Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Announcement: Book-a-month Book Club is back

Friends on the National Board,

It is with great pride I am announcing that our Book-a-month Book is back!

Daniel Rubin our most innovative, distinguishes and respected National Board member will be turning every heading in his best-selling book "Can Capitalism Last, A Marxist Update" into informative and useful books.

I hope everyone has noticed Danny is helping us get away from the use of the term "Marxism-Leninism."

Danny is responsible for helping us get away from the name "Communist Party."

You will note how cleverly Danny writes without writing clearly. This is an art form that has taken Danny many years to hone.

The reader does not even notice the omissions of these controversial words which have given us so damn many problems in the past. My thinking is that we can incrementally work our way towards finally expunging Marx, Engels and Lenin thereby making a complete break with old Uncle Joe. Let me tell you; the guy just isn't your typical grandfather figure. He not only loved his own grandchildren he loved the children of all workers.

Yes, Jarvis, what is it?

"Sam, we have members of our National Board who love their children and grandchildren."

Jarvis, please don't remind me of that. Every organization has its screwballs and The National Board certainly has its share.

Yes Joelle.

"Sam, do we have members on this National Board who "love" their children and grandchildren in "that" way?"

Joelle, you need not worry your pretty little brain over who is loving who and how; your job is to focus on getting Obama re-elected.

You do your thing and never mind what Danny or Bruce are doing. No one pays any attention to Bettina they won't pay any attention to what others say. If you don't like the way the National Board operates I can have Erica show you to the door.

"Sam; please. I know where the door is if I want to use it. Speaking of doors; do we need the clear glass door on the bathroom? I thought it was our intent to have the clear glass walls and a solid oak door for the bathroom. The National Board worked on this problem for almost two months before we voted. The oak door won. Why do we have a clear glass door on the bathroom?"

Joelle. I took that oak door home along with our finances for safe-keeping. Forget the oak door.

Joelle, please. Can we get back to Danny's book. We used his Marxist methodology to solve the problem of the bathroom door. As we can see, it is just like Danny has told us, non-Communist, non-Leninists often deviate here and there from decisions; this is the beauty of getting away from Marxism-Leninism. We don't have a bunch of Stalinists telling us to cover the glass bathroom walls or to replace the clear glass bathroom door. Our new National Board has used this issue of the oak bathroom door to test Danny's Marxist updates. We can now flush Marxism-Leninism and be done with Uncle Joe.

This new thinking brought forward by National Board member Danny Rubin which supplements my own analysis will help us liquidate many more publications by certain authors who shall remain nameless for the time being to avoid more controversy.

Your questions have taken up most of my allotted time... I will just distribute this excellent review of Danny Rubin's new older book. This is one of the best reviews to come across my desk.

Yes, Jarvis; what is it?

"Sam, isn't that the only book review Danny has received?"

Jarvis; please do not question me. This is the "best" book review.

Now, I have to go downstairs to use the can so this will conclude our National Board meeting.

Yes, Scottie; what is it?

"Sammy, can I use the can downstairs, too."

Dammit, Scottie... you use the can with the glass doors and walls; there is a nice magnet on the door to keep it closed.

Sam Webb
Chair, National Board

Book review: Can capitalism last?

by: John Wojcik

June 26 2009

New book by American Communist explores answers to question of our time


Can Capitalism Last?

By Daniel Rubin

, 2009, 196 pp, $10

“Marxism is dead. Socialism is dead. What better proof than the collapse of the Soviet Union? What better proof than the collapse of the socialist countries in Eastern Europe? What better proof than the apparent return of at least many features of capitalism in China and Vietnam? Socialism might be a nice ideal but it doesn’t work in the real world. The fact that socialism is gaining many adherents today in Latin America, Asia and other continents doesn’t really mean much. They’ll end up just like the other countries where socialism collapsed. In any case, socialism really doesn’t have any value for workers in the United States today. It has nothing to offer in their fight for a better life.” That, in short, is the essence of what capitalists today have to say about socialism.

They have very little to say, however, about how we can solve the great social problems of our time.

Communists in the United States say that the social problems of our time cannot be solved by capitalism and that socialism is, in fact, more of a necessity today than it ever was before. They also say that this makes understanding the fundamentals of Marxism from the perspective of the U.S. experience more important than ever.

Perhaps the biggest impediment to this understanding is that there has been a paucity of books by American Communist writers that lays bare the fundamentals of Marxism from the U.S. perspective. The last such attempts from other countries (Britain and the Soviet Union, for example) were made between 1950 and 1960.

All that has changed now with the publication of Daniel Rubin’s “Can Capitalism Last – a Marxist Update.” Rubin is the author of several works on Marxist theory and is a member of the national board of the Communist Party USA.

Rubin’s book examines the main aspects of Marxism and shows how critical they are to the struggles for progress we witness every day. His book manages to cover all the major aspects of Marxism in a 196-page volume along with updating some concepts. He manages to take the fundamentals of Marxism, build upon them and apply the methodology to the new developments of our day.

Hard to believe? Well, in this case, reading is believing.

The book is an excellent introduction to Marxism for newcomers to the subject. No new student of Marxism will put the book down remaining unable to answer the questions “What is Marxism?” and “How and why did it come into existence?”

For those who already profess to be Marxists, Rubin pulls together the most important subjects of Marxism in clear, simple fashion and makes major applications to U.S. circumstances. His description of the current period of history, for example, is outstanding. He shows how proper use of Marxist methodology and tools brings us to an assessment of this period as the “transnational monopoly phase of the monopoly capitalist stage of imperialism.” He updates Marxism. In so doing he considers and gives full credit to the achievements of the world Communist movement in the Soviet Union, Cuba, China and other places while also discussing the failures and inadequacies in both theory and practice during the Stalin period and in the collapse of socialist countries.

He catches everyone who has ever read a book on the fundamentals of Marxism completely off guard by turning on its head the way all other books present this subject matter.

Books on the fundamentals of Marxism almost always begin with the most general and then discuss the more particular. The typical approach is to start with the most universal of objective processes – dialectical materialism (which, by the way, he fully explains in this book), then historical materialism and then political economy. The typical such book only then goes on to the more subjective issues: identifying the forces for progress, the strategies and tactics needed to move forward and then, last, socialism and what it takes to win it.

Rubin, however, begins where most people begin. He starts with the huge social problems people face. He defines the great problems of our day and then asks and, in a systematic Marxist manner, answers questions like: Are these problems inherent in capitalism? Can they be eliminated from capitalism, or at least ameliorated while Capitalism is still in existence? If they cannot be eliminated does it mean capitalism is doomed? If so, then what will follow? Is it socialism or can it be something else? Can socialism create the conditions for solving the social problems? If so, how do we win socialism? Who has to do what for it to come about? Where does the Communist Party fit into the picture?

For the answers to these and many other questions you will have to read the book. When you finally put the book down you will be faced with making one of only two logical choices. (1) Go back to the struggle for a better world invigorated with new knowledge and energy or (2) get involved in the struggle. After all, as someone once said: “Philosophers interpret the world. The point, however, is to change it.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

On criticism...

I suppose all of you National Board members have read your morning newspapers.

What is it Jarvis?

No, I didn't read the PW; I read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Why?

Don't worry about your University of Missouri speech getting covered in the PW... the less mentioned the better.

Barack Obama has to the Chinese suggested some criticism might be good.

Here is what responsible newspapers are saying...

Yes, Ms. Abano; what is it?

No, I don't read the PW. What you publish is for the benefit of others not deep thinkers like me; I want others to absorb what I have to say.

Anyways, any how; as I was saying... here is what our President is saying in China as reported by responsible media:

President Barack Obama sat down with the Chinese leader Monday night, hours after he pointedly nudged his host country to stop censoring the Internet access, offering an animated defense of the tool that helped him win the White House - and suggested Beijing need not fear a little criticism.

This could end up being more than a little problematic for me and our organization if those Minnesota people get wind of this talk about criticism. What if the think it means criticism is appropriate in our little cult which we refer to as the National Board CPUSA.

Yes, Scottie?

Sam, maybe we could turn Unity Center into a disco called, "The National Board" and drop the CPUSA.

Scottie, talk to Rick Nagin about that.

Does anyone have a couple aspirin? It's only Monday morning and I have a splitting headache and I haven't even checked out what has been posted as far as comments on "A ragged process" on the PW site.

Should I tell everyone what the name change will be or should I wait?

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Monday, November 9, 2009

Notice of meeting to consider the "Call to Action" on jobs

The National Board of the CPUSA announces that it will be considering the national "Call to Action."

This special and very important meeting will be convened at 9 A.M. sharp on December 25, 2009.

At this time we will open the floor for discussion to consider endorsing this conference.

Several members of the National Board of the CPUSA are opposed to the convening of this conference because "unemployment is a 'done deal' and to oppose unemployment would offend our new coalition partners."

In addition, word has not come down from the leader of the democratic people's front regarding his position on this conference. This conference might interfere with his re-election plans should ultra-leftists start demanding accountability from Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Dan Margolis will be doing a People's World article about this conference regarding why we are unsure about supporting it.

We also have to check in with Mark Froemke to see if Shar Knutson, the new President of the Minnesota AFL-CIO has agreed to co-sponsor the conference.

We are seeking funding from the Minnesota AFL-CIO for any workers in Minnesota wanting to attend this conference.

I want to assure everyone--- on a need to know basis--- about this "Special Meeting" of the National Board of the CPUSA.

Featured invited speaker is Barack Hussein Obama, the leader of the democratic people's front and President of the United States.

Our participation in this conference would hinge--- of course--- on whether all participants and endorsing organizations are firmly committed to Barack Obama's re-election and will go all out to re-elect the fine Democrats in Washington serving our country so proudly.

Please find all pertinent information for this November 13th and 14th conference below.

Again, our Special Meeting to consider endorsing this conference will take place here at Unity Center, the site of our own National Convention at some date in the future not to be publicly disclosed.

Meeting will begin promptly at 9A.M. on December 25, 2009.

Please don't notify riff-raff and rabble-rousers from Minnesota about this important meeting.

Bruce Bostick has been assigned to make our special meeting both enjoyable and productive. Bruce has a life-time of experience in all the movements and his specialty is making sure the CPUSA participates in proper conferences and that our full and complete organizational leadership appreciated by the Democrats gets the needed and proper attention to the details.

I want to especially thank Bruce Bostick for bringing this conference to my attention in a timely manner as soon as he read about in a comment on this article in the PW:

Unemployment at record levels

so we could act in the most speedy manner as such conferences without our involvement often have less than successful turnouts.

Good work fellas.

One thing concerning me about this conference I would like all of you to think about: Do we really have to pay unemployed people when they aren't working?

There will be free coffee and donuts served.

Let's remember we are taking a little heat regarding pulling our weight after that Toronto Peace Conference. Just because the Canadians are publishing articles about the conference in their newspaper doesn't mean we have to. If they decide to jump off a bridge are we going to follow?

What is it Jarvis?

"Sam, the Canadians already suggested you take the plunge; they say the colder the water the better."

Well, Jarvis, that ain't going to happen.

Sam Webb
Chair, CPUSA (name soon to be changed to "Obama now; Obama forever" long live the King!

Money for jobs; not for war... unemployed workers shouldn't have to pay any taxes.

Make the minimum wage a real living wage based upon all the cost-of-living factors as scientifically calculated by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and then legislatively tie the minimum wage to cost-of-living increases.

A National Conference to Create Living-Wage Jobs,
Meet Human Needs and Sustain the Environment

November 13-14, 2009

New York, NY

The Problem: Even before the onset of our current, deep recession, we faced chronic unemployment, low and stagnant wages, myriad unmet needs and unprecedented environmental degradation.

Today’s rapidly escalating unemployment has put job creation back on the public agenda for the first time in recent history. Nearly 15 million workers were officially unemployed in June 2009, and hidden unemployment brings total joblessness up to almost 30 million with nearly 12 seekers for every available job. If it is possible to ignore the chronic unemployment that besets millions of people in normal times, it is much harder to ignore this current, mass unemployment and its staggering social and economic costs.

 What should progressive activists concerned about economic justice, labor, the religious community and other concerned people do about mass unemployment?
 What long-term goals should we have for the economy?
 How can we build a strong, effective unified movement to achieve full employment and living wage jobs for all?

A strong economic stimulus is imperative to meet the current emergency. Yet, even if the current stimulus package that achieves its intended goal of creating 4 million jobs, it would only reduce official unemployment by a third!

Nor is it good enough to return to official unemployment of 5 million women and men and millions more working poor even in the “best” of recent times, or to be satisfied with the host of unmet needs with which this recession began. In the words of FDR, “We cannot be content, no matter how high the general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people … is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.”

The Challenge: Crises present opportunities for progressive change. This is the time for Progressives people of good will to mobilize and to develop goals and strategies for an economy that provides living wage jobs for all, sustains the environment, and repairs our social and physical infrastructure and begins the transition to a more stable, productive economy that provides for shared prosperity.

Conference Goals and Intended Outcomes:

1. Expand public debate and action on the future of the U.S. economy
2. Increase public awareness of chronic unemployment and underemployment and its human and economic toll, even in better times
3. Build on Increase public awareness of current mass unemployment, its dire consequences for human beings and its waste of potential economic output;
4. Raise public awareness of our current economic dead-end—high personal and foreign debt, inequality, wage lag, environmental degradation, military overreach….
5. Steer public debate and action toward:
• Government promotion and creation of living-wage jobs, strengthening of the safety net and supportive fiscal, monetary and trade policies;
• Government promotion and creation of jobs that improve the physical and social infrastructure (repair of bridges, upgrading public transportation, building affordable housing, improving and expanding public education and child, health and elder care).
• Government promotion and creation of jobs that further the goal of a sustainable economy and begin to restructure it.
6. Develop plans to pay for this program of reconstruction through more progressive taxes and confinement of military spending to genuine defense needs

7. Initiate a movement for living-wage jobs for all and develop strategies for achieving this permanent economic reform-- including similar conferences in cities across the country and a mass mobilization in Washington on behalf of economic reconstruction.

You Are Invited to Be a Conference Convenor/Co-Sponsor: We seek broad participation and sponsorship for this National Conference, especially organizations with a primary focus on the quality and quantity of jobs, economic justice, social security, the safety net and poverty prevention. Other critical participants will be organizations not primarily concerned with employment, but whose goals for union rights, health care, education, child care, elder care, disability rights, housing, economic restructuring, public transportation, environmental sustainability, and the arts would be furthered by job creation in their areas of interest. The hope is to gain their ongoing commitment to conquering unemployment and low wages-- even after the crisis subsides. This would build on a plans of the National Jobs for All Coalition and the Chicago Political Economy Group to simultaneously create living wage jobs for all and, through a renewed public sector, to repair our deeply deficient social and physical infrastructure.

Yes Mr. Margolis.

"Sam, the Jobs conference is in November and you are calling the special national board meeting in December a month later."

Mr. Margolis, will you please smarten up? Did you get your response on time by Halloween? You never know when to keep your mouth shut.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A letter from the leader of the democratic people's front....

Friends and fellow members of the National Board of the CPUSA and our two esteemed guests, Bruce Bostick and Mark Froemke. It is with great pleasure that I announce to you that I have received this letter from our dear friend and colleague; the leader of the democratic people's front and the President of the United States of America--- Barrack Hussein Obama.

Some people get letters from Robert Borosage; I get a letter from the President of the United States for serving him as my Lord and Master.

Yes, Scottie, amen is right and quite appropriate for our Sunday morning "Hour of Power" brunch.

This Sunday morning we have much to be thankful for. Not only do we honor our Lord; we thank Barack Obama for seeing his way to allow us sinners to work at his side.

As you are all aware, our entry with the all new class-free People's World got off to a rocky beginning and our struggle to cleanse our soul of the Minnesota Problem has been more difficult than Mark Froemke trying to shake off the evil temptations placed before him by the bartenders as he petitioned for support of this historic Health Care Reform.

Bruce Bostick! Bruce Bostick! Zip up those trousers right now. This is our Sunday morning "Hour of Power" brunch. I will have none of that in here. You do that at your computer while you are watching your kiddie porn.

Yes, Erica; what is it?

"Sam, Bruce should have the right to do that in here. You are discriminating against him."

Please, please; can we maintain a little decorum during our Sunday morning brunch.

As I was saying; we have received this letter from the leader of the democratic people's front, Barack Obama. I am so, so proud of all of you. I am sure not many people receive such a letter from Barack Hussein Obama.

Think about it; our country has made tremendous strides. We have elected a president without a birth certificate. This is a tremendous step forward for our country. Our leader is ageless.

Let me get to the meat... "Bruce, not that meat!"

Ok, let me get to the heart... "Elana... no, no, not your heart."

Bruce, you zip up right now; Elena, you button up immediately.

Ok, let me place this another way.

Let me focus our attention... "Scottie, what is it?"

No, I am not going to focus on the Minnesota Problem right now Scottie. I told you to take care of that problem. Next time do what you are told.

Where was I. Thank you Jarvis. Yes, the letter from the leader of the democratic people's front...

Goddamn it... Jarvis; do you have to snivel and cry every damn time His name is mentioned? Ask Bruce if you can use his handkerchief.

What do you mean his hanky is sticky? Bruce; I told you to wait until you got back to your computer.

Jesus Christ... Mark, what is it? No, you may not open your beer bottle when I am speaking.

Ok, Mark, finish your beer and give the bottle to Bruce when you are done. Ok, give the bottle to Erica if she wants an empty beer bottle so bad.

What kind of people am I working with here at this ministry?

Are you all a bunch of social misfits or what; you can't even sit here and let me read the letter from the President.

I want no more interruptions... Mark, you finish the beer... give the bottle to Erica when you are done so she can do her thing, Erica you pass the boittle to Bruce so he can fill it and Bruce you hold on to that bottle and when you are done there you give the handkerchief to Jarvis.

See, this is called "organization." We communists are known for "organization." Don't believe me well just ask Danny Rubin there. He organized his way out of having to work his entire life by living on the dues of our members.

Yes, Danny, what is it?

"Sam, you are a very good organizer, too."

Ok, ok, all of us on this National Board have our special little abilities we combine to give our Party the strength to serve our leader, Barack Hussein Obama.

Now, the letter... Jarvis, for crying out loud you are assigned to assist Dan Margolis in writing his next article for the People's Voice... Jarvis, I don't care if that is all you have been doing is helping Dan write his articles, you just keep on helping him and you and the Lonesome Hobo are doing a good job, too.

I'm just going to read this letter all of you do what ever it is you want to do.

Bruce, I am not going to tell you again; at least cover that thing with your hanky.

Ok, here we go...

Sam --

This evening, at 11:15 p.m., the House of Representatives voted to pass their health insurance reform bill. Despite countless attempts over nearly a century, no chamber of Congress has ever before passed comprehensive health reform. This is history.

But you, the Communist Party USA and millions of your fellow Organizing for America supporters didn't just witness history tonight -- you helped make it. Each "yes" vote was a brave stand, backed up by countless hours of knocking on doors, outreach in town halls and town squares, millions of signatures, and hundreds of thousands of calls. You stood up. You spoke up. And you were heard.

So this is a night to celebrate -- but not to rest. Those who voted for reform deserve our thanks, and the next phase of this fight has already begun.

The final Senate bill hasn't even been released yet, but the insurance companies are already pressing hard for a filibuster to bury it. OFA has built a massive neighborhood-by-neighborhood operation to bring people's voices to Congress, and tonight we saw the results. But the coming days will put our efforts to the ultimate test. Winning will require each of us to give everything we can, starting right now.

Please donate $5 or whatever you can afford so we can finish this fight.

Tonight's vote brought every American closer to the secure, affordable care we need. But it was also a watershed moment in how change is made.

Even after last year's election, many insider lobbyists and partisan operatives really thought that the old formula of scare tactics, D.C. back-scratching and special-interest money would still be enough to block any idea they didn't like. Now, they're desperate. Because, tonight, you made it crystal clear: the old rules are changing -- and the people will not be ignored.

In the final phases of last year's election, I often reminded folks, "Don't think for a minute that power concedes without a fight," and it's especially true today. But that's okay -- we're not afraid of a fight. And as you continue to prove, when all of us work together, we have what it takes to win.

Please donate to OFA's campaign to win this fight and ensure that real health reform reaches my desk by the end of this year:

Let's keep making history,

President Barack Obama

Bruce, when you are done can you get the janitor and ask him to frame this letter to hang on my office wall. Tell him to bring a frame, hammer and a long enough nail to hang it on my wall.

Yes, Bruce, what is it?

"Sam, you can't nail this letter to your wall."

Bruce, here in this office I am the boss. Why can't I nail this letter to the wall?

"Sam, your walls are glass."

So, what is your point Bruce?

"Sam, the point is that if you try to nail this letter to your wall it will crack."

Oh; ok, Bruce; I knew we kept you around for some reason. Thank you for explaining that to me.

"Sam, sometimes I wonder about you. You are brilliant in many ways. But when it comes to common sense you must have been standing at the end of the line when that was passed out."

Mark, before you leave back to Minnesota... can you explain to me how you were able to participate in a nominating convention in Minnesota while you were registered to vote in North Dakota... let's go over the details, there are a couple other states we should try this in. If we can't get in through the front door we can get in through the back door.

Yes, Bruce?

"Sam, you can get all that information from my videos."

Thank you Bruce; I will write that down. I can't keep all the small details in my head.

Ok, folks; this concludes Sunday brunch.

Sam Webb
National Chair,

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I don't know if I should call my lawyer or my priest

Someone besides Bruce is going to have to help me out here.

I hope no one is praying for the worst for me.

Sam :(

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A ragged process

Oy Vey.

Do I need your help here.

My important well researched and thought out directive was not intended to be used to pre-maturely kick off pre-convention discussion.

Let us go over very carefully what I wrote so all of us on the National Board understand where we are going.

As all of you agree my analysis is very clear and precise. In "The ragged process" I don't leave anything to the imagination. My imagination runs rampant as I write and I write down everything that enters my head. I listen to "Imagination" as I write in order to bring in ideas from all directions. I employ the latest in New Age thinking skills. Marx and Lenin had their shortcomings. They blocked out over 90% some of the best thoughts by some of the very best and brightest intellectuals when they narrowed their vision by only considering what is good for the working class.

Our Party is a multi-class Party of multi-class thinkers. It's not polite to just consider workers. If we are going to allow other classes to be part of our Party it's not nice or polite to harp on just the working class all the time. As John Case has pointed out so eloquently at every opportunity capitalists need their profits to be happy and satisfied. Profits for the capitalists are just as important as a job is to a worker so let us take a more even handed approach to smooth out our ragged ends.

Small business people have their needs; they want to get out from under all their costly burdens and I think the working class is a little stronger. These workers can carry a little heavier burden for the time being to get us through "the new normal."

Middle class people have their needs--- I wouldn't mind having a cabin in the mountains in Colorado and a BMW to get there.

Capitalists have their needs. Laugh all you want, Joelle, but to a capitalist his profits are more important than his wife or children; we can't just ignore such deep-seated needs as we re-formulate Party policy and our work in the mass movements.

For 90 years all we have heard about in this Party is working class, working class, working class; it's time to give it a rest already.

If we could just forget about the working class for the next few years we could avoid this "ragged process" and everything would become a very smooth process.

I agree with Dan Margolis. Let's leave the leadership of the democratic people's front to Barack Obama for the next seven years. This will smooth over the "ragged process" by taking class out of the picture.

I think I am finally beginning to get through to a lot of our opposition and the comments about "A ragged process" prove this.

Some people are a little tougher sell than others as any insurance salesman understands this. Not everyone jumps to purchase the policy when it is first offered. We need to let people know that it will cost more to buy in down the road. Maybe we should consider increasing dues for the stragglers finding it hard to accept the policies we offer?

I have been studying up on the techniques used by United Health insurance company salesmen trying to draw in every last potential customer because I think we can transfer and modify this technique to Party recruiting.

Look, these health insurance salesmen never talk about premium prices until they have you hooked that you need their policy.

Look at Obama; has he ever mentioned how much his mandatory insurance will cost?

No; that would scare everyone off before the legislation is passed by Congress.

Well, by the same token, why should we talk about the class struggle until we absolutely have to? Let us learn from our leader; this is why we elected him. To help smooth out a ragged process with very sharp edges created by the ultra-leftists and cliche Marxists.

Ok, everyone back to your glass cubicles; grab a new highlighter and let's get to work and see if we can't respond to some of these comments.

I picked a bunch of quotes from Lenin but these hard-sells didn't buy.

Oh, before you go home this evening stop into my office so we can talk about your health care policies; I have some great programs to offer you. I have started selling AFLACK. Wayne Newton and his quacking white duck will be attending our upcoming convention. I think we can probably get a couple of the major networks to cover the show.

Quack, quack... I mean: A-F-L-A-C-K, A-F-L-A-C-K.

Yes, Scottie. You have been waving your hand for a long time now. I told you before you don't need to ask for permission to use the bathroom during a National Board meeting. Oh. ok, then what is your question? No, Scottie, I am not planning a career move or change. Just get the notion out of your head about moving into my office. My plans are to sell a little health insurance as a sideline. This is a lucrative field opening up. I have nice office space right here and once health insurance sales pick up we can open office space on one of the floors below. Another million bucks should fix the place up nice and spiffy so we can get some walk-in customers off the sidewalk.

A-F-L-A-C-K, A-F-L-A-C-K.

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Analysis > A ragged process

A ragged process

by: Sam Webb

October 29 2009

tags: analysis, Marxism, strategy, process, progress, coalition, New Deal

Slightly over a year ago, the American people elected a young African American to the presidency and increased the Democratic majorities in the Congress. President Obama's victory represented a repudiation of the right-wing ideology, politics and economics. It constituted a serious setback for neoliberalism in both its conservative and liberal skin.

The defeat of right-wing extremism was a long time in coming, but when it finally happened it did so not only because of the brilliance of the candidate, now president, but also due to the broad wings of a people's coalition. Not in our lifetime have we participated in such a movement.

This swing in the political pendulum in the direction of economic justice, equality and peace ushered in the possibility of a new era. After 30 years of right-wing dominance, the balance of class and social forces is tilting once again in a progressive direction, but not to the degree that a people's agenda is simply rolled out and easily enacted.

That would be wishful thinking and we shouldn't engage in such thinking, as tempting as it is. The struggle ahead, much like the struggle over the past three decades, will be fierce. There will be no easy victories. But political advantage has shifted to our side and that's no small accomplishment.

To turn this advantage into a new New Deal will take many things, but two I consider fundamental: a proper strategy and a sense of process.

Some may wonder why I don't mention tactics. They are important to be sure, but they are shaped by strategy and process, not the other way around. Tactics are a dependent variable in this equation.

A proper strategy envisions the main class and social groupings and personalities that have to be assembled and united to transform the possibility of this moment into a concrete, lived reality for millions of people.

The strategic thrust of last year - to defeat the ultra right, especially as expressed by the Republican Party, at the polls - doesn't quite fill the bill any longer. Right wing extremism is still a factor, as demonstrated by the health care battle, but as a result of the election's outcome, it is on the defensive, no longer able to set the agenda and frame the debate to its desire.

At the same time a pure anti-corporate strategy doesn't quite fit either, given the configuration of forces coming out of the elections and the political agenda going forward.

The coalition to deepen and consolidate the promise of our time, in my view, stretches (for now) from President Obama to the core forces of the people's movement: labor, African American, Latino, and other the racially oppressed people, women, and youth. It also includes those who sat out last year's election, small and medium sized businesses, dissatisfied grassroots supporters of the right wing, sections of the Democratic Party and even corporate capital - depending on the issue at hand.

So the task - and it won't be easy - is to activate and maximize the unity of this very diverse, multi-class, and fluid coalition in the course of concrete struggles.

There will be competing views. Not everyone will be on board on every issue; the lineup and mix will change as the agenda and struggle changes. Some participants will be dependable and clear headed - the core forces - while others will be unreliable and temporary.

The notion of the capitalist class on the one side and the working class on the other may sound "radical," but it is neither Marxist, nor found in life and politics. Pure forms exist in high theory, but nowhere else. It would be a profound mistake to distance the core forces of this coalition from others who are temporary and unreliable at this and subsequent stages of struggle.

As for process, it is imperative to have a sense of the ebbs and flows of mass struggle - the contradictions and the dialectics - plus the near constant reconfiguration of this broad, multi-class coalition. Progress (and process) is never a straight line forward nor neatly packaged. It is usually ragged.

The main elements of the New Deal, for instance, were won not in 1933, which was Roosevelt's first year in office, but in 1935-1937. These elements were the fruit of a many-layered, multi-faceted struggle of a motley group of social actors.

I suspect the future will be much the same.

Post your comment

•The notion of the capitalist class on the one side and the working class on the other may sound "radical," but it is neither Marxist, nor found in life and politics.

I think that this statement could be taken wrong. I'd change it to, "The oversimplified notion that all we have to do is divide the world into the capitalist class on the one side and the working class on the other may sound "radical," but it is neither Marxist, nor found in life and politics."

in solidarity
Jim Lane in Dallas.

Posted by Jim Lane, 29/10/2009 2:05pm (5 days ago)

Thanks Jim. But did you have to stir the pot?

•I think this piece is right-on when it comes to where we are politically at this moment and the uneven and uncertain direction that things will probably go in as we move forward. Accomplishing political goals in our country requires the assembly of as broad a majority coalition as possible. I think that Webb has outlined the main forces in the present coalition and points to the need to expand and solidify it. We are now living the battles we've wanted to fight for so long but which the ultra-right kept off the agenda. Let's not lose sight of that fact. Let's not keep reliving the Bush years and acting as if we are on the defensive. This is the time for offense. Healthcare is the first big battle. Let's win it and look forward to the next ones.

Posted by C.J., 29/10/2009 2:06pm (5 days ago)

•I agree with the critique here of the 'class-vs-class' strategy.

For these strategic purposes, I'd segment the business world into low-road finance capital as the main target, and high-road productive capital as potential allies. A good number of forces, of course, would fall in between, and will go back and forth, according to circumstances.

This especially important to build the Green Jobs program, and to make the most of the new initiative coming from the Steelworkers-Mondragon collaborative.

Finally, the struggle will indeed be fierce. It already is around the wars and health care. It needs to get even fiercer around the 'non-bank banks.' Trumka made a good start in Chicago the other day.

Posted by Carl Davidson, 29/10/2009 2:21pm (5 days ago)

Thanks Carl. We are both on the same wave-length here.

•Re: Sam and Jim Lane:
This article by Sam contained aspects of a careful analysis, the best I've read in PW from the leadership of the US party for a time. But as Jim Lane infers, it was spoiled to some extent by resorting to a caricature of unnamed out-if-step "unreliable" people on the Left who, it was claimed, believe in a silly, ultra leftist worldview where " the capitalist class [is] on the one side and the working class on the other".

While certain tiny grouplets may believe and act on such a deficient political analysis, Sam failed to note that many Communist Party members (and many others)in the Us as well as the international parties honestly practice popular front politics but disagree with the degree of the application of the popular front in the cpusa's last few years.

We too believe in enlisting and building the support of allies outside the working class and do so every day of the week in coalitions and fighting for reforms, guiding support to end NATO-US wars, EI reform, etc.
Resorting to mere caricature of other thoughtful Communist analysis and strategy is intellectually lazy when it has become a fixed habitual modus operandi.
We are all struggling for greater clarity and so must all try be reasoned and careful not to make insinuations in talking to our friends.

Posted by Andrew Taylor, 29/10/2009 2:43pm (5 days ago)

•Comrade Webb:

It finally dawned on me why you are able to come up with such rational choices for the progressives to foster.

You have a background in Accounting or Business or something like that. Keep inspiring the progressive movement. Hey what is the best starting point for the initiated.

best regards

Posted by Larson Shiflet, 29/10/2009 4:29pm (5 days ago)

•You stated:

"The main elements of the New Deal, for instance, were won not in 1933, which was Roosevelt's first year in office, but in 1935-1937. These elements were the fruit of a many-layered, multi-faceted struggle of a motley group of social actors."

What you didn't state is that most of these "motley" "social actors" were the organizations the CPUSA helped to initiate or at least were participants in.

Not once have you described the role of Communist Party Clubs in these struggles.

You begin by stating:

"President Obama's victory represented a repudiation of the right-wing ideology, politics and economics. It constituted a serious setback for neoliberalism in both its conservative and liberal skin."

Yet, it is a fact that you previously wrote about "the new normal." "The new normal" is the neoliberal agenda of Wall Street and Barack Obama's designated job is to oversee the implementation of "the new normal."

You beat around the bush; but, "the new normal" is nothing but Wall Street's attempt to drive down the standard of living of working people because the lower the standard of living of the working people the more profits Wall Street makes.

For Communists, Wall Street has always been our enemy. It is the working class versus Wall Street.

I challenge you or Carl Davidson to name just one corporation--- high road capital--- that working people can work in coalition with to attain a solution to any problem working people are experiencing. If you would like, name them all. You can't just make this kind of statement without backing it up with real corporate names. Who are these corporate partners working people should be working i coalition with to get real health care reform? How about a living minimum wage? What about the end to these dirty imperialist wars? Name these coalition partners you have in mind.

You go on to state:

"But political advantage has shifted to our side and that's no small accomplishment."

Where has the political advantage shifted to be more favorable to working people, for peace, for social and economic justice? Again, you, conveniently, fail to state specifics.

Do you fear writing about "people before profits" because your new-found coalition partners in corporate America will be turned off by such talk?

You state:

"The notion of the capitalist class on the one side and the working class on the other may sound "radical," but it is neither Marxist, nor found in life and politics. Pure forms exist in high theory, but nowhere else. It would be a profound mistake to distance the core forces of this coalition from others who are temporary and unreliable at this and subsequent stages of struggle."

Usually this is called: the class struggle. Again, you do not state specifically who these "temporary" forces are.

Everything here is vague; all aimed at shoring up public support for Wall Street's president, Barack Obama.

You have made your "coalition" with the very Wall Street corporations responsible for this economic mess who are now looking to profit out of claiming to be resolving the problems.

You refuse to hold Obama and the Democrats accountable for anything... when it becomes obvious that Obama is working on Wall Street's behalf to the detriment of the common good, as is the case with the need for a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions; you simply refuse to address the specific problem.

Why don't you explain to all of us why Barack Obama has not seen fit to legislate a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions? Are you afraid to acknowledge that Barack Obama is allowing these capitalist vultures to pick the bones of working people clean in spite of how much human misery is being created in the process of these Wall Street bankers continuing to profit very lucratively off of every foreclosure and eviction?

You state:

"So the task - and it won't be easy - is to activate and maximize the unity of this very diverse, multi-class, and fluid coalition in the course of concrete struggles."

Very nice sounding words; but, again, not one single specific.

What is the basis for the unity you claim to be interested in seeking?

Here are some specific ideas; let's hear your comments:


Real health care reform based upon single-payer with a vastly expanded public health care system.

A moratorium on all home foreclosures and evictions.

A real living, minimum wage.

Beat swords into plowshares and fully fund the social programs required to end poverty.

Tax the hell out of the rich to redistribute the wealth in this country.

Public ownership of all 3,600 abandoned mines, mills and factories that now exist across the United States and bring them back into production producing what society really needs for the "greening" of the economy and the country so we can fight global warming.

Mr. Webb, I have made seven very specific suggestions on what issues unity of a "people's front" can be achieved; I would suggest that you explain on what specific issues you think unity can be achieved with your new found corporate allies.

Your strategy is vague. As you admit, you offer no tactics.

Think about this, Mr. Webb: As the capitalists consolidate their wealth--- and their power--- other than a section of the middle class, all that is left to unite is the working class. I do not see any small businesses eager to join with labor or Communists to advance any kind of agenda, let alone a progressive agenda... we are still talking about a progressive agenda for real social change aimed at improving the lives and living conditions of working people, are we not? Or, are we merely concerned with the task of the re-election of Barack Obama? If your one and only task is to re-elect Barack Obama, then be honest and forthright enough to say this. If you see the need for specific reforms aimed at improving the lives of working people, then say this.

And don't use the excuse that the political moment restricts doing any more because more than a few times over the course of this country's history the people have written legislation and forced the powers that be to enact the legislation.

I would suggest to you that it is time for you, as the head of the CPUSA, to offer up legislation you would propose for solving these problems we as a Nation--- and as a class--- are confronted with.

So far, you have yet to offer up one single resolution on any problem that people could take into their Democratic Party precinct caucuses or conventions... why is this? Too specific for you? You might have to get your hands dirty in the "class struggle?"

Come on, Mr. Webb, let us have some specifics from you backing up all of what you say with such nice sounding words but do nothing to help working people initiate struggles around solving their problems.

As for tactics... if Barack Obama and the Democrats can't--- or won't--- deliver... then they aren't entitled to our votes. It is called defending democracy through accountability with people running in Democratic Party primaries, as independents or on another ticket putting forward a real progressive agenda for real change.

Only in your mind has the right been dealt any kind of defeat or set-back with the election of Barack Obama and a Democratic majority in the House and Senate.

I would suggest to you, that if there was not one single Republican left in the House or Senate, this country, under the leadership of Barack Obama, would still be on the course set, established and dictated by Wall Street... and Wall Street is our enemy.

I asked you before to cite one single one of the Fortune 500 corporations on the side of peace and progress... you continue to refuse to name just one--- in fact, the reason is, is because you can't; yet your entire analysis is predicated on this falsity.

Any and every struggle worth fighting at this late date in the era of imperialism is going to be a class struggle... a little fact you are intentionally glossing over with your fancy words.

Alan L. Maki
Lake-of-the-Woods Communist Club

Posted by Alan L. Maki, 29/10/2009 5:15pm (5 days ago)

•As to Carl Davidson's comments.

Like Webb, Davidson lacks any specifics.

Here is a specific for you Mr. (high road/low load capitalist, peace through imperialist occupation) Davidson:

Your much ballyhooed "Blue-Green Alliance" which claims to be striving for "Green jobs" and greening this economy has approved the Mariah Power deal which finds unemployed auto workers in Michigan working in what Michigan's labor backed Governor--- Jennifer Granholm--- has described as a "100% tax-free operation" in Manistee, Michigan making compact 10 kilowatt vertical wind generating equipment for $12.00 an hour while the generators for the units are being assembled at an old roller skating rink in Macgeror, Minnesota for $7.50 an hour without any rights under state or federal labor laws because the work is being done by a tribal business.

And the wealthy few and corporations who can afford these expensive wind generators will get a hefty tax-write-off for each unit purchased so the rest of us will be picking up their tax burden. Not quite what I would consider "redistributing the wealth."

The only thing that appears to be "green" in any of this might best be described as "money green."

Mr. Davidson, would you consider Mariah Power to be an example of your "high road capitalism?"

Posted by Alan L. Maki, 29/10/2009 5:33pm (5 days ago)

•I welcome this piece. It's clear headed and comes at a moment when another victory is at hand - health care legislation. It has limitations or I should say will have them, but it puts the movement in a better position . A victory emboldens the movement - gives a sense of flexing muscle to bring about change as a natural and regular part of life. It will be important to learn what other forces think in this regard.

Posted by Beth Edelman, 29/10/2009 5:59pm (5 days ago)

•Alan, I respect your position, but it seems to me you are much too hell bent on trying to prove that Sam here is for some reason one step away from the road to selling out or something of that ilk. I think what Sam is trying to do is remind everyone on the left to remain flexible and "on the moment" if you will to finally take the left from the fringe which is where it has been for muuuuch too long a time. Does that mean we need to agree on everything he says? I don't think that is his point and he is certainly not presenting it in a dogmatic way either. I just think the hyperbole is kinda pointless even if I have some doubts about this article as well.

Posted by Mikhail, 29/10/2009 6:03pm (5 days ago)


damned solid piece! As with all good deeds, I'm sure there are some who will condemn you for your efforts. Nonetheless, if that's a real word, it is a damned good addition to our party's, our class' struggle to find our 'sea legs' in this historic new political moment.

I do agree with Jim's comment, and for the reason he mentioned. You are correct in the formulation, but it needs clarification.

Highlighting and elevating the fight for unity is exactly correct at this point, in order to lay the basis for going fully on the offensive.

One point that I think would add to the piece is a bit on the need for unity around the first, partial reforms that Obama and the Democrats are advancing. The phrase, "the perfect should not be the enemy of the good," applies here. There are those on the left who will counterpose HR 676 to the public option, which CAN pass. We need to help folks understand that a huge, united and mobilized people's movement can drive reforms forward, but only if we can win some things first. Further, it is important for all progressives, communists, etc. to do all possible to help move the org'd labor movement into the fore of this emerging movement.

Posted by bruce bostick, 29/10/2009 8:39pm (5 days ago)

Thanks Bruce.

•First, I'd like to thank Maki for writing on these blogs. Without his writing, we would not have any examples of the sectarian, out of touch, frankly ridiculous critiques of Sam's piece that represent a substantial section of the left in our nation. We might have to go thru life just talking to each other.

Maki's writing, in this and every single other piece I've seen of his, is a cliche of Marxism! It is critisim without any real action, any real mixing it up in the real fights. Certainly we understand that the capitalist class is the ruling and enemy class, and that the working class is our base. However, in the real world today, struggles do not fit into little boxes. Certainly org'd labor is our base, and central base of the people's movement. However, the battles we are in today have a wider, multi-class basis generally. That is absolutely the case in the fight against war, for peace, the fight to save our planet and to create Green jobs, the fight to restore rule of law and democracy.

Even, maybe especially, the fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) must be a multi-class battle, or we will continue to lose. Instead of the multi-class mobilization that took up EFCA as a real stimulus, one that would stimulate the entire economy and especially help small business folks, what we've seen is a continuation of the same ol' union members collecting signatures of other union members. That is certainly the stereotypical, cliched 'class vs. class' "pure struggle. It is also an abject failure! It represents the closed thinking of the "old" labor movement (before the rank & file movement brought about the major changes we see today). Further, it is self-isolated and self-defeating!

Of course, those of us who actually are involved day to day in that and the other battles labor is fighting now will all recognize the need for wider, and even wider levels of unity if we are to win EFCA and the other struggles. Those sitting on the sideline can much easier critique our fights, without dirtying their hands in the real fight!

The struggle to win Green Jobs and a new Green economy certainly cannot be won by only org'd labor, alone. When environmentalists and unions were fighting each other only our corporate enemies gained. The Blue-Green Alliance was founded by the United Steelworkers Union, certainly a strong, fighting and militant union. USW saw the need for wider unity, and that the goals of org'd labor and the environmental movement, while not identical, are absolutely in the interests of both, as well as the entire nation. It IS a multi-class alliance and it does represent a bumpy road forward. But it has had many successes, retooling bldgs in major cities with Green energy, with the work done by union workers. Now, with a new, positive administration to work with, the alliance is working on funding for much bigger, heavier projects.

The extremely difficult going that environmental legislation is having in Congress now certainly shows the need for much wider unity, not the isolationist approach Maki promotes.

The widening of labor and the left's base strengthens our class and party. Those that would impose artificial and academic breaks on unity are NOT labor's friends!

Posted by bruce bostick, 29/10/2009 9:17pm (5 days ago)

•Where is there a "cliche" Mr. Bostick? Did I write this? What do you have to say about this which appeared in the Boston Globe which neither you nor Sam Webb will comment on?

“It’s beyond belief to me,’’ said Robert Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. While Obama and Congress inherited “a big mess’’ from Bush, Haynes said, “there aren’t any excuses anymore. If you can’t deliver health care, and you can’t deliver jobs, and if you can’t deliver [card check legislation] , and you can’t figure out how to take care of the working people of this great city and country, you don’t deserve to stay in office.’’

And, where is the "cliche" here, in what I wrote, which you condemn as "a cliche of Marxism:"

The key to health care reform...

Barack Obama's misfortune in the polls has turned into our possible good fortune... we now have something to bargain with Barack Obama and the Democrats in exchange for health care reform: our votes.

Our country is embroiled in controversy and debate over health care reform. Focus on the purpose of health care has been lost. Health care has two purposes:

1. Keep people healthy.

2. Get people well when sick.

Barack Obama and the Democrats have killed single-payer universal health care which was by far the most popular alternative. Now they are confusing the issue with talk about a "public option" when the only real "public option" is something like VA or the Indian Health Service; both of which could be combined and expanded to include everyone under a Public Health Service.

Obama and the Democrats have confused the issue even further by now veering from discussing legislation for health care reform by derailing this discussion and diverting the discussion to "health insurance reform."

Our public officials squander our limited and scarce resources--- during a period of a crumbling capitalist economy--- financing wars in three countries; subsidizing the Israeli military machine; and spending trillions of dollars financing 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil dotting the globe; and then they tell us there is no money for health care. Instead, we should be building 800 public health care centers stretching out across the United States providing a public health care system which includes:

• No-fees/No premiums

• Comprehensive (cradle to grave)

• All-inclusive (general, dental, eyes, physical therapy, prescription drugs)

• Universal (everybody in; nobody out)

• Publicly funded

• Publicly administered

• Publicly delivered

The United States is the wealthiest country in the world.

We can afford to provide a first-rate, world-class, free public health care system for our own people--- if we get our priorities straight.

We need health care reform based upon: Everybody in; all the profiteers out.Health care is supposed to be about people, a human right; not about profits.

We must not let Barack Obama and the Democrats do with health care reform what Bill Clinton did with welfare reform.

There are those that confuse what needs to be done by suggesting that some kind of massive grassroots coalition brought Barack Obama to power when the fact is that what brought Barack Obama to power was no organized coalition seeking anything; just plain old resentment and disgust with a thoroughly corrupt, warmongering Republican Party--- and the Democratic Party has proven to be no better.

There are those who want to turn the need for real progressive health care reform into nothing but a struggle to save Barack Obama's worthless political butt.

We need to begin discussions about creating a real all people's united front to win real progressive health care reform before Barack Obama gives us the shaft and sticks us with mandatory health insurance that is no better than the high-priced automobile or home-owners insurance which are good until needed.

Some people pawned Barack Obama off on us as a progressive when all we got was an insurance salesman.

Our initiatives for real progressive health care reform as articulated above require that we inform Barack Obama and the Democrats that they will not be receiving our votes in 2010 or 2012 unless real progressive health care reform legislation is enacted.

No health care reform; no votes... it really is as simple as that.

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432

Check out my blog:

This "cliche of Marxism" has been published in over 80 newspapers and has now been published as a leaflet in 25,000 copies by a USW local on Minnesota's Iron Range.

Mr. Bostick, is Sam Webb not capable of responding for himself?

What about this "cliche:"

"When a nation spends its wealth on armaments and wars that nation might just as well dump its resources into the ocean." Yes, some "cliche;" Karl Marx wrote that.

Anyways, Mr. Bostick, I appreciate you acknowledging that you read my blog and other writings so religiously:)

Mr. Bostick, like Webb, you evade any mention of specifics. And, like Webb, you make up anything in order to justify your position even though anyone can go back and read what I wrote which you claim to be commenting on and find for themselves whether or not what I wrote has any merit or whether your criticisms are valid.

I do find it interesting that you and others would try to evade concrete discussion and lack of specifics of Sam Webb's essay here by way of attacking me.

Since organized labor you claim as your "base," perhaps we could all be enlightened as to what the Communist Party did at the recent AFL-CIO Convention... a little report would be in order, don't you think? Were copies of the PWW distributed? If so; how many? And if they were distributed; why, since hard-copy is being discontinued? Did each of the delegates receive information about joining the Communist Party and a copy of its program explaining the "Party line?" Oh, by the way, what is the "Party line" these days or is "Party line" just one more of the Marxist cliches we can do away with?

As for "card check;" you talk about multi-class coalitions but you can't even get a relatively small businessman like the most progressive businessperson in the United States, George McGovern, to support the Employee Free Choice Act... got any other businesspeople in mind? If so, let's hear their names... this should be interesting.

Mr. Bostick, you are willing to accept anything Barack Obama hands you; that is your bottom line... and then like the contracts negotiated by the UAW and USW these days which you have had a hand in, you call it a "victory for labor."

You are talking to the wrong person about "getting one's hands dirty in the class struggle" because I know just how dirty your hands are, Mr. Bostick... class collaborator is the term... pork-chopper is another.

Mr. Bostick, you refer to all these green "successes;" but, where are they? Come on Mr. Bostick, give us examples where the lives of workers and their families have been improved. In fact, what you refer to as "successes," workers and their families have had their standard of living reduced quite substantially!

Does saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, the hydro dam and 2,000 jobs fit into your "green" plans? And what about the more than 3,600 idle mines, mills and factories now dotting this country reflecting the "New Normal."

And, you very conveniently ignore the fact that both Ron Gettelfinger and Leo Gerard hailed the Mariah Power deal I referenced below as a "model" for greening the economy.

And, I don't see you or any of the USW or UAW organizers trying to organize the workers employed by Mariah Power in Nevada, Michigan or Minnesota... is there a sweetheart agreement at play here? Maybe like in the Indian Gaming Industry?

Mr. Bostick, you may not recognize my work as being of the nature you describe as getting one's hands dirty in the class struggle... however, the head of the USW Organizing Department seems to take a slightly different view of my activities... maybe you should call and ask him why he picks up the phone to call me, instead of you.

To your credit, Mr. Bostick, at least you sign your own name so we all know where these anti-Marxist concepts are coming from.

I was not aware that Marxists were expected to give up their ideology as a pre-condition to participating in the class struggle... apparently you are willing to make the sacrifice... but, thank you for acknowledging that everything I write is Marxist. I notice you have dropped all reference to Lenin. I guess that goes with a name change for the CPUSA as suggested by your good buddy Rick Nagin who made this a central part of his campaign platform for Cleveland City Council as if it will improve the lives of Clevelanders... the sooner you drop the name, the quicker Marxist-Leninists can reclaim the CPUSA.

Perhaps the next convention of the CPUSA will pack Unity center as revisionists from the CoC and the CPUSA get together in a love fest of class collaboration apologizing for imperialism. I hear you will be holding this grand convention in Unity Center... any truth to these rumors?

I'm curious, Mr. Bostick; how do you perceive ending hard-copy editions of the only Marxist newspaper in this country as the PWW/PW goes to "on-line" only and not getting Marxist ideas into the hands of working people for their consideration... or, have you just given up on distribution of our literature in the mines, mills and factories and in working class neighborhoods as being some kind of an insult to the bosses you are seeking out as allies for Barack Obama's "New Normal" Wall Street agenda?

Posted by Alan L. Maki, 30/10/2009 2:27am (4 days ago)

•I agree that phrase about capitalist class and working class could be better said along the lines that Gene suggested. Nevertheless, in its context the intent is clear.

One further thought from the leader of Russian revolution:

“The more powerful enemy,” Lenin said, “can be conquered only by exerting the utmost effort, and by thoroughly, carefully, attentively, and skillfully taking advantage of every, even the smallest, “rift” among the enemies, … among the various groups of bourgeoisie …, by taking advantage of every, even the smallest, opportunity of gaining a mass ally, even though this ally may be temporary, vacillating, unstable, unreliable, and conditional. Those who do not understand this, do not understand even a particle of Marxism.”

The greatest U.S. mass leader of the 20th century, Martin Luther King, wasn't a Marxist and probably didn't read Lenin, but his strategic and tactical thinking went in this direction, notwithstanding the pressures from some sections of left to "radicalize the struggle" for civil rights.

In today's conditions, we have a responsibility to elaborate strategy and tactics in a broad and flexible way. And, like King, we can't pay much mind to our critics; if we do, it hampers our ability to think afresh; we become too cautious in a strategic and tactical sense, too worried about our left flank.

Communists and the rest of the left have a unique opportunity to qualitatively enlarge our role in the labor and people's movements, but only if we shed in the spirit of Marxism some of the rigid and paralyzing concepts and practices carried over from earlier periods.

Posted by sam webb, 30/10/2009 11:24am (4 days ago)

On second thought maybe I shouldn't have written this_______ "but only if we shed in the spirit of Marxism some of the rigid and paralyzing concepts and practices carried over from earlier periods." Damn; what was I thinking?

•RE: Sam's quotation from Lenin "One further thought from the leader of Russian revolution":

Sam is right. Lenin's words on exploiting the smallest class rifts in a careful assiduous manner is and remains a truth that Marxists must heed in pushing the process for progress forward. But there is always a balance in Lenin, so he also warned in "Opportunism, and the Collapse of the Second International" of another danger on the opposite side:

"Social-chauvinism and opportunism are the same in their political essence; class collaboration, repudiation of the proletarian dictatorship, rejection of revolutionary action, obeisance to bourgeois legality, non-confidence in the proletariat, and confidence in the bourgeoisie. The political ideas are identical, and so is the political content of their tactics. Social-chauvinism is the direct continuation and consummation of Millerandism, Bernsteinism, and British liberal-labour policies, their sum, their total, their highest achievement. "

I am accusing no one of any of these pitfalls. But we must always strike the correct balance when considering Lenin as a guide or we can become one-sided?
Andrew Taylor, Manitoba (formerly of Ohio)

Posted by Andrew Taylor, 30/10/2009 1:37pm (4 days ago)

•No one is talking about "radicalizing" anything as Sam Webb falsely implies in his comment below.

There has not been one single suggestion by anyone in any of these comments that a way needs to be found to "radicalize" anything or anyone... so why is this being dragged out as if "radicalization" has been advocated? Another "strawman" to be ceremoniously knocked down in an attempt to evade the real problems.

We are talking about very legitimate and urgent demands resulting from a capitalist economic crisis most people do not yet understand completely.

What is being talked about are solutions to the pressing problems working people are being forced to endure in their day-to-day struggles for survival to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads and to have a job.

Could it be to Webb that such things should be placed on the back burner along with socialism and real health care reform?

What Webb is implying is that any demand of a specific nature is "radical" when nothing could be further from the truth.

What is "radical" about a Congressionally mandated, presidentially approved, moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made numerous and very specific demands: the right of African-Americans to ride as equals on public transportation; the right to attend integrated schools; his insistence to demand racist covenants in property deeds to be removed. The demand to end the war in Vietnam. His demand for public health care! King demanded--- and the civil rights movement he led--- won numerous community centers providing people with everything from free basic health care and pre-natal services to nutritional meal programs.

The focus of the Communist Party isn't as much about about "class rifts" or "multi-class coalition" building as it is about uniting the working class to mobilize and fight for a progressive agenda based upon the need to solve pressing problems.

Might Lenin or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. been among the first to call for a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions. More importantly, don't working people have the right to expect that such glaring and blatant injustices be ended by politicians claiming to represent them?

Where is there anything "radical" about single-payer universal health care or expanding the public health care programs like VA, the Indian Health Services and the National Public Health Service to now attend to the health care needs of the 47 million Americans without adequate access to health care?

This might have been a "radical" demand in 1915; however, the Soviets put an end to such notions by bringing free health care to the entire population.

In 1930, to advocate for Social Security was viewed by some as an act of insurrection second only to the 1917 Revolution and the American Medical Association called Frances Perkin's program for a public health care system "a Bolshevik plot." Who, today, except for the AMA, views socialized health care as "radical?" Not those getting health care through the VA or the Indian Health Service--- millions of Americans.

Interesting, that Sam Webb seems to think he is speaking and thinking for some kind of "mass movement" which Dan Margolis refers to as "a democratic people's coalition" when Webb can't even give the kind of leadership required to maintain one established Communist Party Club in New York City!

Webb doesn't even understand his mandate is to carry out Party building as the means to initiating and strengthening the people's movements--- especially in the cases of large sections of the working class suffering as a result of Barack Obama's and the Democrat's vile, INTENTIONAL inaction.

Is it too "radical" to suggest that Club building is on the order of the day?

I would suggest that Sam Webb study up on "The People's Front" by Earl Browder unless Webb wants to throw the baby out with the bath water and refuse to acknowledge responsibility for the child as he has done with other Marxists-Leninists he has deemed to be liabilities from 20th Century Socialism.

Let's just keep quiet and pretend we don't know that the Soviets solved the health care and housing questions not to mention unemployment... yes, to mention this would be "radicalizing" the political process... another thing conveniently pushed off beyond the low heat of even the back-burner.

But, doesn't any mention of "class" and "class-struggle" always serve to "radicalize" the political process?

I think Sam Webb makes an unfounded and probably erroneous conclusion that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not read Lenin... to think such an educated activist did not read Lenin without any proof to back up this statement is the epitome of chauvinism. Certainly King was well acquainted with the writings of American Communists and socialists... perhaps he was even acquainted with the writings of Frank Marshall Davis... without question King was well studied when it came to the thinking of Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois.

Webb also makes an erroneous conclusion--- in writing off "radicalization"--- by assuming the working class is not capable of understanding Marxism.

But, then again someone has to get Marxist ideas into the HANDS of workers and going from print to an Internet presence will never do this in the mass way required.

Webb does not know to what extent Marxist ideas will be received by workers because he does not engage in a little scientific process known as "experimentation" where you go out and test your ideas among working people.

I would suggest that Sam Webb visit with workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant to see what these workers think about "radical" concepts like public ownership to save their jobs. But, then again, talking about public ownership might not sit well with some members of the capitalist class or Barack Obama. But, then again, what other choice is there besides public ownership that will save these jobs?

Of course, Sam Webb has evaded this issue for many years now under the guise that this decision by the Ford Motor Company is a "done deal."

Perhaps Webb is spending too much time looking for guidance from Lenin in all the wrong places, in the wrong books; and not paying enough attention to the pressing problems of working people today.

How many copies of "Always Bring A Crowd" were sold at the recent AFL-CIO convention?

Or, is the suggestion about "bringing a crowd" too "radical" for Webb to contemplate... Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. seemed to have learned a little something about the need to "always bring a crowd;" perhaps a lesson learned from some of the "radicals" and Communists he worked with and along side of?

Posted by Alan L. Maki, 30/10/2009 3:31pm (4 days ago)

•I agree but let's see where we are. let's examine all the forces that are involved.

Posted by roslyn sims, 30/10/2009 9:03pm (4 days ago)

•Yes; for starters, let's carefully examine exactly who Barack Obama represents.

This was reported in the newspapers today:

"...- Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The wealthy philanthropist had a March 25 meeting with Obama in the Oval Office. The subject isn't disclosed. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gives about $200 million a year in elementary and secondary education grants and is pressing for some of the same changes that Obama wants, such as paying teachers based on student test scores.

- Labor leader and Obama supporter Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union. Twenty-two Stern visits to the White House are reflected in the records, including at least seven with Obama. Most of the visits with Obama were for group events; the subjects of most of his visits to other people weren't disclosed.

- Ed Yingling, the chief executive of the American Bankers Association and a registered lobbyist. Yingling attended at least four meetings with Obama. One meeting included several bank CEOs; the subjects of the others included credit cards and housing.

- Camden Fine, chief executive of the Independent Community Bankers of America and a Washington lobbyist for the group. Fine also had at least four Obama meetings, including the ones with bank CEOs and on housing.

- Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist, lobbyist and former House staffer. Elmendorf, whose lobbying clients include Ford Motor Co., UnitedHealth Group and Verizon, attended a June 29 Obama reception and had at least four meetings with others at the White House complex..."

This sounds like a Wall Street team to me.

The thing is, working people have a right to get the truth from the Communist Party USA and its publications.

We have a right to expect a full and complete Marxist analysis based upon a working class perspective as to "all the forces that are involved" and their class make up and allegiances.

Nor are things like this--- taken from the Boston Globe--- being published in the People's World and we need to find out why:

“It’s beyond belief to me,’’ said Robert Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. While Obama and Congress inherited “a big mess’’ from Bush, Haynes said, “there aren’t any excuses anymore. If you can’t deliver health care, and you can’t deliver jobs, and if you can’t deliver [card check legislation] , and you can’t figure out how to take care of the working people of this great city and country, you don’t deserve to stay in office.’’

We have now seen, again, the complete betrayal of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats on the health care issue.

At some point in time, someone has to raise the issue of accountability which is most definitely a "class" question.

I seriously doubt whether there are any liberals, progressives or leftists who feel they are being represented by Andy Stern when he visits the White House.

In fact, unless anyone can prove other wise, liberals, progressives and the left are completely shut out of the political process and it is these views to one degree or another most dominant among the working class.

The imperialist, reactionary Wall Street ideology of "pragmatism" completely dominates the the White House and both houses of the United States Congress.

Liberals, progressives and the left are going to have to decide whether they are going to pretend and dream they are on Obama's band wagon or they are going to have to enter the real world as it is and reassess what needs to be done because one heck of a huge political vacuum has been created in this country that the real ultra-right is just itching to fill.

Let's have an open and honest assessment of what is happening in this country with all those forces who would be most likely to begin the building of a real "people's front" in opposition to Barack Obama's and the Democrat's Wall Street agenda that has been very clearly defined as "The New Normal;" nice sounding words for no end to wars and a brutal attack on the working class and its standard of living.

Working people just can't afford the middle class luxury of political generalities; we need to discuss specific problems and their solution as the main building blocks and foundation in pulling together "the people's front."

This discussion should take place here on this PW site.

Posted by Alan L. Maki, 31/10/2009 2:10pm (3 days ago)

•so------------------------ where is the street in this polemic?

that is, while some of us have been in the mix for a long time, for decades even, the past three years --- starting with the huge immigration demos in 2006 that let everyone know that our class is in da house--- have seen the emergence of a mass movement aimed at the most reactionary sectors of the capitalist class.

what sam is trying to deal with, and history will judge whether or not he or any of us deal with this adequately, is the fact that just because we got rid if the bush regime doesn't mean we don't still have a fight on our hands. and an all-round fight concerning a whole lot of issues of which healthcare and afghanistan are two. in fact, if anything, the latest program of the communist party promised both comrades and movement that when we got rid of the ultra right, ad nauseum ------- that we'd still have the ad nauseums, i.e. the whole capitalist class to deal with. the knock-down-drag-out around healthcare is a sneak preview of the fights promised in years to come.

in fact the fight around healthcare in years to come may look like the good old days to hanker after! this was promised us in our party program --- not some "flowery beds of ease/while others fought to win the prize/ or sailed through bloody seas" [ that's from a protestant hymn, not one of labor]. and the question is not whether sam misportrayed the moment in his writings. the question is to what extent are any of us on the ground, in the midst of the battle, and trying to get a sense of direction, time of day[historical understanding], and always, always who are the players? who are our friends and who are our enemies? if we're not doing that, then all of these arguments around sam's articles amount to phrase-mongering, nit-picking, and yes! ideological bullshit.

i'm up for reading in our communist press stories about the battles fought and won-- and lost too --- and where we got it right. and where we could have done better. and above all what did we learn. the kind of stuff that properly belongs in a communist press.

Posted by gary hicks, 31/10/2009 2:58pm (3 days ago)

•Gary I like what you wrote."i'm up for reading in our communist press stories about the battles fought and won-- and lost too --- and where we got it right. and where we could have done better. and above all what did we learn. the kind of stuff that properly belongs in a communist press."Do you feel you are getting this at present?

Posted by Cassandra James, 31/10/2009 9:08pm (3 days ago)

•Ok so, let me see if I got this right.

In order to defeat Liberals we must first strengthen and elect them. We do this by forging an alliance with multiple classes, the workers, the Corporate bourgeois, and the petty bourgeois, a peoples coalition, probably headed by labor unions who will act as the vanguard of the masses.

The immediate goal is to get another new deal, which somehow swings the country in a progressive direction.

Once the country is progressive people will think communists are the shit and support them, afterwards we strike a deal with our corporate allies and get them to stop giving obama all their cash, which means we can actually win an election thereby becoming communist.

I think I might be confused.. if so please correct me.. and clarify.. how exactly will we be beating the liberals and overthrowing capitalism again?

Posted by Robert Gillis, 01/11/2009 1:03am (2 days ago)

•Oh and Gary, our friends are the working class men and women of our communities and the supporters of the communist party.

Our enemies are bourgeois men and women and those who stand against the communist party...

Communists need to be among the masses fighting the fight aye.. the communist fight. While it may appear to make more sense to sacrifice ideology to attract a bigger following.. to abandon leninism for a peoples coalitions.

While that may APPEAR to be the easiest way to achieve socialism, the reality is it is not. There is a word for that attitude.. it's called opportunism.

The reality is, the way to achieve socialism is to stick to our lofty revolutionary ideas, until the conditions are right. Until the worlds going to hell in a hand basket and the people will turn to any alternative to capitalism, and the communist party is established and their to serve as their vanguard. The reality is the road to revolution is patience and vigilance.

There is a word for that attitude to, it's called materialism, or if you prefer, Leninism.

Posted by Robert Gillis, 01/11/2009 1:17am (2 days ago)

•I would add as well that Communists aim to affect the conditions through their principled (as opposed to opportunistic) work fighting alongside the non-revolutionary masses in reform struggles, such as the struggle for universal health care. That kind of work will win us many times more allies (and more members) than cozying up to the Democrats ideologically.

Posted by Nicholas Hewko, 01/11/2009 2:11am (2 days ago)

•So, comrade Webb, the consciousness of class conflict between the workers and their capitalist exploiters "is neither Marxist, nor found in life." It is difficult to argue with that kind of Marxist analysis. Perhaps I should not have allowed myself to be confused by, e.g., such as Marx's Capital, v.1 where he wrote the following:

“Capitalist production, therefore, under its aspect of a continuous connected process or as a process of reproduction produces not only commodities, not only surplus value, but it also produces and reproduces the capitalist relation itself, on the one hand the capitalist and on the other, the labourer.”

Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by Odnovo Litso, 01/11/2009 1:44pm (2 days ago)

•You know what guys? for someone who actually had to get his hands dirty fighting against Pinochet's goons in Chile and who learned to be flexible with those who didn't fully agree with me as the goal at the time was to get rid of Pinochet, reading some of these comments reminds me slightly of catechism, or should I put this more clearly a whole lot of hyperbole and "I am holier than thou" angles. I mean literally some people here are like one step away from asking for the head of Sam, I mean at which point does that start sounding ridiculous? ALSO let's presume he might be all wrong, what are we gonna do send him to a gulag or re-education camp? come on people only time can prove whether or not Sam's approach might be the correct one, we can certainly disagree among comrades without getting so bent out of shape no? I for one appreciate his attempt to take the conversation outside of the camp of the convinced and attempt to join the masses in a real way not a book one.

I personally have some issues with the idea of cozying up to the democratic machine and would at least want to see the party being VERY upfront about that. But besides that like I said earlier I think what Sam is doing is inviting a discussion on how to tactically approach this, not an inquisition on him for lack of "ideological purity" like some seem hell bent on starting. Ultimately I am with Gary Hicks when he shows his frustration with all this nit picking and phrase mongering. While some Marxists puritans (which always kinda scared me considering that my limited knowledge of Marx indicates that we in fact should be the opposite) sit on top of a this strange castle like monks imparting wisdom, that ultimately has so very little to do with the reality I find on the ground it is disturbing to me. I am all for finding ways to connect with as many folks as possible.

I see the world as a burning house and here we are arguing about how to place the furniture. Let's kill the fire first and then my hyper ideological friends can have the floor while I go grab me a beer for a job well done.

Posted by Mikhail, 01/11/2009 11:50pm (1 day ago)


"ALSO let's presume he might be all wrong, what are we gonna do send him to a gulag or re-education camp? "

If his revisionism turned into a desperate and violent act of counter revolution, then yes, we would probably send him to a gulag. There will be resistance to socialism, and there will be a dictatorship of the proletariat engineered to crush said resistance. sorry sam.

Mind you I agree entirely, only time will tell who is right and who is wrong, and we need to be among the masses. That does not mean however that we are left with a choice of revisionism among the masses or Leninism on the interwebz.

You see each of us are supposed to be what you would call a 'cadre'. We are to be simultaneously in the book AND amongst the masses. Even if that means we aren't as popular at first. That's why they call it party BUILDING as opposed to party POLISHING or some such nonsense.

Like you I also see a great rift in the communist movement, but in these particular conditions, I do not feel such a rift is necessarily harmful. Lenin too found himself on 1 side of such a rift, when his Bolsheviks broke away from the Social Democrats.

In 'What is to be Done?' Lenin pointed out that he always welcomes an alliance with the other left wing forces, when it comes to a goal they both share.. such as in your case, eliminating the fascist Pinochet. But his party did not always feel that the policy of the opportunists was appropriate, and so in most cases would rather go his own way.

As we all know Lenin's break from the 'people's coalition' of his day, was far from being a tragedy for the working people of Russia.

This does not mean I am entirely on board with the so called 'ideological puritans' however. As Lenin chose to cut off his ties with his coalition, and spoke out against either party clinging at the other when clearly the circumstances demand that they both just go their own way. I do get the feel that some folks are still under the impression that they can somehow convince Webb, and the CPUSA leadership to reverse course. Or that some Browder style coup is possible against a far stronger revisionist foe and with a far weaker leadership and no Stalin to rush to their defense. Perhaps I'm just not as optimistic as I should be, but it feels some really, for lack of a better word, useful, Marxist-Leninists within the party are wasting their breath on this issue.

Posted by Robert Gillis, 02/11/2009 3:10am (1 day ago)

•Unfortunately I'm quite long winded, and am double posting (again), to respond in brief to this:

"I see the world as a burning house and here we are arguing about how to place the furniture. Let's kill the fire first and then my hyper ideological friends can have the floor while I go grab me a beer for a job well done."

I point out this analogy is flawed. You see, we are not arguing over how to place the furniture.. ok well.. we are, but that is not the issue at hand here.

This debate is in fact about how to put out the fire. You see on one hand you have Mr. Webb who having noted the fire, looks into the distance and points to a well.. not too far out, and says; 'There! That is how we will put out the fire!'

Us Marxists-Leninists on the other hand have been to that well, and we know it to be dry. Beyond the well however there is a stream, a water supply we know will never run out. The night is blinding, but we know it is there... we've seen the maps, you see?

The argument therefore is not over furniture, but who will come with us, into the night, to increase the amount of water with which we will return, and hence decrease the time required to put out the blaze. And who will go with webb, to the dry well.. and be left to sit on their asses till we return with the first haul, or to just sit on their asses the whole time in hopes the whole thing is goes up so they can collect the insurance payment.

Posted by Robert Gillis, 02/11/2009 3:27am (1 day ago)

•The fact is, none of the needed work on reform struggles is happening under Webb's leadership. We had and likely still have a majority of US workers saying they support single-payer health care reform. The Party should have at least tried to tap into the potential energy there; that seems like a no-brainer to me. Instead, we got fed some goofy line about how we need to "support both single-payer and the public option" to avoid "splitting the health reform movement" (and in reality ended up supporting the public option only). Furthermore, when it came to the public option, we got exactly zero critical analysis of the reform proposals working their way through Congress from the Party press, despite the fact that some of these bills contained and continue to contain reactionary provisions like "partial coverage" and mandated purchasing of insurance, provisions that would harm working people.
The fact is, the Webb approach isn't an approach. What is the Party line on peace and health care? What's the plan for working with/within the Democratic Party? How is the Party connecting with the "people's coalition"? Who are our partners in this coalition and how are we working with them? How do our clubs plug into all this? These questions have yet to be answered; what we get from the leadership is vague talk about "ebbs and flows of mass struggle" and hyperbolic straw man attacks on "some on the left".
This isn't about some rarefied theoretical discussion or proper Marxist-Leninist phraseology; it's about actually doing the work of a Communist Party. In any case, there is a place both for reform and compromise AND correct theory and ideology in a healthy Communist Party. Both are (or should be) equally important to Communists.

Posted by Nicholas Hewko, 02/11/2009 3:28am (1 day ago)

•reply to cassandra james----------- i get varying amounts of what i have called for in our communist press. but given what our situation is, what we're putting out isn't nearly adequate. but then, we're never in a static situation and so the demand for excellence in our journalism is always heightened. i've been reading the in its varied forms for nearly forty years, and i can say that we've come a long distance in understanding how to connect with our people, our working class. but i'm a communist, so by definition i'm never satisfied. by the way, have you considered writing for the paper? we need all hands on deck at this time.

Posted by gary hicks, 02/11/2009 3:30am (1 day ago)

•To Gary Hicks and all. Gary you ask if I write for the PW. I am writing for it right now. I have distributed my share of Daily Worlds, People's Weekly World where I work and had discussion groups in my home with my friends and neighbors over the years. I have posted articles from our papers on my union's bulletin boards. I have also contributed what I could financially to our publications on occassion. I don't think writing for the paper is the real issue here. The issue here is are we allowing all viewpoints within our Communist family to be shared through our press and publications. When I read the type of attacks I am reading here against those expressing what I consider to be working class communist views I do not feel like participating. Indirectly I have been attacked here in these comments because I have published the views of one of the writers who I personally know very well. We can talk in generalities until the last factory in Detroit is shuttered and left in a pile of rubble. I noticed a comment in the "Letters" section by my friend who I am almost afraid to name because I might be attacked too. I am reposting the comments and the letter responded to right here because I think we have a perfect example of just the kind of discussion needed to take place if we are going to do as Mikhail and others suggest. The "process might be ragged" but this is no excuse for us to get sloppy in our analysis and to let generalities marginalize us. To Bruce Bostick I will say for the many years I have known Alan Maki and worked with him he has never been known to be a "cliche Marxist" and his comments in this discussion prove this as does his response to the letter and both follow. I would very much like to hear back from Bruce Bostick his response to this letter and the comment:

Unity building

Can we hope that Juan Lopez's terrific article "Obama's peace prize: a wise and timely decision" will jog us all - new left, old left, non left - to move us ahead in our work to build a coalition strong enough to force Congress and the national administration to support Obama's Nobel Prize vision?

Lopez's article makes crystal clear the fact that criticism for delays and in-fighting must not concentrate on Obama, who cannot simply wave a wand to bring about peace, health care and education reform. Only a strong, more organized and more focused movement can convince Congress and the administration that these are the demands of a whole people.

Had the left been more involved within the pre-2008 electoral struggles, we all would now be in a stronger position to fight for a real, broad program.

But we do have a broad call for such a program, not yet strongly organized and focused. The talk is there, but not yet enough organization and experience. Our essential efforts must concentrate on becoming one of the catalysts for such organization, for inter communication and development of a common program among the varied and isolated pro-Obama formations.

Fortunately, within this broad call for change, the labor movement has functioned as a center which has led the fight to build an organized coalition including the Democratic Party and its allies. Yet sectors within the left have not been a force within this coalition because of tendencies to boycott anything with a Democratic Party tinge. Now we must enter into this coalition whole-heartedly to save us from the acute dangers of a right-wing take-over. This path offers us the avenue which will restore hope and generate activity to move us on the path.

I would argue that we readers of the PW, and their contacts, can begin the job of seeking inter-communication between groups on how to develop tactics which encourage unity and common action.

The labor movement has consistently sought to move the Democratic Party and its allies to more progressive positions. Can we talk about how to develop an active conscious alliance of pro-Obama groups with labor? Through our history, the left has accepted the necessity of working directly with groups not yet ready for socialism, generating the action and the experience which bring the demand for substantive change into being.

Billie Wachter

San Jose CA

Comment from Alan Maki.

The letter entitled "Unity building" asks the question:

"Can we talk about how to develop an active conscious alliance of pro-Obama groups with labor?"

Maybe we need to ask a question in another way:

Is Barack Obama the basis upon which "unity" can--- or should--- be built? What will such "unity" attain in the way of reforms needed to solve the problems of working people?

In the larger scheme of things, Barack Obama--- at least his Wall Street agenda aimed at establishing "the new normal"--- has very little support among working people... I kind of doubt whether an "alliance of pro-Obama groups with labor" is capable of winning anything.

In fact, other than the "Progressives for Obama" what other pro-Obama groups are there?

Is the Communist Party USA a "pro-Obama group?"

Does anyone have a list of "pro-Obama groups" they can post here that we can work from?

There are quite a few groups on the left from the Trotskyites to the anarchists who do foolishly "boycott" the Democratic Party as pointed out. But, who cares about them? They have never been a part of any kind of "people's fronts." There are over 300 million people in this country; these groups are but a small minority with little influence when it comes to anything.

However, does the Communist Party have a program that can be distributed among Democrats with the aim being to build unity around specific solutions to problems? Not having such a program is itself a form of "boycott" of the Democratic Party.

Now, how about getting together some resolutions on peace, health care, "greening" the economy and climate change, the minimum wage, affirmative action and so forth that can be taken to all kinds of organizations so we can involve peole in the political process through their involvement in Democratic Party precinct caucuses, conventions, etc. Or, challenge these pro-war, anti-health care reform Democrats in nominating conventions, primaries and even run against them as "independents" in the General Elections.

As an example; here is a resolution we submitted to precinct caucuses (in a number of caucuses this resolution was passed unanimously) of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party:

"Resolution 0n the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant/Hydro Dam and 2,000 Union Jobs

"Whereas Ford Motor Company has stated its intent to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, sell the hydro dam to a foreign corporation, and displace two-thousand workers in the near future without consultation from the workers, the community, or local and state governments;

"Whereas this plant, its operations, and the hydro dam have received continued support from every level of government including tax-payer funding, tax-breaks and tax abatements under promises to maintain manufacturing operations and with assurances workers would have job security in St. Paul, Minnesota;

Therefore, be it resolved, the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party is for public ownership being used to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, hydro dam, and two-thousand jobs."

Again, I come back to the question: What is the basis of unity? Support for Barack Obama or solving the problems of working people? Or a combination of the two?

What is the Communist Party's "line" on working in the Democratic Party? And, what about political independence from the Democratic Party?

There seems to be some kind of "support the lesser evil" approach that has taken hold on the basis that failing to support this position some how invites reaction to assert itself. Is this true? Is there any other country in the world where liberals, progressives and the left are so tied to capitalist parties out of some kind of "fear of the ultra-right?"

Really, come on now; as long as we have elections in this country yet don't we have a right and responsibility to run Communists and independents, etc. for public office--- including in opposition to Barack Obama and the Democrats even while working with, and within, the Democratic Party?

But, does it serve any purpose to organize "unity" on the basis of support for Barack Obama?

If Barack Obama is, in fact, the leader of the "democratic people's front" as some are claiming this would make perfect sense.

But, we all know Barack Obama is no such "leader" of this kind. Obama is not liberal. Obama is not progressive. Obama is definitely not a socialist of any variety. But, more important, Barack Obama does not support any kind of liberal, progressive or even an agenda friendly to working people... he definitely is not for peace. Barack Obama refuses to even lift a finger or raise his eloquent voice on behalf of a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. And Obama killed single-payer universal health care.

As someone quite deeply involved in the Democratic Party I have no reason to encourage or promote any kind of unity around Barack Obama.

My reason for working in the Democratic Party is to advance issues of importance to working people and for peace; not to build the Democratic Party or to build support for Obama.

And furthermore, there are a lot of people thoroughly fed up with the Democratic Party who are working on issues in a way that will help bring forward a progressive agenda; most of these people want nothing to do with supporting Obama... this does not mean these people are obstacles to unity around a progressive agenda.

By the way, it wouldn't hurt to have a political commission capable of giving some direction to working in the Democratic Party and organizations like the Campaign for America's Future and we shouldn't be shy or afraid to state our aims and goals very openly within any of these kinds of organizations.

Good coalition building is fostered only when all coalition partners feel comfortable bringing their views and perspectives to the table.

The letter writer states:

"Only a strong, more organized and more focused movement can convince Congress and the administration that these are the demands of a whole people."

I don't think it is all that clear what "demands" are being written about here. Let's have them spelled out very clearly and thoroughly so we know we are on the same page since there doesn't seem to be a "Party line" articulating such demands.

As for people "boycotting" the Democratic Party; I would suggest that in most cases it would be more appropriate to say that the Democratic Party has very effectively boycotted the requirements and needs of working people and this is why so few people are involved in the Democratic Party. In fact, I have seen time and time again where people bring their problems and concerns to the Democratic Party all enthused about the possibility getting help--- or at least a little empathy--- and they leave in tears.

Posted by Cassandra James, 02/11/2009 10:02am (1 day ago)

•A clarification is necessary, RE: "Communists need to be among the masses fighting the fight aye.. the communist fight. While it may appear to make more sense to sacrifice ideology to attract a bigger following.. to abandon leninism for a peoples coalitions."

If this lively interesting discussion thread an Sam Webb's article is to get the movement for a popular front and socialism any further ahead we need to re-focus just what we are discussing. The writer of the above excerpt has written as if the cpusa has actually'abandoned leninism ' to win a bigger coalition. But in my discussions with a couple leading people in the American party no one has stated they are in favor of abandoning leninism. In fact, when pressed, I have been told by two prominent members who are on board with Sam Webb's perspective that they believe that cpusa is following a leninist line.

So perhaps we need to sharpen the focus of this thread?
Isn't the disagreement about which interpretation of a marxist-leninist perspective on the present struggles is principled and appropriate? I think this re-focusing of the question is necessary as long as both sides claim to share the same basic starting point.

If I am mistaken about the position the cpusa leadership claims to be taking I would also request a clarification on that question.

Posted by Andrew Taylor, 02/11/2009 11:04am (23 hours ago)

•I don't doubt that Party leaders believe that they are upholding a Leninist line. At the core of this disagreement are, as I see it, two fundamental concerns:
First, that the Party leadership has not provided any specific plan of action for supporting reform struggles such as health care, struggles which they continually insist should be our top priority. Judging by the actions of the leadership, they seem to believe that "support the President" is the only way carry out reform struggles, despite evidence to the contrary; there is no discussion of building an independent movement to fight for specific reforms. Historically, independent movements have been the most effective democratic forces for progressive reform.
Second, any comrade who holds views to the left of the leadership is ignored, dismissed and/or attacked with "some on the left" straw man arguments in the press. Public Party discussions are censored to exclude left criticism of the leadership, with the justification being "we shouldn't discuss this in public". Internal Party discussions are dominated by the leadership's view, with critics regularly attacked or marginalized. The most vital concern seems to be agreement with the leadership; our Economics Committee is run by a Party member in name, but a CoC member in fact.

Posted by Nicholas Hewko, 02/11/2009 1:45pm (21 hours ago)

•"The writer of the above excerpt has written as if the cpusa has actually'abandoned leninism ' to win a bigger coalition. But in my discussions with a couple leading people in the American party no one has stated they are in favor of abandoning leninism. In fact, when pressed, I have been told by two prominent members who are on board with Sam Webb's perspective that they believe that cpusa is following a leninist line."

No one said that all those in the CPUSA leadership would not claim to be following Leninism.

I have no doubt that some of these folks 'Think' they are following the Leninist line. Nor do I have any doubt that the teabaggers 'Think' that less government will make people more prosperous.

My criticism has nothing to do with what they think, it has to do with what they have actually done. Which is abandoned Leninism.

Why? I don't know.. perhaps they just don't know what Leninism is, or perhaps they just don't fully understand how materialism works. The effect is all the same.

Furthermore, how one 'interprets' Leninism is not really a question we need to adress. You see Lenin, and Marx are quite clear... they are not cryptic, there is no hidden code or message. The claim that there is many different ways of 'interpreting' Marxism is just a means of departing from it. It's just one more way in which people revise the concepts presented by Marx and Lenin, without actually rejecting Leninism altogether.

Posted by , 02/11/2009 7:20pm (15 hours ago)

•I stumbled on this website by accident. I can't believe what I am reading. This is a marvelous and wonderful discussion. I am telling my friends to check it out. I am just looking into socialism.

Regina Lewis
Memphis TN

Posted by Regina Lewis, 02/11/2009 10:27pm (12 hours ago)

•I wish to correct my earlier statement on the Party's Economics Commission. Everyone involved with that body is a Party member; I can only plead earlier ignorance of this fact. However, certain tendencies within the EC have taken a "hard-line" against Marxism-Leninism in favor of CoC-style social democracy.

Posted by Nicholas Hewko, 03/11/2009 1:48am (9 hours ago)

•i can only speak for myself here[tho i suspect that this might not be true]-------------

it's probably time for cloture on this thread of conversation. comrades who have been in on this conversation have made their point--in some cases more than made their point. no one has proven their point, despite their best efforts.

the most positive result of this discussion thread is that it has brought out some positive and negative examples of how not to conduct a polemic. this is of no small importance in a time where, in the next few months, we're going to have one of the more important party conventions, if not the most important convention, in a long time. and there will be a preconvention discussion period that will take place in a combination of club meetings and district conventions. the discussions of the past few days are an example, again both positive and negative, about how not to behave during those preconvention discussions.

anyway, i'm outta here on this thread. isuspect that we all need to get back to what we were doing before our attention was drawn to sam's article. and we were doing-------what?

Posted by gary hicks, 03/11/2009 5:08am (5 hours ago)

•Gary hicks said, "i suspect that we all need to get back to what we were doing before our attention was drawn to sam's article"

I have been reading these comments for days without making any comment.

Didn't sam webb write this article intending for people's attention to be drawn to it with their comments made?

Why should anyone write anything if its not going to be talked about?

I work with communists in the peace movement but i'm not a member of the communist party. Where does putting this type of discussion off for preconvention discussion and club meetings leave all the people like me.

If this article by sam webb was not intended for public discussion why was it placed here and not in some kind of internal organ but then why would there be anything the communist party doesn't want everyone to read and talk about?

I can understand from reading 'a ragged process' where some people might be uncomfortable with the main leader of the communist party holding these kinds of opinions running contrary to what people working for peace and social justice might expect from him.

Most people I know in the peace movement think obama is tied in some way to the military\industrial complex. sam webb is insinuating that people like me don't understand the importance of supporting obama. lots of us don't understand how he can support obama.

My understanding is rightwing ideology is prowar ideology. obama has not repudiated war he makes wars.

Laura Helder Superior WI

Posted by Laura, 03/11/2009 10:27am (7 mins ago)

•I 'm very proud of Laura Helder from Superior WI. Here's a lesson to all us who are Communists: it took a non-communist ally in the Peace movement to speak up and say 'no' to Gary Hicks suggestion that the Reds shut up and shut down this unusually democratic forum and go back into our (yet thriving) pathological, reflexive passive-aggressive political culture.

No Garry, I understand if some people are through with a thread at any given point for any particular personal reason, but please don't shut down a valuable discussion that is real bottom-up democratic dialog! That sort of pitch strikes the sickest chord in the communist soul: does anyone agree with me and Laura Helder from Superior? Say Amen somebody?

Andy Taylor, a Party Member in Winnipeg; formerly of Allen County, Ohio

Posted by Andrew Taylor, 03/11/2009 5:22pm (19 hours ago)

•[reply to laura helder in brackets -----------gh]

Gary hicks said, "i suspect that we all need to get back to what we were doing before our attention was drawn to sam's article" [that's not all i said]

I have been reading these comments for days without making any comment.

Didn't sam webb write this article intending for people's attention to be drawn to it with their comments made?

[ i'm sure he did. the commentary devices on this website have been set up for precisely this purpose. but don't you find it strange that this discussion has been dominated by a few people, yours truly included? and the testosterone in some of these comments can be cut through with a straight-razor!]

Why should anyone write anything if its not going to be talked about?
[see above]

I work with communists in the peace movement but i'm not a member of the communist party. Where does putting this type of discussion off for preconvention discussion and club meetings leave all the people like me.
[i suspect that lots of the preconvention discussion will take place on this website. in my nearly four decades with the cpusa, i've not seen anyone outside of the party-- including members of other political parties and organizations who love to give us a run for our ideological money--deprived of being privy to things. after all, this is not czarist russia, or jim crow segregated south, or pinkerton spy-dominated northern industry of the 30s and 40s. at least not at this moment.]

If this article by sam webb was not intended for public discussion why was it placed here and not in some kind of internal organ but then why would there be anything the communist party doesn't want everyone to read and talk about?
[ again see above. btw you asked this question 3 times thus far]

I can understand from reading 'a ragged process' where some people might be uncomfortable with the main leader of the communist party holding these kinds of opinions running contrary to what people working for peace and social justice might expect from him.

[so can i. i've knitted my brows over things coming from sam's pen in past years. and i've communicated these things to him. but i also take sharp note that "ragged process" has come to mean something else these past few days of discussion. and trust me, it's not healthy either for the party or for the antiwar and other movements by which we push forth our agenda for peace, justice, equality, and socialism. and i think we can speak to each other and not at each other.]

Most people I know in the peace movement think obama is tied in some way to the military\industrial complex.

[ yup. he's the commander in chief of the armed forces. it comes with the job according to the constitution, the last time i checked. he's also the ceo of what marx called "the executive committee of the bourgeoisie,i.e. his cabinet --- and therefore the federal government. we all knew this when we voted for him. no? so why are we feigning shock and anger now? it is because we are part of a left that has yet to learn how to engage with numbers far beyond our collective ranks e.g. just those who voted for obama alone, let alone those who sat out the election ---- and even those to whom we'd loke to say: if you're a conservative, let's talk about what you want to conserve. we might even halfway agree.]

sam webb is insinuating that people like me don't understand the importance of supporting obama. lots of us don't understand how he can support obama.

[ it's not insinuation. and it's not about understanding about how sam or any of us can support obama. it's more about how we can support ourselves and build our forces. even barack obama has made this clear. he has told us several times that he can only get past the boys and girls on k street, wall street, and the pentagon to the extent that we grow as a force to be reckoned with.]

My understanding is rightwing ideology is prowar ideology. obama has not repudiated war he makes wars.

[yup. stuck between the rock and the hard place:

when the leaders speak of peace, the common folk
know that war is coming
and when the leaders curse war, the mobilization order
has already been written
---bertolt brecht

it's on us to make it otherwise. are we up to the task? the stakes are high now.]

Posted by gary hicks, 03/11/2009 5:23pm (19 hours ago)

•reply to andy in winnipeg: amen.

i may have been too eager to shut down some negativity. but then again, let's not have it go on forever, and ever, and ever ------------

at some point it might be useful for sam to weigh in on his own article.

Posted by gary hicks, 03/11/2009 7:02pm (17 hours ago)

•As a non-member of the CP but independent socialist and avid reader of PW I find the airing of internal Party matters on this comment thread bewildering. Isn't PW targeting a broader audience than the dues paying members of the party that sponsors it? Internal disagreements on Party policy should be conducted over the appropriate forum in my humble opinion. For what it is worth I think Sam Webb is one of the only people of the far left able to articulate the appropriate mood of the period and the response to it. His writing is at once informative and engaging. Keep up the good work Sam and PW!

Posted by Rick, 03/11/2009 10:21pm (14 hours ago)

•Re: 'Rick' "Internal disagreements on Party policy should be conducted over the appropriate forum in my humble opinion".

In political cultures that have inherited and kept up top-down political cultures of passivity, deference
and exclusion of dissent, "appropriate forums" are few and far between.

Research the Party Press in diff countries after the 'Khrushchev Revelations' following the CPSU 20th Party Congress in 1956. Democracy broke out. That was indeed a renewal for socialism in many CP's.

Posted by Andrew Taylor, 03/11/2009 11:44pm (12 hours ago)

•Umm I don't think anybody is stopping anybody from saying anything here, as the many long winded posts I have read here would tend to prove Andrew. I just have a feeling that Gary just got sick of the testosterone thrown about. Also if you are going to talk about democracy I certainly hope you mean that for those of us who still support comrade Webb as well no?

Posted by Mikhail, 04/11/2009 1:28am (11 hours ago)

•This discussion is not about "supporting comrade Webb" or supporting Barack Obama.

One could write an entire book about every single paragraph in Sam Webb's article, "A ragged process" explaining not only how his formulations are anti-Marxist but detrimental to building working class unity in response to the problems working people are experiencing.

Antonio Gramsci liked to pose the same question in many different ways which I think is a good idea, too--- especially in a situation like this. Because the more ways you pose questions the more you open up discussion. The more people drawn into a discussion the more likely it is solutions to problems will be found.

If Sam Webb does not want to state specifically what the issues are that working people would bring forward in such a coalition... why not ask the same question another way:

What issues are the middle class, small business people and certain sections of monopoly bringing forward at this time which working people would want to work in coalition with them to achieve?

Note: I did not ask what issues "might" these other classes bring forward that working people would be inclined to work in common with them; I am asking what are these classes bringing forward right now that working people would want to work together with these other classes on?

I can't think of any; perhaps Sam can enlighten us all.

We are not living in the 1930's where small family farmers and small business people recognized that if they were going to survive they would have to cast their lot with the working class led "people's front;" and many did... they did this in fighting foreclosures and evictions in demanding relief in the form of a government moratorium. They joined the fight for peace. They joined the fight against racist lynchings and Jim Crow. And many from the very, very small middle class joined with "the people's front."

Today, how often does one find farmers, middle class or small business people willing to work with the unions to accomplish anything? Is there any "potential" to bring the middle class, the farmers, the small business people into any kind of coalition or "people's front" about anything? Perhaps on peace and climate change, but, where do you find the middle class or small business people working with labor on these issues. In every situation where such collaboration has begun, as soon as working people begin to seek out solutions to their problems the middle class and small business people run... not left; but right.

How do we resolve this problem?

Is there a way to "finesse" our way around this problem as working people advance their very modest and legitimate demands for real living wages, for real progressive health care reform, for public child care centers, for increases in Social Security, SSI, welfare and unemployment compensation. The VA and Indian Health Service are both severely underfunded and kids are going to school hungry and they can't even get one decent meal in school for free.

In fact, speaking of the middle class; it has been mostly the middle class which has done most of Barack Obama's dirty work for him in keeping--- and moving--- the Democratic Party to the right of the majority of those voting Democrat and for Obama. Health care is one example. The wars, another. EFCA--- card check--- another. Moratoriums on home foreclosures and evictions, another... and the list goes on.

Of the 13 million e-mail addresses "Organizing for America" has collected, over 90% are from the middle class; the middle class, as distinct from the working class.

The middle class today identifies with Wall Street almost exclusively.

The middle class just loves Barack Obama's technique of sucking in working people by saying one thing while preparing to do just the opposite--- this is middle class politics at its finest--- and, of course, Wall Street just loves it.

In fact, every class, except for the working class, is represented by a political party in the United States and we are supposed to continue to rely on the Democrats.

In Canada no one fears the right to the extent that anyone would suggest that the New Democratic Party should withdraw from the political scene because the Liberals would easily be able to replace the reactionary government in power there. Stephen Harper is scarier than George Bush, Sara Palin and John McCain combined.

Is Sam Webb or anyone else being attacked here? I don't see it. Sam Webb, by his very own admission is intent in taking the CPUSA in a new direction--- and if we believe Rick Nagin--- giving it a new name.

I don't see or hear one single person complaining or raising an eye-brow that Rick Nagin took the campaign to change the Party's name to Cleveland voters rather than to members of the Communist Party who have paid his wages.

It is only right that a "leader" does the convincing. That this leader responds to the specific questions being raised in opposition to his/her position in the same forum where the ideas have been published.

There is even a button to e-mail the article to others.

There is another button to "print." This is an interesting function seeing as how a printed Communist Party newspaper is no longer needed.

An article has been written and posted here for everyone to read. A comment section is provided. One assumes that when anyone posts in this manner--- especially on the Internet--- that the ideas embodied in the article are all fair game from any quarter. Haven't we been told this is the greatness of the new digital age? More participation, not less.

Would it be easier to break down what has been written and take it paragraph by paragraph if this will make it more to the liking of Sam Webb to respond? If this is what he wants to do, he should say so. But, since he is the one who has decided to set a new course--- and it seems we only get what he intends to do in piecemeal fashion--- he should say so.

Now, I haven't seen any other article get this kind of attention in a very long time from so many people.

Why would anyone want to end discussion before Sam Webb weighs in with his comments... not comments aimed at what he says are the arguments against his positions but the actual arguments being brought forward.

If the length of comments is a concern, well maybe Sam Webb should re-assess his own thinking if this is a concern to him or anyone else.

Does it make any difference if these posts go on for the next year? Are we going to run out of space? Is it taking too much ink and paper?

I notice Sam Webb continued this discussion onto someone else's blog and he wasn't in the least concerned with the length of his comment.

The discussion of this article is now crossing many borders and even oceans... why? Why are so many people concerned with what Sam Webb has written here? This is another question we might want to examine in relation to this artcle.

Sam Webb and every communist should be happy this article has attracted so much attention... isn't that why Communists state their opinions?

Communist Parties have been known to grow rapidly as a result of such discussions.

When all is said and done, Communist parties do not belong to the groups who can control and manipulate them at any given time... Communist parties are the property of the working class.

We have a problem with this article because for all intents and purposes--- what it all boils down to--- it is rejecting the fact that there is a class struggle which needs to be considered in talking about "a proper strategy and a sense of process."

In every single paragraph we see the evasion of the class struggle and the author admits this is his intent.

Barack Obama's "brilliance" is not the issue. What class this highly intelligent and brilliant politician is serving is the issue. No doubt the ruling class would rather rule with someone smart and intelligent at the helm like Barack Obama than dumb like a Gerald Ford or George W. Bush... especially when trying to sell mandatory health insurance policies.

Even if one were to assume--- and I don't--- that Barack Obama was brought to power, even in part, on some kind of "broad wings of a people's coalition;" one has to ask why the Communist Party's present leadership has been trying to help clip those "broad wings" so this massive movement can't get off the ground... choosing to build "unity" around support for Barack Obama rather than around the basic issues of importance to helping working people cope with the problems of everyday living they are now forced to endure and being coerced and pressured into accepting "the new normal;" or, is "the new normal" just something the leader of the CPUSA just chose--- on a whim--- to write about?

Common sense tells us that when Barack Obama is bringing out tens of thousands of people you leaflet these venues educating the people; not stand around crying tears of joy... too many tears is going to make the ink on the leaflets run and people won't be able to read the leaflets.

No working class in any country has ever been able to fight back against capital without a strong Communist Party heading up a people's front... history of the working class movement has repeatedly demonstrated this... over and over and over again.

In this article, is Sam Webb bowing to Barack Obama's brilliance, and acquiescing to Barack Obama's and the Democrat's Wall Street agenda without a fight the same way the Democrats did with George Bush?

Posted by Alan L. Maki, 04/11/2009 3:47am (8 hours ago)

Oy. Vey.

•RE: Mikhail and "testosterone"

Mikhail said:"Umm I don't think anybody is stopping anybody from saying anything here, as the many long winded posts I have read here would tend to prove Andrew. I just have a feeling that Gary just got sick of the testosterone thrown about. Also if you are going to talk about democracy I certainly hope you mean that for those of us who still support comrade Webb as well no?"

Why does any one infer based on my comments here that I do not support Sam Webb? Unless Mikhail actually suggests that my principled arguments for continuing the democratic forum is in itself proof of opposition to comrade Webb?

Mikhail, I have not 'thrown around' any 'testosterone' or criticized any one. I have asked on behalf of the working-class that old-style, authoritarian suggestions for stopping the online thread be re-considered. In this sense I am a true 'new times' small d democrat.


Posted by Andrew Taylor, 04/11/2009 10:13am (2 hours ago)

Oy. Vey. How much longer will this go on?

•Maybe the comments need less testosterone and more estrogen.

From: M-L Today

They Said:

Written by Sam Webb:

"The notion of the capitalist class on the one side and the working class on the other may sound "radical," but it is neither Marxist, nor found in life and politics. Pure forms exist in high theory, but nowhere else."

Sam Webb, CPUSA National Chair Oct 29, 2009 People's World, "A Ragged Process,"

Editor's note: A debate thread on Webb's article has begun at the blog Willamette Reds. It includes a comment on his remarkable assertions about what is Marxist and what is not by MLToday's Zoltan Zigedy. See and here

October 30, 2009
Zoltan Zigedy Responds To Us And Sam Webb

We continue to receive responses to our postings below on revisionism, Marxism and Sam Webb's latest commentary. Here is one from Zoltan Ziggedy:

It’s a curious thing about revisionism: once it takes root, it continues unabated - inexorably towards further compromise and dilution - even in the face of stubborn, contrary facts. This was the case with Earl Browder who devised a new “Communist” strategy in the midst of an all-class war against fascism, a strategy that he doggedly and dogmatically clung to even when alarming signs of a new ruling class offensive were apparent to all at the end of World War II.

Similarly, Sam Webb has dug his heels in, defending and even expanding, his class-compromising views on the path that Communists should take. Maybe its now time to anoint this path with its own name: Webbism.

Webb sees the Obama election, as Browder saw the World War II anti-fascist alliance, as a historic marker, a qualitative turning point. “It constituted”, he maintains, “a serious setback for neoliberalism in both its conservative and liberal skin.” It did nothing of the sort.

Webb confuses, willingly or not, a rejection of Bush’s rule on the part of the US electorate with a sea change in the dominant ideology. Given that both Parties have thoroughly absorbed the basics of neo-liberalism – free markets, the primacy of the private sector, and minimal regulation – the notion that a regime change counts as “a serious setback” for the reigning ideology is pure fantasy. Certainly Obama’s election creates more favorable conditions for waging a concerted struggle against neo-liberalism. But Webb doesn’t want to lead or even join that struggle. With nearly a decade of railing against the rule of the “ultra-right”, Webb treads water when the tide begins to turn, clinging to the leaky vessels of the Democratic Party and mainstream trade union leadership. He is content to not only defer to their course, but defend that course against any more challenging alternative.

“The notion of the capitalist class on the one side and the working class on the other may sound ‘radical’,” he asserts, “but it is neither Marxist, nor found in life and politics.” This surprising remark stands glaringly at odds with the words of the first Marxists, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, who wrote in the opening to the Communist Manifesto: “Freeman and slave, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in a constant opposition to one another… Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie possesses, however, this distinctive feature: It has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other – bourgeoisie and proletariat.” This is the Marxism of the Communist tradition, but not the “Marxism” of Sam Webb.

Webb’s quotes of Lenin’s work are telling. He attempts to bolster his argument for collaborating uncritically with capitalist forces by noting that Lenin urged the exploitation of differences within the ruling class and the necessity of compromise with allies: “to refuse beforehand to maneuver, to utilize the conflict of interests (even though only temporary) among one's enemies, to refuse to temporize and compromise with possible (even though transitory, unstable, vacillating and conditional) allies - is this not ridiculous in the extreme?” It is important to distinguish between exploiting differences between enemies and compromising with allies – a distinction that Webb seems not to grasp. Monopoly capital and its henchmen are not allies, but enemies. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party (those who support single-payer, oppose the war, etc), most African-American leaders, some small business groups, etc. are potential allies, “though transitory, unstable, vacillating and conditional”.

Webb fails to reveal the target of Lenin’s polemic in this quote from “Left-Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder: it is not principled Communists who recognize “the absolute necessity of a separate, independent, strictly class party”, as Lenin wrote, but those who refuse to work in “reactionary” trade unions or participate in parliamentary activities.

Lenin closes his pamphlet with the following emphatic statement: “The immediate task that confronts the class-conscious vanguard of the international labour movement, i.e., the Communist Parties… is to lead the broad masses (now, for the most part, slumbering, apathetic, hidebound, inert and dormant) to their new position, or, rather, to be able to lead not only their own party, but also these masses in their approach, their transition to the new position.”[Lenin’s emphasis].

In the context of warning about left-wing excesses, Lenin, calculatedly and deliberately, reminds the reader of “the first historic task” of Communist Parties. Sam Webb, willfully or inadvertently, retreats from this imperative, consigning a subordinate role to the CPUSA, a role of subservience and apology for the lesser of two evils.

Zoltan Zigedy

Posted by Red Ruby, 04/11/2009 1:48pm (3 days ago)

•My dad also used to tell us kids to answer each other when we were talked to. I always wondered why he demanded this. Shortly before he passed away I asked him. He said that when family members don't respond to each other it makes for an unhappy family. He also said it was not polite to respond when someone asks you a question. I found in raising three kids my dad was right.

I hate not getting a response from a politician when I write.

I read A ragged process and each of the comments. I see where Sam Webb has responded on another blog.

To me it seems just plain rude he has not responded to questions and comments about his article right here where he published his thoughts.

Is there an organized way to effectively tell politicians they won't get our votes if they won't do what we want?

I am enraged the way single-payer universal health care has been quashed by the Democrats. I would never again consider voting for Obama. I can't believe I was taken in by him.

Gilbert, Minnesota

Posted by Laurel Swenson, 06/11/2009 9:36am (1 day ago)

•Lauel S: "He also said it was not polite not to respond when someone asks you a question."

Your father had an admirable sense of how communities of respect are built. There are basics of democratic practice that specially obtain in small organizations.

Without accountability and directness no renewal of anything can or will take place.

Posted by Andrew Taylor, 06/11/2009 1:22pm (1 day ago)

•I goofed and there is no editing feature on here.

I wrote "My dad also used to tell us kids to answer each other when we were talked to. I always wondered why he demanded this. Shortly before he passed away I asked him. He said that when family members don't respond to each other it makes for an unhappy family. He also said it was not polite to respond when someone asks you a question. I found in raising three kids my dad was right."

I should have put "He also said it was not polite not to respond when someone asks you a question."

Is it possible to get an editing feature on here like other sites have? Maybe there is such a feature but I don't know how to use it?

Posted by Lauel Swenson, 06/11/2009 9:43am (1 day ago)

•This individual---Alan Maki, is NOT a member of the Communist Party, USA, nor is he an honest broker in this situation. He has viciously attacked members of the party in Minn/Dakotas, publicly redbaited CP/left folks, many in sensitive positions, used the most vicious, nasty methods, attempting to expose left leaders to legal charges or job loss. His "participation" in left forums is always, and only, to attack party positions and is geared to stop or distort badly needed discussions, certainly NOT to add in any way to any important dialogue on how the people can move forward, to go on the offensive. Meanwhile, he isn't actually involved in any real struggles, with working folks. As one whose entire adult life has been spent in the people's movement, this type of personal M.O. is NOT one of an honest worker in the movement. This has a particularly bad smell, one that I think most on this blog will recognize!

Posted by bruce bostick, 06/11/2009 9:42pm (19 hours ago)

•First of all Mr. Bostick, I never saw you sitting next to Gus Hall running for anything on the Communist Party USA ticket.

That you and your small band of revisionists have hijacked the assets and properties of the CPUSA and cut-off all funding and resources to the local clubs--- what are left of them--- speaks for itself.

That you do not like me talking publicly about how the President of the western Minnesota AFL-CIO, acting as a member of the National Committee of the CPUSA who nominated the ultra-right (remember the word "ultra-right"), Collin Peterson, to run for the United States Congress at the 7th Congressional District Nominating Convention of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party while he (Mark Froemke) was a registered voter in Grand Forks, North Dakota you call "viciously attacking" someone... well so be it.

All I did is ask him to provide his driver's license to properly show that he was a legal resident of Minnesota eligible to participate in a MINNESOTA Democratic Farmer-Labor Party Nominating Convention. And, I would note, that, today, we would have a very pro-peace, pro-single-payer Congressperson serving the 7th Congressional District in Minnesota had it not been for this "communist" using his "prestige" from the labor movement in nominating Collin Peterson who boasts at every opportunity that he is more conservative than any Republican.

Kind of reminds me of Barack Obama going into Connecticut to support Joe Lieberman after he was defeated by Democrats who wanted a pro-peace, pro-health care, pro-green economy advocate sitting in Washington... we are now seeing the results of this fiasco as Barack Obama and the Democrats have killed single-payer legislation... I know, you don't like me saying this... even though it is the truth.

Now, as far as my involvement in the "mass movements; as a formerly elected member of the Minnesota State Central Committee from Roseau County, Minnesota, I authored--- and publicly fought for six years--- for a single-payer universal health care resolution that was finally adopted by 72% of the delegates to the State Convention of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. Feel free to check out just about any newspaper in Minnesota to verify this.

Now, to the real reason that you are so angry... you are very upset that I led the efforts in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party to pass a resolution in support of saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant over the advice of you and your revisionist friends who have abandoned the class struggle in favor of kissing up to Barack Obama... but, your specialty as a pork-chopper on the USW staff has always been to talk tough and militant to workers than betray them behind their backs... par for the course with you on every single issue from USW contracts, to single-payer universal health care to ending these dirty imperialist wars.

That you, Sam Webb, Dan Margolis and others of your small and insignificant group who provide us all these nice words loaded with generalities without any specifics tells us all who is involved in the struggles for peace and social and economic justice... and yes, don't forget about socialism, which I have yet to read anything you have ever written that even mentions the word "socialism."

There are other things that anger you about me, too; I understand this... perhaps you would care to explain here how it is that you, among the present "leadership" (mis-leadership?) of the CPUSA have taken over our huge office building and headquarters most of which is vacant, and you had to "liquidate" all of Gus Hall's books and publications because you "needed space."I would have been more than willing to purchase all the copies of “Working Class USA” to distribute for free at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant… but, no, you had to liquidate these books and toss hundreds of copies of the “Gus Hall Bibliography” into a dumpster from which luckily, several cases were retrieved. And who paid to have these books (Working Class USA) published? I personally gave to Gus Hall $2,500.00 towards the publication of these books and I know several other who contributed similar amounts. As Sam Webb will tell you, I am the one who suggested this book be written. Tell me how to provide a photo on this “comment” section and I will provide readers with what Gus Hall wrote inside the cover in giving me a copy at the convention in Cleveland. I will also attach a copy of my CPUSA membership card signed by Gus Hall back in 1966.

Ok, I have "viciously attacked" other "members of the Party" here in Minnesota--- and don't forget the other states, too; people who now think they have the right to change the name of the CPUSA to match the revisionist, sell-out ideology of those like Dan Margolis--- in New York--- who order the destruction of our Clubs and then proceed to call Barack Obama "the leader of the democratic people's front."

Again, in your generalized character assasination of me, you have left out the specifics and the particulars.

Anytime you would be happy to respond with any specifics that concern me and my involvement in re-building the CPUSA along Marxists-Leninists lines or my activities among working people fighting back against Wall Street's attempt to turn the impoverishment of the working class into "the new normal" I will be most happy to respond to your further accusations.

Suffice it to say, there isn't one single leader of the aFL-CIO or Change To Win who doesn't acknowledge that I have helped to bring together thousands of casino workers employed in the Indian Gaming Industry in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa who are forced to work in smoked-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws who are among the more than two-million workers employed in over 350 similar operations spreads out across the United States much like over 800 U.S. military bases are dotting the globe instead of the needed network of more than 30,000 public health care centers that will be needed to meet the health care needs of the American people as the President who you support, continues to appropriate trillions of dollars on wars and militarism and you have never put your name to one single letter to the editor or distributed one single piece of information to the tens of thousands turning out to cheer on Barack Obama... this is what you need to be explaining to working people participating in these discussions; not making up lies about me to cover your own acquiescence to the warmongers like Barack Obama and the casino managements.

Come on, Mr. Bostick, explain why the USW has to come to me, and not you for advice on organizing... probably because they know that you couldn't organize yourself out of a brown paper shopping bag.

And, as you know, I was elected by my Communist peers here in Minnesota to lead the efforts to take on you bunch of revisionist sellouts who have abandoned the class struggle... Sam Webb says this in the article above which you have very cleverly turned into a discussion about me rather than the article.

But, since what we are discussing really does relate to this article, I am more than willing to discuss my activities in the CPUSA, the mass movements and the struggle to organize casino workers as the Director of Organizing for the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council... but, I guess you will deny this, too, even though I recently met with the head of the USW's Organizing Department here in this region for over six hours to discuss this issue--- at his request; ; the meeting took place at Applebee’s Restaurant in Grand Rapids, Minnesota… please feel free to ask Gary Dubovich or Mr. Yousee about this meeting which was held at the request of Leo Gerard. Perhaps they would like to comment here on these very pages. I am sending all three a copy of the article, "A ragged process," by Sam Webb and all the comments which have been posted here.

There once was a Communist who said, "While the dogs bark, the caravan passes." Mr. Bostick, you just keep right on barking; and leave the rest to us.

By-the-way, thank you for calling attention to my blog which Joel Wendland named: "Thoughts From Podunk." Many people have taken your advice and have called and written me wondering about things like, "What the heck is wrong with Bostick; your blog is a refreshing breath of fresh air."

Anyways, I suppose there are many people who will sleep better tonight knowing that on the authority of a very important communist like you that I am not a Communist :)

Alan L. Maki
Lake-of-the-Woods Communist Club
With members in Minnesota, Manitoba & Ontario

Secretary-Treasurer (elected),
Minnesota/Dakotas District, CPUSA

Posted by Alan L. Maki, 07/11/2009 10:59am (5 hours ago)

•Re "airing of personal bad blood between Bruce B.and Alan M. on a thread about cpusa policy"

Bruce, by making one individual I have never met face to face,Mr Alan M. the centre of your reason for dismissing this thread, you have ignored all other communists and allies who have written here. You have not said one word about our just and fair-minded reservations or disagreements about the new line of Sam Webb or about the real concerns of paid-up Communists!

Is this one more ploy to marginalize this whole forum? I hope not. That would be cynical beyond words.
Will you do me the basic respect of addressing my comments?

Posted by Andrew Taylor, 07/11/2009 11:18am (5 hours ago)

•Andrew, I do not see where Bruce's post regarding Alan Maki dismisses the thread. He rightly states that Maki's posts are highly disruptive and that Maki is falsely representing himself as holding a leadership position in the CPUSA. Maki's delusional reply serves only to underline Bruce's objections as it is filled with further misrepresentations. It is probably already obvious to anyone engaged in the labor movement, but there is no such thing as the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council. If you doubt that, I challenge anyone to do a google search and find anything that is not one of Alan Maki's many blogs or a blog that is claimed to be authored by someone else but is suspiciously filled with quotes from and praise for Alan Maki. Further, no Minnesota union leaders have heard of Alan Maki other than as a source of spam. Longwinded lies and delusions are an obstacle to the discussion that you would like to have Andrew and given this, I would suggest reserving some of the anger you direct at Mr. Bostick and others for Mr. Maki.

Posted by , 07/11/2009 1:41pm (3 hours ago)

•I wasn't and am not angry at any one. It is just my frustration that fair and good questions have not been answered. Here's my smiley face :)

PS I can't comment on Minnesota unions as I've no history there.


Posted by Andrew Taylor, 07/11/2009 3:27pm (1 hour ago)

•Perhaps Bruce Bostick should state upon what authority and in what capacity he serves in the Communist Party?

There seems to be a lot of unsigned accusations among those "supporting" the views of Bruce Bostick.

I know neither Bruce Bostick nor Alan Maki but it is apparent to me who is probably indulging in this hideous slander in order to avoid discussion of "A ragged process" by Sam Webb and we are seeing just how ragged the process has become in the CPUSA.

I have checked out Alan Maki's blog per Bruce Bostick's suggestion and I find it one of the best blogs I have come across as far as featuring views on peace and socialism.

Bruce Bostick has made vague accusations without one single one of his accusations being backed up. Kind of smacks of low down dirty tricks on the part of Bruce Bostick if you ask me.

I can't even figure out what Bruce Bostick is kicking concerning any of the posts Alan Maki has made. I have gone over these posts trying to figure this out.

Is the problem that Bruce Bostick doesn't like what Alan Maki is saying or he doesn't like Alan Maki? This is not clear. Bruce Bostick is definitely not as capable a writer when it comes to expresing his views as is Maki. Anyone can see this. But this is not the issue.

I would urge Bruce Bostick to try and set aside an obviously emotionally traumatizing and upsetting experience that it is for him to see the name Alan Maki in print. I don't believe in all my 64 years over 30 in the labor movement I have ever seen one man's name raise such ire.

Maki's name is apparently the same as waving the RED FLAG. In this instance Bruce Bostick is the bull or bully.

In reading this exchange initiated by Bruce Bostick I am glad I have stayed away from cults in the leftwing movement. This is what this reminds me of. Some kind of cult leader trying to keep his flock in line.

I give Maki a lot of credit for voicing his views and opinions.

Justin in Kansas City

Posted by Justin Graves, 07/11/2009 3:40pm (49 mins ago)