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Communists Hold Retreat in El Paso

By Jim Lane

Communist club leaders held an educational retreat in El Paso on July 19 and 20. National Committee Member Sue Webb, who had come in from Rhode Island to facilitate the meeting, said that similar retreats were being held all over the United States. Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas were included in El Paso.

After introductions, the group of 30 dug into serious questions such as "What is the role of Communists?" Sue Webb reviewed the basic strategies developed by American Communists and explained their Marxist-Leninist basis. She contrasted the Party's election strategy, one of empowering the working class, with the general sectarianism of other "leftists."

Of course, the ongoing elections provided the examples for most of the discussion. Webb asked, "How are Communists different in their work within other groups?" Responses included: "Optimistic," "Have real solutions," "Promoting unity rather than trying to take over," "Not idealistic but materialist," and, "Thinking beyond November."

A great deal of thought and discussion went into the present operation of our Communist clubs and how they might be improved. For the most part, the leaders were satisfied with their present operations. However, people can always improve, and a number of suggestions came out of the discussion.

The Southwestern Communists had no complaints about inactivity. Rather, the main problem seemed to have been that individual members are doing too much as they try to meet the many challenges and opportunities presented in American political life today. It is difficult to establish and follow priorities when there is so much to do!

The point was made that having successful Communist clubs has to take priority over the urgent demands of other activities. "If the working class doesn't have the Communist Party to lead it beyond capitalism," said one participant, "then we are going to have to do these other things over and over and over until we die!" Reforms and improvements, even major accomplishments like ending a war, are temporary fixes unless society can move into a better way of operating.

Democracy was a major topic. It is fundamental to the successful operation of Communist clubs, and it is a major strategic goal of all Communist activities. As democracy spreads, our working people's majority is empowered.

At the end of the second day, the group evaluated their experience. Almost all of it was positive, but several people made the point that our study group might have benefited from being smaller. The problem is that so many people are interested in solving today's solutions that more people showed up than had been planned for.

Sue Webb summarized, "I am really impressed with the participation of everybody here. My sense is that everybody has gotten a lot out of it, and I know I have."

Although the meeting's purpose was to use our science to study and understand contemporary developments, at least one little nod to old tradition was maintained. At the very end, the group joined in rousing song, "The Internationale!"


One topic of informal discussion was the controversial El Paso statue "El Conquistador." It was recently the topic of a documentary on Educational Television. For comments on it, see the PWW Blog

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