“The Bolsheviks could not have retained power for two and a half months, let alone two and a half years, without the most rigorous and truly iron discipline in our Party.” —Vladimir Lenin
Policy Brief & Purpose
Our social media policy provides a framework for using social media. Whether members are handling a Party account or their personal account, they should remain principled. This policy provides practical advice to avoid issues that might arise by careless use of social media in the Party.
We expect all our members to follow this policy.
Social media refers to a variety of online communities like blogs, social networks, chat rooms and forums. This policy covers all of them.
We consider two different elements: using personal social media and representing our Party through social media.
We in the PCUSA give a lot of democratic freedom to our members, but part of that freedom is the freedom to secure the Party against attacks by disruptors and provocateurs.
These rules and regulations are centrally focused on behaviors on social media and other online platforms, but these same rules and regulations should be logically applied not only online but offline.
Rules for All Members of the Party
- We encourage criticism and self-criticism of both our fellow cadre, and of our leadership. There are limits to this however, as unproductive criticism can weaken our ties to our cadres and leave the Party vulnerable to attack both internal and external. For this reason all criticism MUST follow through the proper channels. Cadre are advised against discussing internal Party struggle in public forums. Whether that be with close-friends or family who are non-Party members, on social media platforms, or in the public square. Cadre found to break this rule will be subject to discipline as per Article X of the Party constitution.
- In the event that someone leaks internal Party information, no member is allowed to respond to it for it agitates the destructive behavior further; such actions are subject to cease and desist, censure of the response, or temporary removal from a position within the Party.
- The actions of all Party members online are reflective of the Party. Heated debates with non-members and the such are not against Party rules, but deliberate verbal attacks of working-class people online is against Party rules. Depending on the severity will determine the punishment.
- No member, regardless of status in the Party, is allowed to make online posts that feature themselves taking part in illegal activity, using illegal drugs or abusing legal drugs, including excessive alcohol use.
- We do not allow members of the Party to post photos of themselves with firearms. In relation to this point, members are not allowed to glorify/romanticize armed struggle for we do not promote or condone revolutionary adventurism.
Rules for Leadership Members
The rules and regulations for all members apply to leaders as well, but added to this is the following additional points:
- Any hijacking of social media platforms as an act of factionalist behavior will call for strict punishments.
- Good representation as a member of the Party is important, and destructive representation will be punished. As a Party leader however, you are upheld to a different status which can make such punishments harsher.
- Attempts to slander the PCUSA and/or its members as a leader of the Party will be met with subject to corrective action ranging from censures to temporary removal of a position within the Party.
Rules for Comrades on Leave of Absence
Some cadre in the Party will take temporary breaks in regard to struggles in their lives, this however does not remove one’s status as a member of the Party and therefore they will be subject to the rules of this document.
- Members are expected to not use the Party email list to send spam, junk, or unnecessary email.
- Members are encouraged to send their announcements to the National Chair by Sunday, 6:00 pm EST, for inclusion in official weekly emails. An announcement can be included in official weekly Party emails if: a) it pertains directly to the Party and the needs of Party members, or b) it pertains to current events that are consistent with Party policies and vision.
- An announcement that does not satisfy any of the conditions above should be sent as a personal message. However, you must respect our group’s privacy by utilizing Blind Carbon Copy (BCC).
Social Media Posts
Using Personal Social Media
Ensure others know that personal accounts or statements don’t necessarily reflect the Party line. Members should not state or imply that their personal opinions and content are authorized or endorsed by our Party. We advise using a disclaimer such as “opinions are my own” to avoid misunderstandings.
Representing Our Party
Some members in leadership positions represent our Party by handling Party social media accounts or speak on our Party’s behalf. We expect them to act carefully and responsibly to protect our Party’s image and reputation. Leadership should:
- Be respectful, polite and patient, when engaging in conversations on our Party’s behalf. You should be extra careful when making declarations towards non-Party members.
- Avoid speaking on matters outside your field of expertise when possible. Everyone should be careful not to answer questions or make statements that fall under somebody else’s responsibility.
- Be observant on laws regarding copyright, trademarks, plagiarism and fair use.
- Inform our General Secretary and/or National Chair when they’re about to share any “major-impact” content.
- Avoid deleting or ignoring comments for no reason. You should listen and reply to criticism.
- Never post defamatory content and commentary.
- Correct or remove any misleading or false content as quickly as possible.
The Party will take disciplinary action if members do not follow this policy’s guidelines. Examples of non-conformity with the social media policy include but are not limited to:
- Disclosing confidential information through personal or Party accounts.
- Directing needlessly offensive comments towards other members of the online community.
- Sharing members or non-members personal identifiable information without written consent. Examples of personal identifiable information include:
- Photographs, video, or other forms of media that include an individuals name, face, description, or other information that would make them easily identifiable.
- A member’s address, telephone number, place of work, or other information that could detail the general area a member works, or lives.