This is the first in a series of articles intended to compose the program of the CWPUSA. For months we attempted to write up a draft all at once and in one piece, but progress on that proved to be inadequate due to the limited time available to our membership. Our new plan separates the program into eleven sections, each covering a different topic, to be published separately and on a biweekly basis in New Worker. Once these have all been published, we will edit and recombine them into a single document, incorporating any changes decided on through discussion in the General Assembly. This completed draft will then also be published in New Worker.
We estimate that this process will take six months to complete, meaning the timeline in our plan of action has become outdated. Over the past few months, the CWP has learned a great deal about how to build an organization, and we realize now that the original plan underestimated the difficulty of preparing a founding convention. We underemphasized the need for local work in growing the base of membership and support necessary for properly founding this platform.
The CWP has since been reorganized around local activity as a central duty of the membership, the task which is now most critical to our development as a communist formation. Work on the founding documents has slowed down as a result, but it has also become more consistent, which for our purposes is more important. We hope that these articles will produce lively discussion from our readership within and without the platform. If you have any questions, comments, or criticisms, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.newworker.us and fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page.
Laying the Foundation for a Communist Party
The Communist Workers’ Platform USA is a Marxist-Leninist organization, one that is laying the foundation for a new communist party within the United States. We observe that there is now no proletarian organization, schooled in the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism, to lead the momentary struggles of the working class in preparation for the revolutionary seizure of power and construction of socialism in this country.
The nominally “communist” and “socialist” parties have so far refused to take up this essential task, instead seeking policies of reform in alliance with the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party. This short-sighted strategy—justified, sometimes by allusions to the popular front strategy of the Comintern, but more often by vague references to the “far-right danger”—has led these parties down the path of opportunism, forcing them to surrender leadership of the working class movement to the bourgeoisie. This phenomenon—far from unique to the US, though particularly intense here—is part of a much wider opportunist trend within the international communist movement, one that has previously culminated in the counterrevolutionary overthrow of the European socialist countries at the end of the previous century.
The Trajectory of the International Communist Movement
The overthrow of socialism provided a second wind for the capitalist system, which until then had been stuck in a deepening crisis since the 1970s. To foreign and domestic capital were opened wide tracts of land, ample natural resources, and an enormous workforce, all of which could now be exploited to the full. The restoration of capitalism also opened these countries up to new imperialist wars of conquest, for, though the USSR had been destroyed, the peoples of the former Soviet republics continued to resist this re-division of the world.
Following the counterrevolution was a period of relative stability in the capitalist system, feeding the illusions of the “failure of communism,” of class peace and capitalist permanency. These illusions were readily adopted by the opportunists, used to justify liquidationism, reformism, the repudiation of Marxism-Leninism, of theory in general. However, even in this period, there remained a minority of ideologically steeled communist fighting against these opportunists in spite of this enormous ebb in the revolutionary movement. They correctly understood that this ebb was just that, an ebb, a momentary withdrawal of the international proletarian revolution that would inevitably be followed by a new revolutionary upsurge, one motivated by crises born of the irreconcilable contradictions inherent to the capitalist system.
We can already see this in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the global financial crisis of 2007, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine. The Marxist-Leninist world outlook has been vindicated, though, with the capitalist-imperialist system on the brink of yet another general inter-imperialist war. At the same time, the conditions for a new proletarian revolution are ripening, as the capitalist class has failed to provide any meaningful solutions for existential issues such as the climate crisis, the public health crisis, the growing far-right movement, and the threat of nuclear war. Only an international socialist system can resolve these issues definitively and to the benefit of the working class and oppressed peoples of the world.
Forging Ideological Unity and Organizational Leadership
The CWP strives to create a foothold in the US for the international regroupment of the communist forces, in preparation of the counter-offensive against the capitalist class. We are determined to unite the communist and working class movement in this country on an ideological basis by demonstrating the validity and utility of Marxism-Leninism in the emancipation of the working class. The main tool for creating this ideological unity is our publication, New Worker.
We seek to organize the Marxist-Leninists of this country into local committees tasked with bridging the gap between the communist and labor movements, and into workplace cells tasked with leading and agitating the workers around the need to establish socialism. The local committees must also work within any popular movement where opportunities can be found for the cultivation of communist leadership, particularly the movements for women, black and indigenous people, immigrants, students, elderly and disabled people, and the LGBTQ community. We must show that these struggles cannot be resolved without putting an end to capitalism, that socialism-communism is the only system that can fully satisfy their demands.
These are the basic, critical tasks that we must fulfill to ensure our success in creating a truly revolutionary organization, one that will not fall prey to opportunism. In Mastering Bolshevism, Stalin argues that the party can effectively guide the class struggle “only if the leaders are closely connected with the masses, if they are bound up with the Party masses, with the working class, with the peasantry, with the working intellectuals.” Such connections make the party invincible, and lacking them will ensure that the party becomes “covered with bureaucratic rash”, becomes weak and irrelevant. Stalin illustrates this point by comparing the party to the mythological Greek hero Antaeus, who was invincible so long as he stayed connected to the ground, and thus was defeated by Hercules only when he was raised up into the air and crushed.
We must do everything possible to cultivate these connections and bring the advanced workers into our ranks, to create a solid proletarian social composition within the organization. Only then can we truly fulfill the vanguard role of the communist party.