Democracy, peace, and equality: today’s anti-racist imperatives

December 18, 2023
Democracy, peace, and equality: today’s anti-racist imperatives

The following report was presented by Eric Brooks on behalf of the African American Equality Commission to the December 3, 2023 CPUSA National Committee meeting.

Thank you comrades for the opportunity to present this report.

The African American Equality Commission (AAEC) welcomes the current upsurge in people’s struggle in the U.S. The massive union struggles and huge marches demanding a ceasefire in Palestine reflect large segments of the U.S. population, including youth, rising up to defend human dignity and demand peace and a just economy.

Fascism thrives on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. It fosters disunity in the working class to maintain or win power.

Black and Brown people in the U.S. see the struggle for a ceasefire and to end the genocide in Palestine as challenging the same forces that are fomenting racist violence and fascism here, and that are militarizing our schools, environment, and economy. They see this struggle as a challenge to the same fascist forces that are attacking the teaching of African American history, attacking Black hairstyles and dress in sports and schools, attempting to build Cop City, attacking migrant families with ICE and deportation, shooting Arab youth down in the street, supporting racist police who kill Black and Brown children, attacking voting rights and affirmative action, and attempting to silence student protests at schools. Indeed, the same capitalist and fascist forces that maintain the ongoing, multi-generational attack on the human dignity and the lives of Black and Brown people here do the same in Gaza, and in many other places around the world.

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), with members from seventy-seven international and national unions and over sixty chapters across the country, held their 52nd National Convention in May 2023. In his keynote, CBTU President Terry Melvin called out the danger of a “racist, anti-democratic America” that wants to see Black and Brown people “eradicated from stories about America’s less than perfect self. “Bring it on!” Melvin declared, speaking of the need to prevent the election of racist and fascist ultra-right Republican candidates aligned with Donald Trump. CBTU expressed a clear focus on supporting whomever runs on the Democratic Party Presidential ticket, including Biden, in order to defeat the fascist threat.

The Poor People’s Campaign “is organizing the power of the nation’s 140 million to ensure that the abundance we live in is marshaled towards the needs and priorities of the poor.” They call for a radical confrontation with “the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the denial of health care, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism that blames the poor instead of the systems that cause poverty.”

Through these and other organizations, in unions and community groups, people are uniting to fight for their democratic rights and needs. The people, led by the working class, can defeat the fascist forces, win a ceasefire and a permanent just peace in Palestine, and build a Third Reconstruction to restore the rights won in the Second Reconstruction and the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s, along with women’s reproductive and health rights, LGBTQ+ rights, migrant rights, and more. All these rights, won through struggle, are now being rolled back, or are under attack.


For this to happen, a focus on organizing a broad and united struggle with deep roots in oppressed communities is needed. The CPUSA is challenged by history to overcome internal obstacles and build the party in Black and Brown communities. The CPUSA must engage with Black and Brown communities on their own terms, listen to what they have to say in their own languages, and support the struggles in which they are already engaged. Together, an all-people’s movement can be built around meeting the people’s democratic needs. This movement can include demands for peace and for moving money from the military budget to meet social needs. It needs to be an anti-racist movement for democracy and voting rights, peace, and a just economy. Our members must work collectively and engage Black and Brown communities deeply, consistently, and respectfully, as an urgent task.

Electoral struggle is a necessity in the fight to defeat fascism. We cannot be squeamish about engaging in get-out-the-vote mobilizations and doing the hard work of mobilizing people around an anti-fascist vote in 2024. CBTU and the broader labor movement are focused on an all-out mobilization to defeat the ultra-right in the 2024 elections, targeting every level of office, from precinct committees to school board members to state and federal representatives, and the presidency. We must be there struggling alongside them, too.

Working in mass organizations like the Poor People’s Campaign, and in unions and local community groups, helps build the community roots needed to mobilize around electoral struggle and to build working class power. These community roots are required to nourish the tree of unity in struggle. The Poor People’s Campaign is a mass movement rooted in struggling on behalf of the needs of the working class. We must be there struggling alongside them, too.

  • History demands clubs collectively build a united mass struggle against racism and fascism, for peace and human dignity, today. Ideas to kick off concrete discussions in clubs on what to do might include: Support for the Black and Brown elected officials under attack for calling for a ceasefire in Palestine, including Cori Bush, Rashida Tlaib, Barbara Lee, Ilhan Omar, and others. For example: organize comrades, neighbors and friends, to send messages thanking the representative for their support for a ceasefire. Clubs can work to get a resolution introduced into local legislative bodies (city councils, school boards, state legislatures, etc.) supporting a ceasefire.
  • Contacting the CBTU chapter in your local area, sharing the St. Louis CBTU ceasefire resolution, and respectfully asking them to consider doing something similar. The St. Louis CBTU Facebook page includes the resolution and a link to contact one’s representative. Collectively support and build for local CBTU events.
  • The Poor People’s Campaign has a state structure with chapters in California, Connecticut, Michigan, Indiana, New York, Ohio, and elsewhere. Get involved in these local chapters. Consider helping to organize chapters where none exist. The Third Reconstruction struggle is about meeting the needs of the working class, and deserves CPUSA attention and support.
  • Fight every attack on free speech on campus or at work.
  • Cultural work can do a lot to move people’s hearts and bring the warmth, camaraderie, and joy of the struggle forward, helping strengthen unity.

The U.S. working class is at a crucial moment today in the struggle for democracy. The people face a fascist threat that must be and can be defeated. Comrades must be resolved, set aside individualism and fight for collectivity, and move forward with unity in action. Through everything, we must fight to keep the focus properly on Wall Street and Washington, D.C., on capitalism, militarism, racism, sexism, fascism, and the super rich.

Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Images: Young woman with megaphone, photo from; George Floyd protest in D.C. by Victoria Pickering (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED)


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