Source: Communist Revolution

You cannot be a communist by yourself. If you believe in the need for communism, then you need to work towards overthrowing capitalism, and that means building a communist organization. 

Fortunately, the potential for building such an organization hasn’t been this good in a long time, as increasing numbers of people are turning towards communism. Whether you’re with a group of comrades in a city, or starting from scratch in a small town, there are revolutionaries to meet and organize. With a bit of hard work, anyone can start up a communist cell. This feature will give some tips and guidelines to get you started. 

What is a communist cell?

Communists have a job to do: to carry forward the lessons of past revolutions, to link up the causes of the international working class, and to point the way forward on the path to revolution. The cell is a fundamental tool to achieve these things.

A cell is made up of the communists in a local area, who meet on a regular basis, usually weekly. For communists, it is unacceptable to have a purely organizational meeting. Before we may act, we must understand why we act. That is why every communist meeting must be imbued with politics, history, and Marxist theory throughout the entire meeting. This can take the form of a brief discussion on current events, a presentation on some aspect of Marxist philosophy, or a discussion on the lessons from a past revolution. The meeting must be a place for communists to educate themselves on Marxist theory, and learn how to apply it to the real world. 

But communist meetings are not academic talking shops. We are building a revolutionary communist party that aims to transform the world. This means that every meeting must also  plan out activity with the aim of building the organization. For example: are there any demonstrations or picket lines that we can visit and bring Marxist ideas to? Are there any important issues that we want to hold a public discussion on? When and where are we going to put up posters or hold a paper sale to meet new communists? 

In this way, the cell unites theory and education with practical work.

Of course, a cell is just one unit of a much larger body. Communist Revolution is made up of over 75 cells (and counting!) in towns across Canada, united by a common program and approach to the work. Because we’re part of a larger organization, we’re able to share experiences and lessons, and work together towards a common goal. The cell connects members to the wider organization, and it’s where they can democratically contribute to the direction of the work. 

The goal in building the cell is to grow the organization to the point where we can have a political impact, and eventually lead the working class to overthrow the capitalist system. At this stage, there are basically two steps to building: recruiting people; and educating them so that they can lead cells of their own. 

Step 1: Finding communists 

No matter where you’re building, no matter how sleepy or conservative it may seem on the surface, there are communists to be found. After all, you already know there’s one communist—you—so there’s probably others. The first step is to find them.

Source: Communist Revolution
  • The most important thing to keep in mind is that in order to find other communists, you need to STAND OUT. There are over 1 million communists in Canada, but many people probably think they are the only one. In order to reach others, you need to boldly stand out and appeal to other communists to join you and get organized. 
  • Start with your immediate circle—friends, family, classmates and coworkers. Maybe you already know people who have reached radical conclusions. Even if it’s not apparent at first, once you start putting forward a communist perspective, you may be surprised by how many people agree with you. Even if you don’t know any other communists, that’s only for the time being. People’s political leanings are changing, and if you’re known as “the communist” in the group, you’ll be the one they go to when they are looking for answers. 
  • Go to where radicalized workers and youth are. Put up posters and stickers on campuses and in high-traffic areas. Participate in protests and talk to people about communism. If you have the resources, hold a public event where you can explain our ideas and answer questions. Whatever you do, be bold and energetic! We’re asking people to help us overthrow capitalism, and there is no way to do so shyly. 
  • Use the paper! Have copies of Communist Revolution with you to show that you’re not just an isolated communist, but part of a group with organization and ideas. Share the paper with people you know, and talk to them about it after they’ve read it. Bring it with you to demonstrations to connect the issue at hand with the broader struggle against capitalism. One of the best ways to meet people is to set up a table on a street corner, campus, or public space, and sell papers and literature to people passing by. Every paper sale is an opportunity to have a conversation about Marxism and the need for revolution. If someone is interested enough to buy a paper, it’s easy to ask if they want to get involved. You can contact us directly to get literature and get to work!
  • While most people you talk to will not be communists, when you do meet someone who is a communist and wants to get organized, you should ask them to join right away and start organizing with them! We have had dozens of cells across the country established precisely this way. 
  • Every single new person should immediately take the work of building the cell into their own hands. This means postering, paper sales, protest contingents and much more! As well, every new member must bring with them their ideas about how to build the organization. Everyone should think hard whether or not they know anyone else who wants to get involved and the main priority of the new cell should be to build. Soon enough, you’ll have the basis for a cell, and can start weekly meetings! 

Step 2: Making Marxists

We are not just building a collection of communists, but an organization of Marxist cadres, who have learned the lessons of history and can apply them to the movement today. But no one is born a Marxist – so how do you build a cell of them?

Source: Communist Revolution
  • Marxist theory must be at the heart of everything we do. The job of every communist is to educate people, starting with yourself! The websites of Communist Revolution and the IMT, as well as of our sister organizations around the world, provide a wealth of analysis and theory in the form of articles, videos, and podcasts. There are countless topics to explore, so pick one that you find exciting, and pursue it! It is important for every communist to be well acquainted with the classics—Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Some people love reading; for others it does not come so easy—but either way it’s worthwhile. If you put aside even half an hour a day for Marxist reading, you’ll see results as your political knowledge starts to develop, you become able to better answer questions, and deepen your understanding. 
  • Discuss what you’re learning with others! Whether you’re taking part in a reading group, reaching out to a more experienced comrade with questions, or giving a presentation at your weekly meetings, talking about it is the best way to consolidate your understanding. And if you’re reading regularly, you’ll be more able to encourage the comrades you recruit to do so as well!
  • Make education a vital part of the life of your communist cell. The educational portion of the meeting should be exciting—after all, these are the ideas that will help us change the world. The topics for cell discussions should be relevant, and the format for discussion should be flexible. Comrades should share what they’re learning, and how it connects with current events or discussions they’ve had, or if it’s given them a new perspective. Questions should be encouraged, and everyone should take a shot at answering them. If you don’t know the answer, that’s an opportunity to learn! Comrades should also feel free to bring forward challenges and disagreements, as answering these can only strengthen our understanding of Marxism. 
  • Create opportunities for discussion and education outside of cell meetings as well. These can be reading groups, casual talks at a coffee shop or pub, Marxist movie nights, etc. Tasks like postering or banner making are a chance to talk politics. Really, any gathering of two or more communists should be seen in this way.
  • The most important part of education is applying it back to the real world. A person can read the collected works of Marx and Engels and not be a Marxist if they’re aloof from events. Doing paper sales, going to demonstrations, and visiting picket lines are a chance to apply Marxism to what’s going on in the world and test our ideas in the movement. Can comrades explain our ideas to strangers, answer questions, and make the case for communist revolution? Can we convince more people to join us? Education and activity go hand in hand. 
  • One more part of this is writing for Communist Revolution. Writing articles and analysis is clearly a way to apply Marxism. But so is writing reports to! Writing reports means viewing the world as a Marxist, seeing how anecdotes and experiences are partial expressions of a general trend, and studying the development of working class consciousness.

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes—embrace them! It’s a basic tenet of Marxist philosophy, that progress doesn’t happen in a straight line. Bumps in the road are normal. The only way to avoid mistakes is to do nothing—and it’s far better to try something, fail, and learn from it, than to not try at all. And ask for advice—one of the benefits of being part of an organization is that there are comrades with years of experience who can offer guidance.

Above all, be bold! We are revolutionaries, and as millions of people are rejecting capitalism and looking for answers, by standing out clearly with a bold revolutionary communist solution – we can attract tens of thousands to our banner and build the revolutionary communist organization that the working class and youth in Canada needs. 

With poverty, oppression, war, and environmental destruction, it’s easy to lose hope in the world. But as capitalism continues to drive us into the dirt, revolutions are inevitable. It is the job of communists to fight for the working class to be successful in the revolution against capitalism. And yes, if we put in the work now, a communist revolution can win. This is the idea that we’re recruiting people to; this is why we’re building. This sounds like a huge task, but the first steps are simple. All you need to do is get started!

English-language resources


Marxist Internet Archive

In Defence of Marxism (International)

Communist Revolution (Canada)

Socialist Revolution (U.S.A)

Socialist Appeal (U.K.)

YouTube channels

Communist Revolution (Canada)

In Defence of Marxism (International)

Socialist Revolution (U.S.A.)

Socialist Appeal (U.K.)

Marxist Student Federation (U.K.)


Spectre of Communism (International)

Communist Revolution (Canada)

Socialist Revolution (U.S.A.)

Marxist Voice (U.K.)