Convention Discussion: Labor & the Economy

BY: Jim Rivers| June 10, 2014

Submitted by Jim Rivers, Texas

Convention topics of discussion color the conduct and outcome of a convention.  For a political action organization discussions must accurately reflect both historical reality and necessity.  Most important for our organization they must provide the framework for a fruitful discussion of the organization required for a successful socialist revolution, necessary for further development of the peoples of the world and the elimination of their dreadfully deteriorating conditions.

Revolutions do not occur in the same manner and organization as conducted by pack animals on a hunt or for protection.  Human revolutions require conscious specific objectives and correctly applied strategies and tactics.

The working class has the power and potential ability to finally achieve the revolutionary passing from a capitalist economic structure to a socialist one.  However this will not occur spontaneously.  It will require clarity in the minds of the individuals who compose the working class.  In this context, the most important discussion at this point in history is the relationship between the economy and the working class, (more accurately, the economic structure and the working class).  It is not enough for the working class to be aware of the huge monetary accumulation of the “1%” and to carry out militant economic work actions and strikes to obtain a tiny fraction of the massive profits squeezed from their uncompensated labor.  As a first step they have to want to gain inroads into political control and decision making, to wrest away more of the overly extracted profits (surplus value), and to gain more control over the production process itself.

Every one of the fights highlighted by the convention topics is crucial and needs bigger and more effective struggles.  However, none, not even socialism is unique to a Communist Party.  There are dozens of organizations engaged in effective fights around specific issues and needs.  We are the only organization that works with and for the working class on issues that it currently sees as important and at the same time attempt to provide new ideas about the inability of the current ruling class to change enough to significantly improve the conditions of workers.  Why only a socialist society can do this and they are the only ones that can bring it about.

However, we must clearly understand our role and limitations. In 1922 even after a successful revolution and emerging victorious from an international attempt to crush the revolution, Lenin still commented that “The idea of building communist society exclusively with the hands of the Communists is childish, absolutely childish.  We Communists are but a drop in the ocean a drop in the ocean of the people.”  (Eleventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) March 27-April 2, 1922) this in addition to stating “A party is the vanguard of a class, and its duty is to lead the masses and not merely to reflect the average political level of the masses.” (Lenin, Speech On The Agrarian Question November 14, 1917)

Humanity will continue to stagnate and fail to advance until the working class consciously liberates itself.  This means that revolution is not just the only way for the workers to improve their conditions.  It is their responsibility to recognize and organize themselves as members of a class, a class in antagonistic irreconcilable conflict with another class – the capitalist ruling class.  Such a consciousness cannot be timed, directed or even anticipated with precision; historical events have a habit of occurring without warning.  But, we are the only organization that will discuss ways and means of assisting the working class to carry out its historic task, methods of communicating these ideas and preparing ourselves for historical events when they occur.  

A Philosophical Aside:  Antagonistic contradictions, which consist in the interaction of irreconcilably hostile social classes, groups, or forces, emerge on the basis of private ownership of the means of production and the fundamentally hostile interests of opposing classes. Contradictions of this kind are resolved through the abolition of the social system in question and the creation of a new one.  As a rule, antagonistic contradictions are exacerbated to the point of conflict and end in social revolution. Until this occurs an antagonistic contradiction may be ameliorated but cannot be eliminated.  In the case of capitalism the contradiction eliminating revolution can only be carried out by the class most directly in opposition to the capitalist class – the working class.  However for the working class to carry it out it must be conscious of the nature of the contradiction and the means necessary to effect the revolution.  The Communist Party must be an organization based on the study of the nature of Capitalism and the necessary means of changing society to its next historical stage.

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


Related Party Voices Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer