Q: Exactly how would socialism happen in the U.S.? What exactly would a socialist government do? Would there be freedom in the political system for a party that advocated capitalism?

A: It is a bit hard to answer, because much depends on how such a fundamental transformation takes place. So I can’t respond in detail, but here are a few of the general outlines of what we foresee.

We think that to bring about the kind of fundamental transformation we advocate will require the support of a large majority of the working class, allied with African Americans, Mexican Americans and other racial and national groups, and with civil rights, women’s, gay rights, environmental, and other movements. Revolution, to be successful, must be a profoundly democratic process, one which in our country would need to actively involve tens of millions of people.

Whether or not there would be room in the political life of a socialist U.S. for a capitalist party is something that depends on the historical circumstances. We certainly foresee a multiparty form of government, with a pro-socialist coalition as the dominant political force, with contested elections, party platforms that are meaningful, an expansion of democracy into economic affairs, the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy (large corporations and factories, banks, energy, transportation, etc.), run in the interests of all workers, combined with small businesses and family farms in private hands, strengthened laws against the dissemination of racism, affirmative action to end racism and discrimination, equal (comparable) pay for all including women workers, unionization of the majority of the working class — these are some of what we see as necessary for creating a fundamental transformation of our economic system. We think it is possible to accomplish these things within the framework of the Constitution and much of our current electoral system.

We hope there will come a time when those who advocate capitalism are seen as anachronistic, as anyone today would be who advocated slavery, but how that would come about is not something I can predict.

We also foresee socialism as a relatively long period of transition before either our economy or people are ready to move on to communism.

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.