Communist Party’s Jarvis Tyner speaks at Ohio University

BY: Maicol David Lynch| October 30, 2018
Communist Party’s Jarvis Tyner speaks at Ohio University


CPUSA leader Jarvis Tyner, spoke to a packed house of students and faculty on the campus of Ohio University, Athens last week. Tyner, invited to speak of the role of African Americans and women in the CPUSA, also addressed the current fight to defeat the Trump administration and its Congressional supporters in next week’s midterm elections. “The midterm elections” he said, “is one of the most important, if not the most important election in U.S. history.”

Beginning with a brief history of capitalism in the United States,  the leader of the NY District of the CP, explaining how Native Americans, African slaves and Mexicans were amongst the first to lose their land, resources and personal freedoms as a result of colonization and imperialist expansion. “The African Americans’ struggle against capitalism in this country didn’t start with the foundation of our party in 1919 nor with the freedom won by slaves from bondage in 1865. It started when the first African was kidnapped from the shores of Africa,” stated Tyner.

The two-time vice presidential candidate for the CPUSA ticket explained the foundation of the Communist Party USA as a split off from the Socialist Party over disagreements around the “Negro Question” in which the Socialist Party argued that racism and segregation would be defeated after the socialist revolution. Communists countered that both must be combated within the framework of capitalism otherwise socialism would never be achieved.

Quoting Karl Marx, Tyner went on to say, “Labor in the white skin cannot be free as long as labor in the black skin is still branded.” Historic African Americans  figures involved with the Party, such as Claudia Jones, Angela Davis and Paul Robeson, were also discussed by Tyner.

Attendees of the event included the CPUSA’s Ohio district organizer, Rick Nagin, and the Party’s Columbus, Ohio club organizer, Anita Waters. After Tyner’s speech and a brief session for questions asked by the audience, students were invited to the front of the lecture hall to check out a literature table in addition to possibly signing up as members.

Following the lecture, Tyner  participated in a meet and greet with pizza provided by the university’s Center for Law, Justice and Culture where he elaborated on the impact of capitalism on the African American community and the contributions of popular black Communist leaders such as Henry Winston, Ben Davis, Charlene Mitchell, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Tyner also made an appearance at the campus library in order for journalism and political science students to interview him and have one-on-one conversations about his life in the movement and Marxism-Leninism.

Tyner and the Ohio comrades present also made it a point to visit locally-owned family restaurants such as Thai Paradise and El Camino in Athens and Mad Greek in Columbus. A total of five new members joined in person during Tyner’s stay.

When asked about the future of socialism in this country and the role that the CPUSA would play in it, Jarvis replied by saying, “U.S. citizens under 30 are interested in socialism  now more than ever. Now is the time to rebuild the Party and we will do so brick by brick, if necessary. Socialism is the future of humankind!”

Tyner traveled to Athens, Ohio to help rebuild the Young Communist League that he helped build and promote back in 1972 when it was called the “Young Workers’ Liberation League.”  The CPUSA national committee member, was invited to Ohio University by student and faculty-led organizations such as the Black Student Cultural Programming Board, the Multicultural Center, the LGBT Center, the Center for Law, Justice and Culture and  the local Communist Party branch (Club Frida Kahlo).


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