NEW YORK - The Communist Party USA sees the 2012 elections as literally a matter of life and death.
At the party's annual conference here last weekend, Joelle Fishman, chair of the party's political action commission, said the "drumbeat of racist and anti-union stereotypes and fear tactics is the underpinning of the entire Republican agenda. It is life threatening for millions of people."
She described the "senseless murder" of Trayvon Martin as "the deadliness of the racist extreme right wing message carried to its logical horrible conclusion" and said that when Newt Gingrich called Barack Obama "the food stamp president" he was "speaking in code to place blame" for the economic crisis "on people of color and those who are poor or unemployed. He was taking the spotlight away from corporate greed and looking to create divisions within the 99%."
In a matter of weeks after Gingrich made those remarks Republican Congressman Paul Ryan released a budget, endorsed by Mitt Romney, which, for all practical purposes, ends the food stamp program.
"Such lack of basic nutrition threatens the lives of 4 million seniors, 4 million adults who receive disability benefits, and 23 million children, including 10 million children in households with cash income below half the poverty line," said Fishman.
While Communists see the defeat of right wing extremists, they maintain that the 2012 election is not about either a political party or a candidate.
"This election is about our lives, our future, the heart and soul of our nation," said Fishman. "It is about whether the 99% and the working class within it will be able to get onto higher ground. Will we be left fighting for our lives or will we be in a position to further the struggle toward a transformation of our country to put people before profits?"
Are Communists hopeful about the prospects for defeating the right wing in 2012?
As Fishman tells it, they are.
She told a story she had heard from activists in the Pittsburgh area where the restart of General Motors created thousands of jobs for people making auto parts.
"Having a job has been the best argument to pull people away from supporting the tea party," one of the activists told Fishman.
Democracy Corp and Women's Voices/Women's Vote did a survey in 44 congressional districts that had been Republican, went for Obama in 2008, and then back to Republican in 2010. These districts are key not only for the outcome of the Presidential race, but also for the makeup of the House and Senate.
Like everywhere else, jobs and the economy were identified as the top issues.
When the facts of the Ryan budget were explained to these voters, said Fishman, including the cuts to human needs and the Medicare voucher plan, they shifted support to Obama. They also disagreed with Republican policies, including GOP attempts to kill funding for contraception.
"Many women shifted toward Obama in response to the harsh and cruel Republican policies," said Fishman.