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Communist Dialectics


For a 2017 Filled with Friendship and Struggle!

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LOS ANGELES, USA, Jan. 1 – We gathered today, two members of the International Communist Workers’ Party and a dozen friends, to share our hopes and plans for the new year.  We also shared pupusas, tostadas, corn bread and greens, and lots more delicious food.
 “We had great discussions about politics, the economy, political action, and where we each came from (family names and origins),” reported one guest.  “If the rest of the year continues this way, it’s going to be a great one!”
The group included black, asian, latino/a and white folks, church people and atheists.  Two things stood out.  First, we and others we know are feeling a greater need for “connection.”  Second, we all have friends who are becoming politically active for the first time.  This is true across generations.
Naturally there were important disagreements.  (Communist philosophy, dialectical materialism, tells us that there are contradictions everywhere.)
Some believe in fighting for real democracy.  They expect big changes will come by gradually changing electoral politics locally. Others of us, as communists, understand democracy and elections as a cover for class dictatorship of capitalists over the masses.
We work for small changes too:  changes in political consciousness.  Through patient conversation and mass distribution of Red Flag we deepen and spread an understanding of what communism is and why it’s possible.  Dialectical materialism also tells us that small (quantitative) changes can result in qualitative leaps.  Communism will not evolve peacefully somehow out of capitalism or its democracy.  We are revolutionaries, not gradualists. 
Our Party collective made some small but important steps forward in 2016.  One friend joined the Party.  We started a regular Red Flag distribution at a large hospital.  We began working more collectively and consistently on writing for our paper.  We are collecting more money for the Party’s international work. 
Mobilizing the masses for communism is our strategy now and always.  But it will take qualitatively different forms as the party becomes stronger and more rooted in factories and barracks during this period of global capitalist crisis. 
Communist class struggle starts with limited actions in workplaces, neighborhoods and schools.  As we grow it will mean organizing political strikes for communism, rebellions for communism, and eventually revolution for communism.  Then it will mean mobilizing masses to create communist society under whatever conditions we encounter.
Not all our friends were eager or even willing to engage in this discussion on New Year’s Day.  One insisted on steering the conversation away from it. 
Later, a comrade gave a copy of Red Flag to one friend for the first time.  A mutual friend said (only half-jokingly), “Watch out, she’s going to try to convert you.”  But the first friend took the paper.  She asked why many LA activists supported Cuba.  She said that the Cubans she knew were strongly anti-Castro.  We explained that pro-Castro Cubans didn’t flee to the US with their wealth in 1959.  We described the Castro administration’s achievements in health and education.  But, we explained, Castro was never actually a communist. 
Toward the end of the afternoon we all agreed to organize more events like this.  A friend volunteered his house for one, saying that he could bring two more people. 
Most of us also agreed that opportunities are opening up to start political conversations with more of the people around us.  That includes some who probably disagree.  One friend later expressed concern that the “inevitable growth of left organizing” will be met with harsh repression.  Our Party is confident that industrial workers and soldiers, inspired by a vision of communist society, can lead masses to successfully confront fascism with communist revolution.
Events like this one help build our assurance that we can argue and struggle over disagreements, even big ones, and stay friends.  Yes, we do want to “convert” more people to communism.  But that doesn’t mean “brainwashing” them.  It means listening to them.  It means trying to understand their internal contradictions.  (Dialectical materialism shows that internal contradictions are primary in development.)  It means trying to show them (not “tell” them) that communism is the only way to realize their deepest aspirations for themselves and the world.
If the rest of the year continues this way, it’s going to be a great one. 

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