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.





Ira Birkenfeld
Ira Birkenfeld

Ira Birkenfeld runs a YouTube video channel for young people whose slogan is "Communists of all kinds unite!" He was born in Reno, Nev., in 1982 and lived for a while in Alaska, where he got his G.E.D., spent some time living in a homeless shelter, and attended the University of Alaska in Anchorage for two years, studying anthropology and public speaking. He returned to Reno to help care for his mother, and has been unemployed since the K-Mart where he worked was shut down. He is "1/4 Shoshone Native American, and a mix of Filipino, Chinese, Irish, German, and a few others that I really can't remember."

"I've always been political," he says, "and have tried to be as active as possible.