Discussion of the Main Draft Political Resolution

July 22, 2005



We are having a great convention!

I am very much in support of the report of Sam Webb. It was an outstanding contribution to the thinking and fighting spirit of our party.

The great battle against Bush and the right wing has made our party stronger and also wiser.

Listening to the Report of Sam Webb and the discussion yesterday, I couldnt stop thinking about the phase, Our party is on the move! By that I mean we are reaching a point of greater self-confidence and higher levels of politics and organization which will lead to greater achievements.

Comrades, the party banner is in our hand. We make the party what it is and what it should be. We must hold the banner high and convince others to join us as we march forward.

It is a great honor for me to chair the committee that drafted the main political Resolution for this 28th Convention. This draft resolution is in full accord with the report of Sam and the draft program.

My remarks today are about how we can produce a final draft of the Resolution.

First I want to thank Terrie Albano, Rick Nagin, Rosalio Muoz and Marilyn Bechtel for doing a fine job as members of the committee. It was not an easy job.

From the responses weve received, most comrades have a positive overall assessment of the draft.

The resolution does need more depth on some questions, more clarity and definition on others and thats what I want to talk about. But first I am in praise of the process. The whole process of collectively drafting, discussion and modifying a party document is in itself a victory for party democracy.

This resolution is part of what will define the politics of our 28th convention and will be an important guide to our political work until the next convention. It will be something to refer to in the clubs, something to share with non party coalition partners; to test and measure against the realities of struggle; a document to help us perfect our work on the action level over the next period.

Going by the responses we received, overwhelmingly, most comrades agreed with the political line of the first draft. Some comrades disagreed. Most who disagreed, did so in an honest and unifying way. Most did not see this debate as some kind of power play between contending groups within the party. It is our view that those who do see it that way are doing the party a disservice. We are not in a inner war of contending groups. We are engaged in a comradely debate to perfect our analysis and our work to make our party stronger and more effective. Our party is basically united. There are no two groups, or three groups there is one group, the party.

Most see this pre convention discussion as an honest searching for the truth and for the most effective policies and tactics as we participate in this historic struggle to defeat Bush and the right danger. The struggle against capitalism and the struggle against Bush are inseparable. The Bushs new world order is based on a world where US Imperialism has its way without the sobering presence of the USSR and the system of socialist states. As we know globalization is Imperialism; under Bush its imperialism on crack.

I cannot stress enough that the members of this party place a high value on party unity.

Now to the Changes:

1. Strategic Questions

We think the resolution needs to make clearer the links between the fight back against Bush and the fight against Imperialism and capitalism. We agree with those who say we need to see the Bush administration in the context of US Monopoly Capitalism and imperialism overall. We want to formulate the Bush agenda as the The Bush-right wing-corporate agenda. We need to make clear that a defeat for Bushs policies will not end imperialism and capitalism but it will be an historic defeat for them and will greatly strengthen the working class and the people and make new advances possible. It will also effect the assessments in ruling class circles for years to come. This struggle against Bush is the main highway for the class struggle today.

I think the resolution needs to reiterate our view that you cannot fight reaction, the danger of fascism or advance the struggle for Socialism without an all out fight for democracy.

The resolution needs to show why at this stage in its development, US Imperialism not only seeks absolute military, political and economic dominance over crucial resources and strategic heights abroad but at the same time it drives to extract super-profits at home by slashing human services and instituting highly regressive tax policies.

On all major issues, we need to discuss more the partys crucial role within the peoples movement; its ideological role, fighting for unity and making the links between issues and projecting the next stage in the struggle.

We also want to discuss a bit the relationship between defensive and offensive struggles. Defensive struggles are not lesser struggles they are mainly determined by the ebb and flow of the struggle. Defensive struggles often can set the stage for taking the offense.

-The resolution uses the term Bill of Rights Socialism. We think it is an excellent way to convey to masses that Socialism will be an advance in our democracy.

There is a reason why Bill of Rights has never been fully implemented under US capitalism. To frame our view of Socialism as in harmony with the Bill of Rights is a winning strategy. It is likely that it will take Socialism before we will finally be able to enjoy living under an extended and strengthened Bill of Rights. This concept of Bill of Rights Socialism helps us defeat the false idea that we communist are not for political democracy. That notion is like a tombstone around our necks. We cannot defeat anti communism without being very clear and decisive on this. We do not reject every law made under capitalism because it was made under capitalism.

Industrial Concentration

We think the resolution has to mention the critical importance of millions of industrial workers and why we remain committed to the policy of Industrial concentration.

The resolution needs to clarify those strategic and tactical ideas more.

2. Partys Analysis Holds Up

Recent developments show that the basic political analysis in the first draft is holding up. In fact we think events demand that the resolution be more optimistic about the possibility of defeating Bushs policies.

The direction of all the latest polling shows Bush at his lowest point in popularity. They show a new majority against his social security scheme, a new majority against his economic policies in general, a new majority against the war including for ending the war. There is a new majority thats questioning the whole Bushs so-called, War on Terrorism. In fact there are signs that the 9/11 hysteria has lost its hold on large sections of the US people. Many people now understand that to really support the troops means rejecting Bush. Most Americans now feel that the war in Iraq is a mistake. A growing numbers of soldiers understand that this war is wrong. Those military families are playing a magnificent role in the fight for peace. And we cannot say enough about those families who are courageously fighting against the military recruiters. The NY Times reports a parent saying if the recruiters come to his front door theyd better have something.

Also, the resolution must say more about the trust factor. Bushs credibility is steadily eroding. Mass anger and deep concern is growing after new facts have emerged about the Republicans suppressed of the vote in 2004, the shameful tortures at Guantanamo, the anti democratic nature of the Patriot Act and the Downing Street memo. There is growing concern about the lying and extremism of this administration; The Schiavo case and the opposition to stem cell research are raising new questions about the separation of church and state, and the narrow mindedness and extremism of this administration.

Comrades, at this point there is no aspect of the Bushs agenda that has solid majority support. Bush is now losing support among Republicans.

In that same vain only 31% of the voters of California currently support the policies of Arnold Swartzeneggar. In January that number was 60%. The decline in popular support for the right wing Republicans is remarkable.

This is why there are growing signs of some retreats by Bush and his cohorts. At the same time, the danger of provocation is also great.

As Art Perlo so graphically showed us yesterday, there is also a rising economic and political crisis facing our nation, which makes it more imperative that we build the broad all peoples front. The Bush administration is hell bent on forcing through their agenda were they can. But they are on some very shaky ground.

Oil prices are at record levels and down the road, greater economic crisis are predicted, we may face the attempt to impose a draft. Big layoffs are happening. The private pensions and medical coverage of millions of workers are in jeopardy. Poverty, unemployment, homelessness and hunger are growing.

This is a time which calls for the highest levels of broad, mass, united action by labor and peoples forces. With unity, Bush can be isolated and his policies defeated while in office.

In light of the possible split in the AFL/CIO I think the resolution needs to say we need greater unity of anti Bush coalition, not less. It needs to indicate our approach if there is a split.

The people must intervene to end the war and change the congress in 2006, which will make it possible to change the whole political direction of the country. We want to more sharply reflect these assessments in the next draft of the Resolution.

3. Pre conditions for a New peoples Offensive

Things are changing rapidly. Important sections of the left in the Democratic Party have gotten more aggressive. The election of Howard Dean as chair of the party was an important step. The Conyers hearings on the Downing Street memo could as the Peoples Weekly Word put it become Bushs Watergate. The formation of the US Troops out of Iraq Now group in the Congress is very important. Congresswomen Maxine Waters reports that they have 60 members already. Sections of the Democrats seem more willing to fight and are now more ready to fully identify with the peace movement.

In reaction to the 2004 elections, CBTU is making the call to go back to Gary for a new Black political convention. This time initiated by Black labor. They recognize the need to build an independent base from which to pressure for a more militant fight against the Bush Corporate agenda.

The election of Villaragrosa in Los Angeles shows important growth and maturation of Black, brown and white unity.

Things could change but we think we are moving toward an offensive. The mid term elections are crucial.

That mean that we need to help in the formulation of more offensive demands and tactics. For example, its not enough to demand we save Social Security. We need to demand an increase in benefits and scrap the cap. Not just pass the voting rights extension but we need a new more comprehensive legislation that will prevent what the Republicans did in Florida and Ohio. We need to end the denial of the right to vote to convicted felons. We need electoral reform; for starters proportional legislation and the right to fusion in every state, etc.

Corporations should not be allowed to contribute to elections period. We need public works jobs and shorter workweek and stronger laws against racism and for affirmative action. This must be reflected in the Resolution.

4. Heightened Racist Danger

I think Sams report is a real contribution to our partys understanding on the fight against racism. The resolution needs to say more about the centrality of the fight against racism today.

The Bush attack against black and Latino people can only be described as a new racist offensive. The extent of growing poverty, unemployment and homelessness is reason for emergency action. The years of right wing dominance of our political process has meant a relentless and reckless attack on civil rights and civil liberties. The right wing has been desperately trying to remove the necessity to end racism and poverty from the nations moral agenda. This is a dangerous attack on democracy itself. The retirement of Sandra Day OConner means there is a grave treat of the Supreme Court moving even further to the right.

Immigrants actually do contribute to our nations economy. Yet they are being criminalized and are used as scapegoats to rationalize attacks which impacts negatively on the class as a whole. They falsely characterize affirmative action as anti civil rights and praise Strom Thurmond, a staunch segregationist for most of his life, as a great statesman while the demonize the civil rights leaders.

As the first draft states, theyre at war with civil rights.

The Bush agenda is a racist agenda.

-No child left behind, is aimed at inner city schools.

-The primary targets of the military recruiters in public schools are low income, black and Latino youths.

-Ownership Society is basically a blame the victim racist idea. (Inherent in it is the poverty is the fault of the poor. If you dont own, and exploit, its your fault). This is used as a cover to hide their destruction of vital social programs.

-Faith Based Initiative is primarily aimed at African American churches to buy off and corrupt and promote a conservative political agenda among African Americans.

-Of course the calls for smaller federal government have a sharp racist edge. It is in the public sector of employment where non whites have made their greatest employment gains.

The political nature of the Republicans today is that they cannot win power nor hold power without racist policies. The Republicans cannot win Presidential elections without the suppression of the African American vote. I agree with Sam, the Republican Party based on its policies is a racist party. They cannot destroy the New Deal, safety net, nor rationalize the war, the Patriot Act, all the torture and murder and mayhem they are causing without racism; anti black, anti Latino, anti immigrant and anti Arab racism. Therefore without an all around consistent and relentless struggle against racism the Bush, corporate, imperialist agenda cannot be defeated!! That idea needs to ring throughout the Resolution.

The denial of basic rights to LGBT has to be placed stronger in the Resolution. We have to play a role in moving democratic masses from tolerance to an active struggle against homophobia.

5. Labor split

Obviously the possible split in the AFL/CIO has to be mentioned in the Draft; our opposition to it and what we should do if it does occur.

Also we have to address the recent crisis of private pensions and health care systems as a reason to step up the fight to strengthen Social Security and for a single payer national health care for all. Labor faces a hard up hill battle in the coming period. There are going to be more layoffs and strikes. We must keep our eyes on the main enemy; the corporations and the administration, in this critical period of struggle.

Democratic Party

We also want to sharpen up the discussion on the Democratic Party a bit. We need to indicate the new features of the ongoing struggle inside and outside. We also must stress however, that in the foreseeable future it remains an important electoral vehicle for the democratic forces to fight reaction at the ballot box and in the nations legislative bodies. Finding new ways of strengthen independence in light of that reality is very important.

6. Party Building

This resolution must contain the essence of what was presented on party building in his opening report.

This morning I heard Pete Seeger on National Public Radio and he was saying that in his youth he had joined the Young Communist League and he also joined the party later but he left the party because, he did want to belong to a secret organization. Pete has been a friend of the party for 50 years maybe he is with us on most questions. This was a different time and circumstances but what Pete was saying about secrecy very much enforces Sams point that we have to come out of the closet and have greater visibility if we are going to build this party.

The resolution must devote more space to the question of Party and YCL building. As Sam has pointed out in his report, the size of our party is an objective obstacle to our playing the leading role we need to play in the sharp struggles ahead.

Why dont we grow more rapidly is the question before us? The whole party must answer that question ultimately but the Resolution needs to give some direction to that discussion. The 28th convention must help the party make a big turn on this question.

I dont think we received hardly any suggestions or resolutions calling for more aggressive party building. It is as if we accept our current size as something we cant change. Of course we can change it totally. Thats why I am so glad it was handled so well in Sams report and on the panel and in the workshops yesterday.

What are some of the obstacles to changing it?

For own thing we (the drafting committee) thinks we are still too sectarian and to defensive on the question of party building. The doors of the party are not open enough in most clubs and district. Its been 14 years of good communist work since the collapse in 1991. We have created a lot of good will. A lot of activist and mass leaders like the party. We have more comrades today who are mass leader then Ive every seen; and we are welcomed and encouraged to play that role publicly. But the party doesnt grow.

Many of our comrades hold local elected office, but the party doesnt grow. Many comrades are elected to top post in the trade union movement. But the party doesnt grow. We have comrades who are well known and respected in working class and black and brown communities. But the party doesnt grow. The circulations of our publications are growing. We are breaking records on the internet hits. People love our publications. But the party doesnt grow.

To be more accurate, we grow but we grow modestly and we have trouble solidifying and retaining our new members.

Our political role, our line is highly appreciated and respected. We were right on target on the 2000 and 2004 elections. We are in the mix with 10s of millions of working people. But the party still grows modestly.

One hint is when you hear the phase, You guys still around? We have visibility, but in that big political sky that is the US politics our visibility is minimal.

Its party building time. We have to move from the spontaneous to a more organized approach. There are some clubs and district that are steady recruiting. We need to study why.

Its Party-building time.

It is time we put in place a regular mass distribution of the PWW in the grass roots.

Where are the mass pamphlets on current issues of concern?

It party building time.

Our party must embrace the latest technology when it comes to mass communication and party educations. We have to learn to bring our message to the working class and younger generation through mass culture; music, sports and popular literature.

We have to develop a national plan on how to utilize our three regional centers and all the other 6 or 7 party lead centers to build our party.

We need standing new members classes in every district. I know some are planned. Cant we create something like short courses in Marxism on DVD or Video? Can we continue the discussions on the Internet? Can we get back on cable?

We need to produce books that speak to the current big questions before the class and people.

A Big Event Party

We have to reestablish out tradition of having big events, festivals, mass concerts and public meetings. Were not there yet but we have to start introducing the images of a mass party in order to realize a mass party. Its party building time!

We cannot build the party unless we change the nature of our clubs. The clubs are the main place to recruit in large numbers. Leading comrades must become club leaders to help accelerate mass recruitment.

The resolution must salute the YCL. We have to support and help to build the YCL. We need a mass YCL. To put it frankly the YCL is the future of the Party. It is clear, the districts that have active party-supported YCL branches have a reliable and steady pace of party recruitment. Building the YCL is building the party!

7. Processing the Resolution

This presentation should be seen as a basis for changes and the political direction of the new draft. We are asking for the approval of my report as the basis for strengthening and modifying the old draft. We will have a discussion here and vote. With your approval the drafting committee composed of me, Marilyn, Rosalio, Rick Nagin and Terrie Albano will continue it work and be charges with the responsibility to produce the final draft to be presented to the incoming National Committee for their approval.

Finally comrades, as I said, the banner is in our hands. We must hold it high; hold it with courage and confidence and always invite others to join us as we march forward. This is a noble cause we are a part of. Hold the banner high comrades. Down the road is an end to poverty, racism and war. Down the road comrades is nothing short of the salvation of humanity.

Thank you


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