Red Flag Newspaper
International Communist Workers Party
MAY DAY — Members of ICWP and our friends in South Africa took the battle for communism to an event where our class enemies, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), were trying hard to win the working class to pro-capitalist ideas of supporting African capitalists to cure the problems facing the working class.
The May Day event was organized by EFF in the third-largest township in the area. We arrived. After some hesitation about how to reach out to the workers who were under EFF security, we decided to spread our ideas with Red Flag and other pamphlets.
Our fear and hesitations disappeared as one bold comrade led everybody by saying “Let’s do it, we are ready to face them.”
The workers grabbed our literature eagerly. Even some of the staunch pro-EFF supporters came to ask us for our literature. EFF had announced that the first 5000 workers would get free T-shirts so the workers were lining up. We were distributing Red Flag and engaging with the workers. There were several queues where scores of workers were reading Red Flag as they waited.
“Where can I get that Red Flag?” a group of workers asked somebody who was reading it.
“Go there,” said the Red Flag reader. So this group ran to the comrade who was distributing Red Flag. As the comrade was busy talking to those around him, this group of workers, eager to get a copy of Red Flag, approached him singing the International in Xhosa with their fists raised. We had a long chat with them and invited them to the braai (barbecue) the next day.
By the end of the day, we had given out all the literature we had brought with us. There were 200 Red Flags, 1000 leaflets explaining ICWP (titled “Smash Xenophobia with Communist Revolution”) and hundreds of pamphlets on the need to organize soldiers. The comrades were so emboldened by this activity that we went to a busy working-class shopping area and distributed the remaining literature.
During the week prior to May Day we met every day and studied communist theory and put it in practice. We went to a General Motors factory and got an overwhelming response from the workers. The experience was repeated as we hit four different working class neighborhoods with ∫ and other party literature. Over 600 leaflets were distributed.
On May Day and in other open activities we made 50 contacts. The highlight was when the group of workers who approached us singing the International did come to the braai the next day and promised to organize many more workers.
“Look! Red Flag! My father brought us Red Flag,” said a retired worker, referring to the Communist Party of Spain that emerged in 1970.
We struck up a conversation with the retired people to explain that we are the International Communist Workers’ Party and that our newspaper is called Red Flag. We explained that we fight against capitalism but we don’t support reforms or unions.
They were very happy because they understood that the struggles of the pseudo-communist parties, together with their unions, are not a solution to the problems of the working class. We left them several copies of Red Flag so that they could read and study it. We also met people from Nicaragua who may meet with us very soon.
Again we enjoyed a great day. Many workers took to the streets to celebrate the workers’ day. We distributed 1250 Red Flags which were very well received. The people asked what Red Flag was, and when they saw the front page, they asked us for it.
There were many workers who are unemployed and living in real hardship. They came to protest for their rights and for better opportunities for a better quality of life. Entire families marched through the streets demanding to stop evictions and that the politicians work for the people.
As members of ICWP we explained that the real struggle to change this situation is the struggle to destroy capitalism and establish a Communist society. The current rulers will never work to improve the plight of the working class because they are only interested in profits they get by super-exploiting and killing the working class.
We fight to eliminate borders, for a society that produces based on the needs of the workers, for the elimination of money, and to eradicate racism and sexism.
We continue to grow and work to build a mass party that fights for communism.
Greetings to the workers of the whole world, especially to the workers of South Africa! From Spain, a fraternal embrace! Long live May Day! Long live communism! Long live ICWP!
“Viva la revolución!” shouted the speaker. “Viva la revolución!” echoed the crowd.
“Hey Hey Ho Ho, Racist cops have got to go!” chanted the marchers, at least 1000 strong and integrated.
The brass band played “The International.”
These were some of the better moments of the Seattle Mayday march. Unfortunately they were not typical.
A coalition of reformist groups organized this march. Demonstrators were offered a smorgasbord of narrow reforms--a union, a $15 minimum wage, or re-electing a self-styled “socialist” to city council (one who warned against revolutionary violence because the bosses can always outdo us). The speakers scarcely mentioned Baltimore, leaving the issue to a separate “Black Lives Matter” demonstration and contingent.
Fortunately the ICWP was there to provide an alternative to this “reformapalooza.” We distributed 1200 bilingual leaflets and 700 Red Flags in both languages. Not to mention lots of Mobilize the Masses for Communism and different pamphlets. The remaining 300 leaflets will be distributed with Red Flag at Boeing this week.
Our leaflet offered a clear, positive alternative to dead-end, futile reformism. It characterized capitalism as the system of “NO” and communism as the system of “YES.” It also made it clear that we support the Baltimore rebels and that replacing the system requires violence (see page 2).
The leaflet was very well received. A young person described how marchers returned after reading it. They asked for more: for their workplaces later and to distribute right then and there.
We got several new contacts. One, a community college student, said his class group project examined different social systems. The multiracial group, some of whom were marching with him, concluded that none of the systems worked. “What about communism?” asked our new friend, who was put on the spot when his fellow students started quizzing him about it. He was very glad to meet us!
“Are you a group?” he asked us. Absolutely--in fact better, a real party! The International Communist Workers’ Party!
The next evening we held our Mayday dinner. Unfortunately we had to compete with the multimillion dollar “fight of the century,” which had strongly racist overtones.
Nonetheless the multi-racial group who came was glad they did. Four ICWP members made brief contributions. One told about May Day events, including the discussion with the college student. Another talked about the history and importance of Mayday, including its revival in the USA, the land of its birth. A third emphasized how good communism is for workers and almost everybody else. Finally a comrade explained how important it is for people who like our ideas to join the ICWP. It’s good to have supporters but to make progress you need committed members. For example, if twice as many of us had shown up for the march, we could have had an even bigger impact.
Once again workers took flyers and Red Flags to distribute later at work and to families. A Boeing friend went further. “I invited a woman at work to come tonight, but she couldn’t. I know she’s a good prospect because she read almost the whole paper when I gave it to her. When is our next event? We are meeting with her next week to plan it.”
After the dinner some of us discussed what holds people (like the friends we just talked to) back from joining ICWP.
We decided different people have different reasons. We must deal with them individually. Some people disagree with us and we have to struggle with them about their disagreements. Some of them agree but are victims of bourgeois cynicism. Again we have to struggle with them, about their cynicism. Here the best way is to involve them in successful actions in which other people act based on revolutionary optimism.
The people that really puzzled us are those who not only agree with us, but also organize around our ideas. These people show up for meetings and events, distribute our literature, and bring friends and fellow workers around -- all that we ask of actual members. Perhaps these people admire us too much. They think party members must all be highly experienced expert organizers. We need to explain that even the most experienced of us have weaknesses, and that even the least experienced newcomer has strengths we need. Every individual is valuable to us.
Overall we made good progress and learned a lot about boldly putting forward communism and the ICWP. Join us in putting this new knowledge into practice!