Q: Why don’t you change your name? A lot of people would agree with your ideas but they are scared away by the word “communist.”

A: You are right, many people are scared by the word “communist.” But we think that changing our name wouldn’t in the long run provide much benefit.

Here’s why. Our experience with anticommunism over many decades has taught us that whatever name we chose would be vilified by the ultra-right and the “mainstream” media. We could call ourselves the “East Wormwood Soccer Club” and within months East Wormwood soccer would be branded as a new subversive epithet, vilified daily on Fox News. Plus, we would be accused of hiding our real intentions. So in the long run, there wouldn’t be a big gain and we would have the additional problem of being seen as falsifying our identity.

We could change our name, still be accused of being subversive and people would still be afraid of the word “communist.”

There is no shortcut around confronting anticommunism and exposing it as a weapon aimed at all progressives. This is the real secret of anticommunism — it is not directed only at communists and the Communist Party; it is a tool of division used against all progressive movements.

So, while we share your aim of making our political program accessible to more people, we think that participating in the struggles of millions of workers, exposing the lies of anticommunism and frankly stating our views comprise the path to broader public knowledge of, acceptance of and support for fundamental socialist transformation.

We will win more supporters and members by frankly and boldly making our real program better known, consistently, over time and through struggle. (The draft program of the Communist Party, “The Road to Socialism USA,” is available at www.cpusa.org/article/archive/124/. The final version will be available this coming spring.)

We invite readers to submit questions about the Communist Party USA, its basic policies, and a Marxist viewpoint on current social issues. The answers are provided by Marc Brodine, chair of the Washington State Communist Party. Questions can be sent to cpusa@cpusa.org.