“Cadre” is a word that is bounced around a lot, but many don’t grasp its true meaning. The Chinese word for cadre is “ganbu”, which roughly translates to “backbone personnel”. This is how we should view ourselves – backbone personnel of the revolution, essential workers if you will. The categories below, I believe, sum up the essence of a good Maoist cadre and the type of Party worker that the MCP-OC needs to lay a firm foundation for the MCP in the future.
Dedication/Consistency: Maoists do not simply start tasks and not finish them out of boredom, or to chase something else. We are not red activism tourists. If you work in a community, you must be ready to dedicate your entire essence to that community for the long haul. It will not do, if a Comrade is in a small town, to abandon it and move to a big coastal city, or to Chicago, STL or Minneapolis because that’s “where shit happens”. Shit happens wherever there are working class, colonized people and semi-proletarians. Even European descendants need revolution, the Party will work everywhere and sink down roots everywhere. If you launch a program, stick with it! To fail to do so is betraying the masses and the revolution. If you are organizing a building, stick through it until the finish, until victory! This builds experience for new cadre, boosts the masses’ confidence in the Communist movement, and lays further the foundation for the Party. Remember, Comrade, the Party and the task of building it up ideologically, politically, and practically is our life’s work. This is not a train that one can jump on and off at whim.
Constant Study: Communists must study. What is real study? Not simply reading a book and being able to cite examples from the past to “strike a pose to intimidate people”, as Mao said, but to incorporate the best of the knowledge into your work. When we cite Communist texts, they are not simply to establish ourselves as “authorities”, but to draw on the practice of our forebears in the Communist movement and our comrades overseas to sharpen our practice here in the United States. Every MCP cadre must be familiar with the history of their neighborhood, city and state. This enriches our practice, enables us to make good propaganda, and draw on the strength of the lowest, deepest masses and recruit them into our intermediate organizations (FTPs) and our mass organizations (tenants’ unions, self-defense corps, etc.). Comrades are also expected to study and be able to explain Maoist positions on social imperialism, the rise of revisionism at the imperialist center, what social fascism is, what right and left opportunism are, which is the main danger to the Communist movement, what dogmato-revisionism is and how to combat it, what the Three Magic Weapons are, why we say that the class struggle continues until Communism, what is People’s War, and other questions that you will be fielding not just from the Left, but the masses. Use theory to solve problems creatively, sum this up, and create new theory. This is how Maoists study and apply our science.
Principle: This means not just standing firmly on Maoist soil, but ensuring that the Maoist movement grows in prestige and recruits more and more to its ranks. We compromise tactically, never strategically. To compromise in the long haul is the worst opportunism, and is a betrayal of the Party and the People. Maoists must establish a reputation for being firm on our basic points, such as social imperialism, the necessity of destroying the US, anti-revisionism, and the universality of PPW and revolutionary violence, but we cannot deviate into the terrain of sectarianism and arrogance. Remember, people are watching at all times, and our behavior speaks louder than our published statements and propaganda. Being a principled comrade means being able to work with people with whom we disagree on things that matter, but also maintaining our autonomy as Maoists and as Communists. In our organizing, we will come across all sorts of negative trends. Postmodernism, various religious dogmas such as the Nation of Islam, lingering and rampant liberalism, and more. The United States is a hodge-podge and mishmash of every sort of cult, scheme, ideological “trend”, and reactionary idea there is. It is our task as cadre to not be influenced or even appear to be influenced by these ideas, but patiently explain our positions and prove our ideology correct in practice, through actual experience which turns into leadership in the real mass movement.
Defense of the Masses: We defend those who cannot defend themselves for whatever reason. Communists are tribunes of the people, defenders of the people, and students of the people. We are Communists because we love the people, and we love the people because we are of the people. An attack on the people, the working colonized people, the proletariat anywhere in the world, is an attack on you, Comrade. We defend the masses and their basic interests, their rights, their demands, their uprisings, their well being both mental and material, with our lives, our labor, our words, and our fists. Whenever the masses come out fighting, we stand among them as the most hardcore fighters. This is all Communists, throughout history, from the Paris Commune on down to us.
Work Ethic: A Communist can not be lazy. A cadre can not be lazy. This doesn’t mean refuse to care for yourself, of course, but revolution doesn’t offer many self-care opportunities. The liberal hedonist trend of “everything is self-care” is anti-Communist. Fred Hampton is an example of the Communist work ethic, his Party comrades in Chicago had to restrain him to a chair because he’d work for 24 hours straight. Aspire to be Fred Hampton, within reason. If the masses in the neighborhood call you to work on a project, and you’re sitting playing video games, go help. This builds prestige of Communists in the eyes of the people. We are oxen to be ridden by the people, as the Panthers used to say.
Humility: Don’t brag. You did a successful grocery distro? Good, that’s what Communists are supposed to do. You did security at a 10,000 person march? Good, that’s what Communists are supposed to do. You got your demands on a rent strike or wildcat strike? Good, that’s what Communists do. Do this often enough, it’ll become routine, and you won’t feel the need to talk about it. We don’t do our work for attention or internet points, we do our work to build the Party, serve the people, and make revolution in our lifetime. Of course, you should do a reportback, and the MCP will disseminate and promote this news, but you should refrain from boasting as an individual on the internet about “your work”. Get together with the people and throw a victory celebration, building social and political ties where it actually matters – in real life.
Ability to Unite People: Communism unites people. We all know that the Left, particularly the anti-Revisionist Left, is a fractious, quibbling series of irrelevant nanosects prone to either right opportunism or left opportunism – we must stand above this. Cadre do not spill dirty laundry all over the internet, seek out and promote gossip in public, start shit online, or engage in Twitter beef. This harms the Party’s image among the people and activists, and it degrades Maoism. We do have positions on the Peruvian/Filipino split in the ICM – the behavior of our ultra-leftist Peruvian flavored friends is an example of how cadre should not behave online. Learn from the comrades in the Filipino movement.
Revolutionary Optimism: We believe that we can win. Sometimes, yes, things seem insurmountable, but we must always look to our elders. The Chinese Communist Party bounced back from the Long March, the Bolsheviks returned from exile. Root yourself always in the masses. Never forget what we are fighting for. Pessimism, eternal pessimism, is a petit-bourgeois tendency. We believe that it not only possible, but an absolute necessity to make revolution in the imperialist metropole – this is what differentiates us from the petit-bourgeois internet Third Worldists. Never for a moment doubt that we will be victorious. There are no easy victories, no, but when we apply Maoism across the country in a systematic, disciplined, creative, flexible way, the Earth will quake.
Self-Sacrificing Spirit: Learn the Lei Feng spirit. Lei Feng was a child of the Party who lived his entire life in service of the people. He was a soldier. He did not ask for awards, complain in front of the people, or gripe about being assigned lower level tasks. He did his work because he loved Communism, loved the proletariat, and loved China. Countless heroes have sacrificed for us to get where we are today. We shouldn’t dishonor their memory and our goal by failing to follow their example here in the US.
Fearlessness: Note, this doesn’t mean foolhardiness. This means realizing that the enemy are paper tigers, in the final analysis, doomed by the class they created, the proletariat. See how the police run from the people in Minneapolis and Seattle? They know that their system is doomed. See how fascists routinely cry on the internet when the people come for them? See how reactionary settlers are buying up guns? These are the acts of a doomed, overextended, empire. We are the new force, the force that will topple this rotten husk and deliver revolutionary salvation to billions of people. This makes us not afraid, but ecstatic. Che envied us, because when we strike the killing blow to this Empire, a millstone will be lifted off the necks of the people across the world. Dare to struggle, because we will undoubtedly win.
Self-Criticism Spirit: Nothing is ever 100% good. This is anti-dialectical. We know that we will always make mistakes, large and small. It’s not a matter of not making mistakes, but of making mistakes of lessening intensity, learning from them, and rectifying the errors that led to the mistake. Criticism is not a weapon, it is a gift. We criticize our comrades because we love them, we cherish them, and we love the people. If you saw a friend walking through a dangerous minefield, you’d warn and help them before they lost their legs and their life, right? Criticism is your comrades pulling you out of the minefield, and we are all grateful for comrades who care enough to criticize and guide us through our mistakes and errors.
Love and Faith in the Masses: Without the masses, we are nothing. We love them because we are of them. We have faith in them because they are who will make the new world. We do not lie to, steal from, break faith with, or abuse the confidence of the masses. We love mass culture, music, dancing, and speech patterns. We promote the masses’ organic culture while also drawing out the proletarian elements for a new Communist culture which is constantly being built.
Groundedness: We don’t chase flights of fancy, or do things that are against the will of the masses. This is adventurism, the anarchist disease. We must be rooted in the concrete conditions of our areas and the masses in these areas. We raise the level of the people through involvement in their mass movements and campaigns, political education, and forming close ties with them through regular mass work. We seek their counsel, we sit on their porches and chop it up, we eat with them, we live with them. This is what keeps us grounded in the people, and what prevents us from going off on dangerous flights of fancy. The biggest crime is for a cadre to lose touch with the people, because the people are our lifeblood.
Humor: The stereotype of a Communist is a joyless automaton. We laugh with the people, and with ourselves. Of course, we don’t take serious matters lightly, or make mock of the conditions of the masses, but humor is a refuge of the oppressed and we don’t shy away from it.
Maturity: We are engaging in the struggle for power. Power does not belong in the hands of those who throw temper tantrums, engage in juvenile back and forth on the internet for the eyes and ears of the enemy, State and otherwise, or generally act as if the Communist Movement is a “scene” in high school. We must always be mature and disciplined in all things that we do. You are a representative of Maoism, Communism, and Revolution. We must always appear up to the task of administration and leadership.
Temperence: Every Communist formation has placed restrictions on comrades’ engagement with drugs, social media, alcohol, and sexual relations. We are not hedonists, neither are we Spartans. Comrades should practice prudence and moderation in all things of this nature because especially in Left spaces they lead to drama and embarrassing scenes which debase Communism in the eyes of the People. Communists must always be in command of themselves and practice self-restraint, and comrades must monitor and help guide comrades away from harmful and dangerous habits such as habitual intoxication and drug abuse.
Loyalty: Communists are always loyal to their Party, their Comrades, and the masses. Comrades do not gossip, backbite, lie or go behind the back of another for any reason. Nor do we allow for factionalism and cliques to form – these harm the Party and are remnants of bourgeois politics transferred into the Communist movement. Communists are aboveboard, straight-speaking, and honest, always.
Cadre development is a lifelong process. There is no such thing as a “perfect cadre”. But, by cultivating these values, comrades will be incorporating the best Communist ethics into themselves and will be better servants of the people, the Party, and the Revolution.