The Southern California district of the CPUSA, has been connecting with various social justice groups for several years, which has made it possible for us to join together and hold several activities in the community.
One such event was a 6-week introductory course on Marxism in Spanish. At each session we had a home cooked meal which facilitated the participant’s attendance by not having to stop and have dinner elsewhere. This allowed us to socialize for half an hour before each session.
The courses included, imperialism, historical materialism, dialectical materialism, methodology, women’s equality and Latin America and the path to socialism.
We chose this order because we believed it was important to discuss the current stage of capitalism that we live under, then begin to take a look at history and connect the question of imperialism. We then chose to present dialectical materialism to demonstrate the scientific element covering the general laws. We proceeded to attempt to put the previous three classes together to discuss a method of looking at our current situation: how to make an analysis of our reality, develop a strategy and tactics.
We believed that the women question was also important to discuss in the framework of our goal for unity of the working class forces by looking at the beginnings of the oppression of women and the birth of male chauvinism. We culminated with a session on Latin America, reviewing some main points; nothing is black or white, everything is in motion, and change is constant. As we looked at the various forms that Latin American countries were taking in their move towards a socialist society.
I would say that our attempt needs tweaking, lack of time was a big factor. In some sessions more definitive clarity was needed, maybe by way of more example that participants could connect to.
The facilitators came from some of the social justice groups who were fluent in Spanish and had had some Marxist training. We met with each one to go over their session. Handouts were provided as well as a short glossary of some of the main terms that were going to be covered.
All in all, the experience was fruitful, we presented the Party in a very positive way, and we formed more camaraderie among the attendees and the Party. Everyone expressed the need for more classes and we will making plans for a two evening series on political economy.
Along with these Marxist classes we participated in organizing a Day of the Dead event, which attempted to educate the public that it was not “Mexican Halloween” but in fact an indigenous tradition marking the end of one existence and the beginning of another. We brought together various forces in the community to organize it.
At the Day of the Dead event, altars honoring fallen comrades from various Latin American countries were built. We decided to remember and honor our women comrades from Southern California. We had two workshops where we made crepe paper flowers. Although the organizational participation was spotty, in the end there was traditional foods, drinks and desserts plus music and an art exhibit, with the theme of Revolutionaries in Resistance.
The event was well attended by family, friends and neighbors, a couple of young girls that were passing by stopped and eagerly signed up to stay informed of other activities we may have. We purposely held the event outside to draw in the community.