Charlotte, N.C. — Workers World Party sponsored a dynamic Marxist School of Theory and Struggle in Charlotte, N.C., the week of Aug. 12. The school was initiated by the Durham, N.C., branch of WWP. Class leaders and other participants discussed a wide range of Marxist-Leninist theory and activism over the course of six days.
Members, candidate members and friends of Workers World Party attended in person or video conferenced in from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In the spirit of Marxism, class attendeesalso participated in mobilizing for March on Wall Street South building activities during the week.
The classes were multinational and multigendered in character and very much youth-oriented. WWP First Secretary Larry Holmes, led two classes and spoke at a public forum at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte along with Workers World/Mundo Obrero editor, Berta Joubert-Ceci. WWP Secretariat members, Sara Flounders, Monica Moorehead and Deirdre Griswold, also helped lead classes.
Topics included the role of state repression; Marxist economics; national oppression and racism; the bourgeois elections; women’s oppression; a class view of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer oppression; a history of Workers World Party; the tasks of a Marxist-Leninist Party; imperialism; Africa; and Ireland.
A special youth and student discussion focused on how to engage more young people in building the movement.
Wayne Borders, a hotel worker from Columbia, S.C., told WW: “Attending the Marxist school has increased greatly my understanding of the principles which guide the party. The class discussions were the most engaging exchanges in which I have ever participated, especially in a classroom setting. Classroom discussions threaded the history of workers with the events of the time. And the relaxed, yet thoughtfully challenging presentations of each instructor contained so much history, it was clear to me that our collective past remains obscured by all manner of privileges and unacknowledged suppression.
“My time at the Marxist school has afforded me yet an even deeper understanding of the failings of capitalism and the global elite who are attempting to maintain it at on a global, as well as local, scale. My belief in the need for global solidarity has also been strengthened. I realized long before finishing high school that the United States was indeed one of the world’s least progressive nations, notably in terms of being a nation of people who fundamentally seek the betterment of humanity. I knew this did not have to be, and the change that is necessary would have to be exceptional, perhaps even extreme. I have never been more convinced, after the Marxist school, that revolutions are always exceptional, always extreme. And for the lives of the working people of the world, a revolution away from capitalism is necessary. Our power resides in our solidarity.”
Michael Z. Ladson, a 20-year-old student from the Philadelphia branch of Workers World Party, drove to the South to participate in the Marxist School of Theory and Struggle.
“To paraphrase Lenin, there is no revolutionary practice without revolutionary theory. Our approach to the Democratic National Convention and understanding the role of the two capitalist parties is inseparable from ideas such as the world revolutionary struggle or understanding racism and national oppression,” said Ladson.
He added: “I was born in November 1991 and before I was two months old the Soviet Union had completely collapsed and the red flag was lowered over the Kremlin. Throughout those 20 years it’s become clear that capitalism doesn’t offer any real alternative or solution. And like many millions of other young people and students in both the United States but also around the world today our generation has a very clear feeling and understanding, almost instinct, that the system we have can’t be the system of the future. The Marxist classes were important because they exposed young people to the ideas that will determine the future of humanity.”
Griswold, a founding member of Workers World Party and editor of the party’s newspaper, traveled from New York to participate in some of the classes. The last time Griswold had been in North Carolina was in 1962, representing Workers World Party in a multinational delegation sent by the Monroe Defense Committee to support Robert F. Williams and other African Americans who had organized armed self-defense against the Ku Klux Klan. Griswold made a return visit to Monroe, N.C., on Aug. 17 after the Marxist school was completed.
“What impresses me is the way in which this is a combination of action and learning at the same time. The comrades who are in these classes on many aspects of Marxist ideas and historical developments are also going out every day and participating and mobilizing for the March on Wall Street South. To me, that’s the essence of Marxism-Leninism: to be both an activist but to have a clear purpose in mind, know what you’re doing, know what your objectives are, to study the questions of strategy and tactics, to understand the differences between various political tendencies that exist and at the same time get out there and work with whomever you can work with in achieving an immediate goal that moves the struggle forward,” said Griswold.
She added, referring to the class attendees: “It’s overwhelmingly youth. They’re young people. They’re a confirmation of our party’s view of the conditions of capitalism at the present time, its decay, its degeneration, the multiplying of problems for people just to be able to live, to be able to go to school, to get medical care, to have an income. All these problems are generating a new consciousness. It’s a consciousness of wanting to struggle. The Marxist school represents the fact that people who have been through mobilizations want to go further in understanding what it is we are struggling for, what we need to do. They are young and full of energy and life. It’s what we’ve been living for these last decades of political reaction: to see the dawning of a period like this.”
These links include excerpts from the Marxist School of Theory and Practice held in Charlotte, N.C.:
Marxism and Women’s Oppression
What is a Nation?
Workers World Party’s solidarity with Palestine
Obama and National Oppression
Marxism and Reparations
Larry Holmes on the Capitalist Crisis
Workers World’s view on Black Nationalism
Larry Holmes on the Bourgeois Elections
Berta Joubert-Ceci on Globalization