We’re not going back . . . forward together!

BY:Rossana Cambron| March 5, 2021
We’re not going back . . . forward together!


The following speech was given at the annual celebration of African American History Month sponsored by the New York People’s World, on Feb. 28, 2021.

Good evening comrades and friends. First I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me to speak on behalf of the Communist Party USA. Let me begin by stating that African American history is American history. It is not its own separated entity but rather an essential component of this journey that is America.

Their contributions to science, culture, the accumulation of this country’s original wealth and the social gains that have benefited everyone cannot be ignored, diminished, or dismissed.

It is our collective responsibility to ensure that this historic role and their great contributions are taught as standard history throughout the entire calendar school year.

I would like to begin my remarks on where we are today. By now we should be experiencing a slight relief from the toxic events of these past four years. I say slight because rest assured, there will be more to come. Our people’s movement has halted this madness for now. This was a victory.

We need to take a moment to celebrate this victory — over a movement that was determined to firmly establish a fascist USA. But this celebration has to be a short one because the right wing does not rest and is already organizing their next plan of attack.

Our country is at a turning point moment, but we have to stay on course, continue the unity and fighting spirit that made this moment possible, the uprisings, the strikes, the large-scale resistance and the coming together to get out the vote, defend democracy, and advance social justice.

We have to continue to focus on fighting the right-wing danger while keeping our eyes on the prize of responding to working-class and people’s needs — continue to build the unity required to defend democracy against the fascist threat and demanding transformative change.

During these first 100 days, grassroots pressure will be crucial to overcome obstruction, filibuster, and further coup attempts.

Continued pressure is critical, just as it was in this past election to win emergency relief, move forward for the needs of the multi-racial working class, to address the COVID-19 crisis, the economy, systemic racism, and climate change.

In our states and communities, we need to organize to:

  1. Enact the $1.9 trillion comprehensive COVID relief package, $2,000 individual relief, and a $15 minimum wage, relief for renters and student debt, and aid to states and municipalities.
  2. Expose and halt fascist forces, including a special all-people’s commission to determine how the coup attempt on January 6 was funded, organized, and executed. Removal from office of all those who participated.
  3. Pass the PRO Act to remove barriers to workers organizing into unions, massive green infrastructure job creation, racial justice equity, and all the measures in the Workers First Agenda put forward by the AFL-CIO.
  4. Support the seven planks of the People’s Agenda developed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus with the Poor People’s Campaign, including legislation to dismantle racism, restore and expand the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, enact statehood for the District of Columbia, create a just immigration system, hold corporations accountable, and shift funds from military to human needs.
  5. We need to build a united movement of the unemployed, many who will need relief for many years to come.

We need to unite and educate everyone on the dangers of fascism so that we never come close to this again.

While addressing economic and social problems, it is critical that we expose racism, sexism, homophobia, and anti-communism as tools of the right used to divide our multi-racial working class and keep this for-profit capitalist system going.

The Communist party played a major role in the 1930s and ’40s in establishing labor unions, social security, unemployment insurance, and establishing the sharecroppers’ union in the South. We were only able to do this through the building of a strong united multiracial working-class.

From its founding, the Communist Party USA has always understood that without fighting against racism, we cannot pave the way for a more just socialist society.

Karl Marx himself was keenly aware of the pivotal role that racism played in maintaining this capitalistic system of exploitation when he wrote, “Labor in the white skin can never free itself as long as labor in the black skin is branded.”

Our party has been blessed by the contributions that so many African Americans have made in helping to shape our Party policy, understanding, and analysis. W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Lucy Parsons, Claudia Jones, Langston Hughes, Charlene Mitchell, Henry Winston, Benjamin Davis, Rosa Parks — some of the finest sons and daughters this country has ever produced found a home in our Party. Even a young Tupac Shakur joined our Young Communist League.

Our Party does not take its legacy lightly. These giants have passed the baton to all of us, and it’s up to all of us here to choose how we will honor that legacy and pass it on to the next generation.

We as a Party would like to invite those who are not yet members to join us to collectively work to achieve a more democratic, humane, and sustainable society.

We’re not going back . . . Forward Together!

Image: Chris Wieland (CC BY-NC 2.0).



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