Communists Serve


Is he who does not engage with the masses a communist? By no means. Uniting with the masses and coming to understand their positions, their needs, and their material conditions is the heart of communism. The ivory tower Marxists who insulate themselves from the masses cannot do the work required to bring about socialist construction. Communism does not mean to lead the people, but to serve them; communists do not command the people, but merely help the people find their own strength.

A ‘communist’ divorced from mass work is little better than a communist without a party at all. It is from these so-called communists, these Marxists-in-theory, that petit-bourgeois opportunism most commonly springs. Being divorced from the people, these Marxists are doomed either to commit the two cardinal errors of commandism or tailism. Those who refuse (through ignorance, classism, or for any other reason) to join the people and do mass work will be prone either to demanding the masses catch up to their own level of development (commandism) or else forever trailing behind the masses and only taking up the banner of struggles that are no longer the progressive forefront of class consciousness (tailism).

JOSH ZOLOTIN, “The Empire and the General Strike”