Report on Political Independence

September 22, 2001

Opening to the National Board

There is a vast body of material in dealing with political independence.
Needless to say, there are many new developments on a daily basis, especially
since the theft of the presidency.

The struggle
for political independence is interconnected with, and in opposition to,
the ruthless drive for increased profits by transnational corporations.
It is part and parcel of the striving of working class families for survival,
to realize hopes and dreams and to determine their own destiny.

The struggle
for political independence is interconnected with all aspects of our work,
including such basic democratic questions as organizing the unorganized
into the labor movement, the struggle for multi-racial unity and against
racism, and peace.

This is a
critical moment for political independence and for democratic rights.
Throughout the country there is a new awakening. At the same time, there
is a danger that without leadership at the grass roots the profound anger
at the presidential coup and Bush administration policies could turn into
negative cynicism.

In preparation
for this report, Jarvis Tyner convened a meeting attended by Denise Edwards,
John Gallo and Judy Ann. In addition, several other discussions were held,
although more input will help to further round the report out.

What stands
out from the input so far is an urgency for upping the ante on organizing
labor and community coalitions on issues, in the first place at the local
level, to defeat the extreme right-wing program. And tying that organizing
to voter registration, turnout and, eventually, to electing candidates
of labor, the people’s movement, the left and Communists.

1. What
is political independence in this moment?

The debate
around what is political independence and how to move it forward has been
a hot-button issue in the Pre-Convention discussion – throughout the Internet
discussion group, in articles, and in meetings.

we have to place the discussion of political independence in the context
of objective conditions, and we have to take a dialectical approach.

It’s not
about whether to work inside the Democratic Party or outside the Democratic
Party. Or whether to participate in the electoral process or not participate.

A working-class,
independent political action approach addresses the issues, the strategy
and tactics of how to further labor and people’s political power. It is
about independence from big business control and domination. It will take
many forms, many initiatives and many methods.

The particulars
of political independence must be based on the assessment of the moment
we are in.

Lenin argued
and polemicized for participation in the parliamentary struggle starting
from where the masses were, where the working class is.

At the National
Committee meeting, Sam Webb placed the foundations of our policy to defeat
the extreme right wing. He dealt with questions that had come forward
in opposition to that policy, and showed that an underestimation of the
danger from the extreme right wing underlies differences in strategy and

The Bush
administration onslaught came so fast despite – and because of – the coup,
and because of the economic crisis of capitalism. The tax cut for the
rich lays the basis for further destruction of the safety net, and privatization
of public education and public services. It will have a long-term impact.
Bush’s use of the death penalty, his promotion of the Nuclear Missle Defense
system, and his disregard for the Kyoto Treaty all have long-term impact.
The demonstrations and uproar in every country against Bush is a rejection
of the notion that the United States can rule the entire world.

It is these
dangerous policies that define the point of struggle at this time.

The hurt
for working class people is not something in the future; it is happening
now at the local level. For example:

At the Massachusetts
State convention of the Communist Party, we learned about stepped-up police
repression against youth of color in Boston directly related to the atmosphere
created by the Bush administration.

In Connecticut,
Republican Governor John Rowland, emboldened by Bush, set a new national
precedent by using taxpayer dollars and Medicare funds to hire out-of-state
strikebreakers in an ill-fated attempt to destroy the healthcare workers

The repression
against the Charleston Five takes place in the context of the Bush administration’s
anti-labor, racist policies.

Perhaps the
biggest example is the energy rip-off crisis in California, connected
to some of Bush’s largest contributors and pals at Enron.

The point
is, if we aren’t part of taking on the extreme right wing, then we are
complicit in the increasing, wholesale repression and militarism. At the
same time, with mass struggle, Bush policy can be thwarted, and new gains
can be won.

This is evidenced
in the dramatic departure of Senator Jeffords from the Republican Party,
delivering the Senate to the Democratic leadership that would have been
in effect all along, but for the presidential coup. Jeffords’ exit is
based on 20 years of intolerance against the moderates within an extreme-right
wing controlled Republican Party, which has now become so intense that
a group of 32 moderate Republicans has formed, headed by Congressman Jack
Quinn from upstate New York. In this regard, the New York State convention
of the Communist Party emphasized the importance of building the Party
clubs upstate to help organize mass pressure. Jefford’s exit from the
Republican Party is a reflection of anger against the Bush administration
program, in the first place by the voters of Vermont.

action broadens the scope of political independence in this moment. It
opens new possibilities of coalition between center, left and progressive
forces who object to the extreme nature of the Bush administration program.
The fact that the Patients’ Bill of Rights has come to the floor of Congress
for debate; that despite much still to be fought for there is some backtracking
by Bush on such issues as the environment and Vieques, is an indication
of the potential and necessity of left-center unity in this moment.

The possibilities
are indicated within a New York Times poll of June 21. The poll shows
that the majority of Americans do not agree with the policies of the Bush
administration. It states, "There is a substantial gap between his
stand and theirs on many issues including the patient’s bill of rights,
education, energy, the environment, raising the minimum wage, prescription
drugs and judicial appointments."

Some sections
of the left are still not won to the necessity of working with the center
at this moment in order to defeat the right. We have to continue to find
ways to bring them in. The position of Ralph Nader, which dismisses the
Republicans as an arm of corporate monopoly, and then places its main
fire against the Democrats misses the power of a labor-led all-people’s
coalition. This position becomes anti-coalition building, and objectively
helps the extreme right wing maintain power and control. However, there
are opportunities to work together at the local level where Greens are
often involved in coalitions on vital issues of environment, labor and
social policy.

Within the
labor movement and among progressive organizations like USAction, Alliance
of Retired Americans, Campaign for America’s Future, and the Children’s
Defense Fund, important new initiatives are designed to push Democrats
to "challenge the limit of debate" on such issues as raising
the minimum wage, health care for all, and changing budget and tax policy
to "leave no child behind."

Robert Borsage,
director of Campaign for America’s Future (which organized two conferences
our leadership attended several months ago in Washington, DC), delineates
these initiatives in an article in the July 2-16 edition of American Prospect.
He begins by quoting Rep. Jan Shakowsky speaking at the Next Agenda Conference:

we need to do is create a political home for progressives that is permanent.
We need to transform the anger, the frustration, and the rage that I’m
hearing from people out there into progressive activism. To accomplish
that – this is an announcement – we are creating a progressive-leadership
organization of activists and leaders across the country to spread ideas
and strategy, to educate the next generation of leaders, to get our message
into the media, and to separate rhetoric from reality. We’re recruiting
progressive political officials, local activists, labor leaders, and others."

Borsage continued,
"This effort is now under way. On June 24, Antonio Villaraigosa,
Dick Gephardt and others will speak at a conference in L.A. devoted to
the theme "Take Back Our Country," co-sponsored by the southern
California chapter of Americans for Democratic Action and the Campaign
for America’s Future. And in September the Campaign for America’s Future
will co-sponsor a conference with the Progressive Los Angeles Network
(PLAN), which is at the center of the labor-based community movement for
change in the city. Progressive legislators will join with local officials,
union leaders, and community activists in laying out an agenda and learning
how to make the case.

"A similar
conference in October will help launch in Pennsylvania a coalition of
progressive groups, many of which worked heroically and successfully in
the 2000 presidential campaign to set up the issues that determined the
outcome of the vote. Co-sponsoring the conference will be the Keystone
Research Center, Citizens for Consumer Justice (the state’s USAction affiliate),
many labor organizations, and the Campaign for America’s Future. Other
conferences are now being planned for Illinois and other states, and a
regional conference is in the works of people all over the South. In each
area, activists will be enlisted into an ongoing statewide or regional
coalition; they’ll be able to share information on local and national
issues and form an agenda and strategies….

Bush presidency and the short-lived Republican majorities in both houses
of Congress may mark the end of the conservative era… but change isn’t
inevitable… It will come only if independent citizen-movements force
new demands onto the Bush administration and if activists join with political
leaders forwarding an agenda that inspires hope and building coalitions
on the ground that can do the heavy lifting…"

Within left-center
unity, all those who are allies in the struggle against the extreme right
wing will not be allies in the struggle against monopoly capital. But
in the midst of the struggle against the extreme right wing, new possibilities
can emerge for the struggle against monopoly capital.

A wonderful
example is last year’s defeat of California Governor Pete Wilson. There
is still a struggle with Governor Gray Davis, but there are openings for
bigger victories, such as the Cesar Chavez Holiday Campaign. This campaign
was successfully waged in the framework of unifying against the extreme
right wing, as Evelina Alarcon has reported.

Bush’s main
tactic is to create divisions and disunity. He has focused on promoting
disunity within the labor movement and racial disunity. His carrot is
the promise of jobs. His stick is endorsement of drilling in the Alaska
National Wildlife Refuge (by the Teamsters union), endorsement of protectionist
trade policies (by the United Steel Workers of America), and endorsement
of Star Wars (by the International Association of Machinists).

The struggle
for unity against the extreme right is top priority. Denise Edwards emphasizes
that while the USWA is making a deal on steel imports in Washington, on
the other hand the union is developing an independent labor political
apparatus at the grass roots. This includes running three union leaders
for Congress in the last election.

More advanced
demands and pressure is part of the mix of tactics needed to defeat the
extreme right wing. As Juan Lopez points out in reference to the broad
support for public ownership of energy, "Yesterday’s advanced demands
are now becoming today’s immediate demands." As the US Senate changed
hands, electric rates suddenly plunged in California, indicating the effect
of the all-people’s unity movement combined with more advanced demands.
These developments are laying the groundwork for an anti-monopoly coalition
and government, containing the seeds of socialism.

Our role
in building independent politics is three-fold:

1. Project
solutions that unify and that expose Bush

2. Build
the broadest possible all-people’s coalitions and mass action. Within
that, promote labor’s leadership, multi-racial unity, labor and people’s
independent structure.

3. Build
the connection between elections, day to day organizing and struggle on
advanced issues in labor and the people’s movements and in our club concentration
neighborhoods and workplaces. A larger Party will strengthen the movement,
and vice versa.

Si Gerson,
writing on Pete Cacchione said that Pete "participated in precinct
politics to invest it with working class content, with mass participation
in struggles on issues." Pete’s view was that "the Parliamentary
fight is not just to expose, but where a strong fight is supported by
mass movement, it could register genuine gains for the people." An
example is rent control, for which Ben Davis and Pete Cacchione led the
successful fight. They saw the Communist candidates "not as the whole
coalition, but as the most advanced sector within it, and connected to
building a strong grass roots base."

Ben Davis
and Pete Cacchione, elected by proportional representation in New York
in the 1940’s, represent many electoral breakthroughs. Our rich history,
past and present, should be shared with the voting rights movement of
today, as part of our special contribution.

2. Theft
of presidency and pro-democracy movement

The presidential
coup and the fight against it is a watershed in American politics. The
blatant, racist, anti-democratic, "whiff-of-fascism" political
decision by the Supreme Court to deny the voters their choice and hand
the election to George W. Bush has created a very deep anger.

The report
by the US Civil Rights Commission delivered a stinging indictment:

the November 2000 presidential election in Florida, restrictive statutory
provisions, wide ranging errors and inadequate and unequal resources in
the election process denied countless Floridians the right to vote… African
American voters were nearly ten times more likely than white voters to
have their ballots rejected in Florida…The failure to provide proper
language support resulted in widespread voter disenfranchisement of possibly
several thousand Spanish speaking voters in Central Florida."

This coup
based on racism, and anti-Semitism, has set off a new movement in our
country. The right to "one person, one vote" is being fought
for in a broad, new context. Violations against voters in the African
American, Latino and poor voting districts in Florida, in Tennessee, in
Missouri, in Illinois, in Boston and New York, etc, have the attention
of the nation. Lawsuits against violations of the Voting Rights Act in
Florida filed by the NAACP, PRELDF and others; demonstrations; protests,
and the formation of new organizations are all part of this development.

The outpouring
within Florida during the vote count struggle touched whole families,
whole sections of people who more than likely never thought of themselves
as activists. The coalitions of the labor movement, seniors, clergy, the
Haitian, African American, Puerto Rican and Latino communities and women
that emerged are now largely immersed in a single goal: to defeat Jeb
Bush for governor in 2002. The defeat of Jeb, and as the slogan goes in
Florida, "Getting rid of all the Bushes" is a national priority,
along with completing the job to end Republican rule in Congress. The
mayoral elections in New York and Los Angeles are also part of this mix,
which we have already agreed needs more analysis and discussion regarding
the labor-African American-Mexican American alliance.

This increased
level of consciousness has opened up possibilities for new coalitions
that join together issues of racism with expansion of democratic rights
and economic rights. For example, in Connecticut, a bill was just passed
a couple of weeks ago for restoration of voting rights to ex-offenders
during parole. The issue had been on the legislative calendar of the Black
and Puerto Rican Caucus for several years. The outrage at the extreme
right wing stealing the presidential election on the back of racism propelled
the largely white supporters of campaign finance reform to become part
of the effort, along with labor and a coalition addressing poverty issues
at the capitol. As a result, the restoration of voting rights is now law.

In Illinois,
the Fannie Lou Hamer Project is organizing for campaign finance reform
as a "civil rights issue," crossing racial and class lines for

a Voter Bill of Rights, initiated by the Center for Constitutional Rights
in the days following the 2000 elections, broadens the fight for voting
rights to include opening up the entire voting process to become more
democratic, and to allow voters more choices. Our Party is listed as one
of the endorsers. When we wrote in, the reply was "We are happy to
have you." The ten points include:

1. Strict
enforcement and extension of the Voting Rights Act;

2. Abolishment
of the Electoral College and its replacement with majority rule elections.

3.Clean Money
Elections – which calls for public financing of elections, a measure which
was carried out in 2000 in Maine and Arizona for the first time. In Maine,
115 candidates chose to use only public money, forgoing the acceptance
of other monies. Over half of the clean money candidates were elected.
This included some Republicans, but many were first-time candidates, working
people and progressives who said they now felt they could reasonably get
elected. This warrants national study as an alternative to campaign finance
reform bills which limit labor contributions along with corporate contributions,
thereby becoming objectively anti-labor.

4. Instant
Runoff Voting – which allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference.

5. Proportional
Representation – which allows for representation in elected bodies according
to the percentage of votes received.

6. Voting
rights for former prisoners.

7. Make voting
easier and more reliable – same day voter registration, national holiday
on election day, adequate staffing at voting precincts, equal quality
modern voting machines in all districts.

8. Easier
access to the ballot, the media, and debates for candidates; end prohibitive
ballot access requirements.

9. Create
independent and non-partisan election administration bodies.

10. Statehood
for the District of Columbia.

The Pro-Democracy
Conference being held in Philadelphia next weekend also welcomed us as
an endorser. It will include a cross-section of organizations, some labor,
and some who are among those on the left who have not seen the extreme
right danger that we are trying to reach out to. It will also include
those organizations that are in the forefront of the struggle around fair
redistricting, and protecting black and Latino representation.

Some legislation
has been introduced to Congress that encompasses aspects of the Voter
Bill of Rights. The Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act of 2001 introduced
by Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. John Conyers and the Provisional Voting Rights
Act of 2001 introduced by Rep. Jan Shakowsky are the strongest. In addition,
the Democratic Caucus has formed a Special Committee on Election Reform,
which is holding hearings around the nation.

In the tradition
of historic struggles for democratic rights in the South, a powerful victory
for voters’ rights was won in Selma, Alabama in the October, 2000 mayoral
runoff. "Reformed" segregationist Joseph Smitherman was defeated
by James Perkins. Smitherman was mayor at the time of the pivotal 1965
"Bloody Sunday" march for voting rights over the Edmond Pettus
Bridge, led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Perkins’ victory was boosted
by the Joe Gotta Go campaig,n which drew volunteers from Selma, Birmingham
and from California to Mali, West Africa, emphasizing the importance of
the South in building political independence today.
3. Status of labor and people’s movement in electoral arena

It is significant
to take a look at the numbers of elected officials coming out of labor
and people’s movements.

Labor: The
goal of 2000 union activists elected to public office by the year 2000
was overfulfilled, including two from the teachers union elected to Congress
from California. In total, 900 union members ran for local, state and
federal office last year.

African American:
There are now 37 members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Mexican American
and Puerto Rican: The numbers of elected officials and of political associations
are continuing to grow and expand in influence.

Caucus: There are now 57 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

women: Four new labor-endorsed women were elected to the US Senate last

It is also
significant to note the increasing voter turnout by labor, African American,
Mexican American, women and environmental communities.

As a result
of the biggest labor mobilization ever, 26% of all voters in 2000 were
from union households. The labor movement registered 2.3 million new voters
from union households for the 2000 election.

The African
American vote increased dramatically in most states, and delivered a 90%
vote for Gore and Lieberman. The Latino vote increased 11.6% over 1996
and was key in several states in defeating Bush, including California
and New York.

The National
Organization of Women spearheaded a massive voter drive and 54% of women
voted for Gore.

Many environmental
organizations joined forces with labor and other allies resulting in pro-environmental
candidates winning in 75% of the Sierra Club’s top priority Senate and
House campaigns.

Today, the
majority of voters are no longer registered with either the Democratic
or Republican Parties. The majority of voters are now registered as unaffiliated.
This is a signal of discontent and searching. If the labor, left and progressive
forces do not fill this void, the danger is large that the right wing,
masquerading as "independent," will attempt to capture this

4. Building
political independence

and the labor movement

Steve Rosenthal,
Political director of the AFL-CIO gives an excellent presentation on labor’s
goals and how to win them. His starting point is a chart that shows the
gains made in the last four years to register union members and pull out
the vote. He makes the connection between changing the balance of power
in Congress and organizing the unorganized in the South. It’s pretty straightforward,
because the numbers show that union members made the difference in several
key races last year. A shocking figure in the presentation was the large
number of union members polled in April who said they supported Bush’s
performance as president.

In answer
to this situation, the AFL-CIO has developed issue flyers and an action
campaign geared to lay out clearly for their members why and how the Bush
program is anti-worker. Based on the fact that workers respond most favorably
to information at the workplace, a year-long campaign is being put into
place "to define the Bush administration and Bush agenda for union
members and other working Americans with the goal of targeting key elections
in 2002."

There are
a growing number of experiences that combine organizing the unorganized
and electing pro-labor candidates. The election of Hilda Solice in Los
Angeles is one, which is very interesting because it shows that even in
the midst of the main goal being to defeat the extreme right wing, the
goal of getting better candidates within the Democratic Party is part
of the picture. She replaced Matthew Martinez in the primary last year,
and is already one of the strongest fighters in Congress. I believe her
campaign emerged directly as a result of the massive successful organizing
drives in California. In general, the breadth of the labor-community coalition
and labor’s political independence is pace-setting in Los Angeles.

John Gallo
develops the concept of building labor’s power, based on the experience
of the Central Labor council in Cleveland, which is a model being built
on for the last ten years. Rather than send money and campaign workers
to the Democratic Party, the unions have set up their own voter registration
and get-out-the-vote machinery, and join in coalition with community groups.
They registered 15,000 new voters in one month last year working together
with NAACP and WILPF and high school students. They are continuing year
round with education and legislation.

John emphasizes
the need to build a base locally around local issues in the context of
defeating Bush. He writes, "A main tactic we are using is to tie
independent political activities to organizing rights of workers, i.e.,
union recognition, first contracts, NLRB violations, etc. Below is the
Workers Bill of Rights that 15 of 21 council members signed. Because of
this, and because they had individually acted to support workers rights
in the past few years, they got the early endorsement from the CLC. Puts
them out in public as pro-union and subject to our evaluation. Also organized
a breakfast last week with 14 suburban mayors and some union organizers
re: difficulties of organizing and violations of workers rights, and how
these mayors can (and should) help workers in their towns, by calling/writing
to an employer, stopping on the picket line, or even stronger actions
they could take. They were surprisingly favorable. Next day one Mayor
volunteered to write a letter to a car dealer who’s opposing an organizing
drive. Step by step."

Ohio Central Labor Council
Workers’ Bill of Rights

City Council members have a special opportunity to help working families
and improve the quality of life for our community. Below is a vision of
the community we expect public officials to adopt to best serve our entire

Good Public
Services: Citizens deserve good public services that are accountable to
the public. I will oppose privatizing services, will explore bringing
back services currently being performed by outside contractors and support
unions working with local government to improve services.

Strong Public
Education: Cleveland will only be a truly "All American City"
with strong public schools. Elected officials have a special role in speaking
out for strong schools for our children. I will vote against public funds
going to private schools, will not advocate for school vouchers funded
by our tax dollars and will work with the Cleveland AFL-CIO or other groups
to support literacy as a priority in Cleveland Schools.

Good Corporate
Citizenship: Many Cleveland based employers are good corporate citizens
who try to help create a better community. I will not support contracts
or tax breaks to employers who discriminate or violate the National Labor
Relations Act and I will strictly enforce the Cleveland Fair Employment
Wage Law (living wage) unanimously adopted by Cleveland City Council.

Quality Health
Care: The quality of living in our community improves when families have
health care coverage. I will work to expand coverage of the CHIPs (healthcare
for children and working parents) program and speak out for expanded health
care coverage.

Rights: Clevelanders enjoy better wages, benefits and working conditions
when they negotiate collective bargaining agreements. Employers often
deploy fear and intimidation tactics to fight a worker’s right to choose
a voice at work. I will stand on the side of workers by connecting economic
development with workers’ rights, prevent public money from going to employers
who fight against workers’ voice at work, support "card check"
recognition and participate in supporting organizing of workers in Cleveland.


Initiatives/Living Wage Ordinances, etc.

Ballot referenda,
initiatives and proposition questions are also an important part of the
movement for independent politics.

In Cleveland,
Ohio a very impressive ballot initiative for school funding was organized
on a precinct level with a good victory. Its significance is emphasized
by the fact that the Central Labor Council is credited with making thousands
of phone calls that helped bring out the vote, and was represented in
the leadership of the coalition.

In New Haven,
Connecticut ballot referenda on ending child poverty, the Martinez Public
Works Jobs Bill, economic conversion and military spending have raised
the level of election period debate and received large votes.

to defeat reactionary propositions is also an important part of this movement.
Ballot initiatives for school vouchers were resoundingly defeated in Michigan
and California in 2000 as a result of massive public education and get-out-the-vote

Parties and Fusion Tickets

The fact
that 100,000 people voted for Hillary Clinton on the Working Families
Party line and not the Democratic Party line, builds up pressure on her
once elected to take stronger stands on issues that the WFP does. It also
provides another way of building an independent machinery. Third Party
without spoiler role. John has given many exciting reports. Only nine
states have laws, but even there, many are limited. The Working Families
Party is now in the process of branching out into New England.

Labor, Left
and Communist candidates:

We have been
self-critical that our full contribution cannot be felt without many more
of our own candidates.

Our candidates
should emerge out of coalition work taking place at the local level.

Party candidates
should come out of local politics. We should examine more closely how
to run as part of coalitions for smaller, local offices.

Jarvis Tyner
said in the discussion: "No people’s party can develop without being
rooted in neighborhoods. Prospects for political independence are great
on the basis of issues."

At the Connecticut
Communist Party convention workshop on voting rights, there was an interesting
discussion. The example, which helped elect the most militant State Representative,
Evelyn Mantilla, was to take the concept of union density, and apply it
to our building neighborhood clubs. In other words, develop Party density,
or a large number of Party members in a given area of an election district.
Turnout of such a club constituency can dramatically help elect pro-labor
candidates, or even possibly to run our own candidate. This approach takes
the concept of neighborhood concentration and places it into our electoral
strategy and independent politics.

5. Experience
of our candidates and elected officials

The experiences
of our candidates and elected officials are such valuable work from which
we can learn and further develop our approaches. We hope to make a turn
in this Convention to correct the problem of having so few candidates.
As we gain more elected officials, it is likely that they will appreciate
exchanging and learning from each other as well.

A local elected
official emphasizes that the legal structures are a barrier to governing
on behalf of peoples needs. An elected official is constrained by existing
rent laws, and structures formulated on behalf of developers’ interests
and corporate interests. A role for the Communist elected official can
be as "the people’s voice." The information can go back to the
labor and neighborhood activists and to the Communist Party clubs with
the idea of building grass roots movements to change the laws.

Denise Edwards
said from her two successful candidacies she would generalize the need
to build up the concept of Communists running for public office as part
of a slate out of a coalition.
She described her situation this way: "The political system reflects
the deep decay of capitalism. In Pennsylvania the system is deeply in
chaos and intense state of decay. The big problem is creating unity at
the bottom. The problem is not lack of money. The problem is control.
It is absolutely ruthless. I want to appeal to regain the moral high ground.
We have every right to get control back of the money that pays for children,
seniors, and everything else."

6. Assessment
of our Party’s work and projections

Our Party
made an important contribution to the 2000 elections in many ways, but
perhaps most significantly through our assessment and decision to place
the main thrust of our work on defeating the extreme right wing. In this
sense, we walked arm-in-arm with the labor movement, women’s, civil rights
and environmental organizations. Our comrades in Florida made a very particular
contribution, along with the entire Party, in the post-election struggles.

it is certainly the case that we are not set up to make the kind of on-going
contribution to independent politics that is necessary at this critical
moment. We have excellent analysis and policy, and some fine experiences
at the local level. To bring that fully to life, and to connect all unfolding
struggles to the defeat of the extreme right, we need to do much better.
Toward that end, this report offers several ideas:

1. We need
a strong and functioning commission that can stay on top of new developments
and play a role in the coordination of our work. Perhaps in addition to
the commission, an ongoing national network of those on the front lines
in this field would be useful.

2. Our political
action work should be developed in conjunction with building our Party
and building the labor movement in the South and in key swing states.

3. We need
to help state and club Party organizations develop our election strategy
in connection with working class concentration communities and neighborhoods,
including developing target election districts at the state and national

4. We need
to break through the ideological and tactical barriers to running Communists
for public office, emphasizing small, local offices and coalition tickets.
As a first step in this process of qualitatively increasing the number
of Communist candidates and elected officials, the organizing workshop
at the National Convention will begin with a panel of our recent candidates
and elected officials.

5. We need
a regular presence in Washington DC in order to stay abreast of key national
legislation, participate in national labor and peoples’ coalitions based
in the nation’s capitol, and prioritize those bills around which grass
roots support should be built nationwide.

6. We need
consistent and active participation in the emerging pro-democracy and
voting rights coalitions emerging on the national and local scene, where
we have been welcomed to participate in our own name.


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  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
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