Necessity of a world communist movement

BY:Wadi’h Halabi| May 15, 2024
Necessity of a world communist movement

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

What led to a seaside Florida apartment house’s sudden collapse in 2021? Serious errors in architecture, construction and maintenance have been identified. Plus climate disruption was certain to raise sea levels.

Who committed these errors? Why did they make them? Government authorities should have prevented or corrected them. Why didn’t they? All decision makers shared capitalism’s interests and limitations, government included. The collapse killed 98.


On November 7, 1917, the working class began work on constructing the great Soviet “building.”

Were economic weaknesses behind its 1991 collapse, as some comrades have argued? Yes. What about the spread of private businesses with Soviet officials’ collusion? Yes. Ideological weaknesses? Real.

Soviet leaders faced a million decisions, small and large, domestic and international. Each could strengthen – or weaken – the building. Many pose difficult challenges. Examples include union and nationality policies, or the inequality between intellectual and manual labor. The latter alone could corrode the entire “building” – it incorporates exploitation! Some Soviet generals came to treat soldiers as servants.

Despite immense accomplishments, the USSR collapsed. Eleven similar “buildings” also collapsed: Albania to Yugoslavia, Poland to People’s Yemen. What should have been victorious socialist revolutions were defeated, for example in Lebanon 1976, Iran 1979, South Africa soon after.

A million uncorrected errors led to the collapses and defeats.

For our world movement to lead humanity’s liberation from capitalism, we must ask: Who made the errors? Why did we make them? Why weren’t they prevented or quickly corrected?


Eight months before the Russian Revolution, the Bolshevik Party had only 8,000 active members. The Revolution’s victory speaks to the power of Marxism applied by a proletarian Leninist organization.

Once in power the working class immediately faced two life-and-death tasks: Build an army, reconstruct the economy. Fail on the first, and the landlords-exploiters would regain power. Fail on the second, worse awaits: overthrow by workers and peasants, who now expected to eat!

Army and economy are the two tasks of government after revolution. To carry them out, Soviet government had to include the majority of the population, which was petty-bourgeois – peasants, specialists, managers, intellectuals. The Red Army had to recruit 300,000 Czarist officers with military skills. To rebuild the economy, government employed an even larger number of petty-bourgeois. Many were dedicated to their tasks, but forming Marxists takes a long time.

Soviet government – which necessarily brought together workers and petty bourgeois – understandably absorbed the Party. Government and Party became entwined under one discipline, a model later adopted in most states created by socialist revolutions: a major, uncorrected weakness.

Anytime petty-bourgeois and workers are under one discipline, the former will tend to dominate unless an independent Marxist working-class organization can provide direction. The petty-bourgeoisie ‘naturally’ transmits bourgeois influence.

Lenin’s response to such challenges was to – found the world Communist Party! But he soon died.

China 1927

An early test of this analysis came in China. Founded in 1921, the Comintern’s section quickly organized unions. Labor and land-reform struggles exploded. Lenin would surely have advised Communists to build the Party and support both struggles, until a revolutionary window opened. (That’s not under our control.)

But Soviet leaders – misusing the Comintern — incorrectly advised the Chinese section to subordinate itself to the Nationalist Party, now dominated by exploiters and landlords. What followed was predictable: the bloody 1927 defeat. Fortunately the section survived. Its leaders learned to think, to apply Marxism. That required political independence from the Nationalists.

But 1927 also left an incorrect distrust of the International when the task was to strengthen it. This was necessary in part to prevent 1927s in other countries!

Why did Soviet leaders make that error? By 1927, entwined Party-government was already dominated by the petty-bourgeoisie. That class fears struggle, fears revolution. The Comintern was not sufficiently strong and independent to prevent the Soviet error: new members had not overcome the Socialist International’s many weaknesses, which reflected bourgeois influence introduced by Professor Kautsky & co.

A second test: Soviet leaders’ serious error on Palestine

It’s sometimes forgotten that Soviet leaders agreed to support imperialism in creating the Israeli state, which followed their decision to dissolve the Comintern and join the US-led “United” Nations. This was a complete reversal of Leninism.

There was material justification for creating refuges for Jews, Romas and Sintis in the West, considering capitalism’s crimes against them. But no justification for supporting Zionism.

Instead of quickly correcting the Soviet error, many sections of the world Communist movement, CPUSA included, ultimately supported it. This meant supporting oppression of the Palestinian nation and taking land from the tiller to give it to an agent of imperialism. It meant ripping sickle from hammer.

This profound error practically crippled communists in the region, Africa and beyond; it weakened the Soviet Union, the CPUSA, our world movement.


What were the decisive factors in the collapse of the Soviet “building” and other defeats?

We begin by looking at ourselves – Did we support or oppose dissolution of the International? Did we support the UN’s creation, “uniting” oppressors and oppressed?

Did we support leaders of genuine revolutions who sought to rebuild international communist unity? That included our parties in Albania, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Korea, China! Soviet leaders rejected their calls.

In the last analysis, the decisive factors in defeats now threatening human existence are weaknesses of the world communist movement – weaknesses in Marxism, organization, class foundations and practice. Knowing this can enable focused efforts to overcome these weaknesses.

Steps in strengthening our movement can include starting a Solidnet discussion bulletin, perhaps opening with self-criticisms. To rebuild ties with the working class, we can work with unions to set industry safety standards, then work together to enforce them worldwide. To strengthen Marxism, establish a university of Marxism, maybe starting with summer schools. Reviving International Labor Defense with other Solidnet members could be mighty — unity to liberate Gaza!

Workers of the world, unite! First step is: communists of the world, unite, consciously!


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