The Detroit CP in 2023: Putting its mark on “Strike City” struggles

BY: Detroit Club, CPUSA| January 22, 2024
The Detroit CP in 2023: Putting its mark on “Strike City” struggles


The Detroit Club of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) played a role in a number of progressive peoples’ struggles in the city of Detroit. At our club conference in the beginning of 2023, our club had resolved to prioritize and concentrate on a number of key areas which, in our analysis, would be points to build broader unity among the progressive forces. Within these key areas, the party club would become active participants in the ongoing movements and coalitions striving to put people before profits. Collectively, our party club in Detroit made valuable contributions to the campaigns for housing justice, labor rights, tax justice, and peace.


Since the 2008 economic crisis, Detroit’s bankruptcy, and the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic, the housing crisis has become particularly acute. Our party club had fought alongside block clubs and tenants associations to demand American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds be used primarily for affordable housing, home repairs, and reparations for the overtaxation of majority Black Detroiters.

In 2023, the Detroit Tenants Association (DTA), in which our party club plays an important role, spearheaded a campaign for Right to Renew and Just Cause eviction policies at the city council. The struggle itself, while initially small and based around specific neighborhoods and apartment complexes, eventually took on more of a mass character with more and more residents joining the fight. The tactics ranged from organizing teach-ins, distributing leaflets and canvassing residents, to more direct action–oriented approaches, such as demonstrations outside of City Hall, speaking out at City Council meetings, and eviction defenses where residents and comrades attempted to prevent the evictions of working-class residents.


By the end of 2023, the city of Detroit had earned the nickname “Strike City” and for good reason. The past year saw a number of important battles in which our trade unionist party club members made impressive contributions. First, the new balance of forces in the state legislature provided an opening for organized labor and its allies to bring the repeal of the deeply hated “right to work” laws to the forefront. Labor had lobbied, organized, and mobilized for this historic reversal of the reactionary law, including by occupying the State Capitol building during the legislative session that eventually led to the repeal of “right to work.”

This was but the first battle that set the stage for the upcoming contract fights between the Teamsters and UPS, the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Detroit “Big Three,” the UAW and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the Detroit Casino Council (a coalition of 5 labor unions) and the Detroit casinos. Our party club in general, and our trade union members in particular, were intimately involved in all of these struggles. From organizing and attending pickets with the union locals, to providing strike meals with our comrade’s food truck, to hosting educationals led by our Detroit Union Education League (DUEL), we were able to influence and contribute to the contract campaigns in meaningful ways. The UAW’s “Stand Up Strike” in particular had special significance due to the newly elected union leadership’s resurgent and revitalized class-struggle approach to trade unionism.

Our trade union members also participated in the 2023 CPUSA Labor Commission Conference in Chicago and the 2023 CPUSA Peace Conference in New York City.

Tax Justice

In 2023, a coalition of activists representing various organizations came together to form a mass organization called Detroiters For Tax Justice (DFTJ). This group has since played an essential role in campaigning for, educating, and mobilizing the broader community against tax abatements to billionaires and monopoly corporations; in fighting against tax captures from our schools, libraries, and public services that go to the pockets of billionaires and corporate “welfare”; and in filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests as a way to provide facts to our community on how our tax dollars were being spent.

This is not to mention the enormous budget the Detroit Police Department (DPD) gets while they have virtually no public accountability for their actions. It is estimated that the Detroit Public Library (DPL) is losing between $3-4 million annually to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) through the legalized looting mechanism known as tax captures. In fact, there is no cap on how many tax dollars can be captured from the DPL.

Additionally, DFTJ is looking at 2024 as a year to prioritize battles in the electoral arena. This includes organizing around ballot measures and voting in candidates who align with DFTJ legislative priorities. It also includes fighting for reforms to the Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NAC), so that all positions on the NAC will be elected rather than appointed roles, as those being appointed have been more or less agents for big real estate and the corporate monopolies. In our analysis, the fight against tax abatements and tax captures can be a key issue that unites labor, housing, environmental, police reform, and other struggles in the city, and be a political vehicle for the majority Black population of Detroit to realize its self-determination over the city’s fiscal spending and policies.


Since Russia’s initial “special military operation” in Ukraine in 2022 and the subsequent proxy war between NATO and Russia, the world has once again been brought to the brink of a possible military confrontation between nuclear powers. The Biden Administration has sought more and more funding for this war, supposedly under the auspices of defending “democracy,” but really to provide U.S. imperialism and the military-industrial complex with ever greater profits and domination of the world. Additionally, since the Hamas offensive on October 7, 2023 and Israel’s genocidal retaliation against the people of Palestine, the movement for an immediate ceasefire has become an extremely important demand and has taken on a mass character. Progressive forces have also highlighted demands such as an end to the siege on Gaza, an end to the settlements and occupation, the right of return for refugees, and the fight for an independent and internationally-recognized Palestinian state.

Our comrades have mobilized to fight for these demands in a number of key areas, including passing resolutions in the City Council and in our labor unions, as well as playing important roles in some of the street demonstrations and civil disobedience actions in the Detroit area. We have worked with the Michigan Peace Council and with Palestinian and anti-Zionist Jewish organizations locally to achieve these ends, including, but not limited to, Palestinian Youth Movement and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Our party club also sent delegates to the 2023 CPUSA Peace Conference held in New York City at Winston Unity Hall. We anticipate the upcoming year to be focused increasingly on the mass movement for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the Move the Money campaign, and growing the participation of our members in mass organizations such as Michigan Peace Council, CODEPINK, and others.

Furthermore, our club members have participated with the group Michigan Action for Cuba Committee (MACC), which is a member organization of the National Network on Cuba Network (NNOC), to fight against the inhumane and disastrous U.S. imperialist policy of blockading Cuba, and to demand Cuba be removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List (SSOT). We have also provided donations for medications and other supplies to be sent to the people of Cuba.

Looking Ahead

For 2024, we are extremely excited for our involvement in the CPUSA convention period which will be kicked off first for the Detroit Club CPUSA conference in February, followed by the Michigan District State Convention in March, and finally the CPUSA National Convention in June. We hope to continue to refine our practice and participation in the mass movements, further educate ourselves and our members in Marxist-Leninist theory, and bring the communist plus to all aspects of our mass work.

We are grateful for the opportunity to send two party club members to Hanoi, Vietnam as part of the Hello Comrade Project’s solidarity and friendship delegation, and we hope to learn a lot about their socialist development and party building, and how we can strengthen our fraternal ties with the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).

Additionally, we are strategizing for ways to involve ourselves in the 2024 elections to play our role in the people’s movement against fascism, defending and expanding advanced democracy and working class struggle. We will also work to defend Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in the legislature, from reactionary attacks against her and the ideas she represents.

Long live the Detroit Club! Long live the Communist Party USA! Long live the people’s struggle for peace, equality, democracy, and socialism!

Images: Labor day in Detroit by Michigan Communist Party USA (Twitter); Rally for Housing Justice by Detroit Tenants Association (Facebook); Solidarity with striking BCBS workers!! by Detroit Union Education League (Instagram); Community and faith leaders come together to rally in support of a ceasefire by Michigan Communist Party USA (Twitter); Ibid.; CP members demand Biden remove Cuba from the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list by Michigan Communist Party USA (Twitter); Labor and community activists discuss labor’s role in the struggle for peace by Detroit Union Education League (Instagram)


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