Friday, July 31, 2009

Man on a mission

I sent John Case on a mission. To scope out the The Committees of Correspondence for Socialism and Democracy's 6th National Convention in San Francisco, CA to see what we could do to get things patched up just like Change To Win and the AFL-CIO.

John went to San Fransisco with a flower in his hair.

I wanted to find out if I have pushed the CPUSA far enough off the political stage to the right to see if we could maybe get back together again with these poor marginalized souls. A better possibility than me and the wife getting back together again.

John tells me we will have to move further to the right in order to get unity of thought. Danny Rubin's new book should help to get us the rest of the way if I can get you folks to start reading it.

Here is the report John Case submitted to me.

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2009
From: John Case
Subject: CoC conference

Lonesome Hobo Economics -- On the Road at the CoC
San Francisco, CA.

The Committees of Correspondence for Socialism and
Democracy has just concluded its 6th National
Convention in San Francisco, CA. The CoC was founded in
1994 as a coalition of socialist-oriented groupings
from a number of organizations, including a large
section from the Communist Party following a split in
that organization after the collapse of the USSR. It
was a gathering of color! Multi-racial and
multinational. There were guests from Germany, El
Salvador, South Africa, France, Venezuela and Vietnam.
There were gays and straights. 200 Men and women very
active in a wide range of social, political and labor

"Build the progressive majority and a socialist future"
was the theme of the conference. I will get to that,
but the truth is I came out to see old friends more
than to engage in political discourse. One friend in
particular -- Charlene Mitchell -- was honored on
Thursday for her lifetime of devotion to expanding
democracy, to the struggle for equality, and to the
advance of socialist ideals. Charlene Mitchell was the
first African-American woman to run for President of
the Unites States, which she did in 1968 on the ticket
of the Communist Party of the US. She also played an
historic role in the worldwide defense of Angela Davis
in 1970, who was targeted and framed for murder during
a period when more than one police force was seeking to
exterminate anyone connected with the Black Panther
Party. Angela Davis was acquitted and Ms Mitchell went
on to help found the National Alliance Against Racist
and Political Repression, which mounted many campaigns
against racist and repressive attacks. Courage,
persistence, faith, and a sharp mind for both politics
and human character --Charlene has mentored many people
over her long life, this writer included. It was a joy
to participate in the tribute to her. Viva Charlene!!!

Now, on the substance: I confess it normally requires a
certain astral patience to sit through left-wing
conferences. And, in recent years, I have acquired a
strong allergy to dogmatic talk about socialism,
revolution, etc. However, the economic crisis, the
global climate change crisis, and the quality of the
movement that elected Barack Obama have accomplished
what a thousand manifestos could not: they have proven
that market failures of capitalism in certain areas
such as finance, health care, housing, environmental
policy, and retirement security make incremental steps
toward socialism matters of necessity that do not
require one to have the slightest familiarity with
socialist "doctrine" in order to recognize. In fact,
the ways in which the imperatives of greater
socialization make themselves apparent in health care,
financial regulation, retirement security, employment
for all who seek work, and large-scale intervention to
both prepare for and reverse trends in climate change,
argue strongly for an entirely new political
vocabulary. The new vocabulary must dis-enthrall the
tasks of economic recovery and progress from sterile
cold-war, and Vietnam era, Left-Right rhetoric.

While it is difficult to leave behind some longstanding
left-wing political categories, and plow fresh ground
for a new generation of socialist renewal, the CoC made
important progress. Carl Davidson calls this process
"imagining 21st Century socialism." Most important, in
this writer's view, was the focus on defining and and
elaborating the principles and programs upon which
progressive majorities can be built in all arenas of
politics: local, state, and national. For the Left to
think in terms of majorities is the single greatest
improvement arising from the defeat of the reactionary
"Reagan coalition" of which George W Bush was only the
latest and most sordid chapter.

Many challenges remain: there were not enough youth at
the conference. The electoral and unemployment issues
were under-covered. And the right balance between
"socialist" ideals and the progressive majority agenda
is still wobbly, partly because the new situation is --
really NEW! Nonetheless, workshops on socialist
education, international solidarity, economic and
social justice, climate change, peace and labor were
well attended, and many energetic ideas were shared.

Its happening! Socialism's reconnection with
broad-based democratic change in response to the crisis
is bearing fruit!


John Case Harpers Ferry, WV

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