May 20, 2024

H. G. Wells Interviews Vladimir Lenin, 1920 On photo "Lenin talks with HG Wells" (1984) by Roman Podobedov.

In October of 2023, the CWPUSA Central Committee was interviewed by Arian Campo-Flores, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, to get our input on the lawsuit pursued by the PCUSA against the ACB. To our knowledge, however, the interview was never published by the WSJ. Since then, with internal and external pressures, the ACB has ceased to exist. Here are the responses of the CC to their questions.

WSJ: First off, can you tell me about the Communist Workers Platform USA, and who exactly I’m emailing with? Can I get your name or names?

CC: For the purpose of this interview, you can address us collectively as the Central Committee of the Communist Workers’ Platform USA (CWPUSA). The CWPUSA is a Marxist-Leninist organization that is establishing the groundwork for a communist party in the US. The workers’ movement in our country has suffered due to the absence of a genuinely Marxist-Leninist Party. The historical party, the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), has deteriorated over time, opportunistically tying the actions and principles of the workers’ movement to the interest of the capitalist class all while masking the rhetoric of progressive reforms towards the goal of communism and denying the necessity of revolution. This makes the mass of workers think that putting aside their own interests in favor of those of the bosses is, in some sense, to their benefit. For instance, the CPUSA attempts to drag workers and the people to support the Green New Deal. This policy advocates for increased state intervention to create conditions and incentives for new profitable investments, relying on digital technology and the “green transition” of the capitalist economy, which will lead to further capital accumulation and profits for the monopolies. Ultimately, the people will be called upon to bear the financial burden of new loans and support for struggling “green” businesses by the state. They will also face higher costs for “green power supply,” leading to energy poverty, increased inequality, and other challenges.

Completely eroded by opportunism, the CPUSA, in its current state, functions as a social-democratic mass organization. Similar to other social democratic groups, such as the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), it holds the belief that the worst aspects of capitalism can be voted out of power. They attempt to “humanize” capitalism by reducing exploitation, with maybe some crumbs for the workers here and there. However, the reality is that, like other bourgeois parties, they are committed to safeguarding and promoting the interests of the major capitalist monopolies. They do so while positioning themselves as “leftists” and occasionally employing “radical” political rhetoric, even using socialist terminology, to deceive and manipulate the working class and society at large.

Meanwhile, other parties have failed to earnestly undertake the task of reconstituting the Leninist party. It is only through the presence of a Leninist party, the vanguard of the working class, that all the presently fragmented struggles of the working class and the broader population can be unified into a potent force against their fundamental adversary, the capitalist class. Recognizing this, we are committed to uniting the communist and working-class movements in our country based on an ideological foundation by showcasing the legitimacy and effectiveness of Marxism-Leninism in the liberation of the working class.

The working class has recently been under attack by the capitalist class and its state. We’ve witnessed numerous labor law violations by companies like Starbucks and Amazon, surveillance campaigns against union organizers by employers and the state, efforts to weaken public employee unions, particularly teachers’ unions in several states, and the Biden administration’s intervention to halt the railroad strike. All of these actions are facilitated by the absence of the only party that truly represents the interests of the working class.

WSJ: Are you affiliated with, or part of, the American Council of Bolsheviks?

CC: We are not a part of the American Council of Bolsheviks (ACB), but we maintain fraternal relations with them. Much like us, they have separated from the Party of Communists USA (PCUSA) due to the opportunist disintegration within that organization and the broader communist movement in the United States. This situation was exacerbated by the eruption of the imperialist war in Ukraine, which triggered crises within the international communist movement. Moreover, similar to our objectives, the ACB has undertaken the mission of reconstituting the communist party, which we wholeheartedly support. Given our common history and shared goals, it is only natural that we have maintained close communication.

WSJ: Can you explain the origin of the dispute between PCUSA and the faction that became the ACB? Did it have to do with disagreements over how to respond to the Russia-Ukraine conflict? Or were there other issues?

CC: Once the war in Ukraine broke out, it became even clearer that the PCUSA, in its statement, chose to side with one camp of robbers (the Russian bourgeoisie) over the other camp of robbers (the Euro-Atlantic forces, including the US-EU-NATO), and a struggle arose based on the release of the PCUSA’s statement on the outbreak of the imperialist war. The members of the ACB defended the correct Leninist position on it, which was to reject the wars of the bourgeoisie. This is correct because these wars are fought for the acquisition of markets, territories, and direct political control. They are typical of the contemporary era of capitalism, and express the need for a new division of the markets, for new “peace agreements”, based on the course of capitalist development. The capitalists and opportunists attempt to disorient the workers and transform them into the “cannon fodder” for the interests of the monopolies.

Additionally, they highlighted the serious erosion of the principle of internal democracy and discipline, which we communists call democratic centralism. According to this principle, all actions and policies taken up by the Communist Party must be determined according to the will of the majority and, once determined, enacted unanimously by all members. Democratic centralism requires a thorough period of discussion during which questions are scientifically debated, and ultimately, a course of action or position is decided upon. All of this was violated by the leadership of the PCUSA.

On a practical level, the PCUSA was incapable of developing an effective strategy for intervening in the daily struggles of the working class. On a theoretical level, within the party, varying ideological tendencies were allowed to proliferate, resulting in erroneous conceptions of imperialism. Such conceptions permitted the open qualification of China as a socialist country, ignoring its imperialist character. Furthermore, the PCUSA had yet to correctly assess the history of the international communist movement, taking outdated strategies and copying them wholesale onto their activities today. One of these is the Popular Front strategy, which can be traced back to the period of 1934–1945 in the Communist Party of the USA. The Popular Front strategy was carried out under the illusion that certain sections of the capitalist class were progressive in the fight against fascism. The revolutionary forces of the modern communist movement have demonstrated that this idea is false. There are no sections of the bourgeoisie, regardless of their country of origin, that can be allies of the working class.

WSJ: What was the goal in forming the ACB? And how does that contrast with PCUSA’s approach and focus?

CC: The ACB and the CWPUSA share a common goal of reconstituting the communist party in the United States. The PCUSA and the CPUSA are communist in name only and do not provide the alternative that the working class needs to accomplish its historical objective: the socialist revolution. In the case of the PCUSA, it is the flip side of the coin of the CPUSA. It believes that certain segments of the bourgeoisie have an interest in fighting against fascism. It upholds the so-called “anti-imperialist” countries: Russia, China, and Venezuela, and associates these, and the BRICS cooperation, with a positive role in the struggle against US-NATO imperialism. To this end, they have rejected the tactic of the CPUSA, which tails the Democratic Party, and instead seek alliances with elements of the Republican Party, such as the Libertarian Party, and various left-wing and right-wing populists, which have converged under the Rage Against the War Machine. Now they have hit rock bottom ideologically through open support of some of the positions of the far-right reactionary Marjorie Taylor Greene.

On the other hand, there’s the CPUSA. Like the PCUSA, they also target fascism, only differing in their belief, “anything but the Republicans.” In practice, this leads to the CPUSA tying itself to the Democratic Party, which they believe has a vested interest in combating fascism. This is far from the truth. Both past and present Democrats share economic and foreign policies in the intra-imperialist struggle for global supremacy, similar to the Republican administrations. For example, during President Bill Clinton’s tenure, Biden played a key role in pushing for a war against the former Yugoslavia with the aim of achieving Kosovo’s secession. Even today, Biden moves forward with Trump’s border wall plans.

WSJ: Can you tell me about Justin Stewart: his history in Communist parties, his disagreements with PCUSA, and his motivation in starting the ACB?

CC: In our work, we distance ourselves from intrigue in the personal aspects of people’s lives. We can only state that we had shared time in the PCUSA with Justin, and his disagreements with the PCUSA are rooted in all that has been explained above. The motivation for starting the ACB, whether it was solely him or with others, was the correct decision. From this new vantage point, the ACB is now able to take aim at the main culprits of the degeneration of the communist movement in our country: the CPUSA and the PCUSA.

WSJ: Can you provide more details about Stewart’s allegations that members of ACB have been reported to police, to bosses and on 4Chan? What incidents was he referring to?

CC: We don’t have all the details about these incidents to offer a comprehensive response. However, the PCUSA’s recruitment strategy, primarily conducted online, lacks the means to thoroughly assess the qualifications and character of potential members. This leaves room for the potential infiltration of individuals or groups capable of such actions.

WSJ: Who is Stewart referring to when he says that PCUSA is led by an heir to a catering company and son of a narcotics officer? Can you provide more background on that individual?

CC: The first claim concerns the General Secretary of the PCUSA, Angelo D’Angelo. D’Angelo and others in the PCUSA have made references to him owning real estate and a food service business in Staten Island. However, we lack evidence or proof to provide further commentary on this allegation. The second refers to Chris Bovet, who serves as the National Chair of the PCUSA. Bovet is the son of a Special Investigator for the Office of Police Oversight in Boise, Idaho, who boasts an extensive professional background in law enforcement. Chris’s father, James Bovet, has held various positions, including Chief of Police services in Santee, California, and roles as a detective, sergeant, lieutenant in charge of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Ramona Substation, and captain. James Bovet’s career also included a period as a narcotics officer from 1998 to 2002 in Ramona, California. All of this information is publicly available.

WSJ: Are PCUSA’s allegations correct regarding Stewart taking over PCUSA’s social media accounts, GoDaddy account and other organizational infrastructure? If so, what prompted him to do that?

CC: Stewart played a crucial role in the PCUSA’s efforts. He shouldered a significant burden, being responsible for creating and managing all these services for the PCUSA. Many times, he went to great lengths, even taking weeks off work, to organize all of this. However, despite his strenuous efforts and in line with the ongoing violations of democratic centralism, much of the work Justin had undertaken was unilaterally terminated and disregarded.

In the Communist Party, the Central Committee is the focal point for guiding work in the periods between Congresses. It serves as the core source of political, ideological, and organizational leadership. However, in the PCUSA, the Central Committee was more of a formality. In practice, it remained inactive, violating the fundamental principles of a Leninist party and allowing social media accounts to post content without oversight. Consequently, some seriously flawed views, aligning with the main opportunist trends, were disseminated through these accounts. One such perspective is the notion of “patriotic socialism,” which traces its origins to the Browderist concept of “Americanism as 21st-century socialism.” Today, this ideology seeks to regain traction and appeal to the reactionary segments of US society. Some of the leading figures of this political trend are Caleb Maupin, Jackson Hinkle, and the YouTube personality Infrared.

While there were efforts made to subject these accounts to the authority of the Central Committee, they continued to function independently of the PCUSA’s primary leadership. This allowed the leadership to shift blame onto specific individuals or groups for their actions on social media, but they failed to acknowledge their own responsibility in guiding these endeavors. As a result, it is challenging to ascertain whether any of these accounts were genuinely affiliated with the PCUSA.

WSJ: Stewart has suggested there’s an irony to a Communist group turning to an intellectual property lawyer to seek recourse. What are your thoughts on that?

CC: It is crucial to grasp that the laws in our society, which is a bourgeois society, are necessary only because there are individuals who possess nothing except for their labor power—the working class. This labor power is exploited by a dominant minority, which constitutes the capitalist class. There are laws that criminalize homelessness and force financially struggling families out onto the streets due to their inability to pay rent. None of these laws contribute to addressing the fundamental cause of the issue: the capitalist system. This system prioritizes profits over human lives, resulting in laws designed to target those with nothing while favoring those who own everything, namely the ruling class.

The oppressive and deceptive apparatus, through which the ruling class enforces its laws with the aim of gaining complete control over the labor power of those who possess nothing, is the State. Therefore, the State can be seen as a dictatorship of the capitalist class. Within the State, various institutions exist for the enforcement of capitalist law, and in the context of this issue, the focus is on the court.

From a communist perspective, the court is considered an instrument of power. Irrespective of the composition or location of the court, its decisions are restricted by the numerous laws that are crafted to benefit business groups and disadvantage the working class. Why does this happen? Judges either originate from a bourgeois background or are appointed by those in positions of power.

What can we say about judges who are elected? When working people have been subdued to serve the interests of capital and have come to accept the laws of the capitalists as their own, they are permitted to participate in the legal process, just as they can vote for exploiters and their supporters in government. This is how the institution of trial by jury was established, enabling legal decisions that favor capital to appear as if they were made by the entire populace.

The irony lies in all of this. The laws that favor the ruling class are being employed by a purported “working-class” party against another working-class organization. As far as our knowledge goes, there is no historical precedent for such an event. The PCUSA is utilizing the oppressive machinery of the bourgeois state against fellow communists. Such an action not only contradicts the principles of communism but also signifies the PCUSA aligning itself with the state to negotiate a deal. They endorse the capitalist notion that the outcomes of research and innovation, which result from collective effort, should be treated as individual property and registered as such through trademark and patent registration. Essentially, the PCUSA finds itself defending a fundamental aspect of competitiveness in the market. Patents are directly connected to capitalist ownership, serving as a means for capital to commodify all aspects of our lives. We strongly disagree with this.

WSJ: What progress has the ACB made in building this new group? What activities has it been engaged in? How many members does it have?

CC: The progress of the ACB can be tracked on their publication, New Spark. In addition to their regular publications, they have an article titled “The Birth of the American Council of Bolsheviks” which goes into depth on these questions.

WSJ: Are you concerned about the potential impact of this litigation on the broader Communist movement in the U.S.?

CC: We recognize that there is an opportunity to utilize the court to expose the capitalists’ agenda. For communists, this entails revealing the charade that is the bourgeois court system to the broader population. We are tasked with employing it as a platform to unveil the rottenness of capitalism and its governing apparatus.

However, the political deterioration of the PCUSA has led to the inclusion of reactionary and hazardous groups within its ranks. In legal proceedings, the discovery process permits both parties to obtain and exchange evidence. The prospect that such evidence could end up in the possession of these groups or the state is a significant concern for us. We can see other examples of the weaponization of the bourgeois state by self-proclaimed “communist” parties or “socialists” against the communists and the reformation of the revolutionary workers’ and people’s movements in other countries. For instance, in Spain, the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) entered a coalition government, aligning itself with all the commitments to EU-NATO and the interests of Spanish capital. In China, the government is led by the Communist Party, which maintains a legal framework enabling the exploitation of millions of workers within China. Moreover, Chinese monopolies exploit the working class in their foreign enterprises, such as the shipping giant COSCO in the port of Piraeus in Greece and various industries in Africa. In Venezuela, the government of Maduro, in support of the CPUSA and the PCUSA, is using the courts to delegitimize the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), which actively struggles against the anti-popular and anti-worker government of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

While all of these parties have entered the governing administration of their countries, the PCUSA is pursuing an alternative approach to undermine the revolutionary movement, namely, through the court system. The legal actions against communists, occurring during the Biden administration’s rule, which has taken various measures to suppress the growing militancy of the labor movement, amount to genuine authoritarianism and anti-democratic conduct. The PCUSA’s use of bourgeois law as a weapon exposes its true character.

WSJ: People at PCUSA have described the alleged actions of Stewart and his allies, in taking over PCUSA’s accounts, as anti-Communist and juvenile. What are your thoughts on that?

CC: Even if these allegations and their framing are true, the PCUSA is communist-in-name-only, so these actions cannot be characterized as anti-communist. And who appears more juvenile? The organization that has wasted resources and time and threatens to send a person into poverty before the bourgeois courts? Or the organization that supposedly took an online chat and email server?

It’s crucial to highlight that the PCUSA is attempting to shift the blame away from itself. They are scapegoating Stewart and the ACB comrades while disregarding the sequence of events that led to the recent divisions and, consequently, their legal actions against the ACB. Let’s use an analogy to illustrate this reasoning. The capitalist system gives rise to issues such as homelessness, poverty, unemployment, suffering, gang violence, femicide, racism, and much more. Communists recognize these as consequences of capitalism and target the root cause by aiming to dismantle the capitalist system through the Socialist Revolution. We hold the class responsible for upholding capitalism and its state accountable for these problems. This principled approach to phenomena is lost on the PCUSA, as evidenced not only by their case against the ACB but also in their political stances that fail to address the root causes of their own inadequacies. For example, they prioritize the fight against fascism over the abolition of the capitalist system and align with one group of imperialists, China-Russia, over another, US-EU-NATO.

Such logic is alien to the communist movement and since the PCUSA operates by such logic, it cannot see some of the critical issues which have led to this moment and for which it holds blame.

The main issues encompass:

  • Differing factions within the party that maintained control over different party structures. These groups existed with a significant divide over support for capitalist China.
  • The abolition of democratic centralism and the Leninist principles of the party of a new type, leading to the lack of a Central Committee. This results in widespread individualism within party structures and a lack of education, political policy, and discipline. 
  • Insufficient representation of the working class within the party.
  • An overemphasis on online activities and recruitment, leading to the absence of the party from the struggles of the workers and people.
  • A nostalgic and uncritical view of the history of the communist movement in our country, leading to repeating historical errors.
  • A deficiency in comprehending the history of the international communist movement.

These issues are a holdover from the decay of the CPUSA, from which the PCUSA was birthed.

WSJ: More broadly, what is it like to be a Communist in the U.S. these days?

CC: The communist movement has suffered significant harm due to ideological decay that has led to opportunism and reformism or the belief that the state can be peacefully reformed to socialism. The introduction of reformist ideas has been made easier by the CPUSA, which portrays itself as a communist party but, in practice, supports and is a component of modern social democracy.

Following the 20th Congress of the CPSU in February 1956 and its proposal for “various paths to socialism under specific circumstances,” the concept of “peaceful coexistence” became associated with the idea of achieving socialism through parliamentary means. This strategy was already present in several Communist Parties and eventually became the dominant approach in most of them.

The CPUSA was not an exception, as it adopted the strategy of an “anti-monopoly government” as an intermediary step between socialism and capitalism. Consequently, the CPUSA, along with other parties, embraced a strategy that involved building alliances, including segments of the bourgeoisie, particularly those with “nationalist” inclinations, as opposed to those perceived as subservient to foreign imperialism. In practice, this led to a political alignment with one of the two main pillars of the US bourgeois political system, namely, the Democratic Party. A letter from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) to the CPUSA, responding to the published positions of former chairman Sam Webb and the resolutions from the 29th National Convention of the CPUSA, effectively underscores these ongoing issues.

The decisive ideological and political struggle against these forces serves as a criterion for the reconstitution of the revolutionary communist movement in our country and for overcoming the crisis it currently faces. We are not only confronted with the battle against the opportunist forces within the CPUSA and the PCUSA but also with the struggle against oppression by different levels of government in the US. There is an ongoing attempt to criminalize socialism-communism in various states, falsely equating it with authoritarianism or even Nazism, perpetuating an age-old lie. Moreover, the most reactionary segments of the bourgeoisie are equating various management strategies of the capitalist system with socialism.

Across the country, the revolutionary communist movement is fragmented and detached from the daily struggles. The growing labor movement and the people are left to struggle without a clear independent path against the monopolies and the repressive mechanisms of the state, lacking the guidance of a communist party to steer them in the class struggle, away from the influence of bourgeois parties. While there is participation from self-proclaimed communists or socialists, these organizations foster illusions of change through the institutions of capitalism, leading individuals down a dead-end path of fighting for democratic rights or meager concessions. They fail to advance the imperative need for the overthrow of capitalism to genuinely realize social rights.

Despite this objectively unfavorable balance of power, we recognize that every decline in the working-class struggle will eventually be followed by an upswing. We are currently witnessing the early signs of such a resurgence. Workers are becoming increasingly discontent with their living conditions, as evidenced by a 40% increase in strikes since August 2022. Moreover, there is a growing interest in communism, although it’s unfortunate that most of this interest is being channeled by communist-in-name-only organizations like the CPUSA. However, the working class will soon discern the limitations of these organizations.

All these signs provide us with hope for the future of our movement. Nevertheless, it’s essential to acknowledge that trade union activities alone cannot bring about the socialist revolution, let alone secure its victory. This monumental task falls upon the advanced segments of the working class, its vanguard, organized within its communist party. The urgent imperative for our movement is the reconstitution of the communist party, as a strong communist party is a prerequisite for a successful socialist revolution. Communism will ultimately prevail.