Why a Women’s and LGBTQ Commission?

Why a Women’s and LGBTQ Commission?


This piece is a contribution to the Pre-Convention Discussion for our 32nd National Convention. During Pre-Convention Discussion, all aspects of the party’s program, strategy, and tactics are up for consideration and debate. The ideas presented here are those of the author or authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Communist Party USA, its membership, or their elected leadership bodies. — Editors

As our comrades have previously laid out before us, the CPUSA is only two decades removed from subscribing to the old-fashioned USSR line that homosexuality is a symptom of capitalism’s decline that must be plucked from the ranks of committed and disciplined communists.

Moreover, in the midst of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the National Party line remained exclusionary toward the queer communities most affected, with few clubs open to LGBTQ membership. While we now uphold LGBTQ equality in harmony with workers’ liberation, and many clubs nationwide have significant queer membership, it will take all hands on deck to rectify our historical errors and rise to meet the current political moment.

Unity against fascism

The rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community are under direct attack by the far-right, with both personal and collective liberties at stake. In recent years, we have seen the bodily autonomy of women and trans people trivialized. In Michigan alone, eight anti-trans bills have been introduced in 2024 seeking to criminalize parents who help their child transition, amongst other attacks. Book bans have become prevalent across a range of topics such as sexuality, race, and the history of colonization and slavery in the U.S. Under the guise of “religious freedom” and the protection of youth, these efforts are led by groups such as Moms for Liberty with the support of far-right terrorist groups like the Proud Boys. Their actions make clear a need for LGBTQ+ solidarity within the broader movement for workers’ rights. Although our struggles may look different, they ultimately stem from the same roots of oppression built to serve the ruling class. This understanding will prevent us from falling victim to the divisive rhetoric which aims to convince workers that gender or sexuality-based rights threaten our own, ultimately splintering the working class.

In Hamtramck, Michigan,we have seen this divisiveness first-hand. Hamtramck is a diverse community known for its immigrant population, a city council entirely composed of Muslim leadership, and a publicly broadcasted call to prayer. In 2023 the, city council banned cultural flags from city property, including the LGBTQ+ flags.The ban coincided with Pride Month, and tensions arose between primarily white queer populations and the Arab-Muslim populations in the city. A protest in front of City Hall, led by sectarian leftists organizations, played into deep-seated tensions, with many speakers comparing the flying of pride flags to the broadcast of the call to prayer. While the ban was introduced as a representation of the city’s cultural values, there were more insidious players taking part in these conversations, including members of Moms for Liberty who advocated for book banning in nearby Dearborn. Conversations on the ban in online neighborhood groups devolved into racist vitriol, with some white residents in the city taking advantage of the ban to advocate for a ban on flags of “terrorist countries.” In the midst of these tensions, one house in Hamtramck flew a Nazi flag, further laying bare the contradiction in place.

The role of communists is to reject this division and insist on unity at every turn. Muslim Americans, immigrant communities, and LGBTQ+ communities all share a common enemy, and therefore must share a common goal. We are fighting against racist, xenophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic attacks on the rights of working class Americans, and we will only win this fight if we stand united. Solidarity between women’s and LGBTQ+ movements will serve as a foundation for greater unity between these movements and movements for racial justice, economic justice, and the resistance to fascism in the U.S.

Why a Women’s and LGBTQ Commission?

The far-right uses worsening social conditions to widen its appeal. We can examine this  when looking at the rift between liberal feminist and ultra-left queer movements. The former, unable to resolve the class contradictions inherent in patriarchal capitalism, is restrained to striving for democratic gains in the form of hyper-individualized personal choice, accommodating the reactionary trend among cis-women to exclude trans-women from women’s struggles and mis-categorize them as deceitful, confused men who seek to infiltrate women’s spaces. The latter grouping, however, averse to hegemonic assimilation into the current social order and pessimistically wary of the average worker’s reactionary perception of gender nonconformity, find themselves down the creek without a paddle. As demonstrated in our Hamtramck example, the ultra-left movement is characterized by petty bourgeois queer radicals who follow a defeatist revolutionary technique of separation and isolation rather than unity with potential allies.

Both movements are alienated from the international struggle felt by women and queer people abroad, largely inflicted by our own government’s imperialist rampage for increased worker exploitation. We must reject the co-opting of queer struggles by liberal reformers and the flawed emancipatory logic of hyper-individualization, while also rejecting forms of feminism that do not serve all oppressed by patriarchy, and more diligently introduce scientific socialism into every aspect of gendered struggle. The distinct threat of patriarchal capitalism, the mutually beneficial and dialectical relationship between class structure and hierarchical sex structure, reified with the privatization of the family unit and generations of directly exploited reproductive labor, cannot be dismantled without the unity of the working class in cases of gendered oppression. There is no women’s liberation without complete gender liberation, necessitating unity between both movements to address the root cause.

Through the formation of Women’s and LGBTQ Commissions in districts and clubs across the country, we can organize to form coalitions between mass organizations that fight for women’s rights and trans rights, further develop Marxist analyses of patriarchal oppression, educate our comrades on the social ills of patriarchal capitalism, and bolster unity within existing movements fighting for gender and sex equality.



    Michigan District Women’s and LGBTQ Commission, CPUSA

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