Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Where to Begin? The Communist Party USA and The Present Crisis

Originally posted at:
At the present moment, the revolutionary movement of the proletariat is confronted with historic challenges and obstacles which boldly stand in the way of the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large in the interests of working and oppressed people.  The reality at hand is the ongoing onslaught that the capitalists are forcing down the throats of working people by means of their ruthless austerity regimes and imperialist plunders.  By now, no one can hide the fact that even those in the imperialist First World are suffering from the current crisis of capitalism.  While the ruling classes of the West are crucifying Libyans in the name of freedom and democracy, and while the Syrian people, bloodied and exhausted, are struggling to resist imperialist invasion and a brutal civil war engineered and perpetuated by the West, working people of America are being stimulated, and beginning to wake up to the sights around them and realize the gravity of the situation.  Witnessing the fury of cuts, austerity, and encroachments on democratic rights at home, and at the same time looking on at the terroristic wars being waged by their government throughout the world, American working people are showing signs of an increasingly awakened class consciousness in response to the crisis of the global capitalist-imperialist system.  The achievement of a socialist consciousness, however, is still a complex and dynamic work in progress, and a protracted one at that.
As has been admitted, considerable challenges and obstacles litter the road to such a culmination.  A capitalist crisis brings not only a responsive class consciousness or political resurgence of proletarian revolution, but also heightened offensives launched with the aim of sustaining the capitalist system regardless of the suffering by the masses of people entailed.  The ruling class, split or divided, is fundamentally united by its “better dead than red” mentality, and, driven by this, is determined to fight to the death before surrendering state power to any revolutionary forces.
At such a time, and considering such realities, the fundamental question of the revolutionary Marxist agenda is the means by which the American proletariat can be organized, educated, and agitated to the point of realizing and being capable of successfully enacting the necessity of overthrowing capitalism.  This is not only a question of strategy and means that has been discussed many a time around the tables of communists or in the essays and articles of radicals, but also a crucial problem concerning the very livelihood of the revolutionary movement and those involved.  It must be borne in mind that, regardless of what phrasemongering may be uttered by various comrades here and there, we are living in a time of definite systemic crisis and radical rupture of capitalism, and our actions and orientation must be suited accordingly to this state of conditions.  It is simply unpardonable to ignore or be “innocent” of seeing the conditions that we are facing, the statistics and facts of which can be found presented anywhere, even in the pages of the bourgeois press.
Unfortunately, however, there are comrades who, although they may recognize the realities of capitalism at hand, shut their eyes to the realities of socialism and revolution which are inseparable from the problems of capitalism and their solution. This tendency is distinguished by its proposal of petty reformist and revisionist distortions in place of genuinely radical theory and practice, and one of the gravest aspects of this tendency is its very position within the working class movement.
There is no use in hiding the fact that the greatest representatives of the reformist and revisionist tendency within the ranks of the proletarian movement are those who constitute the present leadership of the Communist Party USA, i.e., Sam Webb and co.  This group, this organized tendency, is responsible for proudly and unabashedly asserting and suggesting numerous theses concerning the path and means by which to deal with the current situation of capitalism which are entirely irreconcilable with Marxism, proletarian revolution, and even the realities of capitalism.  As Comrade Mark Anderson has pointed out in his article The Old Bug of Right Opportunism Returns, these include, but are not limited to the following:
  1. “The capitalist system is not moribund, as Lenin said, but is relatively strong. It is not in general crisis. Therefore, the U.S. party’s strategy should be solely to win attainable reforms within the system rather than advocate capitalism’s revolutionary replacement with socialism.”
  2. “Anti-monopoly strategy, let alone anti-capitalist propaganda, is too advanced for this stage of struggle, and the main focus should instead be on rebuffing the most extreme right and the Republican Party.”
  3. “Historically, socialism has shown itself to be unable to solve economic and social problems. Central planning is a failure; a market-oriented economy is the way to go. It’s not even clear anymore what socialism is.”
  4. “The class struggle has ceased to be the central pivot around which all questions revolve.”
  5. “Racism and national oppression are gradually receding. It is no longer necessary to aggressively push for affirmative action.”
  6. “Issues of discrimination, anti-Semitism, and the struggle for the full equality of African Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Arab Americans, LGBT, women, and youth no longer requires special attention. Party Commissions and special demands on these questions are unnecessary.”
  7. “The term “U.S. imperialism” is too simplistic. The U.S. government, especially under President Obama, can play a positive and humanitarian role in world politics. For this reason it is permissible for the U.S. military and NATO forces to occupy other nations like Iraq and Afghanistan, impose “democratic” reforms, and secure neoliberal economic advantages. Peace and solidarity work is therefore not as important as it once was.”
  8. “Electoral politics should be limited to work within the Democratic Party. Any attempt to go outside the two-party system is sectarian and futile. Running candidates on the Communist Party ticket is especially narrow and self-defeating.”
  9. “The CPUSA is bogged down by dogmatism, sectarianism and rigidity. Many of the stock slanders of the Party are indeed justified. It may not survive unless it abandons its outdated dogmas, including the dogma that it should play a leading, vanguard role.”
  10. “The Party should emulate social democracy and seek to merge with the broad left. The “Communist plus” should be given a quiet burial, and Marxist-Leninist education and literature (including a printed news paper) are relatively unimportant. Strong party organization is no longer necessary.”
These notions, although perpetrated and implied in nearly every article or speech that the leadership puts forward, have yet to be presented in more of a concentrated and straightforward expression than in Sam Webb’s A Party of Socialism in the 21st Century:  What It Looks Like, What It Says, and What It Does.  An unabashed rejection and condemnation of Marxism-Leninism, a manifesto for reformism and wholesale revisionism, and, above all, the guiding orientation of the Communist Party USA’s present leadership and thus Party policy, Webb’s essay is an unavoidable and undeniably significant document.  The document is even further significant upon realizing its context in present conditions.
At such a time of glaringly evident and deep crisis of the global capitalist system, in the face of the looming environmental disaster facing humanity, and in view of US imperialism’s continued, vicious and violent onslaught against the peoples of the global south – one would think that at such a time, the leadership of the Communist Party USA would shoulder its revolutionary rifle and recognize its historic mission to organize the working class for revolutionary resistance and struggle against the world capitalist-imperialist offensive.  Sam Webb, however, has proven that a very different view is at large within the Party’s ranks, and, most unfortunately, among its leading figures.  Indeed, few pronouncements have so shocked the American Left as has Sam Webb’s A Party of Socialism in the 21st Century:  What It Looks Like, What It Says, and What It Does.
In antagonism to Webb’s theses and proposed orientation, however, there exists a revolutionary alternative which, rather than striving to cope with, accomodate, and appease the more “progressive” spectrums of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class, believes in the pivotal conclusions reached by Marx and Lenin that have made Marxism-Leninism the scientifically deduced theory and practice of the emancipation of the world’s exploited and oppressed people that has accumulated the blood, sweat, tears, triumphs and tribulations, and successes and failures of more than a hundred years of struggle.
This tendency, which very much may be the Bolshevik tendency of today (as opposed to the Menshevik tendency of Webb and co.), resolves that, in view of the existing conditions, we must not abandon but instead hold high the banner of Marxism-Leninism, and, rather than ditch truly revolutionary politics, embrace them.  The historic dilemma facing communists at the present juncture of history is one of either letting American capitalism continue its history, or, alternatively, beginning the history of American socialism. As has been said, the fundamental question of the revolutionary Marxist agenda is the means by which the American proletariat can be organized, educated, and agitated to the point of realizing and being capable of successfully enacting the necessity of transforming bourgeois society and thus opening the road for such a socialist America.  The way forward is clear: we communists must organize ourselves as the vanguard of working people and the revolution, we must develop a Party capable of educating, organizing, agitating, and leading working people and their allies in the collective struggle for socialism.
Presently, we are playing two ends against a middle in that we, in line with Party policy, are responsible for developing and maintaining a mass base of support by being activists in the struggle against the problems of capitalism, but at the same time we are allying with a “section” of the capitalists in power, the “progressive” Democrats, because they supposedly constitute a buffer against the forces of ultra-reaction, i.e., the far Right, and serve as a popular force in the interests of the “people” and “inclusive democracy”, as Sam Webb would put it.  By perpetrating such a policy, however, communists the country over are fulfilling a self-destructive prophecy of dooming the proletarian movement under the guise of “reinvigorating” or “broadening” it.  Under the present line, we are responsible for rallying the masses of people around the struggle against capitalism by means of joining and tail-ending forces which objectively bolster and support the capitalist system.  The incongruity is glaringly evident.  The lack of materialist class analysis is inexcusable.
Rather than miseducating and misleading people in struggle in this manner, however, the Communist Party USA must be tasked with handling its historic mission of organizing the forces of revolution against those of reaction, with shouldering its task of educating, agitating, organizing, and leading working people against the reactionary forces of capitalism, whether or not they label themselves Democrat, or Republican, or Libertarian, etc.
A revolution is on the agenda when people can no longer go on living in the old way.  Such a horizon is extremely close in view.  We cannot pretend to know what exact day the people will be compelled to take to the streets and overthrow the current order, nor can we pretend to know the exact day on which the integuments of capitalism will burst asunder and revolution will be the only open door for humanity.  What communists, what the Communist Party USA, should do, can do, and must do, however, is prepare cadres, educate, organize, and agitate working people, and orient its work towards facing its historic mission of leading the American people in casting capitalism to the dustbin of history, and opening up, on the basis of socialism, prospects for humanity’s sustainable and just development.
What is to be done? Where to begin?
The Communist Party USA, as our Party of working and oppressed people, must be first and foremost revolutionized in its theory and practice.
As Lenin so presciently pointed out:  “In its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organization.  Disunited by the rule of anarchic competition in the bourgeois world, ground down by forced labor for capital, constantly thrust back to the “lower depths” of utter destitution, savagery, and degeneration, the proletariat can become an invincible force only through its ideological unification on the principles of Marxism being reinforced by the material unity of organization, which welds millions of toilers into an army of the working class.” Neither the senile rule of the American imperialists nor the senescent rule of international capital will be able to withstand this army.  The Communist Party USA must render itself such an organization which has the theoretical foresight, fighting capacity, and determination by which to wield millions of American workers into an army committed to overthrowing capitalism and bringing fruition to the adage that has been inscribed on the Party’s banners for decades: “Peace, democracy, equality, socialism!” To this end, establishing the very organizational and ideological integrity which the Party currently lacks is an imperative matter.
Such is the guiding principle by which to begin to orient the struggle against the retrograde trends in the Party and begin to push forward the struggle for the emancipation of working and oppressed people in the United States of America.  It us up to communists around the country to realize these crucial realities of theory and practice, and contribute their lot to working out concrete methods and means of building a Communist Party which is not just interested in interpreting the world, but effectively changing it.  Limiting ourselves as we currently are to tail-ending the Democratic Party, the trade unions, “progressive” politics, and so on is systematically sabotaging and impeding the development of what has rang essential since the days of the Communist Manifesto: “They [communists] openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”  Working and oppressed people of all countries, unite!
Signed: Comrades J. Arnoldski, John Mackoviak, Analise Spencer, Jim Byrne, and E.C. Tolentino of the Tucson Club of the CPUSA

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Right Opportunism in the CPUSA


The following is a discussion article for the upcoming Communist Party USA national convention. I a
m reposting it here from ML Today as an exploration of the development of Right Opportunism in the CPUSA. As Comrade Stalin has said, “Under capitalist conditions the Right deviation in communism signifies a tendency … of a section of the Communists to depart from the revolutionary line of Marxism in the direction of Social-Democracy.” For an important analysis of the historical roots of Right Opportunism in the CPUSA, see Harry Haywood‘s article, “The Degeneration of the CPUSA in the 1950s.” See also the section on antirevisionism of the Marxist-Leninist Study Guide:
The Old Bug of Right Opportunism Returns
by Mark Anderson
Although Marxist-Leninist terminology has fallen out of vogue with the top leadership of our Party, there’s no avoiding the use of precise, scientific language if one is to analyze contemporary phenomena from a Communist point of view. To do so would be like trying to have a discussion of Newtonian physics without using words like force or matter.
For several years our Party has been suffering from the corrosive effects of what Marx, Lenin and other Marxists called opportunism, specifically right opportunism. This was not name-calling on their part, but was instead an attempt to define a historically determined phenomenon that persists to this day.
Former CPUSA chairman Gus Hall, in a 1979 article titled “Opportunism: the Destructive Germ,” defined right opportunism as “an unnecessary and unprincipled accommodation and, in the end, a capitulation to the enemy. It is a sacrificing of the longer-term and more basic interests of the working class and the people behind the guise of getting concessions on some immediate questions.”
He called opportunism a recurrent “virus,” an “old bug,” that the Party, surrounded as it is by bourgeois pressures, had to constantly be on guard against.
Generally speaking, right opportunism means sacrificing principle for short-term gains. It means an excessive readiness to make compromises with the capitalist class at the expense of the working class, to “get along” with capitalist order, to “go with the flow” and work for small changes around the edges rather than for fundamental change. It’s closely related to the concept of reformism.
The “left” variant of opportunism is characterized by sectarian phrase-mongering detached from the real world, whose objective effect is to perpetuate the established order much like its right variant does.
Historically, right opportunism has been the primary danger within the CPUSA. In its most extreme form, it led to the dissolution of the Party under the leadership of Earl Browder in the 1940s. It also badly split the Party in 1991 when a right-opportunist faction tried to capture the leadership of the Party and transform it into a reformist, social-democratic association.
The right-opportunist affliction in our Party today is manifested in several ways, most notably in a de-emphasizing of the class struggle.
For example, instead of helping the working class understand that its interests are irreconcilably opposed to the monopoly capitalist class, and organizing to wage struggle on that basis, the right-opportunist trend advocates all-class unity against political conservatives in a classless “battle for democracy.”
It places strategic emphasis on supporting more liberal or “enlightened” elements of the ruling, capitalist class as the lesser of two evils, particularly in the electoral arena, until such time as the conservatives or the “ultra-right” are decisively defeated. What would constitute such a decisive defeat is never spelled out, however. Even now, with a Democratic president and strong Democratic majority in Congress, advocates of this approach insist it must be retained.
To justify its position, this trend invokes Georgi Dimitrov’s theory of the popular front against fascism in the 1930s, and a variant of that position developed by CPUSA leaders in the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan came to power. Yet this trend is quick to point out that we do not have fascism today, nor does it appear to be imminent.
In practice, this all-class strategy means that the Party refrains from criticizing its would-be capitalist-class allies, mutes its criticism of the big monopolies (e.g. refrains from calling for their nationalization), exaggerates the significance of differences within the ruling class, and plays down basic Marxist concepts like the class character of the capitalist state.
One result of this approach is a blunting of working-class consciousness and socialist consciousness, and a weakening of the Party’s fighting spirit.
Among other right-opportunist ideas afflicting our Party are these:
The capitalist system is not moribund, as Lenin said, but is relatively strong. It is not in general crisis. Therefore, the U.S. party’s strategy should be solely to win attainable reforms within the system rather than advocate capitalism’s revolutionary replacement with socialism.
Anti-monopoly strategy, let alone anti-capitalist propaganda, is too advanced for this stage of struggle, and the main focus should instead be on rebuffing the most extreme right and the Republican Party.
Historically, socialism has shown itself to be unable to solve economic and social problems. Central planning is a failure; a market-oriented economy is the way to go. It’s not even clear anymore what socialism is.
The class struggle has ceased to be the central pivot around which all questions revolve.

Racism and national oppression are gradually receding. It is no longer necessary to aggressively push for affirmative action.
Issues of discrimination, anti-Semitism, and the struggle for the full equality of African Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Arab Americans, LGBT, women, and youth no longer requires special attention. Party Commissions and special demands on these questions are unnecessary.
The term “U.S. imperialism” is too simplistic. The U.S. government, especially under President Obama, can play a positive and humanitarian role in world politics. For this reason it is permissible for the U.S. military and NATO forces to occupy other nations like Iraq and Afghanistan, impose “democratic” reforms, and secure neoliberal economic advantages. Peace and solidarity work is therefore not as important as it once was.
Electoral politics should be limited to work within the Democratic Party. Any attempt to go outside the two-party system is sectarian and futile. Running candidates on the Communist Party ticket is especially narrow and self-defeating.
The CPUSA is bogged down by dogmatism, sectarianism and rigidity. Many of the stock slanders of the Party are indeed justified. It may not survive unless it abandons its outdated dogmas, including the dogma that it should play a leading, vanguard role.
The Party should emulate social democracy and seek to merge with the broad left. The “Communist plus” should be given a quiet burial, and Marxist-Leninist education and literature (including a printed news paper) are relatively unimportant. Strong party organization is no longer necessary.
The basis for the growth and development of this negative, right-opportunist trend in our Party consists of several elements, including: (1) the relatively long period of the capitalist system’s expansion, at least until the most recent crisis, and the resulting ideological pressures of ruling-class ideology; (2) the continuing ideological fallout from the demise of the USSR and the Eastern European socialist countries, (3) the weak class composition of our own Party — the insufficient number of workers in the leadership and membership (a number being further reduced by the passing away of many working-class Party veterans); (4) the inadequate theoretical training of the party membership in the basics of Marxism-Leninism, a problem compounded by the traditional U.S. baggage of “pragmatism” and “American exceptionalism”; (5) the broader influence of reformism and opportunism in the working-class movement; and (6) the corrosive influence of the Party’s extensive private property holdings, particularly in real estate, which now account for the vast majority of its operating revenue.
Defeating this retrograde trend within our Party is an absolutely essential task. Without its defeat, there can be no successful struggle for socialism.
February 19, 2010

MLToday on the 29th Convention of the old CPUSA

The following article is being posted here not as a full endorsement of the views expressed therein but rather to share some insights on the Right opportunist line in the old Communist Party USA.  It is originally from the website Marxism-Leninism Today:
CPUSA Executive Vice Chair Jarvis Tyner speaking in front of the flag of U.S. imperialism at the 29th CPUSA convention
[ML Today editor's note:  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:  what really happened at the CPUSA Convention on May 21-23, eleven weeks ago, at Party headquarters in New York City?
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 Party’s 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. 
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 and
The Main Report
Sam Webb, leader of the old CPUSA, speaking at the 29th Convention
Sam Webb’s 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 “small minority.” 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.  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 – as many on the left and right do – 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 progress…
Our socialist vision should have a contemporary and dynamic feel; it should be rooted in today’s conditions and our national experience. If it has a “foreign” 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 “advances” since the last CP convention in 2005. Many of these he credits to the Obama Administration which took office in January 2009.
It’s a curious list. Much of his list is simply Obama’s promises or hopes hailed as if they were achievements.  The Administration talks about “reining in Wall St.” It aspires to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Global warming has been put “on the agenda.”
Much of the list is less than earth-shaking in importance. For example, the White House issued a proclamation on Workers’ Memorial Day.
Some items are wholly imaginary: “The pendulum of power has shifted.”  He claims “progressives are on the offensive.” “Torture was prohibited.”
2005 versus 2010: Some Facts
His list of “advances,” of course, purports to be evidence justifying the CPUSA policy of tailing Obama and the Democrats. Here is counterevidence:
In 2005 the US didn’t have 30,000 fresh troops in Afghanistan. Now  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 $708 billion.  
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 workers’ unemployment rate was still double the white unemployment rate, if not more.
In 2005 we needed health care reform.  In 2010 we got a new health inurance “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 wasn’t 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 Webb’s report it was the reaffirmation of tailism, more emphatically than ever.  Webb stated that for the CPUSA there is only to be “independent politics inside the Democratic Party.”
The Official “Composite” Resolutions
The content of the composite resolutions pushed through by the leadership illustrate vividly the political decay.
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 “edited” by the Resolutions Committee. But the “editing” 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.  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.
“Composite” 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 don’t conform to the tailist policy, it adjusts the facts, asserting, for example, that the US withdrawal from Iraq is “on track.”
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 “under pressure from the right wing.”
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.
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.  The CPUSA wants “a new peace movement,” 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 acquiescing 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.  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) 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 “disrupt” the workings of the new Administration. In other words, the Obama Administration’s 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.  It pledges to “extend and defend” the “victories” 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 “challenges” to Party growth without acknowledging that the Party membership is in steep decline.  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 “recruiting,” 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.  At the 2010 convention the NB member in question declared “3 times a week a new application comes by Internet, and at this rate the party could double its size in three years.”  Do the math.  If there are 150 yearly Internet applications, the 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.  This is the same right opportunist direction taken by some other parties.
In the pre-convention discussion, articles like “Save the Party,” give chapter and verse of our critique of the Party’s political decline (see, and what has to be done to turn matters around.
The current Party leadership is a faction.  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 “disruption,” and, of course, “factionalism” against its left critics. The present leaders have not — in so many words — repudiated democratic centralism.  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 Party’s weekly paper, the People’s Weekly World. It also withheld information at subsequent National Committee (NC) meetings on the extent of leadership and membership opposition to the move.  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.  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 Convention’s time was squandered on self-congratulatory speeches from the leadership that took credit for general political trends way beyond any conceivable CPUSA influence. The “calls to action” 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 — by my count nearly 20% of commenters and discussants and much more if you count the number of words — 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. website), opposed the reformist line of the present leadership. It opposed the shutting down of the print edition of the People’s 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.
That the national convention would be a travesty of democracy was predictable, perhaps, from the chicanery at the state conventions that preceded it – 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 ignoring 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, “Broadly speaking, our view of the general conditions of struggle and the strategic path forward was and is on the money.”
A long-time Party peace movement leader made such delusional statements as: “Obama is listening to us [e.g., Peace Action, Military Families Speak Out]. He meets with us. We can’t close this door by criticizing him.” “We need to help Obama resist being pushed to the right.” “Obama’s sentiment on Afghanistan is shifting our way.” “Obama has realistic assessment on the withdrawal of troops.”
Thus, the content of the convention was remarkably unconnected to the Party’s real mission – 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 Convention’s 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 delegates’ knowledge what the international Communist movement was saying to the CPUSA.
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 KKE had speedily posted 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 “go along to get along,” 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 “there was no room.” 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 “Club Life and Education” workshop the majority of participants steered the discussion towards theory – i.e., the leadership’s 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

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, People’s 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 “special resolution” 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 participate in May Day on the grounds that  “Obama need support; he doesn’t need criticism.” 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.

More Liquidation

The “Composite” 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 “participate in,” “help,” “encourage,” “join in,” “give support to,” 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 schoolteacher in Boston who plays little or 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.
The incoming NC’s 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 “what we are doing” They were “what’s going on,” that is, what others are doing. It was another expression of the Party’s 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 Webb’s 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, “They won’t even bother to hold another convention.”
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 “re-branding” the Party, as if the Party were a tube of toothpaste requiring a more modern name, like changing “Ipana” to “Aquafresh.”  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 “the political gangrene of opportunism has spread very far indeed.”
Gangrene looks like this: one of the most appalling moments in this appalling convention came when Joel Wendland, editor of Political Affairs, a “Journal of Marxist Thought,” stated: “Isn’t it great we can have a CPUSA convention and not hear ‘Marx said this’ and ‘Lenin said that’?!” “We need to shed old skin on theoretical level.”
Evidently, Wendland is following his own advice. A few weeks back, he abandoned any theory of imperialism. He posted without criticism a proclamation from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Venezuelan Independence Day, as if the US State Department were a champion of Venezuelan independence.  We believe the real State Department view is expressed in the seven new US military bases in neighboring Colombia, authorized by Obama and Clinton, aimed at strangling 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 don’t 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). It’s obvious that most of the present leaders don’t want a Communist Party. They view Leninism and even the name CPUSA as “baggage.”
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. 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 “analysis” of Obama and the Democrats is.  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.  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.
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

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Response to Sam Webb’s “Main report to the Communist Party USA National Committee, November 17, 2012″

Reblogged from:

by James Thompson

What is really significant about Chairperson Webb’s “report” is that it is not a report at all. The document is written in vague generalities with a great deal of bombast, pontification and posturing. Chairperson Webb fails to specify what the CPUSA has been doing as an organized party or what it intends to do in the future. He only makes vague statements about how almost all of the members participated in the election. By participation, does he mean managing campaigns, running candidates, doing fundraising or working in a capitalist party’s campaign? Perhaps he just means voting. This is unclear.

It appears that Chairman Webb has forgotten Marx’ teaching that “content precedes form.” This paper is all about form with little regard to content.

Let’s examine the title of the document “Defeat for the right, victory for the people & democracy.” The first phrase “defeat for the right” is hard to fathom. Although it must be conceded that President Obama has taken a more progressive stance on a number of issues when compared with his opponent, candidate Romney, this does not mean that President Obama is a socialist or communist. He is a member of one of the two ruling bourgeois parties in the United States. For this reason, it can be expected that he will support the interests of the wealthy classes more often than not. It should also be remembered that he was elected with the endorsements of both Colin Powell and Michael Bloomberg. His campaign received truckloads of money from the ultra-wealthy and their corporate surrogates. These endorsements and financial contributions must be remunerated by Mr. Obama and such remuneration will dearly cost the people.

The second phrase “victory for the people” is also hard to stomach. To which people is Mr. Webb referring? Is he referring to the people of Palestine and/or Iran? Is he referring to workers in this country who are oppressed? Is he referring to labor union members who received no support from the president on passing the Employee Free Choice Act? Is he referring to maimed and deceased veterans returning from the endless imperialist wars in the Middle East and elsewhere? Perhaps Mr. Webb is referring to the people on Wall Street and in corporate offices across the USA. If you look at Mr. Obama’s record, it is clear that he has served those people well over the last four years.
The third phrase “victory for… Democracy” also presents some problems. To what kind of democracy is Mr. Webb referring? In the USA, there is only one form of democracy and it is bourgeois democracy. This form of democracy serves to protect the interests of the wealthy classes. It protects the wealthy classes from the demands of working people. It upholds the interests of imperialism, while simultaneously creating an illusion among workers that they really have a voice in the conduct of the business of the country. Although elections, even bourgeois elections, are an important arena for struggle, we should not harbor any illusions about their real purpose, which is to prop up the wealthy classes. As Lenin said, “elections solve nothing.”
Mr. Webb says “The better angels of the American people spread their wings.” This phraseology would be appropriate if written by a Catholic priest rather than the Chairperson of the Communist Party. Such idealistic thinking should be anathema to a Communist Party based on Marxism Leninism and dialectical materialism.

It is interesting that Mr. Webb notes that “An African-American president was reelected to the presidency, the Democrats unexpectedly strengthened their hand in the Senate and House, new progressive voices, like Elizabeth Warren, are coming to Washington, and victories, including for marriage equality, occurred at the state level.” Although it is a fact that an African-American was elected to the office of presidency, what does this mean in terms of the progressive struggle? In fact, the statement reflects some racist thinking. Martin Luther King, Jr told us that people should be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. It opens the question “What would Mr. Webb suggest we do if Dennis Kucinich was running against Clarence Thomas?” Mr. Webb’s reference to Elizabeth Warren “coming to Washington” fails to recognize that also the right wing Tea Party extremist, Ted Cruz, from Texas, will also be moving to Washington.
Mr. Webb maintains “The Communist Party said a year ago that the 2012 elections would be the main front of the class and democratic struggle and subsequent events have confirmed that fact.” To what events is Mr. Webb referring? Many people agree that wages and benefits of workers are always the front line of the class struggle. The fight for peace and justice and the right to organize are also main fronts of the class struggle. The fight against imperialism is also an important front in the class struggle. Mr. Webb goes on “Indeed, we argued…that defeating right-wing extremism was the key to moving the whole chain of democratic struggle forward.” There is only one way to defeat right-wing extremism once and for all and that will happen when socialism replaces capitalism on a global level. Again, it must be asked that if Mr. Webb believed that this election was crucial to the class struggle, what did the CPUSA do to participate in that struggle? Mr. Webb makes note that “a few weeks before the election, I attended a rally in Cleveland organized by the Teamsters, where many labor leaders and members of Congress spoke of the urgency of supporting President Obama.” Gus Hall and William Foster must be spinning in their graves. They would certainly ask why the chairperson of the CPUSA was merely attending a labor rally but not speaking. They might also ask if the party attempted to organize any activities of its own.

Mr. Webb makes a good point when he says “Not least, President Obama needs to hear from the tens of millions who reelected him.” However, he goes on to confusing statements such as “The president is the most popular politician in the country. Nobody has the political and moral authority that he has. He isn’t a radical, but by the same token to classify him as a run-of-the-mill capitalist politician doesn’t fit either. Of the Democratic Party presidents of the 20th century, none had the deep democratic sensibilities that he possesses. It is crucial that he lead the struggle.” To what struggle is Mr. Webb referring? Is he referring to the fact that Mr. Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president? Is he referring to Mr. Obama’s use of drones to assassinate foreign nationals? Is he referring to the struggle for the Employee Free Choice Act? Mr. Webb also states “Which is where communists, socialists and left and progressive people come into the picture. Our main task is to build broad people’s unity, guarantee the participation of the key social and class forces, counter the right-wing narrative with a working-class and people’s narrative, and bring forward an alternative program.” It would be helpful if Mr. Webb could be specific about the concrete actions that need to happen to bring this about.

Mr. Webb writes “For some time now our party has recognized powerful progressive trends in the labor movement. In this election, the actions of labor brought those trends to a new level.” The question must be asked “What is the party doing to build and support ‘progressive trends in the labor movement’”?

In his section on “foreign policy”, Mr. Webb takes some issue with the Obama administration “There is some reappraisal of the conduct of our foreign policy going on in the Obama administration and the national security state.” Again, Mr. Webb needs to be more specific about this “reappraisal.” He goes on “In all likelihood some changes will occur, not necessarily unimportant ones, but at the same time don’t expect the Obama administration or US ruling circles to give up their global ambitions.” Without labeling administration policies as imperialist, he does specify a number of global hotspots to which the Obama administration has mimicked the positions of right wing extremists including Iran, Palestine, Cuba, DPRK and Latin America among others. However, he proposes no action to oppose imperialism.

Mr. Webb seems to not have learned anything from Mr. Romney’s 47% remark. Speaking of the CPUSA, he writes “Our main audience is not among those who sat out the election struggle, but among those who were in its front ranks.” Since reports indicate that only 60% of eligible voters voted in the most recent election, he is dismissing the other 40% who may have been disgruntled with the capitalist parties and their policies. He is also dismissing people who are not eligible to vote. This would include large segments of the population such as undocumented immigrant workers, and people with felonies. He is also dismissing all those who have failed to register to vote without any study of why they failed to register. He notes that the CPUSA is too small. With such myopic vision, one can only say “no wonder.”

In response to his vague statements about building the party, the question should be asked “What are the concrete steps the party will take to build a larger party?”
Another man by the name of Webb, Jack Webb, who played the part of Sergeant Joe Friday, in the television series Dragnet many years ago used to say, “Just the facts, ma’am.” This is important to remember when discussing politics and economics. If we Communists are to have any credibility at all, we must be scientific in our analyses, method and program. We need leadership which meets those standards. The people of this country don’t need any more talking heads. There is enough of that on their TV.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Boycott the Elections! - Leaflet of the Communist Party of America, 1920

It is the duty of every class-conscious worker in America to boycott the coming elections. A worker’s vote cast for any of the parties or their candidates standing for election — is a vote for reaction or reform! Whether it be the Republican Party and Harding or the Democratic Party and Cox — whether it be the Farm Labor Party and Christensen, the Socialist Party and Debs, or the Socialist Labor and Cox — a worker’s vote cast for any of these parties or their candidates IS A VOTE TO PERPETUATE THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM BASED UPON WAGE SLAVERY and the ROBBERY OF YOUR CLASS. IT IS A VOTE TO STRENGTHEN THE CAPITALIST GOVERNMENT — BY MEANS OF WHICH THE WORKING CLASS IS KEPT IN SUBJECTION BY LIES, FRAUD, DECEPTION, FORCE, AND VIOLENCE.

Do you workers want to perpetuate your own class slavery? Do you want to maintain and strengthen the capitalist government which has shown by its every act that it is nothing but the tool of the capitalist class and acts against the working class every time?
Then cast your vote in the coming elections! If you believe in capitalist wars in which the workers are called upon to lay down their lives for the profit of the master class — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in the high cost of living — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in being LOCKED OUT BY the BOSS — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in being clubbed and shot by the police and soldiers of the capitalist government — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in lynching — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in deportation of radical workers — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in NATIONWIDE RAIDS UPON REVOLUTIONARY WORKING CLASS ORGANIZATION — vote in the coming elections!

If you believe in DESTROYING SOVIET RUSSIA — vote in the coming elections!

If you believe in supporting REACTIONARY POLAND against the free workers and peasants’ government of Russia — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in sending arms, ammunition, and supplies to the enemies of Soviet Russia — vote in the coming elections!

If you believe in perpetuating prostitution, crime, child labor, and the thousand-and-one economic evils from which the masses in this country are suffering — vote in the coming elections!

A vote cast in the coming elections for any political party now in the field — is a vote in favor of the capitalist class and against the working class! The Republican and Democratic parties stand openly for the capitalist class — whose economic interests they represent. The Farm Labor Party stands for Government Ownership and Reform — which leads to State Capitalism — strengthens the capitalist system and keeps the working class chained in wage-slavery. The Socialist Party and the Socialist Labor Party pretend they are for the abolition of capitalism and the emancipation of the workers from wage-slavery, but actually, by adopting wrong tactics support the lies and deception of capitalist “democracy” and help to fasten these lies upon the workers — thus aiding the capitalist class in preventing the workers from taking independent class action for their own emancipation. These reform parties fool the workers by telling them that the capitalist system can be abolished PEACEFULLY. This is a lie! AN OUTRAGEOUS, DAMNABLE LIE! The capitalist system cannot be abolished peacefully — whether by the ballot box or any other method.

The present capitalist government is nothing but the concealed dictatorship of the capitalist class. Its army, navy, courts, police, bureaucracy, schools, press, church, etc. are the instruments through which the capitalist class perpetuate the lies of capitalist “democracy” and club and shoot you into submission when you wake up and attempt to resist their domination!
Every intelligent worker knows that so long as the capitalist class owns and controls the organs of publicity, of teaching and moulding the minds of the workers — the workers cannot free themselves.

Every intelligent worker also knows that no capitalist class ever gave up its power without a violent struggle. Look across at Europe and see how the ruling classes are striving by every possible means to keep the workers down! See how the German capitalist class combines with “yellow” Socialist to crush every uprising of the German workers! See how the Hungarian capitalist class, with the assistance of the “yellow” Socialist, destroys the workers organization, throws them into jails, places them against the wall to face firing squads, shoots, hangs, and slays without mercy!

See how the French capitalist class tried to destroy the workers organizations! How they suppress the revolts of their soldiers who are called upon to fight in Russia, Siberia, and Africa and who refuse — see how they shoot the workers down in strikes or demonstrations! Look at bloody England! One hundred thousand troops, fully armed, are sent into Ireland to suppress the Irish revolt. Thousands of soldiers are busy shooting defenseless Indian natives whose only crime is that they desire freedom from the rule of Britain. In Arabia, Turkey, wherever English colonies are rising up against the merciless rule of England — the English capitalist class uses FORCE to crush them!
And when the English workers themselves, who are beginning to think, act, make up their minds to destroy the capitalist government, the English capitalist class will use its troops and machine guns against them no less readily than it uses them against the natives of the colonies.
In Japan, Italy, Finland, everywhere the same thing occurs. Do you American workers believe that the American capitalist class is more tenderhearted than the European capitalist class?
Forget it! The American capitalist class is the richest, most powerful and reactionary class in the world. Just look at the history of the class struggle in the United States. At every step in the struggle of the workers to better their conditions the capitalist class and its government met them with persecution, repression, and oppression unequaled in all history. Homestead — Ludlow — Calumet — West Virginia — Paterson — Lawrence — McKees Rock — Seattle — Butte — these are only a few of the tragic milestones that mark the struggle of the American working class for BREAD — JUST BREAD! Or take the Longshoremen Strike — the Coal Strike — the Steel Strike — with its injunction, martial law, raids, deportations, and arrests — does this look as if the American capitalist class will ever give up its power without a bitter and violent struggle?



Learn from your Russian and European brothers! The Communist Party of America — the only revolutionary working class political party — is the only party that stands for the emancipation for the working class from wage slavery! The Communist Party advocates mass action of the armed workers in an armed insurrection and civil war as the ONLY means of conquering political power for the workers, destroying the capitalist government, and establishing a Workers’ Government — A Soviet Government — the dictatorship of the Proletariat — as the ONLY MEANS OF ABOLISHING the capitalist system and emancipating the working class from WAGE SLAVERY. In order to bring this message before the masses of the American working class the Communist Party will utilize every weapon at its disposal for propaganda and agitation. It accepts participation in election campaigns and parliamentary activity as one of these weapons — but for revolutionary propaganda and agitation only. The Communist Party, however, will abstain from parliamentary activity whenever conditions make such a course necessary.

The Communist Party will have to boycott the coming elections, for reasons which are familiar to every informed worker. The Communist Party has been outlawed by the capitalist government and declared illegal in capitalist courts. Its leaders are all under indictment or in jail. Thousands of its members are held for deportation or trial. Under such conditions the Communist Party could not participate in the coming election and carry its revolutionary propaganda and agitation directly to the workers at shop meetings and hall meetings or debates with the “yellow” Socialists before the workers and show them up as a bunch of vote-seeking reformers.

The Communist Party will have to carry on its propaganda through its underground leaflets, literature, and press until the workers of America become class-conscious and compel the capitalist government to keep its hands off it. Therefore, because the Communist Party is the only revolutionary political working class party — and because this party has boycotted the coming elections — WE, YOUR FELLOW WORKERS AND COMRADES of the COMMUNIST PARTY OF AMERICA CALL UPON YOU THE WORKERS OF AMERICA to boycott THE COMING ELECTIONS!
- The Communist Party of America.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Reply to Sam Webb's Essay on A Party of Socialism in the 21st Century: What Will It Look Like?

From: L.A. Metro  Club
            Los Angeles, CA. 
Let us begin by  saying that we appreciate the work it took to produce the 
essay. It was  put together with honesty and I believe that Sam Webb truly 
believes what  he writes. That being said, we offer a different  perspective.
We cannot afford to  do away or retire the term, Marxism-Leninism. For one 
thing, to say that  “it has a negative connotation among ordinary Americans, 
even in left and  progressive circles” is running from the class struggle. 
Our job as  communists is to educate ordinary Americans about communism and 
what it is  all about. For instance, production   and manufacturing in this 
country are at an all time low. What  little there is being produced is not 
socially useful production. That is  one reason why unemployment levels are 
so high. To begin with, our party  should review its industrial 
concentration policy and call for a return of  manufacturing jobs to the USA. We
use all legal means at our  disposal to initiate unemployed councils, lobby 
for legislation, work with  industrial unions that are on the same page, and 
put out information in  our communities that says that the Communist Party 
is for full employment  and we have the science to prove it. The pamphlet, “
Feeling locked out of  the American Dream?” is a good start. We should 
return to our roots. The  term Marxism-Leninism has served our party well for 
ninety years. Running  away from it gains us nothing.
As for Stalin, the  main reason for using the term, Marxism-Leninism has to 
do with his (and  Lenin's) work on the national question. He was faced with 
uniting a nation  by  protecting the rights of  peoples that were not 
Russian, fighting against great Russian chauvinism,  while at the same time, 
fighting against nationalism. Using the science of  Marxism-Leninism  this was  
accomplished, culminating in the so-called Stalin constitution of 1936  
which guaranteed the rights of   all citizens in the U.S.S.R. Further, the 
science of  Marxism-Leninism corrected the error in the theory of Marx and Engels 
that  assumed that socialism would first come to the industrially advanced  
countries of the world. As we now see, socialism first came to Russia (the  
U.S.S.R.), the eastern bloc countries, and then China, and then Korea, and  
then Cuba, and then Viet Nam and Laos. None of these countries were  
industrially advanced. Stalin wrote volumes on the need to support  national 
liberation movements to bring about socialism in underdeveloped  countries and 
provided material support toward that  end.
To say that  Marxism-Leninism “took formal shape during the Stalin period 
during which  Soviet scholars, under Stalin's guidance, systematized and 
simplified  earlier Marxist writings-not to mention adapted ideology to the 
needs of  the Soviet state and party” does not mean that we can not do the same 
in  the United States. Of course Stalin and the Central Committee of the 
party  adapted ideology to the needs of the soviet state and party! That is 
what  every political party that takes power does. That is what we should do.  
But that does not mean that the term Marxism-Leninism is foreign by any  
means. Stalin learned from Lenin. Hence the term,  Marxism-Leninism.
Where it is said,  “Marxism is revolutionary in theory and practice, but it 
doesn't consider  “gradual” and “reform” to be dirty words,” no one is 
suggesting that about  Marxism-Leninism.  Perú and  their party led by 
Secretaty General Roberto De La Cruz Huamán are leaders  of large numbers of 
masses. At a recent demonstration that was called by a  “coalition” of left 
parties of which the PCP is a part, along with the  Confederación General de 
Trabajadores de Perú (CGTP) the workers of Perú  made minimum demands. It was a 
huge legal demonstration against  neo-liberalism  and the  selling off of 
public entities (privatization). This demonstration is just  part of the 
effort by the five left parties that includes the PCP and the  CGTP to win the 
Presidency of the nation on April 10. There is a good  chance. Of course, they 
are using Marxist-Leninist tactics that work in  their country, as the 
Chinese party is fond of saying ,with their own  “characteristics.”
Before we fight for  the interests of the entire nation, we must fight for 
the interests of the  working class. When people see us fighting for the 
workers, many will join  us, including small business people and people from 
other parties. To wait  until the working class is destroyed “to fight for the 
interests of the  entire nation” is just wrong.
“The deterioration  of infrastructure, the destruction of the social safety 
net, the  undermining of the public school system, the decay of urban and 
rural  communities, the privatization of public assets, the growth of poverty 
and  inequality, the hollowing out of manufacturing and cities, the 
lowering of  workers wages, and a faltering -now stagnant-domestic economy” are the 
 reasons why we should be fighting for the working class  first.
It is no secret  that pension funds in OECD countries lost $3.5 trillion 
(US)  in market value during the global  financial crisis and are still unable 
to fully restore savings to their  2008 levels. Defined benefit pension 
funds are underfunded because of wild  speculation throughout the world's 
capitalist markets. The workers are  punished through no fault of their own. This 
is one area of the financial  mess that needs to be properly explained. The 
CPUSA should issue a  position paper on the subject of pension funds, 
noting first of all that  workers take less money in wages with the expectation 
that pension funds  will be available when they reach retirement age.    

This is not to say  that there are problems that effect all of humanity, 
like global warming,  nuclear power and weapons, and natural disasters. Of 
course we do all we  can to identify  these  problems and make the struggle for 
a better world part of our  program.
“The struggle for  socialism goes through phases and stages, probably more 
than we allow for  in our current writings and program.” Exactly! We have a 
defeat and  retreat strategy. The CPUSA seems to be afraid of the capitalist 
system.  Workers can sense this. They know when the party is weak. That is 
one  reason they don't join in greater  numbers.
“A party of  socialism understands that in any broad coalition of social 
change,  competing views are inevitable.” The role of the left is to express 
its  views candidly, but in a way that strengthens rather than fractures 
broad  unity, which is a prerequisite for social progress.”  That is why Lenin 
and the  bolsheviks  formed “a party of  a new type.” A communist party. 
They found that working with the social  democrats was a defeatist policy. 
Later they found that working with the  Trotskyites was a bad idea. It depends 
on how one defines left. We all  know that the CIA works overtime since the 
end of the cold war setting up  left groups that are for the purpose of 
discrediting the communist  movements and parties. There is another very 
important reason they form  these groups. They finance them to fool workers who are 
looking for  solutions to their problems. A party of the 21st century must  
be ideologically strong so as not to be enamored by the glitz and glamor  of 
capitalism. Now the social-democratic elites have  cell phones and  
blackberries, and  laptops and they drink their  Starbucks coffee in the morning   
and they travel like kings while the majority of people in the  world have 
nothing to eat!  We  must have humility  if we are  to be real communists.
“Don't be surprised  to see a movement back to class concepts and 
historical materialsm -not to  mention a new interest in the theoretical 
contributions and political  biography of Lenin. No one in this or the last century
match his  theoretical  body of work on  questions of class, democracy, 
alliance policy, nationality, power, and  socialist revolution.” In fact in the 
former Soviet Union, there is  renewed interest in the lives of Lenin and 
Stalin, and their popularity  there is rising. The Communist Party of the 
Russian Federation placed  second in the regional elections, passing the Russia 
United party. All the  more reason not to change Marxism-Leninism to simply  
“A party of  socialism in the 21st century doesn't irrevocably lock social  
forces, organizations and political personalities into tightly enclosed  
social categories that allow no space for these same forces, organizations  
and personalities to change under the impact of issues, events, and  changing 
correlations of power.”   We seriously doubt that a party as small as the 
CPUSA can have this  kind of power. We had better grow first, before we assume 
such  things.
Regarding  immigrants having a tradition of struggle, suggesting that their 
spirit is  militant and anti-capitalist while failing to mention the neo - 
liberal  policies in their countries of origin that caused them to emmigrate 
makes  the assumption that they were born that way and that all immigrants 
are  that way. They have to continue the fight in their own communities in 
the  United States which is why many immigrants don't join the party. We have 
 witnessed this with my own eyes. We work with immigrants every day.  Immigr
ants work within their own community. We have worked many years in  the 
past within the Irish community and had to fight against nationalism  and 
anti-communism. Despite this, we were able to establish a  party club of Irish 
immigrants,  and they were mainly concerned with problems back home. We are 
not  suggesting that all communities are the same, but we are patient, and we  
observe how immigrants react to our party. Are we really interested in  
their problems or are we just using them?  It is something we should discuss  
before  assume that all  immigrants will jump at the chance to join the party 
because they are  immigrants.
We have to ask, why  take over the Democratic Party? What can be gained by 
such talk? Are we  organizing them or are they organizing us? Are we having 
influence with  them, or are they having influence with us? Who is leading 
whom? Wouldn't  it be better to work with workers' organizations directly,  
that is to say, the unions and the  union movement? Wouldn't it be better to 
organize a coalition of parties  and left forces into an electoral coalition 
that can win real political  power like they have done successfully in Perú 
and El Salvador?  A party with its own independence  and it's own name, led 
by labor and communists? That is what we see . And  it is working. First we 
tried to work with the old parties, and we were  sold out. That is what the 
Democratic Party is good  at.
When we speak of  Stalin, we need too speak of him in the continuum of  
history. Before there was a Soviet  Union there was Russia, with its culture, 
tradition, and its brutality.  Stalin acknowledged publicly that “the purges 
and executions of hundreds  of thousands of communists and other   patriots 
and the labor camps that  incarcerated,
exploited and sent  untold numbers of [innocent] Soviet people to early 
deaths, and the  removal of whole peoples from their homelands.” The most 
precise number of  deaths from purges and executions of innocent Soviet citizens 
is 640,000.  Most of this was done by Nicolai Eshov, a German spy working 
under direct  orders of the German SS. When he was discovered, he tried to 
hide his  crimes. He was promptly tried and executed. Others with authority 
high in  the Soviet government were also found to be murdering innocent Soviet  
citizens. They were also double dealers working for the Germans. Following  
Lenin's death, many intellectuals doubted that the Soviet Union would  
continue. They joined the party, acted like loyal party members, worked  their 
way up into positions of authority and worked as spies Germany. The  
assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934 was the first major provocation of  the Bloc 
of Rights and Trotskyites. There was sabotage including  falsifying of grain  
and  cotton harvest reports, killing of livestock including horses, 
destroying  railroads, blowing up mines, and so on. In short, there was a fifth 
column  operating in Soviet Russia. The threat was real. And the man who was  
charged with stopping the sabotage , Nicolai  Eshov, was protecting the 
spies,  and conducting trials of innocent Soviet citizens, and lying to the  
Central Committee of the CPSU the whole time. What do you do when people  lie to 
you? Do you take their testimony at face value? Can they be  trusted? Are 
they loyal comrades? Or are they lying and destroying the  lives of innocent 
When Stalin acknowledged the  atrocities, he did not call them a mistake. 
He said that horrible crimes  were committed that have nothing to do with 
socialism, and those crimes  were committed by Nicolai Eshov, a German spy. 
When we speak of  war crimes or crimes against  humanity, we have to put the 
blame where it belongs, not on the people who  discovered the horrible crimes, 
Stalin and Beria. There are many witnesses  to Stalin's leadership of the 
USSR. Firstly, there is the American  ambassador to the USSR, Joseph E. 
Davies, author of the book, Mission  to Moscow. Then there is Anna Louise Strong, 
who wrote, The Stalin  Era, which is her account of her time in the USSR 
under Stalin's  leadership. There is also the book, Stalin, written by a 
German  biographer, Emil Ludwig. There is also The Red Archbishop, the Dean of  
Canterbury, Hewlett Johnson and his book, The Soviet Power.  There is plenty 
to read on the  subject of the soviet Union during WW   II.
 On the subject of war crimes and  labor camps, it should be pointed that 
the United States bombed Dresden  and murdered hundreds of thousands of 
German citizens, and later dropped  not one but two atom bombs on Hiroshima and 
Nagasaki Japan, killing  hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese citizens. 
These bombs were  dropped on civilian targets where they would do the most 
damage. The  reason for these atrocities had nothing to do with winning the 
war. The  goal of the capitalism was to destroy the  industrial capacity of 
Germany and  Japan so that the United States and United Kingdom would be 
unchallenged  superpowers in the world. The Soviet Union decided not to use 
nuclear  weapons and instead attacked the Japanese main land, liberated the  
Sakhalin Islands, and kept the Japanese Army from valuable fuel to  continue 
the war. In short, the use of nuclear weapons was  unnecessary.
Before and during  the war, there was no “forced” collectivization of 
Soviet agriculture. It  was entirely voluntary. “it was found that the voluntary 
principle  of forming collective farms was being violated, and that in a 
number of  districts the peasants were being forced into the collective farms  
under threat of being disspossed, disfranchised, and so on.” (History of  
the CPSU, p.307, International Publishers, 1939 ed.)This was in direct  
violation of the order of the Central Committee of the CPSU which was  “against 
any attempts whatsoever to force the collective-farm movement by  'decrees' 
from above, which might involve the danger of the substitution  of 
mock-collectivization for real Socialist emulation in the organization  of collective 
farms.” (Resolutions of the C.P.S.U.[B] russ. ed., Part II,  page 662.)      
What there was was a discontinuation of Lenin's New Economic  Policy, which 
had become outdated. Stalin needed to ramp up agricultural  output so that 
there would not be food shortages during and after the war.  There was 
nothing forced about it. In fact having received a number of  alarming signals of 
distortions of the Party line that might jeopardize  collectivization, on 
March 2, 1930 Stalin's article “dizzy With Success,”  was published. This 
article was a warning to all who had been carried away  by the success of 
When whole peoples  were relocated from their homelands, this was done 
because their homelands  were under attack. In fact, Soviet troop trucks were 
sent to Poland to  relocate Jewish people behind the Ural mountains so that 
they would be  safe. Once again, the threat was real.
With regard to  Stalin's so-called labor camps,   we should consider that 
most of the people in the camps were  deserters from the armed forces that 
were  captured.
This has been  researched and verified by the writer Geoffrey Roberts in 
his book,  Stalin's Wars.
 Secondly, we had labor camps of our  own. Japanese-Americans were 
relocated from the major cities on the west  coast into internment or concentration 
camps. These people were American  citizens, many of whom served in the 
244th army regiment in  Europe while their families stayed behind. This was a 
great violation of  civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Before 
we find fault and  throw stones at Stalin, who has been dead for more than 50 
years, who led  the USSR in the great patriotic war and saved socialism, th
e legacy of  Lenin, we should first look at our own country's “mistakes.” 
The United  States also had a “cult of personality.” His name was Franklin 
D.  Roosevelt, and while he did many good things, internment of  
Japanese-Americans wasn't one of them.
Regarding the  statement that “The state isn't simply the instrument of the 
ruling class  – a monolithic and tightly integrated class bloc and weapon. 
While the  capitalist class is dominant, the state is filled with with 
internal  contradictions and is a site of class and democratic struggles – not 
just  any site though, but a crucial and decisive site.” What you fail to  
mention is that Gorbachev and his social-democratic friends used this idea  to 
destroy socialism and the USSR. The history of social-democracy of one  of 
anti-communism and anti-Leninism. The social-democrats do not want       
socialism. They want to reform capitalism. The communists on the other  hand, 
have always been guided by the revolutionary teachings of  Marxism-Leninism. 
In the new conditions of the era of imperialism,  imperialist wars and 
proletarian revolutions, its leaders further  developed the teachings of Marx and 
Engels and raised them to a new  level.  That is what the CPUSA  must do if 
we are to call ourselves  “communist.”
regarding the  statement. “Bureaucratic collectivism and a command economy 
that reduce  people to cogs, social relations into things, and culture to a 
dull gray  will be resisted by a 21st century party of socialism” who is  
suggesting that a command economy has to reduce people to cogs?  The command 
economy will be run by  the workers themselves, not the party. That is what 
socialism is! Why  assume that the party will run everything? It certainly 
does not in Brazil  or Venezuela, or Cuba.
As for the  statement that “Our socialism will embrace a new humanist ethos 
and value  system, that is what Marxism-Leninism does. Marxism-Leninism is 
synonymous  with humanism. This has nothing to do with whether or not there 
is a  command economy under socialism. Furthermore, a command style economy 
with  bureaucratic collectivism could be construed as trade unionism, 
something  that will be replaced by socialism in the 21st century. The  dream that 
“the builders of socialism should put into place a dense  network of worker 
and community organizations that are politically and  financially empowered 
to govern” assumes that everyone will participate.  Unless incentives are 
put in place, this will not  work.
As for dropping the  term democratic centralism, this cannot be done in a 
communist party. This  is how we function. Democratic Centralism “is” force 
of argument. That is  how unions decide questions of major importance such 
as the decision to  strike. The conscience of the majority, by unity of will. 
Remember that  the Bolsheviks we busy in 1917 too. Workers worked more than 
the customary  8 hours a day. What makes us any different. Membership in 
our party is  voluntary. If members can't follow what is in our constitution, 
they  shouldn't be members. That is what distinguishes us from other 
political  parties. We are disciplined. We make a plan and we stick with it. We are 
 not like the social-democratic parties that spend all their time in  
endless debates.
Regarding the  internet, the party should not abandon ground organizing if 
favor of the  internet. It should use both. Our clubs depend on literature 
to reach  people in our communities. We can't neglect this work. The internet 
that  we have seen is very limited. There isn't much there to see. There 
has to  be more on those pages like the CPUSA website. There should be a 
direct  link to International Publishers on the home page. We shouldn't have to  
surf through endless links to find it. International Publications is a  
party entity and should be treated as such. Currently there is no members  
section. There is no on-line store to purchase party supplies or to order  
pamphlets in print. We should have position papers on things effecting the  
working class: a paper on the foreclosure crisis, a paper on homelessness,  a 
paper on war and peace, a paper on the struggle to reform labor law, a  paper on 
immigration and citizenship. If these were on the web page,in PDF  format, 
our clubs could download them and use them in our communities. If  we are 
concentrating on the web so much, we need to use it to our  advantage. Right 
now it looks like something  of a command style  bureaucracy.
Regarding the  statement that, “No party , including ours, is mistake free; 
we make  mistakes and we make them in the present as well as the past. 
Politics is  complex and fluid, and mistakes in theory, assessments and 
practices are  inevitable” it would be nice if the party of the first country of  
socialism was afforded that same luxury!  What gives us the right to judge  
Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union in the great patriotic war? What  right 
do we have to distance ourselves from him? None. What was achieved  until 
1953, the year of Stalin's death could never be achieved by the  CPUSA. 
Never!  The USSR saved  the world from fascism and fought a war on two fronts. To 
distance  ourselves from Stalin is anti-communism at its worst. This is not 
worthy  of our party. Let us reunite ourselves with the legitimate 
communist and  workers parties of the world. It is ours to win in the 21st  century.