A united resistance can win.

 
BY:John Bachtell| December 1, 2017
A united resistance can win.

 

Closing remarks to the Communist Party USA National Conference, November 12, 2017.

We’re at the end, but it’s just a beginning. This was a wonderful, exciting and innovative conference. We should have expected no less. In many ways a new party is in birth and we are engaged in the birthing process.

I want to express our collective gratitude to Joe Sims and Rossana Cambron and the committee that organized this conference; all the panelists and those who spoke in the workshops, organized the technical aspects, housing arrangements, transit and food. It was an immense amount of work and outstanding collective job.

Over 150 gathered together physically in at least six locations. Including those who joined online over 250 participated. A pretty impressive bit of work! The next time we should involve the scores who logged online and were frustrated with their lack of voice. We hear you. We should have thought about organizing a virtual workshop.

Someone said we needed more humor. I agree, so let me share one joke I heard: why do communists only drink herbal-tea? Because proper-tea is theft!

This conference provides a big lift to our work: it instills greater confidence the CPUSA can grow and make a unique contribution to helping build and unite this unprecedented resistance movement and advance the idea of socialism.

Its success will be judged on how we share the ideas, the great diversity of experiences and methods, respond to the needs of the members and clubs, and those itching to volunteer. It’s clear there is no one way to grow the party.

Epic battle against right wing extremism

I want to say a few words on the epic battle against the extreme right, a fight for the heart, soul and morality of the nation and preservation of life on planet Earth.

All social progress, radical changes and a future of socialism hinges on the outcome of this battle.

Just as we have confidence in our party, after Tuesday’s resounding election victory we should have even greater confidence the people can deal a heavy blow to GOP political domination and right-wing extremism in the 2018 elections.

We clearly saw the danger the right and Trump’s election posed. That’s why we were so engaged in the 2016 elections. That’s why a popular front strategy, which calls for unity of every force possible against the extreme right, is the lifeblood of our strategy and tactics, then and now.

At the CPUSA National Committee meeting following the 2016 elections we called Trump’s election a danger to humanity and nature. We called for the broadest grassroots powered resistance movement, which was already rapidly developing and for the entire party to throw itself into it.

Without a huge resistance, we warned of a descent into authoritarianism or worse, including the unthinkable was possible. Those who voted for Trump based on lies, white supremacy, xenophobia and misogyny could be drawn into a full-blown fascist movement.

As we saw from Charlottesville, that danger has grown with the so-called “alt-right” in the Oval Office and will continue to exist even after Trump has left the scene. We warned that all democratic movements and rights were now in the crosshairs and a central aim was the destruction of the labor movement.

And in fact we saw pathological lying, fear, white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia being used to divide the electorate, mobilize the vote and govern.

We called for building maximum solidarity beginning with the most vulnerable – Muslims and undocumented immigrants.

How right we were. But as Joe Sims said in his opening to this conference, what others and we didn’t anticipate, was how much it would alter the balance of forces, how deep the assault on truth and how prominent the issue of alleged interference and collusion with Russian oligarchs in the elections would become. When combined with voter suppression and gerrymandering, these factors pose great threats to our democratic institutions.

We also had no way of knowing how quickly the mass resistance movement would develop. But it was clear from day one when millions protested in the historic Women’s March this would be no ordinary resistance.

And there has been no let up. Those who marched in January ran for office and got elected in November.

The need for unity of our working class and people has never been more critical. The entire movement, beginning with the Party must elevate the fight against white supremacy, misogyny and hate, including influences within our ranks and among our class and people.

This conference is a call to throw ourselves body and soul into the 2018 elections. Every movement sees the elections as the key arena to defeat the extreme right.

It calls for the most flexible tactics to help unite the broadest and most diverse coalition of forces combined with advancing a progressive agenda and for expanding the electorate through voter registration and greater grassroots participation.

It includes a section of those who voted for Trump but are now realizing their mistake.

One of the grave errors the Democratic Party establishment made was conceding large swaths of the country to the GOP. The Nov. 7 election results prove it’s possible to win even in so-called “red districts”. No election district should be left unchallenged.

Existential threats and the right wing

The right wing’s main support bases are oligarchs being enriched by the fossil fuel industry and military industrial complex.

They are behind the two great existential threats facing humanity: the ecological crisis and the nuclear danger. And Trump and the GOP are aggravating both.

Two developments best illustrate this. First, is the humanitarian crisis gripping Puerto Rico. One hundred and nineteen years of U.S. colonialism and corporate plunder along with more recent neoliberal policies have left Puerto Rico in shambles.

Self-government has been negated. Puerto Rico is being administered as colony by Wall Street hedge funds and the GOP dominated Congress.

The Puerto Rican people have no say – they are denied the right to vote in presidential and congressional elections and federal representation.

Then hurricanes Irma and Maria struck, whose devastation was magnified by climate change and Trump’s racism. It will take decades to recover.

In contrast, Hurricane Irma affected every province in Cuba, but within a week electricity was completely restored, schools, hospitals and the tourism industry were fully functioning.

Meanwhile Cuba sent hundreds of medical personnel to other Caribbean nations and Mexico. They offered help to Puerto Rico and Houston, but received no response.

But our people and labor movement are responding and the CPUSA has also set up a solidarity committee. Every member can do something to help collect materials, raise money and lobby Congress. If you are interested in helping please contact us at cpusa@cpusa.org.

The second major development is the growing nuclear war danger on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea (or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) has been subject to 70 years of U.S. imperialist aggression and hostility. During the Korean War, the U.S. military leveled the DPRK. Hostilities were ended with a cease-fire and today the DPRK is surrounded by nuclear weapons, subject to constant threats, military exercises and sanctions.

For the DPRK, developing a nuclear weapons program to defend themselves makes perfect sense. They see U.S. efforts at regime change in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya and a history of overthrowing governments.

However, this is only helping create a far more dangerous situation including a nuclear arms race and the possibility of nuclear annihilation.

Trump is encouraging both the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan to arm themselves with nuclear weapons while the U.S. pursues a $1.2 trillion modernization of nuclear weapons and wrecking the Iran Nuclear Deal. Both China and Russia are pursuing nuclear modernization. The nuclear arms race is being propelled to new and dangerous heights.

Humanity must demand a peaceful solution and complete global denuclearization. The U.S. must take the first step beginning with getting Trump’s finger off the nuclear trigger and a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

The ecological crisis

Capitalism is inherently hostile to nature and is causing a crisis both for nature and society.

People’s attitudes toward the climate crisis are changing quickly but public opinion doesn’t yet have a decisive impact on politics. The climate deniers and fossil fuel industry remains a formidable obstacle.

The effects of climate change in the decades ahead will worsen and persist for centuries even if the world fully commits to sustainability.

That includes extreme weather events, changing weather patterns, super hurricanes, heat waves, forest fires and deforestation, floods, droughts, sea level rise, ocean acidification and what is being called the 6th great extinction of species.

The climate crisis will continue to grow as an issue and sharply effect all politics and developments.

Consider this:

The entire coastline of the US is threatened with climate induced sea level rise.

Even if 100% carbon neutral development is achieved, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Alaska native villages and other communities will be chronically flooded and millions will become climate refugees. This is happening now.

But the entire world is experiencing similar disastrous consequences.

The planetary emergency calls for both sustainable development and adaptation to the effects of climate change.

This will take the collective action and resources of humanity and forces a reckoning with the capitalist system, the drive for profits and anarchy of production and development.

It means a vastly expanded role for government, deep encroachment on capitalist property rights, public control of natural resources, investments and reallocation of social wealth.

The absolute necessity for sustainable policies and adaptation forms the basis for the transition to eco-socialism in the United States.

No price tag can be put on a “just” transition, including solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable nations globally.

A “just transition” will address environmental racism and create millions of new jobs at living wages with affirmative action.

Who will pay for this? It will be either the people or the one percent.

A just transition will be paid through wealth redistribution from the one percent and a massive transfer from the military budget, including cancellation of the nuclear modernization and the mobilization of all public and social resources.

The 2018 and 2020 elections are critical addressing the climate crisis and nuclear danger.

The resistance movement is rising and the broad left and CPUSA with it. It is inspiring to see so many people join grassroots, left, socialist organizations and the CPUSA over the last year.

But the CPUSA will not grow substantially without full involvement in the resistance at the grassroots. This is the only way in which our strategic and tactical concepts can be brought to life. It’s the only way we can share our socialist vision and engage in the “battle of ideas”.

The CPUSA national conference is a call to action, to broaden our horizons and expand our imagination.

Based on the 500 responses to the membership survey, the CPUSA is largely a new party. Over 80 percent joined in the last five years. This is exciting but a huge challenge.

The new members are primarily millennials who have a unique political experience, cultural style and methods of engagement.

Our Party will largely be built and shaped by the experiences of working-class millennials, and the labor, equality and people’s movements. It will be a party that moves to the rhythm of this rising generation, one that in its majority embraces the ideals of socialism.

This is a party based on the ideas, strategic and tactical concepts of Marx and Lenin, Dimitrov and our own rich theoretical contributions, but updated to the 21st century class and democratic struggle, existential threats and the mass communications revolution.

Challenges: adapt and scale up

Our big challenge is to move quicker to update our work, elaborate our vision of modern 21st century socialism and the path there, develop new leadership and vest it with authority. Space must also be created for more working class, people of color and women to assume leadership.

I want to focus on three areas we need to scale up, scale out and implement changes more quickly:

First, we need to deepen involvement in the broad people’s resistance, especially connections to labor, communities of color, women and all the democratic and electoral movements.

Second, Marxist education. A new generation of young activists has emerged on the scene. They hate capitalism, racism and misogyny and the destruction of the enviornment. But most lack exposure to Marxist methodology, strategy and tactics. We can provide a mass forum for that, online and offline.

Third, mass communications to engage in the “battle of ideas” and enhance our ability to organize.

Our cpusa.org platform should allow any member anywhere to be active armed with resources, a community of shared experience, support and Marxist strategic and tactical concepts.

Millions are being manipulated by an extensive right-wing communications infrastructure, e.g., Fox News, Breitbart, Infowars, think tanks, the NRA and fundamentalist religious institutions.

People’s World and cpusa.org cannot conduct this battle alone. The entire movement is building a communications infrastructure. We are doing our part, but we can do better.

We are not alone in this movement. Our watchwords are working together, shared leadership and alliance building whether on the campuses,  shops, streets or in the electoral arena.

The future of humanity and nature is at stake. Epic battles lie ahead. Unity is the key to victory. Let’s get on with it!

Photo: Facebook.

Comments (2)

Beth Edelman | December 02, 2017 at 10:10 PM

Comments that make sense as well as appreciate the ginormous struggles we are involved in. Connection, connection, connection with reality and one another – unity.

Shaji Rajan | December 01, 2017 at 11:01 PM

Yes, a unified and collective effort will win at the end over the evils of capitalist and exploitive right wing ideology. Humanity and the life of the common man is at serious threat, an ideoligical campaign and protest is the key to deter thiede threat!

Leave a Comment to Shaji Rajan Cancel Comment

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