Convention Discussion: Can our Party’s ideas resonate?

BY: Juan Lopez| June 5, 2014

Submitted by Juan Lopez, National Vice Chair, Okaland, CA

Our Party must grow because our nation’s people and, at the risk of sounding pretentious, the world’s people and Mother Nature herself needs it.

Needless to say our country plays a pivotal role on the planet.

However, too often people on the Left including some of us tend to emphasize one side of this dynamic. The top dog imperialist dark side.

But, there is another side that does not get recognized enough.

What do I mean?

Recently, at our Northern California district convention we had attending a member of the Young Communists of France of African parents, who happened to be visiting one of our young party members.

He expressed deep gratitude for the instructive and inspiring role our 1960s Civil Rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have played in influencing the struggles for equality in France and throughout the European Union.

This is but one example of what our working class and people have contributed to the class and democratic struggles at the national and international levels.

May Day of course, and more.

Our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights and subsequent constitutional amendments represent a whole unified body of outstanding creative work – forged through blood, sweat, tears of pain and joy, and intellectual brilliance – since the nation’s founding in 1776.

They are the outcome of the clash of contending class and social forces on the economic, political and ideological planes.

For their time and, for our time, they represent forward-looking consummation of our nation’s rich historical experience.

It is for our 21st Century era to take to new heights the unfinished tasks of the great democratic and class (at times revolutionary) milestones in our history.

That’s what we must rescue for the working class and nation from today’s ruling class and even more so from its right wing.

These historical milestones are the building blocks on which our nation’s Bill of Rights Socialist transformation will be consummated and developed.

And that’s what we must convey to our working class and people in their true historical context.

This is not new to our party.

Our comrades through the 1930s, 1940s, the 1960s and beyond celebrated and drew knowledge, experience and inspiration from our people’s struggles and progressive movements and leaders from all fields of endeavor – politics, the arts, sports, and more.

In many cases our party and comrades played important and, during certain periods, pivotal roles.

Now, one could easily conclude that I am glorifying what has been a complex, contradictory historical process.

We must view history – more distant or as it is being shaped today – objectively with all its contradictory twists and turns but from the vantage point of what is going to benefit our nation’s and the world’s working class, people and Nature.

We must look squarely in the eye at misjudgments, errors and excesses, whether committed by us or by others claiming to be forward looking in the historical process, draw lessons and not be afraid to bring them to light.

On a related matter, the terms, symbols, references, images we employ all must correspond to our country’s experience and be framed in terms that people can understand and identify with if we aspire to become truly an organization of, for and by our nation’s working class and people.

This is continually being enriched by new waves of immigrants from all corners of the world, some bringing along their revolutionary traditions and personal experiences that they apply to advance the class and democratic struggles in our country, their new home.

That too is part of our national legacy that we must become better acquainted with and, in collaboration with progressives in all fields of endeavor, bring to light.

In developing our true national identity, our nation’s people more intimately learn to appreciate their sisters and brothers across the globe whose destinies on earth we share.

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



    Juan Lopez is chairman of the Communist Party in northern California and statewide coordinator. He has been a labor and community activist during the nearly forty years he's lived in Oakland, where he and his wife raised three children. He was formerly a member of the Teamsters union and a shop steward.

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