Young Communist Leaders Emerging from U.S. Gun Debate

SEATTLE, USA — The revolutionary line of the International Communist Workers’ Party (ICWP) stood out at the “March for Our Lives” here. No other group even came close to our communist message.

Five hundred got our communist leaflets and hundreds of Red Flags at the march. Students, staff and comrades inside and outside a high school distributed 150 leaflets and 100 papers the week after. Some students took extra papers and leaflets as they arrived in the morning to give to their friends.

We held a small meeting at Boeing to organize distribution at work and school.

Dozens of aerospace workers, school staff and students debated and discussed (many for the first time) our vision for the role of guns in the revolution and after.

Our leaflet boldly stated that the answer to capitalist violence is communist revolution. That revolution will require millions of communist revolutionaries — and millions of guns.

After the revolution, the working class will be armed to defend the revolution, but only as part of communist-led collectives. There will be no privately-owned guns. Deciding how and when to use them will be collective political decisions, not left in the hands of individual gun owners.

Then we asked everyone to help distribute this leaflet and Red Flag. More than the usual took us up on the offer.

Students Ask, “What Does It Mean To Me?”

But it did not end there. After reading the leaflet, students asked a staff member who is close to the party, “How do we get involved, and what does it mean to me?”

That discussion is still ongoing — at two levels.

First, we envision a communist society where everybody —including every young person — gets military training. Most likely, the standing Red Army will be responsible for organizing this training.

Unlike capitalism, the focus of this training will be political. We’ll stress the why, not the how. Communism is about the needs of the working class, not individual rights.

“That makes sense,” said a Boeing friend. “That way we can center on responsibility to us all, not racist excuses like I need gun rights to protect me from the gangs.” Communist collective responsibility is the best antidote to killings like those at Parkland HS.

What Constitutes Communist Leadership?

The other level revolved around the struggle for students to take leadership. Some, who wanted to get involved, asked the party’s friend to be their leader.

Some may think it surprising, but he answered, “No.”

“You have to lead,” he told them. These Asian, Latin, black and immigrant students have seen their share of capitalist gun violence.

Part of his reasoning centered on security. He’d seen too many movements destroyed when the ruling class either eliminates or buys out “super-leaders.” The cult of the personality has also been a problem in the communist movement.

But when we really got down to it, it was a question of how communist leadership differs from capitalist or reform leadership. The job of communist leaders is to fight for viable communist collectives. It’s the opposite of the star system or capitalist political leaders who focus on their careers.

Students Light Up When We Talk About Communist History

“Anyway, we adults can’t lecture these students,” he added. “What they are really interested in is my stories of struggle —and like me, the stories about the struggle for communism.”

His experience is backed up by comrades distributing the paper to students going to school.

A student we met outside the school is interested in local and international politics. She’s already organized panels and classroom debates about anti-racist struggles at the school.

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