We need a Peace and Solidarity Commission

BY:Henry Lowendorf| May 15, 2019

The draft CPUSA Party program is entitled: The Road to Socialism USA: Unity for Peace, Democracy, Jobs, and Equality. The word “Peace” is in the title. “Peace” appears scores of times throughout the document.

We live in most dangerous times. Climate warming is slowly marching toward major environmental catastrophes that are already apparent. If used, the existing nuclear arms in the hands of 9 nations could in a matter of hours destroy civilization and most if not all life on earth.

U.S. imperialism – the stage of capitalism that depends increasingly on nonproductive and often destructive financial dealings rather than making needed products and providing essential services – is responsible for making the environment uninhabitable and threatening the very existence of life on this planet.

With its allies in Europe, U.S. imperialism is waging war on the people of perhaps 2 dozen countries, wreaking death and destruction absolutely without end. U.S. imperialism is threatening even more countries in order to steal natural resources, burn more fossil fuels and impose subhuman living conditions on the peoples.

If ever there was a time for a massive and powerful peace movement in this country, it is now. And yet, the peace movement is weak and it is sorely divided.

Some peace organizations fully recognize and combat imperialism’s aims, immediately oppose its demonization of leaders of countries that foreshadow war and display international solidarity with the people under attack. But other organizations don’t connect the dots, accept and even promote the demonization of a country’s leader and fail to resist, and in some cases even support, specific aggressions. There are peace organizations that work with elected officials but others avoid Democrats and Republicans and refuse to participate in the electoral arena.

On the other hand, others are strictly tied to the Democratic Party, whose corporate leadership is currently promoting tensions and even war on Russia, Syria, Venezuela, the Palestinians and China. Such organizations are working counter to peace.

There are peace organizations that side with the working class in its constant struggle with capital and others that don’t recognize which side they are on, or join the capitalists. Some work with organized labor and others avoid it.

There are peace organizations that build unity among the various organizations and others that avoid it, go their own way, failing to note the working class recognition that unity is strength.

In the winter of 2003 a million people braved the cold to demonstrate against George W. Bush’s impending war on Iraq. Today if 500 people come to a rally that’s a lot. Billions are spent to hypnotize us not to think about peace, the endless wars and the vast sums spent on killing.

There are many reasons for this paralysis, but a divided peace movement is an important one. Another is simply ideological weakness. And yet another reason is the continued fallout of McCarthyism.

These divisions have not only weakened the opposition to war and the demand for peace, they have left much of the peace movement in shreds.

To succeed the peace movement must weld together allies in the trade unions, social and environmental justice movements. Not one of these movements can succeed alone. All the wars cost huge treasures, trillions of dollars that soak the working class. Our cities and states are facing bankruptcy even as Congress and the President pour more and more of our taxes into the war machine.

Yet, with a few exceptions, there is practically no discussion by elected officials at any level about the cost of war, preparations for more war and how those billions of dollars could be used to save our communities. In particular, those elected to state and local governments should be alarmed that their hands are tied by the votes for war of our federal officials.

There are around this country some city governments that actually recognize how our communities are damaged by the constant wars and the ever-increasing war budgets and have held public hearings and/or passed resolutions calling to move the money back to our communities. Existing peace organizations have orchestrated such resolutions. Many more are needed.

While there may be individual members of our Party who participate in organized peace activities, how many actually lead, organize and mobilize around such activities? Are there any engaged in national forums, coalitions and organizations as leaders of the CPUSA?

What difference could a bold and visible Communist/Marxist presence make in the peace movement?

As the Party program states, the CPUSA brings a working class perspective, a perspective of unity, solidarity and anti-imperialism. It carries the respect of many in the social and environmental justice and trade union movements and can make the case that they can succeed only when the U.S. ends its wars and war economy. It connects the dots between imperialism, capitalism and war. It can make the case that cutting money for war abroad provides the means to ending poverty at home; that drastically cutting the war budget frees resources and human energy and creativity to solve the many problems facing our society and the world.

A loud CPUSA presence will make the case that cutting the military budget does not mean poverty for workers in the war industries, that conversion works for workers. It links ending the gun violence at home with ending the use of guns, bombs, drones and missiles for wars – driven by the drive for profits by the weapons makers. Killing abroad and killing at home are two faces of the Military Industrial Complex.

The newly revealed interest by youth in socialism exposed through the 2016 Sanders presidential campaign has led to large numbers creating and joining Democratic Socialist of America chapters.

Yet neither Sanders nor the offshoot DSAs make a major point of ending militarism and war, drastically cutting the military budget and converting the war machine into a Green Peace Machine. The vast majority of Democratic candidates on the presidential campaign trail fail to mention the wars, the war machine and the vast resources that will be freed when we finally end them.

We need to promote a Green Peace New Deal, which leadership of the CPUSA could enable.

The U.S. peace movement needs the principled, disciplined anti-imperialism that the CPUSA rightfully claims flows throughout its 100-year history.

We call upon the CPUSA, in order to re-establish its historical leadership in the peace movement, to create, populate, build and prioritize a Peace & Solidarity Commission. This Commission will envision strategy, be empowered to mobilize cadre, and project a bold, grounded, internationalist Marxist perspective onto the U.S. peace movement. It will work with Communist parties and anti-imperialist movements in other lands and bring their perspective to the U.S.

Let’s take this step now. Let the next 100 years move rapidly toward peace. The continued existence of history demands it.


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