What is a Communist Party?
By Arlen Tracey
A Communist Party is not merely a political organization that advocates Communism. Lenin and all subsequent great revolutionaries fought actively against such a structure. A Communist Party is coordinated combat organization, devoted to winning victories against its class enemies.
A Communist Party is also not an isolated, select group of radicals, but rather the tribune of the people, the vanguard of the proletariat in its struggle to bring down its enemies.
A Radical Association v. A Communist Party
The difference between a Communist Party and an association of radicals is easily explained with an analogy. Among the working people who are filled with stress and frustration, boxing clubs are formed.
Boxing clubs are relaxed social organizations where workers learn and perfect the art of fighting in a controlled, sporting atmosphere. In a boxing club, youth may be coached and advised, but there is no binding discipline or anything of the like. In a Boxing Club, all are welcome to sit and watch, or participate in the atmosphere of limited violence.
A few loose by-laws may regulate the organization. People are admitted into this social club based on how well they get along with the group. Consensus governs the policies and agenda of the group.
A radical association is like a boxing club. It gathers, engages in political war, but all based on a comfortable level of doing just what is desired. It has no strict by-laws. It discusses politics, but never intensely. It attends demonstrations, and makes sure to do so is fun for all.
A Communist Party is less like a radical association, and more like an Army.
In an army, rules and regulations about what goes on are concrete and laid out. In an army the procedures for making decisions are clearly understood by all members. In an army the goals are clear and what is expect of the cadre is clear.
In an army, the stakes of fighting are higher than the small wounds incurred in a boxing match. In an army, the atmosphere is serious and intense, and every move is well calculated toward reaching the goal of victory over the enemy.
A Communist Party is an organization for serious revolutionaries. It is devoted to strategically planning the methods of class struggle and people’s war, in order to achieve its goal of communism. A Communist Party is regulated, disciplined, and structured. It is not a social club.
When a Communist Party behaves like a social club, it reduces itself to liberalism.
A Sect v. A Communist Party
A Communist Party is a party devoted to one goal, the victory of people’s war and communism, and the end of all oppression. A Communist Party embraces all things that push it toward this goal, and rejects all things that push them away from this goal.
Debate of course, must go on regarding each strategic move, but the debate must be limited to whether it is best way to reach this goal or not, nothing else.
A Communist Party seeks to welcome into its ranks all who agree with the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, and are willing to carry out the decisions and policies of the party and obey its rules and regulations.
A Communist Party must by party devoted to bringing forward the class struggle and people’s war by bringing in the most advanced elements of the working class to coordinate their actions. A Communist Party cannot simply be an organization of followers of a particular, individual interpretation of world events.
If Zinoviev, Kamenev, Stalin, Trotsky, and the other revolutionaries in Russia had been told “the Bolshevik Party is devoted to Lenin’s ideas, stop wrangling with revolution or leave” there would have been no 1917 revolution, as the Bolshevik Party would have soon found itself as a sect of Leninists, competing with Stalinists, Trotskyists, Zinovievists, and Bukharinists, as the bourgeoisie, regardless of its differences worked against all proletarian organizations.
If the Chinese Communist Party had said to Chou En-Lai, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Qiang, and Lin Biao “Mao Zedong does the thinking in this party, stop wrangling with Marxism-Leninism, just follow orders” there would have been no revolution in 1949. Rather, the Chinese Communist Party would have been reduced to a sect of Maoists, fighting against the Chouist, the Dengists, and Jiangists, among others, while the bourgeoisie, despite its differences, coordinated it activities to crush them.
When a party celebrates its isolation, and prides itself in being small, weak, but “correct”, this is sectarianism, another form of revisionism.
What A Communist Party Is
A Communist Party is the following:
1. A group of Communist Revolutionaries.
2. A group who coordinates its activities.
3. A group who is serious and devoted to victory in people’s war and class struggle.
4. A group who follows clear policies, discipline, and structure.
5. A group who welcomes all into its ranks who will follow its policies, procedures, and rules.
6. A group that’s goal is victory over all oppression, and a world without classes.
A Communist Party cannot be anything else. Doing so leads to the destruction of the organization, and ineffectiveness in combating the bourgeoisie.
About the author
Arlen Tracey is a communist organizer who previously worked closely with the October League (M-L), the Marxist-Leninist Party, the Democratic Workers Party, the Bay Area Radical Union, the Provisional Organizing Committee, the National Labor Federation, the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters, the Communist Workers Party, and numerous other communist organizations that sprung out revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s and early 1970s, hoping to push the proletariat into action.
He is steeped in the writings of Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Frederick Engels, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Enver Hoxha, Bill Dunne, Ken Cockrell, Amical Cabral, Kim Il Sung, Fidel Castro, Jose Maria Sison, Rosa Luxemburg, Huey Newton, and numerous other revolutionary liberation fighters.
He never joined any of these organizations as the rhetoric about “Soviet Social Imperialism” and their desire to force the secession of the “Black Belt South” on Afro-American workers always repulsed him.
As revisionism gripped and destroyed these organization in the 1980s in response to the re-strengthening of U.S. Imperialism, he buried himself in the mass movement, acting as an organizer for Welfare Rights and the struggle for LGBT liberation, among other movements for class struggle and people’s war.
In the past two years, as the prospects for socialist revolution increased and capitalism entered its long awaited self-destruction, Tracey now makes clear his desire to contribute to discussion of Marxism-Leninism. He is most excited about the possible formation of a genuine vanguard party in the United States, as was attempted numerous times in his lifetime, but each time resulted in a mess of sectarianism, cultism, revisionism, and ultra-leftism.
He resides in San Francisco, and is not currently a member of any Marxist-Leninist organization. His Communist outlook directs his activism in the local Asian-American community, organized labor, and anti-imperialism.
He is currently re-directing his efforts to push for more agitation and rhetoric about Marxist-Leninist ideology. He sees the effort to create dialogue and discussion about Communism by Jay Rothermel at “Marxist Update” to be very important, fascinating, and relevant in modern times, and hopes to contribute more to Rothermel’s forum for revolutionary continuity in times of burning relevancy and urgency for humanity.