Convention Discussion: Theory & Practice in the National Committee and National Board

BY: Brian| April 20, 2014

Submitted by Brian from Connecticut

Through this convention period discussions have taken place about the role of the national board and the national committee. Discussions have emphasized size and a discussion of which is the deliberative body. In some ways, this emphasis obscures other important points of discussion.

For example, the board as a smaller body which meets more regularly than the national committee and often making critical national assessments suggests we would want our most imaginative, creative and innovative comrades be selected to be members of the national board. However, the policies and thinking that come from this small group emerge as essentially theory in need of practice before they become adopted policy. Theory and Practice. Open discussion by the national committee on these board proposals is indeed the practice needed to complement theory. Why? It is these districts and clubs that are on the front lines of implementation of our policy in a country with complex political realities and political configurations. What may work in one area may not work in another.

Proposals coming from the national board must be openly discussed and could meet their first test from the existing experience possessed by our districts and clubs. Certain suggestions from the board may be tweaked not only nationally but regionally as well and possibly downsized or even rejected. It would be a mistake for the national board to see itself as mobilizing the national committee to accept its conclusions before open discussion. This would block open discussion and prevent possible tweaking, revision or basic restructuring through compromise and possibly revision. Nor should there be resistance to new ideas as districts and clubs apply these policies and learn valuable lessons that could improve or redefine them.

To improve national committee functioning questions should be directly asked of the national committee of how these suggestions from the national board would fare in the districts. It should truly be an open ended request without suggestion that a fixed policy is being violated if there is disagreement. A national committee should be a place for open discussion before a policy is implemented. In this way, there is no one deliberative body but two deliberative bodies. The size of the national committee would be determined by what it would take to truly integrate our front line clubs and districts into the national committee discussions and decisions.

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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