Saturday, September 25, 2010

On the FBI raids across the country

As many of you know I am the Chair of the Special Agents Club #1. We will be releasing a statement in the distant future. We are pledging full support for these raids. Carry on comrades.

Special Agent Jordan will be in charge of coordinating our activities across the country. Most of the Special Agents are young.

We will be looking to recruit Special Agents in keeping with our goal of initiating mass activity. These raids are sparking interest in our movement.

Now that we have so many Special Agents in our Party we will begin to influence the politics of our country in many unique ways.

I have ordered no publication on any information in the PW.

The Educational Director of the Special Agents Club #1 is Joel Wendland.

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Please I beg you to stop attacking me and the CPUSA

I have just about had it. I am at my wits end. The Minnesota Problem has gone viral.

I am going bonkers.

I have now engaged in debate with a pseudonym. Now I am thinking Thomas Kenny might be my own daughter.

Someone, anyone, please help me put an end to the Minnesota Problem.

Please. I am begging for your help.

The PW website has been taken over by Minnesotanites.

Can someone go out and bring Bruce Bostick back? I need more Prozac.

Damn I wish we would have changed the name of this Party.

I feel like giving this Party back to the Communists.

Will someone have my back covered in Washington?

Sam Webb
Chair, National Board, CPUSA

YCL leads the way in dropping Marxism-Leninism and education from Club activity

Oh, what a relief. Young people who don't give us any problems.

The Young Communist League is to be commended for dropping the teaching of Marxism-Leninism from its Clubs.

I never like the concept of Marxism-Leninism anyways.

I am asking that anyone seen carrying copies around of the "The Ten Classics of Marxism" be reported immediately to the National Office for purging.

Look at this excellent "how to" article about how to build a YCL Club.

I think we still have a few CPUSA Clubs around. We need them to follow the lead of the YCL:

How to Build a YCL Club

Building a YCL Club

Every YCL club has to start somewhere, so take a chance. If you feel like the only communist in your city or sometimes even your state, build a Young Communist club to fight for economic and social justice. Look around at the developments in your city or in your school. Are there issues that piss other people off?

Policies that discriminate against people of color, immigrants, gays and lesbians or women?

How are poor and working students treated by authorities?

The best way to build a club is to build solidarity around issues, and to develop understanding of what the problems are, what systems are in place and most importantly, how those systems can be changed. Call a meeting around a problem in your area, invite people to join a YCL club in order to fight the issue. At first the weight will be on your shoulders, persuade a friend or friends to help you run and plan the meeting.

Don't limit your invitations just to friends or people you know. Post fliers with either a phone number or a place they can meet to ask questions. Call other community and youth groups in your area. Talk to anyone who will listen. With time and perseverence you will develop other leaders and organizers who will share in future events.

Building Solidarity

The best way to fight isolation is to build solidarity. Take the first step towards building a YCL club in your area: Invite a speaker from the Young Communist League or the Communist Party. Post fliers madly, overwhelming odds are that other people also want to fight capitalism.

Set up a YCL table at a school event. Call the national office for literature to hand out. Ask questions about what is the YCL so you are comfortable answering other people's questions. Stress that the strength of the YCL is the sum of its members-- members ultimately determine what YCL can mean, what YCL can achieve.

Throw a YCL party. Do you belong to a band or know a DJ that has similar interests? Communism is rooted in culture, solidarity and unity, what more does a good party need? Lenin puts it in his own way, "Revolutions are festivals of the oppressed."

Be creative. You could run a comic strip contest or a poetry reading around a leftist theme, whatever you're into can help build the movement.

Ask for advise from veterans of the movement and communisty leaders. Getting tips from the wise halps you avoid the mistakes they've learned from.

Sign up sheets are great. Use them. Call back people who sign up to find out more about YCL. Call back once, twice, three times, leave messages, don't give up on those who are always "out."

Distribute responsibilities among members, do not let a small leadership assume all of the work.

Invite a wide circle of people, at all costs avoid cliques. The greater numbers of people you draw into the club the greater range of talents and skills you will have.

Share the joys of phone calls among all the members. Give each club member a phone list of people to call, contacting these people is their responsibility.

Pair up a new member with a more experienced member, working in teams builds confidence and organizing skills.

Nuts and Bolts

You've put together a club of people who come to meetings consistently, or who work steadily on campaigns. How do you build an organization out of a core group? The club structure varies slightly from club to club, but most clubs have elected office holders, regular (ish) meetings and membership lists. The following suggestions are for guidance, not hard and fast rules. Different clubs develop their own styles for running an effective and participatory meeting.


Officers can help a YCL club run smoothly and ensure that club decisions are followed through. Commonly, clubs elect three officers: coordinator, educational coordinator and treasurer who are accountable to the YCL members and club policies.


At the end of each meeting: elect a meeting chair for the following meeting. The meeting chair could be a new member or an older member, for the next meeting they must draw up a tentative agenda (with help from other YCLers), present the agenda at the meeting and make any necessary changes or additions. The meeting chair can write down people's names in the order they raise their hands and call on speakers in turn. The meeting chair makes sure the meeting doesn't go through the night, that all members get a chance to speak, that discussions are respectful and to the point.


Members should sign a membership list once they decide to join, keep the national YCL informed about new members. Membership dues for the YCL are presently a bargain at $1 per year. To build a strong club, all members should be involved in strategy sessions: one person cannot decide what campaigns to run and how to proceed in campaigns. Member discussions about the club goals and direction are vital to developing a strong club.


The primary responsibility of a leader is to find and develop other leaders. A leader helps other members build the skills to mobilize, inspire and educate other people. A strong leader motivates others to take on more responsibility rather than do everything her or himself. A powerful club builds on the strengths of all its members to build a star team rather than one star player. A good organization demands many different skills and abilities, so build initiative and creativity in members' responses, and trust in the abilities of your comrades. To repeat an old YCL slogan, "Every YCLer should become a leader."


Strong political activism develops from a united YCL. Discuss the club's strategies and goals in meetings, give members a space to express disagreement and come to resolutions about how the club should proceed. Build the line together, give ample room to hear different opinions, actively work to persuade and consolidate different perspectives, since squelching dissent can only lead to problems further down the way. When the club votes on a strategy all members should follow the club's decision as best as possible given the changing political conditions.


YCL is a national organization and your club is part of a larger movement to organize young people. Keep the YCL national informed about what's going on in your highschool and city. Drop a note or give a call from time to time.

Planning a YCL Campaign

The primary purpose of an organizing campaign is to educate people. Campaigns develop leadership, teach people about their collective strength, and most importantly, illustrate in concrete terms how capitalism functions to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few. A well-run campaign can win important concessions, build broad solidarity between people to combat injustice, and strengthen YCL clubs to fight the next battle.

Questions to Begin a Campaign:

What is the political and economic context of this problem?

How does this campaign raise issues of class struggle and the fight against racism, sexism and homophobia?

What problem are we trying to address?

How can we change this problem?

Has this problem come up before? Where? How did people respond?

Who are the front-line decision makers on this issue?

How will this campaign build and strengthen the YCL club?

Who is most affected by the problem? Who is our constituency?

Who are our allies? Who are our opponents?

Define your long-range and short-term goals: for whom and for what is the YCL club being organized? Be specific in your answers.

Characteristics of a Campaign

Clear time frame-- There are advantages to short and long-term time frames. While long terms campaigns develop leadership skills and in-depth analysis, they can suffer from burn-out. Look at the conditions for your campaign: keep in mind when and how long vacations are, whether people are around in the summer, and how long members can participate. Most importantly, lay out the incremental steps for a campaign so that people feel a sense of progress.

Clear target or enemy-- The campaign should be focused to target either the person who has the power to grant your demands, or someone who can pressure that person to concede. Figure out what structures the target hides behind, and who can influence the target. Also, know your target's soft spots and self-interest. The target may change in the campaign, but aim for specific people rather than amorphous bureaucracies.

Clear issues--Define your campaigns so that solutions are brought to the fore. Also, demand specific changes in the system. Rather than organize around a larger problem such as "poor schools," target racist and ethnocentric curriculum and books, weak or nonexistent rape and sexual harassment policies, elitist funding policies that give huge salaries to administrators and peanuts for books, computers and teachers' salaries.

Clear constituency--Define the issue to appeal to the broadest possible constituency without compromising the integrity of your campaign.

Clear ideological position--Develop a strong critique of the capitalist system to draw the connections between your specific campaign and larger systems at work. Denial of human rights and equal access to resources are an integral facet of a global capitalism. Only in solidarity with each other can we build the strength to combat exploitative and oppressive conditions. The campaign should build your constituency's sense of their collective strength and their rights to economic and political equality.

Solidifying the Campaign

Once your club has thought through the general campaign, the second stage is to solidify. In this phase you research potential campaign handles, consider your club's resources and plan a strategy which contains tactical steps.


Identify and thoroughly research your opponents, in the process don't forget to locate your allies. Investigate the dirt on your opponents, you can use this information to draw wider support for your campaign. Research can help you build ethical, political and economic arguments that legitimate the justice of your campaign. Your analysis of the issue shows how your position is good, fair, just, constitutional, legal etc.

Use this information to develop a campaign handle. A handle is your point of entry--of turning a "problem" (poor public schools) into an "issue" (failure to allocate enough money towards school resources such as books, teachers and computers). A handle relates your position to specific decision-making authorities who can act to do what is right. A handle does not define the parameters of your campaign but helps your organization and your issue gain legitimacy.

Every issue has a wide variety of handles. In the case of poor schools, handles might include: the provisions of an act on public education (get specifics) a federal mandate on minimum standards for public schools (get specifics) a legal case on public neglect of schoolchildren (get specifics) a specific school board member or college trustee who fights for economic justice in education misused federal funds that fail to support the educational future of all students.


To effectively plan your campaign take a clear look at your club's resources. Evaluate your club funds, active members in the club, the experience of your club leadership, your club's strength to disrupt the system, any internal problems to solve in order for the campaign to succeed, media contacts, access to decision-makers, and alliances that could lead to other resources.


Clearly outline your long range approach (strategy) and your short range approach (tactics). Strategy includes all of the following parts: Definition of your goals An evaluation of your resources Identification of your constituents, allies and opponents Definition of your target(s) An outline of your tactics.


Tactics include media events, actions for information and demands, public hearings, strikes, law suits, accountability sessions, elections and negotiations Tactics should be fresh, creative, witty, imaginative and pointed. Tactics develop from the idea that you have the numbers and/or the capacity to embarrass a target and alter the usual course of business. Some tips about tactics from Mike Miller, director of the Organizing Training Center: Use tactics that your club understands and are excited by Power is what you have and what the enemy thinks you have The press plays a role in the latter.

Whenever possible, go outside the experience of the enemy. Try to catch them off guard, do the unexpected, put pressure where it is not expected. Ridicule (and flattery) are important tools--label the enemy. Keep up the pressure on a campaign. Pick new fights. Have a new action every week. Keep on top of the issues. Have constructive alternatives to offer. Always press for written and binding agreements, for timetables and due dates. Pick the target, personalize it, and don't let the target diffuse responsibility.

Know Your Opposition

At the beginning of your campaign try to neutralize your opponents by inviting as many as possible to join the campaign. Consult potential opponents to put them in the position of encouraging your action. Recruit individuals who know opposition leaders to ask for their support. For a public meeting, invite a representative of the opposition to attend (you may want to sandwich the speaker between your most effective speakers, or cut down on their time to talk, but the invitation defuses a potential attempt to disrupt the event).

Research the background and spokesperson of your opposition carefully. If opponents try to disrupt your event, you can expose their true interests and counter their efforts. If publicity will stir opposition into actions, don't publicize your specific actions in advance.

Evaluating the Campaign

After an action, or after one leg of the campaign review your actions. The purpose of reviewing the action is to develop a consensus definition of the experience. To build consensus, elicit as many opinions and reactions from participants as possible. Evaluate what meaningful concessions were gained, assess turnout, and press coverage, check the performance of leaders and committees. Connect each event to the campaign as a whole, since the evaluation stage can develop and change your club's conceptualization of the problem and your strategy.

Press Coverage

Press coverage of YCL campaigns and actions can build your base of support, recruit new members and bring additional people to your events. Press coverage is not entirely predictable, but typing your own stories can help bring you the coverage you want. Also, develop contacts in the press who are sympathetic to the YCL and your campaigns. A press release includes the following: Cover letter -- the cover letter should provide a YCL club member's name who will act as a press contact, the name of the YCL or coalition and a phone number.

If possible, address the fax to a specific journalist's or editor's name, the newsroom's or paper's name, and add their fax and phone number (in case your fax goes astray). In "memo" you can tell them if there is a particular release date for the article. If it's reporting a surprise action, ask them to hold the article until a certain time and date. Article -- the article should give a short, engaging and clear account of your event, action or position. Include quotations from people involved in the action or event, provide some analysis of the issues involved. Draw the media into covering the event through your reportage.

Chances are that your framing of the issue will affect how the press reports it-- your article gives them a shortcut and can give you good publicity.

Press release procedure:

Fax the cover letter and article to your local and/or national papers and news channels. For announcements of upcoming events, give your paper time to publish your bulletin, a week or more depending on your paper's policy. The morning before the event is scheduled to take place call the newspaper or TV station: Find out if they received (and filed) your fax Ask if they will cover the story Try to get a definite answer about whether they will attend

The Young Communist League is to be commended for dropping the teaching of Marxism-Leninism from its Clubs.

I never like the concept of Marxism-Leninism anyways.

I am asking that anyone seen carrying copies around of the "The Ten Classics of Marxism" be reported immediately to the National Office for purging.

Going as we are we should be able to smoothly phase our operations into the Democratic Party sooner than I anticipated. It is always nice to know we can work so effectively towards our goal.

Beware of anyone calling us Dumb Donkeys. They are probably Republican trolls.

Sam Webb

Chair, National Board CPUSA

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Get up, stand up....


Sit down; we aren't going to fight.

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Friday, August 27, 2010

The great thinkers

We have decided to do away with the labels like Party Theoretician.

We will now have Party Thinkers.

I will be designating the Party Thinkers.

Joining me as Party Thinkers are:

Joel Wendland from Podunk Town, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

John Case the loony lonesome hobo from Blueberry Hill.

Erwin Marquit from the Twin Cities.

Bruce Bostick our thinker extraordinaire.

I hereby proclaim these people to be our official Party Thinkers.

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Overlooked item

We need to vote to give Carl Davidson permission to speak for the CPUSA.

Let me hear from the Nays first.

Ok, now the Yeas.

The yeas have it; Carl Davidson now has permission to speak for the CPUSA.

Sam Webb
Chair, National Board, CPUSA

Two items today

Everyone has been asking about Bruce Bostick. We gave Bruce a couple of bottles of anti-depressants and told him to come back to us when he feels up to working for the Democrats and Obama.

This other gem is being distributed against my orders. Some delegates to our convention have taken steps that will bring them into conflict with my explicit orders that no one is to bad mouth me.

If anyone knows who these delegates are please give me or one of my Special Agents a call.

Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions as long as they agree with me.

I think I might now who this is from Kentucky. I have thought about this for two weeks. I think I have it figured out.

Here is what they say. A Trotskyist of all people is mailing this around:

Impressions of the CPUSA convention

Written by A Group of Delegates

Many friends and comrades have asked us: what really happened at the CPUSA Convention on May 21-23, eleven weeks ago, at Party headquarters in New York City?

So far, there are only the self-congratulatory appraisals, one by Party chair Sam Webb and another by his supporter John Case. Both are champions of the social reformist trend in the Party.

In the view of the Communist (that is, the Marxist-Leninist) wing of the CPUSA, however, the May 21-23, 2010 convention was a disaster. We see the Convention as a scandalous retreat from the US Party’s honorable history of principled struggle. The Convention was a retreat from socialism, class struggle, political independence, and internationalism. The Convention gave up ground on the fight against racism, imperialism, and monopoly.

It was not a convention rich in substance. What little substance there was, was objectionable, and came in the Main Report and the Composite Resolutions, which are available in full at and

The Main Report
Sam Webb’s report could have been written by any liberal. When his followers dutifully referred to it as "brilliant," many a delegate could barely believe it.

It is known that one or more members of the National Board (NB) urged Sam Webb to take into account preconvention discussion critical of his line. He refused, calling such criticism the outpouring of a “small minority.” In the old days many ideas in preconvention discussion -- even if critical of the leadership -- would have been taken into account and discussed in the Main Report. That did not happen this time.

His Main Report is full of Straw Men deployed against his left critics in the Party. Skillful at writing opportunist double talk, Webb can compose sentences that, to the unwary reader, sound like common sense. Read more closely, however, his formulations throw open the door through which have marched the reformism, tailism, and American Exceptionalism that are aggravating the crisis in the CPUSA. For example:

Enclosing him [Obama] in a narrowly defined, tightly sealed political category – as many on the left and right do – is a also goes in the direction of pitting the president against the working class and the people. That the right does this is no surprise. But when left and progressive people do it, it is wrong strategically and thus extremely harmful politically.

Our vision of socialism is a work in progress…

Our socialist vision should have a contemporary and dynamic feel; it should be rooted in today’s conditions and our national experience. If it has a “foreign” feel to it, people will reject it.

What I want to do is correct one-sidedness in our thinking. A transfer in class power -- which will more likely be a series of contested moments during which qualitative changes in power relations in favor of the working-class and its allies take place...


Webb began his report with a list of what he views as “advances” since the last CP convention in 2005. Many of these he credits to the Obama Administration which took office in January 2009.

It’s a curious list. Much of his list is simply Obama’s promises or hopes hailed as if they were achievements. The Administration talks about “reining in Wall Street.” It aspires to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Global warming has been put “on the agenda.”

Much of the list is less than earth-shaking in importance. For example, the White House issued a proclamation on Workers’ Memorial Day.

Some items are wholly imaginary: “The pendulum of power has shifted.” He claims “progressives are on the offensive.” “Torture was prohibited.”

2005 versus 2010: Some Facts
His list of “advances,” of course, purports to be evidence justifying the CPUSA policy of tailing Obama and the Democrats. Here is counterevidence:

In 2005 the US didn’t have 30,000 fresh troops in Afghanistan. Now it has, all told, nearly 100,000 there, not counting mercenaries.

In 2005 the US had a military budget of around $600 billion. Now it is around $708 billion.

In 2005 there was the blockade of Cuba. In 2010 there is a reauthorized blockade of Cuba.

In 2005 Honduras had a constitutionally elected government. Now it has a usurper government installed by the US and its Honduran allies.

In 2005 Guantanamo was open. In 2010 Guantanamo is still open.

In 2005 the Cuban Five were in prison. In 2010 the Cuban Five remain in prison.

In 2005, in the housing bubble, predatory lenders targeted people of color. In 2010 mortgage delinquencies, and foreclosure and evictions are at an all-time high, and the victims are disproportionately people of color.

In 2005 the unemployment rate of Black workers was double the unemployment rate of white workers. In 2010 Black workers’ unemployment rate was still double the white unemployment rate, if not more.

In 2005 we needed health care reform. In 2010 we got a new health inurance "reform" law that entrenches the private, profit-making insurance carriers, the most parasitic sector of finance capital.

In 2005 with Bush in the White House and Republican control of Congress, the war in Iraq wasn’t winding down. In 2010 with Democratic control of Congress and a Democrat in the White House, the Iraq War is still not winding down. It is being re-branded.

In 2005 we had a president who had recently launched a war of aggression in Iraq; in 2010 we have a president who escalated a war of aggression in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In 2005 before the housing bubble burst, investment bankers and other lords of high finance were raking in billions by fraudulent means. In 2010, two years after the crash exposed them, the same lords of finance, their bonuses fattened by taxpayer billions, walk in and out of Congressional hearings fearing no one. They thumb their noses at the Congress and the public.

In 2005 the party had weekly newspaper we could give out at plant gates. Now it has a cyber newspaper.

If there was anything new in Webb’s report it was the reaffirmation of tailism, more emphatically than ever. Webb stated that for the CPUSA there is only to be “independent politics inside the Democratic Party.”

The Official “Composite” Resolutions

The content of the composite resolutions pushed through by the leadership illustrate vividly the political decay.

Historically, in the US working class movement, the chief features of right social democracy are 1) the defense of imperialism and 2) the soft-peddling of the struggle against racism. This convention marks a big shift in that direction.

The original resolutions from the Party grassroots were combined with similar resolutions and “edited” by the Resolutions Committee. But the “editing” destroyed the original political thrust of the submitted resolutions. It would be an exaggeration to say the Composite Resolutions bore any resemblance to the original resolutions. No original resolutions were read to or voted on by the Convention body.

One hour was allowed for discussion of the resolutions. The resolutions committee spent 45 minutes reading the edited resolutions, word-for-word out loud. Discussion was cut off after 15 minutes, even though many people were lined up to speak.

“Composite” Resolution #5, the long resolution on Peace and Solidarity is the most disgraceful and dangerous of all the resolutions. It is the most removed from anti-imperialist principles. It defends the Obama foreign policy against the facts. When facts don’t conform to the tailist policy, it adjusts the facts, asserting, for example, that the US withdrawal from Iraq is “on track.”

The underlying fiction put forth by the leadership is: the Obama Administration is never guilty of any crimes. The Obama Administration only does bad things “under pressure from the right wing.”

This Peace and Solidarity resolution will be of great interest to the international Communist movement, which can only conclude that it no longer has a Communist Party ally in the belly of the beast.

This resolution means the CPUSA leadership is consciously choosing alignment with Obama instead of the struggle against imperialism. The CPUSA leaders do not want to struggle against imperialist war, which Obama is waging and expanding.

It is easier for the CPUSA to make common cause with the US Administration on the basis of the golden words of his various speeches calling for nuclear arms cuts. The CPUSA wants “a new peace movement,” as Party peace leaders have stated, one that will dodge the issue of imperialist aggression. It will, instead, support nuclear disarmament and stress the wastefulness of military spending in terms of funds unavailable for economic and social needs.

This, then, is the most shameful consequence of this opportunist leadership's loss of its working-class and Marxist-Leninist bearings. It is de facto acquiescing to the criminal U.S. imperialist occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Fight for Jobs, Resolution #1, was supposed to be showcased at the Convention. It is little different from the AFL-CIO program. A clear Marxist approach, for example, would entail the class-struggle demand to cut the workweek with no cut in pay. Such a remedy would expand jobs at the expense of corporate profits. This notion is nowhere to be found. Worse, while the resolution takes note of the especially high unemployment rates among Blacks, Latinos, women, youth, etc. it opportunistically does not call for affirmative action in hiring and re-hiring them, the classic CPUSA position for many decades.

The Special Report on the Fight against Racism (Resolution # 2) True to the key policy of Webb and his allies -- Tail Obama and the Democrats -- this resolution sees the upsurge of racism (SB1070, the Arizona racial profiling law, the wave of anti-Muslim discrimination and repression) as a response from the ultra-right to the election of Obama. With this resolution, the CPUSA fight against racism is no longer primarily motivated by the necessity of building working class unity. Rather, the CPUSA leaders fear the ultra right is trying to “disrupt” the workings of the new Administration. In other words, the Obama Administration’s political interests, not working-class unity, are the main preoccupation. This resolution also dodges the question of affirmative action.

The Resolution on Political Action (Resolution # 3), equates the ultra- right with the Republican Party and shuns a class analysis of the Obama Administration. This resolution could have been written by the Democratic National Committee. It pledges to “extend and defend” the “victories” won in the November 2008 election. It is, simply put, more tailism.

The Resolution on Immigrant Rights (# 4) merely restates the AFL-CIO position in favor of immigration reform. It leaves out the highly relevant fact that deportations of undocumented workers have increased under an Obama Administration eager to appease nativist sentiment. According to figures from the federal immigration enforcement agency, in 2009 the Obama Administration deported 389,834 people, about 20,000 more than in 2008, the final year of the Bush Administration.

Resolution # 6, on Party-building, manages to discuss the “challenges” to Party growth without acknowledging that the Party membership is in steep decline. An honest discussion of why recruitment is failing was omitted.

How many party members are there? In a report on Party Internet work and Internet “recruiting,” one NB member inadvertently gave away the real size of this declining party, a number often lied about. In 2005 the CPUSA had 2500 members, according to Sam Webb. At the 2010 convention the NB member in question declared “3 times a week a new application comes by Internet, and at this rate the party could double its size in three years.” Do the math. If there are 150 yearly Internet applications, the current membership may be reckoned to be around 450-500 at most.

The present leaders would have us believe, of course, that the steep decline has nothing to do with the politics of the leadership. Rather, it is subtly implied that it is the members who must change their ways. Members are to blame, and they must work differently.

More on the Character of the Convention

The grim reality we face is that, in the May 2010 convention, the right-wing faction in the leadership led by Webb, for now, has consolidated its hold over the party.

The outcome was dreadful, but it was not entirely surprising. Opportunism has been the increasingly assertive trend in this party for years. This is the same right opportunist direction taken by some other parties.

In the pre-convention discussion, articles like “Save the Party,” give chapter and verse of our critique of the Party’s political decline (see, and what has to be done to turn matters around.

The current Party leadership is a faction. Factions and factionalism are not limited to oppositions to leaderships. In such cases, however, official factionalism functions in the form of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy stifles party democracy and membership criticism. It uses charges of “disruption,” and, of course, “factionalism” against its left critics. The present leaders have not -- in so many words -- repudiated democratic centralism. They will enjoy the democracy. We may expect to be on the receiving end of the centralism.

In June 2009 the factional nature of the Webb leadership was most clearly revealed when it rammed through a policy of ending the print edition of the Party’s weekly paper, the People’s Weekly World. It also withheld information at subsequent National Committee (NC) meetings on the extent of leadership and membership opposition to the move. This is one of a series of abuses for which they still have not been held accountable.

A notorious example from 2005, a CP convention year. The Illinois CP, after adopting a resolution calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, forwarded it on to the national convention for adoption. Although efforts were subsequently made by a clearly uncomfortable national Party leadership to have the maker of the motion change it ("to reflect the security interests of the Iraqi people" - i.e. to acknowledge the legitimacy of the U.S. occupiers), the maker refused, pointing out that even if he had wanted to do so (which he did not), it was already out of his hands. The resolution ultimately came before the national convention in a bundle of resolutions approved by the resolutions committee. That bundle was adopted unanimously.

Subsequently, that resolution was willfully disregarded by the Party's leadership and editors. Its content was never reflected in the Party's own newspaper. Efforts to have this position reflected in the Party's publications were repeatedly quashed. Nor was the resolution implemented in the Party's mass work, particularly on the national level. It remains a dead letter to this day.

The justification for this willful neglect was that Sam Webb, in his report to the convention, suggested a "different approach" -- one acceptable to Democrats -- calling for a "timetable" or an "exit strategy" from Iraq. This approach was and essentially remains a stalling tactic, an indefinite postponement of U.S. withdrawal that has resulted in many thousands of additional Iraqi and U.S. deaths and the continued presence of over 100,000 U.S. troops (and a similar number of "contractors") in Iraq up to this very day.

Webb's report, which was presented without any opportunity for substantive amendment, was perfunctorily adopted. His report was then used to invalidate the clear antiwar resolution.

And this from a Party leadership that purports to champion democracy!

Stifling Convention Democracy

The convention, a caricature of democracy, was tightly controlled by the present leaders.

It was small: only 158 delegates and 50 guests. Convention managers filled the three days with ludicrous time wasters, such as a bagpipe-playing session. They contrived delegate selection rules to give regions with no clubs a vote, especially if they were reliably pro-incumbent. For example, a defender of the right-wing line represented the state of West Virginia.

Unlike previous conventions, the mood of this convention showed little sense of internationalism, and little sense of outrage against the imperialist wars being waged by the US. The convention was stacked, as much as possible, with people willing to go along to get along, as well as the current leadership and its flatterers.

What was the mood? One Party worker, a man in his 50s stated:

At the convention, I felt like an outsider. My "home in this rock," to quote Paul Robeson, seemed to be no longer my home. My political home has been transformed without my consent or agreement. It has been stolen. They have put an end to the necessary tools of our trade, so to speak, the party paper and timely class-oriented pamphlets on the important issues facing our working class. Tailing and nonsense analysis replaced class-struggle analysis and leadership. In general, it seemed to me that our misleadership has lost their class-conscious common sense.

Clearly, the goal, which conference organizers achieved, was to run a top-down, stage-managed convention that would squelch free debate, waste time, and run out the clock.

There was little time devoted to face-to-face discussion at the convention. People could not engage in discussion to collectively shape an agenda on how to best move the organization forward.

Most of the Convention’s time was squandered on self-congratulatory speeches from the leadership that took credit for general political trends way beyond any conceivable CPUSA influence. The “calls to action” amounted to nothing more than calls for legislative lobbying and electioneering for Democrats.

Yet the rightists in leadership had been worried about loss of control the convention, though, regrettably, their worries proved unfounded. In a preconvention comment one of their supporters voiced the worry:

A narrowly based, but very persistent campaign has been waged on the Internet and in the comments sections of CP publications — by my count nearly 20% of commenters and discussants and much more if you count the number of words — with the sole effective purpose being to distract the Left, and especially the CP, from working within the broadly defined Obama coalition, or from focusing on a majority-based agenda of reforms.

The right had reason for anxiety. Most of the resolutions, like most of the pre-convention discussion (available at the www. website), opposed the reformist line of the present leadership. It opposed the shutting down of the print edition of the People’s World. It supported ending the fawning tailism of Obama and the Democrats. It called for the Party to shed right opportunism and to return to its anti-imperialist, class struggle, and anti-war principles.

We believe the convention outcome does not reflect the political balance in the Party membership as whole. The grassroots opposition sentiment, which is substantial, was barely reflected. The convention delegates were carefully chosen by procedures that guaranteed majority support of the incumbents. In all organizations incumbents have certain advantages. This was done by various means, quite a few of them flagrantly dishonest, such as completely ignoring the content of properly submitted resolutions from the Party grassroots.

That the national convention would be a travesty of democracy was predictable, perhaps, from the chicanery at the state conventions that preceded it – the Illinois District convention being one of the worst cases. In the Illinois convention, the organizers killed time by watching videos and holding tutorials on how to send email. In Illinois and elsewhere the Webb faction maneuvered to keep key, articulate leaders opposed to the rightist trend away from the national convention.

The national convention was held in a room small in size, allegedly for economy reasons. The Webb faction has vacillated between 1) declaring a financial crisis that rules out face-to-face meetings and 2) denying any financial crisis exists if they are claiming that there is no problem with their stewardship. The spin depends on needs of the moment. Truth and consistency are not the guiding principles.

They smothered debate not only by ignoring preconvention resolutions and discussion, but also by making the convention smaller and less representative. Rural areas of the country, even if there was only one party member in a given state, got a voting delegate. But some industrial clubs were completely unrepresented.

They also isolated those critics of the Party line who were at the convention. One of the strongest of their opponents, an NC member from Kentucky, objected to adding to the NC a Midwesterner who evinced no understanding of the role of clubs in Party structure. He also objected to another candidate involved in questionable financial activity. He was overruled and the two were added to the NC. For his pains, he himself was dropped from the NC. Whenever he rose to speak, he was surrounded by Webb loyalists.

An Air of Unreality

Most leadership speeches proclaimed a mad eagerness to work in an imaginary coalition with the liberal wing of Big Business. In his Main Report, Webb boasted, “Broadly speaking, our view of the general conditions of struggle and the strategic path forward was and is on the money.”

A long-time Party peace movement leader made such delusional statements as: “Obama is listening to us [e.g., Peace Action, Military Families Speak Out]. He meets with us. We can’t close this door by criticizing him.” “We need to help Obama resist being pushed to the right.” “Obama’s sentiment on Afghanistan is shifting our way.” “Obama has realistic assessment on the withdrawal of troops.”

Thus, the content of the convention was remarkably unconnected to the Party’s real mission – leading struggle. Such pressing issues as climate change, one billion hungry people, a waning labor movement, a health care system given over to major profiteering, populations displaced and migrating, US militarization of the planet, and more received little or no discussion.

A Dearth of Internationalism

In the Convention’s deliberations there was little discussion of developments abroad: the multiplying wars, global economic crisis, struggles like that of the Haitian people for survival against racism and colonialism, resistance to US bases and militarization, popular resistance to the coup government in Honduras, and a real push to end the blockade and free the Cuban Five.

As for our relations with other Communist parties, Convention organizers minimized the number of observers from the international Communist movement. When realistic comrades pointed out that, if budgetary considerations were paramount, then inviting the UN or consular staff resident in New York from such counties as China, Vietnam, Cuba, and North Korea was an option, for the price of a subway ride. The Party leadership resisted that obvious solution.

In the end, several parties did appear to give short greetings. The Vietnamese delegate spoke.

Convention managers minimized delegates’ knowledge what the international Communist movement was saying to the CPUSA.

For example, the Webb circle tried to suppress the full Greek Communist Party (KKE) greetings, especially the paragraphs that dealt with opportunism in the international Communist movement. When the full KKE text was handed in writing to the delegates (thanks to the fact that the KKE had speedily posted the greetings in English at its website) Webb and his supporters were forced to issue a message of solidarity to the KKE and eventually to post the whole KKE statement at the CPUSA web site. Of course, now that it is there, they are making no effort to call attention to it.

One of the most active YCLers expressed alarm at the lack of young delegates at the convention. There were, of course, YCL guests (and a few delegates) but participation from youth was scant. A healthy and vibrant Communist Party would give special attention to the training and support of young leaders and cadre. The lack of youth participation is a portent that the current political line of the leadership has no future.

The convention was stacked, as much as possible, with people willing to “go along to get along,” as well as the current leaders and their hangers-on. YCLers were given a code to register as guests, and when some leaders of the YCL tried to register they were denied access to the convention for the reason that “there was no room.” This was systematically done for political reasons.

Resistance to the Line

With plenary sessions a choreographed sham, what rebellion there was could only take place in skirmishes in the workshops and panels, not the plenaries. There were good discussions in the workshops. However, there were no minutes taken or reports given back to the larger body.

In one workshop, for example, the information technology panacea was challenged by an Arizona delegate who pointed out the reality of the digital divide.

In the “Club Life and Education” workshop the majority of participants steered the discussion towards theory – i.e., the leadership’s failure to incorporate and develop it and the need to focus on the Marxist-Leninist theoretical education of existing and new members. Indeed, the consensus of this workshop was that the leadership needed to be told that the Party needs to pay more attention to theory. The YCL co-convener of the workshop attempted to shift the discussion and assert control a number of times, without much success

Two Controversies

Two controversies burst out into the open at the Convention. One was the censorship of the KKE greetings, mentioned above.

The other was the treatment of the resolution on independence for Puerto Rico. The Massachusetts District resolution on Puerto Rican liberation was substantially the same as in the last convention. However, the nervous chair, People’s World editor Terrie Albano, perceived the resolution as an act of insurrection from rebel districts (Massachusetts, Kentucky, Indiana). Afraid of debate, Albano shut down discussion. This enraged Party members of Puerto Rican descent and other backers of the Massachusetts resolution, several of whom walked out.

One mendacious “special resolution” deserves a word. It emanated from the national leadership, commending the New York District for helping to re-launch May Day. New York trade union comrades familiar with the facts pointed out that national Party leaders had done their best not to participate in May Day on the grounds that “Obama need support; he doesn’t need criticism.” Sam Webb and Scott Marshall, Party labor secretary, had rejected early pleas for help from the trade unionists and immigrant groups trying to relaunch it.

More Liquidation

The “Composite” resolutions represent ideological liquidation. All the resolutions repudiate the idea that the CPUSA will seek to play a leading role in anything or initiate anything. It will merely “participate in,” “help,” “encourage,” “join in,” “give support to,” and so on.

But there was physical liquidation too. The convention decided henceforth to hold only one National Committee meeting a year. The other three meetings will be conference calls, which are, of course, easier to manipulate.

It was clear from the comments of Roberta Wood, Party secretary-treasurer, that the Party will rent Winston-Unity Hall, a floor of the New York City headquarters building, to finance a pay raise for Party staff. It increasing appears that the paid staff is asserting its group interests regardless of the consequences to the organization or its rank and file members who were not present as delegates.

The CPUSA leadership composition became more skewed with near total removal of independent and critical voices from the NC. The leadership is now quite inbred, both politically and otherwise. The daughter of Sam and Sue Webb -- a schoolteacher in Boston who plays little or no role in Party life there -- was put on the National Committee.

There was an unsuccessful effort by Danny Rubin, an ideological ally and mentor of Webb, to enhance the powers of the National Board (NB), which has become really a rubber-stamp council of Webb loyalists. Rubin wished to centralize power at the expense of the NC on matters of Party constitutional change.

The incoming NC’s size remains about the same, still 82 or 84. The convention dropped 12 or 14 NC members, and added a like amount. Some departing NC members were not removed, they resigned in disgust.

Party veterans noted that the reports on local activity, customary at such gatherings were not “what we are doing” They were “what’s going on,” that is, what others are doing. It was another expression of the Party’s loss of purpose.

At the convention younger comrades barely spoke, most wondering what to make of the proceedings. Veterans of many Party conventions saw no -- or at any rate few -- new faces in key districts

Forty-five minutes of Webb's keynote remarks were taped for C-SPAN. His supporters considered this to be of great importance. It seems to us that inviting C-SPAN to tape Webb’s presentation demonstrated that his intended audience is the TV-viewing public, not specifically Communists. His generalizations and lack of analysis could only be directed to non-Communists.


The Convention was undemocratic, scripted, non-Communist (in fact anti-Communist at times), and devoid of Marxist analysis of present conditions. One delegate, completely disgusted, predicted, “They won’t even bother to hold another convention.”

Validating our pessimistic analysis, since the convention, matters have continued to slide down the slippery slope. The first NC conference call took up the topic of “re-branding” the Party, as if the Party were a tube of toothpaste requiring a more modern name, like changing “Ipana” to “Aquafresh.” Reportedly, a consultant will be hired to advise on re-branding, including re-naming.

As one seasoned comrade who has subsequently resigned said privately to us, the convention result shows “the political gangrene of opportunism has spread very far indeed.”

Gangrene looks like this: one of the most appalling moments in this appalling convention came when Joel Wendland, editor of Political Affairs, a “Journal of Marxist Thought,” stated: “Isn’t it great we can have a CPUSA convention and not hear ‘Marx said this’ and ‘Lenin said that’?!” “We need to shed old skin on theoretical level.”

Evidently, Wendland is following his own advice. A few weeks back, he abandoned any theory of imperialism. He posted without criticism a proclamation from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Venezuelan Independence Day, as if the US State Department were a champion of Venezuelan independence. We believe the real State Department view is expressed in the seven new US military bases in neighboring Colombia, authorized by Obama and Clinton, aimed at strangling Venezuelan independence and democracy.

We view this convention as a hijacking of the Party by a faction of the leadership. Many good Party members are wondering: Can this party be saved?

We don’t know. It will take a fierce struggle. But most of us intend to try.

The present leadership is already in consultation with social reformist groups (DSA, CCDS, the reformist Freedom Road). It’s obvious that most of the present leaders don’t want a Communist Party. They view Leninism and even the name CPUSA as “baggage.”

As for us, a few voices among many, we are urging the healthy forces in the Party not to quit, but to stay and fight. How many will leave we do not yet know. Those who have left are honorable comrades who see resignation as a matter of principle. We have resolved to stay close to them and to work together closely. They have welcomed that.

Matters are serious. Yet, there are factors on our side. Here are a few: our opponents often miscalculate. For example, delaying the convention for one year proved a miscalculation on their part, insofar as it more easily enabled the left opposition in the Party to point out how absurd the official CPUSA “analysis” of Obama and the Democrats is. The international Communist movement is on our side. It is looking on with dismay and alarm at the deterioration within the CPUSA leadership. As the present US Administration moves steadily rightward, to justify its policies becomes ever more difficult. Disgusted by a Party that sees its sole mission the election of Democrats, people walk away or give up. The membership dwindles, and the organizational crisis deepens. The class struggle is sharpening in the US and around the world. Reformism has no solutions for US working people.

We doubt that there can be any recovery in the CPUSA until Sam Webb and his allies are removed from their present positions.

The daunting immediate task ahead for Marxist-Leninists in the US is to figure out how to move forward inside and outside the CPUSA.
August 18, 2010

Sam Webb
Chair, National Board, CPUSA

Monday, August 23, 2010

A little late in sharing this beautiful summation of our National Convention

This summation of our National Convention is my own written by one of the outstanding movement organizers theoreticians of our time, the brilliant John Case:

Reflections on the 29th Convention of the CPUSA

By John Case

[Submitted to Portside by author]


The US Communist Party held its 29th Convention this
past weekend in New York city on the 90th anniversary
of its founding. I last attended a CP convention in
1991, a time of great turmoil throughout all parties
and movements that identified with socialist or
communist ideals. The collapse of the USSR and the fall
of quite a few socialist led governments had persuaded
many that the entire socialist experiment had failed,
that Marxism was false.

For those who had came to view the vision and theories
of Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin, more as religion than
contributions to economic and political science; for
those who followed dogma over facts; for those who
believed political regimes by will alone were capable
of leaping over the real laws of economic and social
development -- a reckoning was certainly due.

Return of the Specter

But time has not been kind to those forces who believed
Bush the First when he proclaimed the dawn of a new
world order in love with the vicissitudes of
capitalism, and lawless globalization. Despite vigorous
attempts to bury the socialist and communist movements
-- and social democratic regimes too -- and poison the
atmosphere against their ideologies, both organization
and ideas on the Left appear to be returning in new,
more robust and energetic forms, judging by the new
wave of activists and rebels attending the 29th CP

Of course the CP has been around for a long time. But
it gives every evidence of shedding old skin and
reinvigorating itself. It takes multitudes of working
people, of many races and nationalities, men and women,
gay and straight, youth and seniors -- together --- to
move the mountains of inequity and injustice arising
from the past 35 years of financialization of the US
economy, and the greatest economic crisis since the
1930's. And the end of this crisis is not yet in sight,
which in itself gives rise to new thinking about the
nature of capitalism, and its ability to reproduce
itself. This convention marked a sharp break with any
remaining legacy within the party for narrow or
defensive conceptions of party organization. It
rejected notions of the path to US socialism other than
through the struggles to defeat the ultra right, and
raise the wealth and democratic rights of working
people, at the expense of monopoly corporate power.

Both old and new defenses from the ideologists of
capitalism are being broadly challenged. Robert Rubin's
well-managed society whose economy rests in the hands
of liberal investment banks has crashed. David Brooks
can't decide what to think. The right wing crazies are
probably too agitated and medicated to even be allowed
to drive a car. In this atmosphere of permanent hot
media and ceaseless information streams, no wonder
Obama's coolness stood out as a virtue voters thought
we might need! Thus, no surprise that Karl Marx, and
revised, more democratized conceptions of socialism,
are gaining renewed interest as the economic crisis
once again confronts society with the grave
difficulties of reining in capitalism's terrible
instability. Under the right constraints, capitalism
has been shown to generate great innovative successes.
Yet as each technological revolution overthrows and
succeeds a previous order, the conflicts between
private anarchy and public stability appear to have
grown sharper, to become destabilizing on an ever
greater scale. Globalization, left to the management,
or non-management might be a better term, of a few
large powers and central banks greatly aggravates this
conflict on a worldwide scale. Vladimir Lenin,
liberated in recent years from the grim Stalin legacy
that followed him in Russia, also seems to be making a
comeback via diverse and mixed socialist parties and
governments from China and Vietnam, to the popular
social-democracies in South and Central America.

Emulating the Working Class, Diversity and Equality

The beautiful and diverse composition of the delegates
to the CP convention was its most striking feature.
Always striving to reflect the character of the US
working class in its own composition, the Communist
Party has been one of the most integrated political
organizations in the United States -- going all the way
back to its founding. Of all left organizations in the
US, a CP meeting is the most like a union meeting --
there is a century long and deep commitment to
strengthening the organized section of the working
class. The party focuses much of its work on, and draws
much of its strength from, the US labor movement.
Working people need strong unity to exercise power, and
organizing multi-national, multi-racial cooperation and
solidarity are values that the CP in particular has
long placed front and center in every political fight.
No change there. Except the breadth and depth of the
Obama coalition, building on the always deepening
diversity of the US population, makes the CP not so
unique in this respect. Perhaps it even makes this part
of its task easier. Inequality and inequities abound.
Yet young people are raised in a much less segregated,
and much more diverse, culture than the generations

Delegates to the convention appeared steeped in trade
union and working class movements. The African
American, Latino, Asia and Pacific island, LGBT, Native
American, gender, youth and senior, immigrant and
naturalized composition genuinely reflected the real
colors and shades, cultures, traditions, lifestyles,
dialects and languages of this land. Watching them
struggle and reach for agreement on an advanced but
realizable progressive platform gives one hope about
our country, despite the many storms and furies that
seek to divide us.

Sam Webb's Report

The convention opening report of Chairman Sam Webb
focused on the compelling need to accelerate the
democratic upsurge of working people and all
progressive forces combating persistent joblessness,
which stands near 20% of the workforce when all are
counted, and to defeat a resurgent ultra right-wing,
racist offensive designed to derail and destroy the
entire Obama progressive reform agenda, and Obama's
historic presidency as well. Webb targets the 2010 mid-
term elections were as the focus of political activity
for the next 6 months. Both the ultra-right challenge,
and the prospects for deepening reform and kicking up
the strength of the coalition that elected Obama, will
meet their next big test on November 2, 2010. That's
just 160 days from now.

Chairman Webb made strong appeals not to underestimate
the important and positive changes in the political
environment since the campaign and election of Barack
Obama. The broad coalition that gave birth to the Obama
phenomenon went to sleep for a while after the
election. But if the recent primary elections are any
sign, it is waking up again! And none too soon! This
movement is taking us all to school in the art of
grassroots majority politics.

The Ultra-right, racist danger

The dangers posed by unambiguously racist propaganda
emanating from not just the fringes but the leadership
of the Republican Party -- were specifically addressed
by Executive Vice Chairman Jarvis Tyner. He argued that
the so called "tea party" forces' unchecked resorts to
vicious slurs, threats of violence, and provocations
are well organized and are picking up steam in some
areas of the country. The goal being to distract and
divide folks who are in near panic over the prolonged
economic crisis. Rand Paul, an open opponent of the old
Republican establishment, wins the Kentucky Senate
primary. Like his father, so-called Libertarian Ron
Paul, this "Tea Party" candidate is a front and cover
for outright white supremacist organizations, as was
revealed in press conferences following the election
where Paul criticized the foundations of de-segregation
laws. Fox news pundits and the Limbaugh-talk radio,
drug-crazed crowd running the new Republican Party are
also riding these racist diversions to challenge
longstanding civil rights legislation on affirmative
action and bars against public segregation, as well as
celebrations of the Confederacy.

Tyner, and many speakers, noted the intense anti-
immigrant fever that has broken out like an infected
sore in Arizona. The state legislature and Governor
enacted a draconian law directing state law enforcement
to arrest and demand "papers" of anyone they "suspect"
is "illegal". A large, multi-racial and multi national
movement to "legalize Arizona" has emerged in
response, gaining a hat tip from President Obama, and
direct pledge of support from the President of Mexico
and other international forces. Yet, as convention
participants noted, polls currently show two to one
support for the law, both in Arizona and across the US,
reflecting again both a profound level of panic over
jobs, and frustration with failure to pass
comprehensive immigration reform.


Despite warnings about the danger from the ultra right,
the mood was upbeat at the convention. Convention
reports noted the results of the recent primary
elections that, in the main, repudiated Republican and
ultra right campaigns, and asserted that the majority
of voters, while divided on some questions, are in
support of the Obama reform agenda and in many cases
moving toward even more progressive proposals.

Expressions of greeting and solidarity were received
from many communist, socialist and workers' parties,
including remarks from an official rep of the Communist
Party of Vietnam.

Highlights also included reports of many rich
experiences of delegates in electoral, grassroots,
trade union, health care, May Day, financial reform,
and varied community struggles and campaigns.
Communists are winning or in serious contention in
several races across the country. They are running
primarily in the Democratic party. There were strong
messages of solidarity from UE Republic Windows,
victorious sit-down strikers in Chicago, and from
organizers and leaders in the immigrants rights
movement, and from the many moving and emotional song,
letter and speech tributes, from many nations, at the
Saturday evening international solidarity and 90th
anniversary celebration.

Reports on the struggle for peace focused on
accelerating and advancing the withdrawal from Iraq,
returning to regional diplomacy over war in
Afghanistan, and addressing the urgent needs to
implement the two state solution in Israel-Palestine.
The world wide improvement in unity in preventing the
proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass
destruction needs to be buttressed with legislation.

Much attention was paid to building and expanding
online media initiatives and responding to increased
demands for flexibility in tactics.


Sometimes in reports on political conventions,
especially those on the Left, there is a tendency to
overstate, or perhaps mis-characterize the overall
impression of unity. Of course all political parties
can only move decisively forward on those matters where
there is the broadest agreement. There is indeed broad
CP unity on strengthening the democratic upsurge behind
a reform agenda that is friendly to that of the
president. But the convention was not a boring
recitation of people rising to associate themselves
with the remarks of the chairman. There are very
diverse, and quite different, conceptions of how
socialism, or mixed market - socialism, or the
transition to socialism, is developing in the United
States, and around the world.

Sam Webb, Jarvis Tyner and Roberta Wood were re-elected
as officers, Chair, Exec Vice-Chair and Secretary-
Treasury, respectively.

The meeting opened singing "This land is your land",
and closed on the "International".

How come not bigger?

It's an odd and somewhat uneasy juxtaposition of
thoughts and feelings that witnesses the truly
beautiful composition and spirit of the delegates to
this CP convention alongside the small size of the
Communist Party --- which has not enjoyed a strong base
of strength since the beginning of the McCarthy
repression in the late 1940's and the 1950's.

I keep asking -- how come? How come such a lively
outfit as this crowd does not have 20,000, or 100,000
members? The same question could be asked about the
organized Left in general. But I think when its
answered for the CP, it will be similar to the answer
for the Left too. The most important part of the answer
is rejecting all political doubts about the importance
of the democratic struggle for workers, and not
picturing the path to socialism as in any way separate
from the tasks of this struggle. The CP focus on labor
and its explicit class orientation has always been the
essence of its survival strategy even in the darkest
times. And now --now that the time for an offensive is
at hand --- the class base and focus is helping it make
the necessary adjustments in political program,
strategy and tactics. This convention got that done!
Which should alone enable it to grow its membership if
folks do as they have pledged!

The name "Communist"

Beyond that, while it did not come up on the agenda, or
in speeches, one of the elephants in the room --not far
from my own mind, at least -- is the linkage between
the name "Communist" and the failed USSR, so identified
with it. To ask American workers to find their way
through all of cold war history in order to help work
with and lead the class and democratic fight that the
delegates to the CP convention committed themselves to
-- is asking too much, in this writer's opinion.
However, even if that association were to fade with
time and be overtaken by the record of sound, sober,
serious and solid leadership in this struggle before
us, its hard to picture a large workers party in the US
calling itself "Communist". Why? Because such a party
is tasked in this era chiefly with fully exhausting the
democratic struggle to raise workers incomes and rights
under capitalism. Further, even strategically such a
party must be willing and able to participate in and
help lead coalitions capable of running a sustained
mixed -- part capitalist, part socialist --- economy
for a likely lengthy transition period. Naming this
party "Communist" before such time as the tasks of
constructing a society reflecting the communist ideal
are fully prepared, is premature in a mass context, at
least in the US. However, since all political
obstacles to full participation in this great
democratic upheaval of our time have been set aside, I
am sure this one too will in due course be set aside if
it remains a block to the growth that the CP's program
and broad approach most definitely deserves. I
recommend its serious consideration by all.

Single slate elections

The other elephant in the room, from this writers point
of view, is the single slate method of electing
leadership. To most Americans familiar with trade
unions or other political parties, it would seem
strange. Most of the latter have a more "federal" style
of electing leadership. That is, geographical and other
established party or union organizational components
are each given some proportion of seats on the leading
committees. Delegates to conventions of more federal
organizations do not vote on leading committees as a
whole, but by district, state or other type of sector.
Officers are typically elected at large, and with a
broader mandate than members of leading committees. The
CP in the US does it differently, due to three factors.
First, preserving a balanced class, racial, national,
gender, youth and cultural composition in leadership
has always been a high priority -- a priority that can
sometimes be sacrificed to regional or other sectarian
tendencies. Second, the repressions against the CP for
years made it very difficult to operate as other
organizations. And a fully open or transparent process
still poses some risks -- although these are declining
in the current period --- of retaliation from members'
employers or other forces meaning harm. Third, the
slate method arguably constructs a more harmonious
leading collective able to perform multiple tasks, both
regional and national, with better coordination. In the
single slate election a presiding committee, elected by
the delegates, prepares a proposal for the entire
incoming national leadership, subject to amendment by
the convention.

So, there is cause to proceed carefully and in a manner
that does not provoke unnecessary division. But it is
hard to see the single slate method adaptable to a
larger party without risking bureaucratic distortions.
Yes --- becoming more "federal" might weaken
collectivity and give more ground to factions. But
dealing with factions, and building unity, is a never-
ending task in all mass organizations. Further, single
slate methods can weaken individual leadership
accountability to members. Lastly, I don't see the
single slate method adapting easily to a party much
more focused on elections and electability, as a mass
party must be.

Si Se Puede!!

I will no doubt be accused of quibbling about less
important matters by some, or exposing liberal
ideological tendencies by others. But I remain
convinced these are important quibbles, weighty
elephants indeed!

Nonetheless, it is clear from this convention that
these challenges will be addressed in order, and
constructively. These delegates are serious, and
practical. They elected officers completely committed
to the democratic tasks before working people. They are
bowing to no authority but reason and necessity. The
enthusiasm, the si se puede!! spirit, the stubborn
determination and grit of the delegates and leaders
gathered in New York for the 29th Convention of the
CPUSA do not look like folks who will be stopped, or
driven in any cultish or sectarian direction. They have
the main tasks down! And they seem ready to lay it all
on the line to move the working class and popular
democratic movement forward, for peace, and a higher
standard of living. From this convention, I predict
they will not be blocked by any trees fallen across the
road that stand in the way!

As Robert Frost wrote:

"...And yet [Nature] knows obstruction is in vain: We
will not be put off the final goal We have it hidden in
us to attain, Not though we have to seize earth by the
pole And, tired of aimless circling in one place, Steer
straight off after something into space."

...and across the Universe

yes we can! si se puede!

With deep appreciation to my most loyal follower and my most trusted adviser John Case,

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Monday, August 16, 2010

More on our beautiful country

I am receiving some flack about my trip.

I am being asked why I never stopped in and met with workers at the sugar beet refineries of American Crystal Sugar to see how they liked their pay and working conditions.

In fact, we have a member of our National Committee, Mark Froemke, who is a big shot in the Grain Millers union and the AFL-CIO who sees to it that these workers get a nice hefty 3% raise every few years. For the big money these people make a little bad air isn't going to hurt them.

I don't like breathing the air in these refineries. I would just as soon ride down the highway with my air conditioner on.

All this talk about working conditions comes from ultra-leftists and I have previously explained I don't think their questions are worth answering.

I think it is important we look for what is good in our country so we don't have to protest so much while Obama is our President. Barack will take care of all of us. Let's not sweat the little problems like working conditions when we have a major problem in front of us like how we are going to re-elect the Democrats.

Let's pray for clear blue skies and clean air.

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Friday, August 13, 2010

America the beautiful!

This article below I wrote has received rave reviews from my most loyal admirers.

I forgot to notice if affirmative action was being enforced as I drove down the highways and by-ways but as we know President Obama can't be too out front on such things because it might jeopardize his re-election.

There is nothing like a wedding. Divorces are good, too.

Being as how I am a national officer of the CPUSA I don't think I should comment about the way Mark Dayton defeated our favorite candidate in Minnesota, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher. I will defer a discussion of this to our distinguished scholar, Erwin Marquit.

Happy Trails to all of you. Next time I will be riding my favorite horse.

Sam Webb
National Chair, Chairman of the Board, CPUSA

Road trip in the heartland

It was a road trip! Not in the raucous style of Jack Kerouac ("On the Road") or Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters ("Electric Kool Aid Acid Test") or Neal Cassady, the legendary driver on both trips. This trip, by comparison, was tame, even dull. The only pills were for high blood pressure, my drink of choice was water and Pepsi, and marijuana is not on my menu.

Beginning in Chicago, I drove to the Twin Cities, then on to Fargo, North Dakota. From there I steered down the east side of North and South Dakota in my orange-red rental car at a 80-mile-an-hour clip (75 mph is the speed limit), landing myself in Des Moines - all in the space of 36 hours and three meetings to boot.

The next morning I zoomed off to Davenport, Iowa and then on to Michigan - Detroit and Grand Rapids - and back to Chicago, where I grabbed a plane for New York City. The End!

In the course of this trip, I met wonderful people - teachers, office workers, writers, real estate agents, academics, retirees, young people, union activists and leaders, political candidates, old and new mothers, fathers and grandparents, students of all ages and sizes, people of different races and nationalities, a radical clergyman bedecked in very formal cloth who gave a wicked good homily - it was America in the heartland. Next time I will kiss a baby!

So what did this blue-eyed, gray-haired son (paraphrasing Bob Dylan) observe?

Observation: Motel 6 is good value, the price of gas isn't outrageous, cruise control makes driving long distances easier, snoozes in rest stops are delicious ... and stimulus dollars are at work repairing highways in every state I drove in. My biggest complaint is that the Obama administration doesn't publicize this fact - no big (or even modest-sized) signs bringing this to a driver's attention, thus making the stimulus monies invisible - something that the "Party of No" and its amplifiers take advantage of. Sometimes you have to toot your own horn - and loudly!

Observation: Driving down the eastern side of the Dakotas impressed on my eye the beauty of this land - as Woody Guthrie says: "Our land." No matter what the changes in the topography (plains grass to farmland) this swath of the country is as pleasing and glorious to the eye as the magnificent mountains and coasts. I'm sure some of you "sipping lattes" in "New York and Berkeley" will disagree, but as the late and inimitable Peoples World writer Fred Gaboury would say, "You have a right to be wrong."

The big sky, the heavenly sunsets, the fields bathed in green and gold, the solitary farmhouse, the empty, straight and seemingly endless farm roads, the flat land and the rolling hills - all this filled me with awe for the web of life of which we are only a link, despite our pretentions.

The high grass of the plains (first nature) is rare now, replaced by the huge, rectangular tracts of farmland (second, third, fourth ... nature) on which grow corn, sugar beets, wheat, and much more. Moreover, because of the rise of huge agribusinesses and the use of machinery that would comfortably fit on a Star Wars set, it is easy to forget that successive peoples, beginning with Native Indians (who were displaced by superior military power and forced onto reservations) lived, worked and transformed (sometimes for better, other times for worse) the ecology, land, politics, economics and culture of this geographic space that we call the Great Plains. On this land and in the commodities that originate here enormous amounts of past and present sweated labor are embedded. Which makes me think that by any measure of justice, the land, its bountiful gifts and its way of life belong to the people of the Great Plains rather than to the predatory and profit-maximizing corporations that systematically degrade and destroy the heartland's two sources of wealth - nature and labor. In the headquarters of Monsanto or Tyson Foods, no one talks about the Plains as Mother Earth, as the first peoples did.

Observation: The trip would have been lonely, but I had some companions: my imagination which was on roaming, music - a lot of country, which as Ray Charles says, tells interesting stories if you listen closely, and a heavy dose of right-wing radio talk. Oops, I'm forgetting ESPN which featured incessant commentary on Brett Favre's decision to retire - something I will believe when I see it.

But back to talk radio, where I heard the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and lesser lights - ugh! Talk about a scary bunch! To say that they are a fascist-like, slimy gang is not far from the truth. I like to think that their message is too shrill and extreme to resonate broadly. But, even assuming that is so, this gang still represents a present danger and could easily become a much bigger danger down the road. In their sights are, no surprise, President Obama (Ingraham was outraged that he wore sandals on one occasion), the Democratic (or as they say, the Democrat) Party, the alleged ethical indiscretions of Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel, immigration (draconian measures against the undocumented), the deficit (eliminate the "welfare state"), and tax cuts, especially for the wealthy (their answer for nearly everything).

All of them weave the fall congressional elections into their harangues. The possibility of the Republicans regaining control of the House makes their mouths water.

Just imagine, they say, how much more effective Republicans will be, not only in wrecking every initiative of the administration, but also in positioning the GOP to defeat the president's reelection bid and to take over both houses of Congress in 2012.

Even with a minority in the House and Senate, their record of obstruction is the pride of Wall Street, Big Oil, the military-industrial complex, and right-wing moneybags. Only recently the passage of a $26 billion bill to help state and local governments make Medicaid payments and avoid laying off 140,000 teachers came at a high price - some would say too high. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was only able to break a Republican filibuster by promising offsets largely through - if you can believe it - $12 billion in cuts to food stamps.

You heard right - food stamp cuts taken from poor working people who are already living at best on the edge, fighting to survive in a very hostile economic environment.

If they can do this as a congressional minority imagine what they will do if they have a majority. Everything will be blocked, while at the same time they will heap blame on the president for the economic crisis.

This possibility has the right-wing mouthpieces of hate and pain acting like crazed tigers as their prey comes into sight.

Observation: The highlight of my excursion, hands down. was the marriage of two beautiful women in Iowa. I left the ceremony thinking how outrageous it is that something so natural and beautiful could still be illegal in many other states. The whole notion that heterosexual marriage, families and sex is superior to homosexual marriage, families and sex is simply ludicrous. As far as I'm concerned, it is an anachronism, best left as a relic of the 20th century. Joy, intimacy, deeply felt desires, and marital unions are private matters that society should respect and support.

There is much more I could comment on, for example, how much I like Subway's 12-inch veggie with no lettuce (poor quality) and lots of hot peppers (spicy is good), but enough is enough. Happy Trails!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where are our censors?

Somehow this got posted to our PW website today after I ordered all comments and postings from this individual to be banned:


  • Sam Webb is a hypocrite of the worst kind. First he sets up a false scenario to prove he is a Communist leader as he refuses to engage in the very struggle he claims needs to be undertaken: working inside the Democratic Party.

    Webb has "elevated" the class struggle to simply voting for Democrats without fully participating in the Democratic Party.

    When was the last time Sam Webb suggested specific resolutions to be discussed and debated at Democratic Party precinct caucuses, county conventions, nominating conventions, state conventions or national conventions.

    In fact, when was the last time Sam Webb even suggested that Communists get involved in the Democratic Party and participate at the very grassroots level?

    Is Webb himself involved in any way in the Democratic Party other than sitting in his glass offices trying to imagine what is beyond the brick walls that he peers upon from his office?

    Webb, as an excuse for his own inaction, creates these responses to imaginary situations because he doesn't know about participation in the Democratic Party from his own personal experiences nor has he ever participated in any way in the Democratic Party; if he had this kind of personal experience he would be able to discuss how we should try to advance the needs of working people through the Democratic Party.

    Webb now "elevates" the participation of working people in the Democratic Party--- not to how working people should participate in the Democratic Party to advance a progressive agenda aimed at bringing forward real solutions to the problems the working class and working people are experiencing--- but to simply relegating the participation of workers to voting for Democratic candidates who, for the most part--- because of lack of Communist participation--- do not have to even respond to the problems working people are experiencing.

    What is the obstacle to Sam Webb personally spending time involved in the Democratic Party? What is the obstacle to Webb writing about his experiences in the Democratic Party? If Webb is going to make the case--- a case completely justifiable and correct in my opinion--- that Communists need to be involved in the Democratic Party then he has some responsibility to be involved in the Democratic Party himself... and, he is obviously not involved in any way in the Democratic Party.

    Webb's ignorance of the real nature of the Democratic Party--- beyond just saying it is a corporate dominated party--- shines right through in everything he writes.

    It is bad enough that Webb sees the main form of working class involvement as simply going to the polls on Election Day to cast one's ballot for Democrats; the real problem is that Webb doesn't even encourage working people to struggle inside the Democratic Party to advance the interests of working people.

    Of course, Webb then proceeds to advocate for some kind of alternative to the Democrats; but, here again, Webb has no "hands on" experience.

    The question which really needs to be asked is, "In what areas of struggle does Sam Webb have any experience" which would provide him with any credibility to write about anything other then telling us about his views on basketball and and how to organize college beer bashes?

If this ever happens again, heads are going to role.

Yes, Bruce, what is it?

Sam, I'm sorry this got through. I was in for my monthly electro-shock treatment.

Ok, Bruce; thank you for the explanation.

Everyone back to your desks.

Scottie, could you clean those dirty bricks on the wall and put that "Wonderful World of Barack Obama" painting back where I can see it?

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This is an excellent article.

I like the way it doesn't make any suggestions for concrete activity. Making concrete suggestions for activity is where we lose many people. As long as we stick to framing things we will be alright.

We want to make sure this gets over to the leader of the democratic people's front. Is anyone dropping by the White House today?

Joel is one of those rare geniuses who can write a lot of words that never takes us anywhere. This is a real gift.

Sam Webb
Chair, National Board, CPUSA

Radical Ideas, Real Politics: Some Thoughts on the Coming Period

6-02-10, 10:04 am

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Political Affairs #116 - Labor History vs. the Cold War

It's June 3rd, 2010. On this episode we talk with Political Affairs contributing editor Ben Sears about his new book, Generation of Resistance: The Electrical Unions and the Cold War, out now in paperback at So stay with us.

Download the mp3 version of episode #116 here

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Due to the economic crisis, rapid technological developments, globalization, and the new political terrain that has emerged as a result of the election of Barack Obama, the present moment is quite unlike any other. Because it is so different, we require a new understanding of the moment, as well as a theoretical agenda that matches this new reality.

This brief essay does not pretend to be a comprehensive discussion of the changed political and economic terrain or a detailed policy road map. Rather, it is intended to launch a discussion in the web pages of Political Affairs of why Marxism remains an essential, objective, and working-class-based theoretical process for meeting the challenges that lie ahead.

Our aim is to develop a focus on the key questions related to social progress and working-class empowerment, a focus centered on building and strengthening a broad people's coalition, like the movement that brought Barack Obama into office, and a sober assessment of reality in its present form, and the potential for creating a new world: an economy, society and system of values that reflect the basic interests of the American people and its working families.

To do so, the theoretical basis of our work, the presentation of our view of the world and society, must accurately reflect the new objective reality, the economic and political crisis faced by working men and women, and the hundreds of millions of marginalized human beings who currently are excluded from the Wall-Street-ravaged global economy.

No one can deny the intensity of the economic oppression that the working class today confronts. We offer a theory of society and a political method that provides the working class, broadly conceived, with essential tools for understanding, joining together with its allies, and confronting the forces that now control most of the wealth and power, America's plutocracy. Our task is to develop the critical weaponry they need to resist and open a pathway to a new kind of society focused on meeting the needs of the people: good paying jobs, affordable housing and health care, universal access to education, racial, ethnic, gender and LGBT equality, and the establishment of a truly democratic political system.

We begin with thoughts on some central features of the present moment and the struggles arising from them.

The Economy

With more than 15 million people out of work, and millions more underemployed, creating good-paying jobs should be the top priority of America’s political leaders. It is time to put the needs of working families on Main Street ahead of the profits of Wall Street. Today too much is at stake for too many to continue to wander blindly down the path of endless bank bailouts devoid of any oversight and a government by and for the wealthiest, the richest 2-3 percent of Americans.

Battered by the economic crisis, working families are joining everyday with the activist organizations and coalitions spearheaded by a revitalized labor movement to demand good-paying jobs and an economic recovery that won't settle for permanently high unemployment rates as the new reality.

Under Bush and the Republicans, Wall Street got the keys to the store (not to mention the bank) and created the economic disaster we’re living with today. Because of their reckless and criminal behavior, they have proven themselves incapable of knowing what is best "for the rest of us." It is obvious, from their huge bailout bonuses and continued record profits, that the rich and powerful care only about what is best for themselves.

Given this reality, we urge democratization of the financial sector of the economy, the banks, the insurance companies, and the brokerage firms. The creators of the economic crisis did their utmost to maximize their profits by concocting criminal schemes that exploited the desire of "ordinary Americans" for a home of their own. The banks and brokerage houses bundled up sub-prime loans in a labyrinthine web, and when the housing bubble popped it resulted in a tidal wave of economic ruin on a scale unprecedented since the Great Depression. To avoid repeating the same mistakes, fundamental changes and genuine regulation of the financial industry are absolutely necessary. Alternative models for democratization of the financial services sectors already; see for example North Dakota's public option in banking.

The deregulation of the financial services sector and the Bush administration’s laissez-faire anti-regulation policies sparked the financial meltdown which caused the Great Recession of 2007, and we are by no means out of the woods yet. Without financial regulation and democratic oversight of the banks and Wall Street, the horizon that marks the end of the Great Recession will continue to recede.

Signs of Recovery?

Although we have started to see the first fruits of Obama's Recovery Act, with over 500,000 jobs created in the past three months, the economy must do much more to meet the needs of all working families. While few working families are out of the woods, unemployment remains disproportionately high for African American and Latino workers, who face home foreclosures, school closings, and declining public services. Congress needs to pass a comprehensive jobs bill in proportion to the size of the unemployment crisis, such as the Local Jobs for America Act authored by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. The push to create jobs should contain four essential features:

1) affirmative action principles are needed to ensure new federal investments flow to the communities hardest hit by the economic crisis;

2) special funds must be set aside to protect the jobs of teachers (and other school staff) threatened by state-level budget cuts that promise nothing but further economic harm in the near future and long-term difficulties for the country's youth;

3) conversion to a green economy that produces alternative energy and builds a public infrastructure using renewable and recyclable materials will create about 5 million new jobs with a sustainable future;

4) and, meaningful investments in our country’s vital social infrastructure – schools, hospitals, libraries, universities, and public transportation – would create 20 million jobs, starting immediately.

People are justifiably worried about the rising federal deficit, but we can pay for a proportionate jobs bill, our schools, health reform, and environmental improvements by bringing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a quick end and shifting federal budget priorities from militarism to people’s needs. Further tax code fixes should require the rich to pay their fair share, end revenue-draining loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying taxes by moving offshore, and force Wall Street pay for its corrupt practices and failures by taxing, for example, the billions made each day by means of lightning-fast electronic transactions.

The Cost of War

A recent study by the National Priorities Project shows that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeds $1 trillion, and some 58 percent of the federal budget annually is consumed by the Pentagon. An economic recovery for Main Street is directly linked to reducing military spending. Opponents of spending cuts for the military often insist military contracts create jobs. But the evidence of the past nine years of war shows the bloated military budget has proven inadequate to stave off massive unemployment. War has made working families poorer.

Today, the US is number one in military spending, accounting for 45 percent of the entire world's military spending. Reducing militarism means putting an end to foreign interventionism and bringing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to an end.

In addition to the cost of war, a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute reveals that the richest Americans have greatly benefited from the carefully-targeted Bush tax cuts, which resulted in the 400 richest families averaging $345 million in annual income seeing their effective rate fall from 26 percent in 1992 to 16 percent in 2007. At the same time, working families saw their tax rate virtually unchanged. Robbed of tax revenue from the wealthiest Americans and drained by payments for Bush's war of choice in Iraq, the federal deficit skyrocketed.

There will be a true economic recovery only when working families have good-paying jobs, comprehensive benefits, and the guaranteed right to join a union. President Obama’s staunch defense of workers’ rights deserves wide support and applause, but the labor movement has vowed to intensify its fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. EFCA would make it far easier for workers to form unions and win the right to collectively bargain for a decent standard of living and safe working conditions. As an example of the safer conditions provided by union representation, the non-union miners who perished at Massey Coal would not have been bullied and intimidated into working in an unsafe mine for fear of losing their jobs if they had had a union. UMW safety teams would have quickly reported the methane danger, and workers would have had the union-guaranteed right of refusing to work in the hazardous conditions that took their lives.

The Tea Party

The Tea Party is a well-financed, corporate-backed movement that exploits the real anxieties and fears of working Americans about the economic crisis in order to promote a right-wing agenda that has nothing to do with meeting the needs of working families. The Tea Party uses inflammatory racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric to exploit anxieties and promote divisions.

In fact, the new darling of the Tea Party, Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul, stated recently that he opposes the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and clarified his statement by insisting that businesses should have been allowed to continue to discriminate against African Americans. Right-wing media personalities at Fox News and other outlets fuel an atmosphere of hate, violence, and even sedition. For example, Fox News commentator Jon Stossel defended Paul, telling his viewers that white people should be allowed to be racist, and we shouldn’t think badly of them for it.

Rand Paul also called the Americans with Disabilities Act an infringement on the basic freedoms of Americans, and rails at the Obama Administration for stomping on the neck of oil-giant BP with "its jack boots," observing that "accidents will happen." However, it is interesting to note that in his practice as an ophthalmologist Rand derives fifty percent of his income from Medicare reimbursements. Perhaps he would consider replacing that cash with bartered chickens, as the wacky Tea Party Senate Republican candidate in Nevada has suggested as a way for hard-up patients to pay for their doctor visits.

In sharp contrast to the Tea Party, the labor and people's movements (including civil rights, women's, environmental, and gay rights organizations) represent the real interests of working families. Together with coalitions like the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which includes a broad array of civil rights and democratic organizations, labor has in recent years played a central role at the forefront of the people's movement in the fight for jobs and economic recovery, as well as for civil rights and equality. For example, at the eloquent urging of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the labor movement took the lead in fighting racist influences in the working class that the Republicans were actively fomenting during the 2008 election campaign. The struggle against racism and its divisive influence remains a top priority of the labor movement. Racism has long been a key weapon in the arsenal of capitalism to divide working people, thereby allowing the ruling class, the arch-enemies of real democracy, to conquer.

In addition, the labor movement, along with civil right organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, is leading the legal challenges in the courts against the new Tea Party-backed, anti-immigrant laws in Arizona. Increasingly people in Arizona and around the country are realizing that the right-wing's racist anti-immigrant onslaught offers no solution to the economic crisis. According to the Immigration Policy Center, unauthorized immigrants add some $25 billion a year to Arizona’s economy. The right-wing drive to force immigrants out will not only destroy immigrant families, many of whom have lived, worked and paid taxes in this country for decades, it will hurt all working families.

Every person and family – regardless of political leanings – who have been hurt by the economic crisis, those who want real solutions, and reject divisive and racist anti-immigrant campaigns like those of the Tea Party and the Arizona Republicans, have a home in the labor movement. They are the natural allies of the groups and organizations that promote equality, fairness, unity, and workers' rights. United action, democracy, and common solutions to social problems, like health reform, are the best ways to overcome the problems at the root of today’s crisis.

The organizations that make up the People's Movement offer real solutions for working families, not just corporate-sponsored soundbites that appeal to people's basest instincts by promoting racism and reaction. Unlike the Tea Party, America's broad coalition of progressive forces has the potential of returning American democracy to its revolutionary roots. The recent union-led rallies that confronted the big banks and Wall Street, along with the massive rallies against racist anti-immigrant legislation around the country on May 1, equaled the passion of the Tea Party, exceeded them in numbers, and far surpassed the enemies of progress in the soundness and rationality of their political message.

Health care reform

Providing affordable access to universal healthcare is one area to which our country’s resources should be shifted to improve the lives of working families. The passage of meaningful health reform in March was a major victory for America’s working families, and all the cynical and anti-family efforts by the Republicans to block and weaken reform are contemptible, since they serve only the interests of the health insurance monopolies. Labor and democratic-minded organizations that support health reform are now working to educate the public about their new rights and benefits under the Affordable Care Act, as well as those areas that need further improvement. Here are some of its benefits:

1) Starting immediately, insurance companies will be required to stop the profit-motivated practices of denying coverage based on gender, preexisting conditions, or the high cost of chronic diseases.

2) America's lowest income families will soon receive subsidies to cover all or part of the cost of insurance.

3) Small business owners are already seeing a new tax credit to help them provide insurance for their employees and themselves.

4) Seniors have begun to see the prescription drug “donut hole” that required them to pay high out-of-pocket expenses, immediately begin to shrink significantly, and soon it will be completely eliminated.

5) There are also huge benefits for young people under the new health law:

According to the New York Times, "Almost one-third of the 46 million uninsured in the United States are 18-29 – the age group that is most likely to be without coverage, since so many work in part-time or entry level jobs." The Times cites a new report by the Commonwealth Fund that finds that "most of the 13.7 million young adults who are uninsured could gain coverage when the act goes into full force in 2014, either through public programs like Medicaid or by buying private policies on competitive insurance exchanges established by the law." And beginning in late September the law mandates that the 1.2 million young people who were dropped from their parents' policies when they graduated from high school or college, will now remain covered by family plans through age 25. In many ways, says the Commonwealth Fund, "the affordable health care act is a graduation gift to young adults," a gift which is especially appropriate because of the enthusiastic support shown by young people for Obama's politics of change during the election campaign.

According to a number of public opinion polls conducted before final passage of health reform, more than six in 10 Americans wanted a public insurance option to provide more competition, control the costs of care, and improve quality of healthcare. Ongoing efforts to create a public option should be vigorously supported, because everyone in this country has a human right to affordable, comprehensive health care. It is also clear that the best and most efficient way to reform the health care system and provide comprehensive care for everyone would be the creation of a Medicare-for-all program.

The struggle for health care reform has shown progressive forces what they could accomplish when they helped to build a broad, multi-class coalition that challenged the power of the health insurance industry, the greedy giant that has for far too long dominated and reaped enormous profits from our broken health care system. The struggle for health care reform can also serve as a valuable model for the future struggles that must be waged to achieve other vital democratic and structural reforms, such as civil rights protections, climate change legislation, ending the wars, passage of stronger labor union protections, and even socialism itself.

The Environment

Without quick and comprehensive controls on global warming-causing pollution, there will be no democracy, socialism, freedom, capitalism, or even cockroaches on a dead planet. All humans beings share a common stake, regardless of class or geography, in a healthy environment. Unfortunately, we do not all share a common vision of how to attain that goal. Some do not even agree about how serious the problems are. The different ways we assess the environmental threat do not result from differences of social class or geography alone, whether we are rich or poor, residents of the developed North or the underdeveloped South.

For example, some capitalists, such as venture capitalists trying to launch the alternative energy industry, have a special, profit-driven interest in solving the planet’s climate crisis, while some working-class people, especially those in countries where the demand for development and daily survival often seems to contradict global concerns about the climate. Other capitalists are hell-bent on exploitation of the environment for profit regardless of the dangers and disasters they create. And still yet others workers, scientists, and environmentalists are urgently calling for a swift transition to a green economy where renewable resources are produced, used and distributed – a new energy model that will provide millions of green jobs and a healthier, wealthier, more sustainable future.

Bringing these competing and contradictory interests into constructive alignment is no easy task, but it is a basic prerequisite for human survival and social progress.


Socialism is a scary word for some people; for others it offers a glimmer of hope. But one thing everyone now understands and can agree upon is that the collapse of the global financial system in 2007 resulted from greed, corruption, and the capitalist imperative to maximize profits. The collapse proved that capitalism can never be self-regulating and that in times of crisis massive government intervention is required just to keep the system afloat. Unfortunately (although perhaps not unexpectedly) the victims of the crisis, which includes everyone but the wealthiest Americans, are now confronted with corporate efforts (backed by the politicians they control) to make working families pay the cost of the government intervention precipitated by the financial sector's own criminal misdeeds.

Increasing numbers of people now recognize that there are fundamental flaws inherent in the capitalist system. As recent polls demonstrate, more and more Americans do not believe that capitalism offers the best answers to society's problems. A significant percentage of people in the United States view socialism favorably or see it as a better alternative to the present system, and the percentage is even higher among younger Americans. (Rasmussen, 2009 [conservative]; Gallup, Feb. 2010 [non-partisan]; Pew Research Center, May 2010 [non-partisan]) Indeed, younger adults increasingly tend to view socialism positively.

At Political Affairs, we totally agree with this part of the population, and we encourage them to help us develop an idea of socialism rooted in the American experience, its culture and traditions. There are no past experiences in other societies which can serve as models for today’s complexities, contradictions, and possibilities. Although we seek alliances with working people all over the world to develop joint solutions to the plethora of common problems we face, no other country or historical model can provide us with a road map to a fully democratic, socialist United States. We ourselves can best discern the problems we face, why they exist, and how we can solve them.

Theory going forward

Given this fact, our basic theoretical task is to carefully articulate the special conditions we face in the United States. In order to accomplish this, we need to develop a careful understanding of how we can best build local and global coalitions, alliances, movements, and forms of political activism that take full advantage of 21st century technologies. We also need to develop ways of communicating our message that are familiar and comprehensible to the audience we are trying to reach - America's working people. This is our constituency, and to get the American people to listen to our views, we need to express them in a way that helps to create a new coalition, a commonality of shared interests and goals. To succeed in this effort we need to jettison outmoded ways of expression that emphasize sectarian differences. To reach the people we need to reach, we must articulate an agenda for change that matches the complex reality of the present.

This means we must be actively engaged with all possible allies in the center and on the left, helping to build and develop the range and depth of the emerging coalition of working-class people and organizations, along with the wide range of groups, representing every segment of US society, that has emerged in recent decades, organizing around issues such as the environment, peace, civil rights, health care, and gender equality. We should have no qualms about engaging with the political center as if social progress depended on it (because it does). We need to engage with the political center in order to revive, improve upon, and modernize the democratic traditions envisaged by our country’s founders, traditions which have been built on and expanded by working-class and democratic-minded Americans for the past 200 years.

On a final note, socialism cannot be won because the Communist Party decides it should. It will be won when tens of millions of Americans join together and choose to democratize the economy, when we develop the institutions that will give us a greater measure of control in the workplace, a direct influence on decisions made in corporate boardrooms, and far greater control of our government.

This goal can only be achieved by winning democratically-based political power at all levels of government – local, state and federal. We can already see the broad outlines of a new, more democratic form of government and a different economic system – by and for the people – slowly but steadily taking shape. We see it in the fightback for jobs and racial and gender equality, in the campaign for a cleaner environment, in the struggle for human rights for all who live and work in this country. We can see it in the mobilizations for peace and in the calls for a re-focused foreign policy that emphasizes multilateralism, non-intervention, diplomacy, fair trade practices, and economic development. We will begin to see it even more fully materialize when we we attain the strength necessary to take back our government at every level and make it our natural ally in improving the lives of working people on the job and in the community.

The power to do so lies in the hundreds of millions of working people, the "ordinary" Americans who constitute the vast majority in this country. A key to making this dream a reality is the creation of a new green economy that no longer depends on foreign oil or the catastrophic results of "drill, baby, drill" off our coasts. By striving to implement a 21st century green vision of democracy we can build a new America based on a different vision of society, and an economic structure that is capable of providing a safe and nurturing environment where everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, age, religion, or national origin can fully achieve their human potential. The vision will become a reality when we, as a united people, share the belief that individual liberty and personal happiness are directly linked to the general welfare, development, and social progress of the communities in which we live.

In order to successfully achieve this goal, we – as a 21st century Communist Party – must carefully refine and polish the ideological tools that are necessary to win people over to an American vision of socialism, a vision that is both deeply rooted in the revolutionary traditions of American democracy and finely attuned to the challenges the American people face in the complexity of the present. We must rise to this challenge, because the future is at stake.