US Communist Party chief: Marxism vibrant

Xinhua
The CPC's ability to find a path of socialist development under very difficult circumstances is the main thing that impresses John Bachtell, CPUSA's national chairman.
Xinhua

THE top leader of the US Communist Party has said in Chicago that Marxism is a “vibrant, philosophical” outlook that leads the struggle of the CPUSA for now and in the future.

In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua, John Bachtell, CPUSA’s national chairman, said that Marxism is a revolutionary “guide to action” for the party as far as strategy and tactics.

It is a “growing body of work,” said Bachtell. “It’s always open to new experience and therefore it’s always changing and developing itself as a body of theory and thought.”

He noted that Marxism has to constantly embrace what’s new, including what the US democratic movements have produced. “For example, I feel very strongly that we have to embrace... what the class struggle in the United States has produced and what the democratic struggle has produced,” such as the experiences of the civil rights movement from the 1960s, he said.

Essential outlook

“That has a really important bearing in terms of strategy and tactics,” Bachtell added. “Non-violent peaceful resistance is a very important form of struggle.”

Compared with an armed struggle, the party chief favored political means to achieve the revolutionary change.

“It will be what we call a democratic path. One that utilizes the electoral arena but also other democratic venues where we’re constantly trying to expand our rights,” he said.

In this process, it’s Marxism that will serve as an “essential outlook and tool” for every revolutionary party and every working-class activists, he said. “We intend to make it something which is the property of everybody.”

Founded in 1919, the CPUSA has some 5,000 members spread across the country. The party has been active in a range of political and social movements from the labor workers’ rights to the environmental protection and peace issues, according to Bachtell.

We hope to “help spur discussions about the need for socialism in the United States and how capitalism is ultimately the root of a lot of our problems,” he added.

“It both takes the form of protests in the streets and organizing lobbying and demonstrations. But it also takes cooperation in the electoral arena where we have an alliance of organizations” so as to avoid being “extremely isolated,” he said.

The leader further explained that the US Communism had a really difficult time amid the McCarthyism in the 1950s and the anti-Communism narratives ever since, as the CPUSA was once claimed as illegal and has taken a long-term fight to restore legality and present a true image of itself.

“Kind of a corner on Marxism so to speak,” he said. “There are still some anti-Communists law and things on the books which we constantly have to deal with.”

However, he hailed the thriving growth and development of his party in recent years.

“It’s really growing, as a political force,” he said. “A lot of people are joining the party in the recent period. Many of them come from small towns all across the country. We hope they become more active.”

Bachtell also noted that the Trump administration’s current plan to raise tariffs on imported steel and aluminum products was a real “fraud” and “phony populism.”

“They’re doing everything in the interests of the richest people, and in the end the biggest corporations,” he said. “The tariff issue... is a damaging move” that gives false hope to merely a tiny section of the working class, pitting them against the US farmers as well as workers from other countries.

Speaking of China, Bechtell said the CPUSA and the Communist Party of China (CPC) have forged “fraternal” ties.

“And we try to find time to get together and to have bilateral meetings. We also have cooperated on the academic level. But it’s not enough,” Bachtell said, adding that his party would like to see “a higher and closer relationship” with the CPC, including mutual visits.

Socialist path

He explained that the CPC’s ability to find a path of socialist development under very difficult circumstances is the main thing that impresses him, citing the effort to transform China from “a very under-developed country to a modern country, and the strides that China has made in the last 15 years to really become a global power.”

“I think China is going forward to influence more and more every aspect of life, not just because of its sheer size and influence in the global economic system, but also because of its focus on uplifting working people and eliminating poverty and providing a basic material standard of living to every person,” he said.

Bachtell further noted that the CPC’s performance in governance and leadership will continue to be an important example of what can be done.

“We may not have the same concept about our models of socialism (with) a different reality, different material circumstances and different history, but China’s developing. Certainly it’s an important example and we can draw upon the experiences that you have,” said Bachtell.

“I’m sure that there will be plenty of opportunities in the future for us to work together, absolutely,” he said.

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