Class fighters gather across the US to launch the Revolutionary Communists of America

On February 25, hundreds of comrades gathered across the United States to discuss the founding of the Revolutionary Communists of America (RCA)—a new political party for the new generation of class fighters eager to get active and organized in the belly of the beast. The meeting ushered in a new chapter for American communism. In the coming years, communism has the potential to become a mass political force for the first time in generations.

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Over 120 comrades from New York City, Philadelphia, New Haven, and Boston gathered for an in-person rally in Brooklyn / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Over 120 comrades from New York City, Philadelphia, New Haven, and Boston gathered for the in-person rally in Brooklyn, while hundreds more across the country—from Minneapolis to Dallas, Atlanta to Phoenix, San Diego to Seattle, and beyond—tuned in from local watch parties organized for the live-streamed event. The meeting was packed with announcements and discussion on all angles of what it will mean to be founding members of the RCA.

Dallas Image RCAComrades in Dallas organized a watch party for the RCA launch / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Why we’re launching a revolutionary party

Antonio Balmer opened the discussion, explaining that American capitalism has been in decline for over 50 years. A tipping point in this process has been reached in the recent period, giving rise to profound discontent in all layers of society. This is preparing the way for an explosion of class struggle in the US and internationally.

Seattle Image RCASeattle Comrades gathered to watch the live-streamed event / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

In response, the US Marxists initiated an “internal revolution” when it comes to our methods in August, as part of the International Marxist Tendency’s “Are You A Communist?” campaign. The results have been impressive, with a near doubling of our membership in the past six months alone. But having reviewed the profound opportunities facing the communist movement right now, we have concluded that we’re only scratching the surface of what can be achieved.

This, Antonio explained, is why the Central Committee of the US section of the International Marxist Tendency voted unanimously to launch a new revolutionary party: The Revolutionary Communists of America.

The launch of the RCA represents a major shift for the US Marxists. After more than a quarter century of painstaking preparatory work, we are now in an era which requires a more active, fighting organization. To elaborate more on this theme, Laura Brown spoke more about what it will mean to build a fighting revolutionary party. Recent initiatives from the US communists such as the rally to shut down the reactionary “TPUSA” at ASU in Phoenix, or the communist-led Palestine solidarity rally that comrades organized in Irvine, California offer a glimpse of the kinds of initiatives communists will need to take in the coming weeks, months, and years.

St Louis Image RCASt. Louis comrades attended a watch party for the RCA launch / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Building the RCA

Jon Lange of the Socialist Revolution Editorial Board then announced the most recent issue of Socialist Revolution will be the last. Beginning in April, the American communists will launch a new paper, The Communist, which will serve as the collective organizer for the RCA.

Brooklyn Image RCAComrades in Brooklyn took to the streets in the first RCA march and demonstration / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Next, Bryce Gordon spoke about the relevance of V.I. Lenin and the Bolsheviks when it comes to building the RCA. 100 years since his death, world capitalism faces the deepest crisis in its history, making Lenin’s ideas more relevant than ever. The RCA will succeed only if it successfully implements the ideas and methods of genuine Leninism. While we don’t have a precise manual for building the RCA, we will not go too far wrong if we ask ourselves at all times and in all situations: “what would Lenin do?”

LA Image RCAComrades celebrated the launch of the RCA in Los Angeles / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Kiara Marable spoke about the importance of communist finances. As she explained, financing the revolutionary organization is certainly a sacrifice, but it’s also an investment, and one we are more than happy to make. The old US section was forged in a defensive, preparatory period—defending the basic ideas of Marxism in the 90s and 2000s. But the RCA is a fighting organization for a new period, in which the need to organize to overthrow capitalism is self-evident to millions of people. We should, therefore, have no problem raising the resources we need for our activities—as long as we are sufficiently bold, creative, energetic, and confident in our ideas.

San Diego Image RCAIn San Diego, comrades tuned in for the RCA launch / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Stanton Young spoke about communist recruitment, an art all comrades of the RCA must strive to master. The RCA’s future depends on recruiting literally tens of thousands of class fighters into our ranks as quickly as possible, ensuring they have an active role in building the organization from the very beginning. Lenin’s advice to his comrades in 1905—to urgently form hundreds of new circles as quickly as possible—shows the mindset we need in a period like this.

Phoenix Image RCAPhoenix comrades participated in a watch party for the RCA launch / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Rounding out the discussion on our new ways of building the forces of revolutionary communism, Erica Low spoke on the topic of Marxist agitation. As the Russian Marxist Plekhanov famously explained, Marxists differentiate between propaganda—sharing many ideas among smaller numbers of people—and agitation—sharing a smaller number of ideas among wide layers of people. In this period of deep radicalization and polarization, the Marxists need to start making a name for ourselves by combining propaganda with agitating—in the streets, on the campuses, in subway cars, at work, in our classrooms, and anywhere else we can find an audience. This requires personal courage and breaking with our comfort zone, but Erica explained that we can all find it within ourselves to take the plunge and boldly express the ideas of communism everywhere we go.

Bellingham Image RCABellingham, WA comrades held a watch party for the RCA launch / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

A new era opens up

John Peterson closed the meeting, emphasizing that the launch of the RCA truly marks a new beginning for the US Marxists. 26 years ago, the forerunner of the IMT established a new section in this country, as part of an international effort to defend the ideas and methods of Bolshevism in the aftermath of the fall of the USSR. Despite the many difficulties during that period of mild reaction, John and the handful of cadres he succeeded in assembling had absolute confidence in Marxist theory and the revolutionary future of the working class. Standing against the pressure of the class collaborationists and nay-sayers, they knew it was only a matter of time before millions would be radicalized in the direction of communism.

JP Image RCAJohn Peterson closed the meeting, emphasizing that the launch of the RCA truly marks a new beginning for the US Marxists / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Armed with these ideas, the comrades were able to anticipate and prepare for precisely the kind of period we are living through today. As John explained, the next decade will be nothing like the last decade, or rather, it will be an acceleration and intensification of it. We must draw all the necessary political and organizational conclusions that flow from this, break with the embryonic methods of the past, and start building the revolutionary party with more urgency than ever. It is time to say goodbye to the old ways of doing things—and to make way for the RCA!

John emphasized the dialectical unity between theory and practical activity. We’ve always explained that Marxist theory is our guide to action, but in this time of unprecedented instability, it’s time to start placing more emphasis on action!

Chicago Image RCAChicago comrades gathered to watch the RCA launch / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Nonetheless, we must never forget that ideas are the decisive and primary element in building a communist party. Without the ideas of Marxism, the most advanced ideas in the history of human thought, we would have no reason to exist as a distinct political force in society. John quoted from Bolshevism: The Road to Revolution on this topic:

A party is not just an organizational form, a name, a banner, a collection of individuals, or an apparatus. A revolutionary party, for a Marxist, is in the first-place programme, methods, ideas, and traditions, and only in the second place, an organization and an apparatus (important as these undoubtedly are) in order to carry these ideas to the broadest layers of the working people. The Marxist party, from the very beginning, must base itself on theory and programme, which is the summing up of the general historical experience of the proletariat. Without this, it is nothing. The building of a revolutionary party always begins with the slow and painstaking work of assembling and educating the cadres, which forms the backbone of the party throughout its entire lifetime.

That is the first half of the problem. But only the first half. The second half is more complicated: how to reach the mass of the workers with our ideas and programme? This is not at all a simple question.

We will continue to grow and strengthen the cadre backbone of the RCA. We will study and discuss Marxist theory and working-class history more than ever before. But the significance of the current period is that we are now arriving at that “second half” of the process: reaching the mass of the workers with our ideas and program, starting first with the tens and hundreds of thousands of class-conscious workers and youth in this country who are not yet organized.

Internationale Image RCAComrades ended the meeting by singing the Internationale / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Comrades ended the meeting by singing the Internationale. Afterwards, those who were present in NYC gathered outside for a communist march through Brooklyn, giving revolutionary speeches about the new phase of our work.

Between now and the founding Congress of the RCA, which will take place this summer, there is an enormous amount of work to be done. All those present agreed that it is not enough to simply declare our intent to form a new party. It must be backed by continuous effort to transform and refound our organization at all levels. But all comrades present expressed that they are up to the challenge. We will give our all to bury capitalism in the coming decades. We have a world to win, and nothing to lose but our chains!

Stay tuned for more details on the founding congress of the Revolutionary Communists of America—and how you can take an active role in building for it!

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