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

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