Convention Discussion: Casting aside Marxism-Leninism is a mistake

BY: Diane Mohney| June 5, 2014

Submited by Diane Mohney, Eastern PA and DE

We certainly have to adapt to the 21st Century.  It is not new for Communists to adapt to changes in the world around us.  However, I think it is a mistake to cast aside Marxism-Leninism, our party’s name,  democratic centralism, and other terminology, and face-to face organizing.

We are a party that practices a social science: Marxism-Leninism.  Every science has its own lexicon.  Ours is no different.  No biologist uses the specialized terminology of that science to explain a concept to a new biology students. Hopefully, we do not start off talking about the bourgeoisie, the law of uneven development, etc. to someone completely new to the ideas of socialism, communism or the Communist Party.  Once people come to the party, they need to be given opportunities to learn and to delve deeper into our analyses, and this will inevitably involve our scientific terms.  New folks also need to feel welcome to share their ideas and experiences, to explore what it means to be in the Communist Party.  Many of us have had a richer experience in the movement because of the opportunity to study historic and contemporary writing, especially if it is done collectively.  

As for Democratic Centralism, there has been too much emphasis on Centralism and not enough on democracy.  Decisions are supposed to be made with input from the general membership to the national committee, the national board and finally the national convention.  Too often decisions are made from the top down and membership feels little connection to them, or is alienated by the process.  Leaders at all levels must go out of their way to be sure the entire party feels involved in decision making.  We must sure that  there is unity in action and that everyone has had the opportunity to thoroughly understand the reasons for decisions.  

Finally,I am proud of our party and mad as hell that others from the ultra-right to the ultra-left have disparaged the party of working-class heroes who have been beaten on picket lines, murdered by the Capitalist system of “justice”,  died in Spain,  cast out of jobs for exercising their democratic right to stand up  and be counted on the side of the working class.  I am mad as hell that these same people fought the CP every step of the way in its fight for the Scotstbo 9, for the freedom of Angela Davis, for the integration of Major League Baseball, for anti-lynching  laws  and  all the other causes that would ultimately bring together our wonderful US working class in struggle against the many social ills of capitalism and capitalism itself.

Finally, there is no doubt that the Internet has expanded our horizons and reach. Thousands more are reading the PW and PA  and people are joining the Party and YCL on line. At the same time we are not reaching the poorest and most oppressed sections of the working class: those folks are, for the most part, living in concentrated numbers in our cities, Many of these folds have extremely limited Internet access. Yes, almost everyone has a cell phone, and some access to computers at public libraries. The cost of cell phone plans with unlimited messaging can be expensive.  There are long lines and time limits on library computers.  These obstacles put frequent texting and emailing out of reach for the unemployed, underemployed and many minimum and low-wage workers. These are the very people we need to be recruiting and recruiting on large numbers. Unions and mass organizations are indeed using digital communication, but they have not given up on personal contact and organizing.  There’s no choice about it, it requires boots-on-the-ground and  face-to-face organizing for the CPUSA, too.

These ideas are based on my experiences, my understanding of our party and  Marxism-Leninism, the situation in the world, the USA and in Philadelphia, PA. They are respectfully submitted for consideration and assessment and are by no means the last word.

The views and opinions expressed in the Convention Discussion are those of the author alone. The Communist Party is publishing these views as a service to encourage discussion and debate. Those views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Communist Party, its leading bodies or staff members. The CPUSA Constitution, Program, and all its existing policies remain in effect during the Convention discussion period and during the Convention.

For details about the convention, visit the Convention homepage
To contribute to the discussion, visit the Convention Discussion webpage

30th National Convention, Communist Party USA
Chicago | June 13-15, 2014


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