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I want to thank Sam for his fine report. His analysis, in both letter and spirit will be welcomed by our party and will help light the path to people’s victory in this period and beyond.
The reports of Juan, Joelle, Lisa will do much to help guide our party through theses critical challenging times. And to Anna Maria thank you so much for your remarks yesterday. We want you to know that our party understands it’s special international responsibilities. We understand what is at stake and we are fighting in solidarity with the world’s peoples and against US imperialism and for peace and justice everywhere. Thank you so much. Our two parties are united in the struggle to bring about that better world that we both know is possible.
I am very glad Sam made reference to Georgi Dimitrov’s phenomenal address to the 7th World Congress of the Communist International in 1935. The impact of Dimitrov’s brilliant report changed the world. It was set in a different period, but ideologically; theoretically and politically offered big lessons for us today.
Dimitrov was a international hero in our movement and beyond. He had to fight for his life in the fascist courts when he was falsely accused of setting fire to the Reichstag (German Parliament).
The fascist set that fire and used it to create an anti communist, anti Semitic, hysteria so that they could crush the Left and solidify their fascist dictatorship in German.
And that is what they did.
Among those falsely charged was Georgi Dimitrov, a Bulgarian Communist and a leader of The Communist International (CI).
The Nazis used the fire to launch an anti Communist rein of terror. Ten thousand members of the Communist Party were thrown in prison. Communist leaders were tortured and murdered.
Dimitrov was imprisoned for 7 months. For five of those 7 months he was held in chains. The Nazis wanted to dehumanize and demoralize this comrade so that when he walked into the courtroom, he would not be able to defend himself.
But they underestimated this worker, his courage, his great understanding. Dimitrov, who was not a lawyer (was a printer by trade); rejected the court appointed council and demanded his right to defend himself. At a time of anti communist terror, Comrade Dimitrov went into that fascist court, defended himself and against all odds he won his acquittal.
That was in 1933; in 1935 he gave that report to the 7th world congress of the CI. Dimitrov remains a heroic figure in the world communist movement.
In Dimitrov’s “United Front against Fascism”, unity in struggle is the dominant theme, I would say. Dimitrov creatively applied our science to the complex objective situation, he countered right- and left-sectarian tendencies in our ranks and laid out effective tactics within the framework of a winning strategy.
Unity was based on the understanding that while they played a leading role, the Communists alone, as courageous and committed as they were, the Soviet people alone, as sacrificing and determined as the were, could not win this battle alone. The Left along, even the international working class alone, though decisive, could not defeat the Fascist drive for world domination. That struggle had to include all class strata and peoples world wide who opposed fascism.
Fascism is a form of capitalist rule. It is the worst form. It had to be defeated on the battlefield. But also it had to be defeated in the hearts and minds of masses.
The Popular Front was powerful enough to defeat the Rome/Tokyo/Berlin Axis. History is very clear about that.
Our party has a history on this question…
This discussion was part of the early formation of our party.
William Z. Foster in his history of our party was critical of the “Left Manifesto” that our comrades united around in their split from the Socialist. He said it was great in the fight against right opportunism but fell short in the fight against left-sectarianism.
Foster pointed out that the Manifesto “fairly reeked with this traditional sectarianism in practice” (He was taking about traditional in the American Marxist Movement). He wrote,
“It failed completely to develop a program of united front action with labor’s natural allies, especially the Negro people and the farmers” And, he added, mistakenly considered the anti-capitalist struggle to be “one of the working class alone.” He further pointed out that the left manifesto, ” left partial demands completely out”…”and reduced it’s parliamentary activity simply to one of agitation.”
He then quotes Alexander Bittelman on the matter, who said, “The left wing did not seem to realize that revolutionary mass action grows [only] out of the real living issues of the class struggle, as it develops day by day.”
(History of the Communist Party of the United States”, Pg. 168, By Wm. Z. Foster, 1952, International Publishers )
The “Left Manifesto” was written in 1919 a year before Lenin’s “Left wing Communism an Infantile Disorder” came out. “Left Wing Communism” greatly enhanced the discussion and led to an ideological turning-point for our movement which was the basis for the development of tactics that grew the party to its largest size, its greatest influence and biggest achievements.
The united Front and the popular front concept literally saved this world from decades of terroristic Fascist rule. Yesterday, Bea Lumpkin mention that 100 million lives were lost in the struggle against fascism. It is a rejection of left sectarian practice that is a barrier in the battle for democracy and therefore a barrier in the fight for Socialism.
Look at the Republican Campaign. It reeks with racism, it promotes violence against immigrants and people of color.
When I think of the senseless murder of Trayvon and the murders in Tulsa I think of the Sharon Engler’s call for “2nd Amendment solutions,” and the GOP’s promotion of violence as solutions to political problems.
I think their attacks on marriage equality and the violence against LGBT folks is connected.
This open promotion of violence against the life of the African American President seems to me to be almost tolerated in the media. Frankly, what I worry about the Secret Service is, are they protecting the President? Ted Nugent’s, violent talk against the President, at of all places the NRA convention, is treated as acceptable in the right-wing media. In other periods if a peace leader would have said the things Nugent said, they would have been in handcuffs. It would not have been tolerated with other Presidents. Why is it ok now?
Their attacks on the size of government are really attacks of the working class, racial minorities, on women, on youth, on the hungry and homeless. They are attacks on pubic education, social security, pensions and the right to health care for all.
To connect creating jobs to concessions to the rich is outrageous. Since oppose government they saying to the jobless? They oppose government intervention so they are saying that the unemployed and their families have to wait until the rich get all the concessions they want before they get work. They want to reduce labor’s strength to a point were they can’t fight back so that they can maximize their profits to new heights.
And don’t hold your breath on those jobs comrades. Poverty wages are not the answer and will bring new and deeper crisis. Remember, we had full employment under slavery.
These right-wing nut jobs need to understand, WE ARE NOT GOING BACK. If Obama is elected, of course there will be a struggle; a struggle that the democratic forces could win I would say. If he is defeated, the movement will suffer a big setback and the country will be pushed backwards.
That is why we fight to build real broad people’s unity of the democratic (small-d) and progressive forces to push the struggle forward. What labor and allies are doing will build political independence and will bring great changes.
Is it revolutionary?
At a time when the survival of capitalism (as the Right Wing sees it) is sharply at odds with democratic rights, the fight for democracy as we understand it, is a radicalizing struggle that has and will transform this system. Comrade we are the real uniters and we fight with a clear conscience and an honest heart.
Comrades, seven years from this September will be our centennial year. We have much to celebrate. We have a proud history of struggle. Our party has weathered many storms. We are the most attacked party in U.S. history. Our almost 93 year history, we have been outlawed more than once by this capitalist government. Many U.S. political parties have come and gone. But our party survived. How did we survive? Our understanding of the united front and popular front and how to build broad unity has been a big part of how we’ve survived.
I believe what we are doing now goes beyond this election struggle. I believe we are helping to build a new foundation for great change.
I ask you, can we do it? And what should you answer?
Sí se puede!
Photo: PW/Teresa Albano