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July 10th Web Conference: Socialist Patriotism in America

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For this month’s web conference, broadcast on July 10th, the CPI is joined by Dust James, Michael Pella, Kayla Papuche, Chris Helali, Michael Goryelov, and Caleb Maupin who teach us the progressive and revolutionary side of US history. In the age of toxic debate culture and national nihilism within the left, these socialist organizers express the importance of revolutionary optimism and patriotism.

The MC of the program was Dust James, a Marxist-Leninist truck driver, who has taken inspiration from socialist revolutionary movements from the global south. Comrade Dust states that we all need to be city builders in order to bring socialism to America, ‘When the Venezualans wanted their freedom and economic justice, and to escape the boot of imperialism, they didn’t go around saying,”We hate Venezuela! It’s run by the bourgeoisie!It’s run by the imperialists! Fuck Venezuala! Burn the Venezualian flag!”, they did not do that. They said, “We love Venezuela! We love our country!” They built a broad anti-neo-liberal coalition! Took power and kicked out the imperialists!’ He goes on by saying that we need to push for a socialist patriotism while explicitly rejecting US chauvinism as nationalist sentiment within the imperial core hurts the working class, especially undocumented workers who are not only paid less than the average worker but are treated as sub-humans. Revolutionary patriotism in American also means support self-determination of every indegenious nations.

Chris Helali, a Greek-Iranian American farmer and veteran from Vermont who ran for congress last year as the first open communist on the ballot since the mid 1990’s, talks about his struggles paying for college and deciding to enlist in the army in order to pay for his education. It was during the Iraq War that he witnessed the atrocities committed by the destructive US military industrial complex yet, he has not lost his sense of patriotism. ‘We must acknowledge that the US government is the main aggressor in imperialism yet we can be proud of American progressives, socialists, and communists who fought for civil rights, women’s suffrage, immigrant rights, indigenious liberation, and LGBT rights.’ In other words, flag burning and yelling at people for eating meat are bad tactics, especially if we want to lead the country.

Michael Pella, one of the leading organizers of Occupy Wall Street, NYC tour guide, and founder of Occupy Tour NYC, takes his revolutionary inspiration from Thomas Paine, one of the, if not, as Comrade Pella says, ‘THE founding father of the United States.’ Comrade Pella argues for Thomas Paine as being a proto-socialist thinker for having the common sense (wink wink) by pointing out the absurdity of private property, something that was expressed 50 years before Karl Marx was even born. Comrade Pella struggles as a worker in NYC, especially in a post-COVID economy that has adopted toxic working practices, including toxic tourism. In solidarity for all workers, Comrade Pella urges everyone to not patronize the automated tour bus companies as ‘live tourists and tour guides make New York great.’

Kayla Popuche, a worker, student, and member of PCUSA (Party of Communists USA) teaches us that America does indeed have an internationalist and patriotic future with plurinationalism, which vehemently rejects western chauvinism and is anti-racist. She talks about the recent socialist victories in Peru with the electoral win of Pedro Castillo and how Peruvian socialists were able to win power for all Peruvians with revolutionary patriotism. ‘It’s our job as communists in America to bring socialism to the states by building relationships and communities instead of embracing national nihilism….Paranationalism is a way to build socialism in not just the states but in all the Americas.

Next, we are treated to a power point presentation by Michael Goryelov a Ukrainian-American lawyer who takes us back to the various progressive developments in US history and how Abraham Lincoln’s political evolution as the “abolitionist” US President captured the support of Karl Marx and WEB DuBois. And finally, Caleb Maupin, journalist, speaker, and one of the main founders of CPI, speaks to us on his political growth to becoming a revolutionary patriot after profound spiritual experiences in his international travels. In Iran he learned that it is NOT American citizens that Iranians hate; when they chant “death to America”, they are talking about the US imperialist government, predatory capitalism, and the US military industrial complex.

The message of this web conference is summarized as: It’s our responsibility to highlight progressive side of America in the US and with motor-mindedness, an optimistic mentality, and a new found sense of revolutionary patriotism. With such an outlook, Americans can be won over to understanding the need for a peaceful, democratic transition to 21st Century Socialism.

Further Reading