Convention Discussion: Educate the people about democracy

BY: David Fields| April 18, 2014

Submitted by David Fields, Fitchburg, WI.

The first sentence of the article on democracy in Wikipedia begins “Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally-either directly or indirectly through elected representatives-in the proposal, development, and creation of laws.”  Even that description goes beyond what many people seem to believe what democracy is in our nation. To many democracy begins and ends at the ballot box. It has its beginnings with primary elections and ends with a general election.  To many even that rudimentary form of democracy seems to beyond their ability to participate. 

Democracy is under attack in our nation.  Unions are hanging on a cliff as right wing politicians are going overboard removing rights to organize, to bargain collectively, and to gather dues.  Our experience in Wisconsin is a microcosm of what the right wing wishes for the rest of the nation, and there should be no doubt in any progressives mind that reactionaries have only just begun in this state and throughout the nation their quest to destroy the fundamental right to organize.

Even the very basic and fundamental right to vote is under attack.  Recently Miami-Dade County passed a rule prohibiting voters from using restrooms while in line  in polling places.  That may seem comical, but  then we  need to look back at the 2012 elections where we witnessed many voters, mostly African Americans and other minorities, stand in line for hours waiting to vote.  Seeing that we should realize this kind of action is destructive to all progressive and fair minded people and is a clear attempt to remove voting rights from one of the largest progressive bases in our nation.

It doesn’t take much to find  just two basic fundamental democratic institutions that are under attack by the right wing. We can start there with educating working and progressive people about democracy.  But we should expand beyond that to areas such as housing, health care, job accessibility, transportation, and the wide variety of services and necessities that affect all people in our nation. 

In this party we should be reminded of the basic rights and necessities that were afforded to citizens of socialist nations.  Transportation, jobs, the necessity of labor unions, health care and other basic rights were afforded to those citizens.  They were considered part of their democratic rights.  How do we incorporate those ideas into our uniquely American experience?  How do we educate others to understand that democratic rights go beyond the ballot box?

I believe democracy, especially workers democracy, is a fundamental educational necessity that we need to explore and work on as a party and as people who believe in encompassing all democratic rights for every working citizen. To bring that concept forward it is our task as members of this party to work on educating working people and other progressives on the all-encompassing democratic rights they need to fight for.


The views and opinions expressed in the Convention Discussion are those of the author alone. The Communist Party is publishing these views as a service to encourage discussion and debate. Those views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Communist Party, its leading bodies or staff members. The CPUSA Constitution, Program, and all its existing policies remain in effect during the Convention discussion period and during the Convention.

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30th National Convention, Communist Party USA
Chicago | June 13-15, 2014


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