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.

The Minnesota Problem- the counter measures we are taking

As you know we have not been able to shake off the Minnesota Problem.

I met with my brightest counter-intelligence agents--- Bruce Bostick, Dan Margolis, Erwin Marquit and Gary Hicks.

You will be glad to know that each of these very capable comrades has begun a campaign directed at certain individuals on MySpace and FaceBook as well as to e-mail lists.

They are sending messages behind the cloak of anonymity and pseudonyms to their MySpace and FaceBook friends. Anything to suggest they are perverted and deviants.

This worked quite well for us during the COINTELPRO operations; it should work even better using these hi-tech methods now.

This operation will be code-named: Hang 'em in Duluth.

Sam Webb
Chair, National Board, CPUSA

Friday, June 11, 2010

The long march...

"The era of reforms is long over for the U.S. Whatever meaningful reforms or advances that could be achieved under capitalism have been made, and nothing more is now possible. "
The esteemed leader of the long march, Gary Hicks

Comrades. As the re-elected Chair of the CPUSA, I want to welcome all of you here to the head of the long march we are about to embark on led by Gay Hicks and the responsible members of the CPUSA working through the previous anonymity of the Communist Century. Under their brilliant guidance we are about to embark on the experience of a life-time.

Please take the time to read this because it will be guiding our work in the period ahead as we embark on the long march...

All aboard the Red Express!

Sam Webb
Chair, National Board CPUSA

The Main Immediate Task of the CPUSA

The Main Discussion Document is a serious effort by leadership to come to grips with the complexities of the U.S. political and economic situation. Nonetheless, we have disagreements with some of its formulations and conclusions. If we are to understand the current crisis, we cannot treat it as a replay of the Great Depression. It marks a new, more acute stage of the crisis of US and world capitalism. It cannot be resolved as the Depression was by war and its attendant massive worldwide capital destruction, large-scale technological advances and opening up of new areas to capitalist exploitation. The era of reforms is long over for the U.S. Whatever meaningful reforms or advances that could be achieved under capitalism have been made, and nothing more is now possible. All the present shifting (reforming) is simply to guarantee the profits of one capitalist grouping at the expense of others, and the tax-paying proletariat. Everybody knows or senses this, which explains the lack of political energy for piecemeal changes in the general population. The only way forward now is to socialism. The only possibility for human survival is socialism. There are no more intermediate stages of social development, no unfinished pre-revolutionary 'democratic' tasks. The idea of an anti-monopoly, anti-transnational stage of social development or of struggle has no real meaning

The main barrier to socialist transformation is the US state. The capitalist state must be dismantled or de-constructed and replaced by a proletarian state and socialist republic. But the advanced sections of the working class are woefully unprepared to take on the bourgeois state. The weakness and demoralization of the working class derives from the deep penetration of bourgeois ideas in the class. The only antidote is Marxism, the main pillars of which are materialism – the knowledge of the primacy of material conditions in physical and social life- and dialectics – the knowledge of the dynamic, multi-sidedness of all phenomena, including social relations. Only the absorption of a theory of revolution by the class will give it the strength and self-confidence to take and exercise power. For the Party to play its leading role in this titanic struggle it must itself become thoroughly imbued with Marxism throughout its ranks.

The old organizations of reform are incapable of displacing the bourgeois state. The sections of the working class that were once its cutting edge have, for various reasons, largely exhausted their revolutionary potential. New leading contingents of the class, new organizational forms and new methods of struggle have now begun to emerge. Only an organization armed with materialist dialectics can discern and nurture the sprouts of the new in the wreckage of the old.

The adoption by the Party of advanced communication technologies is an implicit acknowledgement of the primacy of science and technology in contemporary social development. This development is a tentative opening to those sections of the working class that are the protagonists of the scientific and technological revolution and who are key to building the new society. We must develop this opening further.

Many individuals and organizations attempt to work in a Marxist framework. However, the unique, special place of the CPUSA in American political life derives from its historical roots in the Communist International and its status as an integral organizational component of the World Communist Movement (WCM). We need to reaffirm decisively our adherence to the WCM and reconnect especially to its rich historical experience, which is critical for developing our revolutionary capabilities.

We propose to the incoming NC that it initiate as its primary immediate task a party rectification campaign aimed at saturating the Party with a thorough-going study of Marxism. This would consist initially of Party wide study of Marxist theory and then study of the political, social and economic reality of US. On the basis of the results of this campaign, we anticipate there will be a need to draft a new Party program, a new Party constitution and a new mass line. When these processes are well under way or completed, the Party could consider the launching of several mass organizations of a revolutionary nature. Here are possible examples.

Rally for a Republic – mass organization joining all people opposed to the US State

Movement for Socialism Now – a mass organization for revolutionary restructuring

Communist Constructors/Builders of Abundance – a movement of workers building advanced economy – engineers, scientists, and directors of production, distribution and services.

Submitted by responsible members of the CPUSA who lead the work of


We have changed our look to catch up with our changed ideas.

National Board, CPUSA

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Campaign for America's Future

CAF had a great national conference.

We contributed a lot to it.

Without our participation the conference would have been a so-so lackluster affair.

My favorite speaker was Roger Hickey. Just brilliant. The shining star of America's future.

Bob Herbert and Roger Wilkins were way out in left field standing behind the home run fence. We have finally begun to get a grip on things and the ultra-leftists are starting to see things our way.

Our presence at the conference was modest; our presence was welcome. You might say we were the hit of the gala affair. Our message was aimed on target and we hit the bulls-eye on every try.

I'm all charged up and raring and ready to go. Come on everyone; coffees on me.

Say, brother; can you spare a dime?

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Sunday, June 6, 2010

We need to revise Gus Halls' thinking ever so much

Thanks to Joel Wendland the working class intellectual who does such a fine job with Political Affairs we have begun to explain things the way Gus Hall wanted me to do when I inherited the CPUSA leadership from him per his wishes made know to me by him.

This is a fantastic article so we have reprinted it in part to keep our detractors at bay for awhile.

The editing has been minor.

Joel's reinterpretation of Gus Hall's old ideas to fit our new ways is simply brilliant.

I must say, Joel's brilliance in deception is second to none except for me. My brilliance in controlling and manipulating the smallest National Convention in CPUSA history is just phenomenal.

We weren't able to get away with shedding our name; not yet. But did you take note of the way we got through an entire National Convention without having to pass a resolution in support of Barack Obama remaining the leader of the democratic all-people's front?

We are just about through with the ultra-leftism brought into our Party by Gus Hall and to finish them off we will use some edited and slightly changed writings from Gus Hall.

Joel, won't you step forward and take a bow before reading your edited version of Gus Hall's polemic.

Yes, Perlo, what is it?

Sam, can we see the original unedited version of this?

Perlo, why would you want to see that; you can take my word the editing has been ever so slight. If you really want to read the original you should go look through the boxes of stuff we gave to the Tamiment Library.

We are going to use our edited version to kick off a discussion about "vanguard party."

Yes, Scottie; what is it?

Sam, I thought you said we could start discarding the idea about the "dictatorship of the proletariat" first.

Scottie, you just hold that thought for a few more months... Peter Molenaar! Not that thought! Leave those damn Viagra pills at home from now on.

Bruce! Bruce Bostick! Why are you bobbing your head that way. Jesus that is distracting and annoying. I know getting through the convention was tough on you and added to your depression because the Soviet agents didn't all come out of the woodwork yet. This is enough to depress anyone. Why don't you pass the Prozac around the room for all of us. Learn to share man.

Ok, Joel; let us have your best middle class thoughts. Read us Gus Hall's ideas:

Working-class Intellectuals

By Gus Hall

Editor's note: We have to take every opportunity to oppose what may be called the Sarah Palinization of working-class politics, that is the reduction of politics to sound bites, appeals to wedge issues and hate, and promotion of the idea that working people can't think for themselves. To help, here is an excerpted and slightly edited version of an article that originally appeared in Political Affairs, April 1977. Additional editor's comments appear in the text for definitions and additional context for today's reader. The purpose of republishing this article is to open a discussion on theory, what it is, why it is and must be rooted in our experiences within historically specific social relations, who is capable of developing it, and why it must have a working-class basis.

The Party has already entered the straight road of leadership of the working masses by advancing "intellectuals" drawn from the ranks of the workers themselves. -- Lenin

Many working people, especially in the capitalist world, go through life in the belief that the world of ideas, of theory and science, is beyond their ability to understand. They believe theory and science have very little to do with their everyday lives or activities. They accept the idea that the world of ideas, the realm of thought, is for intellectuals and professionals.

That, of course, is how the ruling class of all past and present exploitative societies have wanted it. They know that a class that thinks will not long accept exploitation or slavery. In all past exploitative societies book and schools were for the ruling-class elite. These elites were "ordained" to do the thinking for the working people. Such concepts, of course, reflect reality in societies where there is a sharp division between physical and mental labor.

U.S. capitalism has always promoted the concept that thinking should be limited to the chosen few. The capitalist class fought against the establishment of the public education system. They lost the battle but never gave up. They have continued their attempts to limit the number of students and as much as possible to limit the scope of education only to satisfying industry's technological requirements.

Educational restrictions have always been aimed against working-class youth. And there have always been special racist restrictions against Black, Puerto Rican, Chicano and other racially oppressed young people. The stubborn resistance to bilingual education is one current instance of this resistance. [Editor's note: Education activists, such as Jonathan Kozol, have long noted the class and racial divides in America that persist today. Though Hall wrote this in 1977, the battle to protect or extend bilingual education persists.]

After World War II, the government's education program for veterans opened the door to higher education to tens of millions of young working people. Now, however, it is attempting to close that door again. Today, state monopoly capitalism is continuing to enforce the policy of limiting the scope of education for the working class. [Editor's note: Hall's argument holds true for the 1970s as the Nixon administration repeatedly blocked efforts to boost GI Bill benefits for veterans of the Vietnam War. Congressional Democrats, along with strong support from veterans' organizations and the labor movement, in 2008 won a huge victory by overcoming Republican opposition to the expansion of college benefits for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with passage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Expansions of the bill's programs in 2009 under President Obama's economic recovery act also passed over Republican opposition. Obviously, these changes will prove to be a big step forward for hundreds of thousands of working-class men and women.]

But that is not the whole story. Because of the internal contradictions of capitalism, the advance of science and technology, and because of strong public demand, capitalism has not been able to keep the realms of thought, science and theory closed in the same way previous exploitative societies did. In this sense reality has changed. But many old notions and prejudices stubbornly resist the new reality. [Editor's note: The development of the Internet and new information technologies have proven these remarks ever more true today.]

This is an important question because a historic truth is being used by many to put over ideas that are not true, including the anti-working-class concept that working people are not able to think. For many the reflection of past realities has become the basis for a timeless, anti-working-class dogma.

One does not have to be a professional historian to realize that important changes have taken place which have their effects on the working class, such as the availability of mass public education and higher education, the higher rates of literacy in the industrialized countries and the mass publication of basic books. Even winning the eight-hour day has given workers more time for studying and thinking. The new level of mass communication, of science and technology has created new relationships between the broad masses and the world of theory and thought.

Many still hold to outdated and very narrow notions of what intellectuality is and who intellectuals are. Many cling to the old, elitist concept that only those who "think full-time" qualify. That, of course, conveniently disqualifies all who work with their hands.

Many intellectuals use the past reality to justify and sustain their prejudices that workers are not able to think. Even in some of the best circles this erroneous concept gives rise to attitudes of intellectual snobbishness or elitism. In many instances it gives rise to ideas that only people with professional training, or middle-class intellectuals, can or should lead working-class organizations.

This problem is not limited to the U.S., or to capitalist countries in general. There are reflections of this in the world Communist movement and it occasionally appears in Marxist-Leninist literature. However, it is necessary to state that, while not he surface the problem appears the same, in essence there is a difference.

In the non-capitalist world it is a leftover of old ideas. The following is a rather typical example of this kind of statement appearing in Marxist literature. As a rule it seems to appear without much thought. It is not defended, discussed or elaborated upon:

It must be borne in mind that in an exploitative society, where there is an impassable gulf between mental and manual labor, the classes whose lot is manual labor are unable as a rule to advance ideologists from their own ranks. Their ideologists most often are members of other classes who have enough time and money to get an education, and at the same time are capable of understanding in what direction history is moving.

Such a formulation, while having an element of historical truth, leaves the door wide open to all kinds of misinterpretations. It certainly does not indicate that there are and have been changes in class relationships and in the role of classes in society.

When referring to the working class, phrases like "are unable," combined with the implication that other classes "are capable of understanding in what direction history is moving," are unacceptable. If the working class is not "able" to provide people "from its own ranks" who "are capable of understanding in what direction history is moving," then it is not capable of providing people who are "capable" of understanding Marxism-Leninism. However, life proves otherwise every day.

With the advent of capitalism there emerged a new class – the working class, which in many ways is unique and to which history has assigned the unique task of the final elimination of all classes, including itself. A class that is capable of carrying out such a monumental task is more than capable of making contributions in the field of thought.

Even in the last century when the educational gap between manual workers and intellectuals was much greater, the advantage in grasping complicated ideas was not always on the side of intellectuals. For example, as Engels noted in his Introduction to Marx's Wage Labor and Capital: "The uneducated workers, who can be easily made to grasp the most difficult economic analyses, excel our supercilious 'cultured' folk, for whom such ticklish problems remain insoluble for their whole life long."

The question of theory/science and its relationship to the working class must be dealt with in present-day terms. It can not be approached as a timeless cliche.

As the working class matures and develops and as it fulfills its historic assignment, two processes take place. The first is that the class struggle and the working class become increasingly greater influences in molding a new type of intellectual: an intellectual who, although not of working-class background, is a working-class partisan. An outstanding example of this kind of intellectual is John Reed, a founder of our Party, who was described by Mike Gold in these words: "He identified himself so completely with the working class. He undertook every danger for the revolution. He forgot his Harvard education, his genius, his popularity, his gifted body and mind, so completely that no one else remembered them anymore. There is no gap between Jack Reed and the workers any longer."

The second process is that the working class is increasingly producing new working-class intellectuals from among its own ranks.

It must be kept in mind not to confuse the role of the intellectual with the role of a vanguard working-class revolutionary party. The task of such a party was defined clearly by Lenin: "The task of the proletarian party is to introduce socialist consciousness into the spontaneous working-class movement, to impart to it a conscious nature."[Editor's note: The concept of "vanguard role" is a complicated one. It deserves new thinking. We do not adhere – and never did – to the pseudo-political idea that a small group of people who hold some special insights into the nature of society will cause some revolutionary break with capitalism. Change will come when tens of millions of people vote in new ways, build the power of the labor movement and working class, and create new or renew existing democratic institutions that shift power away from banks, oil companies, military contractors, etc. to working families.]

How well the Communist Party fulfills this task in a planned, organized way is a very basic measure of how it fulfills its vanguard role and how well it helps to prepare the working class for more advanced struggles. This task is fulfilled by parties in which the cadre who come from working-class backgrounds and those whom from non-working-class backgrounds blend into one Communist, working-class revolutionary/intellectual collective.

Therefore, the concept of introducing class and socialist consciousness "not the spontaneous working-class movement" must not be interpreted to mean that this can be done only by intellectuals of non-working-class origins and status.

There are many significant changes that must be taken into consideration when dealing with the questions of intellectuals and the working class.

The birth and building of socialism in the world has added a new – a qualitatively new – element to this question, because the working class in socialist societies is the dominant influence, not only in everyday political affairs but also in the development of theory and science. As socialism does away with differences between mental and physical activities, it is also removing the barriers which have prevented worker from making their full contribution int he field of thought and ideas.

In the socialist countries the working class is doing what Karl Marx and Frederick Engels said, in The Holy Family it would be forced to do. The working class "cannot abolish the conditions of its own life without abolishing all the inhuman conditions of life of society today which is summed up in its own situation."

The effects of the changes in the socialist countries are felt worldwide. This is a very important new factor, a new influence on the development of intellectuals from the ranks of the working class. The example of the historic achievements of societies where the working class is the leading force acts as a source of confidence for workers, a stimulant to enter the area of ideas, of theory and of science.

The Communist parties have made unique and historic contributions to opening up the world of thought, the world of theory and science, to workers. The Communist parties are themselves schools for the development of intellectuals with a partisan class viewpoint.

As capitalism decays, the capitalist class becomes less and less the basis for the development of intellectuals with a healthy social consciousness, and even less so for intellectuals with a partisan working-class consciousness. Life has shifted that historic responsibility to the working class.

As working-class parties, Communists parties are a factor in helping the working class carry out that responsibility.

The idea that the working class is not able to develop intellectuals from its own ranks is turned into a coverup for anti-working-class concepts.

In some cases this weakness leads to situations where middle-class, professional intellectuals tend to take over and hog the leadership of Communist parties in capitalist countries. Often they use the words "class struggle" and "the working class" as cliches, but take not steps to make it possible for the working-class cadre of these parties to be a factor in policy decisions. [Editor's note: "cadre" refers to party activists.]

Such leaders are not willing to accept the leading role of the working class in the field of thought or in their parties. They dilute the concept of class struggle. They downgrade the historic role of the working class. They eliminate the working class in the struggle for socialism and they do not think the working class is able to produce an intellectual.

The time has come to bury the idea that the working class is unable to think. In fact, Marxism-Leninism is a science so closely related to the rise of the working-class movement that eliminate the working class as a basic influence and participant in the further development of the science is like eliminating the heart in a living being.

The historic role of the working class was clearly placed by Marx and Engels: "Before the proletariat fights out its victories on the barricades and in the lines of battle, it gives notice of its impending rule with a series of intellectual victories."

Many errors in the history of our Party can be traced to periods when there was a lack of working-class participation in the leadership of the Party. The history of the world Communist movement argues for greater participation of workers in the field of theory and science. It is time to drop concepts and cliches that do not correspond to the new realities of this period of history.

Fantastic Joel; just fantastic.

As all of you can see, middle class muddle-headedness has a great future in our Party.

I can't wait to see what you do with Vic Perlo's work.

Bruce, how are you coming on those leafets?

Well, Sam, we are trying to find a printer. You want ten million leaflets about this instigator of the Minnesota Problem and Al Marder said he wants half the ten dollars you gave me to print up leaflets for the U.S. Peace Council to cover the Nation.

Bruce, why aren't you using our printing presses?

Sam, you sold off that stuff when you said we didn't need it anymore. You bought all these computers made by Apple in China with the money. Have you heard about all the depressed workers they have over there?

Bruce, have you checked out our rooftop?

Sam, I haven't. No not yet. I still have some Prozac left and Sam Stark told me he can get me more. If he can't I'll checkout our rooftop before I ever check in to Bellevue again. That Club there just isn't working out for me.

Ok, Bruce; why don't you get one of the mimeograph machines out of the closet.

But Sam, they are all hand-crank jobs.

Ok, Peter Molenaar, you get to work cranking the mimeo you like to use your hands.

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New leaflet issued by CPUSA

I am going to revert back to the old ways of doing some things.

We have printed this leaflet.

I am placing Mark Froemke and Bruce Bostick in charge of its distribution.

We have ordered this guy to keep his mouth shut. He won't listen.

Posting this on the internet on our sites hasn't worked. Let's give leafleting a try; its 20th Century but 21st Century methods haven't worked as anticipated.

Let's see if we can't get complete participation from all 230 members of our Party or at least the 85 members still paying dues.

We might need a little more money for this campaign; Erwin, can you see if Morris Childs has any spare cash laying around?

Yes, Scottie what is it?

Sam, what if this doesn't work? We have been trying to get this Minnesota Problem under control for the last 12 years. It seems like the more we talk about it the worse the Problem gets.

Scottie, this is why I am sending both Bruce Bostick and Mark Froemke out to do the job this time. You let us down the last time we sent you out.

Yes, Joelle; what is it?

Sam, do you think we should include that he is bad mouthing our current President, too?

No Joelle I don't. This might create sympathy for the guy. Look out these windows here. How many people do you see supporting Barack besides us?

This leaflet will be delivered to plant gates for the security guards in the USIS Club to distribute:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

CPUSA Statement

Issues concerning recent emails/statements by Alan Maki

The Communist Party, USA is taking the unusual step of issuing this statement because of a barrage of recent emails and public statements by Alan Maki. Many have received emails from Alan Maki attacking a broad range of progressive activists. In many he represents himself as a member of the Communist Party, USA.

Alan Maki is not a member of nor does he reflect the views of the Communist Party, USA. He was dropped from membership three years ago because of his attacks on progressives. He continues to target elected officials, union leaders, and other leaders in the broader mass movements for social change.

The Communist Party believes the only path to social and economic justice is through the struggle for unity. We are deeply involved in efforts to organize the broadest possible coalitions against the Bush administration and its policies. The policies of the Communist Party have long been premised on working to unite all who struggle for democracy, peace and justice.

National Board, CPUSA 8.24.2007

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

The convention is barely over and we already have a sharp clash of views

Our convention is barely over and already we have people snarling at one another.

This was an excellent article. Just the facts. Anyone can read this article and know what is going on. Why did someone have to come along and rain on our parade?

If the participants at this America's Future Conference want to know our Party's position on anything they can check out our web sites.

Jim is absolutely correct in one aspect; we shouldn't be distributing leaflets or Party materials at this meeting. We are not going to do things the way the farmers out in Minnesota operate in the cow pastures.

But, Jim is wrong about distributing leaflets to workers. We are not going to waste money on leaflets. Workers can read our web sites if they want to know our positions on anything.

There are always going to be a few ultra-leftists demanding we do what we say we are going to do. First they try to provoke us to hand out leaflets at this function. If we were to bend to this kind of pressure next thing you know they would be insisting we set up a book display. I haven't even written my first book yet; what would we have to sell?

We aren't going to go to this conference and start talking about Israel, either. Less than 20 people got killed when these boats loaded with supplies for Gaza was stopped. Their skippers should have done like the U.S. Admirals do when these big warships pull into port. Dump everything overboard.

Let's not get carried away with our own convention resolutions.

We aren't going back to being a 20th Century Party passing out leaflets everyplace we go. Forward into the future; read our web pages.

Has anyone heard the election results from the Convention committee? Did I get re-elected as National Chair or did Scottie or Jarvis beat me out?

Sam Webb, National Chair, CPUSA.


•i think it would be a mistake for the cpusa to distribute literature at this meeting we should be distributing literature to the workers in my opinion that's what a working class party does. no these folks didn't kill single payer health care i think that was the tea party group and their friends (rush limbaugh glenn beck and that ilk ) and single payer ain't dead yet u give up to easy the struggle continues even after single payer in solidarity jim

Posted by , 06/04/2010 8:29pm (5 hours ago)

•Will the CPUSA have a table at the conference and distribute its program to all participants? This isn't the same organization that helped kill single-payer universal health care; is it?

Posted by A friend, 06/04/2010 7:43pm (5 hours ago)

Progressive meet to chart course for 2010

by: Tony Pecinovsky

June 4 2010

WASHINGTON - Thousands of progressive leaders, trade unionists and activists will meet at the Omni Shoreham hotel here June 7-9 for the America's Future NOW! Conference.

They will discuss, debate and plan strategies to challenge the corporate lobbyist agenda, to put the struggle for jobs front and center, and to create a reform majority that can defeat obstructionists Republicans while projecting a progressive program in the coming mid-term elections.

This is the seventh America's Future NOW! conference. (In the Bush years it was called the Take Back America conference.) It is organized by the Campaign for America's Future, which bills itself as "a strategy center for the progressive movement." Its goals are to "forge the enduring progressive majority needed to realize the America of shared prosperity and equal opportunity."

By spearheading a progressive agenda that addresses kitchen-table issues, while educating progressives, union and community organizers, and other activists, the conference hopes to "incubate national campaigns on critical issues that will define America for generations to come."

Founded as a response to the Bush-era attacks on working families, unions, and the environment, the conference provides a unified convergence point for different progressive political trends, giving an opportunity to debate, discuss, network and plan.

As indicated on the CAF website, "Americans have had it with tired conservative politics that divide us, an economy that squeezes us, a foreign policy that weakens us and a government that serves few of us."

The right-wing Republicans' "list of failure is simply exhausting," the organization says, pointing to "a disastrous Iraq occupation, a destabilized Middle East and Asia, the persistent threat of terrorism, a menacing climate crisis, an insecure and dwindling energy supply, unprecedented trade deficits, unchecked global corporate power, our broken health care system, a weakened pension system and an increasingly inaccessible higher education system."

With right-wing Republicans and tea party supporters mounting campaigns for the mid-term elections this fall, the America's Future NOW! conference is more important than ever.

Additionally, as we enter a possible era of reform, a bigger, broader, more inclusive movement is needed. The America's Future conference is a good place to start building the relationships, connections and strategies that will help us make progressive change.

Conference speakers include: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern, former Gov. Howard Dean, and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, just to name a few.


•i think it would b a mistake for the cpusa to distribute literature at this meeting we should b distributing lierature to the workers in my opinion that's what a working class party does. no these folks didn't kill single payer health care i think that was the tea party group and their friends (rush limbaugh glenn beck and that ilk ) and single payer ain't dead yet u give up to easy the struggle continues even after single payer in solidarity jim

Posted by , 06/04/2010 8:29pm (5 hours ago)

•Will the CPUSA have a table at the conference and distribute its program to all participants? This isn't the same organization that helped kill single-payer universal health care; is it?

Posted by A friend, 06/04/2010 7:43pm (5 hours ago)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Trotskyists in our Party

Recently there have been accusations hurled at me that I have invited Trotskyists back into our Party.

Yes I have!

We should take pride in Max Schachtman and James P. Cannon.

Dan Margolis, Thomas Riggins and John Case are all Trotskyists who have contributed to the new direction our Party has taken.

Look at the marvelous review of our convention written by 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 convention.

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 before.

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!

We need to reach out to more Trotskyists; they are our future.

Follow the lead of Mesaba Co-op Park and M-L Today.

Yes we can! Yes we will get around to changing the name. Thank you John Case!

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA