Interest in Communism Surges: Where is the CPUSA?

A  recent Rasmussen poll published on March 15, 2011 indicates that 11% of Americans favor communism over capitalism. Put that way, it may not sound like much, but if you look at the numbers it is significant in a country totally brainwashed by the capitalist controlled media.

Based on a U.S. population estimate of 312,000,000 it means that roughly 34,320,000 people in the U.S. think that communism would be superior to capitalism.

Another poll recently conducted by the Pew Research Center suggests that 31% of people in the U.S. have a positive view of socialism (see article posted on this blog). That would work out to be 96,720,000 people having a positive view of socialism. In certain sectors of the population, this percentage is much higher.

Among the 18 to 29 year old age group, 49% had a positive view of socialism. Among African Americans, 55% had a positive view of socialism and among liberal Democrats, 59% had a positive view of socialism.

All these figures add up to the fact that there are a large number of people in the U.S.A. who are open to both communism and socialism. This is truly amazing given the slander and lies hurled at socialists and communists since the horrible days of McCarthyism in the 1950’s.

Because of the uninterrupted torrent of abuse from the right wing which has been so well publicized by the mainstream media, most people in this country don’t have a clue as to what are the aims of communists and socialists.

Many people would be shocked to learn that the primary aim of communists is to support working people in their struggle to achieve a better life for themselves. Communists understand that in order for this to happen, the working class must become the ruling class. As long as the ultra-wealthy are the ruling class, the working class will have to struggle for every scrap they get.

Communists also understand that only a united working class can achieve the goal of the working class becoming the ruling class. As long as capitalists can divide working people by race, gender, culture, religion and other innumerable wedges that they use so effectively, true democracy of the people cannot happen and the working class will remain the oppressed class.

So, how has the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) leadership responded to this rising tide of interest in communism and socialism?

Although the party program “The Road to Socialism” and the party constitution point out the importance of the CPUSA fighting for socialism, leadership in a variety of venues has flatly stated that “socialism is off the table.” These venues have included the Glenn Beck show and a variety of publically circulated articles in the party press. There have also been articles suggesting that the word “communism” is unacceptable and should be changed.

Although there is a raging contradiction between the CPUSA program and constitution and what its leaders are advocating, the rift between leadership, membership and the public runs even deeper. Some in leadership of the CPUSA have suggested that “Leninism” is a “foreign” concept and should be dropped.

Many other Marxist-Leninist ideological tools have been jettisoned by CPUSA leadership. These are tools which have served the working class well over the history of the communist movement.

With what have communist strategies and tactics been replaced? The main tactic being advocated by CPUSA leadership today is the “defeat of the ultra-right.” Leadership maintains the only way to do this is to work to elect Democratic Party politicians. Leadership does not advocate evaluating these politicians based on their voting records and platforms, but simply seeks to elect democrats. They fail to recognize that democrats have supported untold imperialist wars and have actively opposed the interests of the working class. Members of the Obama administration have disrespected working people in an effort to cozy up to the enemy of the working class. This should not be forgotten. The positive contributions of progressive democrats should also not be forgotten and these individuals should be supported. In other words, democrats should be evaluated critically and exposed when they work to undermine the working class. Similarly, Republicans should be viewed critically, and when Republicans are more progressive in their positions with respect to the working class than their democratic opponents, they should be supported. CPUSA should be a partisan party for the working class, not a partisan party for any bourgeois political party, i.e. political party of, by and for the wealthy. CPUSA should be a political party of, by and for the working class.
T

he oversimplification of political struggle by CPUSA leadership has been ruinous to the party and membership has rapidly and dramatically dwindled to almost nothing. Paid party staff members have been laid off and members who disagree with leadership’s approach have been isolated, ignored and alienated.

Many members express fear of being expelled from the party, much like church members in the Middle Ages feared excommunication.

Why would people be afraid of being expelled from the CPUSA if it is only a Communist Party in name?
A number of Communist Parties from around the world have condemned the ideological positions of CPUSA leadership. One statement from Germany went so far as to say, “We don’t have time for this.”

They are right. It is not their responsibility to remake the CPUSA. It is up to the people in this country who identify with the communist movement to work together to build a new Communist Party in this country, either within the structure of the CPUSA or outside of it.
We need an extraordinary CPUSA party convention to address the egregious wrongs committed by current party leadership. Leadership should have an opportunity on a level playing field to address the burning questions of the membership.

Many party members are questioning why leadership’s positions are so divergent from the party program and party constitution.

Members know that a vast treasure of party historical items, items which could have found a home in a party owned and operated museum, were jettisoned off to an exclusive private university, New York University.

Membership is wondering why we were not consulted ahead of time in an extraordinary convention.

Members are also wondering about whether the university is committed to guaranteeing safeguards to protect these historical treasures or whether some university administrator with an ideological ax to grind could destroy these items at a later date.

Members are wondering about why the party press was closed down without consulting membership beforehand.

Members are wondering about what happened to out of date books and pamphlets published by the party press. Are these books by Gus Hall and other party luminaries in storage somewhere?

Members are wondering what happened to party items such as badges, cards, posters, and banners.

Members are wondering what happened to the organizational office of the party.

Members are wondering why most party publications are just apologist papers for the Obama administration.

Members are wondering when the party will be ready to resume its historical role as the vanguard party of the working class and actually be involved in the working class struggle, rather than commenting on its passing.

Members are wondering when the party will take leadership of anything.

Members are wondering when the party will show any kind of independence and be a partisan for the working class.

Members are wondering when the party will embrace its history rather than defaming it.

Members are wondering when there will be a real educational program to educate people about Marxist-Leninist theory. In fact, members are wondering when we will again be able to call ourselves Marxist-Leninists and really mean it.

Leadership deserves the opportunity to publicly and fully answer all these questions and many more.

So, if you are among the 34,320,000 who are for communism and against capitalism, don’t be put off by the passive ideology of current CPUSA leadership.

Come join us to fight the revisionism and opportunism within our party leadership and build a true communist movement which can fight for the interests of the working class.

The working class can build a better world for everybody, but we must be united in our struggle. Leadership’s actions and positions divide us since they do not reflect the true interests of the working class.

The Communist Party can and will be the party of the 99%, but only when the party stands up for the working class and working people are ready and willing to fight for their interests in unified struggle.

January 11, 2012

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