Celebrating our first 100 years and preparing for the next

BY:Beth Edelman| April 18, 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, broadest, and 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.


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