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.