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The Central Indiana Club sees the decline in our local manufacturing sector and recognizes that the CPUSA needs more emphasis on service industry organizing for the many reasons listed below. The local service sector is essentially the only employment option for young people coming out of Indianapolis Public Schools, if they’re even able to get a job. With education under attack for the purpose of creating a cheap labor source for the service sector, it is essential that this sector of labor receive the same attention that industrial unionization has in the past. Furthermore, this sector of the workforce is comprised of the most vulnerable members of the working class, especially those who are undocumented workers. The service sector is also where young workers are and the CPUSA and YCL can play an integral part in bringing the Communist Plus to their organizing efforts.
The Central Indiana Club sees the priorities of the CPUSA as encumbered by the focus on electoral struggle which seems to trump the focus on working class issues and movements. Our Club is concerned about where working class priorities come into conflict with a Democratic Party agenda and the stifling of any criticism or critique of the Obama administration by CPUSA leadership. Our club supports President Obama and worked alongside with the campaign; however, Obama’s agenda is not always the same as the dire needs of working people. Electoral struggle is not to be ignored, but it must not come at the expense of genuine working class struggles.
The Central Indiana Club recognizes the need for more ideological discipline for the CPUSA. This is due to a disturbing trend where the capitalist class is not seen as the enemy of working class interests. The significant shift in the party line where “the notion of only the capitalist class on the one side and the working class on the other…isn’t Marxist” is profoundly disturbing and contradicts the very existence of our Party. The capitalist class is indeed on the opposite side and works tirelessly at intimidating workers, such as threatening picketing workers outside the Whirlpool plant in Evansville where hundreds lost their jobs, or the outright killing of union organizers in the nation of Colombia.
In Indiana, workers have been under extreme attack by the Daniels administration since he took office on January 10, 2005. It began with Daniels canceling collective bargaining contracts with public employees. The attack got worse when Governor Daniels and the director of the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), Mr. Mitch Roob, attempted to privatize FSSA. In the meantime, while Governor Daniels and Mitch Roob worked their butts off to limit access to public assistance, Governor Daniels and the Republican-controlled state senate privatized the toll roads and looked the other way while industry closed down steel mills and automotive plants. The once booming manufacturing towns of Elkhart and Anderson are wastelands–visual proof of the class war waged on workers in places like this throughout the nation. During the past five years, Indiana has led the nation in the percentage of industrial jobs lost. The governor has created the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) which has single-handedly given substantial property tax abatements to lure corporations into the state and create jobs. The result of the IEDC’s efforts have been more burdens on the working class homeowners to make up the losses in property taxes and no new jobs! In Tipton County, a massive factory is empty and padlocked despite the IEDC’s claims of 1400 new jobs. Getrag Transmission Manufacturing declared bankruptcy before it could hire a single Hoosier to assemble dual clutch transmissions but still got the property tax abatement.
Enter the mayor of Indianapolis, a Republican, who campaigned on property tax reform in 2007. Mayor Ballard and those who elected him have further worked to cap property taxes. The Mayor, in effect, cut the funding to public schools and is attempting to sell off the water utility without any safety or financial guarantees. Their plan is simple, bankrupt the government (i.e., the people) and privatize everything thereby transferring public assets into private hands. The maniacal genius of this capitalist octopus knows no limits and can achieve so many victories with this plan. Not only do the public schools get underfunded, the children, primarily Latino and African-American, receive little to no education, thereby creating a never-ending source of cheap labor. The graduation rate for students in Indianapolis Public Schools was around 68% in 2008, the second lowest in the nation behind Detroit.
Indianapolis is the host of the Super Bowl in 2012. This city is also a major convention destination for various organizations and entities. Hotel construction is booming and with the addition of Lucas Oil Stadium, the time is ripe for organizing. As of this point in time, there are no organized hotels in Indianapolis, but UNITE is working to change that. Indianapolis Jobs with Justice and our club have been engaged in struggle alongside the hotel workers and janitors. The goal of that struggle is to ensure that all the new service industry jobs created in the midst of this economic crisis are union jobs. Indianapolis library workers and school bus drivers were successful in their efforts and this has set an example that service sector employees and public workers can be represented by a union in Indianapolis.
This governor’s administration is very dangerous to workers’ interests, especially African-Americans, Latino immigrants, women, and young workers, those sections of the working class that are most vulnerable. The governor and his attorney general, Mr. Greg Zoeller, are, as this is being written, mounting a legal challenge to the health care bill that just passed congress. During every legislative session there are right-to-work initiatives introduced. There is no end to the Capitalist efforts to destroy working people in every way imaginable.
The people in Anderson and Elkhart voted for Obama because of the hope he represented and the need for universal health care, a living wage, jobs and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those people are still waiting on those promises to be fulfilled, and the CPUSA needs to fight for those demands, not just those that are “winnable” in the short term because, as Communists, our Party rejects the limits of bourgeois democracy and advances the struggle beyond the confines of Capitalist political boundaries. Our Party’s, and Communist Parties’ struggles around the globe, are actually defined by the level of working class unity, organization, and class consciousness, as well as material conditions. Communists utilize our organizing efforts as well as Marxist/Leninist theory to illuminate today’s struggles and guide our work. Our struggles and arguments are defined by the interests of the working class, not the practical victories of the Democratic Party.
The Central Indiana Club submits this document as part of the pre-convention discussion and looks forward to being a part of the debate to shape our party and our future.