Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)

Cadre school: training fighters for the U.S. revolution

First Published: The Call, Vol. 8, No. 24, June 18, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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By a participant in the CPML’s third cadre school

What can a communist party do to ensure that it provides the best possible leadership to the working class? One thing is clear: a party needs to train its cadre. It needs to educate them in Marxism-Leninism so that they can find their bearings, help develop the Party’s line and tactics, and recognize if the Party leadership starts to take a wrong decision.

This to me was the chief significance of the third cadre school recently held by the CPML. The school taught us a lot about how to analyze the international situation which was its focus. But it also taught us about the importance of study and of training cadre to apply Marxism in a living way to the real world around them.

The idea of a cadre school is to bring together leading members from Party districts all over the country and give them time to study one subject in depth. Being “cadres” means they’re all considered to be backbone members who can be relied on to help lead the Party’s work.

We were a very diverse group of people. Some came from intellectual backgrounds. Others were recruited into the Party from the factories or communities. While a number of people were relatively new to the movement, others had been involved for many years. There were at least six nationalities represented and about an equal number of women and men.

Every morning we met in a large group to discuss one of the five chapters in the pamphlet that was our main study material. “Chairman Mao’s Theory of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds is a Major, Contribution to Marxism-Leninism.” These discussions were led by members of the Party’s Central Committee. Later in the day we broke into smaller groups, called brigades, to go over the same material.

What stands out most about both kinds of discussions is how different they were from regular school. We were definitely there to study, but the purpose of the study wasn’t for us to memorize material and spit it back. Presentations and discussions on the theory of three worlds were designed to help us understand a method of analysis and be able to apply it ourselves.

Of course we paid attention to the basics, making sure everyone knew what was meant by the first world, (consisting of the two superpowers. the U.S. and USSR); the second world (the lesser imperialist powers who exploit other countries but are themselves threatened by the superpowers); and the third world (the socialist countries and the less developed countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America which have been most victimized by imperialism). We got clearer on the need to know how something has developed in the past in order to understand what it is today.

But above all we learned that the three worlds theory isn’t a dogma to be quoted out of context like chapter and verse of the Bible. It is a way of looking at the world – of isolating the chief enemies, finding main and secondary allies – which has to be applied concretely to the situation in each country.

We spent a lot of time discussing what it means to apply the three worlds theory in the U.S. For example, we know that both superpowers are the main enemy of the peoples of the world and that of the two, the USSR is more aggressive and most likely to launch a new world war.

But the moment when workers at Chrysler are getting laid off, it won’t do to tell them, “Your main enemy is both imperialist superpowers.” The U.S. imperialists are the immediate enemy of the people of this country and U.S. Marxist-Leninists have to be in the front ranks of the struggle against them.

While directing most of our efforts at our own ruling class, we also have to do education about the nature of the Soviet social-imperialists. In the long run, U.S. workers are very much threatened by Moscow’s rulers and their warmongering. We must find appropriate ways to point this out and rally workers here to oppose Soviet aggression, such as that in Kampuchea today.

The question of how U.S. communists apply the three worlds theory was posed as a test for each brigade to write up a new method used to evaluate better how much we were learning. We also had a test question at the end of school to be answered by each individual student. This final question had to do with tasks of Marxist-Leninists in this country in relation to the international communist movement.

Unlike the kind of school we were used to, these questions weren’t sprung on us as a surprise, and we were encouraged to discuss them with each other. But the questions were- meant to see how much we had understood from these five days of study. This impressed us with the seriousness of the fact that you only know Marxism when you can explain it to others, in a language, they understand, applied to their daily lives.

Cadre school wasn’t all study. We had a lot of tree time every day for sports and other relaxation. Each brigade worked on a cultural presentation which turned out to be extremely good, from a serious rendition of a poem by Langston Hughes to a medley of popular songs with new words about the superpowers.

We also had presentations on other subjects besides the three worlds theory, including the national question in the U,S. in general and the particular situation in Hawaii, And we had a lot of debate. We didn’t resolve all the questions, but within the strong unity we recognized among us, there was plenty of room for disagreement.

The CPML is a young party and is still learning the best ways to train all of its members in Marxist- Leninist theory along with the schooling they get daily in the class struggle. Cadre schools are an important way to raise the level of these backbone fighters who will play a big role in determining our Party’s success or failure.