Friday, April 29, 2011

It may be time for another district purge

I will be commenting on these remarks in the near future. Expulsions and a purge of this entire District might be in order. I will let everyone know what I decide to do about these misfits.

The Minnesota Problem continues to drag on. I must continue to put my foot down.

Sam Webb

National Chair, CPUSA

This comment results from discussion in the Connecticut State Committee of "A Party of Socialism in the 21st Century"by Sam Webb.

The 25 points are wide ranging and it is difficult to address all of them. We agreed on the relationship between democracy and socialism. However, a number of the projections in the article run counter to the successful methods we have used and continue to use successfully in building the Communist Party and YCL in Connecticut.

Our Connecticut district enjoys a good relationship with the mass movement in Connecticut and continues to increase its influence in both the trade union movement and other democratic movements at high levels of recognition. We are aware that developmental growth of a district can be influenced by the nature of mass movement development in districts, the particular nature of economic and social crisis in different districts, different strengths and weaknesses in personnel in districts and many other factors that make it important that our national party has adopted a “no one size fits all” approach to the growth of districts. But we bring up our particular method of growth because it has led to a high level of confidence amidst our district membership on how to grow, how we confidently expect to grow both in the size of our Party and our Party’s influence in the mass movement.

What is discomforting about the article is that some of the basics we have used to make this growth are what is being called into question. To begin with our district follows the “bill of rights socialism” strategy with its all people’s front component and core forces analysis as we all do. The dialectical and supportive relationship between democracy and working class advancement is constant and always integrated. We do not sacrifice one for the other. However, we have found that this dialectical relationship between democracy and working class advancement is not spontaneously adopted by our allies in the mass movement especially in the nitty gritty of adopting specific tactics in specific crises. Gramsci has a great insight here that has been borne out by present conditions. He says that not even an advanced union can always avoid the temptation to pursue its own advantage over what might be a class position. For instance, we are all aware of militant unions that will support a candidate who will do right by their union but will not do right by other unions or other components of the working class. Even the most advanced electoral formations with great positions on working class needs and demands will be tempted to choose a candidate for office that can win even if their position on a particular trade union struggle is poor. We have seen that in our district. It takes a Communist Party to always see the relationship between working class advancement and democracy. Of course, we do not reduce ourselves to rhetorical demands that lead to lecturing rather than implementing in a specific and persuasive way a class position in a particular crisis and to do this with discussion with our allies in the mass movement. It is always done with keeping our eyes on the true class enemy and not on allies we are gently criticizing and persuading to do otherwise. These are not tactics easily developed by many allies in the mass movement. We have a constructive role to play here.

There have been moments when our state committee was able to suggest certain ideas based on our analysis that have been critical to the mass movement. For example, when even progressive forces were dismissing the idea of tax the rich, we devised a child poverty bill in our state committee that state legislators who we had worked for and knew our party through attending our club meetings, and campaigning on our PW routes introduced in the state legislature. Even those progressive legislators most discouraged by tax the rich initiatives felt morally compelled to campaign for this bill and its tax the rich components in order to protect these children in poverty. It led to actions by the legislature that involved the first steps in resurrecting tax the rich initiatives in our legislature. Another example: When two unions were involved in a raiding situation leading to a bitter standoff, we were able to bring them together after some negotiation as both wanted to appear at our Communist Awards event. In the midst of the present economic crisis we were able to draft “A Modest Proposal” that included specific tax actions that could be taken that was added gratefully by members of various unions to their analysis. We are talking here about another concept missing from the article's analysis i.e., the Communist Plus. It is the result of applying “bill of rights socialism” and it is the result of our working class outlook, particularly our bedrock principles of class struggle and class unity. that our Party is most consistently able to do.

It is our clubs that are the basic implementors of these tactics and policies. Our district has found the neighborhood and workplace clubs that seek to meet every two weeks as tremendous sources of strength. By meeting together club members understand each others capabilities, personalities and enjoy the socializing that goes beyond the agenda of the meeting. These clubs are tremendous recruiters to the Party and rapidly put new members at ease and adjust their language to the most comfortable levels without losing the essence of our tactics and strategy. The sustainability of membership is extremely high and has led to now four generations in some families that have taken on major responsibilities in the Party and YCL organization in our district. The fact that they were built in particular neighborhoods and workplaces over many years has strengthened the racial and ethnic composition of our Party. That racial and ethnic composition of our party has been one of the factors most admired by other members of the mass movement in Connecticut. These are concepts of Party building that have proven themselves and continue to prove themselves. These are not old formulas with no relevance to the present.

There was discomfort at our state committee on the handling of the Soviet Union and Leninism. The Soviet Union continued to be a source of international working class solidarity and advancement despite the criminal acts of Stalin. Lenin, as the article says, will be admired in time to come. To put more criticism on the Soviet Union then was already put forward in Sam Webb’s "Reflections on Socialism" seems unnecessary. Or to drop Leninism because it sounds foreign, when we agree with Sam that the future will acknowledge Lenin, is not only to hurt our history but to hurt history in general.

Finally, while analysis of new conditions and theory is always in order, our state committee finds the publication of this article at this moment in time as unfortunate. It has led to internal discussion and debate at a time when our focus must be outward on the mass movement, building the upsurge and combating the horrible successes of the tea baggers. We felt that this was not the time for this discussion

Posted by Joelle and Brian, Connecticut, 03/24/2011 1:46pm

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Carl Davidson is wrong

"You don't mention the wars, Sam. That's the 'elephant in the Dems room,' so to speak. It's going to be very difficult to mobilize for a candidate for more wars and a little less austerity. That's the huge wedge driven into the progressive forces, especially among the young, and it wasn't put there by us. Few want to stay home, especially where they can elect an antiwar Member of Congress. But unless something changes, they don't have anyone antiwar at the top of the ticket."

Posted by Carl Davidson, 04/23/2011

I did mention the wars. I did mention the wars very delicately so as not to offend the President.

Here is what I wrote:

"When the broader movement takes part in the battle of ideas, people respond positively. Some of the ideas that already resonate with millions include: tax the rich, racism chains working people of all colors, economic crises hit racially and nationally oppressed people harder, wealth comes from labor and nature, working people have no stake in wars of occupation, and the country is not broke."

We should be more careful who we give our awards to.

Here is a candidate at the top of the ticket for peace right here. Look. President Obama is speaking at a peace demonstration. What better peace candidate could we have? This is Barack Obama on the "Progressives for Obama" website. Doesn't Davidson read the website he created?

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Position of KKE on the Webb's platform and the developments in the CPUSA

This is what I wanted to see; a discussion.

I shall respond in due time.

Sam Webb
National Chair, CPUSA

Position of KKE on the Webb's platform and the developments in the CPUSA

Athens, 13 April 2011

To the members and cadre of the CPUSA,
To the workers that struggle in the USA
To the communist and workers parties

Dear comrades,

In February 2011 the chairperson of the CPUSA, Sam Webb, published an article in Political Affairs, the electronic publication of the CPUSA, entitled “A Party of Socialism in the 21st Century: What It Looks Like, What It Says, and What It Does”. Even if the specific article is accompanied by an editorial note which claims that “The following article represents the views of its author alone. It doesn't necessarily reflect the official views of any organization or collective.”, it is obvious to us that the public position of the head of a Communist Party concerning such an important issue requires special attention.

On the 16th of February we received a letter from the editorial team of Political Affairs which invited us to send in our opinion.

Our party, after studying this article and the reactions it has provoked within the ranks of communists both in the USA and internationally, considers it necessary to take a public position through this letter, as is required by its responsibility as a part of the international communist movement.

Our assessment is that we are dealing with a comprehensive liquidationist platform of 29 theses which has been placed before the international communist movement and proposes the total revision of the principles and revolutionary traditions of the communist movement.

The KKE, as a section of the international communist movement, considers as its duty the refutation of this platform, which questions the need for the existence of a party of the working class in the USA, and in general is directed against the revolutionary and anti-imperialist movement internationally. The 18th Congress of our party stressed that “The battle against social-democratisation tendencies in Communist Parties – through the intervention of imperialist mechanisms, anti-communism and the bourgeois media – must be fought firmly and consistently by defending the historic role of the working class and its organised vanguard, the principles of Marxism-Leninism and of socialism. This task takes on even greater significance in face of the growing anti-communist offensive in the EU and internationally.”

Dear comrades,

The platform that has been presented today, through the article of the chairperson of the CPUSA, constitutes the culmination of a course of “adjustment” in the last decade as the author himself points out. There have already been developments in this intervening period which communists in Greece, as well as in the USA and other countries have monitored with concern, such as:

  • The handing over of the Party’s archives to the imperialists, the bourgeois state of the USA in 2007.
  • The closure of the print publication of the newspaper (People’s Weekly World) and the journal Political Affairs, with the simultaneous alteration of its character.
  • The organizational shrinkage and dislocation of the party.
  • The political “tailing”, behind one of the two pillars of the bourgeois political system of the USA, that is to say behind the Democratic Party.
  • The stance in relation to the ambitions of US imperialism ( e.g. rejection of the demand for the immediate withdrawal from Iraq)
  • The blocking of the Joint Statement of the Emergency Meeting of the Communist and Workers’ Parties in Damascus, because in the final text there was the position for the withdrawal of the imperialist occupation forces from Iraq.
  • These elements intensified after the 29th Congress of the CPUSA. It was not by chance that immediately after the congress, an article was published in Political Affairs which called into question not only the need to maintain the name of the party, but the possibility and even the necessity of a Communist Party’s existence in the USA today.

Today the Webb platform comes as the culmination of this course and openly propagandises the abandonment of the Marxist-Leninist worldview, the abolition of democratic centralism, and the undermining of the principles of the party of a new type.

We would like to draw your attention to the following basic aspects of this platform:


It proposes the replacement of our theory by an eclectic hotchpotch which does not go beyond the limits of liberal bourgeois ideology. It attacks Marxism-Leninism directly, which constitutes one of the central laws of the existence and activity of the party of the new type, as V.I.Lenin pointed out “Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement… role of vanguard fighter can be fulfilled only by a party that is guided by the most advanced theory.” In this specific platform various extremely old opportunist positions are promoted as new (e.g. Marxism-Leninism is foreign, anti-democratic, it is a distortion of Marxism by Stalin etc.), these are positions which disarm the labour movement and surrender it, without theoretical tools, to the claws of the exploitative system.


It promotes the view that there can be solutions in favour of the working class within the framework of capitalism. In this way, it promotes as an alternative solution the line of the so-called “green” capitalist restructurings. In addition, the Webb platform considers the characterisation of the crisis as a capitalist crisis of overproduction insufficient. It distorts the essence of the over-accumulation of capital as it associates it with…. A lack of investment opportunities. It states characteristically: “Short of a new New Green Deal on a global level, it is hard to see where the dynamism for a sustained upswing, let alone a long boom, is going to come from.

These views recycle social-democratic and opportunist theories on economic recession and development which whitewash capitalism and conceal its class essence, leading the Communist Party to give up on its strategic goal and support political proposals, which have as their goal the acquisition of new super-profits by the capitalists, in the name of “ecology”, at the same time when they are turning nature and natural wealth into commodities, and destroying the planet in various ways.


It renounces the struggle for socialism. The notion of revolution is entirely absent. It proposes an endless process of successive stages, in which the alliances will be formed not on the basis of the criterion of the era and the class interests of the working class. Webb proposes working for “- the balance of forces is to shift in a progressive direction”. This view condemns the party to submit itself to the temporary circumstances and not to work with a strategy for the overthrow of capitalism through the concentration of forces.

Nevertheless, it is obvious to us, that the tactics of a Communist Party must serve its strategy, which is the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of a socialist-communist society. The position of Webb in practice abolishes the strategic goal of the Communist Party, and finally aims to shake the very character of the Communist Party. Socialism is in any case on the agenda, from the moment that we live in the era of imperialism, the highest and final stage of capitalism. The timeliness and necessity of socialism-communism is projected by the impasses of capitalism, the imperialist wars, the economic crises, the huge social, economic, environmental, ecological and other problems which capitalist society gives rise to. A Communist Party must form tactics and alliances which facilitate the concentration of forces, the class unity of the working class and the social alliance with the popular strata, with the aim of maturing the subjective factor for the acquisition of power by the working class, and not to be trapped in alliances and stages, which will lead it to struggle under a “foreign flag” in the logic of managing capitalism.


The Webb platform proposes moving beyond the Communist Parties. It says that “A party of socialism in the 21st century embraces Marxism, understood as a broad theoretical tradition that reaches beyond the communist movement.” A party that does not struggle for the interests of the working class but “fights for the interests of the entire nation.”

This position denies the necessity of the existence of the Communist Party in the USA and indeed in the entire world. The KKE successfully dealt with similar views, when they emerged in our party 20 years ago under the influence of “Gorbachevist” theories. The communists of Greece fought hard to repel these opportunist views, for the preservation of the KKE, for the preservation and strengthening of its revolutionary, class and internationalist character. Today, 20 years later, the communists not only in Greece but all over the world can judge the positive results that the outcome of this battle had for the KKE. The KKE was able to stand on its feet, to elaborate serious theoretical and political issues, without deviating from the principles of Marxism-Leninism. It approved its new programme and came to important conclusions concerning the causes of the overthrow of socialism, enriching its conception of socialism. It has taken significant initiatives for the unity of the communist movement at a regional and international level. It strengthened its bonds with the working class and the other popular strata. The influence of its positions and its prestige has been strengthened as it plays the leading role in the regrouping and development of the class-oriented labour-trade union movement and in the tough strike mobilizations of the workers in our country.

None of the above would have been achieved, if opportunism had prevailed 20 years ago in the KKE. The KKE would have gone down the road of dissolution and the labour-popular movement would have lost its basic pillar of support.


The Webb platform renounces the struggle against bourgeois ideology and opportunism. The party which Webb describes surrenders from the ideological struggle. He writes “A party of socialism in the 21st century doesn’t turn – liberals, advocates of identity politics, single issue movements, centrist and progressive leaders of major social organizations, social democrats, community based non-profits, NGOs, unreliable allies, and the “people” (according to some, a classless category concealing class, racial, and gender oppression) – into enemies.”

But can a Communist Party enlighten the working class, the other popular strata, if it does not have an ideological front against views which present capitalism as the only way, which simply promote different types of management of the exploitative system? The answer of the KKE to this is that it is impossible for the struggle of the people to develop without a firm and consistent ideological front against unscientific bourgeois and opportunist theories. This is especially true in today’s conditions, when the role of the various NGOs has become obvious, which are connected financially and in other ways with the imperialist organizations. In conditions when social-democracy has been in government and has demonstrated in practice that is a pillar of support for the bourgeois political system. In these conditions the communists not only must not give up on ideological work and struggle, but they must intensify the struggle even further against these forces.


Webb rejects the Leninist organization, the organization of the vanguard of the working class which corresponds to the needs of the class struggle for the abolition of exploitation. He rejects the Leninist organization because he rejects the struggle for socialism and has taken sides with the bourgeois class for the perpetuation of capitalism.

And so, a state machine which is both experienced and powerful will be opposed by a “party”, according to him, based on the Internet, with an open door policy for new members as an organizational principle: “Joining should be no more difficult than joining other social organizations”.

Thus we can see that not only does he reject the tried and tested organizational principles of the Communist Party of a new type, which were established in the era of Lenin, but he promotes the idea of a party of an NGO type, which corresponds to the content which he himself proposes and is in the direction of a “Communist Party” assimilated into the bourgeois system, which will work for the salvation and “correction” of capitalism and not for its overthrow.


Reform is the answer given by Webb to this fundamental question, which was posed a hundred years ago. His view denies that the party is the vanguard of the working class and subordinates its activity to the lowest level of class consciousness (“A party of socialism in the 21st century takes as its point of departure the issues that masses (relative term) are ready to fight for”). Of course a reformist line is proposed as well as the prioritization of the intervention in the institutions of the bourgeois state. The struggle for reforms within imperialism is acclaimed not only as a “means” buts an end for this “new” party.

In reality, when has the path of reforming the capitalist system ever led to the abolition of the exploitation of man by man and the vindication of the workers’ desires? The “recipe” of reforms has been tested by the peoples through various social-democratic and centre-left governments, which in practice have been proved to be the main vehicles for the imposition of anti-people and anti-worker measures, and as pillars of support for the imperialist organizations and wars.


Webb calls the class nature of bourgeois democracy into question. As he writes: “What I’m challenging is the notion that everything is subordinate to class and class struggle no matter what the circumstances.” He questions the class nature of the bourgeois state, that is to say the dictatorship of the US monopolies and claims that “Thus the nature of the struggle isn’t simply the people against the state, but the people winning positions and influence in the state and then utilizing them to make changes (within and outside of the state)”.

This is an old opportunist position which Marx had already rejected in his era, and was revived by the bankrupt eurocommunist current. And this alone would be enough for us to come to the conclusion that the “Marxism”, which is mentioned as being the theoretical basis of the “party of the 21st century”, has nothing to do with Marx and his theoretical contribution but aims at its vulgar distortion, the burying of revolutionary theory, and the deception of the workers.


The Webb platform fosters illusions and works for the submission of the people to the government of the USA, that is to say the world’s leading imperialist power: “The point isn’t for the U.S. government to simply to crawl into a national shell, but to reinsert itself into world affairs on the basis of cooperation, peace, equality, and mutual benefits…”

At the same time he fosters illusions concerning a “ humanized” version of the monopolies: “big sections of the transnational corporate class have pulled the plug on the American people, economy, and state…the commitment of major sections of the transnational elite to a people-friendly public sector, a vibrant domestic economy and a modern society has waned…”

As the Chairperson of the CPUSA has given up on a class approach to society, the abovementioned positions are to be expected. These are positions which not only have nothing to do with the history and struggles of the party he represents, but they bear no relation to reality either. The continuing occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the new imperialist war in Libya demonstrate what kind of activity the US government has developed outside its “national shell”. And it conducts similar anti-people activity for the defence of the interests of the monopolies inside its own country.


The strengthening of political reaction which is intrinsic to imperialism and is intensifying in the conditions of crisis is interpreted as “ultra-right extremism”. This leads to conclusions which violate the truth and reality, such as “we say too definitively that the independent forces stand no chance whatsoever of taking over the Democratic Party. That still may be the case, but it is a mistake to rule it out completely at this point.” The equation of the working class and its movement with the trade union bureaucracy of the AFL-CIO is consistent with the political line of alliance with sections of capital.


Webb’s article marks an overt siding with the class enemy and a complete alignment with contemporary state-level anticommunism. It calls for “an unequivocal break with Stalin” and lines up with the slanderous assault on socialist construction which offered so much to the Soviet peoples and played the decisive role in the anti-fascist victory of the peoples. In essence, these positions attempt to conceal the reality, the complex problems of the class struggle in the USSR and the tough confrontation of working class power with the bourgeois class in the countryside, the kulaks.

It adopts, in essence, every kind of slanderous simplification of complex problems, such as the sharpening of the class struggle in the USSR. The article goes a step further and joins up with Havel, Walesa and all the reactionary anticommunists of the EU who talk of “crimes against humanity”. It lines up with the tendency that attempts to criminalise the Communist Parties and the defence of socialism: “τo describe these atrocities as a mistake is a mistake – criminal”.

As is well known the opportunist current in Europe that forms the so called Party of the European Left (ELP) holds a similar anti-historical position.

Dear comrades of the CPUSA,

Members, friends and cadre of the CPUSA,

Conscious Workers of the US,

At this very critical moment for your party the KKE calls on you to take into account that the ideological attack against the Party of a New Type focusing on its identity, its character and its organisational principles was unleashed from the very first moment of its existence. The revisionists have always supported the dissolution of the party of the working class; they have always been a pillar of support for the bourgeoisie. The bourgeois class and its supporters understood from the very first moment the role of the party in the political emancipation of the working class and its movement. The ideological attack which was unleashed continues up to the present day as is demonstrated by Webb’s article.

We call on you to take into account the fact that the party can only fulfil the role of the proletarian vanguard on the condition that it is equipped with unity of will, unity of action, and unity of strict discipline. Its internationalist character stems from its nature; it constitutes an integral part of the world communist movement.

Experience confirms and practice which is the yardstick of truth proves that the revolutionary line of struggle not only does not restrict mass work but it reinforces it. It strengthens the expectations of the working people, it provides a way-out and a perspective, it contributes to the change of the correlation of forces. The independent action of the party is a prerequisite for the formation of a policy of alliances that will be subordinated to and serve the strategy for the overthrow of capitalism.

In addition, we consider it necessary to take into account that the necessity of the socialist revolution and the construction of the new communist socio-economic formation is not determined by the correlation of forces, which is shaped at the various historical junctures, but by the historical need to resolve the basic contradiction between capital and labour. The counterrevolutions in the USSR and the other socialist countries have not altered the character of our era which is an era of transition from capitalism to socialism which is timely and necessary as shown by the tragedy of the millions of workers and unemployed who suffer from exploitation and the intensification of the problems that the exploitative system causes.

We believe that the replacement of the principles of Marxism Leninism by revisionist approaches in the name of national peculiarities caused a great deal of damage to the communist movement and continues to do so. No national peculiarity can negate the necessity for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, the necessity for the conquest of political power by the working class, for the socialisation of production and central planning. The economic crisis that broke out in the capitalist world and the intensification of the inter-imperialist contradictions further highlight the timeliness of socialism. Under these conditions the driving back of the new wave of state anticommunism, the defence of the socialism we knew, of its great contribution to the world working class, of the identity and the revolutionary traditions of the communist movement acquire a special importance.

Dear comrades,

Historical experience, the developments themselves have refuted the views that spoke of “the end of history”, the “obsolescence of Marxism-Leninism” and the “end of the Communist Parties”. On the contrary, today there is a stronger need for the existence of Communist Parties that have roots in the working class and the workplaces, which believe in Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. The labour movement must consciously act and rise to the challenge to ensure the existence of a revolutionary party of the working class. This is a crucial duty and a challenge for the most advanced workers and for communists in all the countries of the world and of course above all in the USA.

The consistent confrontation with and rejection of this opportunist-liquidationist platform is a requirement which springs from the historical traditions the labour and communist movement in the USA, it is a condition for the revival of revolutionary communist ideals in the US labour movement and society.

The International Relations Section of the CC of KKE

Thursday, April 7, 2011

All aboard the Obama express. Next stop socialism.

From Crisis to Socialism

Speech delivered at the Salt of the Earth Labor College in Tucson, Arizona, March 12, 2011.

We live in trying and changing times. No one is sure what tomorrow will bring. The U.S. is becoming increasingly dysfunctional. Everywhere we look we run into crises.

There is a jobs crisis; despite some improvement in the official unemployment rate, nearly 25 million workers are unemployed or underemployed. And in the communities of color the impact is especially severe.

Then there is the crisis in public education. The efforts to undermine this democratic treasure that is admittedly in crisis, are as they are as insidious as they are massive.

Housing is in crisis too. Millions have lost their home thanks to Wall Street Bankers, or should I say gangsters, and many more are sitting in homes that are underwater. Meanwhile public housing is being defunded and cooperative housing privatized.

Then there is the equality crisis. No one with any sense would argue that we are in a post civil rights, post gender era. A quick glance at the impact of a stagnating economy gives plenty of evidence to the lie of that claim. And all this takes place in the context of a fierce counteroffensive in ideological and practical terms against people of color and women.

There is also a food crisis. In the South Bronx, for example, more than one in three residents could not afford enough food, while in Central Brooklyn, 30.8 percent faced food hardship. Moreover, every congressional district in the city faced significant food hardships. Similar data could be cited for other urban areas.

To this we can add the energy crisis that is sending the cost of fuel skyrocketing, thereby leaving working families with less for other essentials.

Then there is the poverty crisis. Nearly 50 million people live below the poverty line in the wealthiest country in the world. Nothing but scandalous, and the trend line is upward.

And let’s not forget the environmental crisis that worsens with each passing day and, unless checked, could cause a civilizational crisis.

Then there is the infrastructure crisis that is further aggravated by the refusal of congressional Republicans to support a modest bill to repair our crumbling country.

Finally, democracy is in crisis. Coursing through the veins of our democracy is a flood of corporate money, all of which is designed to fatten the pockets of the wealthiest families and corporations and frustrate the people’s will.

At the same time – and it’s the other side of this undemocratic coin – the corporate class is attempting to not simply weaken, but destroy the labor movement which has been the most consistent force against right wing domination and corporate policies.

On a world scale the crises signs are even of a more pronounced character. To cite a few statistics:

* 2.5 billion people, nearly half of the world’s population, survive on less than two dollars a day.
* Over 850 million people are chronically undernourished and three times that many frequently go hungry.
* Every hour of every day, 180 children die of hunger and 1200 die of preventable diseases.
* Over half a million women die every year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of them are in the global south.
* Over a billion people live in vast urban slums, without sanitation, sufficient living space, or durable housing.
* 1.3 billion people have no safe water. 3 million die of water-related diseases every year.

To make matters worse, climate change will lock the world’s poorest countries and their poorest citizens in a downward spiral.

UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervi’s writes:

… climate change is a threat to humanity as a whole. But it is the poor, a constituency with no responsibility for the ecological debt we are running up, who face the immediate and most severe human costs.

The UN Human Development Report cites some immediate consequences of climate change in the global south:

* The breakdown of agricultural systems as a result of increased exposure to drought, rising temperatures, and more erratic rainfall, leaving up to 600 million more people facing malnutrition.
* An additional 1.8 billion people facing water stress by 2080, with large areas of South Asia and northern China facing a grave ecological crisis as a result of glacial retreat and changed rainfall patterns.
* Displacement through flooding and tropical storm activity of up to 332 million people in coastal and low-lying areas. Over 70 million Bangladeshis, 22 million Vietnamese, and six million Egyptians could be affected by global warming-related flooding.
* Expanding health risks, including up to 400 million more people facing the risk of malaria.

To these we can add that at least 100 million people will join the permanently hungry this year as food prices spike.

What can we conclude from all this?

One conclusion is that capitalism isn’t working for working people; its get up and go has got up and went; it’s exhausted its potential; it’s a threat to human civilization, as we know it.

The other is that socialism has acquired a new urgency. A socialist future is not simply a good idea, but rather a necessary requirement for humankind’s future.

Since its earliest days, capitalism has inflicted incalculable harm (more than any other social system) on the inhabitants of the earth. Primitive accumulation, world wars, slavery, various forms of labor servitude, ruthless wage exploitation, territorial annexation, colonialism, racist, gender, and other forms of oppression – all this and more occupy prominent places in the historical mapping of U.S. and world capitalism since its emergence roughly four centuries ago.

And yet as ghastly a history as this is, the future could be even worse for a simple reason: capitalism’s destructive power, driven by its inner logic to pump surplus value out of its primary producers and dominate global space, has grown exponentially. Unless restrained and eventually dismantled, this power is capable of doing irreversible damage (nuclear war, global warming, ecological collapse) to life in all its forms.

But – and this is a big “but” – the replacement of capitalism by a society that no longer is the slave of the logic of profit making (or should I say taking) isn’t inevitable within the time frame necessary to avert the global dangers facing humankind.

Recently, Hugo Chavez had this to say:

I believe it is time that we take up with courage and clarity a political, social, collective and ideological offensive across the world – a real offensive that permits us to move progressively, over the next years, the next decades, leaving behind the perverse, destructive, destroyer, capitalist model and go forward in constructing the socialist model to avoid barbarism and beyond that the annihilation of life on this planet.

I believe this idea has a strong connection with reality. I don’t think we have much time. Fidel Castro said in one of his speeches I read not so long ago, “tomorrow could be too late, let’s do now what we need to do.” I don’t believe that this is an exaggeration. The environment is suffering damage that could be irreversible — global warming, the greenhouse effect, the melting of the polar ice caps, the rising sea level, hurricanes — with terrible social occurrences that will shake life on this planet.

So the situation is dire, but what do we so about it? What will it take to leave capitalism behind, to consign it to the history books?

It will take many things, but the main thing is a broad, united people’s movement possessing a fighting spirit, hope, and vision, much like we see in Wisconsin today, but nationwide and on a far bigger scale.

The journey to socialism – and it is a journey – will also take a laser like focus on issues that are agitating tens of millions, and none loom larger than the economic rights and livelihood of our multi-racial, multi-ethnic working class.

It is hard to imagine how the necessary forces can be assembled and unified at each stage of struggle including the socialist stage if the working class and peoples movements are not fully engaged in such struggles.

It will take a big tent strategy as well. Such a strategy will welcome allies, combine radical and gradual change, avoid unnecessary fights, and operate on the assumption that “only a movement of the immense majority in the interests of the immense majority” has the power capacity to turn socialism from a dream to a reality.

It will also attach special importance to the struggle for racial and gender equality. Both are of strategic importance insofar as working class and people’s unity is concerned. No advance in radical and socialist terms is possible without a sustained struggle against racism and sexism.

Anyone who devalues the struggle for racial and gender equality limits the sweep of any victory at best; at worst, it provides an opening to the most backward sections of our ruling class and their constituency to gain ascendancy ideologically and politically.

A movement for socialism will place a high priority on independent political action and the formation of a party independent of corporate capital too. Currently, the main social forces and organizations of political independence work within the Democratic Party.

No less importantly, any transition to socialism will require a far bigger left and Communist Party. We don’t yet cause a “big wave in the big pond.” But for socialism to become a reality, our ripple has to turn into a wave that has the strength to lead the people to a better future.

Finally, it will take a modern vision of socialism that is at once deeply democratic, economically just, egalitarian, ecological, and peaceful as well as organically embedded in the American experience.

Our main objective must be to lead all the stragglers loitering around the outskirts of "the Big Tent" provided by the Democratic Party into the tent so Barack can lay out our plans for socialism in the 22nd Century.

I would like to thank the two of you for showing up for my talk here today.

A comment about my speech from a friend:

Sam Sez: 'Currently, the main social forces and organizations of political independence work within the Democratic Party.'

That's true, fortunately or unfortunately, for the leadership and institutions of labor, civil rights and so on.

But what about the 'critical force' of young people under 30? The critical force can overlap with the main force, but they are not the same.

All revolutions and even major structural reforms are made by the young of various classes, and especially the working classes. Lenin was 29 when he wrote 'One Step Forward...' The average age of the Cuban CC was 26 on their victory, with Fidel the old man of 35. The average age of China's PLA was 19. We know that the youth were dynamic in our civil rights movement and in the early IWW and other labor forces in their first upsurge.

Today I'd guess most young progressive, radical and socialist-minded youth do NOT see themselves as part of the Democratic Party, and the youth who worked for Obama are rather alienated from the White House today.

In short, this position is a little one-sided, and need to more seriously engage a critical inter-generational problem we face.

Posted by Carl Davidson, 03/28/2011

My response: Ah, yes; the youth. The alienated youth. What a pathetic lot they are. We can't depend on them to rally around our leader, President Obama. The youth are obsessed with peace. They don't understand the need for humanitarian wars. They lack patience and civility while unemployed. They fret over being marched off to war. We might better forget about the youth, they just want to protest.

A post speech thought: I have been explaining the need for us to get involved in the Democratic Party for about 15 years. I'm thinking of getting involved myself in the Democratic Party very soon.