Considerations for political positioning

BY:A. Bonhomme| May 20, 2024
Considerations for political positioning


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

Our conjuncture during this convention season is characterized by key issues of the election year, and the context surrounding it, for the purpose of outlining a strategy going forward. The genocidal events in Palestine have heightened our contradictions at home, as the imperialist hegemon sanctioning the actions of Israeli settler-colonial violence. The key issues haunting our discussions are no doubt: what is the most effective electoral approach, and how do we prepare our defenses against fascist development?

At this time I would like to suggest that our conjuncture in the US points to a crisis in hegemony of the bourgeoisie. The Gramscian “crisis of hegemony” is a useful lens to aid us in positioning ourselves as communists active in the moment. The fracturing of bourgeois political forces, (not necessarily caused by Trump or the MAGA movement for they are particular expressions), has been made much more visible and is felt by all forces/classes present on the political stage. We can actively observe the Democrats losing the consent they’ve garnered from their progressive left base in the wake of decisions to protect the imperial status quo and architecture of Palestinian genocide; despite the protestations of the progressive/left bloc. They are, however, finding consent from a much more conservative bloc, characterized by the aforementioned fracturing of political blocs, and a desire for imperial status quo. An imperial reality constituted upon occupation, genocide, and slavery of exploited peoples globally.

It is useful to point out here that this process of crisis points us to the need for the bourgeoisie to consolidate, and we could be experiencing the process of passive revolution; that is the reorganization undertaken to re-establish hegemony, after a period of disintegration. This consolidation can indeed look like fascism, or for example, the era of neo-liberal “reform.” In a broader scope, we can observe the need for the imperial hegemon to consolidate as it is challenged on the global stage and facing internal disarray coupled with deflating consent. This consolidation, when the “moderate” section of the bourgeoisie cooperates with the most reactionary section of its own class regardless of alleged reservations, will necessarily draw upon “law and order.” The same “law and order” steeped in revanchism; the settler-colonial justifications of American civil society as it exists, the frontier of private property, and the behemoth of the carceral system. This is the key to the reproduction of the US state form.

So where are we, as communists, to position ourselves within the landscape considered above? Principally, we must not content ourselves with mere historic analogy of European fascism with the movement of reaction here in the U.S. to determine some schematic for strategy. The infamous social fascist theory of the Third Period of the Communist International was no doubt a mistaken view in hindsight, although not without its justification when we consider the priorities and actions of Second International parties. The German SPD, wracked with opportunism, still sanctioned the repression of the proletariat during the class struggles following WWI. Furthermore, the U.S. Democratic Party does not resemble a Second International party. Communists and Social-Democrats, prior to the World Wars, could at least claim a similar trajectory, base, and ideological/theoretical history. The Third International was the generation that came after the Second, often mentored by its predecessor. The Democrats bear no such similarities. To speak of social fascist theory in our context is to mechanically fit the Democrats into a schematic, based solely on historic analogy, where they are considered an equal to the SPD during the interwar period. This positioning is flawed in its lack of grasping the concrete situation here in the US, and can lead to a sweeping approach to electoral strategy concerning Democrats by inflating the “progressive” character of their party. We must be clear, the establishment Democrats are the main driving force of their party. The progressive appendage no doubt exists, but primarily reflects the need to gain consent to rule. This is not to deny that progressive forces have utilized Democrats in the past or won concessions. This is not an argument against concessions that provide a particular strategic foothold with the actuality of a larger goal in mind. However, the record shows how aspects of concessions fall short or have a revocable character, and a very real danger is the capturing of progressive forces by bourgeois hegemony; the same hegemony wavering in any real defense against fascism. The bourgeoisie cannot be made to effectively deal with their own contradictions through a simple or sweeping electoral approach by revolutionary forces. The fight against fascism necessitates proletarian political architecture independent of bourgeois hegemony, not only to organize our defense but to grow a consciousness among the exploited and oppressed of the need for revolutionary change.

Comrades, we must critically assess our conditions, where we are, to grasp the concrete. Dimitrov’s analysis may have suited the interwar period of Europe, and was part of correcting the political line of the Third Period, but what are its weaknesses? What has changed?  What must we consider in our own context to practically defend the oppressed and exploited from fascism, while also not becoming captured by neo-liberal bourgeois hegemony? We now face a reality where we must build what could be considered a united front of socialists, communists, and progressive people’s forces. The presence of a diverse anti-capitalist culture/civil society is being felt. Simply look at our current moment in support of a sovereign Palestine, its international character, and how it has propelled many of our comrades to correctly utilize a decolonial analysis for the conditions in the U.S. A united counter-hegemonic force is possible, necessary, and must draw upon unflinching solidarity with the exploited and oppressed, nationally and internationally. Only by a counter-hegemony of this nature, of a revolutionary nature, can a “People’s Front” be wielded. The United Front, or an independent political force constituted by the revolutionary sections of society, is the rational core of any deployed People’s Front against Fascism.


    A. Bonhomme is an activist with the Bloomington-Normal club, Illinois District, CPUSA.

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