Marxist youth school wraps up in New York City
Students participating in the 2021 Little Red Schoolhouse training in New York put theory into practice on the picket line with striking Alabama miners. | Courtesy of CPUSA NY

NEW YORK—“Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong!” sang the young activists attending the 2021 Little Red Schoolhouse in Manhattan at a rally in support of striking Alabama mine workers last Wednesday. The school was hosted by the New York District of the Communist Party and the Chelsea Fund for Education.

A total of 47 young Communists representing CPUSA districts and Young Communist League clubs in Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Washington, D.C., California, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York, and Arizona attended the 10-day school. Morning and afternoon course topics ranged from Dialectical and Historical Materialism and the U.S. labor movement today to the struggle for women’s equality and the fight against racism. Guest lecturers included Marxist scholar Vijay Prashad and World Federation of Democratic Youth President Aritz Rodriguez.

Students sing ‘The Internationale’ at the conclusion of the Little Red Schoolhouse. | Courtesy of CPUSA NY

Former CPUSA chairman John Bachtell taught a class on Marxist environmentalism in which he emphasized how the fight against global warming is the broadest struggle activists can engage in right now due to the fact that it affects everyone. “After all, there is no class struggle if there is no planet to fight it on,” Bachtell told students.

Courtesy of CPUSA NY

CPUSA co-chairpersons Joe Sims and Rossana Cambron led discussions around petty bourgeois radicalism and the political moment of today, respectively. Students were able to distinguish the special role of the Communist Party in the struggle for socialism and democracy in comparison to other groups in the wider movement. They also learned how to differentiate Marxism-Leninism from sectarian trends on the left.

Chauncey Robinson, a member of the People’s World editorial board, talked about the importance of the working-class press and its role on social media. C.J. Atkins, another member of People’s World team, presented a Marxist analysis of LGBTQ oppression and talked to students about the contributions and historical shortcomings of the CPUSA’s role in the fight for queer equality, a conversation which students greatly appreciated due to its “honesty, self-criticism, and transparency,” as one student from Virginia put it.

But the students didn’t just sit in a classroom all day learning about theory; they put what they were learning into practice on the streets of New York. From mutual aid drives at public housing complexes to tabling in Union Square, the young Communists learned how to engage working people on all sides of the political spectrum and even gained few recruits in the process.

Students on the line to support striking miners. | Courtesy of CPUSA NY

The students also had the opportunity to march alongside Medicare for All advocates and striking United Mine Workers from Alabama. “They were so happy to see us,” said an attendee from Illinois. “They even came over and took a picture with us and sang the old union songs with us.”

“And let’s not even get started with the food!” stated another student from North Carolina, referring to the various cuisines provided by the CPUSA N.Y. District to give Little Red Schoolhouse students the chance to try the flavors that immigrants from around the world have brought to New York City. “Greek, Arab, Caribbean, Chinese, Italian, Thai, and Indian all in one week? This is the beauty of internationalism and the USA. Immigrant workers make this country great,” a student said at dinner one evening.

The school provided students with the tools to go back to their clubs and districts to build the Communist Party, Young Communist League, local unions, and other parts of the democratic movement around the country in which the “Communist plus” is needed.

In order to help sustain future schools for young Marxists, please contribute to the Chelsea Fund for Education here: PeopleBeforeProfits.net.


CONTRIBUTOR

Maicol David Lynch
Maicol David Lynch

Maicol David Lynch is a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA and an activist and organizer in Working America and Indivisible. He writes from New York City and is most passionate about the struggles against imperialism in Latin America and the fight against xenophobia in immigrant communities in the USA.

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