Let’s grow the party!

 
BY:Joe Sims| May 2, 2018
Let’s grow the party!

 

In a few days the National Party Building Campaign projected at our winter conference will begin. The National Party Building Conference was an important moment in the life of the party and laid the basis for a  significant turn in our work. You’ll remember that it projected the building of a revolutionary, working-class Marxist-Leninist party; and you’ll recall that we argued strongly that a Communist Party could in fact be built.

As evidence we pointed to the huge upsurge across the country in response to Trump’s election; the deepening radicalization process that lay beneath it and the growing acceptance of socialism, particularly among young people, as all providing fertile ground for building of our party.

We also drew from our own experiences in recruiting; by tabling; at conferences, doing door-to-door campaigning and online.  Examples that stood out were the new clubs at Ohio university; the dozen who joined at the Peoples Summit, the Houston experience at street tabling: the Missouri and Connecticut experiences of building out of labor/community and election work.  And last but not least, there’s the comrades who join online – over a thousand of which joined last year. Already this year some 230 have joined online.

Since the conference our party building efforts have continued. Texas has held a statewide conference, established new clubs in Dallas, and worked to consolidate clubs, in Austin, San Antonio and Eastern TX. Arizona has continued its work in the building the labor-community alliance, is supporting striking teachers, and has two study groups involving young people; Virginia has continued to successfully reach out to new members, some 30 of whom are paying dues among the 200 on the rolls. Connecticut is working with the Do Justice coalition directed at the  state legislature in fighting cuts and is in the in the process of building 3 or 4 new clubs; New York recently held Black History and Women’s History Month events, held a Seder event, and is preparing to participate in Juneteenth tabling in Buffalo.

We also happy to report that since the conference new clubs have been set up in Orange County  California, Wisconsin, Queens, Seattle and among health workers in CT. Clubs are in formation in Kentucky, Kansas. Hawaii,  Athens Ga; North Carolina; Utah; Oregon; Oklahoma; and Idaho. In each of these areas, we are ready during the drive to visit and have  class or discussion if it would help the efforts.

Working with new members who join on line has also been an important feature of our work.  National New Member Webinars are regularly held once every two months and are led by our Membership Coordinator, Rossana Cambron. About a dozen new members participate in each.  A new dimension of the webinars is that followup is now occurring, mainly at the initiative of the new members who are writing, asking for PowerPoint and other party building materials. It’s a really good sign.

Another really important feature of party building work is carried out under the leadership of Dee Miles and the Education Department. Since the conference 8 national webinars have been held. Many new members take advantage of this medium. For example at the most recent one one imperialism, approximately 42 new members attended.  In the coming period the NC and NB has to take up giving this work more support including budget and the assignment of cadre.

We also reached out to new members last weekend with the national phonathon.  We talked to 54 members that day with 22 comrades participating; 8 of the 22 were new members. Nearly half. And while we reached more new members in previous phonathons, that close to half the callers are new members is new

The upcoming drive, we agreed, must have a direct relation to the elections. We envision it as consisting of tabling, classes, party meetings, discussions, publicity and outreach to new members. Where possible our national staff is ready to come, if invited, and assist in the efforts.

That assistance might take the form of speaking at a party meeting where friends are invited; an educational discussion; public tabling; a class on social media, an interview on a local radio station. Or it might be something else you think is useful.

At our last meeting we proposed a focus on 4 districts: LA TX, NY ILL, MO – and also stressed that we’re ready to assist any other district or club that seeks it out.  We also more recently proposed that we look into having weekend schools aimed at youth and students.

We are aware that some clubs and districts felt left out. We are also aware that we have to live in the real world regarding our plans, that they have to occur within the realm of the possible.

In this regard, the we’ve done a survey of the districts and clubs over the last period and it seems that with a couple of exceptions our party building plans are still in formation.

That said, there are still opportunities for us to take some initiatives:

Keeping in mind the concerns of some of the smaller clubs and districts we would like to suggest an adjustment in our concentration focus. First that rather than concentrate on 5 of the big districts that we focus on two now while reaching out to the emerging districts and seeing if they want the national office’s assistance. Already there have been requests for visits in D.C and North Carolina.

Regarding the larger districts we have spoken to NY and Ill and TX to discuss concentration plans.  As of today, those plans are not finalized.  Therefore we’d like to propose the NC that we try to do so within their next meetings, and report back this body within 3 weeks.

This report back would include a decision around regional youth schools.  Here districts are making some plans. LA is planning such a school the first weekend in June. Separate from the national plans CT is considering a weekend retreat of the next generation project but hasn’t discussed the national plan. We’d like to propose that we hold at least one other regional school in NY or Chicago during August.  It could either take place at our NY office or at summer camp depending on availability. We should reach out nationally to support both schools in terms of getting young people there.

Here again, I want to stress that if there are other clubs that want help in organizing discussions, say it VA or WI or WA, we’re ready to help.

The party building drive will require printed and other materials as well. We’re creating a download section for the CP website to host what we produce. With regard to pamphlets we’d like to produce 4 – On on the fascist and right danger; one on labor and one on women’s equality and one on elections.

We’re also collecting sign up sheets, sample leaflets, and promo cards for peoplesworld.  Buttons and other materials will be ready next week organized by a collective of new members led by Rossana.

Party building must also keep also at the center of our work, peoplesworld.org.  We’ve had many rich experiences with the PW, relationship building and increasing our influence.  The PW article sharing campaign that’s fallen into disuse recently must be revived as a big party of our efforts.

So those are our proposals: To restate:

  1. We continue planning for the drive: that it focus on two bigger districts and a few more of smaller ones, like DC, and N. Carolina. That the other districts be postponed until after Labor Day.
  2. That we have at least two regional schools with one in LA already planned
  3. That we produce 3 or 4 pamphlets.
  4. That we step up our work in reaching out to new members and have another phonathon in July
  5. That we have a national party building webinar led by Bernard in May.
  6. That we promote the drive in the PW and at CPUSA.org
  7. That the campaign continue our online efforts at recruitment targeting in particular people of color and women.
  8. That we restart the PW article sharing campaign.

Finally a big question is goals: Here again with a few exceptions few clubs and districts have set them yet. So we have continue to fight for that. I want to suggest we recruit another 250 new members by Labor Day.

 

Adopted along with discussion and proposals at CPUSA NC, April 29, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

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