Convention Discussion: A Suggested Program for Socialism and Real Democracy

BY:Norman Markowitz| March 31, 2019


Here are major points for us to emphasize in ways to reach working people with a program they can understand, one rooted in both socialism and in American conditions.

First, we should make as the center of our program “reconversion” to a peacetime full employment economy, the goal of the CPUSA and the New Deal government of Franklin Roosevelt at the end of World War II.  As the foundation of that full employment economy, we should also call for the establishment of legislation to make employment, health care, education, and affordable housing, and transportation, rights of all Americans that government must serve and protect.

The military budget today is about $ 750 billion, roughly 40% of the official military spending of the world. This is a path to either bankruptcy or war or given the policies of Trump, both.

This budget can and must be cut at least to half of its present size in the next four years.  But the funds should be transferred to infrastructure renovation (transportation, public facilities, sanitation, and environmental protection) which would provide both more jobs and greater income for the working class then present military spending.

We should focus much of this program on the de industrialized regions of the country where Trump’s demagoguery has been fairly successful.

As Communists we understand that finance capital, the concentration of industry, banking, and Wall Street into great global monopolies, is the enemy of working people in the U.S. and through the world. Trump attacks monopoly capital in words but serves them in deeds.  His administration has lowered their taxes and raised taxes on the working clear in reality.  We see finance capital as one entity and we should call for a new national banking program and Security and Exchange legislation which would not only repeal the deregulation of the last forty years but replace the present system with a unified one that would bring SEC and the Federal Reserve in one entity, under public direct public control.

First Ronald Reagan, then George W. Bush, and today Trump, enacted legislation with sharply reduced taxes on the rich and large corporations and passed the burden on to working people.  We should call for first the restoration of progressive income and corporate tax rates.  But that is not enough.  Many advanced industrial countries, thanks in part to the influence of socialist and communist parties, adopted tax policies which reward individuals and business which make innovations that produce more and better paying jobs for working people and improve the quality of life in the society, not the system we have where corporations are rewarded in effect for losing money, hiding assets, and exporting capital.

We Communists should also put forward as part of our program the establishment of a major league democracy.  In a major league democracy, the system is organized to make sure that people who want to vote can and do vote, with easy access universal suffrage.  Those who engage in voter suppression are sent to jail.  In a major league democracy, there are fair election districts established by non-partisan commissions.  The use of money in campaigns is strictly controlled so as not to make either give advantages to specific parties or to make all parties and candidates behold to rich and the corporations. Finally, in major league democracies with presidential systems, the winning candidate must win by a majority and a runoff between the two top candidates is held if there is no majority.  In the U.S. today, none of these conditions which characterize a major league democracy exist.  If they did at the very least, neither George W. Bush nor Donald Trump would have reached the presidency.  Both state legislatures and the House of Representatives would represent majority constituencies, not gerrymandered districts. And fundraising would not be the first and primary priority of all candidates for political office.

We as Communists can and must call for the establishment of such a program, showing that it exists today in various degrees in many countries.

Finally, we must confront in policy the racism, sexism, homophobia, and national chauvinism that the right and the Trump administration use to divide working people, degrade and dehumanize people of color, women, foreigners, gay men and lesbians, and threaten the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans.

An Equal Rights Amendment was advanced by the Women’s Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, passed by Congress and enacted by 35 of the necessary 38 states before it was finally defeated at the beginning of the Reagan administration.  Its defeat constituted a major victory for the far right and was a step forward for the advances it made in many areas over the last four decades.

A  new and enhanced Equal Rights Amendment, which would  include LGBTQ people and green card holders along with members of ethnic and religious minorities and women whose rights would be  safeguarded in the United States Constitution.

Finally would as Communists should advance this program as establishing a real democracy, economic, political and social.  Economic component would move the society in a socialist direction.  The political component would enable the working class to gain much greater power over government which we as Communists see an essential step forward for society. And the social component would be the most powerful repudiation of ignorance, bigotry and hate that the U.S. could make.










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