Report of the Program Committee

September 21, 2001

Speech given at the 27th National Convention of the CPUSA.

It’s hard to put into words the greatness
of this Convention – from Sam’s report to the Courage Awards and the inspiring
remarks by fraternal parties.

Certainly, this Convention has upped the ante in the cause
of workers’ rights, civil rights, human rights and democratic rights.
The proceedings of this Convention provide the framework and show the
necessity for a new program of the Communist Party USA.

And so, I would like to greet with great enthusiasm, the
forward approach of the 27th National Convention, aimed at retooling and
updating our politics, ideology and organization for a new period of struggle.

The Program Committee was presented with a large, complex
and strategic task. We succeeded in coming up with an approach toward
a new Communist Party program to fit today’s circumstances and experiences.

We started out by reviewing our Party’s last published
program, first written two decades ago.

We discussed what the purpose of the Program is and how
it would be used. We agreed that it should be a popular, concise presentation
of who we are, where we’re going, and how we see getting there.

The Program Committee sees its work as a major contribution
toward building political and ideological unity and mass fightback against
the all-out assault of the extreme right wing. We project developing a
Program for our times, which builds on our Programs of past periods, and
projects into future periods including socialism.

Just as Comrade Sam Webb’s report provides a deep look
at what is new and developing in the world today, and serves as a powerful
call to action, our new Program should place new developments in the context
of our fundamental, scientific, Marxist-Leninist approach. For example,
our new Program would include:

an analysis of the process of capitalist globalization;
the threat posed to the well-being of working people of all nations and
the planet itself; and the need for unity of workers of all countries

an analysis of the extreme right-wing agenda necessitating
a fight- back strategy of building all-peoples’ unity for democratic rights
with the struggle against racism and for multi-racial unity at its core

an analysis of the growing militancy and fightback led
by labor and allies in the peoples movements, including more advanced
anti-monopoly demands

an explanation of how we see our role, lessons from history,
and how we see achieving the longer view toward Socialism USA.

The pre-Convention booklets from the May 2001 National
Committee meeting include the working outline for a new Program, which
our committee developed. We see this as the beginning of a process, which
is in reality, a monumental task. It is a very exciting project because
it requires learning how to grapple with new ideas and questions in a
scientific and dialectical way.

Any of us who may have dreamt of presenting a draft text
to this Convention, soon realized that this project represents a much
longer process than a couple of months.

Since publication of the outline, several responses have
been received. They are appreciated, and are very helpful. Every contribution
and all input will be taken into account by our committee.

The test of our Program is its use, at the grass roots
of the Party, in workplaces and neighborhoods, and among coalition partners.
It must reach out, deepen understanding, build new alliances, and contribute
to increasing the size and fighting capacity of our great Party.
This point is underscored in a letter from a carpenter in Washington state
who says, "The working outline of the Party Program is a superb,
excellent document…[which] help[s] provide focus and direction at a
critical time when we must interact with our co-workers, friends and neighbors
to turn back the arrogant contempt of the extreme-right."

The deliberations and decisions of this Convention will
guide the next stage of work. The input and guidance of the National Committee
elected by this Convention will expand the democratic process.

If the new leadership so decides, our committee is prepared
to proceed with its work and develop a written draft based on the outline.
The Program Committee could present this draft to the National Committee
as the first step toward launching a broad discussion period.

We have learned that it is difficult to put a strict deadline
on the creative process, but we would endeavor to finish writing in a
timely manner, providing progress reports to the leadership as needed.

In conclusion, on behalf of the Program Committee, I would
like to propose that the 27th National Convention agree that the draft
of a new Party Program be written and circulated for discussion and input
at all levels of the Party and with allies and friends.


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