Cadre for the Party and PWW: An Engraved Invitation

 
September 21, 2001

Opening to the National Committee

I
have been asked to report to the National Committee on cadre. Throughout
the weekend, in many different reports, the word and subject of cadre
has come up. The ability or inability to head key areas of work or build
key collectives for the Party has a material impact on the role of the
Party as well as our collective ability to make the contribution that
history is calling upon us to make.

As an aside,
I looked up cadre in the e-thesaurus attached to Microsoft Word and found
the word "force" as a synonym. I’ve been getting into the electronic
thesaurus lately and actually credit it for helping me to write. Technology
can be a wonderful thing.

But to reflect
on the word "force" for a minute: That’s what communist cadre
are – a real, political and ideological force in the class struggle, the
movement for social change and socialism.

In the last
year, while taking a fresh look at policies, programs, political and ideological
attitudes, structure and organization, the new leadership has taken a
fresh look at cadre. We are looking at strategic deployment of resources and cadre while experimenting, decentralizing and
reaching out in a new way for more cadre on a full-time and volunteer
basis.

At the last
NC meeting, in an effort to make that fresh attitude real, many comrades
were invited to a dinner to discuss their future. The point being comrades
should give serious thought to working full-time for the Party. And in
cases where this is not possible for comrades, to give serious thought
to volunteering to head-up some key area of work.

I wanted
to make an invitation that said, "What are you waiting for? An engraved
invitation?" But I think an appropriately less edgy invitation was
sent out.

So here we
are months later and urging all of you to consider such a commitment.
If not us, who? If not now, when?

In the meantime,
the National Office was not idly waiting and standing by, but made some
significant cadre decisions which you may or may not be aware of. Some
have been mentioned in previous reports but formally I’d like to announce
the cadre additions and/or assignment changes that have been made so far
with the eye of strategic deployment – to better fit the Party’s needs
of today – and to give new attention to the functioning of the Party organization
on the district, club and national level.

Additions:
Lead off: Pete St. Marie came all the way from Colorado to take the daunting
task of systems manager. Pete is a media activist who met the Party through
Changing America’s work in the Independent Media Center.

Libero Della
Piana is the co-coordinator of the Young
Communist League
– longtime YCL and Party leader, (it’s a kind of
a paradox to say longtime YCLer). Libero has already made a great contribution
in one of the hardest assignments of the Party.

Ray Leos,
a staff member of the Southern California District, came to the aforementioned
cadre dinner and volunteered that night to work for the Party. And I know
the Southern California District is so happy, Evey in particular. Southern
California is a key district for the Party and to get cadre to help the
organization is "strategic deployment." Another strategic part
Ray plays is writing for the PWW.

Marc Brodine
is the kind of cadre who can’t work full-time yet for the Party, but has
agreed to volunteer to become District Organizer for Washington State.
In consultation and on the urging of BJ Mangaong, Marc stepped up to take
on a leadership transition in Washington and is playing an important role
nationally, especially on the Structure and Organization Committee.

Changes of
assignment:
Cadre scarcity sometimes means making hard decisions: moving one cadre
from an important assignment to another more important assignment. How
do you decide which is more important? I guess it’s a matter of triage
– which patient is in the worst condition, bleeding the most profusely
or which area of work would qualitatively change the Party and put us
on better struggle footing.

I feel like
this is an announcement of trades…
Traded from Changing America,
Noel Rabinowitz is now heading up the Internet Department. But Changing
America has options. As you have heard, the Internet work and wiring of
the Party would put us in a qualitatively better organizational footing.

Heather Witham
has gone from Administrative Secretary to Webmistress, and is an integral
part of the Organization and Internet Departments.

Lee Dlugin,
previously our International Secretary, has agreed to become the Party’s
Comptroller. One of the priorities was to staff the Finance Department,
another strategic move. The National Board collectively agreed that to
make breakthroughs in finances we needed to add capable and politically
experienced cadre, like Lee and…

Pat Barile,
who has also joined the Finance Department. Pat worked for a long time
on Party finances, then made a contribution to the Labor Commission, as
he will continue to while on his new assignment. Pat agreed to head up
a special fundraising campaign for the Convention.

Marilyn Bechtel
is now the International Secretary. Marilyn worked part-time for the Northern
California District and part-time for the National Office as Literature
Coordinator. She has agreed to head up this important area of work. Marilyn
has lots of experience in international affairs from her days at the PWW.

Israel Smith
went from co-coordinator of YCL to Managing Editor of Political
Affairs
. Israel is helping Joe Sims and the Editorial Board take
PA to a new level in terms of content and circulation.

Jen Barnett,
formerly the YCL Membership Coordinator, is now on the People’s Weekly
World
staff. There was a question for a while whether or not Jen could
work full-time. The situation changed for the better and Jen announced
last week that she can stay at PWW. While she doesn’t have a formal
title at this time, she has been working as an Assistant Managing Editor
and making a great contribution at the PWW.

Carole Marks,
assistant to Gus for many years, agreed to take on an assignment that
everyone appreciates, the minutes for the National and Executive Boards
and the administrative work for the National Office.

John Bachtell,
currently the New York District Organizer, has agreed to move to Illinois
and, after much consultation with the Illinois and New York districts,
become the Illinois District Organizer, with an eye to making Chicago
a Midwest regional center and helping to build the Party in that region.

Lance Cohen,
current Illinois District Organizer, has agreed to become the Midwest
PWW Distribution Coordinator and help build the readership of the
PWW in the Midwest and work with Fred Gaboury and others to develop
a Midwest bureau.

And lastly,
me, Terrie Albano. I am the PWW Associate Editor, and there is
no assignment change for me, but as I told my mom and dad, "I got
a lateral move within the company." So the rumors that people go
to New York never to return home again can be put to rest.

There are
still many others that hesitate working for the Party, due to money or
the thinking that the move would take them away from mass struggle or
building at the grassroots or whatever the question is. Let’s discuss
it.

Just a word
on volunteers: They are in many ways innovators. Holding down a full-time
job and still seriously heading up a Party position of leadership is hard.
But they are also helping to forge new paths for working-class people
to become involved in political and revolutionary change, something which
this system makes very hard to do. It is hard to get working-class people
politically involved for many reasons. Time pressures are one of them.
So in many ways you are forging new paths not just for the Party but for
the working class.

Yesterday,
Sam said the leadership is gelling. I think through the many years of
struggles, a new leadership is coming forward and reaching a new level
of political maturity. And with political maturity comes wisdom. I said
yesterday in a conversation that no one ever accused me of being wise
– maybe a wise ass – so I’m hypothesizing on this. With maturity comes
wisdom and I hope that you – collectively – who have lots of wisdom also
consider the wisdom of making a commitment to full-time party organizing.

If not you,
who? If not now, when? This is your engraved invitation.

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