Convention Discussion: After we defeat the ultra-right

BY: Nick Giannone And Casey Doyle| June 5, 2014

Submitted by Nick Giannone, Casey Doyle, Chris Persampieri, Jeff Baker, Boston, MA

In Massachusetts we have defeated the ultra-right. The Democrats have a super-majority in the state legislature. Deval Patrick is currently governor and Democrat Martha Coakley is expected to win by a landslide in November. Our federal legislators are all Democrats. Republican Scott Brown fled to New Hampshire in an attempt to revive his political career following his defeat by Elizabeth Warren.

Despite the overwhelming Democratic majority, the working people of Massachusetts have faced austerity measures reminiscent of recent Republican-led attacks across the United States.

-Governor Patrick stripped public sector unions of the right to collectively bargain over health care, following in the footsteps of Wisconsin Governor Walker.

-Massachusetts House Speaker DeLeo fought tooth and nail to link an increase in the minimum wage to cuts in unemployment insurance.

-The Massachusetts legislature has continued a course of increased mass incarceration by allotting $2 billion for the construction of 10,000 new prison units.

After we defeat the ultra-right we will find ourselves increasingly at odds with the Democrats. In Massachusetts we are already there. The Communist Party must begin to elaborate a strategy beyond the horizon of defeating the ultra-right.

“The Unity of the Chicken and the Roach is in the Belly of the Chicken” – Haitian Proverb

When we are participating in building a broad front to defeat the extreme corporate right wing our party should strive to maintain autonomy. Our relationship with the Democratic Party needs to evolve beyond what is often perceived as uncritical cheerleading. We can and must work in principled coalitions with Democrats on many issues, but we must bring our own class perspective to the table and not be afraid to criticize our unreliable allies in a principled manner.

It should be recognized that many comrades in our party have done powerful organizing with Democrats. This isn’t a call to take a sectarian ultra-left turn and cut ties with people we have established political relationships with but rather a call to boldly assert our socialist politics as a distinct component in the overall movement.

Whether we like it or not, the majority of the working class recognizes the Democratic Party as the lesser of 2 evils. But they do also recognize the Democratic Party as an evil. There are openings for independent working class political action. We must be there as the Communist Party, an organization of the working class organized to fight capitalism and the interests of oppressed people everywhere.

The “What Is to Be Done” Part

The working class in the United States is still suffering from the effects of the 2008 economic crisis despite record Wall St. profits. The Occupy movement revealed a resurgent class consciousness represented by the terminology of the 99% vs. 1%. Numerous polls have shown an increasingly negative view of capitalism by young people and a growing interest and acceptance of socialist ideas. We need to be there when people ask questions and look for answers. We need an articulate vision of a radically different future and our practical work should reflect our aspirations of moving beyond capitalism. Listed below are some examples of national political developments that can help point the way forward. Additionally, we would like to highlight some of the work we have been doing in the Boston area.

As mentioned, the Occupy movement has established a new class conscious discourse in this country. Working people are gaining a new understanding of how the system works against them. This has resulted in some localized moves towards independent working class political action.

-Kshama Sawant, a member of Socialist Alternative, won a city council seat in Seattle running on a $15 minimum wage.

-The Chicago Teachers Union formation of an Independent Political Organization to challenge pro-corporate school privatization schemes pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

-The Vermont Progressive Party pushing for, and achieving, universal health care in their state.

-The Central Labor Council of Lorain County successfully running 2 dozen working class candidates for local offices against Democrats and Republicans after a series of attacks on organized labor.

-In Boston we have based our work around the revitalization of the Center for Marxist Education as a non-sectarian Marxist bookstore and organizing space. We have developed good working relationships and are continuing to reach out to others in the local leftist and progressive community.

-Our club ran a candidate for Town Council in a working class community and came in 3rd out of 5 candidates with nearly 10% of the vote as an open Communist Party candidate.

-We have members in unions organizing for ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage and organizing workers for $15.

-Our party has been involved in the Massachusetts Jobs Not Jails Coalition, a broad movement of ex-prisoners, students, workers, youth and interfaith organizations challenging the prison industrial complex.

-A rollback in fares for the elderly and disabled was won by Mass Senior Action with involvement of our party.

Austerity, mass incarceration, union busting and increasing attacks on working people are what we are facing in Massachusetts after defeating the ultra-right. The Communist Party must step up and be prepared to lead the struggles ahead as a powerful organization of the working class in the fight for socialism.

The views and opinions expressed in the Convention Discussion are those of the author alone. The Communist Party is publishing these views as a service to encourage discussion and debate. Those views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Communist Party, its leading bodies or staff members. The CPUSA Constitution, Program, and all its existing policies remain in effect during the Convention discussion period and during the Convention.

For details about the convention, visit the Convention homepage
To contribute to the discussion, visit the Convention Discussion webpage

30th National Convention, Communist Party USA
Chicago | June 13-15, 2014

Comments (5)

E.E.W. Clay | June 12, 2014 at 3:50 PM

In Massachusetts, like in most other states, there is a prison-military- industrial complex, because of the general nature of the federal system in general, a certain genocidal history(to the detriment of workers) with its African American and Native American communities, Latinos, ect., which renders the ultra-right (with its banking, management and trans-state, transnational finance system) extremely stubborn-even intransigent-that is, as long as there is capitalism-which other commentators have noted.
That is why generally the Communists, along with millions of other workers, would favor the concentrated finance power, investment power, and social power, now in the hands of the 1%, transferred to the strong, intelligent hands of the 99% and its leadership.
This would be democracy we could “feel”, democracy we could “put our foot on”, that we could sink our teeth into.
Until this transfer happens, its hard to assert that the ultra-right has been “defeated” because and with a super-majority in the state legislature. Brothers Nick
Giannone and Casey Doyle know this, that is why they point out that the MASS Governor has rescinded collective bargaining, made anti-working class linkages, increased incarcerations, all symptoms of the malady of capitalism. This does not mean that we wouldn’t fight for extended and strengthened collective bargaining, linkages to reinforce wage increases with more, not less unemployment protections, the same protections extended to incarcerated populations. This means we would more emphatically support these measures.
Further, the politics and polices of the Democrats are not and have not been antithetical to the designs of genocide, racism, environmental cataclysm and war.
Mass incarcerations exploded under the Democrat President Bill Clinton’s policies, as Hilary Clinton’s Secretary of State policies toward democratic, socialist Vietnam were racist, imperialist, anti-socialist and abominable.
The people and the workers in the U. S. have to fight for both progressive state and federal policy and programs to benefit workers, youth and the elderly-along with immigrants-all of our struggle and theory has to reflect this in a practical way-the workers and the oppressed will appreciate it.
That is why a Communist Party United States of America, in a most important way, is needed.

Rick Nagin | June 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM

I think it is far too early to celebrate the defeat of the ultra-right even in one state and to start planning strategies to take on the Democrats. The right wing danger is national and cannot be overcome in one state. Mass Gov. Patrick and Speaker DeLeo would probably have different positions if federal tax policy were reformed and funds were readily available for state services and jobs programs and if the federal minimum wage were raised as Pres. Obama has demanded. We all still have to work to break the GOP stranglehold in Congress. That may mean traveling to nearby states where there are in Republicans in office. We do not need to hide our differences with the Dems, but they are still a necessary ally in the overall fight and our criticisms must be conducted in that framework.

jim lane | June 08, 2014 at 7:04 PM

well said

John Bachtell | June 08, 2014 at 1:22 AM

I would add another thought – any defeat of the extreme right is not absolute at the moment. The ultra right is going to be with us for the duration of capitalism as Wall Street gets more desperate and reactionary and reacts to a rising opposition.

Given the class nature of the DP and corruption of the machine elements, dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party has grown.

This opens the door to the extreme right to return to power. In Illinois we have a Democratic governor and state legislator. But the governor has been largely ineffective and the state legislature is dominated by corrupt Democratic Party machine, corporate dominated interests. As the South Africans say, Victory is not certain, the struggle is inevitable.

John Bachtell | June 08, 2014 at 12:49 AM

We face a somewhat similar situation in Illinois. On the one hand we and labor led democratic movements are part of the broad alliance with the Democratic Party against the extreme right. On the other hand we are at war with some of the same corporate DP forces as they seek to privatize public education, siphon off tax revenues to the 1%, and undercut unionized public workers.

While we build the alliance to defeat the extreme right, we must help build up the structures of political independence, and where possible elect labor, left and progressive independent candidates to public office.

There is a lot of interpenetration between the anti-ultra right stage and anti-monopoly stage. It’s complex!

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