Category: About the CPUSA
A Canadian responds to John Bachtell’s report
| February 19, 2017 | 7:43 pm | About the CPUSA, V.I. Lenin | No comments

Read this excerpt from Bachtell’s report   and compare it to Lenin’s critique of Kautsky in the State and Revolution, last chapter (“Kautsky’ s Controversy with the Opportunists”)

Thirdly, we are not dropping Leninism or the ideas of Lenin. This includes Lenin’s concept of the revolutionary party rooted in the working class with the aim of socialism – a party devoted to developing strategy and tactics, studying stages of struggle, following the democratic path, and centered around the press (in the current day, this means the digital media, i.e.”

My emphasis.

The closing of Bachtell’s report is also revealing in the same sense – what it does not contain.

I think the first paragraph of the last chapter in S&R says it all
“The question of the relation of the state to the social revolution, and of the social revolution to the state, like the question of revolution generally, was given very little attention by the leading theoreticians and publicists of the Second International (1889-1914). But the most characteristic thing about the process of the gradual growth of opportunism that led to the collapse of the Second International in 1914 is the fact that even when these people were squarely faced with this question they tried to evade it or ignored it.”

Confirmation of Sam Webb’s resignation from the CPUSA
| February 19, 2017 | 7:34 pm | About the CPUSA | 1 Comment

Standing together in protest: Unity will Trump hate

From John Bachtell’s report:

Finally, Sam Webb’s resignation caused some confusion, concerns, and brought some differences to the surface. We’ve discussed them in the National Board, National Committee, and also held face-to-face discussions with leadership collectives in New York and Ohio. We are happy to have them anywhere else.

Given the gravity of the new political situation, in my opinion, it is far better to focus our efforts on developing our strategy and tactics and moving the entire party into action, rather than attempt to arrive at a consensus over why Sam Webb resigned or his legacy.

He should be counted amongst our socialist and democratic allies and our attitude, as with any ally, should be to work together where we can for the betterment of the movement overall.

Sam may have left, but we remain to continue the collective project of building the party, elaborating our Marxist analysis, broadly applying our strategy and tactics, engaging with a larger audience through People’s World and, and immersing ourselves in building the people’s coalition led by labor and the broadly based all-people’s alliance to defend democracy and contest Trump and the GOP at every turn.

The voice of American Communists: PCUSA on Trump, Cuba-US relations and opportunism

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The voice of American Communists: PCUSA on Trump, Cuba-US relations and opportunism
The Party of Communists USA (PCUSA) was founded on May Day 2014. Formed out of the ashes of the Communist Party USA, the PCUSA aspires to become the base for a new beginning for the communist movement in the United States. On the occasion of Donald Trump’s rise to power, we asked from the PCUSA to share with us the party’s views on some topics. 
Below we publish the response we exclusively received by the PCUSA’s Council of Secretaries.


* * * 

On the question “How do you think Trump’s presidency will affect the US working class”, the PCUSA says: 

“There can only be one answer to this question. “In a very negative way.” In his first days in office we have already seen Trump coalesce around extreme right wing forces, scapegoating immigrants for America’s problems that have been created by the global crisis of capitalism. We have seen a rise in everyday prices. Gasoline prices have gone up .40 cents per gallon in the last month in California. Food prices are rising substantially. Trump’s accomplices in the Congress have introduced anti-labor legislation to cripple union organizing. Trump is now threatening to make war against Iran and to nullify the U.S. Iran Nuclear deal that was negotiated last year. He is attempting to place someone on the Supreme Court of the United States that is young and will serve right wing attacks on our Constitution for years to come. None of this bodes well for the working class”. 

The US-Cuban relations will deteriorate under Trump’s presidency says the PCUSA. Here’s the full answer:

“We believe that U.S. – Cuba relations are going to deteriorate under a Trump administration. The economic embargo against Cuba will continue indefinitely. Diplomatic relations will be strained. The new diplomatic relationship established between our two countries is sure to be broken off. We see only that Trump will try to co-opt the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party with increased sabotage, spying, and wrecking. Trump’s people will use diplomacy as a cover for their covert activities. We expect that the Cubans will respond in kind. In interstate relations there must be a degree of trust. The Cubans do not trust Trump, and with good reason.”

The PCUSA rejects the type of political forces such as the CPUSA (Communist Party USA) and PLS (Party of Liberation and Socialism) which it regards as opportunist/reformist parties. More specifically, the PCUSA Council of Secretaries points out:

“We are proletarian internationalists. We reject social-democracy, as Lenin did when he formed the Communist Party in Russia. He called for the formation of “a party of a new type.” We are the only truly Marxist-Leninist party in the United States. We are not Trotskyites and we reject Trotskyism as being anti-Marxist and anti-Leninist. Because our party was formed out of the ashes of the old, corrupt CPUSA, we are familiar with their betrayal of communist principles and discipline. In 2014 it was necessary to declare our independence and ally ourselves with other forces that were not part of the CPUSA, but knew of its recent history of right wing opportunism. The main core of our members are former members of the CPUSA, but not all of us. We are united together by our “unity principles” which state unequivocally that we reject all forms of opportunism and distortions of Marxism-Leninism. 

“CPUSA, PLS and groups like them are greater threat than the bourgeoisie”.

“We see the CPUSA and the PSL and groups like them as a greater threat than the bourgeoisie because these groups serve the interests of capitalism while at the same time deceiving the working class; by sounding more militant, by pretending to be “national liberation” forces; by misdirecting the working class into unproductive forms of struggle. To us these groups are very dangerous. We don’t consider them to be part of a united front against fascism and war. We see them as indirectly serving the interests of the Trump forces. On the international scene, there are too many groups who are infected with opportunism and thus ill equipped to effectively participate in united front activity against the whiff of fascism that is represented by the Wall Street clique around Trump. We believe that the mission of these formations, and their main role as opportunist / reformist formations,is to create confusion and misinformation among the working class and its allies. The opportunists of the Social Democratic CPUSA seek to cover up their misdeeds by maintaining the title “Communist” in their name. We believe that the truth will eventually expose the CPUSA and its revisionism”.

* You can visit the official homepage of the Party of Communists USA (PCUSA) as well as its official theoretical journal “Ideological Fighback”.


USA / Donald Trump government: Priority in serving the general interests of the capital

Monday, January 16, 2017

USA / Donald Trump government: Priority in serving the general interests of the capital
Article published on ‘Rizospastis’ Sunday Edition, 15 January 2017 / Translation: In Defense of Communism.

The priorities of the government of the newly-elected U.S. President, Donald Trump, who takes office on January 20th, do not differ from those of the outgoing President Barack Obama because- despite the existing differences in their declarations- their common denominator is to safeguard the general interests of the bourgeoisie. That doesn’t negate a multilevel intra-bourgeois confrontation for the way through which this will be achieved more effectively, especially in a period when the inter-imperialist antagonism is exacerbated, with an estimated relative loss of U.S. leadership in the international capitalist economy and given the difficulties for a more impetuous capitalist recovery. More specifically Trump promotes a different mix of management with stronger elements of protectionism, an issue which however creates difficulties in international trade, which in turn displeases other parts of the (U.S) capital. 

Last Wednesday, Donald Trump gave his first press conference after his electoral victory, offering a foretaste of the new tactics and the fronts of a possible collision. In the background, of course, is the peak of the confrontation between the intelligence agencies (inside and outside the U.S), especially after the publication of a controversial 35 pages-long “report” written by the British former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, currently owner of the “stratetic advice company” named Orbis Business Intelligence. The report claimed that the Russian intelligence services keep the new President under control because of intelligence information regarding financial and sexual activities. These informations were denounced by Trump as “vile and fabricated lies”, giving him rise to criticize part of the bourgeois media, such as CNN.
In any case, the “war” between secret services isn’t expected to settle down soon, as it reflects intra-bourgeois contrasts. It is characteristic that on Thursday night, the Inspector General of the U.S. federal Justice Department announced an inquiry regarding the decision of the outgoing FBI Director James Comey to re-open, shortly before the election, the investigation about the e-mails of the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. 
Review of inter-state agreements.
Trump also seemed taking a position regarding a possible conflict with competing forces, such as China, thus bringing back to the fore his campaign promises and intentions to renegotiate trade agreements. This is a fact which, of course, will influence international developments and which, obviously, creates concern to staffs and other imperialist centers, combined with the developments such as the bazaar for Britain’s disengagement from the EU (Brexit) and the Eurozone’s cohesion itself. Trump has already warned for the U.S. withdrawal from the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP), something which inevitably mean new big bazaars and sharpening of the confrontation between competing monopolies that will seek the biggest piece from the “pie” of the new opportunities. It is not clear which power will gain more from a new negotiation, nor it is certain that the U.S. will be that power. Some analysts believe that the possible withdrawal of the U.S. from the TPP will leave an open door to Beijing, in order to push forward for China’s benefit the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership” (RCEP) which began in 2012. 
In his interview, Trump “shook his finger” to China which, as he said, “makes billions of dollars by taking advantage of U.S. weaknesses”. That happened while, a few days ago, he had announced, after his meeting with the 52 years-old Chinese business magnate (owner of the e-commerce firm “Alibaba”) Jack Ma, the latter’s plans to create “one million jobs in the U.S.”. 
Respectively, regarding the so-called “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement” (TTIP), Trump has said that he will seek hard renegotiation in defense of the U.S. companies. 
In relation to Russia, Trump seems to keep a more conciliatory stance, despite the wild war between intelligence services which has targeted him for this choice. It is characteristic that he described as a “plus” the fact that the Russian President Vladimir Putin “likes” him, because, as he explained, this could contribute to the restoration of the bilateral relations which, as he said, are “terrible” today. One must point out that Trump’s choice to compromise with the Russians is not a matter of preference but an issue of interest, as he may use a possible bridge with Moscow in order to exacerbate the pressure towards Beijing. Nonetheless, during their confirmation hearings at the Senate, the proposed Trump’s ministers, Rex Tillerson for the Department of State and James Mattis for the Department of Defense, marked Russia as a “threat”.

A significant part of the press conference was also dedicated to the need, as Trump pointed out, for the U.S better defense towards cyberattacks, which, for the first time he admitted, have been unleashed “from Russia, China and many other countries”. It is interesting that he appointed the former New York Governor Rudolph Giuliani in the new position of the cybersecurity adviser, responsible for private sector’s cybersecurity. That means a very positive action for the monopolies operating in the field of cybersecurity, such as Giuliani’s company “Giuliani Partners”.

Trump clarified once again that he will immediately proceed to the construction of the wall in the southern borders of the USA with Mexico, despite “the friendship and respect” for the people and the government of the neighboring country. He (Trump) tried to show consistency with his central electoral campaign promises, taking into account his objective to present himself as the “antisystemic president” who wants to “make America great again” and to create in the long term a “movement” which will resonate in the middle and lower social strata. 

Promises for better healthcare and employment.

As it has been seen, it is in the immediate priorities of Trump to withdraw and replace the reforms promoted by the outgoing President Barack Obama (Obamacare), in order to benefit specific monopolies of pharmaceutical groups and parts of the diagnostic medical centers’ “industry”. 

Trump claims that he will replace Obamacare with a “cheaper and better” system. Chances are that he will attempt to redistribute the “pie” in favor of the monopolies operating in the sectors of Health and Insurance.

Furthermore, Donald Trump repeated his promises for the “rescue” and the creation of new jobs, thus “throwing down the gauntlet” to those industries which didn’t correspond strongly to his efforts to prevent the transfer of factories abroad, such as in Mexico. He managed to highlight his recent agreements with industries, such as the automobile company “Ford” and the air-conditioning manufacturer “Carrier” that withdrew their plans for transfering their factories in Mexico and he threatened with very heavy imposts or “border taxes” those industries which will resist the pressures for keeping job positions in the US, such as the automotive “General Motors” corporation which doesn’t seem to “give in”.

It becomes obvious that the choice of Trump, like the one of Obama previously as the first black President, serves the specific needs of the capital in every given time. However, the billionaire businessman has managed more effectively to manipulate the popular strata which had no benefit from the slight capitalist recovery after the outbreak of the 2008 capitalist crisis. The fact of the absence of a strong Communist Party with a revolutionary strategy and a class-based orientation undoubtedly contriubutes to the overal entrapment of popular forces. 

Rizospastis, 15/1/2017, p.30.

CPUSA member renounces CPUSA leadership
| December 29, 2016 | 7:50 pm | About the CPUSA, Party Voices | No comments

In response to the article we posted “Elena Mora resigns from the CPUSA,” we received this comment:

“Good riddance to liberals. There will always be differences in any party and that is healthy ,but when one ceases to be a Marxist then they belong in a different political party. The CPUSA has grown alot in the last year. Our club now numbers 113 members,some are union members,some work in election campaigns,some in the environmental field,some in anti racist,anti sexist,and some in anti imperialist work. We sponsor 2 meetups and 2 websites. We sponsor a Socialist reading group every 2 weeks and a progressive movie night once a month. We built this club by carrying on a struggle against both left sectarianism and right wing revisionism. Anyone is welcome to come to our club meetings or other activities and see for themselves.”

We don’t understand what it means. Bourgeois liberals are hard to read. Splitting is usually the underlying motive.

By A. Shaw
Our question is: Is Donald Trump evil?
We may borrow from the writings of Aristotle and Kant their definition of evil.
According to the two writers mentioned above, evil is a state in which a being (either human or divine):
(1) Sees the difference between good and evil and this being CHOOSES the evil principle over the good principle,
(2) This being ACTS in accordance with the evil principle it chooses, and
(3) This being FEELS pleasure when it acts in accordance with the evil principle it chooses.
So, our question, formulated-above, assumes a new form:
Does Trump choose the evil principle over good and does he act accordingly? Further, does Trump enjoy these acts?
If the answer to all three of these questions is YES, then, according Aristotle and Kant, Trump is evil.
In respect to the first of the three questions, Trump sees the difference between good and evil with astonishing clarity. He vividly describes this difference in his speeches. He repeatedly CHOOSES the evil principle over good, especially evil that  involves some  kind of excess.
With respect to the second question,Trump promises to ACT in accordance with his choice of evil if he wins. Since political campaigning in itself is an ACT, we find that Trump acts in accordance with his evil choice of principle.
Does Trump ENJOY the pursuit of the evil principle which he chooses?
Trump enjoys evil, exceedingly.
He’s so jolly when he pursues evil that he often blunders and says things he didn’t intend to disclose, causing anguish for his campaign  for president.
So, let’s return to  our original question:  Is Trump evil?
The answer is “absolutely.”
Trump is evil because he deliberately and joyfully pursues evil.
According to Aristotle, there are five states — evil, brutish, weak, strong, and good.
Some of Trump’s opponents and supporters argue adamantly that Trump isn’t evil, because he is brutish.
According to Aristotle, brutes and evil beings both do evil acts and both claim that evil acts feel good to them. But there is a fundamental difference between brutes and evil beings because brutes cannot see the difference between good and evil. Therefore it is impossible for a brute to choose evil or good. On the other hand, evil clearly sees the difference between itself and good. Hence, Trump isn’t a brute, he’s evil.
Some others argue Trump isn’t evil because he’s only weak.
Unlike both brutes and evil beings, the weak chooses the good principle over evil, but the weak are not strong enough to ACT in accordance with their choice. Trump is a person of prodigious willpower, so he acts in accordance with his choices.
Hence, Trump isn’t weak.
Still others argue Trump isn’t evil, but he’s strong.
The strong choose good over evil and act in accordance with their choice. But they don’t enjoy their choice. They hate their choice and long to do evil acts because they imagine that evil acts are fun. Trump neither chooses good nor does good acts. Hence, Trump isn’t strong but he’s evil.
Still others say Trump is evil because he’s good.
The good chooses good as their principle of action, acts according to their principle, and enjoys it.
Trump hasn’t one thing in common with the good.
 Trump is evil.
Evil is corruption.
Power corrupts.
When they — Trump and the White House — unite,
Great sorrow.
US Trotskyism: Behind the Socialist Masquerade

Friday, October 14, 2016

US Trotskyism: Behind the Socialist Masquerade
Behind the Socialist Masquerade.
By Zoltan Zigedy / Source: Marxism-Leninism Today.
Ashley Smith recently wrote an essay (Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution) ostensibly about Syria and imperialism but more properly understood as a rekindling and re-statement of anti-Communist “leftism.”

Smith, an ideologue of the International Socialist Organization, unveils his true target when he inveighs against the “Stalinists”: “Stalinist groups like the Workers World Party, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization…”
Not content with these examples, Smith, in McCarthy-like fashion, feels the necessity to name further names. He sees the UK’s Stop the War coalition as also duped by the Stalinists, along with the US United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC). Jill Stein of the Green Party and her Vice Presidential partner, Ajamu Baraka, are similarly infected with the “Stalinist” virus.
Laughably, he ominously links the recent bold, fact-finding mission to Syria organized by the US Peace Council to the “American Communist Party,” an association meant to conjure up the specter of Stalin; but it is an untenable association with a moribund CPUSA that has long distanced itself from “Stalinism” and the Soviet legacy with a fervor equal to the US Trotskyist groups.
Without re-visiting the old ideological wars (Trotsky has been dead for 76 years, Stalin for 63 years, and the Soviet Union for 25 years), it is nonetheless useful to point out a common characteristic shared by US Trotskyist organizations: they invariable live and breathe anti-Communism. Since the Cold War began, they traded on their distance from the “enemies” of Western Imperialism. The grip that these groups often had on middle class youth was predicated on the denial of Red connections.
For a university student, the McCarthyite stigma of Communism could be evaded by joining an anti-Communist organization that proclaimed that its anti-Communism was even more radical than Communism!US Trotskyism is part of the “Yes, but…” left. Yes, Communism, Stalinism, Maoism, Marxism-Leninism, etc. etc. are bad, but we’re not like that! Like you, we’re against them, too! We’re the unthreatening, friendly advocates for change…
In the Cold War period and after, this was a safe tactic to appear radical without poking the bear of repression. Of course it didn’t always fool those entrusted with thwarting even the most lame rejection of capitalism. Communists victimized by Cold War repression often joked that a US socialist was someone without the guts to be a Communist. The easy assimilation of much of the Trotskyist intellectual apparatus into the anti-Communist hierarchy and the subsequent entry of many into ruling circles certainly underscores the opportunism of this tactic.
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, US Trotskyism has been in crisis. With the departure of a foil of sheer evil, the appeal of anti-Communist radicalism has lost its punch. Apart from the intellectual Neanderthals serving Eastern European reaction (sponsored by the New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, and a few other inveterate anti-Communist organs), the epithet “Stalinist!” means little in current discourse.
Ashley Smith hopes to revive its relevance for the twenty-first century. He sets out to buttress Trotskyism as a thin and tortured alternative to the anti-imperialism of the “Stalinists.” As with his Cold War predecessors, Smith hopes to trade on distancing Trotskyism from the rivals or antagonists of US and European Imperialism. In the absence of a Soviet Union, capitalist Russia will suffice as the source of evil.
And Syria’s Assad will play the role of the bloodthirsty despot– a mini-Stalin– in this Trotskyist fantasy. Smith offers an unvarnished choice: “Which side are you on? Do you support the popular struggle against dictatorship and for democracy? Or are you with Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime, his imperial backer Russia, his regional ally Iran and Iran’s proxies like Hezbollah from Lebanon?”
It is breathtaking how simplistically, but presumptuously Smith characterizes the Syrian tragedy. It is equally astonishing to recognize how wrong he gets it. To be so blind to sources of information apart from Western reporters in Beirut, Amman, and Ankara, to rely principally upon a London-based, unfiltered, and non-independent anecdote collector like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and to credit US and European sponsored “revolutionaries” implies an indifference to the pursuit of truth.
Whatever grievances Syrians may have had against Assad, it is hardly credible to hail an armed struggle that began literally weeks after the alleged peaceful demonstrations that Smith praises. No insurrection has ever proceeded so swiftly and effectively against security services and a modern army without outside assistance. We now know from revelations exposed by the US media’s fixation on the Benghazi fiasco that the CIA was vigorously engaged in shipping weaponry to Syria from stockpiles snatched from its Libyan venture. We know that regimes on the Arabian Peninsula were equally vigorous in supplying military equipment and recruiting volunteers.
Even US and Western European sources concede that the most numerous and most effective anti-Assad fighters are not democrats or reformists, but radical fundamentalists driven by religious fervor and feudal ideology, hardly the idealistic revolutionaries portrayed by Smith. In fact, US and European advisors complain of the difficulties of vetting anti-Assad forces sufficiently credible to receive advanced weapons. The few recipients of US supplied anti-tank missiles have displayed a troubling propensity to pass them on to the worst of the worse jihadist.
Smith shows an enormous conceit, from his secure perch, joining Western politicians in intuiting the sentiment of the Syrian people. Cavalierly dismissing the Syrian elections, he– along with the Western media– somehow divines that most Syrians hate Assad and that the opposition overflows with democratic, progressive sentiment. Where we have evidence of an independent vote– for example, the May, 2014 national election vote of Syrian refugees in Lebanon– the Washington Post’s rabid anti-Assad reporter, Liz Sly, conceded that uncoerced refugees supported Assad.
One has to notice that, unlike previous chapters of the so-called “Arab Spring,” there are no embedded Western reporters recording the march of democracy or the defeat of tyranny. Cannot CNN find any democrats in the Syrian opposition? Are there no freedom-loving fighters for NBC reporters to interview?Of course the Assad regime’s invitation to allow Western reporters goes cynically unaccepted. To find on-the-spot reporting from Syrian battle zones, one has to turn to Lizzie Phelan, an independent UK journalist whose frequent front line footage appears most often on RT (her recent 20-minute cab ride through Aleppo gives a decidedly different picture of the city from that rendered by Western media reporting a Syrian “Stalingrad” from afar).
Smith does not hesitate to embrace the Libyan debacle as a pro-democracy revolution as well. One would think that the disastrous destabilization of Libya would serve as a sobering tonic for Smith’s fantasies. As with Syria, the pro-democracy revolutionaries were largely a figment of the imagination of US and European politicians and journalists, a group that our erstwhile “socialist” seems happy to join. But that is not just my opinion or the opinion of other “Stalinists.” On Wednesday, September 14, the UK parliament’s cross-party Foreign Affairs Committee released a report on the UK’s 2011 intervention in Libya. According to The Wall Street Journal, the committee found that the engagement was “based on ‘serious erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding’… [and] failed to identify that the rebels included a significant Islamist element and that the [Gadhafi] threat to civilians was overstated.” (my italics) It is striking that the UK government can shed its illusions, but Ashley Smith clings to his.
It is no accident that Ashley Smith’s long essay makes only a passing mention of workers or class. Like most US Trotskyist organizations, ISO draws support significantly from the petty-bourgeoisie. Thus, the question of workers and their fate never arises in his argument. There is no notice taken of the Syrian General Federation of Trade Unions, a supporter of Assad, an opponent of class collaboration, a leader in Arab trade unionism, and a pillar of the class struggle trade unionism of the World Federation of Trade Unions. There is no attention to either the opinions of workers or the effect of a violent insurrection upon the working class. These issues are of little count for one who calls for all to “collaborate with Syrian revolutionaries” who exist only in the minds of political romantics.
Rather than concern himself with the fate of Syria’s working class, Smith prefers to repeat the US and European media’s obsession with civilian-targeted barrel bombs and poison gasses, claims that have defied objective verification. But he exceeds Western fear-mongering by attributing the entire UN estimate of 400,000 deaths in the war to “Assad’s massacre.” Recently, a delegation organized by the US Peace Council visited Syria and met with a number of Syrians, their organizations, and even oppositionists. They left the US with the notion that Syrians should decide the fate of Syria. They returned with the same notion, but even more strongly felt.
But, in addition, they returned with the view that events in Syria are far more complicated than the simplistic picture presented by the US State Department. They returned with the idea that peace in Syria would not be secured through the intervention of foreign powers or by supporting media-manufactured fantasies. Unfortunately, many on the left like Ashley Smith and some in the more conservative peace groups do not want to hear the Peace Council report, preferring to embrace the self-serving constructions of the regime-changers.