Process for Electing the New National Committee

BY:CPUSA National Committee| September 22, 2001

Report given during month leading up to the 27th National Convention of the CPUSA

Committee’s Leadership Role

The National Convention is the highest decision making body in the Communist
Party. It has both the important tasks of setting policy and electing
a new National Committee (NC). These are interrelated parts of the same
democratic process.

The NC is
vested with the responsibility of giving leadership to the Party, bringing
the political agenda to life, applying it to all areas of work and mobilizing
the entire Party in the process. It elects officers, organizes the various
commissions and leadership collectives of the People’s Weekly World, Political
Affairs, Nuestro Mundo, and other Party institutions.

Setting the
Party’s political agenda and electing new national leadership are the
culmination of the extensive democratic Pre-Convention Discussion period.
The discussions flow from the Party’s involvement in mass struggles, movements
and coalitions. This process takes in the experiences and thinking of
clubs, districts, commissions, the e-communist group on the Internet,
and the contributions in the Pre-Convention Discussion Bulletin and Party

for the Process

The process to elect the NC is designed to strengthen Party unity at all
levels and is connected to the political agenda set by the Convention.
The process involves the whole Party and should result in the election
of a unified collective.

We want to
guarantee the class, racial and national, gender, age and geographic composition
of our leadership. We can’t leave the election of a balanced leadership
collective up to a random process. We have a large country and not every
delegate is familiar with the work of all those being proposed to the

Our election
process is not modeled after bourgeois electoral procedures, which are
popularity contests based on personalities or competing platforms. Since
the National Convention adopts a collectively derived political agenda
there is no need for competing platforms or individual campaigns for leadership.

Leadership Pool

Our process for electing an NC begins long before the actual vote is taken
at the Convention. In a new innovation designed to expand the democratic
process of leadership election, the NC has established a "leadership
pool." Every district should submit proposals for this pool after
collective discussions, including at district conventions. In addition,
consultation will take place between the outgoing national leadership
and the district collectives.

In submitting
proposals to the leadership pool, districts’ collectives should keep in
mind that this list will be retained and used for staffing of commissions
and other important national level leadership and policy-making positions.

at the Convention

At the start of the Convention, this "leadership pool" information
will be turned over to the Convention Presiding Committee. The Presiding
Committee is the collective leadership of the Convention elected by the
delegates. One of its responsibilities is to deliberate and propose a
National Committee list. It will take into consideration all the proposals
from the national leadership pool and the criteria for forming a collective
leadership as well as any changes in structure and organization.

The Presiding
Committee presents its proposed list to the Convention. The election process
allows additional nominations from the floor. The delegates then vote,
by secret ballot, for the new National Committee.

Nature of the National Committee

The NC is not a federated body made up of individuals who represent constituencies
in districts or clubs. Delegates at the Convention don’t vote to elect
individuals to represent them. Instead delegates will elect a political
collective that represents and gives leadership to the whole Party.

Our leadership
is an activist leadership. An effective leadership is one that is in touch
with the working class and social forces in motion and active in Party
clubs and other collectives. Our leadership should be active in labor
and community struggles, coalitions and movements for workers’ rights,
equality, peace, environmental justice, etc.

Our leadership
should be rooted among working class comrades, especially workers from
the shops, industrial workers, and activists in labor struggles.

It should
be fully reflective of:
-The diverse racial and national composition of our class and people:
African American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican and other Latino nationalities,
Asian, American Indian, Arab, etc., reflecting as much as possible the
demographic changes of recent years;
– Immigrant workers;
– Women and men;
– Both urban center and rural communities;
– Gay, Lesbian and straight;
– All ages ranging from youth, including Party members active in the YCL,
to those with veteran experience;
– Geographic dispersal, and especially reflecting the growth of the labor
and people’s movements in the South and West;
– Leadership of Party institutions like the PWW, PA, Nuestro Mundo, our
publishing institutions, etc.

The opening
report to the May National Committee meeting outlined some thinking on
the character of leadership to be elected:

entrusted to lead the Party at the coming Convention should bring more
energy, enthusiasm, creativity, modesty and collectivity to our Party’s

leaders at this moment should be committed to fighting for the policy
direction of the Party even in cases where they have reservations and

The new leadership
reflects the process of continuous renewal, of replenishing the leadership
with younger comrades while maintaining a continuity of experience.

The proposals from the districts to the national leadership pool should
include brief biographies that offer pertinent information about racial/national
background, gender, age, and area of work, etc.

The election
of leadership is a collective process organically linked to the activities
of the Party. The election process should result in a more united Party,
greater unity of leadership with membership and the functioning of a dynamic
and unified collective.


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