The Party and marginalized groups

BY:Kayle Geist And Ada Rex| May 20, 2024
The Party and marginalized groups


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

The Party has seen quite a large uptick in membership within the past few years and has in many ways utilized this effectively. But despite this growth the party still remains largely alien to those in marginalized communities in many parts of the country. The party should take a more proactive stance on members of marginalized communities and make a stronger presence in them.

During the Alabama coal strike of the 1920s and the Scottsboro Nine of 1931, the party’s involvement leading to and during these events saw huge increases in party membership from African-American/Black communities, but the same can’t be said for the LGBTQ+ community or indigenous communities of the U.S. The party has had these communities as blanks for much of its history for many reasons, from chauvinism to larger societal taboos that came with such labels. Indigenous communities have been largely ignored as well as noted by Foster himself.

In the midst of ongoing onslaughts to LGBTQ+ rights not just for youth but marked increase in violence towards adults as well, the continuous stripping of indigenous land and systematic violence they face in all settler-colonial entities, the party must take the chance to improve relations with these disenfranchised communities as well as many others so that our analysis of the U.S. is not without those that are at times the worst victims of it.

Building our relationships within these communities will also help develop class consciousness in a way not dissimilar to the events mentioned previously in the 20s and 30s as these lead to many prominent political thinkers of the following generation. The direct involvement of the party in the south led to ties/development of the Southern Negro Youth Congress of whom Sallye Bell Davis, a national officer at the time, would have her daughter Angela Davis join the party in the late 60s.

The implementation of an LGBTQ+/indigenous/etc. commission and a directive to reach out to these communities would greatly improve our understanding of the U.S. project along with deconstructing previous notions and failings of the party in these communities as mentioned previously.

Most importantly, once contact and understanding with these communities is improved, the party as a whole must be prepared to follow through and prove itself as an ally that can be depended on through aid and coordinated action that aligns with each group’s priorities. Although these actions may have the benefit of improving party rapport and representation with these groups, the primary goal of any coordinated action must be the improvement of material conditions for these marginalized groups. Only by listening to them, amplifying their voices in the Party, and taking their struggles as our own will we be able to gain a deep enough understanding of each group’s struggles to help them pave walk together along the paths towards liberation and justice.

To this end, we need to identify what resources we have already that we can leverage to the benefit of these groups, keeping in mind that a consistent level of effort from region to region will be critical to establishing trust, even if priorities and actions in each region will vary. More directly, we must identify how much we can expand the work given to these communities, and ensure that we can be depended on wherever we are needed.



    Kayle Geist is an activist with the Akron Club, Ohio District, CPUSA

    Ada Rex is an activist with the Akron Club, Ohio District, CPUSA


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