Those who write from a communist perspective need to do so in order to be read and understood by the masses. A comrade pointed out that one of my own pieces, “On the necessity of combating social chauvinism/conservatism within progressive and revolutionary movements”, sounds too much like an undergraduate paper. This is an extremely important critique because unless our material is written for and read by the masses, then it amounts to nothing but hot air. Refusing to be understood by the masses – indeed, refusing to understand that this is the only reason that communists should write as communists – is a form of petty-bourgeois impetuosity and a form of liberalism. Or, to put in terms that the masses might be more familiar with at this historic juncture: a dog-wank.
Now, having said all that, and recognizing the need to avoid pompous, academic-sounding and/or impenetrable language, we should not dumb down our message. We must have faith in the ability of the masses to understand complex social phenomena, to be able to grasp the material relations that define class exploitation and oppression, and to see through reactionary garbage. To come to a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist perspective on these things, we must of course help them, but we should not ever talk down to them. The masses are not stupid children, and we should not condescend to them, trick them or engage in opportunist shenanigans for cheap short-term gains. If we are serious communists, then we must always remember that we are part of the masses; we serve the masses wholeheartedly. We are the best friend and weapon they yield in their historic mission to emancipate humanity. All of this absolutely necessitates that we view our task as a deadly serious one rather than as an adventure, and that everything we do strengthens the revolutionary consciousness of the masses and is done in their interests. This, obviously, extends to our agitation and propaganda, to our literature and to the words we use. All must be chosen with care, and for maximum effect in the class struggle against capitalist-imperialism. Sloppy language means handing the bourgeoisie a gift.
But having said that, we also need to understand that the masses are struggling to survive everyday, and that by virtue of that, they cannot all be expected to be geniuses in the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and that there are certain messages that we can focus on above others to gain the support of the people. That must start with us being among the masses, listening to their problems, understanding how they view things, and learning from them. It means tailoring our message to the concrete conditions that face the working class.
Communists who fail to heed these lessons will invariably fail in their tasks. They will wonder why the masses are not listening to them, but in fact the fault lies not with the masses but with these comrades, who through impetuosity and impatience, through being too focused on books and too isolated from the masses, will churn out pamphlets that will find no traction among them.