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Noah Khrachvik

May 10, 2024

The Communist Party USA was once a serious and powerful political force in this country. This is the Party of W.E.B. Dubois we’re talking about, the father of American Marxism himself. The Party of William Z Foster, whose health was waning and still came out of retirement to fight against the revisionism and liquidationism of Earl Browder and his wild theories about imperialism being progressive. The first integrated political organization in the entire country; the Party that fought for the death penalty for lynching during Jim Crow and organized the defense of the Scottsboro Boys; who fought for the 8-hour workday, the end of child labor, and the weekend. The Party that built the CIO from nothing into the most powerful body of organized labor in the United States. The Party that struck such fear into the hearts of the ruling class that they arrested its leaders without a single crime being committed.

And so it is with tremendous sadness that we see what it’s turned into now in 2024. At a time when it is needed more than ever, as revolutionary conditions come upon us with a rapidity that could make your head spin, the once mighty Communist Party USA seems to have degenerated into a chaotic and contradictory clique of social chauvinism, revisionism, anarchistic ultra-leftism, and right opportunism. The theoretical rigor of Herbert Aptheker, Henry Winston, and W.E.B. Dubois has lapsed into hollow sloganeering and obligatory mouthing of Marxist language, devoid of anything approaching the dialectical logic of Marxism.


And this is an utter tragedy, in our opinion. It seems, however, that such things happen from time to time. J.V. Stalin himself explains a previous example of this same sort of degeneration in his seminal text, Foundations of Leninism (a book that is nowhere to be found within the educational curriculum of the modern “party”, which seems strange for an organization claiming to be guided by Marxist Leninism, to not have the text that introduces people to it), where he says:


… The Second International was headed by "faithful" Marxists, by the "orthodox" Kautsky and others. Actually, however, the main work of the Second International followed the line of opportunism. The opportunists adapted themselves to the bourgeois because of their adaptive, petty-bourgeois nature; the "orthodox," in their turn, adapted themselves to the opportunists in order to "preserve unity" with them, in the interests of "peace within the party." Thus the link between the policy of the bourgeois and the policy of the "orthodox" was closed, and, as a result, opportunism reigned supreme.

This was the period of the relatively peaceful development of capitalism, the pre-war period, so to speak, when the catastrophic contradictions of imperialism had not yet became so glaringly evident, when workers' economic strikes and trade unions were developing more or less "normally," when election campaigns and parliamentary groups yielded "dizzying" successes, when legal forms of struggle were lauded to the skies, and when it was thought that capitalism would be "killed" by legal means - in short, when the parties of the Second International were living in clover and had no inclination to think seriously about revolution, about the dictatorship of the proletariat, about the revolutionary education of the masses.

Instead of an integral revolutionary theory, there were contradictory theoretical postulates and fragments of theory, which were divorced from the actual revolutionary struggle of the masses and had been turned into threadbare dogmas. For the sake of appearances, Marx's theory was mentioned, of course, but only to rob it of its living, revolutionary spirit.

Instead of a revolutionary policy, there was flabby philistinism and sordid political bargaining, parliamentary diplomacy and parliamentary scheming. For the sake of appearances, of course, "revolutionary" resolutions and slogans were adopted, but only to be pigeonholed.

Instead of the party being trained and taught correct revolutionary tactics on the basis of its own mistakes, there was a studied evasion of vexed questions, which were glossed over and veiled. For the sake of appearances, of course, there was no objection to talking about vexed questions, but only in order to wind up with some sort of "elastic" resolution.

We have been silently watching this organization we have held in such high esteem become the thrift store version of Kautsky and the Second International over the last few years. Where they arose out of the period of the relatively peaceful development of capitalism, ours arises during the period of the middle classes. Where they were dizzy with success, we are dizzy with forgetting what success even looks like. Whereas Kautsky and his ilk believed they would need no revolution, our Kautskys have given up on the idea of revolution altogether. The effects are the same. The organization is completely divorced from the struggles of the working class, pathetically scraping and bowing to be included with institutions of the financial capitalists like the Democratic Party, repeating threadbare dogmas but using them in service of the precise roles the ruling class wants us to play.

Liberals vs conservatives. For the sake of appearances, of course, they mention Marx and Lenin, mouth words they believe sound revolutionary, but only to rob Marxism of its dialectical and materialist, revolutionary spirit. Instead of the party being trained and taught correct revolutionary tactics on the basis of its own mistakes, its speeches and slogans are the same as those of thirty years before now, the same scraping and bowing before the Democratic Party, and those who would return to Marxist analysis and attempt to rectify such errors are black-balled, smeared, and campaigned against harder than the people responsible for currently funding a genocide in Palestine.          

In fact, they have even gone so far as to attack with the most heinous and disgusting of lies the most prominent Communist in the country, who is one of the leading voices in the Palestinian solidarity movement, Jackson Hinkle, along with us and the rest of the new Communist movement that is quickly forming in our new era of revolutionary potential. And in doing this, they are materially aligning themselves with the forces of that genocide and Zionism.


And this is where we get to the meat and potatoes, my friends.    

Recently, the Party posted a rather telling article on its official website called “Against Patriotic Socialism. Yes, you read that correctly. The article, part of the pre-convention discussions (or, really, we should put “convention” in scare quotes, and the National Board knows why - maybe they can explain to the various clubs why that is, before we have to do so), which can be found on the Party’s main website, maliciously, falsely, and childishly attacks the most prominent Communists in the entire country, who have done more for the cause of class struggle in a single year than the Party has managed in 20. Hinkle alone has exposed millions of people not only to a more positive view of Communism and fought Zionism and imperialism at every turn, but even gone so far as to do what these so-called “old heads” thought impossible, and gotten people to reconsider their views on J.V. Stalin, the most lied about Communist in history. The Infrared Collective has created new slogans that have gotten parts of the working class the Party gave up on long ago to begin getting interested in Communism, and its slogans are featured in mainstream media frequently.

When was the last time anyone outside of the tiny little niche of professional activists in America spoke of the Communist Party? Unfortunately, one of the reasons for that may be that they seem to have allowed any old liberal who can’t tell a dialectic from a diuretic to pollute their organization and website with hollow sloganeering and buzzwords, advertise for bourgeois NGOs, and directly attack the Midwestern Marx Institute, the only educational institution for Marxism Leninism currently teaching the Marxist worldview in the entire country with the kind of childish and silly lies and rumor-mongering one comes to expect only of the worst type of Trotskyists and anarchists. Not a single word of it had been verified or fact checked. We’re not even sure the Party has cadre assigned to this. (To be fair, the Party got rid of the notion of cadre years and years ago, as it now believes a “mass party” to filter people into voting Democrat is somehow a better move than Lenin’s theories.) We’re not even sure its leadership is aware of the content it put up on its official website, and the libelous accusations it’s put out there, as it seems oblivious to the childish antics of its more ultra-left and petty rank and file most of the time. But we are here to do that, and we are done silently taking abuse.

We would like to invite the members of the Communist Party USA, who we know are mostly good and dedicated people, to simply keep an open mind, and maybe think about why and how things always seem to end up in support of the forces funding a genocide in one country, and allied to doctrinaire Nazis in another. We do not mean to criticize all of the rank and file membership, but instead the fact that anti-communists are allowed to run wild, disgracing not only the organization that demands so much more respect than that, but the word “Communist” itself with their public antics.


In doing this, we will be going point by point through the ridiculous sloganeering of the article linked in the footnote, explaining why it is not only against the historical position of the Communist Party when it was guided by Marxism Leninism, but self-contradictory, arriving from bourgeois theory and not Marxism, and amounts to nothing more than anti-Communist whining that brings everyone down to a level of such childishness that no one in their right mind would take the people involved in it seriously (which could be what its author intended; but who knows? The Communist Party doesn’t even bother vetting its members anymore. There is no probation period for recruits, people are kicked out on a whim, and their “education” program coming out of the so-called “Claudia Jones School”, which is not an actual school like the Party’s old “Jefferson School”[1] was, but instead simple branding for mostly liberal classes on some okay empirical facts, and specifically does not provide anything close to teaching new people the Marxist Leninist worldview).


The article begins by immediately invoking one of the radlib buzzwords that came around last year. Strange how these things are nowhere, then suddenly everywhere overnight, isn’t it? It speaks of a phenomenon of so-called “PatSocs” or “patriotic socialists”. First and foremost, its author, a Mr. Elijah Jones, should look into the history of the Party he has joined, as he will find that patriotism has always been a very big part of Communists in the USA. Or he could look elsewhere in the world, maybe to Mao for advice, who said, “Can a Communist who is also an internationalist at the same time be a patriot? We hold not only that he can, but that he must.” Mao goes on to explain that the formal expression of patriotism is determined by particular conditions, as any Marxist with a basic grasp of the dialectic of form and content would. Or perhaps back home to Paul Robeson, who stood up at the HUAC and said that Communists were the most patriotic Americans he knew, and that it was the HUAC that were the anti-Americans, and the HUAC who were the anti-patriots, that they should be ashamed.

Or possibly Lenin’s 1914 essay On the National Pride of the Great Russians, where he speaks of the essential content of patriotism. Or Georgi Dimitrov, who emphasizes the importance of giving socialist content a national form, especially in a period of emerging fascism, where the people’s heroes of the past have to be wrested away from the fascists. Or literally any Communist in history, who understands the importance of rejecting historical and national nihilism and embracing the best of their people’s traditions. Mr. Jones and the CPUSA website seem to be blinded by what Carlos L. Garrido calls a “liberal tinted American exceptionalism,” which holds that America is somehow an exception to the laws of development governing society, especially the form the class struggle must take in the bourgeois epoch. This is very childish ultra-leftism mixed with hollow sloganeering, devoid of Marxist analysis altogether. More similar to the falsifications and rants of “J Sakai” than anything else.

Mr. Jones then absurdly claims that patriotism is “Browderism” and mentions that William Z. Foster fought against it. This is the extremely low level of theoretical understanding and historical knowledge that is all too common in the CP these days. “Browderism” was not patriotism at all. It refers instead to Earl Browder’s turn towards liquidationism (similar to that of Sam Webb) and his book that claimed imperialism still maintained some progressive aspects of industrial capitalism. Foster, of course, did argue against Browder, and saved the Party from liquidation. You can read about this in the book he wrote dedicated to it called Marxism Leninism Vs Revisionism, along with Jacques Duclos, Eugene Dennis and John Williamson. The book’s table of contents should tell anyone curious that patriotism is not so suspiciously absent from the text. Its foreword gives a general overview. Unfortunately, this is not common knowledge in the Party anymore, as the “PatSoc” and “Browderism” labels are filtered through the radlib rumor mill and the truth falls out somewhere along the way.

To be clear, Mr. Jones and the CPUSA website want to use William Z. Foster to critique American patriotism, calling it Browderism. What does Foster himself say of patriotism, though? In a 1939 issue of The Communist, Foster writes:

“On their own part, the progressive forces in the mass organizations have made considerable appeal to American patriotism and traditions for constructive ends. But this appeal has usually been weak, spasmodic, and ineffective. The workers, farmers, professionals, have not understood how to bring forth in their agitation the basically constructive role they have played historically in building American democracy.

In this respect the revolutionary movement has been especially weak. From the foundation of the Socialist Labor Party in the 1870’s, down through the life of the Socialist Party and the IWW, and during the early years of the Communist Party, there was a dominant tendency to ignore and to scorn American tradition and love of country. This arose out of a narrow, sectarian conception of internationalism, and it did much to weaken the position of the revolutionaries in the organizations of the patriotically minded toiling masses. Here again, a better study of Marx and Lenin would have prevented this grievous error. Only during the past few years, notably since the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International and through the writings of Comrade Browder, is real progress being made by our Party in correcting this costly mistake and in basing itself upon a correct Leninist line.

The cultivation of the democratic, revolutionary American traditions among the mass organizations is one of the most important tasks in the building of the democratic front. We must not permit the reactionaries to steal and distort the national traditions and aspirations of the people. The great democratic masses must be taught by constant reference to American history that it was their struggles in the past that built our republic, that the democratic front movement of today is the continuation of all the fights for liberty in the history of our own country; that in the achievement of the current demands of the masses lies the fruition of all that is progressive and glorious in American history; that socialism is the climax toward which the entire historic struggle of the democratic American people inevitably tends.

So not only does Foster congratulate Browder when he was correct on the question of patriotism, but ruthlessly criticizes him when he was incorrect on the position of liquidationism. (Though, to be fair to Browder, he claimed until he died that Moscow had ordered him to act in such a way.) This is precisely the line of the prominent Communists of the USA, that it is the American toiling masses who are the revolutionary agent, and the material that makes up our country, that we have a deep and rich revolutionary tradition that these hollow sloganeers tarnish, along with the name Communism, with their ignorant bleating.

It’s incredibly sad that such lies and silliness is published directly on the CP’s website. And we’re only getting started.

The next group of lies is even more fun, calling this made up “movement” of “PatSocs”, quote, “transphobic, ableist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Indigenous.” It gives no actual proof of any of these lies, which is suspiciously similar to the tactics used by agent provocateurs all through the history of the Party - accuse, accuse, accuse. Whenever explanations or proof is demanded, they either make something up or throw disjointed things together (tin foil hat style) that won’t survive even slight prodding, or toss out another baseless accusation to distract from the previously questioned one. In the very same breath, its silliest of accusations is made, saying all of these dreaded “PatSocs” are inspired by Lyndon Larouche, an irrelevant name in 2024 if ever there was one. It supposedly connects this through the journalist Caleb Maupin, who has no connections to any of the other organizations or people it names as its supposed “PatSocs”. It does provide a nice link to the Midwestern Marx Institute featured in In These Times afterwards, which is fine, as we were featured there, and it talks about the following we’ve acquired, which is also fine, but linking us or the others with such things is downright silly and shows how out of touch with prominent Communists the Party has become.

The next one, however, absolutely takes the cake. It is possibly the silliest and most absurdly childish and uninformed thing I’ve read in 42 years on this Earth. And that’s saying something, as I spend time on social media in order to help build up the Midwestern Marx Institute, so I see childish and uninformed things all day long. Let’s quote it verbatim, so there’s no mistaking what the Party has actually allowed on its website (almost certainly without knowing, as no one is this dumb other than terminally online college kids). “We have yet to call out ‘Patriotic Socialism’ for what it is, which is so-called ‘National Socialism’ in new garb.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Your brain didn’t just melt, and your eyes still work. Mr. Jones has not only conflated standard Communist principles like patriotism based on the Marxist understanding of what constitutes a people and the form class struggle takes during the bourgeois epoch, but he then conflates THAT with nationalism, and then conflates THAT with Nazism. All in two paragraphs. It would be amazing if it weren’t so tragic and sad.

So let’s explain why this is silly. In case you are living under a rock or something.

Nationalism, or organization along a national basis, as Lenin and Stalin teach us, can be either progressive or reactionary, based on the conditions that give rise to it. A colonized country fighting against a foreign occupier, for example, can give rise to progressive nationalism, as it did the early KMT in China (though Lenin and Stalin both qualify this, saying not all of these struggles are necessarily progressive - they are only progressive when they bring society forwards, in whatever way, towards socialism). Organized within, say, an imperialist country, it is, instead, a call to work against class struggle in favor of preservation of national structures and unity between the classes. Which is not only impossible, but base reaction. It has very literally nothing to do with patriotism.

The Nazis used the term “National socialism” because they used the word “socialism” the way everyone did back then, as a general category meaning a society serving a social end, rather than the way I’m assuming our friend Mr. Jones tries to use it after simply assuming things about language, as a form of new utopianism, ideas for future society pulled from his head and tried to force on society from without. The Nazis loathed Marxism and claimed we were all evil and tyrannical, and that our basic observation that the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles, is wrong.

They said instead that the only way to arrive at this society serving a social end was for the classes to collaborate (nationalism in the bourgeois epoch), meaning that if you were a land-owning parasite, you owned your land, collected your rent, and served society. If you were an exploited proletarian, you went to work, sent your kids to work, and served society. This could only be done, they said, on a national basis (with an emphasis on antagonisms between nations - something Marxism proves is not essential to nations and peoples, but instead based on class relations). This is obviously a very silly idea, and it was clearly not socialism. But not for the childish reasons Mr. Jones and the CPUSA website tell us.

After the absurd Nazi lie, Mr. Jones goes on with other various vague liberal sloganeering without mentioning the proletariat a single time, even shouting out the NDN Collective’s slogans, which makes sense once you begin looking into who participates in this bourgeois NGO that received over 12,000,000 dollars from none other than Jeff Bezos’s foundation, and pretends this is some mass movement of Native Americans. He then claims “PatSoc forces” stole documents from somewhere in New York City, and vaguely claims Jackson Hinkle is some kind of federal intelligence agent, saying, “And the possible federal connections, such as those with Jackson Hinkle, are also noteworthy,” while providing no actual evidence for such an absurd accusation. (Catching a pattern yet?)

He suggests editing the Party’s program, which is supposed to be a concrete statement of plans and goals, to “call out” (a favorite buzz word of liberals) the scary MAGA Communists and “PatSocs”, and engages in the most ironic sentence in the entire thing, saying that “sloganeering” should be a grounds for expulsion from the Party, along with “explicit PatSoc talking points”, which he gives only one example of, a very obviously fake image that was made to look like Jackson Hinkle, who has met with the grandson of Nelson Mandela and all sorts of Pan-Africanists at the conference on Multipolarity, was quoting Hitler. (I don’t know if Mr. Jones is oblivious to the obvious fake, or not, but I can’t decide if knowing or not knowing it’s fake is worse. They’re both completely disgusting. Either he knew it was fake and did not care, or did not know, in which case he should be given much more training and education before being allowed to speak publicly as a representative of any organization). Which is, by the way, legally libel and we would recommend the Party immediately remove the libel from its website and issue an apology to everyone involved, especially Mr. Hinkle, before they are taken to court for it.

Mr. Jones ends his piece by deciding it is his place to say what is the “okay” patriotism and what is not, telling Native Americans they are allowed to love their homes, but no one else is (and I’m sure they were dying to get his permission), and again conflates the word with nationalism. He says that waving the American flag, the flag waved by W.E.B. Dubois, William Z. Foster, Martin Luther King, and all great American revolutionaries, is actually “not okay”. He says that invoking “American symbology” is “not okay”. He begrudgingly says that saying Communist Party USA is “one thing”, meaning it’s mostly fine, but ONLY if it’s taken in the geographical sense (whatever that means), and then ends by invoking the names W.E.B. Dubois and Claudia Jones while completely ignoring everything they ever said and getting in one last weird lie about Jackson Hinkle. An utter tragedy.

I want to make it clear that we did not want this fight. We’ve gone out of our way to reach out a hand to every single person who will aid the class struggle. Every time we’ve extended that hand to the Party, it’s been shoved aside and we’ve been told we think crazy things we’ve never remotely thought, and then scolded with dozens of liberal buzzwords that made it seem like we’d gotten in trouble on the jobsite and were in some kind of meeting with HR. Regardless, we still don’t want this fight. If this nonsense persists, however, the forces who are trying to wreck the new Communist movement will quickly find out that we will finish it. We are peaceful people, like all Communists, willing to live and let live. But we will not hesitate to finish a fight if you bring it to our doorstep.

For those rank-and-file members of the party who are actually committed to Communism and not just to reiterating ultra left narratives stemming from the bourgeois academy, or right opportunist ones which come from the Webbite liquidationist period, we urge you to think long and hard about the tragic state of our once mighty party. Ask yourself: at a time when this country needs nothing more than a real Communist Party, when peoples’ living conditions are bad and getting worse, what are real Communists to do in the face of the pitiful condition our Party has fallen into? How can real Communists just stand by as the only force that can free our people from the strangling hold of capital is sequestered by servants of hegemony and the liberal wing of the ruling class?

All things in this world are subject to change, this is a basic principle of dialectical materialism. Ask yourself: are you courageous enough to side with the rising forces of a new Communist movement, one that is driven by necessity and reaching the hearts and minds of millions of working class people? Or will you throw your lot in with the dogmatist distorters of Marxism, who always find a way to give support of hegemony a radical veneer, making excuses why this time we need to support capitalism, rather than fight it? It is this question which today separates the forces tying themselves to a fossilized past and those which seek to move our revolutionary tradition forward, helping the dissenting attitudes of our masses gain coherence and direction, showing our working people how we can make history together, and fulfill the promise of a society actually of, by, and for the people. This form of society has a name - Communism.

“In the end communism will triumph. I want to help bring that day.” - W. E. B. Dubois (1961)


[1] We wonder why the ultra-left “Sakaiists” think of the fact that the Communist Party’s old school was named after Thomas Jefferson, as American revolutionary history is now to be ignored by members at the best of times and cancelled at the worst via bourgeois lifestyle politics and sloganeering. This is called “Browderism” which is an absurdity and a joke, but the letter itself gets to that. No need to put it in the footnote.


Noah Khrachvik is a proud working-class member of the Communist Party USA and a Co-Director at the Midwestern Marx Institute. He is 42 years old, married to the most understanding and patient woman on planet Earth (who puts up with all his deep-theory rants when he wakes up at two in the morning and can't get back to sleep) and has a twelve-year-old son who is far too smart for his own good. When he isn't busy writing, organizing the working class, or fixing rich people's houses all day, he enjoys doing absolutely nothing on the couch, surrounded by his family and books by Gus Hall. He is the author of the forthcoming Reproletarianization: The Rise and Fall of the American Middle Class. 

Republished from with thanks

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