Convention Discussion: The distinction between socialism & communism

BY: Richard F| June 5, 2014

Submitted by Richard F, California

Observers of our party must be mystified that our organization calls itself communist, but our documents never mention communism itself. Marxism sees socialism as only a short transition stage from capitalism to communism.

The distinction between socialism and communism is particularly important in the US today. Socialist revolutions have all occurred in less developed countries. No socialist society has yet caught up with the most advanced sectors of the most advanced capitalist countries. Admittedly, the real gap is much less than that portrayed in capitalist propaganda. Nevertheless, most US workers view the prospect of socialism as it currently exists as a retreat rather than an advance.

However, the productive forces in the US (and the other advanced capitalist countries) are sufficiently developed that it is overripe, for communism. The two ideologies most popular among politically engaged US youth – libertarianism and anarchism – both display yearnings for communist-type societies, albeit within idealized capitalist frameworks. Similar views are found among all sectors of the working class. We have a responsibility to help put the thinking and actions of our class on a sound scientific basis.

In short, we need to put greater emphasis on our main goal. A good place to start would be to include some language on communism in the constitution preamble and a good source would be the following quote from Comrade Sam Webb on the BBC website, “The longer-term goal … [is] the communist society, the ending of all class divisions, a society of equality, the withering away of the state”. I would drop ‘longer-term’ and add something about universal abundance, the elimination of wage labor and money/commodity relations and the liberation of every individual to realize their potential for creative work, pleasure and generosity.

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.

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


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