Framework for Discussion: U.S. politics & the Right danger today

BY: Convention Organizing Committee| February 5, 2014

The Communist Party has for many years identified the main strategic task of the U.S. working-class and its allies as building a broad all-people’s alliance against the corporate backed extreme right-wing and its policies. Without the decisive defeat of the Right in the political arena, working people and progressive movements will remain on the defensive instead of taking the political initiative and driving the political agenda. Attacks on workers’ rights, civil rights, and union rights by the extreme right-wing at the federal and state level show that the electoral battles are the main form of class struggle today.

The Party program noted that the electoral/political arena is decisive to the overall  struggle:

The struggle to defeat the ultra-right is a democratic struggle that advances the class struggle and that has the potential to shift the balance of forces in a direction more favorable for winning working class victories and for mounting offensive struggles. – The Road to Socialism USA

Small and significant proactive reforms are possible in this period, but major transformative reforms will be difficult if not impossible with the right dominating political, ideological and social life in the U.S.; the road to socialism in this country today cannot bypass the struggle to defeat the Ultra-Right.

Our thrust has been on building the broad alliance, the movement to defeat the right, at the grassroots level, raising class consciousness for the long term not just focusing on one or another candidate.  Our contribution has been to build unity, especially challenging racism and other bigotries that have kept the alliance from being as strong as required.

How has the Party Program and strategic line held up over time? Are there adjustments or corrections that need to be made? Are there experiences that confirm or contradict our strategy? Are there new tactical or organizational forms that need consideration? Has our strategy been embraced by others? What are concrete experiences of implementing the strategy at the local, state or national level?

What is the balance of forces in your Congressional delegation, state house and state assembly? In the public in your community? Among voters? Where is mass consciousness today in your experience? What is the level of political development and maturity among working people in the mass movements, among different social and demographic sectors? Are there signs of radicalization and new militancy? How are the main social forces aligned politically?

Are there particular campaigns, actions or legislative struggles that show the potential for defeating the rightwing agenda are winning significant progressive reforms? What was/is the role of our Party in building support for these campaigns at the grassroots? Are there experiences and lessons from recruiting new members and/or expanding readership of the People’s World as part of these campaigns?

What is the state of the extreme right-wing and the tea party in your state? At the last Party Convention, the Tea Party was a new development, the Obama Administration had just entered its second year, What are new developments have happened in the political sphere in the past period? Is the Tea Party more or less significant today? What are other expressions of the extreme right today?

What are other trends and sectors, class and social forces in the Republican Party in your state? Who are the main constituents that vote for the GOP and why in your experience?

What is the state and composition, platform and outlook of the Democratic Party in your state? Are there newly developed independent progressive democrats? What is the social base and relationship to the grassroots base? What are the contradictions between the largely corporate-driven national Party formation and the working-class constituents of the party in your experience? What are some of the specific expressions of anti-corporate and progressive trends in the Democratic Party in your area? What should be the attitude of the Communist Party and the Left to the Democratic Party, its leaders and supporters?

What is the state of the broad anti-right alliance of forces in your area? Have progressive and left ideas grown in influence and popularity? What are the main barriers to building unity against the rightwing and their agenda in your experience?

How did the reelection of Barack Obama affect the political terrain in the country? Did the same coalition that elected Obama in 2008 send him back to office in 2012 in your experience? Did the electoral coalition change and if so how? What have been the greatest accomplishment and biggest setbacks electorally and legislatively in the past period in your area?

What is the state of political representation in your congressional delegation, state and local community? How are African American, Latino, Asian American, American Indian, Arab, Jewish and other constituencies reflected in offices locally and nationally? Much has been made of new emerging political force of the Latino electorate. How are Latinos voting in your area and why? What are the political variations in the Latino vote by region, national origin, immigration status etc.? What is the state of the Asian American electorate in your area?

What is the state of political independence today? Are chances for viable third-party progressive candidates greater today than previously? What about the experience of grassroots third-party efforts around the country and where you live? Has the independent political role of the trade union movement expanded in the recent period and how? Have union members been elected to political office?

What electoral and voting reforms are possible or being enacted in your state? What about instant-runoff voting, same day registration, electoral fusion, etc. What is the impact of the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in your local elections? Are efforts to get big money out of politics gaining traction or slipping? What can be done to democratize the electoral process in the U.S.?

Who votes and who doesn’t in your community? Does voting remain a central arena of class and democratic struggles and what are your experiences in voter registration, education and get out the vote?

What is the potential for legislative action on the long and varied list of working people’s urgent needs? Is it possible to overcome political gridlock in Washington on key issues like immigration reform, the federal budget and veteran’s benefits among many others by local organizing?

A Supreme Court ruling gutted the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act last year. Other threats to voting rights are seen in the states. Where is the struggle around voting rights and expanding the franchise in your area? What is the state of the fight against felony disenfranchisement and support for DC statehood?

What is the potential of participatory budgeting and other forms of democratic control at the local level? Are there other forms of political engagement that have emerged in recent years in your state and community?

This document was developed to help provide a framework for the discussion of the 30th Convention of the Communist Party USA. These framing documents are not intended to limit the discussion in any way, but are meant as ways to generate ideas and questions to be addressed. 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.




    The collective appointed by the National Committee of the Communist Party to organize and plan the 30th National Convention of the Communist Party USA, Chaired by John Bachtell. 

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