Thursday
Jun042015

Letters of June 17

The following two letters are written by high school students in Baltimore who led walkouts following the
racist police murder of Freddie Gray.

The First Walkout
The first high school walkout was on Friday, April 24.  It was liberating to take a stand with many other like-minded students, leaving school to protest and march for all the lives unjustly and brutally snuffed out by the racist cops. Some students and I met in the basement of the school to discuss what we would do and how we would do it. I told them that we had to be quiet and disciplined when exiting the building. We discussed the importance of walking out against racism. Anyone who just wanted to avoid going to class was dismissed.
 We all walked out of the front entrance of the building. Many began chanting and marching around our school’s campus and holding up CHALLENGE newspaper.
Along with other students, I helped lead the chants. We made two stops so that everyone could talk and say how they felt. At each stop, I gave a speech about racism, sexism, corruption and hate crimes that are bred by the capitalist system. At the last stop, a student led everyone in a prayer to finish off the protest. Before they went back in the building, I told everyone what PLP was about and invited them to May Day!
The expansion of the Progressive Labor Party will continue, and this unjust system will crack!
The Second Walkout
The following week, I heard students were planning to protest the PAARC exam, which is part of national Common Core standards.
I felt it was my responsibility as an elected student leader at our school to support my fellow classmates in a fight against an unfair school system. The test was postponed after a number of students refused to take it. An administrator lied, claiming the test was being postponed for “technical reasons.” It was the bold refusals that were the real spark.
The next day, Friday May 1, students walked out again for Freddie Gray, and also against injustices in Baltimore City Public Schools. Before walking out, we chanted boldly while marching through all four floors of our school’s main building. 
On our minds was the thought of “productive protesting.” Once outside, after we stopped the first time, we told the students that we needed to take our protests to the next level. I reminded students that the administration knows we can take the power out of their hands and into ours! But they don’t stop us because they think we don’t have the ability to articulate our demands.
I reminded us that even if the school system refuses to teach us those skills, there are other places and organizations where we could go to learn how to fight! At the end of the protest, the group of about 40 decided to make demands — in addition to our solidarity struggle for justice for Freddie Gray — that related to educational, emotional, and productive issues. Now, we move forward to write-ups, petitions, conferences, and much more. On the initiative of two young Black male students, a club named Students Taking Action was born out of the march.
The events in Baltimore during the earlier citywide uprising have sparked the beginnings of an unstoppable long-term rebellion. It was not a “riot,” as the capitalist media, politicians, and some clergy have falsely characterized it. We will continue to fight back!
★ ★ ★ ★
Struggle and Learn
At the meeting of my retirees union chapter this month, a labor leader from the AFL-CIO came in to give us the general picture of labor and politics. His position was that politically the labor movement was in terrible trouble and that we have to ensure that the next time that democrats were voted completely in — but Democrats who completely support the positions of labor. In other words, same old, same old. But in laying out his position and talking about all the problems in  the country for working people, it became a dirge that upset many of the members. During the question time for him, the questions clearly illustrated their concerns and what could be done. In each case it came down to getting out the vote.
In the “Good and Welfare” part of the meeting, I put together a picket line chant to start a song I wanted to sing. I chanted the chant “The bosses can’t profit when the workers unite. Shut it down. Shut it tight,” and then sang “The men and women on the line”.  I normally get a good response from the 200 or so members who attend these meetings. But this time the applause was thunderous, and I was surrounded by people who wanted to talk to me. There was a line of them. I was given some telephone numbers and I gave the song sheet to someone and was asked to send a song sheet to someone else.  I was a little overwhelmed. People sitting in the seats around me pointed to their CHALLENGE and told me they had it.
After the event, when I was walking with one of my retiree friends, I tried to think through, and talk through, what had happened. I have been an activist in the union for 29 years and have been involved with struggles on the union floor during meetings and in my workplaces.  I often brought members from my workplaces to the meetings and I usually get out 100 or so CHALLENGEs at all of the meetings. I have had limited success at winning people into the PLP from amongst the workers. I have often had raw anticommunist comments thrown at me and I have been threatened on numerous occasions, but I have always carried on. Especially at May Day or at the month of May, I would make a special project of insuring that May Day (the workers’ holiday) was well understood.
Between the discussion and thinking over what had happened, it became clear to me that this was a perfect storm. I had done consistent work for 29 years. I have been singing at the retirees’ meetings for almost 3 years now, while raising issues of the working class – among them racism and sexism. The world in the last 29 years has been changing dramatically for the working class. Things are getting a lot worse, and workers have become somewhat confused. But over the last two or three years, the different struggles against racism and inequality have been growing in people’s minds. Then a well-known labor leader made a speech telling people that all we can do is vote and organize other people to vote while the politicians fritter away the lives of the working class, things begin to happen.
In our pamphlet, “Build a Base in the Working Class” there is a point in the early pages where we are told that we should constantly raise the line and struggle with people. It may seem like we’re not getting anywhere, but we can never tell.  In fact, we are getting somewhere.  The consistency of raising the ideas and getting to know people and the changing world situation (Ferguson, Baltimore, unemployment, wage disparities, the fight to raise the minimum wage) will make people more ready to listen. The lines to the song I sang at the end say, “This song is for the workers of the world. Their banners come unfurled. Sisters, brothers break your chains — let the fight begin. We have the whole wide world to win”.  Some of the working class are beginning to see light in the dark night. The battle is long, but the end is clear. We have a communist world to win!
★ ★ ★ ★
CHALLENGE Error
There’s an error in the picture caption “May Day in France” (CHALLENGE, page 6, 5/20). According to the caption, “‘The Time of the Cherries” refers to a revolutionary song about the Paris Commune of 1871. The “Time of Cherries” was referred to as a metaphor for what life will be like under a communist society, but the story is more complex.
“The Time of the Cherries” was originally a popular love song written in 1866. In the original lyrics, a broken-hearted man warns young men to avoid beautiful women, if they fear the cruel pain of breaking up. He adds that he will always cherish cherry-picking time because it reminds him of the memory he stores in his heart, which is like an unhealed wound. Several years later, after the author participated in armed revolution, new verses were added.
In 1871, workers in Paris staged the first working-class revolution and established the first dictatorship of the proletariat: the Paris Commune. The song’s author, Jean-Baptiste Clément, fought for the Commune against the combined armies of the French and German bosses.
During the final stage of the bosses’ victory over the world’s first proletarian government, during the “bloody week” of May 21-28, 1871, the bosses murdered 20,000 to 30,000 members of the Commune after they had surrendered. In particular, they slaughtered the nurses, who were supposedly recognized under capitalist law as “noncombatants” by the bosses. Then as now, when threatened with revolution, the bosses broke their own law. Killing noncombatants was explicitly forbidden by the bosses’ first Geneva Convention of 1864, which the French bosses had signed, and established the Red Cross. On May 28, the very last day of the Commune, a young woman and ambulance nurse serving with Clément’s group somehow became separated from them, never to be seen again.
In 1882, Clément published a book of his songs and dedicated “The time of the cherries” to this young ambulance nurse. He wrote: “All we knew was that she was named Louise and that she was a working class woman. … What became of her? Was she shot down, with so many others, by [the bosses]? Wasn’t it to this obscure heroine that I had to dedicate the most popular of all the songs that are in this book?”
Ever since then, the working class in France has associated “The Time of the Cherries” with the Paris Commune. It is less about “what life will be like under a communist society” than it is about unforgettable sorrow and anger at the bosses’ crimes against the working class. Crimes that the international working class will one day avenge.
★ ★ ★ ★

Thursday
May212015

Letters of June 3

May Day Reflections

The following letters are reflections of students and workers from a community college in the Bronx, NY who attended May Day on May 2.


“Same struggle, same fight. Workers of the world unite!” was one of the many slogans chanted throughout Flatbush, Brooklyn at the May Day march. This was the first time I have ever been a part of something like this. It was the first time I had ever been in a march at all. As we made our way through the streets, making our presence known and our voices heard, the way the community reacted to us was a very moving experience. People came out from the shops to see what was happening. Those already outside stopped what they were doing. Those inside their apartments sat at their windows looking at us.
It was a beautiful thing to see. While they might have not been marching with us physically, for that moment that we passed by them, there was no denying they were in solidarity with us. People started chanting.  There were also people who joined us along the way. The community’s reaction made me realize that this was one of the reasons why people marched.  It was a way of letting people know that they are not alone in their struggle; we are all part of the same working class. And if we come together, our voices grow louder.   
★ ★ ★ ★
I was very impressed that the organizers of the march appeared to be almost all young people. In our society, we are taught that youth cannot be relied on, that they’re selfish and egotistical. It was refreshing to see a very good example of how this capitalist idea is wrong. I have confidence not only that young people can organize and lead a march, but also they can organize and lead the entire working class in the fight against capitalism.
★ ★ ★ ★
As a college student, I admired the fact that the march was so organized. The previous marches that I have been to were part of a spur-of-the-moment type of action. This march had a chance to gather more of a crowd. The march was official and it stood for everything I believe in. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I plan on going to more functions.
★ ★ ★ ★
I am a college student from the Bronx and I felt that this march was very inspirational. Also, this was my first march so things were rather new to me. I liked that people who were not in the march took the time to listen to us. Some chanted along with us and some even joined. That just shows that we are inspiring and can move people. If I weren’t a part of the march, I would have wanted to join and would have asked many questions. This was a fun and educational experience and it would be nice to be a part of more to come.
★ ★ ★ ★
I am not a communist but I still attended a march organized by the Progressive Labor Party. While I did keep my mouth shut for chants praising communism, there were plenty of chants that I raised my voice for. I screamed for calls against the police, war, and the politicians. Even though I want a different form of government, I respect the values of the PLP. This Party fights for the working class, racial and gender equality, and many more liberal causes. I definitely have no problem turning up with the PLP.
★ ★ ★ ★
 I was on the march on Saturday and I was surprised to see how organized it was. It was my first march so I didn’t know what to expect. It was good to see how there were people of different ethnicities, genders, and ages. Everybody united for the purpose of ending racism, police brutality, sexism, and other things. Even though the issues were serious, the atmosphere was welcoming. I really enjoyed it and would definitely do it again.
★ ★ ★ ★
I especially enjoyed May Day this year because of the historical continuity of the march. Going to different parts of Brooklyn and hearing about different cases of police brutality was a great move and should be done more often.

Thursday
May072015

Letters of May 20

Communism, Not Black Capitalism
At the invitation of a young Black resident friendly to PLP,  members and friends of PLP from Chicago and Indiana traveled to Ferguson on April 18. We were a multi-racial group of  women and men — white, Latin, and Black workers. We arrived at a Community Center for Ferguson youth, formerly a school. The Ferguson workers were a multi-racial group, including white workers. Workers are still angry over the outrageous institutional racism that led to the death of Mike Brown at the hands of racist cop Darren Wilson. At the Center, Party members got into a discussion with a Black entrepreneur advocating the worn-out idea of  “Black capitalism” as the key to Black workers’ freedom. This guy exposed himself to be an agent of the ruling class.
We were invited by our Ferguson host to attend a demonstration in nearby Jennings at the police station. Jennings Police Department was the former employer of killer cop Wilson. It has a reputation for racist terror. Several hours before we arrived, another young Black worker named Thaddeus had been killed by police in Jennings under dubious circumstances. The demonstration was for Thaddeus.
Our protest was multi-racial with many white workers from the local St. Louis metro area participating, including church members. There were Black and white motorists honking their horns in solidarity. We got out 95 CHALLENGES, plus Party leaflets publicizing our communist politics. We got on the bullhorn and  called for communist revolution and armed struggle to abolish racist capitalism and its hired thugs, the cops. The Jennings cops, led by a Black sergeant, were so upset by the sight of multi-racial workers and communists openly calling for revolution, that they came out of their station five times to harass us. The last time they emerged was as the PL members were getting ready to leave. A Black woman protestor told us, “look! There’s a lot of pigs all coming out the station doors! They are up to something!”
The Party stayed to support our fellow workers. If the cops’ plan was to intimidate us, it failed! No protestor backed down and left! Our friends stayed in front of police station all night. PLP will be making more trips to Missouri this summer!
★ ★ ★ ★
May Day Celebration
PLP members in a Midwestern city had a May Day dinner for members of the Unitarian Church celebrating the workers’ international holiday on April 25. Our gathering was multiracial. We had good food and lots of discussions before our program began. We had three main speakers, including PL comrade recently in Ferguson who gave a report on PLP organizing there.
The second report was on “Communist Organizing in the Age of President Obama,” and the final report was on the all-out fight for a communist revolution to establish an anti-racist, egalitarian and classless society. We opened up the floor for open discussion of the reports. Some agreed with us, others didn’t. Special  mention was made that capitalism not only is destroying the international working class from Ferguson to the Middle East, but also destroying the environment with climate change.
Either we get rid of capitalism, or capitalism will ultimately get rid of us all. CHALLENGES and leaflets were distributed. We concluded with the singing of the Internationale. We will keep fighting to win the international working class to see the necessity of communist revolution as the way forward out of the hell of capitalist imperialism!
★ ★ ★ ★
Workers Gear Up for Strike, Union Leaders for Sellout
“We are facing real challenges. There is a world economy.” That’s how UAW President Dennis Williams tried to temper workers’ anger and expectations as he addressed the two-day Special Bargaining Convention (SBC) here in Detroit, Michigan. More than 2,000 delegates took part in the gathering before negotiations start on the Ford, GM and Chrysler contracts
At the UAW convention last June, delegates voted for a dues increase that would go entirely into the strike fund. International leaders warned that the 2015 talks were going to be a war, and with 60 percent of our membership now in Right-to-Work states, we could expect a big campaign by the Right-to-Work movement to get workers to quit the union when these contracts expire. But this was not a War Council.
Detroit Mayor Duggan laid out his plan to clear the area around Detroit City Airport for a 12-year tax-free zone to build 10 new factories. This is after tens of thousands of Black families have been evicted or foreclosed on for owing back taxes!
UAW Financial Secretary/Treasurer Gary Casteel said, “The sun is shining as we enter the 2015 contract talks,” referring to the billions in profits made by the auto bosses since the Obama-UAW-Wall St. bailout in 2009. That bailout cut starting wages in half, eliminated pensions for new hires, and created a second tier of health care. The bailout also exempted GM from billions in damages from the companies past defective cars.
Each International VP reported on how great things are going. The Ford report took center stage. The Chicago Ford Assembly plant now has over 2,300 workers, an increase of 60 percent since the 2009 economic collapse. Two-thirds of these workers are at entry level wages, making under $15/hr. with a cap of $19/hr. First-tier workers make about $28/hr. Work is coming back to U.S. Ford factories due to high productivity and cheap wages throughout the U.S. .
Unlike GM and Chrysler, Ford did not declare bankruptcy in 2009, and will likely be the target company in the 2015 negotiations. Ford has gone from 36,000 workers in 2011 to 54,000 today, surpassing GM. Seventeen thousand Ford workers are second tier. Huge profits allowed Ford to invest over $8 billion in plant improvements since 2011, to create even higher productivity from a growing low-wage workforce. And this doesn’t include the parts-supplier plants, also on two-tier, a 70 percent of assembly plant wages.
Many of the delegates are angry and the loudest cheers came at any mention of a strike. Senior workers haven’t had a wage increase in almost 10 years, and young workers are tired of making half-pay. One young worker said, “90% of the workers in my plant are second-tier. Our plant just got a new contract, and new hires get no pensions. We are exposed to dangerous chemicals [which she rattled off] and health and safety violations. We all need equal pay and healthcare.”
The spirit of Ferguson was also in Cobo Hall. One delegate said, “My local and our Sister locals marched against the failures of Grand Juries to indict the killers of Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in NYC. The fight against racism on and off the job must be at the heart of who we are.” Delegates cheered. Earlier that morning, the local news released video tape of a racist beating of Floyd Dent, a Black Ford worker with 37-years seniority, by the Inkster police (a Ferguson-style suburb of Detroit).
We work in the unions to fight for the political leadership of the workers, to break them away from the dead-end treadmill of reformism and the Democratic Party. We have been at it for a long time in the UAW, and even though progress is slow, the workers continue to encourage us.
★ ★ ★ ★

Thursday
Apr232015

Letters of May 6

When Auto Workers Fought Racist Police Terror
On April 17, 2015, the New York Times ran a front-page story on the racist police murder of 10-year-old Clifford Glover in Queens, NY. Clifford was walking to work with his Dad on a Sunday morning. His Dad had just been paid the day before and had a lot of cash in his pocket. An unmarked police car pulled over and a plainclothes cop got out and told them to stop. Fearing they were being robbed, they ran and cop Thomas Shea shot Clifford in the back, saying the five-foot tall, 100-pound 10-year-old fit the description of a robbery suspect. He also said Clifford turned toward Shea and pointed a gun at him. Clifford never turned, never had a gun and was shot in the back. This was in 1973. Sound familiar?
At the time, I was working at the Ford Assembly Plant in Mahwah, NJ. Our small PLP club had a regular CHALLENGE readership among our co-workers and 1973 was a contract year. We were trying to organize for more militant action against Ford and the UAW union leadership since Ford had us working tons of overtime in order to build up a huge stockpile of cars so they could sit out any possible strike. There was a Black caucus in the plant, loosely tied to DRUM (Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement) and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers in Detroit. They were trying to address racism in the UAW, hoping to elect more Black union officers (there was only one at the time).
Then the NYPD murdered Clifford Glover. We brought that issue to the factory floor. We distributed a flier about the racist murder and circulated a petition, demanding that our UAW local union take a public stand against the police and in support of the family, and demanding that Shea be indicted for murder. The workers’ response was electric. It far surpassed their response to all the contract and “bread-and-butter” issues we’d been organizing around.
We literally circulated the petition on the Ford assembly line. We placed the petition in the frame of the car and as it went down the line, workers would take off their work gloves, sign the petition, and send it to the next person. We did this in a few departments. Even among those workers who didn’t sign, no one ratted us out to the bosses. (Or if they did, it was after the fact.) In a couple of hours we’d collected over 350 signatures. The mood of the workers and our relationship to them had made a qualitative change for the good.
The May union meeting had an overflow crowd as the union leadership, the Black caucus and PLP mobilized our respective bases to attend, each group either advancing or sabotaging the fight against racist police terror. The union leadership was outnumbered but had more of a plan and maneuvered to successfully adjourn the meeting with no action taken. We had no Plan B to take over the meeting after it was adjourned, to plan action with the workers who were there. But rather than being dejected and cynical, the workers were even angrier.
The struggle in the plant accelerated. PLP members were targeted. I was suspended for three days for having CHALLENGE and PLP literature in my locker. But by early June, when the temperatures exceeded 100 degrees in the plant, we were able to lead a wildcat strike that shut down Ford for a week. This was big news, and it helped our comrades in Detroit to organize the Mack Ave sit-down strike against Chrysler just two months later. Workers seized the plant, the first such auto strike in nearly 40 years.
There’s a lot to be learned from these struggles, positive and not so positive, but mainly that we have to take the fight against racist police terror to our shop floors and inside our unions. The fight over the racist murder of Clifford Glover helped workers to see things more clearly. Many of them knew it could have been them and their children. And that raised political consciousness, making them more willing to take bold action against Ford and the union misleadership.
Bringing the fight against racism and police terror to our jobs and unions will help steel us, help build a mass PLP and make us a Party worthy of leading the working class to power.
★ ★ ★ ★
Ayotzinapa: Your Struggle is Our Struggle
On March 25, Lili, a new member of our PLP club here in Chicago, received a text that a caravan from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico would be here April 3—6. Very little to none was mentioned in the Latin and English media. Two other caravans were already hitting the Pacific and East coasts the earlier part of March. These three caravans, representing students friends and family members of the 43 Normalistas (students attending the teachers college) who were attacked and disappeared on September 26—27, were coming to cities throughout the U.S. and ending in Washington, DC.
The purpose of the Caravana 43 was to expose the lies of the Mexican government and to seek political support from workers in the U.S. and finally from president Obama himself. Obama is no friend of these families. Only the international working class can show solidarity with workers in Mexico.
The 43 young men attended college in Ayotzinapa to become teachers with the sole purpose of going back to teach the kids in the towns they came from. The students were on their way to the town of Iguala, Guerrero to raise funds for their college when armed military local, state and federal cops stopped their bus. Six students were killed and some injured — two of whom are still in a coma. One student had his face cut off!
The story is that the 43 students were handed over to a drug gang in Guerrero, Mexico. There are still rumors that the 43 disappeared students were killed and their bodies burned, or that the students are still alive and are being used to pick crops somewhere in the mountain region.
The Caravana 43 committee, made up of several lefty community organizations and four Roman Catholic Churches in the Spanish-speaking communities, organized the activities here. The first one began with a folk dance until the visitors’ arrival at the plaza. A student visitor Beto spoke. He survived the attacks back in September. He and the two other visitors, Esperanza and Lolo, were taken to a nearby restaurant to be interviewed by a local TV station. Esperanza is the mother of one of the 43 disappeared students. Lolo is a teacher and uncle of one of the 43 students.
On Saturday, April 4, a rally was held in front of one church. It was here that I gave a DESAFIO, CHALLENGE’s Spanish counterpart, to the three visitors. We then marched through the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago.
We chanted, “Alive you took them. Alive we want them back.” A comrade and I took turns distributing 120 CHALLENGEs and holding two posters (see photo). The posters (the Spanish versions) read “Brothers/Sisters — your sadness is our sadness, your anger is our anger, your struggle is 100 percent our struggle. Fight for Communism” and “From May Day to Ferguson, MO. to Ayotzinapa: Fight to Destroy Capitalism.” Esperanza, Lolo, and Beto marched with a contingent of nearly 100.
At the community forum, Esperanza spoke first. She and her family are poor farm workers, as are the rest of the Ayotzinapa families. She spoke of watching a TV soap opera at the time her son and others were attacked. “Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought of such a horrific thing happening to my son. And me, [I was] watching a soap opera. Can you imagine that?!”
The mothers are no longer watching soap operas. They are in the thick of the struggle giving leadership to find their loved ones. One of the slogans of the Ayotzinapa struggle is, “They took everything from us. They even took away our fear.”
More residents participated at the evening forum. Because of their struggle to get the disappeared students back, 600 more families joined the fight. Beto spoke. He felt that before trying to change the “macro” (the system), the “micro” had to be changed. He identified the “micro” as the children that aspire to be either drug-traffickers or soap opera stars when they grow up.  Since 2006, the racist U.S.–fueled drug war in Mexico has led to the disappearance of more than 30,000 people. From 2007 to 2012, there were officially over 121,000 homicides, with over 50,000 under the current government under president Enrique Peña Nieto.
Terrorism, disappearances, and murder of youth are an everyday occurrence for working-class families throughout the world. In the U.S. alone, 1.5 million Black men (this includes only ages 25 to 54) are missing due to death or jail. On top of unemployment, sexist and racist working conditions, this is what capitalism means for billions of workers!
A press conference at the Workers United Hall on April 6 concluded with a protest in front of the Mexican Consulate down the street. Esperanza and Lolo spoke. As the Chicago police moved in to defend the front doors of the consulate, Esperanza and Lolo were whisked off. I found out later that Beto had received threats and didn’t make it to Monday’s protest. I circulated about another 45 CHALLENGEs to the protesters and those going in and out of the Consulate.
I spoke briefly with Esperanza, Lolo and Beto at the weekend events. Self-critically, I should have been much bolder in getting to know them. Lili has family members in Mexico who are involved in the struggle to bring justice to the disappeared students. Our club has been in contact with them.
The committee organizers weren’t able to get as many residents out as I expected. Most of those involved that weekend were young political organizers, several of whom I had known when we were involved together in the La Casita sit-in about three years ago. (Working mothers occupied La Casita, an elementary school field house, for 43 days to protest its demolition.) I had also seen three women friends who used to be in PLP, one who participated in the Boston Summer Project along with her (now deceased) 17-year-old sister and me in 1975! I will make it a point to renew our friendship.
The struggle in Ayotzinapa is an international one. It is up to PLP to link the mass terrorization and disappearances of youth in Mexico to youth in the U.S. and worldwide as part of this destructive capitalist system.
★ ★ ★ ★

Thursday
Apr092015

Letters of April 22

PL Communist Youth School: ‘Amazing’

The following letters are from PLP’s communist youth school.

Something that really stood out this weekend was the workshop discussions. The readings and questions chosen were engaging and laid bare the way capitalism fails the working class and how communism is the only system that can address that and win. Discussions among young and old, Black, white, Asian, Latin, new and experienced really deepened those conversations.
It was so exciting to discuss and debate our visions of communism in a real, materialistic way.
★ ★ ★ ★  
It was great interacting with young and old and the idea of what communism would look like in the future. All doubts were answered in our community where children weren’t discouraged, but encouraged. A multiracial group of people partook in contributing their ideas to shape a better future and demolishing individualism, racism, nationalism, sexism, and any injustices which the system tries to make us blind to.
★ ★ ★ ★  
My weekend went great. I’m glad that I learned new stuff, such as communism. And I would love to learn more. I love the fact that everyone was friendly. It took me out of my comfort zone, but I loved the atmosphere here. I’m really shy and just to know that people don’t judge here makes me more comfortable. I still have a lot of questions to ask about communism. But I’m really sure I will become a communist when I’m older, maybe even now (if I can). Everything I learned this weekend was very interesting. And I would love to be a part of this fight to make our world better. And that fight is for communism.
★ ★ ★ ★  
I’ve been around the Party for a while now, but I haven’t had the chance to come to the communist school until now. It exceeded expectations! It was amazing to see people of all ages, races, and genders getting along and treating each other as equals. Seeing people living communally makes me confident that a worker-led world under communism is possible! I am re-energized for May Day and can’t wait to bring all my friends and see my comrades again.
★ ★ ★ ★  
I really enjoyed this communist school. Working together, preparing meals, cleaning, and participating in discussions really shows the potential that workers have to transform society.
As a single mom, it was refreshing to have so many people help with my daughter throughout the weekend so I could participate in the political discussions.
The youth, as always, are so inspiring. Seeing them embrace the Party’s ideas is refreshing and gives me both confidence and hope in the future.
★ ★ ★ ★  
I’ve been here three times and this was the best one so far! I loved both workshops but the first one was the best. It was very exciting to learn about surplus value and how slavery is basically still happening but in a more secretive way.
★ ★ ★ ★  
I enjoyed this weekend because I got to see some familiar faces and also meet new people. I always enjoy hearing people’s ideas and viewpoints on communism, capitalism and other topics that relate to it. This was my first retreat and I enjoyed myself.
★ ★ ★ ★  
The communist school was amazing, not only because of the communist content but the people. They are genuinely good people and it felt amazing to meet and connect with comrades. The workshops were beautifully led. Living together went smoothly because we all took responsibility. And most importantly we had fun. Whether it was playing games or dancing, we had fun. I love everyone here, and I am looking forward to building this Party and getting ready for May Day. It’s going to be lit [exciting]!!
★ ★ ★ ★  
As a teacher and communist, the most wonderful thing to see is when our young people get serious about changing the world for the better. At this communist school, one of my former students did an excellent and exciting job of leading one of the discussion groups. And another student, active in the school club for which I’ve been an advisor, loved the weekend and is now seriously thinking about joining Progressive Labor Party. These are profound and heart-warming developments!
★ ★ ★ ★  
This weekend was another great experience for me because every year I come, the learning gets better and it opens up my thoughts. Communism has and will have such a great effect on the communities.
As a student I will invite a few of my friends to May Day. And also give them a quick look on my experiences about attending May Day in the past.
★ ★ ★ ★  
I had my doubts about coming to this retreat but I am very grateful that I was given this opportunity. Instead of spending another weekend at home alone, I spent my time gaining knowledge about a topic I was still somewhat unclear about — communism! It was amazing to see how a common struggle among workers could bring so many people together. Everyone, young and old, took part in our discussions (which were led by young students) and helped out with work that had to be done (cooking, cleaning, etc.). This weekend showed us all that if we can live as a community for 3 days then we can do it for even longer (forever).
★ ★ ★ ★  
My weekend at the Spring Retreat was AMAZING! I got the opportunity to reconnect with old comrades and meet some new ones. The workshops were very insightful and allowed us to expand our minds. I had an awesome time here and I will definitely do this again! It gave me a taste of what a communist society would be like and I like it a lot.
★ ★ ★ ★  
Like every year, this PLP youth camp was amazing. Learning, cooking, cleaning, dancing, was done collectively. The participants ranged in age from eight to decades upon decades old, and everyone participated. The discussions ranged from how bosses make surplus value from exploiting workers’ labor to how health care under communism would be figured out collectively for the benefit of all. The youngest group could not believe that the American Girl dolls they love so much only cost $3 to make but are sold for over $100!!! The best part of the weekend was hearing plans for how to make this year’s May Day March the biggest and best yet.
★ ★ ★ ★  
I had the best weekend ever! There were amazing workshops that consisted of amazing content. I was lucky to have been a workshop leader and have such an engaging discussion with my group. The knowledge each individual had was shared amongst the group; everyone was enlightened! The best part of the retreat was that there was a natural connection between everyone. There was no outsider here. There is no outsider in the Progressive Labor Party EVER. Join PLP and fight for what’s right. We are strong when we are unified. Be a part of the unification.
★ ★ ★ ★  
This weekend like every other Communist School has been an experience in communist living and learning over the course of the weekend. The most inspiring thing was the level of understanding and analysis that our youngest elementary and middle school students showed. This young future leadership, even myself, really shows that we will continue to fight strongly for an egalitarian world. A communist world.
★ ★ ★ ★  
The Communist School was without a doubt one of the most inspiring and enlightening experiences of my life. To discuss communism in an environment full of some of the most insightful people I have ever met was a privilege and a pleasure. Before coming, I was full of doubt. Although my rational mind had already accepted communism as the only real solution to our ailing world, I had no experience on which to base my beliefs. Now, I believe. In the Communist School, I see a future worth believing in, worth fighting for, and I cannot wait to continue the fight.
★ ★ ★ ★  
Seeing the young new faces at this weekend’s camp was exciting — working with them and getting to know them was a privilege!
In two days’ time, we saw shy young women transform from believing they had nothing to say to articulate, assertive leaders. By the end, watching them volunteer to stand up and explain their vision of communism and their reasons for fighting for it were inspirational.
This is just a glimpse of how communism transforms lives. If we can do this in three days, imagine what we will do when the working class has power.
★ ★ ★ ★  
Everyone was friendly and helpful. The event was very organized and the readings were interesting. I am looking forward to the next Communist School.
★ ★ ★ ★  
I was excited to come to this year’s Communist School because of my experience during the one we had last year. And indeed, I wasn’t disappointed. My happiness was on fleek [in the state of perfection] this weekend.
I was amazed at the level and depth of the conversations that took place among comrades of every age. The kids and high schoolers in particular blew me away with their ability to understand what’s happening around the world. The future of communism looks bright when we look at the younger generation. As usual, I was amazed at the collective nature of the school.
★ ★ ★ ★  
My favorite thing about this weekend was meeting new people and learning new things. This was a great experience for me and I learned a lot of new things. It really helped me see how bosses and companies are. To change the way things are, we are just going to have to take this really seriously. I feel like one day the company and bosses won’t be so mean and we will finally be able to live happily and peacefully.
★ ★ ★ ★  
This retreat was something amazing. I had a lot of fun and a grand time understanding how this world works. I had always said, “Who wants to go to school all day every day until 7 pm for 16 years. Then for the rest of their lives after school work till they die to keep food on the table to keep a house over their head to ‘survive’. That’s crappy. I don’t want to survive, I want to live.” But I never fully understood why things were the way they are until this school. And you know what, I’m happy I did it. People need to learn about what communism is and that it isn’t what the bosses make it seem. I was one of those people that thought,  “communism is bad.” But that is not what it is. Its focus is to further human lives, enjoyment, and further knowledge. The system we live in now where we all compete against each other instead of working together isn’t working for us. It’s just filling the greed of people who have more than enough.
★ ★ ★ ★  

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