Los Angeles Metro Club
2437 Centinela Av., #2
Santa Monica, CA. 90405
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM…
We, the members of the Los Angeles Metro Club of the CPUSA write this appeal to you, the National Board of the CPUSA, in the spirit of party unity, fairness, and comradeship. We understand the complexity and sensitive nature of the issues of the most recent flareup in Houston but we do not consider the matter settled. We believe that there must be a fuller discussion within the party about our role as communists in American society and our relationship to the working class, the class we purport to represent. Censorship and intimidation are not conducive to having this discussion.
We have been told that we can’t struggle in the world as we wish it to be. That we must accept the political terrain as it is and that we must “be realistic.” We ask ourselves what if Marx, Engels, and Lenin had said that? What if they lived in a politically “realistic” world. Marx said in regard to this problem, “philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point, however is to change it.” Theory then evolves into a discussion of how fast or how slow society should move. The Chinese with their ‘cultural revolution’ tried to accelarate the pace of their socialist development. History proved them wrong. At the time, our party, the CPUSA supported the CPSU position and rejected the cultural revolution.
Our party did not support Leon Trotsky or his famous theory of ‘permanent revolution’ either. Lenin spoke against Trotsky and his theory several times. Later it was found that Trotsky was not only a spy for Germany, Poland, and Japan up to the beginning of WWII, but was also a rabid anti-communist that had nothing in common with the Bolsheviks. He later worked for the Hearst capitalist press as an expert on Soviet Russia. Some expert! So why is this ancient history so important? Because now, we understand that Bernard Sampson, the Chair of the newly recognized CPUSA club in Houston is a Trotskyite; an anti-communist! A friend of Bernard in Los Angeles, Mr. Grady Daughtery has told us that he was in the Trotskyite Sparticist League in Los Angeles with Bernard and that the Sparticist League campaigned actively against the United Farm Workers union. Further, Bernard advocated that workers should break strikes of the workers because they were lead by a ‘bourgeois union leader’, Cesar Chavez.
How did the Los Angeles Metro Club get involved in the activities of the Houston CPUSA club? Two ways. We are involved in the U.S. Peace Council and we participate with the Houston Peace Council in activities like the anti-NATO campaign. We know about their fine work with the Cuban 5 case. We learned about their website and put a link on our website and became friends with them on Facebook. Although we were told that the problem in Houston was with one individual, we know that this is untrue because of their relationship with us in the U.S. Peace Council. So, you see, there is always more than one side to every story.
We are very disappointed with the decision of the CPUSA National Board to intervene in the internal affairs of the Houston club. We are more disappointed that they have chosen to intervene in our club’s internal matters. We have done nothing but try to carry on the fight against war, fight imperialism, and build proletarian solidarity. Along the way we have met some great comrades. This all seems legitimate to us; on the up and up. There is no conspiracy as intimated by the comrades investigating the problems in Houston. Although, we do wonder why the comrades on the National Board would accept the version of events of known Trotskyites without interviewing others.
Our club stands firmly against censorship. Censorship is un-American and a return to the McCarthy era. We don’t want to go there and we don’t want our party to go there. We hope that as Marxist-Leninists our party has matured since then. Are we wrong? We hope not, but we are concerned. Since when does the national party tell clubs what groups they can associate with? Since when does the national party tell clubs what links and other information to put on its website and Facebook page? We are a club of communists with a healthy collective leadership, so why not trust us to decide what groups and clubs to associate with and what to put on our website or Facebook page? We don’t post irresponsible or counter-revolutionary articles or information there. We don’t have any relations with right-wing reactionary organizations. We participate fully in the activities of our district, and support its political line. However, when we receive information from other clubs around the country that don’t fully agree with the thought that is disseminated by the national party centre we feel it is our duty as communists to publish it. There are legitimate concerns about the party’s future and the party’s relationship with the working class. We have written previously on this in another letter to Political Affairs.
We do not see how frank, open discussion of communist history hurts our party. Our history is important to us. Our party’s relationship with the USSR and the CPSU is important to remember. It is a part of us. To deny it is to succumb to anti-communism and plays into the hands of the bourgeoisie. To say that America is somehow exceptional to the rest of the world is not communist ideology and those that hold this point of view are not communists. They shouldn’t be in our party. We do not need to pander to elements that are anti-communist to build the party unless our objective is to destroy the CPUSA: the party of a new type envisioned by Lenin. We are not Social-Democrats. We are not populists. We are not progressives. We are communists: builders and leaders of mass movements that fight for a world beyond capitalism. We are not satisfied with our present situation of high unemployment, cuts in our Social Security and our social safety net and pensions, and of endless racism , sexism, and imperialism. As part of our struggle, we include electoral work. We consider this to be one tool in our arsenal of defense of our class interest, but by no means the only one. There are other things that we must do simultaneously to win workers to our side. We must be seen and we must earn the trust and respect of the workers. There is only one way to do that. We feel that the leadership of our party has forgotten this lesson and has embarked on a cynical downward spiral and that our party has ceased to be a revolutionary party. We see liquidation and retirement on the horizon and are reminded of comrade Hall’s words that “communists don’t retire.” Being in the party is not a job. It is a devotion to our class: the working class. It is a devotion to a historical inevitability. As Eugene Debs said, “socialism is as certain as the setting of the sun.”
Where does this cynicism and sense of entitlement come from? Why do comrades in leading positions in our party feel that their personal status is more important than the ideological health of the party? Why does our party editorialize against other communist nations, namely the DPRK? Don’t these nations have a right to defend themselves against imperialist aggression? Perhaps this is what the leaders of the Houston club are concerned about. Is the CPUSA saying that the Houston comrades have no right to be concerned? Are they saying that to point out weaknesses in our leadership contradicts the party line and promotes factionalism? If they are, they are wrong. We happen to believe that some of the criticisms of the Houston club have merit. We believe that the National Board has acted in its own self interest, and not in the best interest of the whole party. We further believe that there needs to be a wider discussion within the party of why people are not joining the party in greater numbers and why many don’t stay after they join. This discussion would lead to a finding that there needs to be change in the thinking at the top. Democratic centralism is a two way street. It also must work from the bottom up. There can be no top down solution.
When our club discussed the report to us by our club chair concerning his meeting with the directors of the California district about Houston, we were immediately insulted when it was reported that the problems in Houston were “just like Evelina.” Evelina Alarcón was replaced in a similar autocratic manner as was the New York Arts & Entertainment club and Houston club. We were promised by Sam Webb and others that things would be different, that there would be a more transparent approach to party problems. So far, this has not been the case. In fact, it is less transparent now than before. There is less communication, not more. Comrades in the Metro club were used in the battle to remove Evelina and now our situation is much worse. People have lost respect for us since Evelina’s arbitrary removal. We never took a vote on whether or not to remove her, and we never elected the leadership of the Southern California collective that has replaced her.Although we have never met the Chair of the Houston club, we can sympathize with him.
Finally, we say that although we disagree with the demand to remove content from our website, we have done so. We will, however, continue to work on the mass activities that we are involved in and we hope to have many more discussions in the party on the topic of party unity and action. We hope that it is not against policy of the National Board to help our comrades in the former Soviet Union and other people fighting to restore socialism in their countries, and to help in building peace organizations. These activities we will never cease. It is our proletarian responsibility to fight for our our class around the world! We hope that we have your blessing as we carry on this important work.
Los Angeles Metro Club