Image: WH, CPM
“So what does a communist party actually do? You may have read much about Marxism and the political positions of the Communist Party USA, but you’re probably wondering, how do we move from a small political party to a sizable one that advances the development of socialism like the Communist Parties in China, Vietnam, Laos, DPR Korea, and Cuba. In short the question is, “how does the Party build a revolution?”
The political environment varies considerably across the US so each CPUSA Club adapts and develops a strategy for building the Party within their state or city based on what resources are available to them. The Maine Club of the CPUSA, hereafter the Maine Club, was reformulated a few years ago and has since grown in membership, connections, and resources. At its 2022-23 annual review meeting, the Maine CPUSA approved its most ambitious plan of work to date.
As the crises of capitalism increasingly hurt US workers, many of them develop a “proto class consciousness” where they recognize something is wrong with the system, but lack the understanding to know exactly why it’s not working for them. This is where the Communist Party comes in, ready to help the people understand Marxist theory.
During the 2021-22 year, the Club started monthly educational meetings to further the political education of its members. This year, with more members and resources at its disposal, the Club is turning outward with new community education initiatives. Following the format of the highly successful internal education meetings, the Club will additionally hold public education seminars and reading groups. The Club has ambitions to establish reading circles at libraries and other public spaces to give Mainers access to Marxist literature and people to discuss it with.
As the Maine Club develops into a statewide political organization, it plans to cultivate relations with other organizations in the antifascist alliance. Maine is one of the more democratic states in that it has both referendums and ranked choice voting. By working with other progressive forces in the state, popular legislation can be passed through the legislature and anything that can’t can always be put up for referendum. Historically, many worker’s rights and protections such as the 40-hour workweek and the weekend off have been won through the struggle of popular coalitions led by socialists and we think participating in such efforts lays the foundation for the Maine CPUSA to run its own candidates in local and state elections.
Perhaps the biggest development of the US labor movement over the past year has been the resurrection of the labor activism. A new Gallup poll shows union approval is at the highest it’s ever been since 1965. Additionally, many new unions are popping off across the country including at Starbucks, and Amazon to name a few. The latter received a significant amount of assistance from the Party. Not to be left out, Maine currently has two unionized Starbucks and had the first attempt to unionize Chipotle which was thwarted by union busting executives. Building a dual political force of organized labor and political action would greatly strengthen workers ability to organize and collectively bargain.
Finally, and as always, the Club seeks to improve its internal functioning. As the Club grows, more infrastructure needs to be developed to keep its members organized and effective. The Club also has the ambitious goal of establishing a Maine Young Communist League. A strong youth wing is a sign of a strong party.
CPUSA clubs across the country are doing great work of greater scope than has been seen in decades. The Maine CPUSA plan of work for 2023-24 will be even more ambitious than ever before.
Communist Party of Maine, October 17, 2022, cpmaine.org