To: Fellow CPUSA members
From: Transit Club, New York City
Subject: Time to Change the Line
Date: April 12, 2012
Below are some facts for Party members to ponder before again accepting the false and harmful “unity against the ultra right” line stubbornly promoted by our top CPUSA leaders.
Our Party’s line, to be stressed at the April 21-23 national meeting in New York means, objectively, CPUSA support for corrupt, reactionary corporate Democrats in the White House, Congress, and in many state houses. Our governor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, (D-NY) is an example. He is an instrument of Wall Street power.
Anyone who thinks working for corporate Democrats is a stage on the road to socialism, which is what our Party leaders claim, should study the appalling record below.
Before anyone counters, “But the GOP is much worse!” a notion which is, at best a half truth, there is another political line open to our Party besides Lesser Evilism, the present policy.
It is this: Support progressives and independents in the two major parties and elsewhere, whenever it still makes sense, i.e., when they fight corporate power. But the CPUSA should devote its main strength to leading the union movement — all the people’s movements — toward building an independent political voice, divorced from both Democrats and Republicans.
This is our Party’s historic position. It is a longer, harder road than Lesser Evilism. With some 16 million members across the US, organized labor still represents a powerful political force that can criticize or support a US Administration, as it sees fit.
Only the CPUSA has the history and theory to lead this effort. The social reformists, the ultra left, the liberals, and the anarchists are clueless or unwilling. About three months ago, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka agreed to build an independent voice for labor. He conceded that is what union members are asking for.
If the Party doesn’t act soon — if it leaves matters as they are — our Party will continue to spiral downward.
Austin Hogan Transit Club, New York City
Corporate Democrats in Power: a Select List of Misdeeds
• After the 2008 elections, Democrats squandered the people’s good will and desire for change. They squandered the large Congressional majorities enjoyed in the first two years, from January 2009 through January 2011.
• After election, the Democratic White House appointed right-wing economists, advisers, Cabinet members (Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Rahm Emmanuel, and William Daley) to oversee policy. Many were the same people responsible for the deregulation that made the crash more severe. Result: The people who created the crisis were bailed out; and the working class has been forced to pay the bill;
• It refused to change direction after disastrous November 2010 elections, and the early 2010 Massachusetts Senate special election. Results of the 2010 Congressional elections showed widespread anger in the Democratic mass base at the direction of their Party;
• Massachusetts’s special Senate election to replace Ted Kennedy should have been a shoo-in. It resulted in a major Republican win, with blame placed on the woman candidate, not where it belonged: the Administration’s insistence all through 2009 on taxing union health benefits. Its betrayal was cited by union activists and others for the refusal of Massachusetts union workers to vote for or to campaign for the Democratic candidate.
• In November 2010 Republicans took over the House of Representatives and in effect the Senate. Further result: the Democratic drifted further to the right, with more appointments and policies to appease corporate America, Wall Street, and the Pentagon.
Labor & Economy
• On taxation, the Bush tax cuts for billionaires, the main cause of federal deficits, are still in place.
• In November 2010, to placate Republicans on the deficit issue, the US Administration ordered a two-year wage freeze for federal civilian workers. Many state governments followed its lead.
• The White House continued Bush policy of bailing out the banks unconditionally.
• It abandoned promises on Employee Free Choice Act, the supreme priority of organized labor and a matter of survival for private sector unions. This was the centerpiece of the argument for unions to support Democrats and bring them back into power. It was scuttled from Day 1.
• In February 2012 the president signed a bill into law that will make it more difficult for airline and other workers to join unions. The FAA Reauthorization Act contains a provision that requires a union in order to succeed in a representation election, to win not a majority of workers in a bargaining unit but a majority of all potential worker voters. Worse, in order for an election to be held, the union must submit signatures from a majority, not 35 percent as formerly.
• It offered little or no support for unionized public workers under all-out assault in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere.
• In almost four years, no significant worker safety and health regulations were promulgated.
• Its auto industry bailout approach was to slash auto workers wages in half; to force workers to pay more for a diminishing health care benefits; and in most cases to turn defined benefits pension plans into 401K plans (“defined contributions”) a boon for Wall Street investment management companies; auto industry “reorganization” amounted to forced plant shutdowns, large-scale layoffs and major union givebacks.
• On trade policy, the White House supported job-destroying free trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, over organized labor’s strong objections.
• On Feb 22, 2012 Trumka denounced the White House “corporate tax reform” proposal. While it contained a few progressive ideas (for example, making leveraged buyouts more difficult) it failed to raise any revenue beyond what is needed to pay for business tax breaks.
• On international economic policy, through Treasury Department and the IMF (controlled by the US Treasury Department) the US Administration, in league with the German-dominated European Union and European Central Bank, has toughened austerity against debt-ridden European peripheral states such as Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy, hurting the working class of these lands including their Communist Parties with whom we say we are in solidarity.
• There are sins of omission and commission. The US Administration boycotted the UN’s International Conference on Racism in South Africa in 2009 and actively worked to undermine any action coming out of it.
• Domestic policies of action and inaction have dramatically increased unemployment, poverty and inequality across the board; but by far joblessness is worst in African-American working class and poor communities. Yet no special measures to address mass unemployment among Black youth, near 50 percent in big cities.
• Even before the 2008 crash, Black religious leaders were protesting on Wall Street that their congregations were special victims of predatory subprime mortgage lending, but there have been few special measures from the Administration to help them avoid foreclosure and eviction.
• Increase in federal deportation of undocumented workers, mostly Latino, above the level seen in the Bush era.
• No concerted federal drive against racial profiling of Blacks and Muslims. Local police departments are often out of control in this matter.
Foreign and Military Policy; War and War Budget
• The Administration reappointed Robert Gates, Bush’s defense secretary as its own defense secretary.
• It continues the 50-year blockade of socialist Cuba.
• It has given the green light to Israeli aggression. Indifferent to Palestinian suffering, it has no objection to Israeli bombing of Gaza and seizure and detention of humanitarian relief ships to Gaza. It has cravenly capitulated to the Israel Lobby. It renewed loan guarantees for Israel. It has failed to come down firmly against continuing Israeli settlements.
• It is threatening and encircling People’s China. It forced Australia to accept a US base on its territory at its closest point to China; it began a ten-year projected buildup of US forces in East Asia, aimed at China.
• It committed aggression against Libya and Honduras. It overthrew both legitimate governments. In the former, there was all-out US military and political support for aggression by other NATO powers. It assassinated the Libyan head of state. It gave at least tacit approval to the Honduras coup, refusing to label it as such. It has recognized the elections run by the coup government in Honduras.
• It is now working on destabilizing Syria, in preparation for “regime change.”
• It continues demonization, threats and military pressure against socialist North Korea.
• It continues the Bush-era policy aimed at internal subversion of and military pressure on Venezuela and other progressive Latin American governments. It continues Bush buildup of Fourth Fleet encircling Latin America.
• It is building AFRICOM, a network of US military bases in Africa. US Navy is increasing patrols off Somali coast.
• Like Clinton and later, Bush, this White House has refused to sign the land mine treaty
• Its “departure” from Iraq is bogus. The US will keep at least 15,000 troops and mercenaries indefinitely, not to mention a Baghdad embassy the size of a small state.
• It deployed tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan. (the “Surge”) Despite latest atrocities (premeditated mass murder of children, Koran-burnings, desecration of the dead) US still committed to full-scale war in Afghanistan.
• It uses drones in Pakistan. Now such drones are allowed, with the agreement of Congress, to be used within the U.S.
• It talks the talk about a “nuclear-free world,” as did Ronald Reagan. On the other hand, after intensifying economic warfare against Iran, it is joining Israel in threatening Iran with bombing, for non-existent nuclear weapons program. It carries out unofficial, un-declared wars by means of Special Forces in Iran border areas.
• It appointed Bill Clinton to be UN Special Representative to Haiti. As president, Clinton consistently undermined Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the most progressive elected Haitian leader in modern times.
• It wages a “secret” border war, as well as a drone war in Pakistan and Yemen. It expanded CIA and US Special Forces interventions in both countries.
• It gave military support to Saudis to crush opposition in Bahrain, the seat of the main US naval base in Persian Gulf.
• It introduced the largest military budget in history, nearly $700 billion.
Civil Liberties; Constitutional Rights; Repression
• A provision of Defense Reauthorization Act, recently signed by the President allows any US president to assassinate a US citizen suspected of terrorism anywhere in the world, without due process of law.
• The Administration expanded extrajudicial killings and assassinations by drones and US Special Forces
• Supported impunity for Bush era war criminals and torturers; refused to release Bush-era military prison and torture photos; refused to release Bush era documents on torture, mistreatment of prisoners and other illegal acts
• Despite campaign promises and a signed Executive Order, White House has not shut down Guantanamo
• Continuing the build up of Baghram air base in Afghanistan as a second Guantanamo. Civil liberties groups, US and international, believe “extraordinary rendition” is going on there, despite Administration denials.
• Seeking to extend the Patriot Act with all its repressive sections.
• Dismantled the Occupy encampments in big cities, in cooperation with mayors, most of them Democrats, with tactics suggested and coordinated by Homeland Security Department
• In 2009 the international “global warming” conference at Copenhagen, supposed to reverse Bush’s reactionary stance at Kyoto, was a fiasco. It merely cemented the Bush direction on global warming and, in some ways, made it worse. White House actively worked to undermine any effective outcome from the UN Climate Change Summit.
• Pushing thoroughly ineffective climate change legislation, which will be a bonanza to Wall St.
• White House has failed to stop mountain-top removal coal mining
• OSHA regulations and EPA regulations have been stripped of original meaning; and no new regulations of any note have been adopted;
Social Safety Net
• Handpicked the Bowles-Simpson Commission whose report, accepting Wall St. assumptions, favored cuts in social safety net, shrinkage of social insurance systems and expansion of private insurance systems to give bigger role to Wall Street.
• In accordance with Bowles-Simpson recommendations, White House promised to cut Medicare and Social Security in the 2011 “debate” on debt ceiling.
• White House ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending.
Health Care Policy
• Accommodated corporate insistence that single-payer and any other progressive proposals be rejected. Corrupt US Senators (e.g., Max Baucus, D-MT) ensured such proposals were “off the table.”
• The resulting Administration “reform” (ACA) entrenches private insurance carriers and Big Pharma – which together are the main cause of the health care cost crisis – in the system. ACA makes future real reform a heavier lift.
• After promises that, in national health care reform law (ACA), no one would lose what they have, in secret meetings with health industry lobbyists, White House agreed to tax the health benefits of union workers which would a) force employers to ante up 40% more in payment for existing benefits; or b) force workers to accept 40% less in benefits, or c) force workers to pay the 40% out of their pockets. After promises in campaign speeches that “single payer” would get a fair hearing, but, in office, tossed out single payer approach as not being insurance-carrier friendly and therefore not realistic. ACA forces uninsured to buy their insurance from state-based, for-profit insurance carriers, with benefits to patients still being highly questionable in terms of their breadth and depth.
• White House sold a national health reform as universal; when in fact, it is not universal and it is a major bailout in the form of a guaranteed permanent market) of already giant health insurance carriers.
• It has repeatedly caved in to the right on women’s equality
• Education Secretary Arnie Duncan is the main proponent of charter schools, as well as more standardized testing and “merit pay” for teachers. He is promoting the privatization and corporatization of public schools and profit-making schools. It threatens states with reduced federal support unless they privatize more public schools.
• It is threatening higher education in the USA, as in 2012 State of the Union Address, with reduced federal support unless states reduce spending on higher education; thus, objectively threatening the wages and benefits of faculty.
• It has furthered the attack on public school teachers by continuing to agree with the right wing ideologues that the problem in the schools is bad teachers. There is little or no White House or US Senate effort to stop demonization of teachers.
• Administration’s mortgage rescue plan only helps banks and real estate industry, despite campaign promises.
• Despite campaign promises, it gave industry lobbyists positions in governments. The private heath insurers essentially wrote the health care “reform” law. Another example, White House appointed Cass Sunstein, a self -described “libertarian paternalist,” to oversee regulatory policy.
- IBEW Calls on the President and Congress to Act on Problems in Obamacare
- Texas to Become Leading Trading Partner with Cuba
- Green Party: “60% of Americans want an alternative party? Let’s talk.”
- Some thoughts on the recent elections
- Laborers’ O’Sullivan calls for a fix to ACA’s “destructive” impact on union health benefits