Communist School: ‘One of the Happiest Moments in my Life’
Below is a sample of letters written by participants at a communist school. It was a first for many. Students as young as nine years old to workers in their seventies studied the origin of racism and how build a multiracial movement (see article).
It was very fun. I like the study groups we had and that my group and me made a remix of “Rude” by Magic! and changed the lyrics to be about fighting back. I also like that we learned the history about racism and where and who made it. I liked that people of all ages and races came together and had a great time together, like playing basketball. I really enjoyed this weekend and hope to come next year.
I love to be around other people who believe that we need to fight for a new world. We cook, clean, live, hangout, and eat together. Every aspect of the weekend is a little glimmer of what living in a communist society would be like. I’m a single parent, and through the weekend, many people helped and cared for my daughter as their own, helping me participate more in workshops and activities. I loved seeing my students making friends and participating in workshops. This generation will change the world, and going to communist schools like this help bring us one step closer.
I had quite an experience. I communed with like-minded people. We lived together, cooked together, cleaned and learned together. I loved it. I feel stronger than I have felt in a while. I can see my views clearer with my comrades. I joined the Party!
When a comrade opened this weekend’s cadre school asking what a “cadre” was, the first thing I thought about was our Party in Haiti. I’ve never been to Haiti and never met the comrades there, but I feel like I know them and am close to them through their articles and letters in CHALLENGE.
One of our comrades said that in Haiti, their word for “cadre” translates from Kreyol as “cultivator,” meaning a cadre is a communist leader who job is to “cultivate” comrades and the masses to become revolutionary leaders.
That’s the best definition of cadre I’ve ever heard and the best description of this weekend’s cadre school. Multiracial, multigenerational comrades and friends fermenting on how to wage mass revolutionary struggle for communism—while cooking together, chopping wood for our fire together, and daring to open and trust each other with a bit of our personal lives together cultivated a rich weekend and more nails in the bosses’ coffin.
On the last day, we welcomed several new comrades to the Party. Our comrade who initially asked about what a cadre was gave one of several moving speeches about what the weekend meant to him. We left the weekend planning how to cultivate many more comrades, and hoping the articles and letters they write reach and inspire comrades in other places we haven’t been to, and haven’t met yet.
After joining the Party last November in Ferguson, my commitment to fighting for communism has become primary in my life. With this increased level of work came more responsibility and opportunities to practice leadership alongside fellow Party members.
As a workshop leader at my first cadre school, I learned a lot about how we as Party members must always establish the left in any given situation. This experience also pushed me to better understand the Party’s line and sharpen my analysis. My commitment to the Party, fighting for communism, and identification as a member of the international working class has never been stronger and I would like to thank the PLP and its members for constantly pushing me to be a better comrade. This weekend was inspiring!
I’m convinced. As a fellow comrade who joined the Party in late 2013, it is understood that it takes practice and consistency for one to grow into the movement (working class struggle). Although I joined the Party already, coming to the cadre school has given me the growth needed to gain a better grasp of who I am, who I was before I joined, and where I was going with my fellow comrades.
It is without a doubt that my convictions are stronger and I am clearer about what communism means for my fellow workers and me.
I am clearer about my stand against all of the oppressive forces that exists in this beautiful and terrifying world—I know my stand is our stand and we come together knowing we are as diverse as we are similar and our unity makes us very powerful…I’ve never been with so many genuine people as I am as of this moment.
There is more work to be done.
I thought I knew the actual history of racism, but I only knew bits and pieces. This weekend I completed the puzzle. The only way to fight racism is to come together and fight as a team. Getting together and discussing ideas is a great way to start. I am considering becoming a PLP member; I just need a little more time and reassurance.
As much as possible under capitalism, we try to create a more communal society by cooking together, cleaning together, playing together, and making decisions together. That is by far my favorite part of every cadre school. It gives me hope and confidence in our communist future.
My experience as a high school educator and parent this weekend was one that fills me with gratitude that I am surrounded by such a dedicated and thoughtful band of comrades fighting to make our world a communist one. The anti-racist fight we are engaged in at school is strengthened by the class-consciousness this weekend’s event has helped to build.
This year was so different than any other because I felt like I improved my knowledge on racism more than any other year. I made friends very easily. I was glad because it’s like they accepted me even if I’m in middle school and they were so nice. Overall I had a lot of fun and I can’t wait for next year.
I have learned so much and it gave me a big purpose in life, a goal in life that I am going to chase and catch. I enjoyed talking to a lot of the people about communism and world peace and it’s these conversations I never was able to have with others except for my teacher, who is in PLP. These conversations were intellectual and very fun. One of the happiest moments in life.
I am not a very open person, but I was able to open to these people here. So now I am starting to become a communist. When I go back home, I am going to try to convince a lot of people that I meet and talk to from potheads and suicidal people to philosophical people to understand how to change the world. I really can’t wait until the revolution happens and when it does, I will do whatever I can to contribute or even lead the revolution.
It was inspiring in that it’s showed the ability of the working class to analyze and critique the capitalist system. The discussions showed we workers can see through the capitalist lies.
The cadre school was truly an enlightening experience. We analyzed Lerone Bennet’s “The Road not Taken” and traced the early efforts of the bosses to divide and conquer by enacting laws designed to purposely divide white, Black, Latin, and Asian, and indigenous workers. Identity politics are a liberal ploy used by self-interested leaders in Black, Feminist, and LGBT groups to formally gain a their stake in capitalism. This sick preoccupation with “privilege, and “supremacy” only serves to blur the relationship between race and class.
Identity politics is not only divisive and poisonous, but are also disingenuous, and do not offer any real solutions on combatting racism. Analyzing these pieces gave me tremendous insight and confidence in understanding what racism is and how it hurts the working class. Best of all I had a chance to bond in song, games, laughter, and teamwork with a multicultural and diverse camaraderie. This is my vision for the future and society and I believe that joining PLP gave me a taste of what a progressive anti-racist communist society looks like. No matter what the bosses do to attack and distract they couldn’t kill our multi-racial unity.
Though the opportunity to have fun activities beyond politics is great, I always relish those dialectical discussions. We talked about “white privilege” and “feminist” theory. One high school student not in the Party vehemently disagreed with our line. But though she wasn’t receptive, we must stay tuned in to how the bosses mislead workers into these fake-leftists movements.
One small critique I have though is that we shouldn’t be immediately asking students after the school if they want to join PL before giving them some time to think about it. Becoming a communist is a huge step, one that lasts for life. People shouldn’t make such decisions so fast unless they’ve been around for sometime. Just my two cents. Can’t wait to be back next year!
This retreat was exciting. It’s always exciting to be around comrades. I’m not as active as I would like to be, but coming to events (cadre school, summer project, and May Day), I am refreshed on Party ideas and politics. From this event I learn that being involved does not mean coming to every event or study group. But, spreading the word, introducing students on campus to Party ideas, etc. I hope to attend the cadre school again and spread PLP ideas to the working class.
You can stop translating here.
If you read beyond this point, only translate letters that you think MUST BE IN THE PAPER
As always for me, it was an inspiring, educational, and reassuring experience. Hearing and watching young people take leadership in both organization and ideas reminds me every time that we can and must have confidence in the working class to lead society.
We tackled the sometimes-difficult ideas around white privilege theory. But by grounding our discussion in documents that show the origins of racism, it became clearer to many that the only “privileged” under capitalism are the bosses.
Several students from my school participated and hearing their thinking and learning from this weekend leaves me inspired and excited for the potential back home.
The future is bright!
The cadre school was led by young comrades and brought together middle school, high school, and college teachers and students. We also had young workers. The collective work, and the struggle to understand why we need to work together in multiracial unity to fight racism and to fight for a better world was tremendous.
It was a privilege to be here.
It’s been a very eye-opening experience. I got a glimpse of new perspective that I feel like everybody should be exposed to, to give the sense of understanding or belonging. Despite people’s views on communism, this trip could give them a better understanding because this is a topic that’s very misunderstood. The discussions we had was intellectually stimulating, which could give another person a new outlook.
There was stepping. There were fighters.
There were students. There were workers.
There were children. There were parents.
There was fightback. There was struggle.
We spent a weekend living collectively, the way it used to be. The way it will be again someday. We cooked together, ate together, we played together. We made ourselves believe that what we are fighting for — a world where we live as brothers and sisters — is worth fighting for.
This wasn’t a utopia. We argued. We felt things good and bad. But this was real. So rarely do we have the chance to see ourselves in all of the different people we encounter. Bonded by a common goal—fighting racism—we found hope in each other.
Nothing can be more terrifying for the bosses than workers and students, parents and children, Black and white, Arab and Asian, fighting together. Knowing that they are the same. We still have a world to win, but this weekend reminded us of what victory will look like. Power to the workers!
It was inspiring to see the commitment of a large group of people coming to fight against racism, sexism, and oppression of gay/lesbian workers: the ideological weapons used to separate and conquer the working class. Being surrounded by a diverse group of like-minded comrades has served to reinvigorate my efforts in growing the movement against police terror and all of the byproducts of the bosses’ system. It’s time to fight back!
I spent the weekend with some of the most genuine, kind, respectful human beings who’ve dedicated their lives to fighting for communism. At the end of my stay, I find myself wanting to share this same kindness, morality, and respect for my fellow class that I’ve been shown. I want to be a voice for my community. I want to make a difference. I want real change; not in the form of reform, but one that sparks a revolution in the minds of the masses of the working world. So, with that having said, I have decided to join the fight for communism.
“Nothing to run from is worse than something”
A new young leadership has taken over from the last round of “young leadership” and showed that the idea of communism will continue to advance. The Party continues to inspire me, to grow, to be the calling edge against capitalism, and will be the shovel wielded by us to bury it once and for all. Once again, I am renewed, recharged, and proud to be a communist member of the Progressive Labor Party.
The communist movement and our Party are growing! We were able to see that racism as we know it today has not been around “forever” as the rulers of the world would have us believe. And as one comrade said, “Anything that has a beginning can have an end.”
Also, we worked hard to understand the way that racism is a form of super-exploitation. The bosses exploit the entire working class, but they also deliberately create inequalities inside the working class to divide us from each other and extract a ton of extra profit.
But now they are trying to convince the Black working class that certain workers they want us to call “white” are “privileged.” This is just a cover for them to keep their viciously racist system alive. No one who is exploited is privileged. And only when we unite the entire working class – Black, Latin, Asian, white, Muslim, Christian, Jewish – can we truly defeat the racist, exploitive capitalist society they have created.
This weekend was an inspiring advance in the monumental, historic struggle. Long live PLP and the fight for a communist world free of racism!
This was an experience. I feel like we wasted so much time trying to explain why we shouldn’t focus on white privilege and saying we need to focus on the bigger picture instead of the 5 minutes it would have taken to say, “We don’t believe it should be called a privilege but white privilege as we understand it today does exist.”
It really disappoints me that this group is so caught up in the big picture they hardly have a concept of the basic units contributing to it.
I came to the cadre school this weekend to learn more about the PLP. I took away what it means to be an agent of change. To discuss racism is more than theory of what divides us—but it’s about uniting and following through. The solution to ending racism does not end with fixing who leads or is in charge—it ends with an entire overhaul. Change should not be to better just yourself but to better a society. And that is a pretty cool thing to be a part of.