Our Electoral Strategy is Grounded in Marxist-Leninist Theory and Practice

BY:Richard Green| April 2, 2024
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 we enter another election cycle and are actively engaged in pre-convention discussion it is important to reiterate what has been written and presented in other formats and forums about the theoretical basis for the CPUSA electoral strategy.

It is not unusual for some new members to question our participation in electoral politics and our electoral strategy. Some who join without broad coalition or mass organization experience may find it distasteful to work with forces with whom they have significant disagreements on a number of other issues.

What does electoral politics have to do with the struggle for socialism? Why should we support reforms and not just call for revolution? Why would we support efforts to elect Democrats? Shouldn’t we devote our efforts to supporting only third-party candidates or independent and communist candidates?

When people join our Party, they want to fight for socialism and revolution. Some might become confused or disillusioned when we ask them to engage in electoral work. We must help these members understand that sometimes, what seems the most radical is not always the most revolutionary.
We should help members understand that our concept of the united front is soundly grounded in Marxist-Leninist theory and historical communist practice. Understanding our Party’s electoral strategy requires putting it in the context of Marxist-Leninist theory and historical working-class experience.

We approach our political work with a dialectical understanding. One of the laws of dialectics is that quantitative change can lead to qualitative change. Dialectics, applied to our political work, means quantitative changes in this area of struggle and are small steps on the road to socialism. Building broad movements in our local communities to change policies that improve the lives of working people is part of organizing our class struggle. Every working-class victory against the interests of the capitalist class is a class struggle victory.

As Marxists, our materialist and scientific approach requires that we understand the world as it is, not what we wish it were. We approach our electoral work with an understanding that we organize for socialism and improvement in the lives of the working class within a two-party system. While we struggle to build political independence movements and run our own candidates, we must also meet the working class where they are, not where we want them to be, including working in coalition with the working class base of the Democratic Party.

The call for broad unity and for a united front and all-people’s front against fascism has a direct ideological through-line from Engels and Marx to Lenin, Dimitrov, Gus Hall, and our current electoral strategy as outlined in our Party Program, The Road to Socialism.

Engels, in his introduction to Marx’s The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850, wrote:

“The time of surprise attacks, of revolutions carried through by small conscious minorities at the head of unconscious masses, is past.”

Joe Sims wrote a piece on Lenin earlier this year where he said:

“Already, his [Lenin’s] Two Tactics, in embryonic form, stressed what came to be known as the “united front” concept, the absolute necessity of a broad front led by the working class to defeat reaction. Here, Lenin resolutely challenged the “left” posturing of those Marxists who feared an alliance with capitalists against a greater enemy, arguing again and again that the working class must lead the battle for democracy.”

In 1935, Georgi Dimitrov gave the main report “United Front against Fascism” to the 7th World Congress of the Communist International. This led to the world communist movement reaffirming support for the United Front strategy. The report reads in part:

“The establishment of unity of action by all sections of the working class, irrespective of the party or organization to which they belong, is necessary even before the majority of the working class is united in the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and the victory of the proletarian revolution.”

The CPUSA’s concept of the all-people’s front was advanced by the Hall-Winston leadership team in the 1980s after the Republican National Committee (RNC) shifted to the far right at the behest of the Chamber of Commerce and big banks. This dangerous shift is what then Party leader Gus Hall called a “whiff of fascism.” This whiff of fascism has now become a stench with the alarming rise of Trump and the MAGA movement. In the face of the impending fascist threat, the all-people’s front is more important now than ever.
Our electoral strategy includes building formations such as a working-class-led united front and building the broadest possible all-people’s front to defeat the fascist threat. It also includes building the forces of political independence. Of course, as an independent political party, we also actively seek new opportunities to run our own candidates when and where it makes sense.

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. Undoubtedly, the battle against fascism in the United States will be waged in the electoral arena. 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. Such a victory would shift the balance of forces and provide a more favorable climate for organizing in the future. A special focus should be given by clubs in local communities all over the country to electing progressives, left and center-left candidates who are opposed to the anti-woke, white supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti-labor agenda of the far right MAGA movement. This is an urgent call to action for every Party collective.



    Richard Green is Co-chair, SoCal District and Member, National Political Action Commission


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