago and have sent e-mails to several people and messages to the facebook page. I asked to be more involved and tried to connect with anyone. No response.

Jules Rensch | November 10, 2016 at 3:57 AM

On this day, two days after the Election…one thing screams at us….
“We Have Work To Do”
In solidarity, I am.

Jules Rensch | November 06, 2016 at 5:46 AM

Google Hangout is a most useful tool for “connecting” folks of like minds and attitudes….Susan Webb has conducted great discussions in the past….

Thomas Riggins | November 03, 2016 at 8:38 PM

There has to be more contact with isolated new members. We should try to hook them up with existing clubs and they can attend the club meetings by means of Skype, phone or some sort of computer link. They would have a regular club to be associated with and comrades to make friends with and political actions in which to participate. Logistics would have to be refined, but at least they would be integrated into the party in a much more formal way than phone calls every now and then.

    Gary Mueller | November 04, 2016 at 2:58 PM

    Exactly, I have been a member for less than a year and all attempts to communicate with the local party have been to no avail.

    i ended up contacting a wonderful lady in the Southern Ca branch, a delight to speak to and very articulate.
    I’m not looking for a boy scout situation with camp fire retreats and bake sales, but an acknowledgement that you know I and other new members exist would be appreciated.

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