Category: About the CPUSA
The CPUSA engages in an effort to split splits in order to become a party of two
| May 22, 2015 | 8:17 pm | About the CPUSA | 1 Comment

The following is an unedited conversation which occurred within the leaders of the CPUSA. It is very instructive as to the thinking (or lack of thought) among CPUSA leaders. We must note that the newly anointed leader, John Bachtell, who is an obvious shill for Sam Webb is absent from the clown show.

The discourse starts off with a statement and document from Chairman Sam:

Dear Friend,

Attached is an unedited excerpt from a longer article that I wrote a while back. It is one of the readings that I’m suggesting for an online class that begins this week and that I’m facilitating.

Like something I sent out earlier, it’s not for everyone – an understatement. But I’m sending it anyway in the event that you have nothing better to do – coffee or good ale or wine with friends, even if they annoy you at times, leisurely reading by your lonesome, hanging out with grand kids, exercise – yes, a regular routine is good for the body and noggin, last episode of Madmen, and I mean LAST, or whatever delights your fancy – on what is here a slightly humid Sunday.

That said, hope you’re having a good day. Sam

Here is Sam Webb’s attached document:

A few thoughts on how we approach problems

A left that hopes to take care of the future in the struggles of the present should understand that categories of analysis and struggle — democracy and socialism, or democratic struggle and class struggle, or struggle against right wing extremism and struggle to curb the power of corporate capital as a whole, or race, gender, and class — are interconnected and interactive. I like to say that they interpenetrate one another at a conceptual and concrete/practical level. In other words, while each has a particular genesis, autonomy, and features, they are also historically and dialectically constituted and coevolve in complex ways in the context of a larger process of capital accumulation and social struggle. In other words, they are close cousins rather than distant relatives.

Much the same could be said about the main political components and movements of social change and socialism — the working class, people of color, women, and young people. Each has its own origins, features, and autonomy, but each also interpenetrates the other thereby creating conditions for deep unity, broad alliances, and a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

All this sounds abstract, and I guess it is. But in accenting the interpenetration or interconnectedness of these categories of analysis and struggle, and in such a way that retains their distinctiveness, we give ourselves a leg up in understanding the present moment and effecting radical social change.

We should choose, therefore, complexity over simplicity in our analysis even if it compels us to rethink our earlier assumptions and views.

Lenin, (who by the way, shouldn’t be turned into a iconic figure) argued that pure forms and categories never appear in real life; reality “is always richer in content, more varied, more multiform, more lively and ingenious than is imagined by even the best parties, the most class-conscious vanguards of the most advanced classes.” (Lenin, Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder). Only at high levels of theoretical abstraction far removed from the concrete and motley realities of day-to-day life, he wrote, do we find them. And, at that level, they represent, at best, no more than a first approximation of reality.

All of which makes me think that we have to rescue Lenin from some versions of “Marxism-Leninism.” To be more concrete, we have to reclaim the world historic personality who thought in dialectical, historical, and strategic ways, the politician who insisted on an exact estimate of the balance of forces and utmost tactical flexibility; the astute leader who was quick to modify his thinking if new realties and experience compelled it; the realist who didn’t allow subjective desires to overwhelm and crowd out objective processes; the revolutionary who took advantage of divisions in the capitalist camp and engaged in struggles for reforms in order to advance the revolutionary process; the theorist who allowed for complexity, contradiction, new experience, and contingency; the creative thinker who displayed a keen eye for new patterns of development and was suspicious of the inevitable, the uninterrupted, the irreversible, and “lawed” outcomes; the scientist who considered generalities no more than a first step in the scientific process that includes successive steps from the abstract to the concrete in order to comprehend reality; and the human being who made mistakes – sometimes big ones.

It is this Lenin that should inform our theoretical work and political practice, along with other Marxist and radical social theorists in the U.S. and elsewhere.

I have gotten into a quarrel with some over the term and substance of Marxism-Leninism. It can claim some theoretical innovations in the 20th century, but it also became a closed and completed system that is antithetical to marxism in particular and to the methods of scientific investigation in general.

Still worse, it turned into little more than a political identity for some that relieved them of ongoing theoretical inquiry, allowed them to ignore (even mock) other Marxist and radical traditions, and served to separate them — “the real revolutionaries” — from other Marxist and socialist wannabes — who didn’t have the stomach for “hard class struggle.”

It brings to mind times long past when communists gloatingly (myself included) said that the difference between what a communist and socialist is that “a communist means it.” At that time it was a tragedy; today such thinking is a farce as more and more people come to anti-capitalist thinking and as our capacity diminishes.

It bothers me that we are so anxious to accent our differences rather than our similarities with people of similar mind. If we want to distinguish ourselves, let’s demonstrate it by thinking creatively and non-dogmatically, by explaining complex ideas in understandable terms, by articulating a realistic strategy, flexible tactics, and a modern vision of socialism, by building broad and deep unity, by fighting against racism and male supremacy, and by focusing on the day-to-day struggle of working people.

Here is a response from a staunch supporter of CPUSA:

Dear All,

These notes from Sam demonstrate an ideological bent to a number of recent classes sponsored by our party.  The National Committee has not discussed this ideological orientation in the party educational classes.  This ideological bent does not serve the interests of the party.  If we are to remain a democratic party, then the membership should make those types of decisions and participate in their development. Lenin is being used as a ramming rod against Lenin by cherry picking among his works.  The main target is Marxism-Leninism, a body of scientific socialist thinking developed through historical ideological and working class struggles and proven in practice.  The main trust of the ideological bent is against the “left”, while our own party history shows clearly that the main ideological danger to our party comes from right opportunism (see Gus Hall’s, Opportunism: The destructive Germ).  If we apply science to history, we will see ample evidence of right opportunism in the history of the party: Jay Lovestone and his “American exceptionalism”, Earl Browder and his liquidation of the communist party, right sectarians split of the CPUSA in 1991.  Now we have an ongoing effort by Sam and others to liquidate the CPUSA as a Marxist-Leninist party.  Recently, Fidel Castro said the following:

“In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, I wish to put on record our profound admiration for the heroic Soviet people, who provided humankind an enormous service.  Today we are seeing the solid alliance between the people of the Russian Federation and the State with the fastest growing economy in the world: the People’s Republic of China; both countries, with their close cooperation, modern science, and powerful armies and brave soldiers constitute a powerful shield of world peace and security, so that the life of our species may be preserved.

Physical and mental health, and the spirit of solidarity are norms which must prevail, or the future of humankind, as we know it, will be lost forever.  The 27 million Soviets who died in the Great Patriotic War also did so for humanity and the right to think and be socialists, to be Marxist-Leninist, communists, and leave the dark ages behind.”

Where are our rights to be Marxist-Leninist in our party?

We should study and learn from Lenin about all the ideological struggles of his lifetime against both from left and right philosophical Idealist thinking.

We should also study Lenin’s What is to be Done where is talks about reformism:

“The essence of the “new” trend, which adopts a “critical” attitude towards “obsolete dogmatic” Marxism, has been clearly enough presented by Bernstein and demonstrated by Millerand.

Social-Democracy must change from a party of social revolution into a democratic party of social reforms.  Bernstein has surrounded this political demand with a whole battery of well-attuned “new” arguments and reasoning’s. Denied was the possibility of putting socialism on a scientific basis and of demonstrating its necessity and inevitability from the point of view of the materialist conception of history. Denied was the fact of growing impoverishment, the process of proletarisation, and the intensification of capitalist contradictions; the very concept, “ultimate aim”, was declared to be unsound, and the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat was completely rejected.  Denied was the antithesis in principle between liberalism and socialism. Denied was the theory of the class struggle, on the alleged grounds that it could not be applied to a strictly democratic society governed according to the will of the majority, etc.

We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation. And now some among us begin to cry out: Let us go into the marsh! And when we begin to shame them, they retort: What backward people you are! Are you not ashamed to deny us the liberty to invite you to take a better road! Oh, yes, gentlemen! You are free not only to invite us, but to go yourselves wherever you will, even into the marsh. In fact, we think that the marsh is your proper place, and we are prepared to render you every assistance to get there. Only let go of our hands, don’t clutch at us and don’t besmirch the grand word freedom, for we too are “free” to go where we please, free to fight not only against the marsh, but also against those who are turning towards the marsh!”

Sam wants us to march towards the “marsh”.  Before we go there, lets make sure that is where we want to go.  I for one have no intention of going there.

Alvaro

Here is Sam Webb’s response:

Hi Everybody,

A short note to apologize. Mistakenly I thought I bcc’ed everyone, but as I didn’t, you have gotten one response to my mailing, and maybe others will come. The last thing I want to do is involve everyone in a discussion of what many of you might consider of no interest or even inane. In the future I will be more careful in how I send emails, and more judicious as far as what I send. And if you prefer not to be on the list, let me know.

For the record, I do think that the culture as well as too much of the thinking and practices of the left, and I include the Communist Party, are self-marginalizing. But that isn’t anything new. I have been saying that for a while now.

Anyway, sorry for the mistake. Sam

Sam Webb clearly wants to drive for ideological purity, i.e. merger with the Democratic Party. He clearly wants to stifle anyone who would dare to disagree with his wisdom.

Here is a response from a CPUSA stalwart:

HI Al,

I have to agree with you completely, even though I wouldn’t have backed it up with the quotes. Sam’s effort includes the idea that any reference to scientific socialism, except for the isolated quotes he selects, is proof of sectarian dogmatism. Since immediately after the 2010 convention, Sam has been undemocratically undermining the materialist basis and revolutionary intent of CPUSA. None of these far-reaching changes has been voted on. In fact, the 2010 program is still theoretically in effect, even though it is a far cry from Webb think.

My main hope is that the good people of CPUSA will see Webb’s chronic misleading as history, the best teacher, unfolds before us. Until then, I encourage everyone to hang on, do their own thinking, and stay in the class struggle.

In solidarity

Jim Lane

Party leader, John Case, chimes in with his view of Marxism-Leninism:

Parable of the ship: why so-called “Marxism-Leninism” fails.

Many “Marxists-Leninists”  — not to be confused, frankly, with either Karl Marx, or Vladimir Lenin,  look to classic Soviet economics for answers to life’s persistent questions, because they find their preferred positions explained with clear moral stories. But the great fault of “Marxism-Leninism’s” “scientific socialism” is that it is not scientific. Science is a better way of knowing how you know something than when it was still in the province of natural philosophy, because scientific theories have to explain close to all the scientifically collected data, and there is now, unlike in Marx’s, or even Lenin’s time,  a lot of data. For all the faults of conventional economics, it is far closer to a science than much if not most of “Marxist-Leninist economics” —  because it relies heavily on data. “Marxist-Leninist” methodology has  acquired a disrespect of data that deepens with each passing year since the collapse of the USSR. It is now structured the same as a medieval philosophy based on authority, rather than systematic adherence to real-world data. One could write volumes documenting and detailing the “Marxist-Leninist” errors  that contributed as much to the collapse of the USSR as the plots of its adversaries. But a parable may better serve. The owner of a ship noticed that his ship was filling with water. Being an educated man (if not nautically trained) he knew there were many possible causes for water in a ship: leaks in the hull, the bilge pump being broken, waves washing over, condensation, and even the crew urinating in the hold. He heard the bilge pump running, he saw water from waves pouring in the open hatches, but worst of all he smelled urine in the hold! Being sensible, he ordered the crew to shut the hatches and then gave them a lengthy, stern harangue on hygienic use of the head. While he was lecturing the crew, his ship sank due to a combination of causes: large, unobserved leaks in the hull, a bilge pump that was running but not pumping correctly, and condensation that had shorted out warning circuitry. Now, it’s easy to write a story to justify or ridicule any course of action, any philosophy.  But, in the parable, the owner did not investigate condensation; he presumed the pump was working correctly without measurement; he did not attempt to measure leaks; he presumed (again without measurement) that the water sloshing in the hatches was the right amount to explain the filling; and he distracted the crew from finding the real problems with his own assumptions and moral haranguing. Since “Marxist-Leninists” are innumerate, instead they must rely on their assumptions, which needless to say tend to have a very left wing bias. Sorry. Science, since its evolution from natural philosophy, does not work that way. Nor can “Marxist-Leninists” really defend their assumptions: no assumption about the real world, indeed no abstraction,  is totally true which means that there is a fallacy, and an error factor in their logic about the real world, an error whose magnitude cannot be known from within the assumptions. They make up for this in bluster and old-fashioned appeal to their own authority. When confronted with real-world problems that could have multiple causes, logical verbal models are insufficient. You MUST introduce evidence, measurement and mathematics into your models if you want to have any hope of valid answers. Logical verbal models are sufficient to specify possible chains (or networks) of causation, but telling which are significant is a quantitative problem that requires measurement. This is not a new position: it is basic to science and ought to be basic to philosophy.  Marx founded his economic ideas on extensive research in the British Museum, the worlds largest repository of “data” in his time. As he said, “turning Hegel on his head!” David Hume said it very clearly 260 years ago:

Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 12, “Of the Academical or Sceptical Philosophy”

John Case Harpers Ferry, WV

Here we find another party stalwart responding to Sam Webb’s views:

Replying to John Case, who e-mailed the whole original list. 1. I disagree with the imputation that all who consider themselves “Marxist-Leninists” are ultra-leftist dogmatists.  For example, the South African Communist Party, the Cuban Communist Party and others we know designate themselves as Marxist-Leninist organizations and are by no means inflexible dogmatic outfits, but very creative in their approaches.   At one time, some of our US Maoists used to try to monopolise the phrase Marxist-Leninist, but they are long gone. I do not think, either, that the phrase was exclusively Stalin’s, my recollection was that people like Mikhail Bukharin and Nadezhda Krupsaya also had a hand in formulating those concepts and the vocabulary that went with them.   I personally was satisfied with the compromise solution in the preamble to our new Draft Party constitution passed by our convention lst year because Lenin stayed in, but I don’t think that those who prefer the term “Marxist-Leninist” should be automatically stigmatized as dogmatists or ultras. 2.  I don’t know anybody in any kind of a leading position in the CPUSA who doesn’t understand that we have to be willing to work with social democrats, liberals, minority nationalists, populists and what have you; anybody who is playing a positive role, or can be induced to.  We all do work with those people and have for many years.  This is different, however, from abandoning our own ideas based on careful analysis and historical experience.  That goes for our working in unions, with the Democratic party and all of those things.  That is the important distinction between us and the ultra-left.  The rest is details, which we should not allow to divide us.  Differences of opinion can be very useful — thesis, antithesis, synthesis, that sort of thing — if they are handled right.  3, Though we all work with a variety of people and forces, I think that we should not one-sidedly criticize only ultra-leftism and not guard against the danger of shifting too far in the other direction, which has destroyed a number of communist and workers’ parties, especially but not exclusively since the collapse of the USSR and Eastern European socialism.  Entities like the Communist Party of the Netherlands and the old Brazilian Communist Party were destroyed not by ultra-leftism but by moving too far to the right.  I could elaborate if anyone so desires, on these and other cases, but I think most know what I mean. 4. We have a huge amount of work to do so I really don’t think we should be reviving the whole fight we had about these matters in the preconvention discussion prior to our 30th Party Convention in Chicago last year.  Those who were convinced one way or another by those discussions  will not be swayed by an e-mail exchange.  If people really want to go over these things again, we should establish a moderated discussion venue in which these discussions can go on in a non-divisivbe way. Emile S

Here is another CPUSA voice who deserves consideration:

I feel the need to chime in for some clarification–

Using a mistakenly forwarded bcc list serve for a class in methodology as a forum to broadcast unsolicited snipes against the instructor is what I’d call “undemocratic”. Sam is not the Party chair and has no more inordinate amount of power to shape party theory than many other Party educators, so these attacks are unwarranted and inappropriate, especially in this venue.

This e-heckling is pointless; the arguments are baseless. One chastised Sam for cherry-picking quotes, then concluded by …cherry picking quotes. The second one neglects to provide any (cherry or non-cherry-picked) quotes where Sam equates scientific socialism with sectarian dogmatism.

Also, I was under the impression that the Party Program of 2005 was still in  effect. http://www.cpusa.org/party-program/

thanks!

Ce

Bernard Sampson, from Houston, re-posts the original post from Emile:

Replying to John Case, who e-mailed the whole original list. 1. I disagree with the imputation that all who consider themselves “Marxist-Leninists” are ultra-leftist dogmatists.  For example, the South African Communist Party, the Cuban Communist Party and others we know designate themselves as Marxist-Leninist organizations and are by no means inflexible dogmatic outfits, but very creative in their approaches.   At one time, some of our US Maoists used to try to monopolise the phrase Marxist-Leninist, but they are long gone. I do not think, either, that the phrase was exclusively Stalin’s, my recollection was that people like Mikhail Bukharin and Nadezhda Krupsaya also had a hand in formulating those concepts and the vocabulary that went with them.   I personally was satisfied with the compromise solution in the preamble to our new Draft Party constitution passed by our convention lst year because Lenin stayed in, but I don’t think that those who prefer the term “Marxist-Leninist” should be automatically stigmatized as dogmatists or ultras. 2.  I don’t know anybody in any kind of a leading position in the CPUSA who doesn’t understand that we have to be willing to work with social democrats, liberals, minority nationalists, populists and what have you; anybody who is playing a positive role, or can be induced to.  We all do work with those people and have for many years.  This is different, however, from abandoning our own ideas based on careful analysis and historical experience.  That goes for our working in unions, with the Democratic party and all of those things.  That is the important distinction between us and the ultra-left.  The rest is details, which we should not allow to divide us.  Differences of opinion can be very useful — thesis, antithesis, synthesis, that sort of thing — if they are handled right.   3, Though we all work with a variety of people and forces, I think that we should not one-sidedly criticize only ultra-leftism and not guard against the danger of shifting too far in the other direction, which has destroyed a number of communist and workers’ parties, especially but not exclusively since the collapse of the USSR and Eastern European socialism.  Entities like the Communist Party of the Netherlands and the old Brazilian Communist Party were destroyed not by ultra-leftism but by moving too far to the right.  I could elaborate if anyone so desires, on these and other cases, but I think most know what I mean. 4. We have a huge amount of work to do so I really don’t think we should be reviving the whole fight we had about these matters in the preconvention discussion prior to our 30th Party Convention in Chicago last year.  Those who were convinced one way or another by those discussions  will not be swayed by an e-mail exchange.  If people really want to go over these things again, we should establish a moderated discussion venue in which these discussions can go on in a non-divisivbe way.
Emile S

It appears that Bernard agrees with Emile since he reposted his comment. However, this is not clear since Bernard does not offer us a comment to consider.

Here is another comment from a distinguished history professor which should be considered:

Thanks Emile.  You said it better than I could have.  We are caricatured enough by anti-Communists of all kinds  so it  is self-destructive to caricature ourselves.  I don’t agree with Sam’s analysis but I accept his right to have that analysis and also his apology for sending the material to the whole list. I think we should leave it at that and get back to  focussing on what Mao Tse-tung called the “primary contradictions,” (which doesn’t mean I am espousing Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse -tung throught) instead of focussing on the secondary condradictions among ourselves, which only benefits the enemies of the working class.

Norman Markowitz

The Houston Communist Party encourages responses to the above discussion. Please send comments to:

PHill1917@comcast.net

Response to: “History lessons”
| May 16, 2015 | 7:56 pm | About the CPUSA, political struggle | No comments

For a long time I/we have wondered why the CPUSA has hitched its hopes to the Democratic Party. The ways of the Lord are wonderous but I am not a believer. It’s Browderism without the obituary.

Zigedy sees electoral politics in a creative and postive way without  selling one’s ideological soul.
Andre Brochu
Political Independence of Parties and Gus Hall

By A. Shawgushall

 

Gus Hall (October 8, 1910 – October 13, 2000) was a leader and Chairman of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and its four-time U.S. presidential candidate. During the Great Repression of the 1940s and 50s, Hall was indicted under the Smith Act by the bourgeois regime in Washington D.C. and was sentenced to eight years in prison. After his release, Hall led the CPUSA for over 40 years, often taking an orthodox Marxist-Leninist stance which intensely annoyed most of his comrades.

 

The concept of political independence varies when applied to individuals, groups, or states. With individuals, a candidate is independent when he or she is not affiliated with any political party. Again, an independent voter is a voter who does not align him or herself with a political party. However, proletarian parties commonly called their candidates “independent” as long as their candidate isn’t affiliated with a bourgeois party or another proletarian party. In the USA, when “independent” is applied to a group, it seems to mean a group that is separate from the two old bourgeois parties [the DP and GOP], even if the group is somehow affiliated or allied with other third parties.

 

 

AIMING TO WINAngela-Davis-with-Gus-Hall

 

 

“In every case the Party should focus on offices it aims to win — if not [this year] then over the course of the next few elections,” Gus Hall wrote in “Unity! The Only Way.”

 

Hall applied this rule in 1988 to CPUSA, but it applies today to a number of political organizations.

 

Under the rule which he formulates, Hall must have concluded that his party should not have focused on any of his four campaigns for president of the USA.

 

What does “in every case” mean?

 

It means in no case should a left party focus on offices it doesn’t aim to win. It also means in no case should a party focus on offices it doesn’t aim to win either now or over the course of the next few elections.

 

“Such a proposition requires a basic change in how we conduct our campaigns,” Hall wrote.

 

Why is this change in the conduct of campaigns basic?

 

Before the aiming-to-win strategy, campaigns aimed to lose or aimed merely to run. If so, then an aiming-to-win strategy is indeed a basic change.

 

Does the rule about a party not focusing on campaigns where the candidate can’t win, either now or over the course of the next few elections, apply also to Communists?

 

Hall’s answer to the question of whether the rule applies to Communists is tough to interpret, even though the rule applies to every case and a Communist candidate is a case.

 

Here’s Hall’s answer:

 

“The fact is we have now overcome the barrier that ‘Communists cannot be elected.’ Even though our candidates’ votes and constituencies took a big leap in recent elections, most of us still do not think in terms of Communists actually getting elected. This is the necessary next stage in the development of Communist campaigns,” Hall wrote.

 

Hall seems to be saying that Communists have recently won a number of elections, running as candidates of the two old bourgeois parties. These wins prove that the alleged barrier “Communists cannot be elected” is false. But most Communists still don’t see these wins as Communists actually getting elected; they see these wins as candidates of bourgeois parties actually getting elected. In other words, most Communists want and expect Communists to run as Communists, not as candidates of bourgeois parties.

 

 

Under the rule, as formulated above by Hall, a Communist running openly as a Communist also has to win because winning is the key thing, not merely running or losing. Further, a winning Communist, running openly as a Communist, satisfies the rule. A winning Communist, running as a candidate of a bourgeois party, also satisfies the rule.

 

But a losing Communist, no matter how he/she runs, is just a loser.

 

Lenin dealt with phony participation in political struggle in his “Leftwing Communism” and his “What Is to Be Done.”  Obviously, aiming to lose is phony participation. Lenin called it a baby disease, an infantile disorder, pseudo anarchism, quasi-anarchism, and semi-anarchism.

 

WHAT MOSTLY DEFEATS OPEN COMMUNIST CANDIDATES TODAY?

 

Hall rejects the explanation that the label of Communist is the chief cause of a loss when the candidate exposes his or her Communist affiliations.

 

Hall points to the political incompetence and bungling of Communists as the main cause of the losses when Communists campaign openly as Reds.

 

“Generally, we are good on program, but come up very short on the mass organization side of running campaigns … To reach a new, higher stage we must raise the level of professionalism in the use of media, literature, posters, and in fund raising. We must master campaign organization techniques to identify, mold and hold a Communist electoral constituency.

We must establish an apparatus to get out the vote on election day. We must focus more on door-to-door canvassing and involving non-Party volunteers,” Hall wrote, explaining why Communists who run as Communists lose.

 

Hall wanted Communists to master all of the specialties of the art of campaigning, even though he didn’t mention all of the specialties in the preceding paragraph.

 

Hall understood that amateurs are unlikely to prevail over political professionals.

 

Hall’s proposals were unwelcomed but quietly tolerated in 1988 when he presented them. They haven’t been acted on at all since their 1988 presentation.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Today, revolutionaries must aim to win, not the foolishness of much of the US Left of aiming to lose or aiming merely to run.

 

Revolutionaries can win either running as revolutionaries or running as supporters of political tendencies other than revolutionary.

 

The label of revolutionary pinned on a candidate is usually not the principal cause of a loss at the polls

 

The principal cause is that the advanced elements of the electoral base in the USA are untrained and misdirected.

 

Most of the US Left are incapable of doing anything.

 

Here is a video of Gus Hall

President Obama, let the heroes go!
| September 1, 2014 | 9:38 pm | About the CPUSA, Action, Cuban Five, International | No comments

 

By James Thompson

 

President John F. Kennedy wrote a landmark book called Profiles in Courage. He studied the lives of a number of political leaders in the United States who stood up to negative forces and did the right thing even though it may not have been in their best political interest.

 

President Obama is reportedly an admirer of John F. Kennedy. President Obama is also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

It is puzzling to many why the president has not responded to the mass movement demanding the release of the Cuban 5 (a.k.a. Miami 5). The mass movement is very large and is international in scope. Many high-ranking celebrities and political leaders both in the United States and around the world have united with a single demand “Free the 5!”

 

The Cuban 5 are five heroes who came to the United States to gather information on right wing terrorists located in Miami who were plotting violence against Cuba. Indeed, they carried out many attacks on this sovereign nation and killed many people and destroyed much property. The Cuban 5 were successful in gathering crucial information which they supplied to the Cuban government so that they could prevent these violent attacks. These courageous men fought international terrorists toe to toe and saved many innocent lives.

 

On September 12, 1998, the Cuban 5 were arrested. They received a trial which many maintain was unfair and they received astronomical sentences compared with others convicted of similar charges. One of the 5 completed his sentence in 2011 and was released and returned to Cuba. Another completed his sentence and returned to Cuba in 2014. Three remain in prison and have been there since 1998.

 

A US government operative, Alan Gross, was apprehended by the Cuban authorities for attempting to incite Cubans to overthrow their government. He has been languishing in prison for many years now and has been ignored by the Obama administration. The Cubans appear eager to make a swap of the three remaining Cuban 5 for Alan Gross. However, the effort of the Cubans has fallen on deaf ears.

 

President John F. Kennedy was faced with a similar situation when he took office. A high-ranking leader of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), Henry Winston, had been apprehended during the McCarthy era and was imprisoned for a number of years before Kennedy took office. There was an international outcry at this injustice and there were demands to release Mr. Winston. On June 21, 1961, President Kennedy granted Winston executive clemency and he was released. This was at the height of the Cold War and there was great reactionary pressure to leave Mr. Winston in prison inzzz-cuban5 spite of his serious medical problems. President Kennedy demonstrated his courage and fairness in reversing this injustice even though it was not in his best political interest.

 

In a few days, we will reach the 16th anniversary of the arrest of the Cuban 5. This would be an excellent time for President Obama to demonstrate to the world that he has the courage that President Kennedy had by releasing the 5 and arranging for a swap for Alan Gross. The world could then see that President Obama is a Nobel Peace Prize winner not only in name but also in action. He could follow this courageous act by working with Congress to end the blockade of Cuba and lift travel restrictions so that US citizens could travel freely to one of our country’s closest neighbors. President Obama campaigned for office on themes of “Change” and “Progress.” Mr. Obama, show us some Change and Progress!

We’re moving again
| August 28, 2014 | 8:35 pm | About the CPUSA, Announcements, National | No comments

From the Marxism-Leninism Today Editors

Friday, August 22, 2014

Western Pennsylvania has a rich history of class struggle. The region has witnessed, for example, the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892, the growth of the CIO in the 1930s and 1940s, and the fierce attacks on organized labor and the Left by McCarthyism in the 1950s.

Meeting in Pittsburgh on Saturday August 16, 2014, readers and supporters of the Marxism-Leninism Today (MLT) website — www.mltoday.com  — many of them former Communist Party leaders and activists, met to form a new Communist organization.

Those attending came from Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Greetings were received from those in Texas and Indiana who could not attend. Ten former members of the National Committee of the CPUSA either attended the conference or helped to plan it. More than half of those attending were union activists or union officers.

The conference heard and discussed presentations by convenors from the MLT Collective who presented three resolutions which, after discussion, were amended and formally adopted unanimously.

The key conference decision was adoption of a resolution to create a pre-party formation, tentatively called the Network of Communist Clubs (NCC). It will be led by Temporary Coordinating Committee (TCC), composed of the MLT Collective and two additional members who were added at the meeting to ensure a more balanced leading committee.

TCC’s main task will be to undertake necessary actions to create conditions for the birth of a full-fledged Communist Party operating on Leninist principles. The TCC will guide and nurture a network of Communist clubs. To some extent, a network of such clubs already exists.

Two of the opening presentations focused on the ten-year period since the founding of the MLT website, what led to its founding, and how it has tried to uphold the traditions of struggle of the CPUSA. Also included was a more detailed report on the growth and development of the MLT website, which since 2004, has enjoyed a five-fold growth in readership, two-thirds of it in the US. It has a lengthening list of regular writers, and growing international contacts. Since 2010 it has made several attempts to take the next step, from a political web site to organization.

A labor historian offered the long-term view, describing the untidy process by which the first CP came into being in 1918-21. He compared the favorable and unfavorable factors influencing the birth of a new organization, then and now. He reviewed the party’s recurrent battles against opportunism, a political illness always resurgent when the fortunes of US imperialism were on the upswing. He enumerated Lenin’s key ideas on what kind of vanguard political party the working class movement needs. With all our limitations and shortcomings, he concluded, it is our responsibility to try to rebuild.

A four-member panel of the Pittsburgh Club reported how the club came together in 2010. They outlined the essence of what an ideal Communist club ought to be and gave a report on the Pittsburgh club’s attempts to turn the ideal into reality, with substantial success.

The timing of the Pittsburgh meeting was influenced by the 30th CPUSA Convention in June 2014, which formally wrote into the Party Constitution new language taking the Party even further away from Lenin’s ideas about revolutionary organization. About one year ago, MLT editors announced their aim of refounding a Communist party. In the last year they have visited activists in almost all parts of the country to test sentiment.

Speakers from the floor spoke of the worsening objective conditions in the country, against a backdrop of upheaval against racial injustice in Ferguson, Missouri and the US-led aggressions, old and new, under way in dozens of countries. Not a single people’s movement has remained unaffected by the absence of a CP in the United States. The US labor movement despite some signs of struggle, remains in decline and retreat, and mired in class collaborationism.

Participants at the meeting agreed that the stress will be on a bottom-up approach to the creation of functioning clubs involved in mass struggle. The TCC was charged in the coming period with involving people in mass work in such areas of political work as labor, peace & solidarity, equality, and independent political action. Many in attendance are already involved in such work.

The TCC will create and supervise a working committee to write an expanded statement of principles, looking toward a full Party program. It will look at ways to alter the nature of the ML Today web site to begin to serve NCC organizational needs. It will recruit volunteers and strive to put the organization on a more stable and sustainable basis. It will work toward obtaining a physical location and address as soon as possible.

The Pittsburgh meeting agreed to hold a follow-up meeting in three months at a site still to be determined.

Those interested in contacting the TCC for more information can reach it at <<tcc.ncc2014@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >>.

Convention Discussion: Some thoughts on changing our name

http://cpusa.org/convention-discussion-some-thoughts-on-changing-our-name/

by: Jarvis Tyner
May 29 2014
Submitted by Jarvis Tyner, Executive Vice-Chair, CPUSA

I am not for changing our name.

I think we can build a large and influential CPUSA in the 21st Century.

We can change our name but there is no way it won’t be widely viewed by right, left and center as a retreat from the struggle against the menace of anti communism.

I assume that comrades pushing for dropping “Communist” from our name see it as positive step forward. I don’t think it will be. I think it will send the message that we no longer think it is possible or necessary to overcome the slanderous attacks against our courageous Party.

Defeating anti Communist intimidation and fear is connected to the fight against racism, for peace and social progress in general. It remains a basic part of the struggle toward advance democracy and Socialism.

There is uneven development but our actual party experience today is that we are growing, we do have influence and we are not isolated. This is a reality that comrades in every region of the country are experiencing on one level or the other.

But even if we were stagnating organizationally and with diminishing influence politically, I still don’t think we should panic. We need a measured and sober assessment of our real situation and fact-based analysis of how we should improve our situation and ultimately accelerate our rate of growth and influence.

We need to study the polls not just recite the numbers. The numbers mean something. There are real human beings expressing views today that 30 year ago were only whispered.

The polls on Socialism I’ve seen are very promising. Most people think socialist and communist are cut from the same ideological cloths and while Socialism is more popular, they are related.

I am encouraged by those polls that show our country trending towards a more favorable attitude towards Socialism. The results that show most youth prefer Socialism to Capitalism are very important to our Party. How could it be otherwise?

Our goal is Bill of Rights Socialism and it is in harmony with what is trending among the youth.

There was also a Rasmussen poll, conducted March 12-13 2011 on Capitalism vs Communism as reported in the People’s World article by Dan Margolis.That poll showed that 11% of those polled consider Communism “morally superior to Capitalism”.

The fact that more than 1 in 10 adult Americans ( we assume they did not poll children) thought Communism was morally superior to the system they are living under everyday should have set in motion a serious effort by our Party to analyze and figure out the real meaning of those figures. Those polls have pages of data and information that could be very valuable to us in developing a campaign to build our party in a new way. But we did not take it seriously.

We kind of let it pass us by. We all should be self critical on that point.

If 11% think Communism is morally superior, what is the percentage that does not support anti-communism or don’t like the right wing red baiting every decent ideal that’s proposed. The media is definitely playing the new anti-communist/anti-Russian card on the Ukraine crisis. Does the lack of any enthusiasm for US military intervention there have to do with the diminishing impact of anti communism? I think it does.

That 2011 poll showed an additional 13% said they were not sure which system is morally superior. I consider, the “not sure” people to be a group in political transition. It is safe to assume that most people have not heard an honest presentation of existing Socialism nor of our Party’s views. These are people living in the richest and most powerful capitalist country in the world in the midst of all the anti communist propaganda yet they are “not sure”. That says a lot.

In pure numbers not counting children 11% is around 25 million people.

And it is very important; that the 2011 poll was taken 20 years after the tragic collapse of the Soviet Union and most of the other Communist Party led Socialist countries. It was a big set back.The collapse was supposed to have made world communism “irreversibly irrelevant.” I don’t think it did.

If we all agree that we need a larger party to play the role we must play in order to advance towards greater democracy and socialism I think we must take these poll results seriously. A lot of most active comrades will tell you that these polls results do reflect their experiences.

Every day people are joining our party on the internet.Where comrades are successful building the size and influence of our party today they are tapping into that 1 in ten group (a group that is growing). The People’s World now has over 64,000 likes.

Through honest struggle, coalition building, debate and discussion, we can convince many more that the slanders against our Party are wrong and our party is a force for good.

The view that as long as we are called Communist Party we will have no future I don’t think can be proven. There is 95 year of struggle that refutes that. The polls and political trends among the American people are saying it is other wise.

Today, more progressive, left-of-center, openly socialist, are winning elections even when they are viciously red-baited. A year after the 2011 poll, Obama ran and was red-baited and he won reelection. Again these polls need to be thoroughly analyzed.

The polls certainly mean a lot more than the empirical arguments like, “comrades don’t feel comfortable admitting they are communist.” Or, “some people think being a communist is silly”.

We all know that everybody doesn’t have to be public to be effective. And of course some people who don’t agree love to make cynical and slanderous remarks about our Party. The question is, do we answer them and engage them? We cannot give in to these cynical insults.

Rather than panic and change the name; a move that will cause great division and raise many more negative questions, we need to unite around a long-range effort to intensify our mass work, to greatly elevate our internet presents with our focus on the primacy of the working class and the immediate fight against extreme right. We need to build the party and the YCL.

Back in the mid 90’s Gus Hall gave his New Years’ speech on CSPAN and we put our 800 number right under Gus as he was speaking.

When it was aired Joe Sims and I were at the national office to answer the calls.We thought we would get a few dozen mostly negative calls. Within a few minutes of Gus’s speech our phone system was overwhelmed with 100s of calls.

We were able to talk to maybe 20% and there were very few right wingers calling.

We did set up a few new clubs but did not have the structure then that we have today to follow through and build functioning clubs.

The CSPAN experience took place just 4 years after the tragic collapse of the USSR and 13 years before Obama’s run for President.

Today the struggle is on a higher level. The historic battles against inequality that helped defeat the right 08 and 12 have created whole a new movements.

To me these developments bring with it heighten consciousness and the necessity to reject racism, anti immigrant, homophobia, anti Semitism: all forms of bigotry and anti communism in order to build unity. Most significantly, today these movements do not exclude Communist.

Where is our evidence that changing the name will bring great results for us? I think calls to change the name are also related to proposals to stop calling our ideology, Marxism Leninism.

I think we need to be very careful that what may be intended to be a change in style and approach, can easily evolve into a change in our ideology and the basic character of the Party.

I know most of the comrades who are pushing for the name change have the best interest of the party at heart. But I think to change our name is objectively a retreat from a principled and honorable struggle for our right to exist, that we have waged for 95 years.

I propose that we table the issue of name change, make a real study of the growing mass sentiments against anti communism. That we examine the many options we have to seriously think through not only why people don’t join our party but why people are joining our party and how to step up our efforts to combat anti communism and build unity of all the progressive forces.

We must step up our efforts to build our party.

Forward!

Regrets, I’ve Had a Few, but Then Again,…
| May 10, 2014 | 7:34 pm | About the CPUSA, Action, Analysis | No comments

http://mltoday.com/regrets-i-ve-had-a-few-but-then-again?utm

May 1, 2014

By the Austin Hogan Transit Club, NYC

“My Way”
And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way…
Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention…

Frank Sinatra’s lyrics, above, came to mind when the national chair of the CPUSA recently wrote, “Whatever mistakes – and mistakes are inevitable – we have made, we haven’t made big mistakes, that is, mistakes of a strategic nature, like some others on the left have and a few in our party have advocated…”

Let’s start with a dose of reality and a pinch of common sense:

It’s probable that, no matter what we say or write in this Pre-Convention Discussion period, the clique now in charge will do as it damn well pleases. The upcoming convention will merely go through the motions of debate. Like a wrestling match, the phoniest of spectacles, the outcome is pre-determined.

Nevertheless we can still honor the memory of the heroes and heroines who built this once-important Party by fighting to the last bullet, as it were.

What questions should real Communists ask, as the 30th Convention nears? Not the pre-fabricated questions in “Guidelines for Pre-Convention Discussion.” They are unacceptable. They are meant to steer discussion into safe channels that do not challenge the basic misdirection of the party since 2000.

Instead, ask these questions:

· No big mistakes? Few in the world Communist movement accept the national chairman’s big idea, “A Party of Socialism for the 21st Century.“ It is obviously a social democratic political vision. It has been openly rejected by major voices in the international Communist movement, and privately rejected by dozens of other parties, who choose to be tactfully silent. It is no accident the NB is organizing internal discussions of social democracy, merger talks with CCDS and other social democratic groups, and planning a big presence at the social democratic Left Forum, not to mention, at the convention dropping Marxism-Leninism, the term, the substance, or both.
· Have we grown stronger or weaker? Weaker.
· Are we bigger or smaller? Smaller. Even the national chair of the Party admitted not long ago the Party is “dangerously small.” How can this be reconciled with the upbeat reports from top leaders that the Internet recruiting is bringing in many new people? Answer: It can’t be reconciled. Internet recruiting is a revolving door.
· Are we older or younger? Older
· Are our Party grassroots – the clubs — getting stronger? No, they are shriveling up. As well, club expulsions are taking place, but only clubs that question the line.
· Are our roots in the working class, the nationally oppressed and other specially oppressed groups getting stronger? No. We don’t give a lead on the struggles against racism. Instead, we cozy up to Obama, exaggerating his (rare) positive steps and ignoring most of his dreadful policies, which are countless.
· Is our trade union work better organized? No. The Labor Commission of the Party seems to be reduced to a cheerleader for the AFL-CIO.
· Are these negative trends caused by external factors? No. There is no anti-Communist persecution. The damage is self-inflicted
· Are we leading any movements? No. We’re not even trying. “Followership” is now the supreme principle, it seems.
· Have the estimates of the party leadership proved correct? Not long ago, the national chairman was predicting under the present Administration we would see “an era of democratic reform.”
· Is Party growth impossible? No. Objective conditions for party growth are excellent. If masses of people are suffering and want to discuss “socialism” — however understood by un-informed people — why is the Party vanishing?
· Is our anti-war work stronger and more effective? Hardly. A few comrades carry on valiantly against Obama’s warlike policies. There has been no sizable anti-war demonstration in Washington DC in ages.

Who, or What, is to Blame?

The problem facing the CPUSA, what little remains of it, is its fundamental political direction. The line is wrong. Four more years of this direction will surely kill the Party off.

The leaders who pushed for and presided over this debacle should not just retire; they should do penance and make restitution. They should be down on their knees, begging us for forgiveness. In a just world, they would be held accountable. But, alas, the world is not just. Instead, we see them maneuvering to ensure that successors are chosen who will continue to carry out the disastrous policies. Some call that “Taking Care of the Future.”

“Party of 21st Century Browderism.” The miscalculating Browder liquidated the Party abruptly. He soon faced a revolt. More cunning than Browder, the present leadership, arriving in 2000, has injected the opportunist poison into the arteries of the organization, in small doses. The sickening and enfeeblement of the Party over 14 years have rendered it moribund. Now death is at hand.

It is hard to hold out much hope for this 30th — and perhaps last — CPUSA Convention. One hears reports that certain districts are being assigned ridiculously inflated voting weights that in no way reflect the shrunken and demoralized membership.

Our Wish List

Should leaders be held accountable for outcomes of their policies? Well, they are in every other sphere of democratic life. Why not in the CPUSA?
Here’s our wish list for this convention:

1. The whole NB should be removed. If there are any “good” people on the NB, they kept their mouth shut for years. Therefore, they’re not good revolutionary material. From among what is left of healthy forces on the NC, an opposition slate should be formed, composed of real Communists.
2. The first priority of a new leadership should be to change the Party line from this absurd ”unity against the ultra right“ (which means, in practice, work for the Democrats) to our classic position, the anti-monopoly strategy.
3. It will probably take an emergency 31st CPUSA convention to undo the top-to-bottom wreckage and reverse the liquidation under way in the CPUSA for so long. That will be the mission of the 31st Convention, which will have to take place soon.

But, for the delegates at 30th Convention, the watchword has to be: “change course or die.”

Dear delegates, don’t say you weren’t warned.

The whole Austin Hogan Transit Club, after expressing interest in attending the NYS District convention, was dropped without warning from the CPUSA last month, on the demonstrably bogus charge of non-payment of dues. The Club is appealing the decision, under the Party Constitution. Its appeal so far is being ignored.