Saturday, April 26, 2014

The CPUSA’s Present Political Line, “Unity Against the Ultra-Right” is Wrong and Harmful
V.I. Lenin depicted addressing the Russian masses.
By Edward Drummond

Top CPUSA leaders are sure to defend the present line, emphatically declaring the main enemy is “right-wing extremism,” whose loathsomeness and frightfulness they will denounce at length.

With self-assurance they will deflect their critics — if there are any critics — with “OK, maybe Obama is a disappointment. Maybe he and the Congressional Democrats didn’t keep their campaign promises. Maybe we got too enthusiastic in 2008.[1]  Look, we never said he was for socialism. But isn’t it obvious the Republicans are so much worse? Imagine a President Newt Gingrich in the Oval Office with a finger on the nuclear trigger. C’mon, the main enemy is obviously the ultra right. Isn’t it common sense?”

Such a rhetorical non-answer will probably head off the much-needed debate, if past national meetings are any indication.

This “unity against the ultra right” line may be common sense to some, but it is not correct. It is not Marxism. It is not a step on the path to socialism. The line is based on half-truths and untruths. It is one-sided. It distorts theory, history, and fact. It is harming the Party, the international Communist movement, the working class, and the country. It should be replaced by the Party’s historic policy, the anti-monopoly policy.

As this article will show, the present line, Lesser Evilism, misidentifies the main enemy as a fragment of the ruling class, not the whole of the ruling class. This is no accident. The line was contrived to push the CPUSA into the arms of the Democrats; the theory came later.

The line misunderstands the nature of contradictions within the US ruling class. It adds an extra stage on the path to Socialism USA which is wholly unjustified and which no other comparable CP envisages. The line exculpates an increasingly reactionary, war-inciting, and racist US Administration. It even has trouble pinning down what the “ultra right” is. It overstates the threat from right-wing extremism. It falsifies the actual views of Dimitrov on the Popular Front. Its claim to derive from his thought is demonstrably bogus.

The line has isolated the Party from mass movements, which reject the notion that the GOP is uniquely evil. The line hobbles the CPUSA’s growth possibilities. It is an opportunist, no-struggle policy that repeats old errors and turns its back on our finest traditions. It seeks to maneuver within the two-party trap instead of trying to break out of the trap. The line is class collaboration in electoral politics.

Moreover, it is simple-minded: Republicans evil, Democrats good. It sees no shades of gray. We need a sophisticated policy.

After ten years, the line has done us no good. Our Party is in trouble. We will not recover unless we repudiate it.

Convention Discussion: No to social democracy

worker | April 21, 2014 | 12:55 pm

by: Jim Lane
April 20 2014

Submitted by Jim Lane, Dallas Texas.

If I have misunderstood the direction that the present leadership seems to be taking us, I apologize. As for the main thrust of party work today, defending the working class against the worst of the capitalist class and standing up for democracy, I agree with it. But I am not alone in believing that the leadership has been taking our party away from being a revolutionary organization and toward joining social democracy.

It isn’t just one or two comrades asking, “Why should people join CPUSA?”

For the human race to prosper, capitalism must be overcome. For capitalism to be overcome, the Communist Party must choose the best possible and clearest political path. I would like to be wrong, but I think we have been meandering since shortly after the 2010 convention. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, instead of going forward into 21st century thinking, we are regressing into 19th century social democracy.

For the present purpose, I’ll take the Merriam Webster definition of social democracy: “a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means.” This was the methodology of the minority of the Russian socialists before the majority took a revolutionary course, and it is the ideology of the old American Socialist Party that more or less kicked us out for being too revolutionary in 1919. It was the ideology of the ruling party of the German government that terminated in the Hitler takeover. Social democracy was one of the trends of our own CPUSA minority during the split of 1991. CPUSA Chairman Sam Webb, at that time, sided with the Marxist majority, but has since then indicated that he has rethought his position.

Social democracy is nothing new, and is certainly not 21st century.

Chairman Sam Webb has periodically written long rambling statements that are often more taken up with what he does not mean than what he means. It’s hard to see what he’s getting at, but some themes seem to repeat. For example, he is opposed to our using Russian symbolism and French vocabulary. I agree, even though I don’t think it’s worth nearly the volume of words that Webb has expended. It’s come up so many times that one can only conclude that we aren’t just talking about vocabulary.

I would point out, while we’re on vocabulary and semantics, that “communist” and “revolution” are neither Russian nor French and can’t be stamped out under that particular ruse.

While carrying out our immediate struggles, we must also be clear that our ultimate purpose is to remove the capitalist class from power. We are not social democrats because social democratic ideology has never worked and never will. It ignores the ruthlessness and determination of the ruling capitalist class.

Another point that Comrade Webb has mentioned many times is that the U.S. is in a certain stage of development. That may seem true on the face of it, but how do we define this stage beyond saying, over and over, that “socialism is not on the horizon.” Marxists know that everything is constantly changing and that political horizons, like everything else, are not fixed in time nor space. The suddenness of the government overthrows in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya all occurred since Comrade Webb started defining the horizons. Some of the news reports indicate that modern communications had a great deal to do with these very rapid and unexpected events. The point is that things can change rapidly.

Should a revolutionary party sideline the need to overcome capitalism because it does not immediately appear on somebody’s definition of a horizon?

Comrade Webb has made it very clear that he believes the Soviet Union imploded from its own fault, and that Stalin, whom our party steadfastly supported, was a “monster.” He dismisses the role of capitalist imperialism in quashing the Soviet Union. But do we not see the hand of imperialism today in attempting to overthrow the gains made in Central and South America? If imperialism succeeds in overthrowing the Cubans and Venezuelans, are we going to blame them?

The same can be said of the gains that the American working class has made in our unions. Are not the capitalists forever and always seeking to destroy those unions and those gains? If an American union fails completely, are we going to blame them?

Is Chairman Sam Webb for revolution in the United States? I once heard the question put to him in a meeting. He failed to answer. Later, I asked the questioner why he didn’t push Webb for a response and he replied, “I was afraid of what the answer would be.” I, too, am afraid of what direction the leadership of CPUSA is taking us.

For the human race to prosper, capitalism must be overcome.

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