Celebrating 100 years and preparing for the next

BY:Beth Edelman| April 15, 2019

This year we celebrate 100 years of the Communist Party, USA. It is the occasion of 100 years of Marxism in use by the members of the CPUSA; we communists celebrate our founding, our history and struggle to use Marxism. For a 100 years the effort has been continuing, deliberate and a tenacious struggle to apply Marxism to  experience/ the struggles of the working class and oppressed peoples of the US.

Since the ascendance of the extreme right to all three branches of government in 2016, the popular resistance has grown. I’ve read that the democratic movement aka the resistance has nearly 10,000 new organizations. Before 2016 there was no organization called Revolution, Reclaim or Indivisible. And Black Lives Matter is just a few years older than these. National, local and state organizations such as the NAACP and ACLU have experienced increased contributions as well as volunteers. Many union locals have witnessed resurgence in membership attendance. The trade union movement overall has grown. Organizations on the front lines have reported upticks in financial contributions.

The dramatic and militant struggle against the Trump Administration’s Muslin Ban was the first shape up. While Trump eventually prevailed with a watered down version of the Muslim travel ban, the effort, the struggle set the tone. The New Sanctuary Movement is in key cities around the country organized to defend workers. Sanctuary cities have held their ground against threats and reprisals from the Trump Administration. AFL-CIO state and local organizations have focused resources and mobilize their membership to understand and defend workers. The defense of human rights, the rights of workers and the right to immigrate is part of the democratic movement.

Soon after the election of DJT the Republican Congressional majority undertook the repeal of the ACA (Obamacare), session 2017. This, like demonizing immigrants from Central America and Middle East nations was going to make life and healthcare in the US better. Trump issued his now understood empty promise.

Healthcare and disability rights organized and led the fight against the Republican Congress to defend the ACA. Republicans were pretty confident of their effort to repeal as they controlled the Congressional agenda. After all Republicans had pledged to voters they would repeal and the House had voted more than 50 times to do just that. What they didn’t count on was an understanding that it was ACA or nothing, no insurance, no means of paying the hospital, doctors or other medical bills. Sit-ins, sit-downs, mass arrests in the halls of Congress were the lead on the nightly news. Many of these demonstrations were led disabled people. Demonstrations across the country and a daily deluge of delegations and phone calls to Senators shaped a different picture.  These organizations too showed big surges.

This movement we’re experiencing at the end of the second decade of the 21st century is among the biggest and broadest most unruly movements for democracy in our history. At one and the same time it is a movement for democracy against extreme right rule, for workers rights against growing income inequality for healthcare and against the repeal of the ACA, for single payer, for equality for peoples of color, for reform of the prison and court system, against police aggression, against misogyny, against rise of racism and racist attacks, for a $15 minimum wage, against inhuman anti immigration policies, for gun safety, for decent jobs and pay, and the right to organize and belong to a union.

It’s almost as if the electoral success of the right with it’s clumsy and vile message of racism and xenophobic division, a promise of a ‘fix’ for the naked rise in income and wealth inequality uncorked the broad frustration, the anger and pent-up need of major sectors of the US working class and people.

The most notable in the hours after the electoral surprise, 2016, was the spontaneous street heat. It was defiant opposing the extreme right’s victory.  The day after inauguration the Women’s March of 2017 filled the streets across with country with millions of people.

Each successive year of this march propelled the resistance and helped create new sector of the women’s movement.

Polling began to reflect reality –the end of the ACA would mean no healthcare for millions. Majority support for Obamacare connected. Despite full control of both Houses of Congress and the White House, Republicans could not repeal. The survival of the ACA, including the Medicaid expansion and the exchanges where people can buy insurance survives in spite of continuing attacks from the Administration and court decisions won by the right.

The scope of the struggle for healthcare is reflected in the growth of the support for the Medicare for All proposals. It, healthcare, was the issue that dominated the 2018 election. It is certain to be a big issue in 2020.


Part 2

The special elections of 2017 began to show the electoral opposition. In 2018 the revulsion to the policies pursued by Trump and company were described as a wave, huge. The Dems took back the House by more than 8 million votes, about 40 seats. The House victory included 100 women, many women of color and the youngest woman to take that office, Socialist Alexandrea Ocasio Cortez.

Trump set the agenda as he descended the escalator in 2015 with a full throated xenophobia racist ideas focused on building a wall to keep out immigrants and forcing Mexico to pay for it.  Our problems in the US according to Trump is immigrants, in particular people who come to the US from Mexico and Central America.

This idea with all its parts is bogus. A total falsehood which landed on a population that was decidedly influenced by backward and divisive ideas. The history of this particular version of a corporate serving idea system suited Trump’s personal interests and background as well as racist ideas found in main stream US.

The systemic nature of racist policy and the crisis of a system, capitalism, openly and without apology strives to maximize profits and restrict and reduce the gains of workers and other strata ignoring human need.

Another aspect of the mass upsurge is a renewed interest in socialism and communism. It’s an important beginning. Senator Bernie Sanders, a self described democratic socialist, is rightfully credited with opening door widely in the 2016 campaign. In addition to helping make socialism a popular idea, Senator Sanders never ceases to urge listeners to build a movement broader, more massive, stronger to meet the adversary – to meet corporate and banking interests of unparalleled economic and political power.

Our Party has played a positive role in this fight. We have argued for a democratic front to isolate and oust the extreme right. Days after November 2016 election we said the way forward is uniting democratic forces in a front against the policies and candidates of ultra right. The core of the movement is the working class and oppressed peoples who are the backbone of any and all coalitions and fronts.  It  also includes, all sectors of oppressed peoples, middle strata aka petty bourgeoisie and sectors of capital. In the election 2018 and 2020 shape up the labor movement has provided leadership uniting the organized sector with diverse views and the foot soldiers for campaigns. Many Internationals have become a feature of this movement.

The field of candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination  11 months before primaries begin is almost 20. The number of women, African American and Latinos seeking office is high. This is the most diverse group in history. Most of the candidates are addressing the big important issues, healthcare, jobs, income inequality, racism. It’s a bit early to understand fully not only where the candidates stand (it’s necessary to understand the complete position) but importantly how voters are responding to them.

More than any other presidential election in memory this one is about major policies. Sifting through these policy prescriptions and assessing the seriousness of the candidates is the job of the movement. A number of these candidates are in the category progressive; in my opinion there is a number of them that could assemble a strong movement a coalition and support to defeat Trump and company.

The presidential piece will dominate. One third of the Senate and the House will stand for election. All 50 states will be in it electing state legislators and some governors. To be successful the candidate must have support in the labor movement, African American and Latino communities, other peoples of color, youth, women and the LGBTQ community.

The core politics of 2020 is ousting the extreme right and strengthening the movements. We must not take our eye off the prize. Our focus on building unity, working class unity and unity with oppressed communities is a requirement.  Other strata must also be part of the united effort. The 2018 election once again demonstrated that advanced thinkers, radical democrats, socialists and communists can get elected in the politics of this movement.















Related Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer