By James Thompson

I have been reflecting on this great nation of ours over the last week or so and our history of gradual progress in the face of adversity. The revolution which founded our country was one of the first to defy and overthrow British colonialism and imperialism. For this, our country is world renowned for overthrowing tyranny and has served as a guiding light in the struggle against oppression and exploitation by foreigners. Just a few years following the founding of our nation, our forefathers engaged in a Civil War which ended slavery in this country. Meanwhile, there was a glorious history of labor struggles, struggles for women’s rights and civil rights. People died for the 40 hour work week and the right to vote. When the capitalist economic system collapsed in the 1930s, there was a strong response from Labor and the Communist Party which resulted in social reforms which benefitted all working people in this country. Following this there was the crucial struggle and victory against fascism, Japanese Imperialism and German Nazism. All these social victories must be viewed in the context of constant advances in science and technology which must be considered as victories in and of themselves.

This is not a nation of cowards or quitters. It is a nation of fighters for progress.

Frederick Douglass said it best:

Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reforms.

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions, yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.

We did not get to where we are by cutting deals with the powers that be.

The worldwide communist movement has a long, glorious history of fighting for the interests of the working class. Many people have died in this long struggle, both in this country and around the world.

It has been a long struggle and will continue for a long time.

In this current capitalist crisis, it is not the time to throw in the towel. With people on the street in Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas and around the country, it is not time to back down and grovel in the corner. With the workers in Tunisia, Greece, North Africa and the Middle East in full revolt, it is not time to cower in the background. With the U.S. expanding its imperialist wars and occupations while at the same time mounting a monumental effort to roll back the progress that workers have made since the 1930s, it is not time to shirk our duty to stand up for worker’s rights and oppose capitalism and imperialism as well as the exploitation, oppression and alienation that they bring to our communities.

I recently attended the UNAC rally and march in New York City on April 9 as well as the Texas State Employees Union rally and march in Austin, Texas. In both actions there were over 6,000 participants from diverse backgrounds. Simultaneously with the action in New York there was an AFL-CIO rally for jobs and against budget cuts in New York. I was told that the AFL-CIO rally was about 6,000 as well. The lack of unity was unfortunate in these events and this is probably the result of lack of leadership which could have combined the two events and would have resulted in a bigger event with more impact. An event with 12,000 people would have been more powerful than two events of 6,000 each.

However, it is important to look at the bigger picture. People around the country and around the world are standing up to the evils of capitalism in mass protests and actions.

My experience in Austin, Texas was rather disappointing. Following a loud, spirited rally with many progressive speakers firing up the crowd from around the state of Texas, many of us entered the Capitol to attempt to “lobby” the members of the state Congress. The first Congressperson’s office that we went to was somewhat receptive and sent out a staff member to meet with us. This was a Congressperson who was opposed to the draconian budgets cuts advocated by the Republicans. My group went to three other Congresspeople’s offices and no one was available to meet with us and hear our demands, even though they were all supportive of our demands. This is a colossal failure of the electoral system and legislative struggle.

The lesson here is that electoral and legislative struggle is not enough. We must devise new tactics to meet the political realities of our current struggle for progress. We cannot count on the bourgeois electoral system to meet our demands or even hear our concerns. Even our so-called “allies” shut us out.

Where does the leadership of the CPUSA stand amidst this time of struggle? Sam Webb and his hangers-on are calling for subservience to the Democratic Party which is shutting out workers and slashing programs of benefit to working people to assuage the right wing bullies.

The Communist Party is not a party of cowering, sniveling hypocrites who blast the war policies of Republicans, but zip their lips when Democrats expand the war policies of the right wingers. We are better than that. We are not a party that blasts the attempts of Republicans to privatize Social Security and everything else including our toenails, but sit on our hands when Democrats cow tow to Republican demands. We are not a party that fails to tie the expanding wars to the so-called budget crisis. We are not a party that remains silent when children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and who knows where else are slaughtered while the children in this country are hungry, and have their healthcare and educational benefits slashed.

Sadly, our party has received international condemnation for its anti-communist program. Leninism, the teachings of Stalin, the victories achieved in the former USSR, democratic centralism and even the word “communism” has been denounced by our leadership. What else must they do to get the attention of the membership of the party?

Let us heed the words of the KKE and refute the program proposed by the current leadership of the CPUSA! Let us unite as workers and party members and oust the leaders who have brought nothing but ruin to the CPUSA! We have nothing to lose but the cronies and sell-outs to capitalism!