Convention Discussion: Lenin or What’s in a name?

BY: Kelly Sinclair| April 9, 2014

Submitted by Kelly Sinclair, Central TX

There’s been talk of dropping the word “Leninist” from our party’s description. Let us consider the experiences of another group whose name perhaps seems out of date.

Consider the NAACP, whose acronym includes the words “colored people.” African-Americans choose a variety of phrases to describe themselves-colored is one of the more old-fashioned-however the NAACP doesn’t appear likely to change its name anytime soon.

Why not? Because of their desire to honor its history and their founders. The marches, the martyrs, the struggles from 1909 to today. The NAACP has a complex story of change, occasional internal strife, and numerous triumphs. Its projects and leadership changes over time but the goal of advancement remains constant. The mission is still the same.

The questions that face our party are on the face of it existential, such as, are we a vanguard, do we advocate democratic centralism, and do we embrace the whole of Soviet-style Leninism?

A better question is: are we still inspired by the works and life of Lenin? Even as we learn from his mistakes and embrace new theoretical thinkers, do we still honor that part of our history as a party?

We are a communist party. A Marxist party. Although Lenin’s insights may not altogether apply to our current situation, is there still a place for him?

Many North Americans recoil from the words socialist and communist despite the fact that the majority parties inaccurately describe themselves as being republican and democrat. Free market is a con man’s tease and capitalism an insider’s racket. Politicians are bought and paid for with largely untraceable corporate money. Who knows what they truly stand for?

We know we are for the people and always have been. As with the NAACP, we have our marches, our martyrs, and our struggles. We say what our name means. We define the terms. We’re not trapped by our name or entangled in past battles unless we choose to be.

The views and opinions expressed in the Convention Discussion are those of the author alone. The Communist Party is publishing these views as a service to encourage discussion and debate. Those views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Communist Party, its leading bodies or staff members. The CPUSA Constitution, Program, and all its existing policies remain in effect during the Convention discussion period and during the Convention.

For details about the convention, visit the Convention homepage
To contribute to the discussion, visit the Convention Discussion webpage

30th National Convention, Communist Party USA
Chicago | June 13-15, 2014



    A native of the Texas Panhandle, Kelly Sinclair is a singer-songwriter who branched out into prose with the publication of her first novel, "Accidental Rebels." Five of her books (Accidental Rebels, Lesser Prophets, If the Wind Were a Woman, In the Now, Roberta's Fire) appeared with Blue Feather Books before that publisher's demise. In 2015, she returns to print/ebook with her new crime noir novel, "Getting Back," with Regal Crest Books. Also, her Lambda Literary Awards finalist effort, "In the Now," will return to print with science-fiction publisher Lethe Press. In addition to her writing for People's World, she's also an audio reviewer for Library Journal. As a singer-songwriter, she's written for herself (Alive in Soulville) as well as others. Her rock musical, "Clarity," is available for free via Soundcloud. She's also a computer artist. She currently lives in central Texas. She can be found at as well as via email.

Related Party Voices Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer