On building the party and other suggestions 

BY:Derek Dougherty| April 20, 2024
On building the party and other suggestions 


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 we gather for the 32nd National Convention, we are confronted with the undeniable reality of a looming global capitalist crisis, a situation that is deepening by the day. The international situation is fraught with tensions and contradictions. There is no reason to anticipate that we will see a long-term easing of tensions on an international scale even if the war in Ukraine is ended — a conflict which is largely over energy but more so part of an imperialist bid for political-economic influence in general — and even if Israel commits to a ceasefire while maintaining apartheid with the use of fascist settler forces.

Moreover, the climate crisis places a ticking clock on humanity’s very existence, demanding urgent action to avoid complete catastrophe. As Marxist-Leninists, we understand that capitalism’s insatiable drive for increased profit leads to recurring cycles of boom and bust, increased exploitation, and ecological destruction.

In the face of these challenges, it is imperative that we evaluate and fortify our Party structures to effectively advance the cause of socialism.

Prioritization of Workplace Clubs 

“The organization of the party must be adapted to the conditions and purposes of its activity. . . . The final goal of our party is the overthrow of bourgeois rule, the conquest of power by the working class, the attainment of communism. Its immediate task is to win over the majority of the working class by active participation in the daily struggle of the working masses and the leadership of that struggle. This can be accomplished only by the closest association of our party organization with the working masses in the factories. With this in mind, the third world congress of the CI decided that factory cells were to be the foundation of the CP.” (Resolution of the ECCI on the organization of factory cells (extracts))

Leninism stresses the importance of creating a militant organization that will undertake systemic and all-around political agitation. Workplace Clubs serve as the crucible for this organization. By organizing directly within workplaces, we tap into the inherent power dynamics of capitalist production. The Workplace Club constructs itself and operates within the workplace to take on the role of its most effective organizers, agitates on the shop-floor to build its cadre as leaders, build rank-and-file militancy and class-consciousness, develop correspondents to write for People’s World, etc. Workplace Clubs should work in close connection with the Neighborhood/Street/City Clubs and their corresponding Districts to build a centralized and functional Party apparatus.

Renewal of Focus on the National Question 

As Lenin articulated in “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination,” national liberation movements are integral to the struggle against imperialism. We must renew our discussions on the national question as it relates to our conditions, both in terms of our government’s international imperialism as well as our domestic “internal colonies.” We must renew our analysis on the struggle for Indigenous liberation and Landback, our strategy for Black liberation, our fight for Puerto Rican self-determination, and more. By providing a materialist outlook and revolutionary strategy to these struggles, we strengthen the unity of the working and oppressed masses and undermine the ruling class’ strategy of divide and rule.

Revitalization of Ideological Publications

Marxist-Leninist theory is not a static doctrine but a living, evolving framework for understanding and transforming society. As Lenin emphasized, the Party must serve as the vanguard of the working class, and to do so means it must provide theoretical guidance and political education to its members and to the people. Ideological publications such as Political Affairs play a crucial role in disseminating and developing Marxist-Leninist theory, analyzing contemporary developments, and guiding revolutionary praxis. By revitalizing these ideological publications, we would equip Party members with the ideological tools necessary to navigate the complexities of class struggle and properly advance the cause of socialism.

Along with this, we must renew our efforts to craft and publish thorough analyses of various important issues. An analysis of the development of gender-constructs, the family, and private property. An analysis of the development of modern police forces and prison systems from their birth out of slave patrols and plantations. An analysis of the genocide of Native Americans and their continued struggles for liberation on Turtle Island. An analysis of “Great American Chauvinism,” American exceptionalism. And more…. Every minute that the Party remains only a supporting voice in these societal discussions is another hour of digging through misinformation and misinterpretations. “It takes ten minutes to dispel a lie that took ten seconds.”

Building International Solidarity 

We must deepen our ties with fraternal Parties in neighboring countries and beyond, forging alliances based on mutual interests and shared revolutionary goals. In the digital age of ever-increasing interconnectedness, there will come a point where keeping these connections closed will become more of a drain on resources and energy than would be to properly build and sustain these connections. There is a vast wealth of knowledge, experience, and perspectives waiting to be utilized from countless comrades all across Mexico, Canada, Cuba, all of Latin America and the Caribbean – experience and perspectives which will, sooner or later, bleed over into membership discourse, outside of the Party and our processes, if we do not build the connections properly.

Building a Working-Class Electoral Movement

The Democratic Party, despite its claimed allegiance to progressive values, remains fundamentally beholden to capitalist interests. Its allegiance to corporate donors and its complicity in imperialism abroad, now even genocide, undermine any genuine commitment to working-class values. To break free from this two-Party stranglehold, we must build a working-class electoral movement that is completely independent of the Democrats. This movement must prioritize the needs and aspirations of the working class, centering issues such as healthcare for all, living wages, housing and tenants rights, and environmental justice to name a few. By running independent Communist candidates at the local, state, and national levels, we can offer a genuine alternative to the neoliberal status quo and galvanize the working class into taking determined political action. Moreover, this electoral strategy must be coupled with an even greater campaign of mass mobilization and organizing in the daily struggles of every community and workplace across the country, centered specifically around this political aim.

These, I feel, are the most pressing topics for discussion regarding our Party and it’s current position.


    Derek Dougherty is an activist with the Louisville KY Club, CPUSA.

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