Convention Discussion: New York’s Road to the Future

BY: New York State Communist Party| April 5, 2010

This article is part of the discussion leading up to the Communist Party USA’s 29th National Convention May 21-23, 2010. takes no responsibility for the opinions expressed in this article or other articles in the pre-convention discussion. All contributions must meet the guidelines for discussion. To read other contributions to this discussion, visit the site of the Pre-Convention Discussion period.

All contributions to the discussion should be sent to for selection not to the individual venues.For more information on the convention or the pre-convention discussion period, you can email

Pre-convention discussion document for New York State

We met recently to discuss the main Convention document, U.S. Politics at a Transition Point, agreed with it overall, and discussed how it applies to our local area.

Our role as part of the left is to help build and strengthen the movement, to argue for correct tactics-and to develop its unity. None of the Obama bashing that has become commonplace on the left is useful; in fact it is a reflection of the poor state of the left overall. Part of our role is to point out the foremost enemy, the forces of extreme reaction represented within the Republican Party. Simply complaining that Obama didn’t do this or that right is an abdication by the left of its duty in favor of armchair revolutionary talk.

But we also agree that the pace of change is too slow. The horrible economic conditions in the country, with double-digit unemployment, skyrocketing foreclosures, etc.-none of this is acceptable, and, as always, a fight is necessary. Our role, therefore, isn’t simply to defend the President and only point out the real enemies; that is only a very big part. We also have to help build the movement-as the Convention document says, “…to help strengthen the role of the core forces in the all people’s coalition.” This is the way to help the pace of change pick up, and this is the way to battle demoralization.

The fight for jobs and better living conditions is completely intertwined with the upcoming elections: in the movement forward, victory in one helps the other.

Sen. Gillibrand’s seat may be the most important electoral fight. A loss of a relatively progressive Democrat from New York is not at all out of the question, and would devastate the national political scene. There are also a good number of House seats up for grabs; we have to keep our eyes on them.

We have to further discuss how to move forward against Paterson’s budget cuts, and work to make sure a Republican doesn’t take the governor’s mansion in the elections, but also ensure that we don’t, while criticizing the very real travesties of his administration, play into the racism that is being kicked up by the NY Post and others.

This season of elections is as important as 2008. If the people’s forces gain seats, we can move forward; if we lose seats, the people’s agenda will be very much stalled.

There is the question of whether or not we can increase the Democratic majority in the State Senate, in order to avoid the horror show we saw a few months back, when two state Senators went to the Republican side and threw everything into the air, including important progressive legislation.

In the mayoral elections, we saw that the labor movement, united with the African American community, the Latino community, the Asian community, the GLBT community, sections of white liberals, can win. Bloomberg spent $200 million all told, but was only able to beat Thompson by about five percentage points. And this was with a split labor movement: were only one or two more of the big citywide unions to have fought for Thompson, we would have seen Bloomberg swept out of office in a stunning upset. There was no split in the labor movement around John Liu, who ran for, and won, the position of Comptroller. In that case, the movement was exactly what we wanted, and John Liu won a stunning victory in a four-way race, a race where all the other candidates were backed by Wall Street.

This kind of coalition is the kind of coalition that needs to be built for all progress in New York City and, with modifications based on particular areas, New York State. It is the key to victory in not just the electoral, but all, arenas of struggle.

Going forward, we have to be part of the fight for jobs, as we finish the fight for healthcare. What can we do to the national Party’s emphasis on the fight for jobs to our work? At the district level we should talk to local trade unions and other organizations, especially those decisive in the life of the city. The clubs have an essential role to play in this at the grassroots level. The Bronx club’s work is a good example.

The budget issue is intrinsically bound up with the fight for jobs.

The MTA is on the offensive against its workers; recently it laid off several hundred. The UFT certainly isn’t going to take the assaults on education lying down. The budgets that both Paterson and Bloomberg have put forward are direct assaults on working people-and out of step with the national focus on the fight for jobs. All of the cuts projected will cost jobs; the cuts to the MTA, especially the ending of free Metrocards for students, are essentially pay cuts to working people.

The demand to tax the rich can be revived.

In all these areas of the budget, we have a special point to make: unity. We have to fight against the tendency for people to fight only for the areas (health care, education, housing, etc.) in which they find themselves. We need to work to unite the movement, to ensure that everyone has each others backs, so to speak. It is a long Communist tradition to say that ‘an injury to on is an injury to all.’ No program helpful to working people should be cut.

The fights on these issues are some entry points for the jobs struggle. But we also need to keep looking at other areas. For example, young African American men have a fifty percent unemployment rate in NYC. How can we help to bring the National Jobs for All campaign to life here? Part of the answer is, as mentioned above, bringing in the very large, predominately African American churches.

This sort of analysis, upon which we’ve agreed collectively, is not available anywhere, aside from the Communist Party. While what we say and want is in line with the working class and people’s movement, we bring something special, i.e. a sound strategy for progress as well as some clarity on ideological questions, like the role of the government, especially in relation to Albany.

We are organizing a special discussion on how to build the Communist Party in New York.

There is a lot of work to do, and we are a small Party, but we can do it, and we are confident that the general strategic line of the Communist Party USA, emerging from a Marxist analysis of our society, is the only way to a socialist future.

Issued by the State Committee, New York district, Communist Party USA


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