Post Election, Now What?

April 2, 2005
Post Election, Now What?

I am going to respond to the following questions: How does the Partys strategic line stand up to the outcome of the elections? Does the Party need to change its strategic line? If not, what do we need to do to move forward?

That the people of our country and the world are confronted with a second Bush term and a Republican controlled Congress is frightening and dangerous. That 56 million people withstood the fear and bigotry of the Bush campaign, braved long lines and voter suppression tactics to cast their vote and raise their voice is inspiring, especially because that vote was brought out by an unprecedented labor and peoples grass roots movement.

That the massive organizing and mobilizing door to door and person to person on the shop floor and in working class communities fell short of its immediate goal in 2004 is only part of the picture. A deeper understanding of the potential and continuing impact of this movement can be seen in the immediate organizing post-election to end the occupation of Iraq, save Social Security, challenge the inhumane budget proposals and reactionary appointments from the White House, and democratize the electoral system.

Instead of an atmosphere of retreat, a mood of radicalization is materializing. The hurt and anger the working class and people experience under severe attack from the Bush administration must be organized. Low wage jobs, high priced housing and lack of health care are basic needs that must be met collectively, not on an individual or charity basis.

As Communists, we can be very proud of our contribution, past and ongoing, to this broad democratic struggle. Our contribution is a result of the policies we have developed in the course of action. The need to gather enough strength that can defeat the authoritarian extreme right wing, requires a broad all peoples coalition that includes center and left forces, and has as its core labor, African American, Latino and women. This strategy does not undermine the role of the left and the Party. Rather, if carried out fully, should result in a much wider influence and a much larger membership.

The working class and people are up against powerful, reactionary financial and military interests that are in control of federal government. How to organize strategically to change the balance of forces is the question posed.

The premise of our electoral strategy is that labor, even with racially and nationally oppressed and women, and even together with peace and environmentalists and youth, are not strong enough at this time to defeat the authoritarian extreme right wing. These forces which generally can be considered left, are pushed to join in coalition with others who may not agree on all issues but who do recognize the need to defeat the authoritarian extreme right-wing.

While they are presently stronger than the left, those sections of monopoly capital who reject nuclear first strike and pre-emptive war, who acknowledge past won democratic structures, and who oppose blatant racism also do not have the strength to defeat authoritarian extreme-right wing policies. These center forces are objectively pushed into coalition with the left against the bigger danger.

Our Party is called upon to both build the broad all peoples coalition and at the same time build the Communist Party at the grass-roots, thereby strengthening the left to the point of becoming a decisive force for change. A key to the coalition strategy is building grassroots Communist Party clubs and the readership of the Peoples Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo in workplaces and small, specific neighborhoods or voting districts which can initiate or support more advanced demands like taxing the wealthy and cutting the military budget in order to meet human needs.

A larger Communist Party will be more effective in helping the labor movement to organize the unorganized with community support and increase its size and political clout qualitatively. With a stronger movement of labor and allies, a more advanced all peoples coalition has the opportunity to take hold.

The defeat of the authoritarian ultra-right will not bring us to socialism, but it is the first step toward preserving our planet and protecting those democratic structures which have been won as a result of huge, historic mass movements, even including the right to vote.

For working class people, employed and unemployed, multiracial and multinational, the defeat of the authoritarian ultra right means a freer playing field on which to struggle for the basic human right to health care, affordable housing, public education, union representation, affirmative action to overcome institutionalized racism and a foreign policy based on peaceful co-existence.

Defeat of the authoritarian ultra-right brings with it a new political dynamic and opportunities to go onto the offensive for fresh gains, not simply struggling to hold onto what has previously been won. It brings the electoral struggle closer to winning an anti-monopoly government.

Defeat of the authoritarian ultra-right is not a task to be left to the Democratic Party, which is itself dependent on big business funding and represents limited opposition. Within the Democratic Party, however, such independent forces exist and should be built upon, such as the Congressional Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, Progressive Caucus, and the growing number of union activists being elected to public office nation-wide.

The Democratic Party encompasses class forces whose interests are irreconcilable. They blow an uncertain trumpet because their working class social base wants to go one direction while the corporate powers that control the Party want to go the other direction. This huge, growing, grassroots movement desperately needs a Party of its own. While that is not on the agenda for right now, our long range strategy points the way toward the time when a new anti-monopoly, all peoples party is the order of business.

The mobilization of labor and allies at the core of the broad all peoples coalition that delivered the 57 million votes on November 2 was for the most part independent of the Democratic Party. It was based in union halls, citizen action and community organizations. The potential of this movement to field and elect activist candidates of its own has not yet been tapped. As the union movement debates changes necessary to boost organizing, the possibilities for shifting the political dynamic increase.

Uniquely valuable are forms such as the Working Families Party which embraces the all peoples coalition strategy and at the same time builds its own independent structure outside the Democratic Party that can change the debate and more strongly advance the needs and aspirations of working class families.

Third party formations that ignore the need for broad all peoples coalition in the current period objectively isolate themselves from the movement to defeat the authoritarian extreme right and thereby either weaken their effectiveness or weaken the possibilities for the broad movement to make electoral gains.

The all peoples coalition strategy to defeat the authoritarian extreme right-wing, with labor, African American, Latino and women at the core is based on confidence in the working class to play its historic role. It is based on confidence in the collective process and role of the Communist Party USA.

The correctness of our policy can be measured in part by the new activists and members we have attracted, and the coalitions where we are warmly invited to participate across the country. Constant assessment and updating are very important to develop daily tactics, especially in todays dangerous yet fluid conditions.

Our policies are always sharpened in the midst of the struggle. The struggles to save Social Security, to resist inhumane budget cuts and to end the US occupation of Iraq can be won even under the Bush administration and extreme-right wing Republican control of Congress.

Analysis of weaknesses as well as strengths in the 2004 election give a lead on reaching out to those who voted for Bush against their own self-interests. Organizing in the South and in rural areas is a necessary part of this equation. Turning the discussion of moral values around, and setting it on its feet, is also key. There is nothing moral about the Iraq war which is based on lies, nothing moral about cutting food stamps and Section 8 housing vouchers from the hungry and homeless, nothing moral about trying to lure young people, African Americans and Latinos into giving up their retirement security.

The Bush administration can be blocked because it does not have a mandate, and those who voted for Bush are not unanimous in support for all his policies. Within the broad united all peoples coalition approach it becomes possible to build this majority. Communist organization at the grass roots will be invaluable to bring this policy to life.

Educational Papers Series A Communist Party Education Commission project for the pre-convention discussion period leading to the CPUSA 28th National Convention July 13, 2005, Chicago Illinois



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