An Invitation to African Americans from the Communist Party

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Collectivity. Cooperation. Community.

Communist Party USA

An invitation to African Americans

'I was early convinced that socialism was an excellent way of life, but I thought it might be reached by various methods Today I have reached a firm conclusion: Capitalism can not reform itself; it is doomed to self-destruction. No universal selfishness can bring social good to all. In the end communism will triumph. I want to help bring that day.'

 


W. E. B. Du Bois requesting membership in the Communist Party USA, 1961.



Join the Party of change, struggle and commitment to freedom and equality, the Communist party USA.

 

Our country is facing its greatest crisis since the 1930s. At the same time, the moment is filled with great hope and possibility. The crisis was caused by capitalism and Wall Street greed. The solution to it is being born in today's unprecedented mass movement for change.

Capitalism breeds racism, unemployment and war, but it also creates the possibility for solving these problems, but not without struggle involving millions of working-class people. The Communist Party understands this and has a program that calls for fundamentally transforming our society and using its great wealth to meet human needs.

Today we believe that all people Black, Latino, Native American, Asian and white must unite and fight for an economic recovery that puts peoples needs before corporate greed. This recovery must be one that places affirmative action and good paying union jobs at its center.

Today, the CPUSA is involved at the grass roots in the fight to bail out Main Street, not Wall Street. We are also involved in the fight to end the war in Iraq, and in the movement for national health care, ending immigrant bashing, police violence and anti-LGBT hatred.

If you want to work for an end to racial and class injustice: JOIN THE PARTY!

If you are tired of our government's imperialist policies of war and aggression and want peace: JOIN US!

If you are for an end to poverty, unemployment, homelessness and hunger: JOIN!

We are confident that a new society whose values go beyond capitalist profit and greed is possible. Join the party and help make Bill of Rights Socialism a reality.

Below you will find statements from some of our finest members and friends about why they joined and support us.

For over 90 years the CPUSA has been on the front line leading people like W. E. B. Du Bois to join it, a decision that earned Martin Luther King Jr's respect.

'We cannot talk of Dr. Du Bois without recognizing that he was a radical all of his life. Some people would like to ignore the fact that he was a Communist in his later years.


 

It is time to cease muting the fact that Dr. Du Bois was a genius and chose to be a Communist. Our irrational, obsessive anti-communism has led us into too many quagmires to be retained as if it were a mode of scientific thinking.'


Martin Luther King Jr address at Freedomways celebration of Du Bois centennial, 1968.



African American communists. How they became part of the movement:

Debbie A. Bell

It may seem natural for a child to follow in their parents' footsteps, but in reality it's not. Still, my parents shared their belief in the working class and their faith that justice and equality was an unending struggle with all of their five children. I was also lucky to live in Philadelphia, where there was a youth group. This is where I associated with other young people who had similar ideological and social interests. Joining the Party, my parents' Party, has been one of the most important, enjoyable and exciting events of my life.

Libero Della Piana

When I was in high school in the 1980s the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the dictatorships in Central America drew me into the movement. While in college I discovered the Young Communist League and Communist Party. No other organization had such an amazing history in the fight for equality and justice, practice of international solidarity and experienced comrades who were immersed in the issues of the day. The consistency, dedication and long view of the communists is why I joined.

Carol Howell

I learned about the Beloved Community of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (hey, it's just socialism by a different name!), and met a Party member on a crowded train to work. I don't remember how we started talking but we did. He was reading the People's Weekly World. I sat next to him the next day, the day after that, and it became a routine. One day, he invited me to a theater event that the local Party was having. I started attending meetings of the School Workers Club and at some point late that fall I joined the Party. It just made sense. I'd been inspired to 'work outside of my comfort zone,' and I had decided from that point on that I was going to do what was right even if I was a little scared of what others would think.

Dorothy Johnson

I've been considered a quiet, shy person, but also one who always stood up for justice. I couldn't do it alone, so I joined the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) in 1988, and from that time on I've been very vocal. The union opened up my eyes to a lot of issues and made me stronger, but I grew interested in issues beyond its mission. During my employment at the Circuit-Wise factory, I began to read the People's Weekly World, and realized there was hope for a better tomorrow. It led me to a political group that fit my needsthe Communist Party. When I was employed at Circuit-Wise, the Party worked tremendously hard to support our fight for union recognition and a first contract, which took a 17-month strike. I find that the Party embraces people from all walks of life and is like a family that works together to resolve the injustice in our society. As an African American woman, I see an overwhelming need for more African American women and men in the Party so that dream that we all have of making America the way it should be, with equality, justice and peace, will be realized.

Rosita B. Johnson

I had strongly supported my union, the Philadelphia Federation of teachers since the 1960s. I wanted the union to fight for better schools and to support equality for Black students. In 1981, as a delegate to the AFT Convention, I met other school workers who were in the CP. I also saw red-baiting. I joined the AFT Black Caucus, whose chairman was a CPUSA member. I was exposed to more advanced thinking, not only about education but also about national and world affairs. I was asked to join the Party but hesitated. Then I attended a forum and heard Gus Hall speak. He made joining CPUSA sound so natural. Gus said, 'Join us to make a better world, and if you don't like our party, you can always leave.' I joined soon afterwards and have never regretted the decision.

Jarvis Tyner

At 20 I was a strong supporter of the civil rights upsurge that was sweeping the country.

I was also just starting out my working life in the printing industry and eventually joined the union movement. In my civil rights activity, I was impressed by the dedication of many activists, Black and white, and those who stood out the most were members of the

Communist Party USA. I joined the Party because I felt it had the best understanding of how to win full equality for all. I could see that Marx, Engels, Lenin and our own great American Communists, offered solutions to the seemingly intractable problems of poverty, racism and war. The Party today continues its long commitment to anti-racism. The stronger the Party becomes, the closer we will be to the goal of freedom that the African American people, and all other people of good will, have been for.

Jim Wilkerson

I joined the St. Louis NAACP youth chapter, and in 1965, I joined CORE and participated in the struggle for equal employment at the Jefferson Bank. In 1966, I joined Local 513R of the railway workers union. Fighting racism through the trade union movement, I joined the St. Louis Black Labor Council and began to read left books: Marx's Capital and Foner's Organized Labor and the Black Worker. I began to understand the nature of class division and the role racism plays.

The BLC became one of seven founding chapters of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists in 1972. I joined the CPUSA that same year. It was the Party's principled stance against racism that attracted me. I've seen first-hand how corporate greed uses divisions within the working class to gain more profit.

John Woodford

I remember the way Ish Flory came booming and blustering into our Muhammad Speaks newspaper office on Chicago's South Side in 1968. He always had a bundle of Daily Worlds with him, offered some comments about world affairs and sold some copies. To cut to the chase: the paper made a lot of sense on every issue that interested me. Then, listening to Ish and his good buddy Claude Lightfoot recount their many adventures, their witty and 'Aesopian' dialogue, their combination of bravery and humor, of deep reading and mother-wit, I couldn't help but conclude: whatever these guys are and however they got that way, they are mighty impressive. I'm not saying the CPUSA is perfect; there are flaws, aggravations and perturbing aspects that reflect the array of human frailties. But I will argue that it is one of the most noteworthy products of American civilization and its most advanced foe of racism.

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