Marxism and the problem of keeping pace with what’s new

BY:Joe Sims| May 30, 2021
Marxism and the problem of keeping pace with what’s new


Joe Sims, CPUSA co-chair, gave the following presentation at the “Contemporary Marxism: Development and Innovation in Theory and Practice” conference in Beijing hosted by the CPC’s International Department.

Dear comrades,

At its very heart, Marxism is a science of what is new and becoming. This conference, “Contemporary Marxism: Development and Innovation in Theory and Practice,” therefore, could not be more timely and important.

Change today occurs with ever-blinding speed, oftentimes outpacing humanity’s ability to consider its impact and consequences. Capitalism is constantly revolutionizing the process of production — adding, subtracting, destroying, and innovating — while bringing into being new processes in its drive for maximum profits. Artificial intelligence and big data, the internet, and social networks are taking these developments to new heights.

Keeping pace with these developments, anticipating their impact on the working-class and people’s movement, is a mandatory requirement for the communist and workers’ parties.

The 21st century has, on the one hand, brought with it an increasingly interdependent and interconnected world in which each and every increase in the productive forces brings the workers and peoples closer together, making more relevant by the day Lenin’s call for the “workers and oppressed peoples of the world to unite.” At the same time, transnational capital’s production relations push mightily in the opposite direction. Adding to these are climate change, unprecedented health pandemics, and the arms race.

And through it all, the class struggle continues, uninterrupted. Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that the class and democratic struggle grows with ever-increasing ferocity as imperialism and U.S. imperialism in particular seek to regain lost ground and resolve their crises at the expense of the poor and the oppressed.

In the United States, these interlocking crises have combined to create a new political moment, one filled with both great danger and opportunity. This danger is revealed by the growth of a neo-fascist mass movement led by the ex-president that attempted to retain power by illegal unconstitutional means, including inciting an insurrection on January 6th. But broad, all-people’s anti-fascist democracy so far has proven more resilient and, driven by its own mass movement, elected a new governing coalition that is attempting to implement basic reforms in domestic economic and social policy.

But this process too is extremely contradictory, particularly with respect to foreign policy. Here it appears that U.S. imperialism, at least so far, retains its old features as it pursues a new Cold War against China and other countries ruled by communist and left parties, along with retaining its hostility toward Russia.

In the face of this, China continues to chart an alternative path, one of domestic growth, international cooperation, and mutual advantage. Its economic and social successes demonstrate the correctness of seeking a path to socialism based on China’s unique culture and history.

In the U.S. we too seek a socialism based on U.S. conditions, history, and culture, founded on people’s democracy and workers’ struggle, one we call Bill of Rights Socialism. What is new in the U.S. today is that the socialist idea is growing in strength and is blossoming into a socialist moment.

It is our earnest hope that our unity of action be based on this new moment, that we adequately recognize its import and collectively nourish and strengthen it by focusing on the workers and people’s need for real change.

We wish the participants in the conference every success.

With warm comradely greetings,

Joe Sims
Co-Chair CPUSA

Image: Cordylus (CC BY-NC 2.0).


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