Political independence and working-class leadership

BY:M. Siddique| February 25, 2020
Political independence and working-class leadership


Editor’s note: This article responds to the discussion question on political independence, working-class leadership, and the fight for democracy.

The question of political independence is not an abstract issue. It is tied to class division in the society and representation of working-class interests in the socio-political arena.

In a bourgeois-democratic society, political parties coalesce into formations that are powerful and able to protect the interest of the classes they represent. Communist parties around the world have participated in such coalitions for a variety of reasons; the CPUSA is no exception. In recent decades, the CPUSA has participated in various struggles, including the civil rights movements, anti–Vietnam War protests, and various trade union actions, allying itself with labor unions, peace organizations, and women’s organizations, for example.

What distinguishes the Communist Party is that it represents the interests of the working class; it fights along with and for the working class. All other parties are limited by their class interests and will eventually go their own way. The Communist Party prepares for revolutionary change in the modes of production—from capitalist to socialist to communist modes of production—thus ending class division once and for all. In refusing to compromise its ideological allegiance to Marxism-Leninism, it maintains its independence for the cause of socialism.

Among the major hurdles is convincing the majority that the interest of the working class is also the interest of the society. The working class must see itself as the leader representing the interests of the overwhelming majority of the citizens.

Experiences of the Third International socialist projects have demonstrated the need for forward thinking, especially in pushing reforms that are conducive to creating institutions within the existing society but are needed in transitioning to the next higher level of social-economic progress.

Disgust with Trumpist politics and policies has created space for a progressive agenda in the presidential election. It has also added to the general frustration that has been building among the progressives with the pro-business Democrats who have dominated the Democratic Party. It is only natural that among some segments of the progressives the question of what is next would come up and would lead them to the CPUSA. In the April 19, 2017, issue of the People’s World, Sergio Alejandro Gómez reported on this. The CPUSA must be prepared to welcome these comrades and provide space for their ideological growth and prepare them for leadership.

It is necessary to consider the changes taking place in the composition of the working class. Capitalism has found profitable the rapid integration of new technologies, and these require people with specialized education. In addition, record numbers of women have and continue to join the workforce.

We also note that two of the top presidential candidates are proposing some versions of socialistic changes to the society. These should be supported not as an end but as steps in the process of progressive change in society. Perhaps the growing support for socialism will facilitate discussion of the need to struggle for more than what is on the agenda now.

The following was written by Antonio Gramsci in the 1930s: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

Things have not changed much, but “a luta continua!”

Image: Joe Piette, Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA 2.0).


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