A thought about how communists can most productively view their discussions with genuinely curious left-liberals

I wrote this on a comment on the MLM Communism 101 Facebook group, and I realized that I never (I don’t think) posted it here.

one thing that i’ve learned about playing a role in someone’s political growth is that it’s a process. when i first started, i would sit behind a table for a Trotskyist organization on a college campus and people would come up and talk to me, and i would think, “This is my one shot. I either convince them now or they will probably never encounter socialism again!”

Well, what i’ve learned, really, is that it’s impossible to make a non-communist into a communist on the spot. it’s a long process of internal struggle, self-doubt, self-questioning, and critical thinking for people to (1) abandon the very-heavily-indoctrinated concepts of capitalism and (2) come to believe that communist (i.e., ML or MLM) methods of ending capitalism will actually produce good results.

so my model instead is that people change by being “chipped away at”–you start with where they’re at and as much as possible challenge their current conceptions and offer them new ideas and facts, while never condescending to them or insisting that they take your word for it. someone might have to get “chipped on” ten times, or twenty times, whether by communists, or by seeing the injustice in the world such as police brutality, or by being laid off, or whatever, but sooner or later one of those “chips” is going to be (to mix my metaphors) the straw that breaks the camel’s back. but you don’t know if you’re going to be that chip–all you can do is add your chip.