PL School: Microcosm of a Communist World
Communism — well, of course I agree with many of the ideas, but the main question is: will it work? Will communism really fix capitalism? I feel like it will replace capitalism with another “ism,” but I’m not sure if it will fix all the problems. What I am willing to do is fight the problems that I see, for example racism and sexism. So if I’m fighting with communists, that’s fine.
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Overall, I think the retreat was good, and I liked the topics we talked about during the workshops because I learned about things I never knew before. I also liked how we related the topics to what’s happening in
everyone’s lives and how we saw that the things that are happening in our schools and community are the same. One question I have is: what will happen to the bosses after you guys plan on making everyone equal and the working class is in charge? What will you do if the bosses do not agree with your ideas?
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These communist schools are always a great time. As I’ve spent more and more time in the Party, this group of people has become my family, a community I can rely on. Every time I go to a communist school, I am reminded of the potential we all have and the greatness of the communist future we are all fighting for. This school helped me become more of a leader, and I am dedicated to carrying on this fight to the younger generation. We will continue the fight for change, justice, equality and a communist future.
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A little taste of real communism is what I experienced this weekend. Spending a weekend living together with others from different backgrounds and walks of life is not a usual part of everyday life. In the world we live in today, getting people who are different from each other to form a community is a hard thing to do. However, this weekend proved this notion to be untrue.
This weekend was about building community and building unity. This weekend was about learning and growing, not as one, but as all. The idea of communism has been tarnished for most of our lives, but this communist school is the rag that will be used to wipe down the dirt that has accumulated on the idea of communism for so many years.
I truly enjoyed my time this weekend, and it is an experience that will stay with me, but will not end with me. What I experienced this weekend will be what others will experience, if I can help it!
Student of Communism
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Another year, another great communist school! This year marks my first communist school since I officially joined PLP. Though I still have doubts about certain things, this weekend gave me more confidence that I made the right choice. Leading the workshops about dialectical materialism furthered my understanding of PL. Talking with senior comrades helped fill in the blanks about the lines on nationalism and privilege. And each group taking turns with various tasks (i.e. cooking, cleaning) was again a nice look into a communist future. It also made me think about how such tasks are unevenly directed towards women, with little to no male participation — the division of labor. This whole weekend CHALLENGED me and was a perfect departure from all the reformist crap I see in the outside world usually. Can’t wait for next year! Long live PL!
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Appearance and essence, actual vs. potential. Our perception about what we see, your thoughts and ideas can be different from the reality. What you are now and what you become, all these things have a huge impact on your own impressions about anything you encounter. My experience, throughout this retreat was very informative and further explained how racism exists in our daily lives and movements we can enforce in abolishing racism. Changing people’s misconceptions and illusions about our system is a step PLP is taking in working to demolish the capitalist ideas and support the struggle of uniting workers worldwide.
Each and every communist school is a joy to come to. At the beginning, they feel like a burden, a duty, a time to think about other things one can do on a three-day weekend. Instead, dialectically, through the unity of our opposites, working together and talking together, the negation of negation, they turn into the positive renewal of our lives and commitment to communism.
It happened again: more renewal, more joy, more people joining and becoming nails in the bosses’ coffins that we gravediggers will dig. Onward to the armed struggle- Onward!
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I always thought racism started with the family, but a light shined into my dark world and showed me that racism started within our society. The ruling class created all these laws so they can gain control and earn more profit. By creating all these laws they caused so much division in our society, which is still happening today. Being here taught me the importance of ending capitalism and fighting for change in today’s society.
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I enjoyed this trip. I found out a lot about the working class. I know the history of slavery and racism. This will not end in a capitalist society. Nothing lasts forever, and capitalism will not. Slavery was deliberate, not an accident. It feels good to be around people, young and old, who want change. Coming out to the weeds wasn’t my idea of how I wanted to spend my weekend but I truly enjoyed it. I met new people, saw old faces. I know we are going in the right direction.
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The past weekend I’ve learned to be more out-
spoken. I’ll use this technique to share more about PLP and communism with at least one friend. Using
CHALLENGE will be helpful. One topic that was helpful to me was appearance and essence. You have to investigate, because the first impression doesn’t always count. I also notice a pattern in slavery now and from hundreds of years ago. Communist is the way to equality and capitalism is trash. I also learned that you must always have a plan C,
because your actual isn’t easy to achieve. You have to keep pushing yourself, and surround yourself with people that will encourage you.
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The PLP camping trip this year was just as great as the previous one, but somewhat better. Everyone was mingling with each other, and new folks were enjoying 2.5 days of communist life. Appearance and essence, I believe, was the key topic we as communists elaborated on. It was very essential to explore this topic because we as communists have to pinpoint and study the appearance of capitalism and then apply dialectical materialism to figure the essence of it. But it’s no surprise what we tend to retrieve is that capitalists are full of crap.
Soy commnista toda la vida, y comunista he de morir. [I am a communist for all my life, and a
communist till death.]
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This school gave me more confidence in my ability to build the Party. I’ve been involved in the reform movement for some time, and I haven’t been putting communist politics out front. Hanging out with comrades and spending our time collectively discussing politics and everyone making meals together has furthered my understanding of communist ideas, in addition to being a small example of the world we want to live in after capitalism is permanently overthrown.
I was also impressed with the political sophistication of many young people and that there were workers from all racial backgrounds. Communism doesn’t belong to any one group, it belongs to the working class. That’s why I’m glad PLP prioritizes anti-racism in our practice, and we have shown that workers can and will discard the bosses’ lies and work together with other workers of different backgrounds to fight back against the exploitation of the entire working class.
Proud to be Red
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I went to this retreat with some of my schoolmates and teachers. We learned about how racism started and why it started. We talked about ways we can fight racism in our school. We also talked about leadership and how we can be leaders. As the weekend progressed, we cleaned and cooked together. Also, we made s’mores and cookies. We played games. I met new people, and there were some old faces too. I really like communist schools, so I can’t wait till next year. When May Day comes, we are going to sing Bella Ciao and we are going to have our painted banner.
High school Student
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The communist school has become our winter tradition. It serves as an energy booster and see our PLP club grow in strength and number every year. We discussed the dialectical categories — contingency-necessity, appearance-essence, potential-actual, and used them to investigate the history and function of racism. More importantly, we built unity and new relationships. Two people joined the Party!
One strength included bringing back the high school students from last year. The teachers did a good job building and challenging our future communist leaders. We also made a lot of fight-back plans for our high schools. I look forward to putting them into action. In hindsight, one weakness was that we neglected to talk about sexism in our whole-group discussions. The school as mostly all young black women and we need to talk about how sexism is a sharp tool of capitalism and that we are fighting sexism by building female communist leaders. PLP does a good job in fighting sexism. Let’s acknowledge it and fight harder!
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This is a good experience to participate in my second communist school. It was cool to meet and work with a group of people that had different races and backgrounds from me because it made me realize that there’s people from outside my community that are suffering the same issues.
I enjoyed the workshops that my group and I focused on, such as the category of potential and actual, on ending racism and fixing the working class. Before I got to the communist school, I always thought that there’s nothing to worry about. But then I started to understand the plan on how the capitalist system is being racist and having many workers work long hours with little pay. I
figured out it was all wrong and see how PLP is focused on problems that go on today such as stop-and-frisk.
I appreciate that I took in a lot of information on the system today, so when I get back home I can tell a lot of young kids like me how the system is functioning. It’s all wrong, but it can be changed by starting a revolution. The system focuses on having winners and losers but if everybody becomes equal then it will have everybody satisfied with less problems.
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My weekend in the communist school was one amazing experience. As soon as I walked in the doors, the warmth was so welcoming; everyone came to me and introduced themselves. Everyone had their sense of humor, which made it really enjoyable. Attending the first workshop, the core of our group was unbelievably united. Getting to know other people’s beliefs on their political views is interesting. I was enlightened by the way we explained communism. Before I came I thought communism was the bad guy, but now I’ve realized I had been learning a lie and it’s time to revolt and revolutionize our nation. Viewing the world as a communist, I could see people treated equally. That is our goal in this activist group. I loved my weekend here, learning about the flaws.
Everyone was amazing and inspirational. Thank you.
Batman Fighting for Justice
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To be honest I don’t even know where to start. We’ve gone from fun times to serious times. My brain feels so rejuvenated from all of our intense discussions regarding racism. We also discussed politics that changed my views. All of the gruesome details were exposed about racism and who’s really who they say they are. Before I came to the school, I was absolutely clueless about politics, dialectical materialism, etc.
Finally, I can see the light. The light is still dim for now, but I can still see it. I’m so thankful for everyone that helped me open my eyes and see what side the government is actually on. I definitely want to join PLP. Thank you, communist school!
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Another successful communist school completed! My absolute favorite part of the trip is that we were able to bring six students from our school. Hearing them thinking about, disagreeing and questioning the Party’s politics gives me great confidence in a
Red, Gorgeous Teacher
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Opposition to Racist Israeli Rulers Is Not Anti-Semitic
The following is a relatively complete excerpt from a contribution to a listserve of academic Marxists. One contributor claims that to criticize Israel is anti-Semitic. This is one of a number of contributed answers to that person, and is also addressed to all other subscribers to the listserve. We think readers of CHALLENGE will be interested in this particular response as an example of Marxist reasoning. — Ed.
These are just some thoughts on this discussion that should ring true to Marxists, though I propose it to further the discussion and invite still more commentary.
In order for us to evaluate the questions of anti-Semitism, Israel, and Zionism it seems to me that we have to be sure to maintain a class point of view. Israel, like all nation states (i.e., the entire world today), is a class-divided society. It is not a homogenized classless entity, about which one can make valid, or even meaningful, statements. As such, Zionism can and should be separated from Jewishness, both conceptually and in fact.
Thus one can be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic. Zionism is the ideology and practice, and indeed essence, of the Israeli ruling class. That a significant portion of the Israeli working class accepts a Zionist point of view is an example of the fact that the dominant ideology, dominant but not universal, in any society is that of the ruling class — except in those rare times of revolutionary ferment. The ruling classes, after all, control all the institutions that develop and purvey that ideology, from the media to the schools and universities to the state.
I believe it is not enough to oppose the concept of the state in general [as the contributor in question has done — Ed.] but implicitly support it in particular in the case of Israel. The state is the primary expression of class rule, particularly under capitalism. To attribute Zionism to the entire Israeli population, including both the capitalist and working classes, is to blame the victim (the Israeli working class), who are among the most exploited in the world — by their own Jewish rulers — as are the Palestinians.
The Israeli working class, in the current absence of a major communist party there [though PLP is planting roots among Jewish and Palestinian workers there and is growing – Ed.], buys into the ideology of the ruling class to a certain extent, but it is against their interests to do so. [The interests of the Jewish and Palestinian working classes] provide the basis for a growing communist party there to win workers away from Zionism and toward a communist outlook and motivation to overthrow Israeli capitalism. This can only happen with unity between Jewish and Palestinian workers, as has [been brought about] in the past under communist leadership.
To label all Israelis as Zionist and label all anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic is a form of blaming the victim, similar to the blaming of all Americans [i.e., the working class — Ed.] for U.S. imperialism and its many racist and genocidal wars — regardless of the temporary and misled support of such wars on the part of a significant portion of the U.S. working class.
In short, I do not believe that opposing oppression by the Israeli ruling class is anti-Semitic. Rather to support Zionism is anti-Semitic.
Solidarity Boosts Locked-Out Altoona Workers
CHALLENGE (1/29) contained an article on some 150 locked-out electrical workers in Altoona, Pa. These workers had voted down the latest contract and the bosses responded by locking them out in mid-November. To this very day the workers continue to walk the picket line and their fighting spirit remains.
Then on February 1, over 400 workers from various unions throughout this small city gathered for a solidarity rally with the locked-out workers. The mood was militant. One of the electrical workers said he would remember that day for the rest of his life.
This solidarity is exactly what’s needed, and hopefully it will grow into something much bigger in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, unionized nurses at the Altoona Hospital are preparing to strike this month. It seems that the class struggle is alive and well in this Republican Party-dominated town. In the past, Altoona has also been a hotspot for Nazi skinheads and the Klan.
With the right kind of leadership all of these workers can be won to communist politics. Winning them to read CHALLENGE would be a good start.