Getting to a doctor versus romanticizing the revolution


I run a Communist YouTube channel - a vblog - for young people, and I'm noticing something really bad. Okay I KNOW that the health care bill isn't everything we need or hoped for. But it is a start. We finally made it so that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be turned down for health care insurance, expanded Medicaid so more low-income folks like me can get checkups, follow-ups, preventative care. Made it so that if Americans can't afford health insurance, we will be able to get free care at clinics, hospitals and regular family doctors.

Still it's not single-payer. But it is a lot better than how it has been. Up to now, people could be turned down if they had a pre-existing condition, could be cut off from their health insurance if they got a serious ailment, people could not see a regular doctor for checkups or preventative care, and poorer people with low income would have to pay out their yin yang for emergency room care. All of this has changed. Is it perfect? No. Is it single-payer? Hell, no! But what I've noticed is some young people are romanticizing the revolution, but they have lost focus on the proletariat. I hope that you guys remember them: the ones we Communists work for ... the working class.

If you ask a U.S. worker if he or she is Republican or Democrat, he or she is going to say one or the other. These are the masses of people that we have to bring to our side. The exploited workers. Make them aware of our cause.

Now some people have been saying, "You shouldn't feed into the capitalist system" or "You shouldn't have voted for or even helped the health care bill - it just ensures capitalism." Other people are a little smarter then this. We Communists work for the working and exploited masses. Our hearts bleed when we see exploitation of workers, innocent people getting abused by authority, or the capitalist system robbing them of a human need (such as health care.) Marx and Engels said, "The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement." The Communist Party USA along with others wanted single-payer. But it wasn't going to happen this time. What was in the interest of the people then? The health care bill that just passed. This is a great achievement. A lot of working people now will have health care that they couldn't get before.

Communists are the people who study and plan things out in movements so these movements can succeed. But I've noticed a lot of younger people who think of themselves as Communists just want to jump into starting a revolution. They believe that if we just let things get sooo bad, people will jump at socialism. But look at the current state of things. People believe that the capitalist system works. Most workers don't even know they are being exploited and believe in the system, believe the things that are fed to them. It's our role as Communists to make them aware and to help them in their struggles.

"If you want to help 'the masses' and to win the sympathy, confidence and support of 'the masses' you must adhere to the immediate struggles and ease the work load in the momentary struggles." So said Lenin.

Some of the young people I hear from are thinking that we should just let the right wing mess things up and then try to make people aware of socialism. But that would be really really bad. Why? It would be like the totalitarian state in the movie "V for Vendetta." People would be too scared or sick to make an organized movement.

If we see police beating someone who we know is innocent, would we just stand there, and wait for the person to get beat up and hope that the person thinks, "I wish a socialist would help me"? No, we help because it's the right thing to do. This is what our role as Communists is: giving to their struggle adds to our own. It shows that we work hard for the struggles of all people, and for the equality we all long for. That we fight not just for our own revolution, but for all humanity.

It's quite an undertaking. We are revolutionaries. But the second we lose sight of what we are fighting for, the minute we lose sight of the people we are supposed to help, we become no better then our enemies.

Communists knew there was something wrong with the system, took an unspoken oath to defend the rights of the weak and exploited. Just because you call yourself a Communist doesn't make it true. You have to be true to the values of humanity, regardless of whether the person being exploited considers himself conservative, Democrat, or a smurf. Why should we wait to help someone in need?

People who call themselves Communist need to be aware of what the communist struggle really is. It's not just us against them. It's not just a simple road to socialism, or the totalitarianism that the right claims. It's not just the workers banding together. It's a huge complex undertaking.

Young people also need to be aware that revolution doesn't just happen. We don't want violence and war. It's bad enough that too many people think that's what we want. But Communists are nothing without the people, the workers and others. And the movement needs to be planned. We can't just go into a random place, yell "SOCIALISM!" and expect people to follow. Perhaps I make it seem like it's too big of a project - a fight for not just a country but all humanity seems like a delusion. But we can only work in one country - our own. To make a country you need the people. To win the people takes planning. To make the plans ... there are the Communists.




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  • I live in Brazil, which is a sort of free country, but I confess I find it very difficult to openly admit I am a communist to the people in general. (though I did that many times, with the usual frown or just an indifference look! hahaha).

    I really would like to know what it feels like to advocate publicly that you are a communist in the US! I mean, what kind of response are you expected to get from people?

    If you have had this experience, please enlighten me!
    But I have nothing against the Americans. I just think that politically they despise communism and socialism. Why is that? I don't know. The reasons are brainwashing, I guess, not because of socialism and communism own inherent contradictions.

    Posted by Raninski, 03/25/2010 4:33pm (6 years ago)

  • I know Americans are some of the most thoroughly 'propagandized' people on earth. That's why you have to challenge some of what they've been told and present them with an alternative.

    I realize that you need to go slowly because your people are thoroughly misinformed and frightened. But you do need to make a start. The CPUSA seems unwilling to do that.

    If you want to cheer this health care bill, I suppose that's ok. (Arguably, it's a slight improvement - but only arguably.) I'm not arguing against reforms. Of course we should work for reforms and should try to alleviate suffering whenever we get the chance.

    But we should also be working for revolutionary change. That means (at least!) pointing out that while this bill improves one or two things, it also further entrenches the power of the insurance companies. That it's a deal between Obama and the insurance companies. That this is how a two party system works - it pretends to present alternatives but rules on behalf of capital. (I'm not suggesting you use that language - just using socialist shorthand. Naturally, you put things differently when you're talking to people who have been misinformed and frightened for generations.) That health (and life) is bought and sold for profit. That other countries have found viable alternatives. I never see the CPUSA any of this. Ever.

    I can't imagine what's "courageous" about parroting the party leadership and the "ruling ideas of the age"!

    Posted by sophia, 03/25/2010 2:47pm (6 years ago)

  • I like your article very much Ira. It is very clear and courageous. Keep up the good writing.

    Posted by Jarvis Tyner, 03/25/2010 12:30pm (6 years ago)

  • Great article. It sums up my (and my fellow members) feelings toward Obama and the Bill.

    But another thing that should be pointed out to those that want armed revolutionary movement without working toward immediate reforms and social causes for the working class and the poor is that if we as socialists stand by and let the ruling class and its machinery brutalize the exploited and marginalized - what will the masses collective opinion be of us? Definately not a favorable or credible one, and there will be no winning over of the masses; we would be guilty of taking the empty role of opportunism.

    With that said, there needs to be a constant militant (not armed, but disciplined and unwavering) presence within our Party that nudges us and reminds us of our radical ideology (because Marxism-Leninism is just that) but in a practicle, applicable manner.

    Posted by Luis Rivas, 03/25/2010 11:36am (6 years ago)

  • excellent article telling it like it is. i got news for u in case u didn't no it there r some folks age 50 60 70 even 80 who have these goof ball ideas in my opinion thats y we have to concentrate on the workers so the party doesn't get bogged down with these petty bourgouis radical ideas. we were at a party ( a week late st patricks day celebration ) on that historic sunday (channel surfing between march madness and the us house ) glad michigan state won had to wait until later that nite of course to cheer great victory for the workers now we have something to build on keep on blogging in solidarity jim

    Posted by jim, 03/24/2010 4:32pm (6 years ago)

  • This is a great article; I'm glad to see you wrote it. It really pisses me off when people talk about the health care bill and say things like "Obama sold out," or whatever. Sure, it's not good that there's no public option, but how can anyone who really cares about our fellow compatriots not feel overjoyed that this bill passed? The CBO says that something like 30 million people will get health care because of it, and now no one will ever be dropped because they get sick. This means that tens of thousands of human lives could be saved by this legislation. And isn't that what the left, the progressives, the Communists, are supposed to be about? Championing what is good, what helps people live better?

    Thanks for a great article!

    Posted by Dan M, 03/24/2010 4:04pm (6 years ago)

  • Ira - Great article! Cuts through all of the BS. Clear, concise and to the point.

    If we can't help win the real, immediate needs of the people (like health care reform, higher wages, workers' rights, etc.) then what are we doing? Blowing a lot of hot air.

    I look forward to more articles from you. In solidarity!

    Posted by Tonypec, 03/24/2010 3:26pm (6 years ago)

  • great article Ira; keep it going!

    Posted by sam webb, 03/24/2010 1:34pm (6 years ago)

  • Right on, comrade - this is exactly how I see the struggle, and those quotes from Marx and Lenin are perfectly apt.

    Posted by Ethan, 03/24/2010 1:18pm (6 years ago)

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