Convention Discussion: Superiority

BY: Dee Miles| May 16, 2010

This article is part of the discussion leading up to the Communist Party USA’s 29th National Convention May 21-23, 2010. takes no responsibility for the opinions expressed in this article or other articles in the pre-convention discussion. All contributions must meet the guidelines for discussion. To read other contributions to this discussion, visit the site of the Pre-Convention Discussion period.

All contributions to the discussion should be sent to for selection not to the individual venues.For more information on the convention or the pre-convention discussion period, you can email

If you have a need to be superior, in all probability you are not. In fact, psychologists argue you probably have an inferiority complex, but my purpose is not a discussion of psychology. My purpose is to discuss how the struggle for superiority is destructive to the collective effort.

The working class is at a disadvantage when it comes to superiority. No other class or strata sees the working class as being superior; in fact, unless guided by advanced thinking, most see the members of the working class as being inferior, and right wing academics argue working class inferiority as being inherent. Those who have a need to be superior have a need to exert their superiority over the working class. The manifestation often is in the form of paternalism: let me help the poor souls by leading them.

The racially and nationally oppressed and women have a complex experience. On the one hand, they too can be the targets of paternalistic superiority. On the other hand, they can become perpetuators of superiority especially if white or male.

In collectives, this problem manifests itself as a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) viciousness to assert superiority over and against the participation of others, collective decisions, and the collective process. Even though the collective is not always right, some superiority seekers become proponents of the backwardness of the collective and its individual members.

In truth, any of us could become perpetuators of superiority, and the biggest mistake in the fight against superiority is to become a victim of internalized inferiority. Even so, the biggest danger is the deflection of the collective focus from the real challenges at hand and the silence of voices that are necessary for the collective to steer the course.

Superiority has an allure that automatically activates its more specific forms of chauvinism and supremacy. Those who perpetuate superiority have to contend with their own pathology if they want to change and put themselves in a position to make a great contribution to the movement. First, they have to know that it is indeed a pathology in which they wallow.

The struggle of the working class is not for itself to be seen as superior, even though in my opinion it is very much so true in reality that it is. The struggle of the working class is to bring together and build the movements that will free us from the domination of those who occupy a superior advantage because they own or are the peons of those who own capital.

In the process of bringing together and building those movements, the working class has to consciously create a culture built on the strengths of its inherent nature which stems from the truth of its conditions of existence. That culture must exalt cooperation and not competition, service to the well being of working class collective efforts (which are multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, multi generational, multi racial, and multi gendered) and not individual aggrandizement, authentic self-struggle against non working class influences and not the embrace of those influences even in the form of passive aggression, and the pursuit of the guidance of real science and not the substitute of pseudo-science. We have a world to build, which first requires bringing together and building the movements which will bring that world into being and knowing they are one and the same process.


Related Party Voices 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