Walk the Walk: How to Conduct Ourselves as Communists. By: Noah KhrachvikRead Now
“...If a Communist took it into his head to boast about his Communism because of the ready-made conclusions he had acquired, without putting in a great deal of serious and hard work, without understanding the facts which he must examine critically, he would be a very deplorable Communist. Such superficiality would be decidedly fatal.”
VI Lenin said that in a speech to Soviet students learning Marxism in 1920. It applies to today, in the USA, as much as it did to those days of the first worker state.
It is much easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk. It is easy to one day wake up and say, “I think I will call myself a Communist today.” From there, we could buy a t-shirt with Karl Marx’s face on it, and we could put a little hammer and sickle emoji in our Twitter profile, and we could tell everyone we believe in Communism. But would this make us a Communist?
A Communist means more than that. A Communist must hold his or herself to the highest standard possible, even if the Party they belong to has not yet rebuilt itself into an institution capable of demanding they do so. The Bolsheviks did not gain the support and respect of the working masses of the Soviet Union by bragging and talking down to them. They led by example.
An American Communist must do the same.
For every fifty people I see calling themselves Communists, usually only one actually carries themselves as such. So let’s go over a few qualities a Communist must have, because it is very easy, as noted above, to simply say we are a thing. It is quite another to embody that thing and become a person worthy of leading the working classes, worthy of the word Communist.
Above all, a Communist needs to prove to the rest of the working masses of their society that they are not just worthy of their respect, but of leading them into revolution and a new state that is genuinely of, by, and for the people. A Communist does NOT demand respect without earning it like a petulant child, all the while telling the masses how horrible they are for not being as enlightened as we think we are.
The contradictions of capitalism are growing more acute every day. We have run out of time to waste. The time for childishness and larping is over. The time for action is now. Onward to socialism.
Noah Khrachvik is a proud working class member of the Communist Party USA. He is 40 years old, married to the most understanding and patient woman on planet Earth (who puts up with all his deep-theory rants when he wakes up at two in the morning and can't get back to sleep) and has a twelve-year-old son who is far too smart for his own good. When he isn't busy writing, organizing the working class, or fixing rich people's houses all day, he enjoys doing absolutely nothing on the couch, surrounded by his family and books by Gus Hall. He is an editor at Midwestern Marx.
7/23/2022 04:33:15 pm
Great read, but I'm a little confused about your call to your action. You highlight how communists should act, and yet, you close by calling for socialism. However, according to The Communist Manifesto, while similar to one another, they are no less different. For example, Marx writes "They [socialists] want to improve the condition of every member of society, even the most favored" (40). And, "they reject all political, and especially all revolutionary action; they wish to attain their ends by peaceful means..."(40). In comparison, when highlighting communist ideals, Marx posits that communists focus on the working class only (22). In addition he writes,"They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions" (44).
I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here, my friend.
7/24/2022 04:45:31 pm
Thanks for responding!
7/24/2022 08:46:26 pm
'..anyone seeking to lead the proletariat' would likely be familiar with Lenin's What Is To Be Done? (1902) . He said: 'the history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own efforts, is able to develop only trade union consciousness.' Lenin argued that socialist consciousness had to be brought to the working class by professional revolutionaries rather than a parliamentary party, drawn mainly from the petty-bourgeoisie, and organised as a vanguard party. But in 1879 Marx and Engels declared the opposite:
No problem, DK! I'm always happy to help!
Thanks for the comment, RR!
7/25/2022 09:24:33 am
Good stuff friend. Absolutely I agree. We should stand tall and be well learned, failing that, honest about our ignorance. so that when the working masses lose faith in the bourgeois systems they will see and remember how we were at the worst times and what we say.
7/25/2022 08:29:01 pm
Noah - I see your point of intermixing the terms communism and socialism and using them as synonyms. It's not technique I'm terrible fond of - personal preference, but I absolutely respect your use of it. In addition, I do like what you're encouraging, much like Antonio Gramsci tried to encourage to his fellow communists. Good stuff. Thanks for the discussion.
Oh! I should have been more clear, my friend. When I say I use them interchangeably, I don't mean that I use them as synonyms.
7/26/2022 11:02:32 pm
Reading the comments section first was a good idea—kudos to you, Noah, for providing an example of the exact behavior you describe in the article itself! I agree, many self-titled Communists can talk the talk very well, and write in the same way you do, even calling to action fellow Communists to lead by example and stop getting caught up in heated Twitter debates and arguments of no consequence. Many of these Communists fail to heed their own call and it becomes evident in their interactions with others.
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