Category: About the CPUSA
Convention Discussion: The Communist Party & the road ahead
| April 21, 2014 | 9:47 pm | About the CPUSA, Action | No comments


by: Garon Archer
April 20 2014

Submitted by Garon Arhcer, of Johnson City, TN

As we enter 2014 and the 30th national convention of the Communist Party, we should be asking ourselves the important questions. Has the working class gained significant ground in the democratic struggle against the far-right agenda? How has the playing field changed post Occupy? Are we seeing a resurgence of militant working class struggle? What does this mean for the Communist Party?

Has the working class gained significant ground in the democratic struggle against the far right agenda?

The answer to this question is far too complex to be answered simply. Struggles for immigrants rights, LGBTQ equality, for higher wages and democratic representation have all taken place. But the struggle isn’t one-sided, reactionary representatives of the transnationals have not ceased in their attacks on the gains and democratic rights of the American people. Supreme Court attacks on the Voting Rights Act, failure to extend unemployment benefits, drastic billion dollar cuts to the food stamps and other social welfare programs, Supreme Court deregulation of campaign finance, etc… All of these attacks on working and oppressed Americans have taken place without real and lasting opposition. Much has been lost, but the attacks have spurred a militant resistance and given birth to struggle on a scale not seen in this country in decades.

How has the playing field changed post Occupy?

Just a few years ago an explosion of working class struggle took place on a scale not seen in decades. Taking place under the banner of a massive social movement known collectively as Occupy, the movement brought hundreds of thousand into struggle. Oppressed nationalities, immigrants, low wage workers, the bread & butter of the American working class launched a full scale resistance to the right-wing agenda. They popularized the class struggle with a call for the struggle of the 99% against the 1% and the corporate right-wing agenda. Unfortunately, the movement ultimately failed to offer a solid critique of the capitalist system, an electoral challenge to the far-right agenda, and the leadership required for concrete social change. As a result it dissipated, leaving the masses without leadership. Despite the failures of the Occupy movement, it will have an everlasting effect on American politics. It represents a left turn for many working Americans, a resurgence of working class militancy, and a new willingness for struggle outside of the normal channels.

Is there a resurgence of working class militancy?

Today it’s no doubt that widespread dissatisfaction with the system is growing. We live in an America where 49% of people aged 18-29 favor the concept of socialism over capitalism, according to a recent Pew Poll. An America where over 40% of Americans identify as independent rather than Republican or Democrat, according to a recent Gallup Poll. First we saw the Wisconsin Uprising and the Occupy movement, both examples of mass working class resistance. We’ve seen the heroic struggle of low wage workers through movements like Our Walmart and Fight for 15, both growing rapidly. We’ve seen highly successful independent labor and socialist campaigns in Ohio, Washington State, Mississippi, New England and beyond. We’ve seen the Chicago teachers fight back, we’ve witnessed UAW Volkswagen workers in Tennessee struggle against right-wing repression in a bid to form a union. Many important struggles have taken place lately, more than one can count. It’s clear that we are seeing a resurgence of working class militancy and a willingness to fight back against injustice and exploitation.

What does all of this mean for the Communist Party?

We have entered a new phase of the democratic struggle. The Democratic Party is increasingly pandering to the most reactionary sections of the transnational corporations, becoming increasingly hostile to progressives and the American worker. While the progressive wing of the Democratic Party remains essential in the struggle against the far-right agenda, it has become is increasingly necessary for the Communist Party to offer a left-wing challenge to reactionary Democrats. Many Democrats are lining up to appease capital, calling for compromise with Republicans and joining in on the war against the workers. The Communist Party has historically represented the most advanced sections of the American working class. We are duty bound to provide a challenge to the far-right agenda, be it Republicans or Democrats who are fostering it. We are duty bound to build and lead a mass movement capable of tackling the challenges of our generation.

Change in the political landscape means change for the Communist Party.

Now that the substance of the struggle is changing, so to must the party. The policy of building up an all-people’s front against the far-right has never been as important as it is right now, but we must consider how we can best approach this daunting task.

After witnessing the success of local progressive & socialist campaigns, it’d be foolish not to participate local electoral struggles. Exclusive support of non-Communists through standard progressive channels isn’t enough. The Communist Party should be fielding Communist candidates, supporting progressive candidates, and building a united progressive electoral bloc. Only the Communist Party can take on the task of building a progressive electoral bloc.

The rise of movements like Fight for 15 and Our Walmart mean that the party policy of industrial concentration has become somewhat outdated. We should be concentrating on low-wage workers in the fast-food & retail industries. The mass struggles of our generation are unfolding at super stores and burger joints, not factories and steel mills.

In conclusion, we must build a strong and independent Communist Party. A party capable of leading the working class into a new phase of struggle against the increasingly vicious far-right agenda. Most importantly, we must remember that struggle against the right-wing agenda is also taking place in the party. The right-wing of our party is fighting for the liquidation of the party into the broader progressive movement, a move that would no doubt have a devastating effect on real working class politics in this country.

Convention Discussion: No to social democracy
| April 21, 2014 | 12:55 pm | About the CPUSA, Action | No comments


by: Jim Lane
April 20 2014

Submitted by Jim Lane, Dallas Texas.

If I have misunderstood the direction that the present leadership seems to be taking us, I apologize. As for the main thrust of party work today, defending the working class against the worst of the capitalist class and standing up for democracy, I agree with it. But I am not alone in believing that leadership has been taking our party away from being a revolutionary organization and toward joining the social democracy.

It isn’t just one or two comrades asking, “Why should people join CPUSA?”

For the human race to prosper, capitalism must be overcome. For capitalism to be overcome, the Communist Party must choose the best possible and clearest political path. I would like to be wrong, but I think we have been meandering since shortly after the 2010 convention. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, instead of going forward into 21st century thinking, we are regressing into 19th century social democracy.

For the present purpose, I’ll take the Merriam Webster definition of social democracy: “a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means.” This was the methodology of the minority of the Russian socialists before the majority took a revolutionary course, and it is the ideology of the old American Socialist Party that more or less kicked us out for being too revolutionary in 1919. It was the ideology of the ruling party of the German government that terminated in the Hitler takeover. Social democracy was one of the trends of our own CPUSA minority during the split of 1991. CPUSA Chairman Sam Webb, at that time, sided with the Marxist majority, but has since then indicated that he has rethought his position.

Social democracy is nothing new, and is certainly not 21st century.

Chairman Sam Webb has periodically written long rambling statements that are often more taken up with what he does not mean than what he means, It’s hard to see what he’s getting at, but some themes seem to repeat. For example, he is opposed to our using Russian symbolism and French vocabulary. I agree, even though I don’t think it’s worth nearly the volume of words that Webb has expended. It’s come up so many times that one can only conclude that we aren’t just talking about vocabulary.

I would point out, while we’re on vocabulary and semantics, that “communist” and “revolution” are neither Russian nor French and can’t be stamped out under that particular ruse.

While carrying out our immediate struggles, we must also be clear that our ultimate purpose is to remove the capitalist class from power. We are not social democrats because social democratic ideology has never worked and never will. It ignores the ruthlessness and determination of the ruling capitalist class.

Another point that Comrade Webb has mentioned many times is that the U.S. is in a certain stage of development. That may seem true on the face of it, but how do we define this stage beyond saying, over and over, that “socialism is not on the horizon.” Marxists know that everything is constantly changing and that political horizons, like everything else, are not fixed in time nor space. The suddenness of the government overthrows in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya all occurred since Comrade Webb started defining the horizons. Some of the news reports indicate that modern communications had a great deal to do with these very rapid and unexpected events. The point is that things can change rapidly.

Should a revolutionary party sideline the need to overcome capitalism because it does not immediately appear on somebody’s definition of a horizon?

Comrade Webb has made it very clear that he believes the Soviet Union imploded from its own fault, and that Stalin, whom our party steadfastly supported, was a “monster.” He dismisses the role of capitalist imperialism in quashing the Soviet Union. But do we not see the hand of imperialism today in attempting to overthrow the gains made in Central and South America? If imperialism succeeds in overthrowing the Cubans and Venezuelans, are we going to blame them?

The same can be said of the gains that the American working class has made in our unions. Are not the capitalists forever and always seeking to destroy those unions and those gains? If an American union fails completely, are we going to blame them?

Is Chairman Sam Webb for revolution in the United States? I once heard the question put to him in a meeting. He failed to answer. Later, I asked the questioner why he didn’t push Webb for a response and he replied, “I was afraid of what the answer would be.” I, too, am afraid of what direction the leadership of CPUSA is taking us.

For the human race to prosper, capitalism must be overcome.

Communist Unity and Its False Friends
| March 11, 2014 | 8:55 pm | About the CPUSA, Action, Analysis | No comments

- from Zoltan Zigedy is available at:

To paraphrase de Maistre, every political party has the leadership it deserves. It is confidence in the wisdom of this maxim that keeps me from commenting extensively on the continuing effort to retreat from Marxism-Leninism on the part of Chairman Sam Webb and the rest of the Communist Party USA top leadership. As the membership continues to shrink– discounting internet “friends” and “likes”– one can only marvel at the dogged loyalty of most of the remaining membership, a loyalty perhaps leftover from times when the Party was under attack from all sides. But the Party is under attack from no one today, especially since the Party’s entire body of work coincides with working selflessly for Democratic Party election victories while slavishly following (off-electoral season) the leadership of the AFL-CIO.

Apparently changes are afoot in the CPUSA as it approaches its June National Convention. There will be leadership change. Unfortunately, it does not promise to be accompanied by a shift in ideological perspective. Nonetheless, some will entertain an unfounded “hope” in a new direction, a hope that will immobilize dissent.

There is also talk of dropping references to “Communism,” the final barrier, if the Webbites are to be believed, to the CPUSA becoming a party with mass support.

For an honest, critical discussion of the latest musings of Sam Webb, go here:

Apart from its continual decline, the CPUSA counts as a small voice, but an authoritative voice, to the US left on matters pertaining to the World Communist Movement. Recently, Sue Webb, who represented the CPUSA at the International meeting of Communist and Workers Parties held in Lisbon in November of last year, gave a report of that meeting, highlighting the CPUSA’s and other parties’ assessments and views on the current situation and the way forward.

Much of Sue Webb’s commentary is a thinly-veiled attack upon the Greek Communist Party (KKE) under the guise of supporting diversity and independence in the world movement. At the same time, she exploits differences between Parties to justify the CPUSA’s exodus from Marxism-Leninism. To read more, please go to:

The poverty of ideology
| February 24, 2014 | 11:01 pm | About the CPUSA, Action, Analysis, National, Party Voices | 1 Comment

by James ThompsonWorker and Collective Farm Woman

As the CPUSA proceeds towards its 30th annual convention in Chicago, a number of “preconvention discussion documents” are appearing on the CPUSA website. It certainly appears that the CPUSA fully intends to continue down its self-destructive, reactionary and bourgeois boot licking path. Sam Webb has posted an essay titled “Toward a Modern & Mature 21st Century Communist Party.” Although an essay is generally thought to be the personal opinion of the individual writer, since it is written by the chairperson of the party, we can assume that this will be the roadmap for the immediate future of the CPUSA.

The essay is filled with contradictions which Webb himself identifies. It is almost as if someone has tried to write an ideological bombshell which will eventually implode based on its internal contradictions and inconsistencies.

Let us examine some of these contradictions and view them through Marxist-Leninist lens.

Marx and Engels on alliances with the petty-bourgeois

It would seem appropriate to start with a quote from Karl Marx and Frederick Engels “Address of the Central Authority to the League (March, 1850)” (MECW, IP, volume 10, page 280) since Webb characterizes the CPUSA as “Marxist.” Marx and Engels wrote “The relation of the revolutionary workers’ party to the petty bourgeois democrats is this: it marches together with them against the faction which it aims at overthrowing, it opposes them in everything by which they seek to consolidate their position in their own interests.” On page 283 they continue “In a word, from the first moment of victory, mistrust must be directed no longer against the defeated reactionary party, but against the workers’ previous allies, against the party that wishes to exploit the common victory for itself alone.” On page 284 they spell it out “Even where there is no prospect whatever of their being elected, the workers must put up their own candidates in order to preserve their independence, to count their forces and to lay before the public their revolutionary attitude and party standpoint. In this connection they must not allow themselves to be bribed by such arguments of the democrats as, for example, that by so doing they are splitting the democratic party and giving the reactionaries the possibility of victory. The ultimate purpose of all such phrases is to dupe the proletariat. The advance which the proletarian party is bound to make by such independent action is infinitely more important than the disadvantage that might be incurred by the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body. On page 287, Marx and Engels concluded “But they themselves must do the utmost for their final victory by making it clear to themselves what their class interests are, by taking up their position as an independent party as soon as possible and by not allowing themselves to be misled for a single moment by the hypocritical phrases of the democratic petty bourgeois into refraining from the independent organization of the party of the proletariat.”

Let’s see how Sam Webb’s proposals stack up against the words of Marx and Engels.lenin

More “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” or “Back to the future”

Chairperson Webb wrote on the first page of his document “For the past 25 years, our strategic objective has been the building of a labor-led people’s coalition against Republican right wing domination of our nation’s political structures. Its aim isn’t to bring us to a gate on which is inscribed ‘Doorway to Socialism.’” He continues “But again, our current strategy-which envisions the broader movement in a tactical, but necessary alliance with the Democratic Party against right wing extremist candidates and initiatives-is only one stage in a longer-term process whose goal is to radically reconfigure class relations as well deepen and extend the democracy (probably understood as the right to a job, living wage, healthcare and housing, right to organize into unions, quality integrated education, reproductive rights, comprehensive immigration reform, affirmative action and an end to all forms of discrimination, green environmental policies, etc.). He follows the statements up with “While we favor a socialist solution, a far more likely political possibility in the near and medium term is a series of measures that radically roll back corporate power, privilege, and profits and overhaul the priorities of government, but still within the framework of capitalism.”

Instead of a modern Communist Manifesto which someone should be writing, the CPUSA chairperson has once again authored a paper which should be titled the Capitulation Manifesto or Class Collaboration Manifesto. He openly and unabashedly advocates an “alliance with the Democratic Party.” He would have us believe that such an alliance will lead to a reconfiguration of class relations and a deepening and extension of democracy. He also openly advocates for a continuation of capitalism. Lenin’s teachings, which he would like to drop, tell us that all reforms can be rolled back by the ruling class when it is politically expedient. This has certainly become clear in recent years.

Marxist Leninists view democracy as a form of the state. They view the state as the means by which one class, i.e. the ruling class, oppresses another class. In our current situation, this would translate to the capitalist class oppression of the working class. For a thorough discussion of Marxist-Leninist views of democracy, go to  . Webb obfuscates the meaning of democracy by defining it as a string of reforms as indicated above. He makes no mention of the fact that in this country we have bourgeois democracy, in other words democracy for the wealthy, by the wealthy and of the wealthy.

Since Webb advocates “an alliance with the Democratic Party,” we should examine this and understand it more clearly. Amazingly, Webb clarifies by stating “the top circles of the Democratic Party are anchored to the outlook, needs, and policies of major sections of the capitalist class, thereby making it an unreliable and inconsistent ally… My point is to underscore the importance of expanding the network of progressives and liberals at every level of government, and further building the independent parents and formations in and outside the Democratic Party-while at the same time, stressing the urgent (and hardly mundane) task of building a broad coalition against right-wing extremism, in which the President and the Democrats play a necessary role.

As for the formation of an independent People’s party at the national level, we should keep it in the conversation even if it isn’t yet on the horizon…”

Webb also says “Ours is a party that places a high priority on independent political action. Now I am not suggesting that we do an about-face with respect to the Democratic Party. At this stage of struggle that would be a stupid mistake-strategic and tactical. The Democratic Party is an essential player in any conceivably realistic strategy for defeating the Republican Party and right-wing extremism… Although the Democratic Party comprises diverse people and interests, it has a class gravity and anchorage about which we shouldn’t lose sight.

The main seats at its table are occupied by political players and powerbrokers who by disposition, loyalty and worldview are committed, and then, to creating favorable conditions for the accumulation of capital (profits) and for the smoothest reproduction of capitalism on a national and global level.

Neoliberalism, globalization, and financialization-all of which deepened inequality, severely aggravated economic instability and crisis, undid many of the reforms of the previous century, and disempowered people-are simply creatures of the Republican right.

Now, the election of Reagan and the ascendancy of the right did play a big role in the process, and the Republican right is a leading edge of the current ruling class offensive. But the Democrats were not bystanders either. While they resisted the more extreme measures of their right-wing counterparts, they also embraced some of the main assumptions and practices of neoliberalism, financialization, and globalization.

The Carter administration was the first out of the gate, but it was the Clinton administration and the Democratic Leadership Council that really greased the skids for the rise of finance and speculation, globalization, and the reduction of government’s responsibility to the people.

And even today, the president and his advisers and leading Democrats in the Senate and House are far from free of such thinking and practices.

And as for foreign-policy, the differences between the two parties are more tactical than strategic. While such differences can be of enormous consequences to the preservation of a peaceful world and thus shouldn’t be dismissed by progressive and left people and organizations, it is also a fact that both parties are committed to US global dominance and the growth of the national security state.”

Untangling the Webbkarl marx

So, let’s see if we can untangle this Webb of ideas. He admits right away that the strategic objective of the CPUSA is not to seek Socialism at this stage in the struggle. He indicates that the strategic objective of the party is to combat the demons of the right wing. The fatal contradiction in this thinking becomes apparent when Webb himself asserts that right wing elements are very visible and influential within the Democratic Party. Although Webb’s obfuscation makes clarity a stranger to the party, it appears that he is telling us that in order to further the interests of the working class, we workers must ally with our class enemies. What would have been the outcome of World War II if Stalin had commanded members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to ally themselves with the fascist elements in the Soviet Union? What would have been the outcome of the struggle against the Vietnam War if the Communist Party leadership had advocated uncritical support and alliance with the imperialist administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was a progressive Democrat, because he was a progressive Democrat? President Johnson helped move the civil rights struggle forward, but at the same time his policies resulted in the unnecessary deaths of many people of the working class in the United States and Vietnam.

Webb himself notes that there is little difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in terms of foreign-policy.

This hypocrisy and contradictory thinking cannot in any sense be characterized as Marxist, Marxist-Leninist, communist, or socialist and it certainly does not promote the interests of the working class.

Webb has a history of surrender before the battle even starts. In an interview with Glenn Beck several years ago he announced that “socialism is off the table.” Even though a large percentage of the US population favor socialism over capitalism according to recent polls, Webb has not budged from this negativistic position. What would have been the outcome of the 1917 Russian Revolution if Lenin had said “socialism is off the table?”

Fighting the right wing is a necessary and ever present part of the struggle for socialism. The history of socialist countries instructs us that the struggle against the right wing continues after socialism has been achieved. Webb also states that the CPUSA places a priority on independent political action. One Democratic Party candidate for president asked the question some years ago “Where’s the beef?” We must apply this question to the CPUSA in the current situation. It would be one thing if the CPUSA was attempting to confront the right wing ideologically, politically, or any other way. However, rather than criticizing the right wing, Webb and other party writers concentrate on criticizing left thinkers such as Chris Hedges. Instead of mounting a program to train party cadre in political struggle, and running communist candidates for public office, members are told to merely “vote Democratic!” Their slogan appears to be “All power to the Democrats!”

Webb has mired the Communist Party in this idea of an unholy alliance with the Democrats and has repeatedly expelled party members who speak out against this twisted path. I should know since I was expelled for this reason in August, 2012 on the same day that I received a diagnosis of oral cancer. Commanding party members to support the Democrats is tantamount to the Pope telling Catholics to convert to Judaism. This is a slick way to destroy the identity and mission of an organization, i.e. simply ally the organization with an organization with which members do not identify. Once the self-destructive edict is issued, the next step is to excommunicate any member who refuses to follow the edict. This is the modus operandi of the CPUSA currently.

What would an alliance with the Democrats mean?

Realistically speaking, if an alliance could be forged with the Democrats, what would this mean? For example, a few years ago in Germany the leading Social Democratic Party was unable to form a majority coalition in the legislature. The Communist Party offered to join a coalition with the Social Democratic Party in order to achieve a majority coalition. The Social Democratic Party refused to form a coalition with the Communist Party even though this would have meant that they would have stayed in power. Such a coalition would have prevented Angela Merkel of the right wing Christian Democratic Union from taking power.

In the United States, such an alliance between the Communist Party and the Democratic Party might be characterized as an annoying tick attaching itself to a donkey. The donkey would be periodically irritated by the presence of the tick which would appropriately be attached to the donkey’s tail. The donkey would swish the tail in an effort to rid itself of the tick. Eventually, if the tick was irritating enough, the donkey might go to extraordinary lengths to get rid of the parasite.

If the CPUSA was able to form an alliance with the Democrats, it would be a parasitic relationship and it is clear that the CPUSA would be the parasite. It is clear that the Democratic Party does not need any more parasites. Indeed, it has plenty of leeches from the capitalists which weigh it down and make it difficult for it to operate effectively. If there was a recognizable and visible alliance between the Democratic Party and the Communist Party, this would become a very effective weapon that the neofascists could use against the Democratic Party. A party member once told me that the Communist Party “does not want to be the issue.” If the CPUSA formed an alliance with the Democrats, it is quite likely that the CPUSA would be the issue in the struggle against the ultra-right. This strategy is not only anti-Communist, and divorced from Marxism Leninism but it is also divorced from reality.

What do workers need?

Progressive workers in the United States need a Communist Party which serves them by acting as a guiding light in the struggle for workers to gain state power. Workers need a Communist Party which fearlessly and unflinchingly fights for the interests of working people. Workers need a Communist Party which critically analyzes its own work and the policies of Social Democrats as well as the right wing reactionaries. Indeed, as in the past, workers need a Communist Party which leads a movement to oppose the antiworker policies of whatever bourgeois political party is in power, Republican or Democrat. Certainly, the right wing, which is merely the guard dog for the ultra-wealthy class, is not shy about applying pressure for the interests of the wealthy. It would be beneficial if the Communist Party was not shy about applying pressure for the interests of the workers.

But here Webb departs from Marxism Leninism again. In his paper he admits that the CPUSA has jettisoned the idea of a vanguard party of the working class. In addition to disavowing the leading role of the party, he notes that “a few decades ago we scrapped the hammer and sickle, mothballed the red flag, and dropped phrases like ‘dictatorship of the proletariat.’ We worked hard to get rid of leftist jargon, and change the names of our collective bodies and leaders’ titles.” He goes on to state “In recent years, many party leaders, myself included, have dropped the term ‘Marxism Leninism’ and simply use ‘Marxism.’” There have been reports from around the country that Webb has strongly advocated at various meetings dropping the word “communist” from the CPUSA. Apparently, he has met with some resistance among party members who realize that if the current leadership sheds the skin of the party, there will be nothing left and nothing left to do but dissolve the party.

Rather than celebrate the glorious history of the party in leading the struggle for socialism and against fascism/nazism, Webb says “It is a party that utilizes slogans, symbols and terminology that resonate with a broad audience. And it should shed those that no longer fit today’s circumstances or are freighted with negative connotations, and not only because of the mass media, but also because of the practices of the communist movement in the last century.” Here he dismisses not only the achievements and contributions of various socialist states ruled by Communist parties such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, Vietnam, Laos and many others, but also dismisses the achievements and contributions of communist parties in non-socialist countries such as the United States, Canada, Greece, Mexico, India, South Africa, Venezuela, Brazil, England, France and Germany and many others. If there ever was an anti-Communist statement, this would be it.


In summary, this preconvention discussion document which is the roadmap for the future of the party since it is written by the party’s highest leader is full of contradictions and self-destructive actions. It jettisons almost all of the central ideas of Marxism Leninism and damns the history of the party. It argues that workers should ally themselves with their class enemy in order to struggle against the class enemy. He promises “a pie-in-the-sky when you die” to party members as well as the working class if they subscribe to his prescription for disaster.

Instead of this idealistic claptrap, the working class has earned through struggle a party which will lead it and prepare it for its historic mission which is the winning of state power for working people. Workers need education and training in political struggle so that they can fight for their interests without being confused by anti-worker parasitic parties. Workers are becoming increasingly aware that their interests are not advanced by financial bailouts of multinational corporations, expanding wars which serve to protect and increase profits, rollbacks of the social network, interference in the affairs of sovereign nations, and an ever-increasing military industrial complex and national security state. Workers know which parties have implemented these policies and are growing increasingly hostile to those leaders responsible. An alliance with those leaders would be poison to any organization which claims to be a worker’s party.

Hopefully, the CPUSA will come to its senses and resist the contradictory and irrational proposed program at its upcoming convention. The future of this country and the world depends on the development of a realistic workers party program. Without socialism, the world will continue to see ever-increasing economic and social crises which will lead to catastrophe. The slogan of the CPUSA convention should be “Forward to a Socialist USA!” 200px-Hammer_and_sickle_svg

Internal struggle within the CPUSA
| July 18, 2012 | 9:46 pm | About the CPUSA, Action, Party Voices | No comments

Here is a list of links to articles regarding the current crisis in the CPUSA:

Opening Address to the CPUSA National Conference on Youth, Chicago, 2010
| November 14, 2010 | 8:26 am | About the CPUSA, Young Communist League | No comments

Welcome address by Jarvis Tyner, National Executive Vice Chair.

On behalf of the national board of the Party, the Coordinating Committee of the YCL and the interim Party/YCL committee I want to welcome to this conference on the Youth Generation.

First I want to thank the Illinois district of the party for hosting this event. With out the efforts of John Bachtell the district chair this conference would not have been possible.

I especially want to thank all of you who have traveled long distances to be here in at the beautiful Unity Center. It is so good to see you. And to those who have joined us on the telephone I say thank you for taking the time and effort to be with us this weekend. It is so good to have you with us.

We are here this weekend to better meet the urgent challenges of the fight for jobs and the building of our Party and League.

The crisis of youth unemployment is doing great damage to working families and communities especially communities of color. Those within the sound of my voice who have experienced the great hardships of joblessness know what I’m talking about. For black and brown youth the problem is catastrophic in some communities the rate has been over 50% for youth for decades. That has consequences, big consequences.

Frankly the rise in violence and murders taking place in black and brown communities across this country has a lot to do with long term, severe youth unemployment in those communities. We know unemployment running above 50% and higher will bring disastrous consequences. These conditions exist among, Native American and Asian Pacific youth across all this country. It is truly a national crisis.
It’s also a moral and cultural crisis.

A job is more than a paycheck, it is also a connection to society a relationship that makes you feel a part, makes you feel you have a stake in society. Joblessness, especially long term joblessness, is also like getting a pink slip from society. And when that happens, there is a level of alienation and depression that drives millions of youth to destructive behavior. And this ruling class has a hundred traps out there to destroy young people. Unemployment kills; unemployment can have the most destructive impact not only for our youth but also for society as a whole. With that in mind think of this, according to a recent McClatchy Report, “only 55% of 16-24 year olds in our country are working or looking for work.

We have to ask an important question. “What is happening to the 45% who are not working and stopped looking?” How are they surviving?

When the private sector and the government being fully aware of the crisis of youth unemployment decides to do next to nothing (private sector) and actually cuts government programs like summer jobs and offer far less then what is urgently needed, we have a moral crisis. It is an economic crisis, which if not addressed, tears away at the moral fibers of our society and the viability of our democracy.

Scotty Marshall, a vice chair of our party and our labor secretary has a great story to tell on the new developments in the organization of the unemployed and what’s on the horizon. We look forward to that and we want to hear what is happening in your state.

Comrades, the fight for youth jobs is critical to defeating the right. The Republican line on unemployment compensation is that it destroys the initiative of the unemployed to look for work. That’s not credible.
They are not for the extension of benefits because “it will add to the deficit”. Imagine, these extremists are for spending $5 billion a month for war and keeping the trillion-dollar tax cut for the rich in place but they say, “We can’t afford to help the unemployed”. That is a disgrace. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

This is what we are fighting against. The jobs movement, comrades, is key to defeating these ultra right stooges of the ultra rich. It will also help in the fight against racism and for immigrant rights because the key demand is government sponsored job creation.

A united fight for jobs requires unity not division.

The proposed job’s march on Washington in October 2nd will be a very important show of strength and a way to mobilize for the November elections.

The youth jobs movement can help unite and activate the powerful youth vote next November.

I tell you comrades; we have to work on this.

While we do that we have to revitalize the YCL and help it reach its potential. This country needs the Young Communist League.

Young people today are very progressive. With all the anti youth propaganda to the contrary, our Party is in praise of this generation of youth. There efforts made an historic contribution to the people’s victory in 2008. Their idealism, their hopes and dreams for a more democratic progressive future for our country naturally leads them to activism and to challenging capitalism.

The Pew Opinion Poll (May 4th of this year), which came out after the Rasmussen poll, found that 43% of Americans under 30 years old describe “capitalism” as positive but the same poll found that those who described “socialism” as positive also equaled 43%.

Despite living under capitalism all of their lives today’s US youth are divided on which system is more positive – capitalism or Socialism. So if I can use a sports metaphor, I guess when it comes to US youth, capitalism has no home court advantage over socialism. Charles Derber, sociology professor at Boston College in an article on the poll summed up the results as “We are moving towards an America that is either Center-Left or actually majoritarian socialist”.

This younger generation is for a more democratic, peaceful and just future and about half are positively inclined toward the socialist alternative. With that in mind I say there has got to be a real possibility of building a large, influential YCL.

Some are doubtful that we can actually build a large YCL in this country today. Well, I say the YCL of all the youth organizations in this country has the most sensible and credible program and approach to winning socialism. So is it possible to build the YCL, in our country today? I say, “si se puede”, “yes we can”!

With principled politics, an activist style, a youthful organizational and political approach, a large YCL can be built. We certainly have to fight for it and that means the party has to take youth work seriously and give its best effort in every district, to helping the YCL grow in influence and size. It is the main way the party carries out its work among youth. The point we want to make at this conference is the fight for youth jobs is key to making this happen.

This is why we are here this weekend and holding a short school next week. We want to get things rolling. We have to take this show on the road and put it on the Internet. Whatever it takes we have to bring the message of the YCL to 10’s of thousands of youth.

Every former youth leader whose here today will tell you that there have been lulls, ups and downs in the past and our experience shows that if the Party and the YCL together put their shoulders to the wheel, great things can and will happen. This is why we are here.

In the battle against the right danger, I think the tide is turning.
I have a feeling that things are not going to be so good for the right in the next election like most of the pundits are saying.

From the stimulus package to health care, the US Supreme Court nominees, the progressive upsurge after the racist Arizona anti immigrant. “Remember May Day”… the passage of the Wall Street reform bill yesterday was a big setback for the right and a victory for Main Street.

Critical sections of voters are starting to trend more against the Republicans. Their numbers are much worse then the Democrats and Obama. The NAACP’s call for the Tea Party to denounce the racism in their ranks is creating a new crisis for them. Frankly if the Democrats play hard ball like the NACCP and real numbers are put in the streets by labor and other mass movements the progressive forces have got the issues to set back the Republican/ultra right attacks even with their millions in right wing and corporate campaign funds.

The Tea Party is a collection of extreme right elements many of then mired in anti labor, racist, homophobic and anti immigrant chauvinism. They hate the elected government. If there is a historic reference, there ideology is kin to the ideology that brought us the Third Reich. Defeating them is the paramount challenge before us today. I am confident that the people will meet that challenge.

In that spirit I want to make a proposal.

Last week the police officer that murdered Oscar Grant on the Bart Station in Oakland Cal. was given a slap on the wrists for his act of cold-blooded murder. We are appalled and angered by what the courts did and we agree with Oscar’s mother who cried out at the press conference. “My son was murdered, my son was murdered” and “we want justice”!!

WE too want justice and that is what we are fighting for….
So, I propose that we dedicate this weekend’s conference to the memory of Oscar Grant and all the innocent youths whose precious lives were taken by this brutal, anti human system of capitalism and imperialism.

Remarks from the CPUSA National Conference on Youth, Chicago, 2010
| November 14, 2010 | 8:21 am | About the CPUSA, Young Communist League | No comments

Remarks by John Bachtell to the CPUSA Conference on the Youth Generation, July 17-18, 2010, Chicago, IL.

We’re gathered here because the young generation, including among them our sons and daughters and grandchildren, is experiencing a profound multi-sided crisis that demands urgent action.

We’re here because the Party recognizes how essential youth are to the outcome of present and future struggles; for mobilizing to defeat the extreme right in the 2010 elections and confronting the economic crisis, deepening the reform process, for winning a socialist future.

We’re here because the Party has an essential role in helping the YCL to regain its footing and play an active and even leading role again among youth and students, in a period in which youth attitudes are changing markedly and open to progressive and radical alternatives.

We’re here because the YCL could not absolutely exist without the Party. And the future of the Party is in doubt without a growing YCL.

The YCL is going through a basic transition, with a new membership, including those joining on-line daily, and emerging new leaders. Without proper attention by the Party, nationally, in districts and clubs, it is no exaggeration to say the future of the YCL is at stake.

Our experience historically has been that with the proper attention and attitude, the YCL can rebound relatively quickly.

So, this conference comes at a great time. It’s a moment to renew our understanding and approach to the young generation and the YCL, and recommit to helping the YCL in every way possible to tackle this difficult, challenging, exciting period and thrive.

It’s a great time because there are so many signs today’s youth are developing profound new progressive attitudes that will impact politics for decades to come. These attitudes are developing in response to and as a part of the great labor led people’s upsurge against the ultra right, but also the new economic, social and political circumstances they are growing up in.

The changes are so progressive some have dubbed today’s youth, the “we generation,” embracing the “common good” and rejecting the tenants of right wing ideology.

Let’s paint a broad canvass of this generation.

The “we generation” is made up of youth born between 1978 and 2000, make up 95 million of the US population of 300 million, bigger than the 78 million baby boomers.

In 2008, they comprised 50 million eligible voters. By 2020, they will comprise 90 million voters representing almost 40% of the electorate.

Since 2006, the “we generation” or Millennial’ as they are also called, have been increasing their voter turnout markedly. In 2008 they were 20% of the vote, and increased turnout more than any other sector.

And vote they did. In 2006, 18-29 year olds voted 60-38% Democratic. In 2008, they voted 68 to 30 for Barack Obama. The youth were a key part of the coalition that elected Obama and gave the Democrats majorities in Congress. Youth were inspired by the Obama campaign, coming out in droves to volunteer and staff the operation across the country and cast their ballots.

Their orientation is also why Organizing For America is making the mobilization of the youth vote a top priority of its work this year.

Surveys show youth have widespread support for government action on jobs, more education funding, urgent action on the environment, changing US foreign policy, universal health care and regulation of the banks. They embrace social transformation on a grand scale.

Over 76% of youth think there should be a viable 3rd political party and an alternative to the two major parties. Thirty nine percent think of themselves as Independents, 36% Democrats and only 24% Republican.

The deep going economic crisis has shaken their confidence in capitalism. We are familiar by now with the Rasmussen and Gallup polls, which show that 45% and 50% respectively of today’s youth think socialism, however they conceive of it, is a better system than capitalism.

Youth are not just progressive oriented, but are more civic minded and politically engaged than previous generations. We saw all this on display in the US Social Forum in Detroit.

Each generation comes of age under a unique set of global, economic and political circumstances that shapes its outlook, mood and attitude. Distinct experiences are impacting them – they are growing up in a time of unparalleled economic hardship and environmental catastrophe.

This bleak outlook certainly gives rise to pessimism and cynicism among a section of youth. And yet Obama’s election has given many youth a sense of optimism despite the dismal economic and social prospects.

In painting the picture of this generation we see the gray hues of suffering and pain.

This is the first generation fully experiencing the decline of the US as a world power, and has grown up in an era of general economic decline in the living standards of their families and communities. They see the need for a new role for the US in the world.

This generation is experiencing the greatest gap in wealth of any generation in history.

The economic situation facing youth is dire, especially among African American and Latino and other oppressed youth. Forty-one% of children now live in low-income families. The special impact of racism has pushed 61% of African Americans, 62% of Latinos, 31% of Asians Americans and 57% of American Indian into low-income families.

The US poverty rate is the highest among developed nations. That includes 19% of children, including 35% of African American children.

Not only are substantial numbers of youth growing up in poverty, they are arriving at working age in an economic depression. Many face the prospect of a lifetime of joblessness, poverty and misery.

According to EPI, “Since the start of the recession in December 2007, young adults have attained the highest unemployment rate on record (since 1948). The unemployment rate for 16-24-year-old workers peaked in September 2009 at 19.2%— passing the peak rate of 19.0% from November 1982—and started 2010 at 18.9%.”

Twenty million 16-24 year olds are unemployed. African American unemployment is at 32.5%, followed by Latinos (24.2%), and then whites (15.2%).

In 2009 72% of all teens were unemployed in Illinois and only 83% in Chicago. A staggering 88% of African American teens were unemployed statewide and 85% in Chicago

Through the juvenile courts and criminal justice system, the US incarcerates more of its youth than any other country in the world.

There are some 5 million young people aged 16-24 who are out of work and out of school. They find themselves alienated from society that is undergoing a scientific and technological revolution that constantly requires higher levels of education and training.

There are 18.2 million students attending universities. Large numbers graduate from college into unemployment. They can’t find jobs in their chosen professions, must work part time and live at home.
In addition, students are accumulating sizeable debt loads from their education, which makes many “indentured servants” for life to the banks. In 2008 67% of students graduating from four-year colleges had student loan debts. The average debt is approximately $23,000.

This generation has had to endure the horror of widespread gun violence. Homicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among youth 10-24 years old. In Chicago over 30 public school students have died from gun violence each of the past 3 years. 15 youth are killed each day in US, 80% with firearms.
Youth, especially youth of color, are victims of police abuse. The killing of Oscar Grant and the stop, question, frisk tactics of the NYPD of 52,000 African American and Latino youth in 4 years, “criminalizing the entire generation”.

This generation has grown up in an era of a new qualitative degradation in our environment, the alarm over global climate change, the outright criminality of corporations like BP. They feel the urgency to act now.
The picture of this generation also has a full rainbow tapestry. This generation is the most racially and nationally diverse young generation in US history. In 2006, youth of color comprised almost 40% of the young generation. This year for the first time, the number of births of babies of color was a majority. By 2050, 50% of Americans will be of people of color. This is already giving youth a sense of diversity, lending to widespread anti-racist attitudes, multiracial unity and broader acceptance and appreciation of diversity and having an impact on the struggle against racism.

Gay and lesbian sexual orientation are accepted without prejudice widely.

Because of the Internet and immigration, this generation has a more “global perspective.”

The revolution in mass communications is having a profound impact on youth, shaping their social practice and interaction. Facebook and Myspace have become major outlets for political engagement. Two-thirds said they had a Facebook account, and 36% used Facebook to promote political candidates, ideas or events. Forty-five percent said they had read a political blog; 30 percent had forwarded a political video, etc.

Youth are cynical about government and corporate leaders, think they are often self-serving, and think government should do more.

This painting has some bold new strokes too.

This generation is growing up under a progressive labor movement that is actively reaching out to the youth. There are some 4.8 million workers in the leisure, hospitality and food service industries. And 3.9 million in retail trades. This motivated the AFL-CIO to organize the Young Workers Summit to organize young workers and change the image of trade unions among the youth.

The young generation is also experiencing a progressive labor movement and its leadership in many struggles. The labor movement is embracing the youth and seeks to specially organize them, including someone in their top leadership reaching out to them. They have set up a special program just for this purpose.

USWA President Leo Girard recently called upon youth to lead a new civil rights revolution on the jobs struggle. Girard said, “Sisters and brothers of the next generation, it’s time for a revolution. It’s time to stand up and be heard. It’s time to mobilize online and in the streets. Together, let’s tweet, Facebook and text. Let’s rally, vote and, where necessary, sit in. Let’s lead the civil rights movement 2.0.”

So what can the Party do and what can the Party and YCL do together?

Our starting point is the role of the CPUSA, and by inference the YCL. Our role is to help build the broad democratic movement for change and within that the organized might, influence and leadership of the working class, specifically organized labor. Our role is to identify the chief stages of struggle, the main obstacles to progress at each stage, today of course the struggle against the ultra right, and help to assembly the broad coalition of forces necessary to advance.

This is also done in unity with what we have identified as the other essential class and social or core forces – the racially and nationally oppressed communities and women.

Also among these essential core forces is the young generation. All of these core forces overlap and interpenetrate and influence each other.

A great challenge before the Party is to deepen its relationship to the youth on many fronts and levels. This includes on the most immediate political tasks, and to help deepen youth’s relationship to the working class and other core forces

The role of the Party is also to simultaneously build popular support for the ideas of socialism, the socialist current, and among the young generation in the “battle of ideas.” To chart the path forward that will result in “wresting by degrees” control by capital.

The Party does all this by working shoulder to shoulder with the YCL on all the main struggles of the day. The Party also takes its own independent initiatives to influence the youth.

For example, shouldn’t we seek to involve youth in the 2010 election coalition? Help them set up OFA chapters on campuses, and be involved in targeted campaigns through their unions and other organizations?

Shouldn’t we work to bring youth into the developing jobs coalitions that are springing up around the country?

Shouldn’t we help organize broad support for youth oriented legislation, including for jobs, education funding, etc. ?

Shouldn’t we work jointly together to increase the mass circulation of the People’s World/Mundo Popular? Isn’t our news source also great for the young generation? What can we do to make it even more attractive to youth?

The YCL should be the place leading young communists learn their trade and develop their world outlook: the organization and vehicle from which they can most effectively engage and influence their peers.

The YCL is especially needed because youth have a need for their own forms and “path” to a socialist outlook, forms and a language they and their peers understand.

The YCL, like the Party, is an indispensable and unique organization to the working class and people’s movement. YCLers describe it as a “schoolhouse of struggle.”

The way we conceive it, the YCL should and can play a vital role in uniting the youth and uniting the young generation with labor and the other core forces through its initiatives and action.

The YCL also plays an indispensable role in building the left and communist current among the youth, in developing the forms and activities where youth can be learn Marxism.

It’s an organization where youth can fully embrace their incredible diversity, learn working class and revolutionary morals, treat each other as equals, strengthen their defenses against racism, male supremacy and anti-gay bias.

Another great challenge for the Party then is to help build the YCL into an organization and movement with a mass following among youth.

What kind of organization and movement is up to the YCL and will result from its day-to-day activities. It is determined by the material conditions and the needs of young people. It will not be and cannot be the same kind of organization that the older generations were schooled in, fell in love in, and got married in, including my generation. It must be specifically for, by and about this “we” generation, with its own stamp.

For example, how is the YCL being shaped by the Internet and mass communication revolution? How can the YCL and we utilize the Internet to reach and engage a far greater audience of youth, the 50% who believe socialism is the future?

The Party not only gives a political lead, but also provides a wealth of experience and Marxist education for developing the YCL membership and those around it. Districts and clubs give practical assistance and mentoring to establish and build YCL grassroots organizations and become engaged in coalition struggles.

The young generation has only known the Internet and the revolution in mass communications. It is as natural to them. The potential for reaching youth with our ideas is greater than ever before, and we can do it easily and inexpensively if we (and the YCL) master the use of the Internet.

The communist youth movement will the forms of communication it has grown up with and adopted naturally: social networking and particularly video, audio and digital forms; a streaming radio or video production must replace concept Dynamic; in fact with radio or video production all aspects of the YCL movement can proceed within a single enterprise: educational, organizational, political.

The Party would be remiss if we didn’t do everything we could in this moment to reach out and engage the youth with our ideas. We would be equally remiss if we didn’t take steps to build the YCL.

Can we assist the YCL in developing its mass communications platform?

Can we organize schools for youth in cities across the country, jointly organized by the National Party, Districts and the YCL?

Can we continue to organize a Party speaking tour on campuses across the country?

Together we can ensure this young generation takes its rightful place in history and helps advance the working class and people’s movement on the road to socialism.