Organizing an unstoppable force for our future in 2020

BY:Joelle Fishman| October 7, 2019
Organizing an unstoppable force for our future in 2020


Editor’s Note: Presented to the CPUSA 100th Anniversary Celebration held at Unity Auditorium, New York City September 14, 2019.

Happy 100! What an honor to be a part of this wonderful celebration of the 100th birthday of the Communist Party USA — a century of struggle and going forward.

On a personal note, what an amazing opportunity to be a part of this movement for half of its life!  I joined the DuBois Club and the Communist Party out of the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and the union strikes and struggles of my family to make ends meet.  My mother Edie got her start at age 14 during the Great Depression.

The 1960’s were tumultuous times with lots of different organizations and different kinds of people in motion, somewhat like today.  It didn’t take too long for me to figure out that the folks who were the strongest, who understood the revolutionary process, and had a strategy to win, were the Communists.  It was the only multi-racial organization.

Today we stand on the shoulders of many thousands of fierce working-class freedom fighters who organized, marched, sang, sat down, went on strike, and gave their lives so that they and  everyone who came after could live a decent life in dignity and peace.

When I was asked to run for Congress on the Communist Party ticket in 1974, I took inspiration from the Communist Councilman from Harlem, Ben Davis, and his partner on the New York City Council Pete Cacchione from Brooklyn in the 1940s.

That team embodied what we Communists are all about.  They were close to the people. They broke down barriers of segregation and racism in employment and housing and jury selection, protected tenants’ rights and challenged police brutality. They pushed for an end to the Cold War, colonialism and militarism. They were part of, and responded to, the people’s movements demanding their rights.

Let’s take inspiration from them to organize an unstoppable force for our future in 2020.

The Trump administration and its corporate backers are speeding to dismantle all that has been fought for and won in the past, all human rights and dignity, all workers’ rights, democratic rights and peace and the very future of life on this planet.

The energy industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military and prison industrial complex sure as heck do not want people to vote. They will do everything to create divisions and confusion among the people to maintain power.  But the capitalist extremes of wealth and poverty, systemic racism, bigotry and misogyny, the climate crisis are giving way to a growing resistance.

Not just to defeat Trump’s fascist plans, but to go onto the offensive for transformative and structural change. Young people want to have a future and a future to look forward to.

Trump administration policies to cut everything from food stamps to Medicare, while enriching the 1% with tax cuts, and enlarging the military budget, are hurting more and more sections of the population. A sense of unity and solidarity and rejection of white supremacy is emerging.

At the same time, Trump continues to dangerously stoke hatred and violence and jingoism. The fight to flip the White House, the Senate and Republican held state legislatures is a fight for our lives.

Don’t miss out.   It is a fight that can be won with strategic organizing, education and mobilization.  It is a fight that can provide new experience and training for young comrades.

Teams of rank and file union workers will be going to    Florida to flip that state which had a very close Senate and Governor race and where thousands of people including the formerly incarcerated are not yet registered to vote.

Voting rights coalitions are targeting Georgia and North Carolina to challenge Jimm Crow voter suppression and flip those states.

Women and youth and environment and immigrant rights organizations are targeting Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to flip those states. As well, the election debate is being shaped by protests and strikes.

Next week is the student global climate strike. Adults and union members outraged with a climate denier in the White House will join in. High school students are planning to tour the country to register voters to stop gun violence.

Immigrant students are protesting for DACA. Teachers and other workers are striking.  And miners in Kentucky are sitting on the railroad tracks blocking coal until they get paid from Blackjewel LLC.

All this, along with the election of many progressive and socialist women of color last year,  is setting the table for the Democratic Presidential primaries

Congratulations New York, that elected Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. and the  Green New Deal to restructure our economy, create millions of jobs and save the planet.  Also (Ayanna Pressley in MA, Illan Omhar in MN and Rashida Talib in MI.) – Dubbed The Squad.

Western Pennsylvania voters elected  two socialist women to the state legislature.  Voters in Harris County, Texas elected 17 Black women judges.  Socialists now make up 12% of Chicago’s City Council To name a few.

Among the Democratic Presidential candidates are some sharp differences, but it is notable that the rhetoric to a greater or lesser degree supports the right to organize, action on climate crisis, expansion of healthcare, gun control, a path to citizenship for immigrants and actions to reverse systemic racism.  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have the most advanced programs including Medicare for all. Bernie is in front building a movement fundamental to winning big change.

Joe Sims coined the term that this is a socialist moment. There’s lots of interest in what socialism is. Anti-socialist and racial profiling attacks tend to backfire.  When Trump tweeted about the Squad “go back where you came from” thousands of people came out to greet their representatives and show solidarity and respect  when they returned to their districts.

We are all the Squad.  We are all Eric Garner.  We are all Oscar and Valeria Ramirez who drowned at the border.

Of course, there are different ideas about what socialism is and what it means. The common denominator is a more equal society. As Communists we demand that health care, education, housing, a job with a union, an end to racism and war and a sustainable environment are basic human rights.  We fight for those rights within capitalism, but realize that it will take working-class power of government and elimination of exploitation — it will take a new socialist society.

Our immediate task — the urgency of now — is building unity for 2020. Racism is at the heart of the Trump agenda.  To build unity, we have to take racism on and show that it is systemic 400 years and hurts everyone and project measures for reparations.

Union busting is also at the heart of the Trump agenda.  To build unity we have to show that the union gives workers a collective voice, and the union movement is central to winning working-class power, in alliance with the community.

Anti-immigrant hysteria is also at the heart of the Trump agenda.  To build unity, we reject the dehumanization and cruelty and discuss the root cause of poverty in Latin America created by US corporations..

So many people are horrified by the Trump administration. Last week canvassing in the Mayor election, one young man who had just turned 18 and registered to vote was adamant. “Why can’t I vote against Trump in this election,” he said. ” I don’t want to have to wait until next year.”

A healthcare worker in Hartford who reads Peoples World wondered how to organize her co-workers and expand the base of the paper.  She thought about how everybody wants to Dump Trump in the nursing home where she works and came up with the idea of a sign-up card for volunteers to work in the 2020 elections and Dump Trump.

Her idea has become a national Communist Party effort that is being launched here at our 100th birthday celebration. Each club can use it in its own way.  It is a bi-lingual tool to bring more people into collective action and into our ranks.

The text reads: “UNITED ACTION VOTER PLEDGE CARD  Impeach Now or Dump Trump in 2020: It’s time to stop all the attacks on working people, the poor, immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ and youth! As Trump and his rich friends get richer and the rest of us pay more for everything NOW is the time to organize, register voters and make the change to PUT PEOPLE AND PLANET BEFORE PROFITS! If you have had ENOUGH join in UNITED ACTION! Participate with issue organizing and voter registration for 2020  Sponsored by Communist Party USA and People’s World”

There is a quarter size flier to give everyone who signs up which includes local contact information.

Celebrating the 100th birthday of the Communist Party is letting us draw from the past, in order to steel ourselves and inspire ourselves for 2020 and all the giant fights in front of us.  What better way to enter our second century than to Organize – Educate – Mobilize and win big in every way in 2020!!

When We Fight Together — We Win Together!























    Joelle Fishman chairs the Connecticut Communist Party USA. She is a Commissioner on the City of New Haven Peace Commission, serves on the executive board of the Alliance of Retired Americans in Connecticut and is an active member of many economic rights and social justice organizations. She was a candidate for Congress from 1973 to 1982, maintaining minor-party ballot status for the Communist Party in Connecticut's Third Congressional District. As chair of the CPUSA Political Action Commission, she has played an active role in the broad labor and people's alliance that defeated the ultra-right in the 2008 elections and continues to mobilize for health care, worker rights and peace.



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