Arguing, or organizing?

BY: Michelle Kern, Rossana Cambron And Dee Miles| November 17, 2017
Arguing, or organizing?
QI'm a young Communist, and I'm having a lot of trouble with arguments. How do I hold an argument with Conservatives?
AHi David,

Thanks for writing in, and for a good, practical question about how to engage in ideological struggle.

The short answer is, why are you arguing with conservatives?  What's your goal in having the conversation?  Remember that our objective, as communists, is to win people to our way of thinking--not to score points or show everyone how clever or how passionate we are.  Sometimes, right-wingers use arguments as traps, to bog you down and waste your time.  If the other person keeps moving the goalposts, or isn't talking with you in good faith, sometimes it's best to let it go.

Focus on people who are still on the fence, who haven't made up their mind yet. Have conversations that can bring them to your side.  Ask questions, listen to and engage with the answers, and don't be afraid to ask for a concrete commitment, like attending an event or signing a petition.

Most importantly, see this as a process. You will also learn from them, from your collective interactions, and from your reading and study how to help working class people understand their real interests.  This task is forever, so learn to enjoy it!

Image:  CPUSA organizer Tony Pecinovsky talks with residents of St. Louis.  Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Workers Education Society.

    Michelle Kern has worked as part-time faculty in the Bay Area as a ceramics teacher for seven years. She has lived and worked primarily in the East Bay in the arts, including work at the Richmond Art Center and helping to found the independent art gallery Cricket Engine in Oakland. She relocated back to her native Peninsula four years ago to be closer to work, and now is beginning art, activism and union activity here in Silicon Valley.

Comments (7)

Gavin ferguson | December 07, 2017 at 4:04 AM

so what is to be done with conservatives?

    Scott Hiley | December 12, 2017 at 2:54 PM

    Not sure what you mean. They will continue pursuing their political goals–giving more and more power to billionaires, blocking progress on civil rights, etc. We’ll keep pursuing ours: in the immediate term, electing a whole bunch of progressives to break the power of the Republican Party at the state and federal level. We’ll work on winning the battle of ideas, pointing out the problems that capitalism has been unable to fix and proposing socialist solutions, winning people to our side through dialogue and engagement rather than trolling. Already, even young conservatives are moving away from some of the really reactionary positions of the old-school GOP.

      Russell Ingham-Nethercott | January 03, 2018 at 12:36 PM

      Conservatives are the only people who know that you should work for what you get, not get spoiled by the government. You should join them.

        Scott Hiley | January 04, 2018 at 1:29 PM

        Sounds like we almost agree! We communists believe that people should get what they work for. That means no more shareholders or landlords, who make their money by owning things rather than working.

          Manuel Machin | January 13, 2018 at 12:10 PM

          So just politicize everything and those who work converting people for the cause don’t have to work in factories is that what you mean by working? And those in power get to choose who gets the bigger pie just like in east Germany and Cuba? Can you not quote Marx? The truth is somewhere not so close to his exact words.

Stephen Schleis | December 07, 2017 at 5:55 AM

We should be trying to convince liberals to join the communist cause.

dipankar | November 18, 2017 at 4:22 PM

well said

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