How does CPUSA elect its leaders?

BY:John Bachtell| July 23, 2019

Among the main tasks at the CPUSA National Convention is the election of a new National Committee, which will give leadership to the Party between now and the next convention.

The National Committee will then organize its work by electing a National Board, establishing commissions and working groups, and electing officers.

How do elections work in the Communist Party USA?

We have a unique process for electing leadership, which has served us well over the history of the Party and has been modified in light of experience. I think it is the most democratic process possible, one that is collective and unifying.

It differs from other organizations and elections for public office. Because it is a collective process, it is not based on popularity and competing slates, which could lead to the creation of factions and divisions based on competing programs, and potentially tear the organization apart.

Late last year, the current National Committee created a committee on leadership to develop a proposal for a new incoming NC, National Board, and leadership configuration of officers. I chaired that committee. (As you know, I stepped aside from my position as national chair).

We unfolded a collective process that seeks the input of district and club leaders and others to propose a slate which does its best to reflect the leadership role comrades are playing in districts, commissions, mass movements, etc. The proposal took into account politics and political development, geographic dispersal, class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and age.

Guaranteeing diversity cannot be left up to chance, it must be a conscious part of the collective process.

Our process seeks to bring together both continuity of leadership of experienced comrades and those comrades newly emerging into leadership. It must be national in scope and collective to develop a single, unified proposal because to simply throw the floor open to nominations invariably ends up with an imbalance in one area or another and the most vocal comrades getting attention and elected. It is only natural that comrades in one area of the country are not aware of the work and leadership of comrades in another area of the country.

The committee made a proposal to the presiding committee elected at the convention. The presiding committee had the authority to add or subtract from the proposal or come up with a new proposal before presenting it to the convention. The convention delegates were then able to propose additional nominations before voting.

I hope this gives you a better idea of how our elections for leadership work.


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