Convention Discussion: Growing the Party Requires Reestablishing the Organizational Department

BY: Greg Rose| March 5, 2014

Submitted for discussion by Greg Rose, on behalf of the Oregon District Executive Committee.

In the Oregon District we have experienced considerable growth in the last two and half years. The party had ceased to exist in Oregon after 2010. We have now reestablished clubs in Eugene and Portland with more than twenty members statewide, are conducting active political education, and engaging in trade union, single-payer healthcare, and other vital struggles in support of a mass-based popular front movement. We have several singleton members recruited from the internet in eastern Oregon whom we hope to organize into two clubs this summer. We assisted Washington in organizing a second Seattle club, organized two regional party schools, and participated in a blitz of Salt Lake City. We report this not to seek praise, but because we have shown, we believe, what a small group of cadres taking concerted action can do to build the party.

We could not have accomplished any of this without a crucial weekend-long visit to provide support and guidance by two National Board members a when we were founding the Eugene and Portland clubs. They integrated us into the party, provided crucial guidance in terms of organizing strategy and priorities, provided the vital groundwork for the party to grow in Oregon. They did what all good organizers do: they listened to our ideas, criticized them, and helped us arrive at attainable goals we could immediately begin trying to reach. This sort of leadership is necessary more widely if we are to truly grow the party nationwide.

The problem is not just in the Pacific Northwest. The Washington, DC party organization has collapsed, and this impairs vital work coordinating party activities in the DC area with the trade union movement, organizing demonstrations in support of fraternal parties and progressive governments which are most effective when conducted in the nation’s capital, and carrying on the struggle against racism in a city with a large African-American majority. Attempts to organize effective clubs in Las Vegas and Reno in Nevada have been stymied by the lack of support from experienced organizers concentrating for a period of several weeks on working online contacts and giving them the support necessary to become local leadership. This situation exists wherever there is not an established, ongoing party presence.

We believe that the first step toward such a campaign is to reestablish the party’s Organization Department. We do not mean this as a criticism of the current Membership Commission. They have done valiant work in support of the party’s organizational needs, but all of them also perform vital tasks in the national leadership of the party and have to split their time between organizational tasks and other important work. What we need is an Organization Secretary who is a senior party member with a demonstrated history of success as an organizer and who is assigned full-time to (1) providing support to districts and clubs in recruiting, organizing, and socializing new members into the party, (2) supervising a cadre of field organizers who can travel to districts and clubs to do hands-on advising and training of party members to grow those district and clubs and to establish new clubs in those districts, and (3) assigning those field organizers to blitz online and other applicants in areas where there is no regular party organization and to do so with the assistance of party cadres in neighboring states. We recognize that this will cost money, but if we are serious about creating new clubs in existing districts and establishing new districts in areas where the party currently has no presence, it is an essential step forward.

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.

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


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