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In Defense of Communist History and Tradition in America

Max Reed

Jul 6, 2022

America’s current anti-imperialist movement is in crisis. A dividing line exists between two paths, two traditions, and two futures. One is the path of anti-imperialism, Marxism-Leninism, populism, and historical materialism. The other is the path of liberal tailism, decay, postmodernism, and ruin. But there is an awakening taking place in America, one that has not been seen for a long time. The American people are angry. Their civil liberties and democratic rights are being trampled upon. Their economic position guaranteed by the post-WW2 economic boom is crumbling. Their roads, bridges, and houses lay in derelict decay. Tension is in the air and there is a common feeling of an impending reckoning. 

Anti-populist, anti-patriotic, and openly right-deviationists within several of America’s left formations have exposed their true colors. They, like Hillary Clinton, view the masses of America as a “basket of deplorables”. They see the workers, soldiers, students, farmers, and people at large as unwashed, incorrect, and arrogant, in need of enlightenment by intellectual hyper-urbanized professional managers. This elitist and unpopular political orientation will never win the broad masses of America to anti-imperialism and socialism. Concepts that remain at the core of communist ideology around the world such as socialist patriotism, respect for America’s bourgeois revolution of 1776, and communist participation in elections based on a workers front or the party itself have all been under attack by left formations within the US.

Socialist patriotism simply means love for one's people, progressive history, traditions, and unique cultures, which has always been a communist staple. Abandonment of this approach would mean a betrayal of the incredible history of working people within this country in the fight for their political, social, and economic rights; a history that spans from John Brown to the Radical Republicans, the Populist Party, the Socialist Party, and the CPUSA of the 20th Century. Communists in America helped win the Civil War and lead the fight for unions, civil rights, women's rights, and the fight against US imperialism. 

Communism and its adherents have a rich tradition on the North American continent stretching back to 1848, before the formation of the Communist Party of China and the Russian Social Democratic Party that preceded the Communist Party of the USSR. Our country produced Eugene V. Debs, William Z Foster, Paul Robeson, Angelo Herndon, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and Gus Hall, among countless other heroes. Their history has intentionally been left out of our textbooks, schools, and political discourse. If Americans knew the truth of this history and tradition then it would fundamentally shake the prevailing assumptions/images of American Communists, which are a product of the New Left. It is the responsibility of American Communists to keep this history and tradition alive. After all, if not for us - no one else will.

There is no excuse for the current unpopularity, political irrelevance, and powerlessness of communism in America. McCarthyism, as awful as it was, did not liquidate the Communist Party or American communism, as evidenced by the rise of the Black Panthers, the New Communist Movement, and various upsurges throughout the 1960s-70s. To put it simply, the left in this country has given up and taken its ball home. Communist organizations in America today can only be seen on the fringes of society. Within sections of academia, the protest movement” and the labor bureaucracy. This is all at a time when socialism and communism are more popular than ever amongst American youth and students, who are facing the realities of economic decay, political instability, and deteriorating social cohesion in their everyday lives.

The biggest obstacle holding back Communism in America is two-fold: 1. the failure to ground ourselves, as Communists, in American history, ideology, and tradition, 2. the disgraceful opportunism, tailism, and capitulation of Communist groups towards the Democratic Party. This treason and betrayal follow a simple process: 1. communist groups try and fail to influence the primaries of the Democratic Party, 2. the philistine leadership of said organization throws together an out-of-context and ahistorical argument regarding Germany during the 1930s and the Popular Front, 3. said “Communist” group instructs members to campaign and vote for Democrats. This process has been rinsed and repeated for decades, while the days when American communists ran for President, or even for local and state offices, are long forgotten. It is a disgrace and an absolute embarrassment to Communists within the United States and to international comrades. 

Now is the time for Communists to take center stage again within the United States. During a time of unprecedented crisis and collapse, it is only populism, revolutionary patriotism, and communism which offer America salvation. The American people are ready to fight for our country and our future. The words of Chairman Mao Zedong ring true in the land of the brave. “There are three alternatives. To march at their head and lead them? To trail behind them, gesticulating and criticizing? Or to stand in their way and oppose them.” 

It is time to dare to struggle and dare to win. 


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