Introducing CPUSA’s new youth-run podcast: The Specter!

BY:Aleena Starks| April 3, 2019
Introducing CPUSA’s new youth-run podcast: The Specter!

What is The Specter?

In this podcast, young organizers and activists of the Communist Party USA explore politics, social justice, and culture through the Marxist lens using scientific research, observation, and participation in working class movements.

Each week brings a race, gender, and class analysis that force a closer look at the dangers of capitalism  and the immediate need for socialism. These organic, insightful and powerful conversations are held with comrades, influencers, and diverse local and national leaders.

In the first episode, Aleena and Susie talk about why they joined CPUSA and what it means to be a communist.


Meet the hosts

Maicol David

Based out of Columbus, Ohio, Maicol is the club organizer for the university-based Young Communist League chapter in Athens, Ohio known as “Club Frida Kahlo.” In addition to his activism and involvement in the Communist Party USA, Maicol has taught both History and Spanish at Ohio University in Athens and organizes and canvasses with Working America, the political affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

Aleena Starks

As a Cleveland native who was growing uncomfortable and, frankly, outraged with the endless torture and exploitation of the Black community, Aleena entered the world of politics through local grassroot movements. She began her organizing career in 2012 with Enroll America and continued that passion with local city council races, SEIU, For Our Future Fund, Friends of Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democratic Party. Along the way Aleena became a proud member of CPUSA where she currently serves on the Ohio State Committee Board, as well as other state and national committees. Aleena works to educate and empower marginalized communities while demanding a virtuous and equitable quality of life for the working class.

Susie Davtyan

Susie is a 23 year old graduate from The Evergreen State College who now works in IT in Cleveland, Ohio. As a new member, Susie quickly took initiative in joining the local club in Cleveland, attending the Conference Against Male Supremacy and Misogyny, and was a key member in organizing the 2018 National Marxist School. Susie’s vision is to create more shareable content for CPUSA in the hopes of connecting more young people along with creating space to talk about the issues that are plaguing this nation and its youth.

Zach Carlson

With an academic background in history and anthropology, Zach focuses on the history and theory of the party, and communism as a whole. His goal is to create an informative and accessible supplement to difficult theory and whitewashed history. To him, a strong understanding of both theory and history is critical for any dedicated Marxist. Currently working on his Master’s at Illinois State University, Zach intends to move on to a PhD program soon after graduation to focus on left and labor history.

Emma Smith

Emma is studying English with teacher licensing at UNC Greensboro. She has been a member of the North Carolina chapter of the CPUSA since mid-2018. Emma has been involved with setting up the Rootstocks presentation series to help educate the public about what communism is and why it is beneficial. She has also been leading a project in her hometown of Greensboro to set up an alternative voting method that might strengthen democracy. Beyond this, she is setting up the N.C. People’s Coalition that will bring leftist groups together to help further the goal of ending exploitation and capitalism.

Molly Nagin

Molly is a red-diaper baby and club chair of the Cleveland, OH chapter of CPUSA. She works by trade as a massage therapist and grassroots organizer. Currently, Molly is working on issues of mass incarceration, police brutality, and criminal in-justice at the level of city and county government systems. She also hosts a communist book club to help pass down the knowledge of communist elders and ancestors to her generation.

Cameron Orr

Cameron is a musician and grassroots journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Having grown up in Sussex County, a scenic rural environment undermined by right-wing control in New Jersey, he came to New York City to study music, and graduated with a BFA in music with a minor in education from the City College of New York. The influence of progressive friends from diverse backgrounds — including people of color, women, and undocumented friends — combined with the 2008 financial crisis and entering the workforce in its wake as a public school music teacher, the outbreak of Occupy Wall Street, the #Fightfor15, the Movement for Black Lives, women’s and immigrants’ movements, and various progressive media, all persistently cleared away the fog of reactionary ideology. He first opened Marx’s Capital in 2012 (still not done), and joined CPUSA in January 2016 after stumbling upon the documentary ​Seeing Red​. Still fine-tuning the balance between the Party, paying rent, music, life, and relationships, he plays on the subways of NYC and writes for


Related Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer