District of Virginia
Communist Party USA
“The world is scourged by heat and snow, by both wealth and poverty
The youth of the land fights with us, they are the builders of the new world!
The battle has ignited once again! Tension fills the heart!
Lenin is young once again, and the youth of October are taking the lead!”
And the Battle is Going Again
The following report, drafted by the District Secretary, edited and approved by the Executive Committee of the Virginia District of the Communist Party USA, is the second in a recurring quarterly series of reports regarding the development of the Communist Party in Virginia. As a quarterly series, reports are denoted WINTER-SPRING (March), SPRING-SUMMER (June), SUMMER-FALL (September), and FALL-WINTER (December).
The purpose for these reports is to report to the District and all interested onlookers on the activities of the Virginia District of the Communist Party, as well as the Executive’s recommendations and analyses of matters of specific interest to the clubs and collectives of the Communist Party within the District of Virginia. As a primarily advisory body, these recommendations and analyses should not be considered authoritative commands on behalf of the Executive, but rather the result of long deliberation and intentional consideration by the members thereof. Such recommendations are to be viewed as such, for the purpose of guiding, rather than dictating, the further development of club and collective programs.
As a result of hamfisted, ill-considered, and overtly corrupt policy decisions guiding the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, not only has the crisis continued, as we enter what many are calling the third wave, it appears the worst is still yet to come. As the powers-that-be continue to place profits before people, we can rest assured that more death is to come. We remember, with solidarity and rage, the six-hundred forty-five thousand-and-counting parents, grandparents, and children – workers – who have perished as a direct result of these barbaric policies, and the millions more who will live on with the ramifications. It is clearer with each day that both Republican and Democrat parties have completely given up any semblance of care or accountability to the honest workers they derive their livelihood from. Their contempt and hatred for us remains as clear for all to see.
Likewise, as if to underline their own pure incompetence, the world stood in shock as the Taliban swept across Afghanistan in August. For two decades the public were told that occupation was necessary in order to build a strong democratic government and root out all Taliban influences; instead, the US-backed “Islamic Republic” seemingly collapsed overnight. With millions of Afghans killed, wounded, and displaced, and thousands of US military personnel killed and wounded, it must be asked what we – the workers who funded this farce – got for our money. What did YOU gain from this $2 Trillion, two-decade fiasco?
What could YOU have gotten if that money hadn’t been wasted on an imperialist pipe-dream?
Within the District of Virginia, the heightening crises of late-stage Capitalism have required a continued commitment to flexibility and multi-dimensionality. While the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to worsen in some areas, in others it remains at a low-boil. Naturally these conditions require different approaches, and have been led by a growing cadre dedicated to building workers’ power in Virginia. Likewise, the historic flood of new Party applications has continued at nearly the same pace as experienced last quarter, with active membership increasing across the District by roughly another 20%. This is in line with the year-long growth noted in the previous report, and does not include applicants who have applied for Party membership but have not been placed with local formations – which can occur for various reasons. Comrades will note that this figure is much lower than the figure given in the previous report; they are encouraged to remember that the previous figure reported in May was a year-long figure, and that as the Party has grown in Virginia, continued growth at the same pace “stabilizes” and appears smaller when given as a percentage figure. Growth is reported as a percentage regardless of this fact, as it is the best way for us to communicate our growth while also maintaining a degree of security for ourselves.
Likewise, the continued historic growth of the Communist Party, in Virginia and across the country, has marked the beginning of what many believe will be the next golden age of Socialism. We cannot say with certainty if this is a correct analysis, but we will be going to great lengths to make it happen. Much work has been done, but even more lies ahead.
Part of this work is housing. During the past quarter, in preparation of the now-unfolding housing crisis, Comrades in Northern Virginia began spearheading a special initiative to begin analyzing and preparing to act. Thanks to their vigor, a District-wide initiative began specifically focusing on housing, with Comrades in each collective analyzing the situation and presenting proposals on how best to get involved in their localities.
As our ranks continue to swell, our work likewise expands to meet the needs of the working class. Official Party Clubs now report from both Tidewater and Appalachia, and collective formations continue operating throughout the District. Comrades particularly from Northern Virginia, Tidewater, and Piedmont have gone to great lengths to stand firmly with the various strikes and demonstrations occurring throughout the District as well as in Washington DC.
A special mention here must go to the Appalachia subregion of the District, to congratulate and commend them on the official founding of the Star City Workers Club in Roanoke. Not only are they the first Party formation in the area within known history, they also share an official birthday with the Party proper, both being founded on September 1st. The coalescing of these two events – the 102nd birthday of the Party and the birth of a historic new club – signals great hope. As we honor our revolutionary heroes from the past century, we may also look ahead at the ones hard at work, here and now.
Not all initiatives have been successful, and there have been moments of low-morale, but we remain loyal and committed to the working class of Virginia, and by them continue to grow and be nourished. We fight until we win.
Ideological work has continued to be of deep importance. The Executive Committee, now beginning the early preparations for elections in December, the results of which will be announced at the January all-District planning meeting. Likewise, the Committee has expanded, to officially include the new Young Communist League Chair, and several subject-matter experts who provide their insights to the Committee on matters pertaining to their areas of expertise. To this end, the Executive Committee has grown into its role as a mediary and deliberative body – to assist local formations and help them, not tell them what to do. In this sense we have seen the Democratic Centralism of the District flourishing, with Comrades new and old active in the decision-making process from the bottom-up, and adding relevant input throughout. Likewise, work in the District organs – Education and Technical Committees – has continued as expected.
With regards to the Education Committee, two key components have taken shape: study-group (“book club”), and formal program planning. The former has continued as reported last quarter, and expanded into studying and discussing other kinds of media as well, rather than just books. It is here noted that participation in the study-group is voluntary, but the Education Committee hopes to continue adjusting the program as necessary in order to encourage more Comrades to attend.
With regards to the Technical Committee, work has likewise continued without issue. Social media initiatives overseen by the Committee have continued to do exceptionally well. The workers of Virginia and even the world yearn for true freedom and the end of their oppression; our undertakings bring them hope, and, as we have seen, we need only reach out and embrace them. The Party National Committee’s Social Media Collective has made overtures for increased cooperation and coordination of social media campaigns.
A special joint-project has also begun under the auspices of both Education and Technical Committees, with the purpose of creating simple visual materials that may be printed out or published online, also to much success. The Party National Committee’s Peace & Solidarity Commission’s Subcommittee on China has made overtures for this joint-body to create promotional materials for upcoming programs centered on better analyzing China and particularly its poverty alleviation programs.
The Executive Committee is humbled and honored to serve our Comrades and fellow workers in Virginia; when we took up our posts early this year, we could only hope that the District would grow as it has thus far. Conditions likewise indicate that this growth is likely to continue. We are committed to you, Comrades and neighbors, and to continue helping to ensure that this growth is centered around meeting the needs of the working class and building workers’ power in Virginia. Our successes have not come without some setbacks, though, and we must make every effort to learn from them in order to keep ourselves firmly rooted in the working class and its needs. While Appalachia did officially form the Star City Workers Club, as planned in the previous report, it was later than initially expected. This delay could be considered in part to be the result of National procedures taking longer than initially expected, and should be accounted for in future planning. Similarly, both Northern Virginia and Piedmont were planned to form new clubs as well, but have not. This is not due to a lack of membership in those areas, but as a result of the membership of those areas consciously choosing to spend more time in pre-formation (“collective”) development and planning. To that end, the Northern Virginia collective will be holding a convention early this quarter, which will likely be followed by the formation of their own club. The Comrades of the Piedmont area, however, have chosen a different route than previously planned. Instead of forming one club and “spinning off” other clubs at later times, they have chosen instead to continue building as a collective and then form two clubs simultaneously at a later date. No specific timetable has been established for this yet, but it is believed to likely occur in FALL-WINTER 2021 or WINTER-SPRING 2022. We applaud the forethought and planning being conducted by both Northern Virginia and Piedmont Comrades as they analyze and respond to the needs of their specific localities.
The adoption of “hybrid” approaches – mixing online and in-person meetings and events – have worked particularly well across the District. As the pandemic worsens, and in areas particularly hard-hit, Comrades are being encouraged to suit their strategies to fit their needs. It is expected that some will need to lean more heavily on online approaches, while others may be able to continue rolling out in-person programs. We reiterate here two points: our work shall never be “terminally online,” and all Comrades with the ability are encouraged to schedule and receive vaccinations as soon as possible. Wherever we are, and whatever our local conditions may be, we must be prepared to meet them on the ground and take up the fight. We commend the continued vigor and fighting spirit of Comrades leading the way in these regards, who have worked ceaselessly, in whatever capacity they were able, throughout the pandemic.
One key area where these approaches will be put to the test is housing, as the District-wide initiative to fight for tenants’ rights and against the tyranny of landlordism enters into a stage of boots-on-the-ground action. Club and collective leaders across the District are encouraging their Comrades to analyze their local conditions and get to work, and we shall be with them every step of the way.
Within the next quarter, the Executive Committee plans to put forward simplified resolutions to the general membership outlining its roles and limitations; Comrades are encouraged to consider the resolutions and vote their conscience, and spare no criticism if any shortcomings are identified. Our goal in this approach is to ensure and strengthen the Democratic Centralism of the District, and remain completely accountable to our Comrades; we serve you, not vice-versa.
No departures or new additions are planned for the Executive Committee in the coming quarter; any Comrade wishing to sit on the Committee as a subject-matter expert to advise specific issues is encouraged to reach out.
In the coming quarter, the Education Committee plans to continue adapting the study-group program to suit the needs of Comrades participating, and encouraging more Comrades to sit in, as well as publishing its first draft for a District-wide education program. By the end of the quarter, a finalized education program should be approved and entering into the early stages of application across the District.
The Technical Committee plans to continue managing and maintaining pre-existing programs, while also increasing cooperation and coordination with the relevant National-level organs. A Comrade is needed to manage the District TikTok account, and more Comrades may be requested to assist with the continued management of other, fast-expanding, social media platforms.
The AgitProp joint-project under the Technical and Education Committees plans to expand its work and begin creating materials needed by both of the aforementioned organs. Any Comrades interested in assisting with this project are encouraged to reach out.
One of the primary functions of the Executive is to deliberate and “weigh in” on matters of a contentious nature within the District. These recommendations are the result of thorough and thoughtful discussion among the Executive representatives from each of the affected subregions, and are meant as a guiding light for the consideration of clubs and collectives.
Many contentious debates have been had at all levels regarding the nature of bureaucracy and Party-building. Let us begin with our starting point. As Marxist-Leninists, we adhere to Democratic Centralism. It is the cornerstone of how we organize, and at all times must be upheld. What this means is that we must maintain the diversity of thought that exists within the working class as a whole, while also adhering to unified action when a consensus has been reached on a specific topic, action, or issue. All Comrades and workers have the right to speak their peace, to criticize, to applaud, and to debate. But, at the same time, when a consensus has been reached in accordance with the overarching needs of the working class, all Comrades must respect the whole. To this end, we are different from “commandists” who believe in dictating, or commanding, others to conform to their individual preferences; we are also different from Anarchists who believe in total collectivism and leaderlessness.
With these two guideposts, we can see the left and right errors before us when practicing Democratic Centralism. We wish to be organized, and strong, but we do not wish to become overly bureaucratic, or to engage in commandism.
The solution to this problem, as elucidated on by National Co-Chairs Joe Sims and Rossana Cambron while sitting in on the recent meeting of the District Executive, is to center all of our efforts around the real needs of our Comrades and fellow workers, and to root ourselves, above all else, in our commitment to serving them.
In applicable terms, this means that first and foremost we must continue seeking ways to expand and perfect our voting procedures, analyses, and critiques. The introduction of more online-based, secured voting methods has begun, and is hoped to be useful in this respect. Likewise, the general meeting format is also continuing to undergo adjustments in order to better suit the needs of our Comrades and ensure that their voices are the ones guiding our work. With this in mind, as well as the strategy of principled pragmatism, our question then becomes much more simple: is X supported by, and beneficial to, Comrades and fellow workers?
If, in this way, the formation of a body or procedure is found desirable, then a vote should be held, and criticisms considered and utilized for improving the proposal. Amend or redraft as necessary.
If, in this way, the formation of a body or procedure is found undesirable, then a vote is unnecessary, and the proposal should be redrafted or shelved.
To this end, the question of bureaucracy requires a basic calculation of the capabilities of the collective on one hand, and the perceived benefits of the proposed body or procedure on the other. Formalized bodies and procedures are not in and of themselves inherently good or bad, but they are inherently a use of resources; time, energy, money, etc. Sometimes this will be worth it, and naturally occur during the Party-building process in order to better meet the needs of our Comrades and fellow workers. Sometimes it will not.
As noted throughout history, over-bureaucratizing leads to disconnection from the workers and their needs; but a complete lack of structures and procedures leads to instability. Both errors create weakness and fail to meet the needs of the working class.
It is most strongly recommended that the matter of bureaucracy, forming new bodies and procedures, be thoroughly analyzed at the level wherein such proposals are being made, and the proper questions and calculations weighed against the potential benefits of the proposal.