Convention Discussion: Political action resolution could be improved

BY: John Case| June 4, 2014

Submitted by John Case, West Virginia

1.  There is nothing “communist” about any of the democratic demands. Or, if there is, then there is no difference between “communist” and “social-democratic” demands. Since the authors, however, are committed to calling them “communist”, a label, if it were to really stick, would likely to do the demands and their prospects more harm than good in the near term, one wonders about the level of commitment to the demands themselves. It would help clarify the meaning of demands if they were DESCRIBED as democratic demands, followed by an explanation of WHY Communists support, and are committed to, democracy, despite the pervasive anti-democratic reputation of “communism” in US politics.

2. There is nothing strategic about the framing of these resolves — that is, why are THESE demands the ones, for example, that will defeat the ultra-right — the pathway to socialism. Further, What exactly IS the Ultra-Right, in class terms? — I do not think most people, or even most members, understand what that term really means.

3. The force of the resolution is mainly directed at joining the get out the vote campaign for Democrats in 2014 and 2016. Get out the vote is certainly important, and will no doubt help build OFA — but will not result in much Party recruiting, certainly not among activists leading the 2014 campaigns, and will not lead to breaking out of marginalization.

4. The most important resolve, which is placed second to last, running Party candidates in local elections, is given short shrift, when in fact it is the most important political action key to growth. Contesting in elections for governing, political power is even more important   than openleadership in the labor and equality movements, although each are related and connected. What do I mean by short shrift?

  • First, running as a Communist Party candidate would be pointless in partisan races, unless Democratic orgs approved it — that would be rare indeed. And, in fact, independent candidates in winner take all partisan contests are more often spoiler campaigns than not.

  • Second, non-partisan races — a better opportunity for the Party and Left forces who do not choose, or are excluded from, partisan contests — where is the programmatic direction for what left led local governments can or should do, given many higher level constraints on fiscal and political powers of local governments??

  • Third, why aren’t the pluses and minuses of Rick Nagin’s campaign — the most successful, even though lost, campaign in recent times — not given high profile as a guide to political action?

5. The second most important resolve — “using the PW as campaign central” — is placed last. This is incomprehensible to me, since without it as an effective and potent voice, and without communist candidates, we are nothing more than cheerleaders for the broader progressive and labor movements. Make no mistake. The movements need and deserve both cheerleaders and members — but who needs a separate political party for that?

Its just speculation, but I suspect a reason why the most important growth related resolves are last is that the writers don’t expect much to happen with them, and figure that, despite many “standing tall” convention discussion polemics on keeping “Marxism Leninism”, and “communism” in all major Party documents and name, members will take real leadership from the progressive Democrats, the AFL-CIO, the environmental movements, and the movements for racial, gender, nationality equality instead when it comes to electoral politics.

In sum, the political action resolution needs substantial improvement. As is, for the CP, it is a resolution to stand pat, and remain marginalized.

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.

For details about the convention, visit the Convention homepage
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30th National Convention, Communist Party USA
Chicago | June 13-15, 2014



    John Case is a former electronics worker and union organizer with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE), also formerly a software developer, now host of the WSHC "Winners and Losers" radio program in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

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