The Road to Socialism USA: Unity for Peace, Jobs, Equality

BY:CP Program Collective| March 2, 2019
The Road to Socialism USA: Unity for Peace, Jobs, Equality


Draft Program of the Communist Party USA, 2019 in preparation for out 100th Anniversary Convention

Editor’s note: Below is the introduction to the draft party program.  It’s designed as summary of the entire document, highlighting its central concepts and projections.  Comments are welcome and encouraged!

A better world is both possible and essential for human survival. Working class people around the world need a future without war, racism, exploitation, inequality, environmental destruction, and poverty. Through growing consciousness and experience in struggles on the job and in our communities locally and nationally, we strive to build a brighter future based on democracy, peace, justice, equality, cooperation, a healthy environment, and meeting human needs. That future is socialism, a system in which working class people control their own lives and destinies. The Communist Party USA is dedicated to the struggle for socialism in this country and peace in the world, and this is our program.

Millions of working people have the power, if organized and united, to govern this country, to create a government of, by, and for the people. The people of our country, suffering from an exploitative, oppressive economic system, have the right and responsibility to alter or abolish it. We can remove big corporate financial donors from the election process, throw the speculators out of the banks, breakup or nationalize “too large to fail” banks, eject CEO’s from their golden parachutes, and elect honest working people to represent us in government instead of corporate lawyers and multi-millionaires and billionaires.

Socialism, with the active participation of millions, will usher in a new era. The great wealth of the U.S. will for the first time be used for the benefit of all people. People’s democratic rights will be guaranteed and expanded. Racial, gender, and social equality will be the basis of domestic policies and practices. Foreign policy will be based on mutual respect, peace, and solidarity. Socialism is not a dream but rather a necessity to improve working class people’s lives and ensure the survival of developed human civilization. Only socialism has the solutions to the problems of capitalism. The working class, the vast majority of the population, will have full political and economic power with socialism.

We, the working class and people of the United States, face tremendous problems: exploitation, oppression, racism, sexism, a deteriorating environment and infrastructure, huge budget deficits to pay for tax cuts for the 1%, and a government dominated by the most vicious elements of big capital and its political operatives. We face the problems of everyday living, making ends meet, and having a voice at work and in our communities.

The United States has a rich history of radical and revolutionary struggles, of mass movements demanding and winning economic and social programs to meet the basic needs of the people, of protecting and expanding democracy, and of uniting to overcome obstacles with initiative, energy, and innovation. The Communist Party is a proud part of our country’s radical traditions. Since our founding in 1919, we have participated in the historic struggles of our class and people: for Social Security, for unemployment insurance, for the right to unionize, for racial equality and justice through the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement, for peace through the anti-Vietnam War and other anti-war movements, to restore a militant struggle orientation to labor, and many other struggles.

We, the working people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, need socialism, a system based on people’s needs, not on corporate greed. A radical critique of capitalism and the vision of socialism form the basic ideas of the Communist Party, USA.

Over its history, our Party has helped bring dedicated working class and other progressive social forces together in united action. We understand that the battles for reforms, to protect and extend democracy, and to protect hard fought gains constitute the field upon which class and socialist consciousness will be built, laying the basis for more advanced struggles.

Our current class divide is characterized by extreme inequality, between the CEO “earning” $10,000 per hour and the minimum wage workers who must work multiple jobs to provide for their families, suffering discrimination, sexual harassment, and loss of the right to unionize. Workers are losing rights due to new restrictions on voting, attacks on unions and other organizations, and eroding living standards. Working class people, as individuals, have little power in the face of the elite corporate class that controls the banks and other large, often international, corporations.

The working class, all those who depend on a payroll check—the vast majority of the people—face a relentless, vicious, opponent: the capitalist class, embedded in of an amoral system: capitalism. The U.S. working class and people are oppressed by one of the most controlling, entrenched capitalist ruling classes ever, concentrating enormous political, economic, and military power in the hands of a few transnational corporations, led by global finance banks and the politicians who do their bidding. They exploit workers on the job and at the checkout counter, as renters and homebuyers, and as taxpayers. In addition, these corporations seek to steal, embezzle, extort, and scheme more wealth from tens of millions of working people, from small businesses and family farmers, from men, women, and children, from seniors and youth, and from the employed, underemployed, and unemployed. Barbaric methods are used to divide working class people and achieve extra profits. Their foremost weapons to maintain their dominance are racism, sexism, ultra-nationalist anti-immigrant hysteria, and anti-communism. The most backward corporate and wealthy elements work hard to extend the control of the political extreme right over the government and government policy.

Every movement for change and progress challenges the power of the corporations. Workers confront corporate power daily in their workplace and in every contract negotiation. African Americans, Mexican Americans and other Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, the LGBTQ community, and women all confront corporate power when they fight for equality on the job and in their communities. Youth confront corporate power when they fight for free quality education and relief from the student debt crisis. Environmental organizations confront corporate power when they try to stop global warming, pollution, the dumping of industrial waste, or the ravaging of the remaining wilderness areas for profit.

Capitalists have been working for decades to reverse working-class gains, such as those won during the New Deal, as part of a global attack on workers, unions, and progressive movements and organizations.

The threat of nuclear war, which can destroy all humanity, grows with the spread of nuclear weapons, space-based weaponry, and a military doctrine that justifies their use in preemptive wars and wars without end on behalf of corporate profits. Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has been constantly involved in aggressive military actions both big and small. These military actions have cost millions of lives and casualties, huge material losses, as well as trillions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. “Defense” costs are a cash cow for the armaments industry and eat up more than half the federal budget, draining money desperately required for social needs.

Global warming and other threats to the environment continue to spiral out of control, threatening human and animal life on our planet.

The last decade has intensified the fight for dominance by the most reactionary section of the capitalist class. The only way to defeat this extreme right domination lies in building the broadest, most inclusive unity among our multiracial, multinational, multigender, multigenerational working class, along with the major progressive forces that are its allies. This starts with the labor movement unifying its diverse working class base and building alliances with the whole of the racially and nationally oppressed people, women, and youth. We must unite lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight people; professionals and intellectuals; seniors; the disabled; and the mass people’s movements. These include the peace, environmental, health care, education, housing, and other movements. In limited instances, splits in the ruling class appear and the less reactionary segments of the capitalist class will join the fight against the more backward sections. This all-people’s front to defeat the extreme right is in the process of developing, learning, and being tested in giant struggles: for peace, to address environmental crises, to protect social programs and services, to win health care for all, and to wrest control of all three branches of government from the stranglehold of the extreme right.

The extreme right is led by the most reactionary, militaristic, racist, anti-democratic sectors of the transnationals. They gain support for their extreme right agenda from other backward political trends, most of which are misled as to their real interests, sometimes blinded by the propaganda of fear and scapegoating, by racism, sexism, right-wing nationalism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and xenophobia.

Our people, our country, and our environment are being destroyed by the greed of a few obscenely wealthy capitalist groupings. Our world is threatened by relentless efforts to drive wages down to the lowest level, attempts to destroy unions and all protections won by workers, the spread of toxic wastes and greenhouse gases, and imperialist war. Global capitalist trends have resulted in more child poverty, higher infant mortality rates, less health care, less quality public education, higher income inequality, an epidemic of depression, and the rise of Donald Trump and other neo-fascists.

Another world is possible, and it is our job, the job of the U.S. working class, to help win it. We need radical solutions, expanded democracy, and broad unity. We, the working class and our allies, need to take power from the hands of the wealthy few, their corporations, and their political operatives. We need real solutions to real problems, not the empty promises of establishment politicians and corporate bosses. We need peace, justice, and equality. We need socialism.

In constant battles over issues large and small, the working class learns that more fundamental changes are necessary to have a truly humane society. The struggles for the immediate demands and reforms needed by working people today are essential steps toward our ultimate goal of the revolutionary transformation of society and the economy, toward socialism and then communism—an even higher stage of social and economic development. Communism will be a society without exploitation, without social classes, without war, without constant attacks on our shared environment, and without any coercive apparatus, and with only such administration required to meet people’s needs, create the conditions for full democratic freedom, and for the humane development of society and the individual—for human happiness.

The appeal of a communist society is a response to the real human needs of the masses of people. Communism will enable people to set aside worries about health care and education, about losing their livelihood and their dignity. Communism will eliminate the economic insecurity of the masses of working people. Instead, it will offer us the opportunity to reach our full human potential.

Racism, male supremacy and misogyny remain  the most potent weapons to divide the working class. Institutionalized racism provides hundreds of billions in extra profits for the capitalists every year due to the unequal pay that racially oppressed workers and women receive for work of comparable value. All workers receive lower wages when racism succeeds in dividing and disorganizing us.

In every aspect of economic and social life, African Americans, Latinos, Native peoples, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Arabs and Middle Eastern peoples, all people of color and other nationally and racially oppressed people experience conditions riddled with the effects of racist discrimination. Racist violence and the poison of racist ideas affect all people of color no matter to which economic class they belong. Attempts to suppress and undercount the vote of African Americans, Latinos, Native Peoples, and other racially oppressed people affect the very foundation of our country’s democracy and thereby have an impact on all.

Racism permeates the police, the courts, and the prison system, perpetuating unequal sentencing, racial profiling, discriminatory enforcement, police brutality, police killings, immigrant deportations, and separation of immigrant families—even to the extent of ripping babies from their mothers’ arms.

These attacks also include growing massive government surveillance, including of activist social movements and the Left; open denial of basic rights to immigrants; and violations of the Geneva Conventions up to and including torture of prisoners. These abuses serve to maintain the grip of the capitalist class on government power. They use this power to ensure their continued ideological, economic and political dominance.

The democratic, civil, and human rights of all working class people are constantly under attack. These attacks range from increasingly difficult procedures for union recognition and attempts to prevent full union participation in elections, to the absence of the right to strike or even to unionize for many public workers. They range from undercounting communities of color in the census, diluting the vote of people of color through gerrymandered political boundaries, voter suppression through voter ID laws, and disenfranchisement through mass incarceration. These attacks make it difficult for working people to run for office because of the domination of corporate campaign financing and the high cost of advertising.

Working class women continue to face a considerable differential in wages for work of equal or comparable value. Women confront barriers to promotion, physical and sexual abuse, a continuing double workload in home and family life, and male supremacist ideology perpetuating unequal and often unsafe working conditions. The constant attacks on social welfare programs severely impact single women, single mothers, nationally and racially oppressed women, and all working-class women and their children. The reproductive rights of all women are continually under attack. The extreme right hypocritically projects an ideology of faux-Christian fundamentalism, promoting restrictions on the role and activity of women in society. Violence against women in the home and in society at large remains a shameful fact of life in the U.S.

These attacks are being met with fierce resistance. Women are not only rallying by the millions, they are running for office and winning in record numbers at all levels of government. The 2018 midterm elections resulted in the most diverse incoming group of representatives in history, including record numbers of women of color.

Youth, especially working-class and racially and nationally oppressed youth, are often subjected to segregated education and inadequately-funded public education, and increasingly priced out of higher education. Youth face school gun shootings, police harassment and violence, racism, sexism, and attacks on civil liberties. Poverty and lack of opportunity compel large numbers of young people to enter the military to face possible loss of life in one war after another. Escalating environmental crises threaten their very existence. Taken together, these constitute the denial of a future for our youth.

Youth are fighting back, including the voter registration efforts led by the victims of the Parkland school shooting working against gun violence, demanding action in the streets and in the courts against climate change and the oil companies, demanding relief from crushing student debt, and supporting the rights of immigrant youth.

The crisis of the cities is chronic and growing and embraces all aspects of life. Financial burdens are steadily transferred from the federal government to the states and then to the cities, causing crippling budget deficits. As the majority of racially and nationally oppressed people live in urban areas, the crisis of the cities also reflects institutional racism. There is a chronic and growing shortage of affordable housing across the country, and a deterioration of public education, health care, mass transit, and infrastructure.

By the 1980s, transnational corporations dominated economic and political life in the U.S. and around much of the globe. At the same time, the conditions that capital has created contain the seeds of the destruction of the capitalist system:

Combined with capitalist globalization, there has been a series of merger and acquisition waves, forming oligopolies or monopolies in almost every industry. As a result, there is an increase in the chronic relative overproduction of commodities, unused capacity, and currency imbalances and speculation. This has led to increased levels of unemployment and underemployment in all the major capitalist powers, as well as greater instability in most developing countries. The gap between rich and poor is growing both internationally and within the major capitalist countries, rising to unprecedented levels.

The transnationals have become increasingly intertwined with the governments of the leading imperialist powers. Multi-state capitalist institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and others, are dominated by the U.S. ruling class. Instead of promoting the welfare of all people, they work to politically and economically dominate developing countries and extract outrageous interest for the international banks.

There is growing worldwide resistance to U.S. military action and to military action by other imperialist powers. There is growing recognition that U.S. policies threaten not only world peace and the environment but the very existence of humanity.

The peace front consists of overwhelming world public opinion against war and for peaceful solutions, along with organized peace and social justice movements working directly to accomplish these aims. It includes the existing socialist countries and developing countries that maintain some degree of independent policies. The U.S. extreme right ignores the existing world balance of forces for peace at the expense of weakening its general international influence. The peoples of the world don’t hate the people of America, they hate the actions of U.S. imperialism.

There is also a growing resistance to U.S. international economic actions in international, bilateral, and multilateral relations, and an alliance of developing countries which resists the worst aspects of economic imperialism.

In some developed and developing capitalist countries, the labor movement has become a more militant force in both economic and political arenas. There is some renewed strengthening of socialist and other Left forces—including the communist movement—associated with the international and regional progressive social and economic forums in recent years. The movement leftward is not a simple direct movement toward socialism, Marxism, and Communist Parties. It is a multi-faceted and wide-ranging process, with new left parties and political formations rising quickly in several countries.

On the world scale, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are developing as major economic and political players, providing at times a partial counter-balance to U.S. imperialism, and in some cases leading to new inter-imperialist rivalries. China’s economic growth provides an alternative to trade with imperialist countries for developing and socialist countries, including Cuba and other progressive Latin American countries.

U.S. imperialism is home to the bulk of the dominant transnational corporations. It seeks control over the entire world, including over its fellow imperialist powers. Under extreme right political leadership, U.S. imperialism has immense instruments for winning its aims—ranging from its direct military power to its various means of economic domination and political pressure, from sanctions to bribery to ideological attacks. But even with all of these instruments, U.S. domination is slowly weakening.

The need for international working-class unity is more important than ever. We cannot rule out the danger of war between imperialist powers in the future, though the destructive effects of modern nuclear and space weaponry, the overwhelming military superiority of the U.S., and the certainty of internal political opposition all serve to discourage ambitions for direct military inter-imperialist conflict. Working people are the victims on both sides of all imperialist wars and military adventures.

The absolute and relative exploitation of the working class is at an unprecedented level and continues to grow rapidly. Each transnational corporation now exploits not only its own workers in many countries and the working class of its home country, but the working class of the entire world.

The development of modern capitalism and its exploitation, oppression, and imperialist ambitions requires the strengthening of the economic and political organizations of the working class and all working people both within our country and internationally.

The global working class has common interests in or mutual understanding of, solidarity, liberation, peace, environmental sustainability, and development. We share common enemies: world imperialism, particularly U.S. imperialism, its reactionary transnationals, and the governments they dominate. We support the broadest possible unity of the international working class. We also support international solidarity with other forces, peoples, and movements struggling for liberation worldwide.

Disproportions in the world’s highly interdependent economy spread and are harder to control because of the transnationals’ dominance. Regulation by any single country has less effect. International trade agreements in some cases even overrule national sovereignty in favor of the transnationals. Economies are therefore more vulnerable to supply and currency manipulations. Relative overproduction—while millions starve—and gross trade and currency imbalances are among the causes of the chronic volatility in the world capitalist economy. The result is greater instability, more severe boom-and-bust cycles such as that in 2008, and prolonged stagnation. Therefore, the contradiction between the increasingly international social character of production and distribution on the one hand and the concentration of capital among fewer and fewer of the obscenely wealthy on the other hand sharpens economic and social problems and contradictions.

This also sharpens the class struggle. The globalization of economic and social life, dominated by the transnational monopolies, requires higher levels of environmental protection, education, health care, culture, housing, and family care to produce the quantity and quality of labor now needed.

This is in contradiction to the greater quantities of capitalist profit needed to sustain the growth of the transnationals. This can only come from higher rates of exploitation of existing workers and from the exploitation of growing numbers of workers worldwide. Intensification of the class struggle and sharper attacks on the living conditions of the working class are inherent in the dominance of the transnationals. The increasing merger of the transnationals with the state in the main imperialist countries means that capitalist globalization is both an economic and a political process.

The peoples of the world need a new economic order, one which helps countries develop at the expense of imperialism, the transnationals, and the super-rich. This will require replacement of the current capitalist international economic institutions with ones led by anti-imperialist countries.

The problems facing humankind—of exploitation, oppression, environmental degradation and human survival—can only be solved, ultimately, by the elimination of the exploitative system of capitalism. Our survival depends on a transformation to socialism. The U.S. working class, with a long revolutionary history of powerful mass movements and organizations, will be the main force making this transition in our country. That means building unity for peace, for protecting and expanding democracy, for sustainability, for living-wage jobs, for universal health care, for real equality for all those who are nationally or racially oppressed and for all women, for an end to the control of the extreme right over our political institutions, and for an end to the economic rule of the transnational corporations. Building and strengthening organizations of the working class and unity with its allies, winning real unity in the course of struggle, is the path from our current struggles towards socialism.

The Communist Party USA is an organization of working class people dedicated to the fight for a better world. Our basic principles are rooted in today’s struggles, informed by our history and experience, and guided by our scientific Marxist outlook and vision of socialism. Our bedrock principles include the leading role of the working class in the struggle for social change. Working class unity is a necessity. Fighting against racism and sexism and for immigrant rights is essential to build that unity.

Members of the Communist Party work to strengthen the labor unions, civil rights, peace, youth, student, religious and other community organizations and social networks in which they participate. They promote the voice and effective participation and leadership of the working class in all struggles for progress. They promote unity with the allies of the working class in the course of fighting for the interest of the working class and common goals shared with a majority of the people of our country. Our members organize to build activism and leadership at the grassroots level.

Our Communist Party is both a political party and the organized expression of a broad political movement, and we welcome all who accept our program. Our Party brings science into the struggle for socialism—an understanding based on an examination of real life and history and brings a history of organizing action based on that understanding. The Communist Party is guided by Marxism-Leninism, the theory and practice of scientific socialism. We seek to build a powerful majority movement to transform society and put working class people in charge.

We pledge to work with everyone fighting for a better world. Marx said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.” The Communist Party USA is about changing the world.

As W. E. B. DuBois stated in his application to join the Communist Party USA, “Today I have reached my conclusion:  Capitalism cannot reform itself; it is doomed to self-destruction. No universal selfishness can bring social good to all. Communism, the effort to give all men (and women) what they need and to ask of each the best they can contribute; this is the only way of human life. I want to help bring that day.”

We hope you will join with us to bring that day!



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