A Manifesto for America’s Communist Generation

The Revolutionary Communists of America is a new political party for America’s communist generation. Comrades of the RCA from across the United States will gather in Philadelphia for the Founding Congress of the Party on July 27–28.

The following document was drafted by the Central Committee of the RCA and will constitute the founding document of the RCA. It has been submitted for discussion in all Party cells in the lead up to the Congress, where it will be voted on for final adoption.

If you would like to be part of these discussions and attend the RCA Founding Congress, apply to join one of your local RCA cells, or to start building a new cell in your area.

Americans are raised to believe that we live in a land of prosperity, opportunity, and unbounded possibility. We are told that a bright future awaits us, as long as we work hard and play by the rules.

Every experience of our lives has proven that these claims were complete and utter lies.

We’ve realized that the entire world revolves around the accumulation of profits for a tiny handful of parasitic billionaires, while the rest of us languish in misery. We’ve realized that there is no American dream, no American exceptionalism, and no future for us under this system.

In every conceivable way, the world can no longer afford to live under capitalism. Its continuation is no longer compatible with the survival of our species.

Tens of millions of workers are starting to realize this fact. We can say with absolute assurance that the United States is headed for revolution. Unprecedented social explosions and class battles against the capitalists are on the horizon.

We need to prepare. History is calling upon our generation to step forward and fight for the overthrow of capitalism. The Revolutionary Communists of America are its organized wing.

Our task is to assemble the new generation of class fighters into battle formation and arm them with Marxist ideas and methods.

Our mission is to build a mass party capable of leading the working class to political and economic power.

We vow to carry out the American socialist revolution in our lifetime.

Our task is to assemble the new generation of class fighters into battle formation and arm them with Marxist ideas and methods. / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

We are the product of history

Capitalism once played a historically progressive role in developing industry, technology, and the modern working class. But ever since the mass slaughter of World War I, it has played a purely regressive role.

Between 1914 and 1945, the two world wars and a catastrophic depression shook mass consciousness and radicalized the working class, pushing millions towards communist ideas. The workers’ movement grew around the world, and the working class had many opportunities to take power.

But due to a lack of revolutionary leadership, the capitalists managed to retain power, and a temporary period of stability for American capitalism opened after World War II. The destruction of Europe, newly developed technologies, and unprecedented capital investment helped give capitalism a new lease on life.

In the context of this relative prosperity, the Marxist movement was reduced to almost nothing, and many believed that capitalism had resolved its contradictions. However, this was only a temporary respite from capitalism’s innate tendency towards crisis and impoverishment of the working class.

The anomaly of the postwar boom came to an end in the early 1970s, and capitalism resumed its downward trajectory. For the last half-century, working-class living standards have fallen sharply by nearly every measure. It took a few decades for consciousness to catch up, but since 2008, the harsh reality of life under capitalism has become clear to millions.

Those of us born too late to catch a glimpse of that mythical golden age grew up in an era of systemic decay. We are the social product of a very different world from the one that molded previous generations.

Not that long ago, childhood was associated with innocent games of make-believe and adventures with neighborhood friends. Today, children grow up fearing mass shootings and mass extinctions, paralyzed with anxiety over rising sea levels and a shortage of human connections.

Postwar adolescents could expect to land a well-paid job straight out of high school. Today, those seeking higher education are confronted with decades of debt and the grim reality that the promised career opportunities were a fiction. Fewer people are buying homes and starting families. Millions can barely afford to scrape by.

Surviving this world as a wage worker means grinding through an endless maze so numbing and joyless it drives many to an early grave. From suicide to alcoholism to drug overdoses, deaths of despair have climbed steadily for 40 years.

The malaise seeps inexorably into art and culture, as dystopian themes of apocalyptic doom alternate with frivolous postmodernism. Bleak pessimism permeates every aspect of culture. In earlier times, people wondered what marvels the future held for their children and grandchildren. Today, imagining the future is a foreboding exercise that conjures visions of societal collapse and civil war.

Desperate to keep us atomized and powerless, the ruling class tells us there’s nothing we can do to solve the world’s problems. They scapegoat others and bombard us with the idea that we are individually responsible for our lot in life.

But history wastes nothing. Capitalism itself creates communists.

The seeds sown by capitalism’s death agony are finally bearing fruit. A generation with a new outlook has emerged, shaped by a series of major events since the 2008 collapse. From the rise of Trumpism to the betrayals of Bernie Sanders, from the climate catastrophe to the mass slaughter in Gaza, from the police murder of George Floyd to the self-immolation of Aaron Bushnell, each blow forged us into the system’s gravediggers. Our conviction that something had to change intensified as one devastating calamity followed another.

As the absurdity and horror became too much to ignore, we were overcome with an unbearable restlessness. We couldn’t keep boiling with indignation at the world around us, swallowing our rage, and pretending it was normal. The disastrous role of the profit motive in every sphere of society became apparent, and the compulsion to divert our eyes from capitalism’s atrocities short-circuited. The social pressure to regard the system as natural and eternal broke down.

We began to question the unquestionable: could it be that the very social structure of our world, the system we were born into with all its ruling institutions, was the real root of the problem?

Along this path, each of us arrived at a more radical standpoint than we could have ever imagined: we became communists.

We are communists because we can no longer stand aside while imperialism massacres innocent civilians and the capitalists destroy the planet in the name of profit.

We are communists because it is absurd to accept a world in which homelessness and hunger coexist with empty homes and speculative hoards of food.

We are communists because we can see that the solution to these contradictions is right before our eyes.

The same forces that compelled each of us to draw this conclusion are pressing on millions of others. This dying system is a bottomless well of radicalizing events, each acting as the final straw for yet another swathe of the population. The ruling class is powerless to end this stream of catastrophes. They cannot roll back the clock and restore capitalism’s youthful vitality. They have no miracle for solving the problems that plague their society. They cannot stop the ranks of the communist generation from swelling.

The historic forces pushing mass consciousness toward revolution will not attenuate; they will intensify and accelerate, pushing millions to their feet. The communists of today must recognize our duty to prepare the path for the communists of tomorrow. We were simply the first in line, the harbingers of an even more dramatic shift in public opinion. It’s up to us to chart the course for those who will soon join our ranks. Tomorrow’s party of millions will grow out of today’s party of thousands.

The key to the victory of the Russian Revolution was the presence of that party, which had been forged over decades. / Image: public domain

A party of a new type

The monumental task we’re fighting for has been achieved before. The Russian working class, led by the Bolshevik Party under Lenin and Trotsky, successfully seized power from the capitalists in 1917. The key to the victory of the Russian Revolution was the presence of that party, which had been forged over decades.

We are committed to replicating that victory in every single country on earth over the next few decades. To succeed, we must build a Bolshevik party for our generation. The potential for building such a party in the US has never been greater.

The emerging communist movement is as yet a potential force waiting to be actualized. The problem is not a lack of raw numbers. Communists are everywhere, ready to take action. We can’t stop stumbling across them. But most are still going about their lives as individuals, consuming content online and studying Marxism in isolation.

We must draw the urgent practical conclusions that flow from this, with confidence that the heyday of American communism was not in the last century but lies just ahead. The country of the Red Scare and McCarthyism is ripe for a revival of the communist movement on a larger scale than ever.

Now is the time to gather the communist generation around our collective banner, pool our skills, knowledge, and resources, harness our energy, reinforce our will to act, unleash our audacity, tap into our boundless enthusiasm, and weld our numerical strength into a coast-to-coast organization that can storm the political landscape and begin turning the tide of the class struggle.

Now is the time for the revolutionary communists of America to build our own party.

The process of revolution is accelerating. If we’re going to match the pace of events, we need a sense of urgency. Not the kind of desperate impatience that leads to a search for shortcuts, opportunism, and ultraleftism, but the confident resolve of those who know the tide of history is on our side.

History is placing huge demands on the communist generation. Building a serious revolutionary party requires time, money, and effort. We make no apologies for this. In return, we become conscious participants in history, knowing that we are fighting for the flourishing of humanity.

Every communist has the obligation to engage in daily communist activity. Our immediate task is to combine revolutionary agitation and propaganda to energetically build communist cells in every workplace, industry, trade union, campus, and neighborhood.

These agile units of action and political education will fight systematically for a program that links class-war methods to the need for a workers’ government. Through the daily activities of the cells, the party will sink roots and win the confidence of the most militant layers of the class.

The revolutionary press will aid us in this work. The Communist is the voice of America’s class fighters, a platform for expressing and generalizing its experience. As a tribune of the people, it will take advantage of every opportunity to clarify at every stage the world-historic significance of the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat. We will use every tool at our disposal to penetrate every workplace, campus, and working-class neighborhood with our ideas.

Building this party will require serious financial resources. This is the only way we can guarantee our total political independence. We are pooling our collective energy and resources to forge and sharpen this tool of the class struggle. Only by building a financial war chest that matches our political convictions can we build the kind of organization needed to lead the workers to power.

The communists are the most far-sighted and committed participants in every workers’ struggle. We will fight shoulder-to-shoulder to break the unions from their unholy “partnership” with the bosses at the workplace and the polls. As the communist current in the labor movement gains strength, our forces will become a point of reference as the most consistent fighters, forming the class-war backbone for the labor movement and other protests and struggles.

Orienting our forces to the broader working class will require us to skillfully explain our ideas in any and all contexts. Bold communist symbols and radical phrases alone are insufficient for this more advanced task. As communists, we must learn to transmit our program in the language of material demands and concrete struggles.

To the working class of this country, we say: don’t be alarmed when you see our red flags in your city or when you realize that our ideas resonate with your children, coworkers, relatives, and friends. We are not the sinister threat depicted by cable news, high school textbooks, or bought-and-paid-for politicians. We fight for a truly democratic society in which the working-class majority asserts its rule.

By evaluating local conditions and elaborating suitable tactics and demands, we will overcome every obstacle and seize every opportunity to escalate the class struggle. But sinking roots, leading struggles, and winning influence are only means to a greater end: raising our class’s horizons to the need for the socialist revolution.

The stakes will rise as the class war draws in ever-larger numbers of workers. From street rallies and communist marches to effective strike waves and union-organizing efforts, our party will be tasked with charting a path toward power.

Every communist has the obligation to engage in daily communist activity. / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

For communist internationalism

US workers cannot build socialism without the aid and collaboration of the international working class. The working class has no country. There is no “American” road to socialism and there can be no purely “American” revolutionary party. We represent the battalions of the international communist movement who are stationed in the United States, ready to play our part in the world socialist revolution.

The experience of the early Communist International forms an integral part of our ideological foundations. We intend to defend this legacy with all the tenacity of its founders, who kept the International alive during the darkest days of the Russian Civil War.

We repudiate the Stalinist bureaucracy that usurped the Comintern and strangled Soviet democracy after Lenin’s death. In a shameful gesture of goodwill toward Western imperialism, Stalin unceremoniously dissolved the Comintern in 1943, renouncing the fight for world communism and paving the way for the catastrophic restoration of capitalism.

As the US section of the Revolutionary Communist International, the RCA is determined to help rebuild the party of the world socialist revolution. We have the duty and honor to fight here at home against US imperialism, the most reactionary force on the planet.

The need for class independence

The principle guiding our activity and orienting our struggles can be summed up as class independence. The working class is the only social force capable of bringing capitalism to a halt and reorganizing society in the interests of the majority.

The success of the proletarian revolution will depend on the workers organizing our own forces into our own party, fighting for our own program around our own interests, free from the influence of the capitalists and the petty bourgeoisie. Reformism, liberalism, nationalism, lesser-evilism, the reactionary poison of identity politics, and anything else that cuts across consistent class politics plays into the enemy’s hands.

Organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America and the Communist Party USA have failed precisely because they do not understand this crucial point.

DSA profited from the political vacuum following Bernie’s capitulations to the Democratic Party. They succeeded in gathering tens of thousands around the banner of “democratic socialism.” But they utterly squandered the opportunity to advance class politics by their stubborn refusal to break with the Democrats. The self-described socialists they managed to elect into office merely tarnished the “socialist” label through their pathetic subservience and association with the party of Genocide Joe. This is why DSA is doomed to irrelevance.

As for the CPUSA, they remain mired in their decades-long irrelevance despite the mass appeal of communism because their “lesser evil” politics are indistinguishable from DSA’s milquetoast reformism. They can’t live off their name recognition and real estate assets forever.

The myriad sectarian groupings infesting the so-called left have also had ample time to show what they can do. Their small-circle stagnation and inability to move beyond internal bickering and mindless activism flows from the inadequacy of their ideas and methods.

The Revolutionary Communists of America welcome with open arms any honest communist fighter who hasn’t found what they were looking for in other organizations. The era of small-circle politics and impotent activism is over.

The principle guiding our activity and orienting our struggles can be summed up as class independence. / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Building a Bolshevik leadership

Every collective action, in order to be effective, requires leadership. We are assembling and preparing the communist leadership of the proletarian revolution. The organizational forms corresponding to such a party don’t need to be reinvented—they are the methods and principles of Bolshevism.

The internal battle of ideas within the Bolshevik Party included many fierce but necessary polemics. These were not only evidence of a vibrant internal democracy but also the practical and ideological training ground for the general staff of the October 1917 victory.

The debates sharpened and educated the cadres in the Marxist method, and forged a party that could collectively withstand the extreme pressures that pressed upon it. At the same time, this internal democracy did not convert the Bolsheviks into an idle talking shop for endless and fruitless discussion. The party leadership had to know when to pass from deliberation into action.

The action-oriented internal democracy of a revolutionary party is called democratic centralism. Like the Bolsheviks, our party can live up to its tasks only on the basis of full freedom of discussion and complete unity in action once a majority decision is taken. Without revolutionary discipline, there can be no revolutionary action. There is no other way to navigate the storms of the class war.

The battles ahead will require leadership teams equipped with foresight and perspicacity and the flexibility to adapt to sharp, unexpected changes. We need leaders with political and moral authority continually tested and earned in practice, not granted by title or seniority.

Our discipline and centralism flow from our political conviction, not from a bureaucratic chain of command. Our leaders are not appointed but elected and recallable at every level, based on their proven ability to lead and carry out party work effectively.

The need for genuine Marxism

Our will to act comes from life under capitalism. But being a Bolshevik Leninist requires more than merely rejecting this system and stewing in class rage. We must rise from the level of revolutionary feelings and instincts to a grounded and scientific understanding of what needs to be done to fight the class war to the end and ensure our final victory.

Toppling a world-dominating mode of production against the resistance of the capitalists, with their reserves of wealth and repressive state apparatus, is a serious endeavor. Our only hope for success is to arm ourselves with the most advanced and scientific worldview humanity has ever produced.

The superiority of Marxist ideas is what gives us superiority in action. Those who call themselves communists but roll their eyes in contempt at discussions of ideas and history merely reveal their inability to explain anything. Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement. Lenin regarded Marxist theory as the “granite foundation” of the Bolshevik Party and always took an uncompromising attitude toward questions of theory.

Historians in the service of the ruling class portray this as dogmatic fanaticism. In reality, they hate Lenin for the unpardonable sin of proving that Marxism in action can actually overthrow capitalism. If we are serious about winning, we must base ourselves on the pinnacle of revolutionary theory, summed up in the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky.

Our party did not emerge spontaneously. It is a continuation of the unbroken thread of genuine Marxism, defended and preserved for decades by a core of dedicated revolutionaries. We must not squander this priceless heritage.

Our party can only succeed by transforming thousands of communist activists into trained Marxist cadres capable of absorbing and transmitting the depth and power of dialectical materialism. This requires familiarizing ourselves with the rich history of revolutionary struggles and assimilating its lessons in preparation for the practical tasks we will face. It also demands meticulous attention to philosophical questions that underpin any serious study of human society, even if they seem remote from day-to-day struggles.

Ideological rigor is particularly important for the communist movement in the US, which has always been marked by a low political level. This is a legacy of the narrow philosophical traditions of the American ruling class—but is unbecoming of those who intend to topple that same class.

Great events and other trends in the movement will mercilessly test our ideas and perspectives. We must learn to defend our outlook and program in action while continually raising our level. New problems will emerge requiring the skillful application of the Marxist method, not quotations parroted by rote.

The superiority of Marxist ideas is what gives us superiority in action. / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

An exhausted system

Capitalism was born dripping blood and dirt from every pore. Nevertheless, it revolutionized the means of production, built massive cities and industries, and proletarianized the majority of humanity, laying the objective basis for a world of material abundance and the transition through socialism to communism.

But this relatively progressive era ended over a century ago and the system has entered into a protracted decline. Capitalism can no longer develop the means of production in a way that benefits the majority.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the American ruling class proclaimed the end of history. But their delusions of a prosperous Pax Americana soon evaporated with the emergence of rival imperialist powers like China and a resurgent Russia.

The US remains the world’s premier power, but its share of world GDP has fallen from 40% in the mid-1960s to around 17% today—a far cry from the time when being the “world’s policeman” was the axis of its foreign policy. This is the economic basis for the relative decline of US imperialism. For decades, they have watched their unchallenged dominance unravel, with former vassals in open defiance pursuing their own spheres of influence.

Their remorseless attempts to maintain their position have succeeded only in plunging millions into a bloody hellscape. From Iraq to Afghanistan, Ukraine to Gaza, their every move has backfired and led only to further destabilization. They are powerless to stop the downward spiral.

Industrialists and bankers no longer plunge the bulk of their capital back into the productive process, producing better goods for cheaper prices and pushing technology forward. Instead, these parasites splurge on luxuries, speculate on real estate, art, currencies, and stocks, hire armies of lawyers to sue their rivals, and park billions in offshore accounts.

The ruling class has lost confidence in its own power and is losing its grip on its institutions. The criminal incompetence of the candidates they scrounge together reflects the senility of their system. Their courts, elections, and halls of power—once sacred pillars of order and stability—are despised and mocked.

As a class, they project insecurity. Their politicians and journalists are incapable of addressing the public with a confident tone. Instead, they issue panicked prognoses about the future and sound alarm bells over the crumbling legitimacy of their “democracy,” and project their anxieties onto the broader public as a crisis of “American values.”

The capitalists are dragging the whole of humanity down with them for the sake of short-term profits. The fossil-fuel and other carbon-emitting industries have been aware of the catastrophe they were preparing for decades, and did nothing to prevent it. This is reason enough to fight for an international planned economy, the only possible solution to a crisis of this magnitude.

In short, the capitalist class relinquished its right to rule long ago. Like every class society before it, capitalism had its rise and will have its fall. They have lost their grip on the situation, and they cannot help bringing their own system closer and closer to its day of reckoning.

The Revolutionary Communists of America are proud to cast our lot with the communist generation. / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

Communism will win

The world market mobilizes human energy on a scale that is difficult to fathom. Through the “invisible hand,” this intricate feat of cooperation spreads across the globe as unthinkingly as an ant colony, with each participant falling spontaneously into their role.

But for all its complexity, this global division of labor revolves around a simple axis: the exploitation of human labor to aid in the accumulation of capital. This is the blind and irrational force that determines the fate of our entire species.

Even those at the highest peaks of the system are subject to the market’s whims. Capital rules, not the capitalists. Market forces and class interests are the prime movers of our world. But there’s no rational reason for this to continue.

After millennia of prehistoric infancy and an adolescence of ruthless class rule, humanity is ready to step into adulthood. At long last, deliberate economic planning will triumph over blind natural forces as we consciously direct our vast social activity to fulfill our collective needs.

On the timeline of civilization’s development, the momentous changes from one system to the next have been separated by centuries or millennia. Most generations live their lives entirely within the confines of these vast intervals. But when history is ready, it produces a generation fated to straddle the convulsive transition from one broad era of human development to another.

The last time society stood at such a threshold was during the bourgeois revolutions that overthrew feudalism three hundred years ago. Those centuries produced generations whose actions brought an end to the old world and birthed a new one. We now find ourselves at the other end of capitalism’s lifespan. Ours will be the most dramatic epoch in human history, the revolutionary transformation between a rotting, dehumanizing social order and a new flowering of humanity.

The world socialist revolution will release unimaginable wealth and productive capacity from the bondage of capital. Not only will it end this society’s suffering and barbarism, but it will usher in the first truly human phase of history. The world of art, science, and culture will finally be open to everyone. It will be the ascent of humanity from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom.

The Revolutionary Communists of America are proud to cast our lot with the communist generation. Let us meet the test of history. Let us unite all communists and class-conscious workers in the party of the American socialist revolution and bury capitalism once and for all.

Are you a communist?
Then apply to join your party!