Expanding on “Our electoral strategy is grounded in Marxist-Leninist theory and practice”

BY:Dom Shannon| May 7, 2024
Expanding on “Our electoral strategy is grounded in Marxist-Leninist theory and practice”


This piece is a contribution to the Pre-Convention Discussion for our 32nd National Convention. During Pre-Convention Discussion, all aspects of the party’s program, strategy, and tactics are up for consideration and debate. The ideas presented here are those of the author or authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Communist Party USA, its membership, or their elected leadership bodies. — Editors

As Richard Green stated in their discussion contribution Our Electoral Strategy is Grounded in Marxist-Leninist Theory and Practice,

“Our most crucial electoral priority at this moment in time must be to win a strategic defeat against the most reactionary elements of the ruling class…Winning a progressive majority in state races, the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate in the 2024 election would be a people’s victory and a defeat for the most extreme elements of the ruling class and the MAGA movement.”

And as the main discussion document Forward together: For pre-convention discussion states,

“Backed by almost unlimited resources, supported by armed militias, motivated by racist grievances, misogyny and anti-LGBTQ hate, and replete with fascists and gangster capitalists the Republican Party is arguably the most dangerous political party in history. Its strategic defeat is a historic imperative. It is central to social progress. Indeed, it may well be central to human survival.”

Our Party and its members have correctly identified the primary task of Communists, socialists and progressives — defeating the far right, specifically by dealing a major blow to their political power in the electoral arena. To purport that there is no looming fascist threat with Trump being the presumed GOP presidential nominee or that the progressive working class movement will only be marginally more threatened under Trump than under Biden is foolish.

However, let us not ignore one very important truth — there is growing support for political alternatives outside of the Democrats and the Republicans. Support for “third” parties has steadily increased over the past fifteen or so years. Considering we are an independent political party, confusion over our electoral approach is to be expected. Green and others have accurately explained why our approach is important in this political moment. However I believe further explanation is needed on how and why this approach actually lends itself to our Party’s own independent political viability.

For this, let us look to the all-people’s front. Our Party’s program states,

“The Communist Party, as part of the developing all-people’s…participates fully with the labor movement and its allies in building a strong people’s electoral force…including the participation of working people not only in voting but also in running for office and decision making at every level, whether local, state, or national. ”  [emphasis added by article author]

Make no mistake, the developing all-people’s front’s immediate task is dealing a decisive blow to the political power of the GOP and the fascist right in the arena of electoral politics, this is not only stated in our program — but also has been the reality of its current trajectory. But let us not forget that our program also explains that the “more advanced, anti-monopoly stage of struggle will be the next key step on the road to socialism in the U.S.” in which a more developed all-people’s front will move from the task of politically defeating the extreme right to the new task of politically defeating monopoly capitalism. It is in this stage of struggle — one I believe will approach sooner rather than later if Trump’s GOP is defeated — that the working masses can participate in “running for office and decision making at every level” as a truly independent political force. Seemingly, as a new progressive democratic zeitgeist and socialist consciousness develops amongst the working class, the GOP’s far right agenda increasingly grows nonviable. It will be necessary for another political force to fill any void the GOP leaves if it does “collapse”. The all-people’s front must have the political prowess necessary not only to occupy that space but also resolutely struggle against any political force representing monopoly capital. While the writings of past revolutionaries can be insightful, these fundamental skills can only be learned in the here and now, through unwavering and relentless struggle against working people’s most imminent threat — the fascist GOP.

It is not blind faith that leads to this articulation. This process has taken shape in the local politics of my home city, Philadelphia. The GOP has never been particularly strong here, the number of Republican city council members has slowly dwindled since the early 1970s. Additionally, we have not had a Republican mayor since 1952. Political leaders ranging from Frank Rizzo to Helen Gym (during different time periods) have both risen to prominent positions in the same Democratic Party. It was a combination of both of these facts that created conditions ripe for a progressive break from the Democrats. Thus in 2019, Kendra Brooks and the progressive Working Families Party (WFP) won an at-large seat on Philly’s City Council, leaving the GOP with just two of seventeen seats. Then just this past year in 2023, progressive forces were able to add another WFP at-large council member with the election of Nicolas O’Rourke. Make no mistake, this incredible feat was not achieved simply because the WFP had “good” ideas. It was achieved because WFP built and mobilized a mass base consisting of progressive Democrats, trade unionists, activists, socialists and Communist Party members. Is this ringing a bell? From our Party program:

“Third parties which recognize the need for Left-Center unity to defeat the extreme right play an important and positive role toward shifting the balance of forces and moving closer to the formation of a viable anti-monopoly third party.”

Our Party should continue to investigate the success of the WFP in Philly as a third party that was able to achieve independence and viability in a city considered to be a Democratic Party stronghold. I believe with our conscious and concerted participation in these efforts, this success can be extrapolated throughout the whole country. However, as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts famously said, “let’s keep the main thing the main thing.” Let’s not lose sight of our primary task — developing and mobilizing the all-people’s front to hand the far right a crushing defeat in the electoral arena. From this, we will enter a new stage of struggle, with new opportunities which only then will we be prepared to seize. A better world’s in birth!


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