Around 100 communists from across the Midwest gathered over the weekend of September 30–October 1 at the Minneapolis Marxist School. Comrades from Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus, and other cities across the Midwest came together for the opening to kick off the 2023 Marxist School series.
One comrade who joined the IMT just a month before attending the school described the experience of being surrounded by so many communists:
As I looked at the sea of faces that were there, I realized that if I had seen any of those faces on the street, or on the bus, or on the train, or at my job, I wouldn’t have been able to tell that they’re a communist… unless I were to ask them. So it clicked! I’m always in the street, I take the bus all the time, the train is the way I get to work every day, I work in an airport full of 10,000 employees. Why not ask them if they are communists? It doesn’t hurt to try, anyone could be a potential comrade, or at the very least you’ll be able to talk about communism with people who show interest in it. I’ve talked about communism with so many people, and I’ve met a good amount of potential comrades!
The comrades in the area mobilized and advertised the event far and wide, greatly increasing the visibility of revolutionary communism and gaining many supporters. Notably, the IMT and the Minneapolis Marxist School also gained attention on the right wing.
On September 29, the Republican Party of Minnesota emailed its mailing list about the Minneapolis Marxist School, saying “We must take action to prevent its [communism’s] spread…” About 20 Republican protesters showed up outside our doors on October 1 with anti-communist signs, but they ended up leaving after a mere 30 minutes without causing any disruptions. A former South Carolina Republican senator also decided to attend the event, but even he couldn’t help clapping for the concluding session!
The opening plenary on Saturday set the scene for the school and its theme of World Revolution. Arman Ebrahimi led off on “World Revolution Today.” He explained that we live in an epoch of world revolution, with uprisings and mass movements cropping up around the world alongside massive youth radicalization.
Socialist Revolution has seen rapid growth in the region, so the comrades were able to host concurrent sessions for the first time. On Saturday, one session titled “100 Years Since the German Revolution of 1923,” introduced by Josh Lucker from St. Louis, discussed the failures of the German Revolution and the rise of fascism in Germany. The parallel session was on “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism” introduced by Charlotte P., covering the economic basis of imperialism, the imperialist nature of the United States, China, Russia, and other nations today, and the tasks of communists building in the belly of the beast of world imperialism.
On Sunday morning, Pete Walsh from New York City led off on “The Rise and Fall of the Communist International,” drawing out the priceless lessons of the history of the Comintern. The discussion covered topics such as revolutionary internationalism, the nature of Stalinism, the national question, and ultra-leftism. Meanwhile, Justin Deters introduced the discussion on the “Theory of Permanent Revolution,” developed by Trotsky and incredibly relevant to the communist movement today. Only the working class is capable of achieving national liberation and democratic tasks of revolution—not the bourgeoisie.
All the discussions featured excellent political contributions and questions, such as: “What is the united front tactic?” “Why did the Second International betray the working class for national chauvinism?” “Why won’t breaking up the monopolies work to combat imperialism?” “What are the modern bourgeois democratic tasks in revolutions today?”
Any and all questions were encouraged to further clarify and sharpen everyone’s understanding of the topics at hand. This was further supplemented with informal discussions and socializing between and after the sessions. The enthusiasm and seriousness about the study of Marxism was palpable throughout the weekend. All in all, more than $2,000 in revolutionary literature was sold at the event!
The event ended with a rousing leadoff on “Building The Revolution Party: The Revolution Needs You!” by Erika Roedl. She explained the necessity of a mass communist party to bring the working class to victory, and what it takes to build such a party. During the discussion, many comrades spoke about why they became active communists, and gave reports on the efforts to build the nucleus of a mass communist party across the country.
Comrades reported on the explosive growth as a result of our “Are You a Communist?” campaign, including a new communist cell in Tulsa, OK. Many comrades explained how they were radicalized, including the anecdote from a member who became a communist at the age of 12! Comrade after comrade spoke, sharing their experiences and committing themselves to the fight for socialist revolution. Following a financial appeal, many comrades increased their dues or made additional donations to help cover the cost of the event.
All these communists, dedicated to the struggle for a socialist revolution in our lifetime, were radicalized by living through the horrors of capitalism. Young people have known nothing but economic crisis, instability, and endless imperialist wars. However, millions of young people are drawing the conclusion that the world doesn’t need to be this way.
The barbarism of the capitalist system has forged a new generation of class fighters and created its own grave-diggers in the form of the working class, which has the power to shut down production and run society without bosses. With all of the lessons of past revolutions as well as the current uprisings and mass movements around the world, the mood in the room was electric and determined.
We know that a better world is possible, and we know we must be organized and armed with Marxist theory to overthrow the capitalist system. Pete Walsh summed up the event with some rousing closing remarks, and we ended by singing the Internationale and Bandiera Rossa.
Onward to building a mass communist party! Long live Socialist Revolution!