Convention Discussion: The dead walk among us

BY: Bernard Sampson| May 13, 2014

Submitted by Bernard Sampson, Houston, TX

Do you believe in ghosts? I didn’t until recently. I saw the ghost of Stalin haunting our party. At first I couldn’t identify the ghost because it wore a  disguise. The disguise it used was of a great Marxist revolutionary named Lenin. It tried to walk like Lenin, it dressed itself in the clothing of Lenin ,but i wasn’t fooled. I noticed it had no following,it walked alone. I noticed that when it talked it spoke in the name of Lenin, but I wasn’t fooled. But I noticed some were.They said this is Lenin, this is Leninism, this is revolutionary! But they were wrong. I could tell because so few people were moved by the words of this ghost. I could tell because the words that were uttered from this ghost were not heeded by the masses outside our party. The words were  not living but dead & lifeless like the ghost whose mouth they came forth from. They were dry, hollow, they had a rattling sound of chains,they were words of the past not the present and certainly not of the future. The ghost who disguised itself as Lenin saw the proverty of its words and in desperation substituted phraseology in place of meaningful words.  When the ghost spoke ,its words rang out across our country, but they found no home, they floated abstractly in the air. People heard the words but because they didn’t relate to them and their struggles and their life they let the words come in one ear and out the other. They saw no substance. The ghost disguised as Lenin became more and more agitated. All it could do was repeat itself in desperation more and more often, but only the same results came back, nothing. It reminded me of the definition of insanity when one repeats the same thing over and over again and gets the same results. I was disturbed by this ghost, it couldn’t be Lenin, but I still  wasn’t positively sure. I had Lenin’s collected works, I thought I would look into this. I read a lot of Lenin, I noticed that the words I read in Lenin’s collected works resonated with me, related to the class struggle here and now. I read that Lenin considered himself a Marxist. He never called himself a Leninist and his compatriots called themselves marxists not Leninists. Lenin saw Marxism as a science that would change and adapt with the changing objective conditions. I could see that Marxism was alive as a living science. I could see that the real Lenin even though dead since 1924 was more alive than this fake ghost that claimed to be him. So who was this ghost? I knew it could not be Lenin because Lenin was alive and this ghost was very dead. Lenin was a Marxist and Marxism was alive and could never be killed and would never be dead. So I walked up to this ghost who still haunted our party, (but not as much as it had in the past),  I tore off its mask. For all of its bragging and phrase mongering its mask fell easily into my hands and turn to dust. Then I saw the fake ghost who called itself Lenin for what it was. Stalin, the man Lenin who in the last months of his life wanted to remove from the leadership of the Communist Party. The man who built a cult of personality around himself and secondly around Lenin and slaughtered over 400,000 of his own Communist Party members. I looked deep into this ghost to see his soul, but I saw nothing, no substance, no warmth, just a cold dark cavity. It had nothing original of its own, and so it stifled  the great theories that Lenin drew from the study of Marx and Engels and codified them, religiously repeated them and in its insecurity allowed no deviation of any sort with the pain of death, exile, or expulsion. I saw the great harm it did to millions that were struggling to fight the good fight for us all. How could I fight this ghost?  It had no substance, it had no physical being.I argued with it, I pointed out its errors, but it just kept repeating its slogans and dogma over and over again. Finally in desperation I gave up on it and I turned my back on this ghost and began to organize, help build broad coalitions, and work in the real physical world.Suddenly something strange  and wonderful happened. I began to notice that the fake ghost of Lenin who was really Stalin began to fade,to disappear. I noticed that the more I applied Marxism like Lenin did as a living science and not as a mummified dogma the more the fake ghost of Stalin retreated back into the dark dank past from which all dead things belong.

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


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