Header image 

International Communist Workers Party

line decor
   To Contact ICWP, send an email to: icwp@anonymousspeech.com
line decor


About ICWP

Red Flag newspaper

Article Series from Red Flag

Communist Dialectics


Letters to Red Flag

Red Flag aspires to be a newspaper of a new type for a party, dedicated to mobilizing the masses around the world for communism. We’re breaking new ground and learning as we go. We will inevitably make mistakes—and disagree about what the mistakes are that we’re making. The letters page is a good place for comrades to engage in criticism and self-criticism, and help us learn to write in a way that will advance the work. We ask writers to be brief, and to criticize in ways that are sharp, but comradely. Collectively we have a lot to learn.


The Masses Make History

In a recent meeting, we downloaded the newest issue of Red Flag because we wanted to discuss the editorial.  That reflected a proposal that we discuss the editorials in our meetings.
The editorial was about Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution and how they failed to deliver on their promises.  I think it is one of the important ones that we have produced as a party.  Most of the comrades in my collective viewed Fidel Castro as a communist revolutionary, which I think he was not.  As the editorial clearly states, he was anti-communist until he got aid from the Soviet Union.  This has been an eye-opener for us.
As we were discussing this article, a comrade raised that in capitalist society the emphasis is around a central figure, a hero.  This means that the masses, the ones who are actually pushing for change, who are actually effecting change, they are not getting mentioned. 
History by the capitalists, by the liberals, only remembers the heroes, the Mandela’s and such.  But ordinary people who suffer from brutality from the police, and other attacks, are not mentioned.  The comrade said that the picture of the placard next to the article also reflects this point when it says, “The Masses:  not ‘a hero.’”
We had a productive meeting.  The editorial really made a difference.  It opened our eyes to the dangers imposed by imperialism, not just by capitalism.  One of the points that I liked in this editorial was that there is no difference between capitalism and imperialism.  Imperialism is only the advanced form of capitalism.  Some so-called communists here in South Africa either don’t know this or don’t want to admit it, but it really helps open our eyes.  It brings our collective closer to ICWP’s whole political line.
—A Comrade in South Africa

South African Comrades Plan for ICWP May Day

This is a report about our first meeting of the New Year. Its purpose was to re-visit our plans and to try to make some concrete steps of how we are actually going to achieve what we embark on achieving.  That is a minimum of 500 people for the coming May Day March led by ICWP.
Today we made some concrete plans.
I think the first step for me is to engage with the comrades who live in a town where we have recruited comrades but don’t see them enough. I will engage with them about the May Day march and then I will have a concrete report about this. Then we will come back and meet next Sunday. We will be able to make clearer plans after talking with them.
Comrade P: “I will visit a comrade who can give me the details about the comrades who live in another industrial town near here so that we can engage more masses from there to the May Day, to talk with the comrades there about our May Day plans. I will go to the comrade’s house after the meeting and get their numbers and call them today.”
Comrade L: “As the comrade just said, we need to focus more on the comrades we do have now from all over. There are comrades in another town that we especially need to engage. I agree with this. In order to mobilize the masses for communism, we shouldn’t lose the ones we already have because we want others.  So we have to concentrate more on the comrades we have so we can work together as one to bring more comrades.”
Comrade F: “This was really a good meeting. Our last meeting was on Dec. 5th I think. Today we re-visited our plans and drew up plans about what we need to do. We will try to meet our targets.”
The meeting today was a step toward making sure we reach all of our goals. Happy New Year!
—Collective in South Africa

Fighting Sexism Is Critical for the Communist Movement

We’re not sure what comrades in Mexico meant in their letter (last issue) by saying that sexism “is not decisive in the Communist movement.” Maybe that the masses could successfully mobilize for communism without a sharp anti-sexist line?  We don’t agree with that.
The basis of communism is production and distribution “from each according to ability, to each according to need.”  Sexism includes not taking full account of women’s abilities and needs.  How could we build communism without overcoming this sexism?
Capitalism continues a gender division of labor rooted in earlier class societies. 
So, while starting to build communism we will need to rely mainly on women to organize some types of work.  For example, in many households a woman often does most of the thinking and planning about what’s needed.  That’s true even when men “help” with housework. 
We need to struggle against the idea that traditional “women’s work” is somehow less useful or valuable than traditional “men’s work.”  Or any less important to organizing communism. 
Capitalists often pay women, especially non-white women, less than men for the same work.  In addition, jobs traditionally done by women are more badly underpaid.  This reflects and reinforces the idea that women are worth less than men. 
This is bad for workers of both sexes.  It is like how the super-exploitation of non-whites helps the capitalists exploit all workers.  These divisions keep workers from acting together.  It can even lead the slightly-more privileged to identify with their exploiters.
We must fight, starting now, for all comrades to learn and do different types of work.  Women often have more experience in organizing and preparing dinners, for example.  But men can learn to do that.  Often women have less experience speaking in public or leading meetings.  But we must help them learn. 
We can’t accept arguments that only men (or only particular men) are capable of doing certain tasks like developing theory or taking leadership roles.  The communist principle of “red” versus “expert” has an anti-sexist edge.  Without understanding that, we can’t win.
Fully imagining and building communist society requires a much better understanding of sexism.  If we are to move forward, this must be addressed.  We can’t build the unity needed to mobilize the masses for communism without a sharp fight against sexist ideas and practices.
—Comrades in LA

Talking with Men and Women Workers about Sexism

In a recent meeting, in El Salvador, we talked about sexism and how it manifests itself at work and in other places. A comrade shared some ideas of ways that sexism supports the structure of domination.
This meeting was attended by a young couple, both of whom work. They shared some experiences of living together in their home. She said how hard it was at the beginning since her partner didn’t “help with the housework, but little by little he has been getting involved and taking responsibility for a few tasks…its not his fault, that’s how he was raised,” she said.
Capitalism uses sexism to divide the working class and to discriminate against women. This is reflected in the way society is organized, creating laws and strengthening sexist culture.
Social relations must be transformed. This can only be possible in Communism. No one will be together for economic or other similar reasons. We will all be responsible to organize our shared lives together and collectively resolve all the problems that present themselves. Communist principles and values will be those that direct our lives.
It is a problem that has to be discussed to understand that we must organize, in the factory, at school, and any other place possible for the International Communist Workers’ Party, the Party that fights for a Communist system.
“I think that it is an important issue that should be talked about more frequently,” said a comrade. Sometimes we make mistakes because it is what we have always considered as “normal,” but it is true that it shouldn’t be this way. As Communists, we must change certain sexist behaviors.”
Capitalist culture has created certain sexist ways of thinking and has assigned roles for men and women that historically have been conceived as natural. These only respond to the interests of the ruling class.
We believe that reading and distributing our newspaper Red Flag will help us all to have a better understanding about sexism: its origins, consequences, and how to organize to build a system that will eliminate money and exploitation, as the material basis of these problems.
We must put an end to wage slavery and sexism by mobilizing more men and women workers directly for Communism.
—Comrades in El Salvador

Workers Must Read, Write, Put Communist Ideas In Practice

A comrade recently sent a passionate letter to Red Flag that said, “The masses learn only from through bitter experience …after [getting] …beat in the street.” I don’t think this is true.
You don’t learn about communist solutions from getting your head bashed in. You do learn to hate capitalism, but that is not the same thing.
In truth, workers read. Potential working class leaders study communism. As they should.
If many didn’t know how to read, communist parties have taught them how. During the Long March, the Chinese Communist party had everyone pin a character on their back so the comrade behind could practice reading it.
A communist must know about the struggle and history of many workers beyond his or her immediate experience. For example, we’re running an article on Italy’s Hot Autumn in this issue to show the potential for communist revolution. Our anti-racism pamphlet includes an article on the strengths and weaknesses of the communist movement’s fight against racism in the U.S.
We should continue to print articles like these that reflect the struggle around the world. We should study them with other comrades and friends.
Secondly, we want everyone to know about revolutionary theory and how communism works. Our immediate struggles won’t automatically provide communist solutions. That must come from “the outside.” It too requires reading and collective study.
When workers take these communist ideas as their own, their experience will give these concepts life. Communists must stand with workers in the street and factories. Nonetheless, only close personal and social ties will allow us to carry out the protracted struggle necessary to develop new communist revolutionaries.
Leadership rests on the practical struggle to win our brothers and sisters to see communism as the solution. And to motivate them to fight for it.
Leaders must read, write and distribute Red Flag. They must contribute to the party’s understanding of communism. They must participate in all aspects of mobilizing the masses for communism. That means we all must read and study more so we are clear about our goal.
—Industrial Red


sub cupon

Main Page