Marxism a vibrant philosophical outlook, says CPUSA leader

BY:Xinhua| April 25, 2018
Marxism a vibrant philosophical outlook, says CPUSA leader


CHICAGO, April 14 (Xinhua) The top leader of the U.S. Communist Party (CPUSA) has said in Chicago that Marxism is a “vibrant, philosophical” outlook that leads the struggle of the CPUSA now and in the future. In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua, John Bachtell, CPUSA’s national chairman, said that Marxism is a revolutionary “guide to action” for the party. It is a “growing body of work,” said Bachtell. “It’s always open to new experience and therefore it’s always changing and developing itself as a body of theory and thought.”

He noted that Marxism has to constantly embrace what’s new, including what the U.S. democratic movements have produced. “For example, I feel very strongly that we have to embrace … what the class struggle in the United States has produced and what the democratic struggle has produced,” such as the experiences of the civil rights movement from the 1960s, he said. “That has a really important bearing in terms of strategy and tactics,” Bachtell added. “Non-violent peaceful resistance is a very important form of struggle.”

Compared with an armed struggle, the party chief favored political means to achieve revolutionary change.”It will be what we call a democratic path. One that utilizes the electoral  arena but also other democratic venues where we’re constantly trying to expand our rights,” he said.

In this process, it’s Marxism that will serve as an “essential outlook and tool” for every revolutionary party and  working-class activists, he said. “We intend to make it something which is the property of everybody.”

Tough struggle

Founded in 1919, the CPUSA has some 5,000 members spread across the country. The party has been active in a range of political and social movements  workers’ rights to environmental protection and peace issues, according to Bachtell. We hope to “help spur discussions about the need for socialism in the United States and how capitalism is ultimately the root of a lot of our problems,” he added. “It both takes the form of protests in the streets and organizing lobbying and demonstrations. But it also takes cooperation in the electoral arena  where we have an alliance of organizations” so as to avoid being “extremely isolated,” he said.

The leader further explained that the U.S. Communist movement had a really difficult time amid McCarthyism in the 1950s and the anti-Communism narratives ever since, as the CPUSA was once declared  illegal. It has taken a long-term struggle to restore legality and present a true image of itself.

“There are still some anti-Communist laws and things on the books which we have to deal with.”

However, he hailed the thriving growth and development of his party in recent years. “It’s really growing, as a political force,” he said. “A lot of people are joining the party in the recent period. Many of them come from small towns all across the country. We hope they become more active.”

Bachtell also noted that the Trump administration’s current plan to raise tariffs on imported steel and aluminum products was a real “fraud” and “phony populism.”

“They’re doing everything in the interests of the richest people, and in the end the biggest corporations,” he said. “The tariff issue… is a damaging move” that gives false hope to a tiny section of the working class, pitting them against the U.S. farmers as well as workers from other countries.

Fraternal Ties With CPC

Speaking of China, Bachtell said the CPUSA and the Communist Party of China (CPC) have forged “fraternal” ties. “And we try to find time to get together and to have bilateral meetings. We also have cooperated on the academic level. But it’s not enough,” Bachtell said, adding that his party would like to see “a higher and closer relationship” with the CPC, including mutual visits.

He explained that the CPC’s ability to find a path of socialist development under very difficult circumstances is the main thing that impresses him, citing the effort to transform China from “a very underdeveloped country to a modern country, and the strides that China has made in the last 15 years to really become a global power.”

“I think China is going forward to influence more and more every aspect of life, not just because of its sheer size and influence in the global economic system, but also because of its focus on uplifting working people and eliminating poverty and providing a basic material standard of living to every person,” he said.

Bachtell further noted that the CPC’s performance in governance and leadership will continue to be an important example of what can be done.”We may not have the same concept about our  models of socialism (with) a different reality, different material circumstances and different history, but China’s developing. Certainly it’s an important example and we can draw upon the experiences that you have,” said Bachtell.

“I’m sure that there will be plenty of opportunities in the future for us to work together, absolutely,” he said.

Image: John Bachtell, center at Peoples Climate March.


This article, slightly edited was published by



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