Triple role of People’s World
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Editor’s Note: These remarks were delivered to the session celebrating the 100th birthday of People’s World at the 32nd National Convention of the Communist Party USA, June 7, 2024, in Chicago.

On your way here you crossed Ida B. Wells Drive. Chicago renamed this parkway to honor the great African American journalist and crusader against lynch terror and Jim Crow racism. Wells was a towering figure of the early Civil Rights, women’s rights, and suffrage movements and founder of the NAACP and the National Association of Colored Women.

Wells understood the power of the written word and how essential facts, stories, and information are in the hands of ordinary working people. People can act once evil is exposed to the light of day.

Through reportage, pamphlets, and organizing, Wells embodied the relationship of revolutionary democratic media with mass social justice movements. This media has been instrumental in shaping U.S. history and the struggle for democratic rights, giving voice to abolitionists, African American freedom, labor, and other movements, and mobilizing millions into action.

People’s World is part of this broader democratic tradition, and it collaborates with this media while simultaneously practicing and developing the revolutionary Leninist role of media.

People’s World defines its unique mission as threefold:

First, as the voice of the CPUSA, conveying its policies, ideas, and initiatives. People’s World is a relationship builder, advocate, collective mobilizer, and empowerer. People’s World is unique because of our association with an organized revolutionary party and Marxist interpretation of developments combined with grassroots mobilization.

This Spring, party members and supporters raised $100,000 toward our $125,000 goal despite having to raise additional funds to attend this convention. So, thank you! You’re awesome!! Your support shows you understand the importance of People’s World, and we wouldn’t exist without you.

Second, People’s World is a voice of the anti-MAGA majority and mass democratic and grassroots movements, including the ceasefire in Gaza movement. The multiracial working class and mass democratic movements need partisan media sources to tell their stories. People’s World is one of the Party’s primary organic connections to these mass movements and communities.

Thirdly, People’s World collaborates with the pro-democracy, anti-corporate, and progressive activist media, sharing the broad social justice agenda while defending the existence of independent media, free expression and the First Amendment.

We’re so proud to be celebrating our 100th birthday this year. That’s 100 years of revolutionary Marxist journalism, an incredible and heroic history that impacts the class and democratic struggles of the American people daily.

But we will never rest on our laurels. Life and struggle continue, the world changes, and so must we. Like the Party or any organization, People’s World must win its leadership in the information battle daily by producing great journalism, connecting to the critical struggles of the multiracial working class and people, telling compelling stories, and helping mobilize millions.

Therefore, this means immersing ourselves in the greatest battle of our lifetimes – the 2024 elections to defeat MAGA fascism and the billionaires backing it who seek to turn back 100 years of social progress and advances in democratic rights and elect pro-labor, pro-people, pro-justice, and pro-environment candidates at every level.

We are not mere spectators. We are active participants and partisans in this battle.

A lot rests on the election’s outcome. Through their united vote, the majority must defend constitutional democracy to radically reform and expand it, save life on planet Earth by accelerating the green energy transition, and begin demilitarizing our economy and changing U.S. foreign policy.

The political balance will shift through uniting with the broad pro-democracy movement and mobilizing a collective vote to win the presidency, Congress, statehouses, governorships, and other offices, determining the terrain to wage post-election struggles. A more favorable balance expressed through this governing coalition will allow our multiracial working class and people, the anti-MAGA majority, to defend our collective achievements over generations and win more on every front.

As an aside, if you look North on Wabash Avenue, you will see a building bearing the name of the convicted felon, racist, and misogynist. It’s an eyesore and deeply offensive to the people of this multiracial city. And it needs to come down.

People’s World and all pro-democracy forces must respond to the moment’s urgency. Our response determines whether People’s World’s leadership, stature, and influence grows or diminishes.

Our role is to give voice, confidence, and encouragement to the voter mobilization of the anti-MAGA majority, particularly organized labor and other democratic constituencies; add to its breadth and unity; articulate the critical issues; and expose the extent of the MAGA fascist danger and the Project 2025 Agenda.

Our role is to help people understand what a favorable outcome would mean for all social and environmental justice struggles and to tell the truth about the Biden administration, its many positive achievements and policies, and its response to shifts in public opinion. But also, to oppose its wrong policies, beginning with its support for the extreme-rightwing Israeli government genocide in Gaza.

People’s World also realizes its mission in a radically changed media landscape, which includes:

  • The plunder by Wall Street vulture hedge funds of legacy mainstream media, the stripping of assets for maximum profits through mass layoffs, and the destruction of newsrooms and local coverage.
  • The concentration of media and the flow of information into the hands of a few giant media and tech transnational corporations.
  • The normalizing of MAGA fascism by venerated mainstream media like the New York Times and Washington Post that by all appearances favor the election of a convicted felon, serial rapist, and fraudster because they seek to preserve access, protect their interests, and bolster profits over the expense of democracy.
  • The consolidation of a vast rightwing media-propaganda ecosystem that is an extension of the Republican Party. This propaganda machine is brainwashing tens of millions of our fellow Americans with a steady diet of lies, bizarre conspiracy theories, and hate that often migrate from fascist fringes to the mainstream.
  • Round-the-clock information warfare and the propagation of mass disinformation from domestic and global actors through social media.
  • The advent of AI-generated content and deep fake videos and photos.
  • Overhanging everything is the MAGA threat to weaponize the state to eliminate a free and independent media, whose existence is a fundamental pillar of democracy, and impose authoritarian state control of information and mass brainwashing of the public.

People’s World faces stiff competition from new journalistic enterprises arising from the ashes of the old, including media non-profits and other left online publications employing talented investigative journalists. We compete as we collaborate.

People’s World is challenged by the new media to improve and expand its content, deepen its Marxist analysis, expose lies and disinformation more effectively, and involve and train more frontline fighters in telling the stories of grassroots struggles.

People’s World needs to modernize and build an up-to-date multi-media platform that advances revolutionary communications technology through podcasts, video, audio, broadcast, and substacks. We also want to refine the ability to download and print articles and the weekly PDF compilation to reach millions in the myriad ways people consume information.

That’s a bold vision necessary to ensure our continued existence and relevance, at least for another 100 years! We hope you join us in manifesting it for the Party, our multiracial working class, and people, to save and expand democracy and for a peaceful future of environmentally sustainable socialism.

We hope you appreciated this article. At People’s World, we believe news and information should be free and accessible to all, but we need your help. Our journalism is free of corporate influence and paywalls because we are totally reader-supported. Only you, our readers and supporters, make this possible. If you enjoy reading People’s World and the stories we bring you, please support our work by donating or becoming a monthly sustainer today. Thank you!


John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He is active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, where he attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs. He currently lives in Chicago.