American chauvinism vs Party unity

BY:Jason Villarruel| May 21, 2024
American chauvinism vs Party unity


This piece is a contribution to the Pre-Convention Discussion for our 32nd National Convention. During Pre-Convention Discussion, all aspects of the party’s program, strategy, and tactics are up for consideration and debate. The ideas presented here are those of the author or authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Communist Party USA, its membership, or their elected leadership bodies. — Editors

Here on Gayogo̱hónǫʼ homelands the Coalition for Mutual Liberation (CML), which has been participating in the ever-growing student intifada, operates on the tenet that “None of us are free until all of us are free.” This ideal, which the Party shares, calls for the unity of not only the working class but all oppressed peoples in the world. As the Communist Party USA, we should be incredibly aware of the terrain in which we struggle for people’s unity. However, our Party’s persistent defense of the American settler entity and mythology of the American “Revolution” alarmingly demonstrates the opposite and proves that we are straying away from the achievement of this unity.

We must understand the creation of the United States not as a “progressive” social revolution but, as Gerold Horne posits, a counter-revolution for the preservation of slavery and the expansion of the settler colonial project. Our Party, in asserting that the American Counter-Revolution stood for the ideals of “liberty,” forces us into the reactionary hypocrisy of the American counter-revolutionaries. Often we hear racist Southerners defend the Confederacy with the dishonest clarification that the Civil War was instead a war for “states’ rights.” And, as the informed Communists we are, we respond with “States’ rights to what?” Well, we now find ourselves in a position where we attempt to rehabilitate the American Counter-Revolution with the dishonest clarification that it was anti-colonial and sought national self-determination. We can call this “nations’ rights.” We must now ask the question: “Nations’ rights to what?”

In reality, the American Counter-Revolution was a war for the settler nation’s right to maintain chattel slavery, complete the colonial mission of seizing the continent, and annihilate the remaining native population. In Gerald Horne’s works (Dawning of the Apocalypse and The Counter-Revolution of 1776) we gain the important insight that this country was founded on white class collaboration manifested in settler frustrations with developments such as the Proclamation Line of 1763, which limited additional settler encroachment, and Somerset’s Case in 1772, which signaled that abolition was near.

This is not speculation or an attempt to read the minds of the original settlers. We can see this truth unfold in the subsequent actions taken after the counter-revolutionary victory such as the Northwest Ordinance, Indian Removal Act, and the protection of slavery in the ratification of our Constitution itself. What kind of democracy was truly formed on this continent after the “Revolution?” It is a fraudulent democracy, one reliant on the exclusion and occupation of Black and indigenous peoples. This is no legacy to be proud of. This legacy and the American nation are inextricable. It is our foundation. If we are to answer our historic call to establish people’s democracy and smash racism, we must necessarily smash the foundations of this nation and smash the American nation itself.

Truthfully, the American national identity itself is a tool against the working class and people’s unity. The American struggle was not one for the rights of nations to self-determination, but instead a struggle to deprive the hundreds and thousands of indigenous nations on this continent of that very right. If we are to adhere to the Leninist principles of the rights of nations to self-determination and revolutionary defeatism to our conditions, we must apply them to a struggle against not only the American bourgeois institutions but also the American settler state.

For us to continue on our path of American chauvinism would be to give in to the class collaborationist ethos of American society. What is more anti-proletarian than the notion that whites of all classes must collaborate in occupying indigenous land? Such a notion is our nation’s basis. What is more anti-people’s unity than the notion of a “Socialist USA” where settlers and indigenous peoples are separated by borders between sovereign indigenous nations and a persevering settler state? Unfortunately, such a notion is the basis of our Party line. The only victories and profundities of people’s history arose despite the American identity, not because of it. It would be foolish to believe that people of color could ever truly be integrated into American society when it has only existed and continues to exist on the foundations of white supremacy and class collaboration.

This class collaborationist American ethos has manifested numerous times in the communist movement and our Party. The Lovestonite’s revisionism which gave birth to the putrid idea of “American Exceptionalism” represents the American chauvinist tendencies that existed in the origins of our Party. The Browderists’ capitulationism which led to the dissolution of this Party represents the survival of white class collaborationism. It is fitting, and indeed a reinforcement of this thesis of settler class collaboration, that Browder’s revisionism justified itself with a need to adhere to “American political tradition,” and that “There can be no effective national unity in America… that does not include big capitalists.”

This party has been threatened with liquidationism, which nearly stripped our Party of its Communist name. This represents our most recent crisis of identity. Due to the unwavering militancy of this Party’s rank-and-file, we have never completely fallen to these threats in the past. We have always persevered and continued in our momentous work throughout all people’s movements. However, these threats continue to arise, demonstrating a need for a more effective position that would not only defend this Party from liquidation but also defend this Party from disunity and disorganization throughout the periods in which these struggles against liquidation and class collaboration are carried out. A position that entertains the American state, identity, and society is a weak position against this threat, places one foot in the class collaborationist grave, and is fertile ground for such threats to become embedded in our movement.

As the contradictions of settler colonialism approach the emergence of a revolutionary moment, we must prepare ourselves for further class collaborationist threats against Party unity and the Party itself. I echo the call for struggle against patriotic socialism and chauvinism.



    Jason Villarruel is a student activist and club officer in Ithaca, NY.

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