Convention Discussion: A Letter to the CPUSA

BY: Andrew Armstrong| March 18, 2014

There is a nascent, untapped anti-capitalist sentiment amongst the American public. This is not usually expressed in positive terms towards socialism, but rather a general discontent with the status-quo, with big business and big businessmen, and a feeling of being stuck permanently in a lower socio-economic class. The people want equality in pay, and they resent arbitrary and vindictive bosses, whom know less about the job than the workers. Yet these are not just from the left but also from the right. I have heard many a rant from hard-core conservatives that have a heavy anti-business bent. For example, I can remember a person going on about the leftist elite, most notably about George Soros, his currency crashing schemes, and his behind the scenes manipulation of the political process. When I asked this person what he thought should be done, he said that democracy should be left in the hands of capitalism. I then explained that he had just given an example of just that. If billionaires like George Soros aren’t capitalists, who is?  All of this could be cultivated into a socialist mentality, yet its not happening.

Part of the problem is your constant siding with the Democratic party and the mainstream left. I have read several times that your party can not afford to break with the Democrats, but I would say you can’t afford not to. These anti-capitalist feelings that could be turned into pro-socialist feelings are being hijacked by the left. The Democratic party portrays itself as the champion of the workers and the poor, whilst upholding all of the basic tenants of capitalism and the oppressive class system that goes with it. They have offered the barest minimum that the working class can accept. They give a few social services to the poorest and offer a few work place regulations such as minimum wage and 40 hour work weeks but the workers are still definitely exploited in the Marxist sense. These kind of half measures are something that Marx and Engels warned about, and they have been propping up capitalism since the Great Depression. No one’s basic lot in life is going to change under the Democrats.

And the average American might find that he can enjoy life rather well in this system. He might not have much, but he has food in his belly and football on the T.V. However the average citizen of the third world does not have even that. And America, along with the rest of the developed world, is responsible for their horrible conditions. The only way we can have such cheap goods, is by having them manufactured by people getting paid cents a day in other countries. We are guilty of gross economic imperialism. Through organizations like the World Bank we force other countries to adopt pure capitalism and working conditions that Americans would find unacceptable. Our wealth comes from the sweat of exploited peoples worldwide. This is what the Democratic party brings to the table. They openly show their disregard for foreign life with continued bombardments and wars. If we were to send drones in to kill American criminals, and blew them up along with their families there would be riots on the streets.

The Democratic party is just as much the enemy of communism and the people as the Republicans and far right is. And what do you gain by aligning yourselves with them? Nothing. You’re just another leftist third party. Your specific issues such as union rights, homosexual rights, etc. are already being championed by the mainstream left. This organization will not make or break legalized gay marriage or a higher minimum wage. Worse, by constantly vilifying the right you feed into the two-party system. Many people who would otherwise have voted further left, vote for the Democrats out of fear of what would happen if the left vote was split and the right won. In this current system, you will never grow your party. No one has made a successful third party since the current Republican/Democrat system emerged around 150 years ago. Why should you succeed where so many others have failed?

Am I saying give up? Not at all. But there should be a complete change of party goals. Before I get to that, let me make my most radical suggestion. I think that the victory of the right, the far-right in particular, is the best thing that could happen for communism. Under the left, the working man has been able to eek out a somewhat satisfactory life. They are not motivated to drastic political change while they have their bread and circuses. Yet whilst we linger on happily in the ‘welfare capitalist’ state, the world languishes. If the right were to win, and the pure capitalism that so many of them think they want were to emerge, things would change quickly. Let Americans go back to working 16 hour shifts in shoddy buildings, with no safety oversight, just to make enough money to (maybe) feed their families. Let them cut public schools and have Americans know that their children will never be able to do anything besides dirt-cheap manual labor. Let the far-right libertarian fanatics carry out their most extreme whims, and then let’s see how long capitalism lasts. When the friendly face that the new left has put on capitalism is erased, communism can thrive.

If this sounds harsh to the American people, I must reiterate that currently the world suffers for our pleasure. Anytime a people in a third world country organize and demand better conditions, the companies simply relocate to a new poorer country, leaving the former country in worse conditions than before. This system of exploitation will not end until capitalism is defeated. Also remember that this is the process described by Marx. Marxism is not, in its true form, a possible political path, but the inevitable future. In today’s world, democracy of the bourgeoisie has taken ahold almost everywhere, and industrialization is proceeding globally. It is coming closer to the time that communism should occur. And the western world is where it should happen first.

What should the Communist party be doing right now? It should be acting as a vanguard. Its main mission should be demonstrating to people the benefits of communism and the pitfalls of capitalism. It should be working to undo decades of capitalist propaganda, not concerning itself with specific issues that others are already working on. This should be accomplished in a variety of ways, including reaching out to the people with pamphlets, commercials, or even door-to-door. But even more importantly, Communists should be entering the ranks of economists. I have taken introductory economic classes in college, and they were nothing but propaganda for neoclassical economics. I realize that this is probably the reason that many socialists do not pursue economic degrees. But until they do, the capitalists will be able to appeal to authority (their neoclassically trained economists). And of course they will continue to indoctrinate the new generations of intellectuals into believing that Marxism is dead, and capitalism is the best the world has to offer. To this end I would suggest providing scholarships for party members to get economic degrees. Only when professional economists begin to speak for socialism, will the media begin to take it seriously again.

Also important is the unity of the various socialist groups. With your current membership levels most people will not take you seriously. It is important to unite with all other groups that are against capitalism. There might be serious ideological differences between these groups, however, these should be ignored for now. If there is no socialism, the different debates about what mode it should take are moot. These groups should unite behind the main issue they have in common, bringing about an end to capitalism. Once that occurs there will be time for debates on what to do next.

I’m glad that there is still a party that champions the cause of communism. However all of your activities are meaningless until communism is once again viewed as a legitimate system. You should strive unceasingly to eliminate the stereotypes of communism as a totalitarian system of oppression. You should demonstrate that far from it, communism is actually the extension of democracy from the political realm to the economic. You should show people how they are being exploited by businesses and the existing political elite. Ideological work should be the one and only goal of this party until socialism is accepted by the people.

The views and opinions expressed in the Convention Discussion are those of the author alone. The Communist Party is publishing these views as a service to encourage discussion and debate. Those views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Communist Party, its leading bodies or staff members. The CPUSA Constitution, Program, and all its existing policies remain in effect during the Convention discussion period and during the Convention.

For details about the convention, visit the Convention homepage
To contribute to the discussion, visit the Convention Discussion webpage

30th National Convention, Communist Party USA
Chicago | June 13-15, 2014


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