Convention Discussion: Strengthening our class and parties worldwide

BY: Wadi’h Halabi| May 15, 2010

This article is part of the discussion leading up to the Communist Party USA’s 29th National Convention May 21-23, 2010. takes no responsibility for the opinions expressed in this article or other articles in the pre-convention discussion. All contributions must meet the guidelines for discussion. To read other contributions to this discussion, visit the site of the Pre-Convention Discussion period.

All contributions to the discussion should be sent to for selection not to the individual venues.For more information on the convention or the pre-convention discussion period, you can email

China’s remarkable growth since 2008 has kept the world economy from freezing up. Nevertheless, unparalleled debt and capitalism’s general crisis threaten humanity, including China and the other states created by workers’ revolutions (Vietnam, People’s Korea, Laos and Cuba), and all working class organizations. The USSR also grew rapidly in the 1930s, but nearly fell in 1941 when capitalist crisis arrived dressed as tanks.

Workers’ revolutions today — possible in Venezuela, Colombia, maybe Nepal — are profoundly in China’s and all labor’s interest.

The productive forces have outgrown all capitalist forms. Capitalism now wastes most of humanity’s time, as billions languish unemployed, underemployed, illiterate and malnourished. Basic needs are unmet, even for air and water. Sixty-two percent of the massive US auto manufacturing capacity stood idle in early 2009, and three-quarters of its truck capacity. Capital’s weakness translates into growing brutality, racism, chauvinism, wars. Never has there been greater need for powerful labor organization to defend human needs.

The world is sensuous, extremely changeable. The crisis has starkly outlined a fork in humanity’s historic journey. The track leading to human liberation requires gathering up all of world labor’s strength to overturn the old system, with its myriad injustices, excuses, denials. It demands the utmost in worker unity, organization, education, consciousness, leadership, control, power.

The other fork leads down a horrible spiral of destruction of humanity’s social and environmental foundations. It can be previewed in Ukraine, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Mexico, Haiti, the Congo, the ghettoes, prisons, and abandoned factories of America.

Communist Parties have historic responsibilities. Created by the greatest advances in human history – the Russian Revolution reinforced by the Chinese and other workers’ revolutions — our Parties are defined by one thing: Identity with the interests of the international working class. Those interests include peace, bread, land — and assumption of power to reorganize the world and meet human needs.

We can and will overcome the sometimes-severe contradictions between what our Parties are and should be. It is essential not to give up but work ceaselessly to strengthen our Parties and class. Like workers, our Parties can face the truth and correct our errors.


To be effective, our Parties need a common, thorough, scientific assessment of major economic and political developments – above all, counterrevolution in the USSR, the associated crisis of capitalism and environment, and implications for our practice. This defines our program. It requires rigorous application of Marxist method and correction of errors.

It is helpful for as many Communist and workers’ parties as possible to participate in this assessment. Parties in power have the resources to organize this assessment and advance its application, including the necessary worker education and organization.

Our starting point is the single world economy, society and environment. The rise of a new social system, created by workers’ revolutions, is the greatest development since the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s. This makes it possible to solve problems that exploiting systems cannot.

States formed by workers’ revolutions share the same interests as workers in capitalist countries: meeting human needs. By contrast, the only interest of capitalists and their states are personal enrichment, debt service, and their power. This understanding is essential to develop the strategy of global class struggle.

Because they have opposed interests and organize society in different ways, the two basic classes cannot long share power. One class must rule. Capital will destroy human society. The Leninist road to peace and meeting human needs is through prosecution of the global class struggle.

Communist clarity on the counterrevolutions that started in the 1980s is essential for humanity to take the road of liberation. Without it, why should workers trust us? 

If we can explain union decertifications – several occur yearly — we can address counterrevolution in the USSR. Under pressure from the bosses, workers occasionally vote unions out of their workplace (“decertification”). Unionism is not the problem; union weaknesses are. If workers lack control over their union and find it ineffective in defending them, they may vote it out. Invariably, bosses pressure workers to decertify. Crises escalate their pressure.

This model can be applied to “worker decertification” of the USSR, Poland, etc. Lack of control from below and internal weaknesses left those states vulnerable to massive pressures from the exploiters. The Cuban state came under similar pressures, but the workers did not decertify it (although Cuba is not out of danger). The problem is not with workers’ power but its application in conditions of poverty and relentless pressures of exploiters and their agents.

Despite remarkable achievements, the USSR and eleven other states fell as if termites had eaten their foundations. What happened to their unions? What happened to their youth leagues? What happened to their armies, sworn to defend socialism? What happened to our Communist Parties, in those states and worldwide?

Clarity on the counterrevolution and ‘dress rehearsals’ (Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Poland 1980) will increase our effectiveness in protecting, defending and strengthening our states and parties, unions and class worldwide.

We must also address the seeming stability in imperialist countries from World War II to 2008. A superficial application of Marxism would have expected the USSR to go from strength to strength, while imperialism fell into crisis. This ‘Twin Challenge to Marxism’ can only be resolved by examining the interaction and conflict between the two social systems, and our weaknesses in addressing necessary tasks. (Oppressed capitalist countries suffered hundreds of economic and debt crises.)

A third major development is the current debt and general crisis of capitalism. This is not just a ‘financial crisis,’ it is systemic. It impels capital to move from ‘Workers of the world, compete!’ (NAFTA, WTO) to ‘Workers of the world, fight!’ (wars with their inevitable racism and violations of democratic rights). Workers need powerful parties and international unity to turn crisis into revolutions, just as the crises of 1907 and 1929 opened the path for the Russian, Chinese and other victories.

China’s unprecedented growth is a fourth major development. Labor productivity may now be higher in China than in any capitalist country, thanks to the social system arising from the Chinese Revolution. Control over the surplus created by workers in China remains primarily in the hands of the state formed by 1949. The international working class has more power than we sometimes realize. The question is whether this power is used to advance humanity’s transition to socialism, or prop up the status quo. The latter is a losing proposition, as the counterrevolutions have shown.

A fifth programmatic development is the rapid, socially-induced general poisoning of the environment (including climate disruption). Some 40% of US honeybee colonies have unexplainably collapsed since 2006. Our Parties have become increasingly good at documenting capital’s responsibility in this crisis.

We still need clarity that only the working class can address this crisis, while capitalism’s deepening contradictions compel it to accelerate the poisoning. Again, Communist parties in power have resources to organize revolutionary class responses to this existential threat.

The conclusion is clear: Workers of the world, unite. Translation: Communist Parties of the world, unite, Unions of the world, unite. This is the path to extraordinary human liberation.


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