EditorÂs note:Â a number of delegates to the recent CPUSA convention have forwarded to MLToday the following document, reflecting their considered, collective opinion of the 29th CPUSA Convention.
Many friends and comrades have asked us:Â what really happened at the CPUSA Convention on May 21-23, eleven weeks ago, at Party headquarters in New York City?Â
So far, there are only the self-congratulatory appraisals, one by Party chair Sam Webb and another by his supporter John Case. Both are champions of the social reformist trend in the Party.
In the view of the Communist (that is, the Marxist-Leninist) wing of the CPUSA, however, the May 21-23, 2010 convention was a disaster. We see the Convention as a scandalous retreat from the US PartyÂs honorable history of principled struggle. The Convention was a retreat from socialism, class struggle, political independence, and internationalism. The Convention gave up ground on the fight against racism, imperialism, and monopoly.Â Â
It was not a convention rich in substance. What little substance there was, was objectionable, and came in the Main Report and the Composite Resolutions, which are available in full at www.cpusa.org/a-way-out-of-the-deepening-crisis/ and http://www.cpusa.org/29th-national-convention/.
The Main Report
Sam WebbÂs report could have been written by any liberal. When his followers dutifully referred to it as "brilliant," many a delegate could barely believe it.
It is known that one or more members of the National Board (NB) urged Sam Webb to take into account preconvention discussion critical of his line. He refused, calling such criticism the outpouring of a Âsmall minority.Â In the old days many ideas in preconvention discussion — even if critical of the leadership — would have been taken into account and discussed in the Main Report. That did not happen this time.
His Main Report is full of Straw Men deployed against his left critics in the Party.Â Skillful at writing opportunist double talk, Webb can compose sentences that, to the unwary reader, sound like common sense. Read more closely, however, his formulations throw open the door through which have marched the reformism, tailism, and American Exceptionalism that are aggravating the crisis in the CPUSA. For example:
Enclosing him [Obama] in a narrowly defined, tightly sealed political category Â as many on the left and right do Â is a mistake…it also goes in the direction of pitting the president against the working class and the people. That the right does this is no surprise. But when left and progressive people do it, it is wrong strategically and thus extremely harmful politically.
Our vision of socialism is a work in progressÂ
Our socialist vision should have a contemporary and dynamic feel; it should be rooted in todayÂs conditions and our national experience.Â If it has a ÂforeignÂ feel to it, people will reject it.
What I want to do is correct one-sidedness in our thinking. A transfer in class power — which will more likely be a series of contested moments during which qualitative changes in power relations in favor of the working-class and its allies take place…
Webb began his report with a list of what he views as ÂadvancesÂ since the last CP convention in 2005. Many of these he credits to the Obama Administration which took office in January 2009.
ItÂs a curious list. Much of his list is simply ObamaÂs promises or hopes hailed as if they were achievements.Â The Administration talks about Âreining in Wall Street.Â It aspires to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Global warming has been put Âon the agenda.Â
Much of the list is less than earth-shaking in importance. For example, the White House issued a proclamation on WorkersÂ Memorial Day.
Some items are wholly imaginary: ÂThe pendulum of power has shifted.ÂÂ He claims Âprogressives are on the offensive.Â ÂTorture was prohibited.Â
2005 versus 2010: Some Facts
His list of Âadvances,Â of course, purports to be evidence justifying the CPUSA policy of tailing Obama and the Democrats. Here is counterevidence:
In 2005 the US didnÂt have 30,000 fresh troops in Afghanistan. NowÂ it has, all told, nearly 100,000 there, not counting mercenaries.
In 2005 the US had a military budget of around $600 billion. Now it is around $708 billion.Â Â Â
In 2005 there was the blockade of Cuba. In 2010 there is a reauthorized blockade of Cuba.
In 2005 Honduras had a constitutionally elected government. Now it has a usurper government installed by the US and its Honduran allies.
In 2005 Guantanamo was open. In 2010 Guantanamo is still open.
In 2005 the Cuban Five were in prison. In 2010 the Cuban Five remain in prison.
In 2005, in the housing bubble, predatory lenders targeted people of color. In 2010 mortgage delinquencies, and foreclosure and evictions are at an all-time high, and the victims are disproportionately people of color.
In 2005 the unemployment rate of Black workers was double the unemployment rate of white workers. In 2010 Black workersÂ unemployment rate was still double the white unemployment rate, if not more.
In 2005 we needed health care reform.Â In 2010 we got a new health insurance "reform" law that entrenches the private, profit-making insurance carriers, the most parasitic sector of finance capital.
In 2005 with Bush in the White House and Republican control of Congress, the war in Iraq wasnÂt winding down. In 2010 with Democratic control of Congress and a Democrat in the White House, the Iraq War is still not winding down. It is being re-branded.
In 2005 we had a president who had recently launched a war of aggression in Iraq; in 2010 we have a president who escalated a war of aggression in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In 2005 before the housing bubble burst, investment bankers and other lords of high finance were raking in billions by fraudulent means. In 2010, two years after the crash exposed them, the same lords of finance, their bonuses fattened by taxpayer billions, walk in and out of Congressional hearings fearing no one. They thumb their noses at the Congress and the public.
In 2005 the party had weekly newspaper we could give out at plant gates. Now it has a cyber newspaper.
If there was anything new in WebbÂs report it was the reaffirmation of tailism,Â more emphatically than ever.Â Webb stated that for the CPUSA there is only to be Âindependent politics inside the Democratic Party.Â
The Official ÂCompositeÂ Resolutions
The content of the composite resolutions pushed through by the leadership illustrate vividly the political decay.Â
Historically, in the US working class movement, the chief features of right social democracy are 1) the defense of imperialism and 2) the soft-peddling of the struggle against racism. This convention marks a big shift in that direction.
The original resolutions from the Party grassroots were combined with similar resolutions and ÂeditedÂ by the Resolutions Committee. But the ÂeditingÂ destroyed the original political thrust of the submitted resolutions. It would be an exaggeration to say the Composite Resolutions bore any resemblance to the original resolutions.Â No original resolutions were read to or voted on by the Convention body.
One hour was allowed for discussion of the resolutions. The resolutions committee spent 45 minutes reading the edited resolutions, word-for-word out loud. Discussion was cut off after 15 minutes, even though many people were lined up to speak.
ÂCompositeÂ Resolution #5, the long resolution on Peace and Solidarity is the most disgraceful and dangerous of all the resolutions. It is the most removed from anti-imperialist principles. It defends the Obama foreign policy against the facts. When facts donÂt conform to the tailist policy, it adjusts the facts, asserting, for example, that the US withdrawal from Iraq is Âon track.Â
The underlying fiction put forth by the leadership is: the Obama Administration is never guilty of any crimes. The Obama Administration only does bad things Âunder pressure from the right wing.Â
This Peace and Solidarity resolution will be of great interest to the international Communist movement, which can only conclude that it no longer has a Communist Party ally in the belly of the beast.
This resolution means the CPUSA leadership is consciously choosing alignment with Obama instead of the struggle against imperialism. The CPUSA leaders do not want to struggle against imperialist war, which Obama is waging and expanding.Â
It is easier for the CPUSA to make common cause with the US Administration on the basis of the golden words of his various speeches calling for nuclear arms cuts.Â The CPUSA wants Âa new peace movement,Â as Party peace leaders have stated, one that will dodge the issue of imperialist aggression. It will, instead, support nuclear disarmament and stress the wastefulness of military spending in terms of funds unavailable for economic and social needs.
This, then, is the most shameful consequence of this opportunist leadership’s loss of its working-class and Marxist-Leninist bearings. It is de facto acquiescence to the criminal U.S. imperialist occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Fight for Jobs, Resolution #1, was supposed to be showcased at the Convention. It is little different from the AFL-CIO program.Â A clear Marxist approach, for example, would entail the class-struggle demand to cut the workweek with no cut in pay. Such a remedy would expand jobs at the expense of corporate profits. This notion is nowhere to be found. Worse, while the resolution takes note of the especially high unemployment rates among Blacks, Latinos, women, youth, etc. it opportunistically does not call for affirmative action in hiring and re-hiring them, the classic CPUSA position for many decades.
The Special Report on the Fight against Racism (Resolution # 2)Â True to the key policy of Webb and his allies — Tail Obama and the Democrats — this resolution sees the upsurge of racism (SB1070, the Arizona racial profiling law, the wave of anti-Muslim discrimination and repression) as a response from the ultra-right to the election of Obama. With this resolution, the CPUSA fight against racism is no longer primarily motivated by the necessity of building working class unity. Rather, the CPUSA leaders fear the ultra right is trying to ÂdisruptÂ the workings of the new Administration. In other words, the Obama AdministrationÂs political interests, not working-class unity, are the main preoccupation. This resolution also dodges the question of affirmative action.
The Resolution on Political Action (Resolution # 3), equates the ultra-right with the Republican Party and shuns a class analysis of the Obama Administration. This resolution could have been written by the Democratic National Committee.Â It pledges to Âextend and defendÂ the ÂvictoriesÂ won in the November 2008 election. It is, simply put, more tailism.
The Resolution on Immigrant Rights (# 4) merely restates the AFL-CIO position in favor of immigration reform. It leaves out the highly relevant fact that deportations of undocumented workers have increased under an Obama Administration eager to appease nativist sentiment. According to figures from the federal immigration enforcement agency, in 2009 the Obama Administration deported 389,834 people, about 20,000 more than in 2008, the final year of the Bush Administration.
Resolution # 6, on Party-building, manages to discuss the ÂchallengesÂ to Party growth without acknowledging that the Party membership is in steep decline.Â An honest discussion of why recruitment is failing was omitted.
How many party members are there? In a report on Party Internet work and Internet Ârecruiting,Â one NB member inadvertently gave away the real size of this declining party, a number often lied about. In 2005 the CPUSA had 2500 members, according to Sam Webb.Â At the 2010 convention the NB member in question declared Â3Â times a week a new application comes by Internet, and at this rate the party could doubleÂ its size in three years.ÂÂ Â Do the math.Â If there are 150 yearly Internet applications, theÂ current membership may be reckoned to be around 450-500 at most.
The present leaders would have us believe, of course, that the steep decline has nothing to do with the politics of the leadership. Rather, it is subtly implied that it is the members who must change their ways. Members are to blame, and they must work differently.
More on the Character of the Convention
The grim reality we face is that, in the May 2010 convention, the right-wing faction in the leadership led by Webb, for now, has consolidated its hold over the party.
The outcome was dreadful, but it was not entirely surprising. Opportunism has been the increasingly assertive trend in this party for years.Â This is the same right opportunist direction taken by some other parties.
In the pre-convention discussion, articles like ÂSave the Party,Â give chapter and verse of our critique of the PartyÂs political decline (see www.mltoday.com), and what has to be done to turn matters around.
The current Party leadership is a faction.Â Factions and factionalism are not limited to oppositions to leaderships. In such cases, however, official factionalism functions in the form of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy stifles party democracy and membership criticism. It uses charges of Âdisruption,Â and, of course, ÂfactionalismÂ against its left critics. The present leaders have not — in so many words — repudiated democratic centralism.Â They will enjoy the democracy. We may expect to be on the receiving end of the centralism.
In June 2009 the factional nature of the Webb leadership was most clearly revealed when it rammed through a policy of ending the print edition of the PartyÂs weekly paper, the PeopleÂs Weekly World. It also withheld information at subsequent National Committee (NC) meetings on the extent of leadership and membership opposition to the move.Â This is one of a series of abuses for which they still have not been held accountable.
A notorious example from 2005, a CP convention year. The Illinois CP, after adopting a resolution calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, forwarded it on to the national convention for adoption. Although efforts were subsequently made by a clearly uncomfortable national Party leadership to have the maker of the motion change it ("to reflect the security interests of the Iraqi people" – i.e. to acknowledge the legitimacy of the U.S. occupiers), the maker refused, pointing out that even if he had wanted to do so (which he did not), it was already out of his hands. The resolution ultimately came before the national convention in a bundle of resolutions approved by the resolutions committee. That bundle was adopted unanimously.
Subsequently, that resolution was willfully disregarded by the Party’s leadership and editors. Its content was never reflected in the Party’s own newspaper. Efforts to have this position reflected in the Party’s publications were repeatedly quashed. Nor was the resolution implemented in the Party’s mass work, particularly on the national level. It remains a dead letter to this day.
The justification for this willful neglect was that Sam Webb, in his report to the convention, suggested a "different approach" — one acceptable to Democrats — calling for a "timetable" or an "exit strategy" from Iraq. This approach was and essentially remains a stalling tactic, an indefinite postponement of U.S. withdrawal that has resulted in many thousands of additional Iraqi and U.S. deaths and the continued presence of over 100,000 U.S. troops (and a similar number of "contractors") in Iraq up to this very day.
Webb’s report, which was presented without any opportunity for substantive amendment, was perfunctorily adopted. His report was then used to invalidate the clear antiwar resolution.
And this from a Party leadership that purports to champion democracy!
Stifling Convention Democracy
The convention, a caricature of democracy, was tightly controlled by the present leaders.
It was small: only 158 delegates and 50 guests. Convention managers filled the three days with ludicrous time wasters, such as a bagpipe-playing session. They contrived delegate selection rules to give regions with no clubs a vote, especially if they were reliably pro-incumbent.Â For example, a defender of the right-wing line represented the state of West Virginia.
Unlike previous conventions, the mood of this convention showed little sense of internationalism, and little sense of outrage against the imperialist wars being waged by the US. The convention was stacked, as much as possible, with people willing to go along to get along, as well as the current leadership and its flatterers.
What was the mood? One Party worker, a man in his 50s stated:
At the convention, I felt like an outsider. My "home in this rock," to quote Paul Robeson, seemed to be no longer my home. My political home has been transformed without my consent or agreement. It has been stolen. They have put an end to the necessary tools of our trade, so to speak, the party paper and timely class-oriented pamphlets on the important issues facing our working class. Tailing and nonsense analysis replaced class-struggle analysis and leadership. In general, it seemed to me that our misleadership has lost their class-conscious common sense.
Clearly, the goal, which conference organizers achieved, was to run a top-down, stage-managed convention that would squelch free debate, waste time, and run out the clock.
There was little time devoted to face-to-face discussion at the convention. People could not engage in discussion to collectively shape an agenda on how to best move the organization forward.
Most of the ConventionÂs time was squandered on self-congratulatory speeches from the leadership that took credit for general political trends way beyond any conceivable CPUSA influence. The Âcalls to actionÂ amounted to nothing more than calls for legislative lobbying and electioneering for Democrats.
Yet the rightists in leadership had been worried about loss of control the convention, though, regrettably, their worries proved unfounded. In a preconvention comment one of their supporters voiced the worry:
A narrowly based, but very persistent campaign has been waged on the Internet and in the comments sections of CP publications Â by my count nearly 20% of commenters and discussants and much more if you count the number of words Â with the sole effective purpose being to distract the Left, and especially the CP, from working within the broadly defined Obama coalition, or from focusing on a majority-based agenda of reforms.
The right had reason for anxiety. Most of the resolutions, like most of the pre-convention discussion (available at the www. MLToday.com website), opposed the reformist line of the present leadership. It opposed the shutting down of the print edition of the PeopleÂs World. It supported ending the fawning tailism of Obama and the Democrats. It called for the Party to shed right opportunism and to return to its anti-imperialist, class struggle, and anti-war principles.
We believe the convention outcome does not reflect the political balance in the Party membership as whole. The grassroots opposition sentiment, which is substantial, was barely reflected. The convention delegates were carefully chosen by procedures that guaranteed majority support of the incumbents. In all organizations incumbents have certain advantages. This was done by various means, quite a few of them flagrantly dishonest, such as completely ignoring the content of properly submitted resolutions from the Party grassroots. Â
That the national convention would be a travesty of democracy was predictable, perhaps, from the chicanery at the state conventions that preceded it Â the Illinois District convention being one of the worst cases. In the Illinois convention, the organizers killed time by watching videos and holding tutorials on how to send email. In Illinois and elsewhere the Webb faction maneuvered to keep key, articulate leaders opposed to the rightist trend away from the national convention.
The national convention was held in a room small in size, allegedly for economy reasons. The Webb faction has vacillated between 1) declaring a financial crisis that rules out face-to-face meetings and 2) denying any financial crisis exists if they are claiming that there is no problem with their stewardship. The spin depends on needs of the moment. Truth and consistency are not the guiding principles.
They smothered debate not only by ignoringÂ preconvention resolutions and discussion, but also by making the convention smaller and less representative. Rural areas of the country, even if there was only one party member in a given state, got a voting delegate. But some industrial clubs were completely unrepresented.
They also isolated those critics of the Party line who were at the convention. One of the strongest of their opponents, an NC member from Kentucky, objected to adding to the NC a Midwesterner who evinced no understanding of the role of clubs in Party structure. He also objected to another candidate involved in questionable financial activity. He was overruled and the two were added to the NC. For his pains, he himself was dropped from the NC. Whenever he rose to speak, he was surrounded by Webb loyalists.
An Air of Unreality
Most leadership speeches proclaimed a mad eagerness to work in an imaginary coalition with the liberal wing of Big Business. In his Main Report, Webb boasted, ÂBroadly speaking, our view of the general conditions of struggle and the strategic path forward was and is on the money.Â
A long-time Party peace movement leader made such delusional statements as: ÂObama is listening to us [e.g., Peace Action, Military Families Speak Out]. He meets with us. We canÂt close this door by criticizing him.Â ÂWe need to help Obama resist being pushed to the right.Â ÂObamaÂs sentiment on Afghanistan is shifting our way.Â ÂObama has realistic assessment on the withdrawal of troops.Â
Thus, theÂ content of the convention was remarkably unconnected to the PartyÂs real mission Â leading struggle. Such pressing issues as climate change, one billion hungry people, a waning labor movement, a health care system given over to major profiteering, populations displaced and migrating, US militarization of the planet, and more received little or no discussion.
A Dearth of Internationalism
In the ConventionÂs deliberations there was little discussion of developments abroad: the multiplying wars, global economic crisis, struggles like that of the Haitian people for survival against racism and colonialism, resistance to US bases and militarization, popular resistance to the coup government in Honduras, and a real push to end the blockade and free the Cuban Five.
As for our relations with other Communist parties, Convention organizers minimized the number of observers from the international Communist movement. When realistic comrades pointed out that, if budgetary considerations were paramount, then inviting the UN or consular staff resident in New York from such counties as China, Vietnam, Cuba, and North Korea was an option, for the price of a subway ride. The Party leadership resisted that obvious solution.
In the end, several parties did appear to give short greetings. The Vietnamese delegate spoke.
Convention managers minimized delegatesÂ knowledge what the international Communist movement was saying to the CPUSA.Â
For example, the Webb circle tried to suppress the full Greek Communist Party (KKE) greetings, especially the paragraphs that dealt with opportunism in the international Communist movement. When the full KKE text was handed in writing to the delegates (thanks to the fact that the KKEÂ had speedily postedÂ the greetings in English at its website) Webb and his supporters were forced to issue a message of solidarity to the KKE and eventually to post the whole KKE statement at the CPUSA web site. Of course, now that it is there, they are making no effort to call attention to it.
One of the most active YCLers expressed alarm at the lack of young delegates at the convention. There were, of course, YCL guests (and a few delegates) but participation from youth was scant. A healthy and vibrant Communist Party would give special attention to the training and support of young leaders and cadre. The lack of youth participation is a portent that the current political line of the leadership has no future.
The convention was stacked, as much as possible, with people willing to Âgo along to get along,Â as well as the current leaders and their hangers-on. YCLers were given a code to register as guests, and when some leaders of the YCL tried to register they were denied access to the convention for the reason that Âthere was no room.Â This was systematically done for political reasons.
Resistance to the Line
With plenary sessions a choreographed sham, what rebellion there was could only take place in skirmishes in the workshops and panels, not the plenaries. There were good discussions in the workshops. However, there were no minutes taken or reports given back to the larger body.
In one workshop, for example, the information technology panacea was challenged by an Arizona delegate who pointed out the reality of the digital divide.
In the ÂClub Life and EducationÂ workshop the majority of participants steered the discussion towards theory Â i.e., the leadershipÂs failure to incorporate and develop it and the need to focus on the Marxist-Leninist theoretical education of existing and new members. Indeed, the consensus of this workshop was that the leadership needed to be told that the Party needs to pay more attention to theory. The YCL co-convener of the workshop attempted to shift the discussion and assert control a number of times, without much success
Two controversies burst out into the open at the Convention. One was the censorship of the KKE greetings, mentioned above.
The other was the treatment of the resolution on independence for Puerto Rico. The Massachusetts District resolution on Puerto Rican liberation was substantially the same as in the last convention. However, the nervous chair, PeopleÂs World editor Terrie Albano, perceived the resolution as an act of insurrection from rebel districts (Massachusetts, Kentucky, Indiana). Afraid of debate, Albano shut down discussion. This enraged Party members of Puerto Rican descent and other backers of the Massachusetts resolution, several of whom walked out.
One mendacious Âspecial resolutionÂ deserves a word. It emanated from the national leadership, commending the New York District for helping to re-launch May Day. New York trade union comrades familiar with the facts pointed out that national Party leaders had done their best not to participateÂ in May Day on the grounds thatÂ ÂObama need support; he doesnÂt need criticism.Â Sam Webb and Scott Marshall, Party labor secretary, had rejected early pleas for help from the trade unionists and immigrant groups trying to relaunch it.
The ÂCompositeÂ resolutions represent ideological liquidation. All the resolutions repudiate the idea that the CPUSA will seek to play a leading role in anything or initiate anything. It will merely Âparticipate in,Â Âhelp,Â Âencourage,Â Âjoin in,Â Âgive support to,Â and so on.
But there was physical liquidation too. The convention decided henceforth to hold only one National Committee meeting a year. The other three meetings will be conference calls, which are, of course, easier to manipulate.
It was clear from the comments of Roberta Wood, Party secretary-treasurer, that the Party will rent Winston-Unity Hall, a floor of the New York City headquarters building, to finance a pay raise for Party staff. It increasing appears that the paid staff is asserting its group interests regardless of the consequences to the organization or its rank and file members who were not present as delegates.
The CPUSA leadership composition became more skewed with near total removal of independent and critical voices from the NC. The leadership is now quite inbred, both politically and otherwise. The daughter of Sam and Sue Webb — a schoolteacherÂ in Boston who playsÂ little orÂ no role in Party life there — was put on the National Committee.
There was an unsuccessful effort by Danny Rubin, an ideological ally and mentor of Webb, to enhance the powers of the National Board (NB), which has become really a rubber-stamp council of Webb loyalists. Rubin wished to centralize power at the expense of the NC on matters of Party constitutional change.Â
The incoming NCÂs size remains about the same, still 82 or 84. The convention dropped 12 or 14 NC members, and added a like amount. Some departing NC members were not removed, they resigned in disgust.
Party veterans noted that the reports on local activity, customary at such gatherings were not Âwhat we are doingÂ They were ÂwhatÂs going on,Â that is, what others are doing. It was another expression of the PartyÂs loss of purpose.
At the convention younger comrades barely spoke, most wondering what to make of the proceedings. Veterans of many Party conventions saw no — or at any rate few — new faces in key districts
Forty-five minutes of Webb’s keynote remarks were taped for C-SPAN. His supporters considered this to be of great importance. It seems to us that inviting C-SPAN to tape WebbÂs presentation demonstrated that his intended audience is the TV-viewing public, not specifically Communists. His generalizations and lack of analysis could only be directed to non-Communists.
The Convention was undemocratic, scripted, non-Communist (in fact anti-Communist at times), and devoid of Marxist analysis of present conditions. One delegate, completely disgusted, predicted, ÂThey wonÂt even bother to hold another convention.Â
Validating our pessimistic analysis, since the convention, matters have continued to slide down the slippery slope. The first NC conference call took up the topic of Âre-brandingÂ the Party, as if the Party were a tube of toothpaste requiring a more modern name, like changing ÂIpanaÂ to ÂAquafresh.ÂÂ Reportedly, a consultant will be hired to advise on re-branding, including re-naming.
As one seasoned comrade who has subsequently resigned said privately to us, the convention result shows Âthe political gangrene of opportunism has spread very far indeed.Â
Gangrene looks like this: one of the most appalling moments in this appalling convention came when Joel Wendland, editor of Political Affairs, a ÂJournal of Marxist Thought,Â stated: ÂIsnÂt it great we can have a CPUSA convention and not hear ÂMarx said thisÂ and ÂLenin said thatÂ?!Â ÂWe need to shed old skin on theoretical level.Â
Evidently, Wendland is following his own advice. A few weeks back, he abandoned any theory of imperialism. He posted without criticism a proclamationÂ from Secretary ofÂ State Hillary Clinton on Venezuelan Independence Day, as if the US State Department were a champion of Venezuelan independence.Â We believe the real State Department view is expressed in the seven new US military bases in neighboring Colombia, authorized by Obama and Clinton,Â aimed at stranglingÂ Venezuelan independence and democracy.
We view this convention as a hijacking of the Party by a faction of the leadership. Many good Party members are wondering: Can this party be saved?
We donÂt know. It will take a fierce struggle. But most of us intend to try.
The present leadership is already in consultation with social reformist groups (DSA, CCDS, the reformist Freedom Road). ItÂs obvious that most of the present leaders donÂt want a Communist Party. They view Leninism and even the name CPUSA as Âbaggage.Â
As for us, a few voices among many, we are urging the healthy forces in the Party not to quit, but to stay and fight. How many will leave we do not yet know.Â Those who have left are honorable comrades who see resignation as a matter of principle. We have resolved to stay close to them and to work together closely. They have welcomed that.
Matters are serious. Yet, there are factors on our side. Here are a few: our opponents often miscalculate. For example, delaying the convention for one year proved a miscalculation on their part, insofar as it more easily enabled the left opposition in the Party to point out how absurd the official CPUSA ÂanalysisÂ of Obama and the Democrats is.Â The international Communist movement is on our side. It is looking on with dismay and alarm at the deterioration within the CPUSA leadership. As the present US Administration moves steadily rightward, to justify its policies becomes ever more difficult. Disgusted by a Party that sees its sole mission the election of Democrats, people walk away or give up. The membership dwindles, and the organizational crisis deepens.Â The class struggle is sharpening in the US and around the world. Reformism has no solutions for US working people.
We doubt that there can be any recovery in the CPUSA until Sam Webb and his allies are removed from their present positions. Â
The daunting immediate task ahead for Marxist-Leninists in the US is to figure out how to move forward inside and outside the CPUSA.
August 18, 2010