Pre-Convention Opening Report

October 9, 2001


I would like to fully associate myself with Jarvis’ opening report. I also think that we had an excellent discussion yesterday. Our election work in the 2000 elections, as Jarvis indicated, was on an entirely new level although there is still room for improvement.

What really stands out to me is the way that we worked with broader forces in the electoral arena. We broke new ground. As a consequence, we are in a far better position to join with labor and its allies both now and in the coming year.

It was a job well done and I would like to express thanks to every comrade who made such a fine contribution to this nearly yearlong struggle against Bush and the extreme right. Special thanks to Jarvis, Joelle, Elena, and the entire 2000 election committee for its political and practical leadership.

And special appreciation as well to Tim, Carolyn, Terrie and the staff of the People’s Weekly World, to Joe, Ann, and the editorial board of Political Affairs, and to Judith and Noel at Changing America for their outstanding coverage and analysis of the 2000 elections.

Before reporting on the upcoming convention, I would like to make a few brief remarks on the present political crisis in our country. Even though much of what I am about to say was expressed yesterday, I want to express my opinion because of the gravity of the situation.

This is a political crisis of serious proportions. Bush and his crowd are trying to achieve by anti-democratic – one could convincingly argue fascist – methods what they could not achieve by fair and democratic means. It is a thinly veiled attempt to undo the people’s will and takeover over all three branches of our federal government. It is a clear and imminent danger to our constitutional and democratic rights.

What is occurring in Florida should give pause to those who doubted the extreme right danger connected to a Bush presidency.

The developing crisis brings to mind other political crises, like Watergate, Iran-Contragate, and the impeachment trial of President Clinton, wherein the Republican Party and its right wing ran roughshod over democratic procedures and constitutional principles.

We could debate as to whether this poorly disguised assault on the democratic and constitutional foundations of our country emanates from a single center. But a far less contentious fact is that the Bush campaign committee, TV and radio talk shows, the editorial rooms of some of our nation’s newspapers, and the Republican Party have closed ranks to subvert elementary democracy.

What began as an issue of voting irregularities and faulty vote counting in four counties in Florida that could have been easily resolved by election commission authorities there has mushroomed into a potential political crisis. Elected officials and some judges whose duty is to uphold the laws are hijacking voting rights.

With each passing day the stakes are becoming higher as the Bush crowd ratchets up its attack on voting and democratic rights. Earlier this week I thought that nothing could be more outrageous than the Bush campaign’s decision to file a lawsuit that would prohibit the hand counting of ballots in four counties in Florida. But later actions and rulings by Bush representatives, Republican appointees in state government, and Congressman Tom Delay proved me wrong.

Only time will tell, but I think the extreme right is politically overreaching, something that it has been prone to do on other occasions. That was the case in 1994 when Gingrich attempted to shutdown the federal government. That was the case when they attempted to overturn the 1996 election by impeaching the President. And here they go again, trampling on the democratic foundations of our society in order to reverse the results of the 2000 elections. Their motto is – by any means necessary.

One would think that the major media would ask some tough questions. But their class loyalties color and tamp down whatever democratic, even bourgeois democratic, instincts they may have.

On the other hand public opinion has no such class restraints or hesitations. Ordinary citizens are alarmed by what they see. By a substantial majority, public opinion supports a full and fair accounting of the votes cast in the contested counties in Florida. What’s the rush, they say.

A smooth and orderly transition, say the majority of people, rests on taking whatever time is required and doing whatever is necessary to guarantee the integrity of the voting process in Florida. Democracy in the view of most Americans trumps reaching overly hasty closure on the presidential election. This position corresponds in broad outline with the Gore campaign committee, which has conducted itself in an artful and principled manner.

What might have initially seemed to be narrow partisan wrangling over the election results is now perceived differently by millions of Americans. At stake, as they increasingly see it, are our nation’s democratic principles, traditions, and heritage. And not surprisingly, they are beginning to speak out and spontaneously demonstrate. If anybody doubts the degree of concern and restiveness check out the letters to the editor page of any newspaper.

Most of us thought that no matter who occupied the White House, the main and immediate battleground in the post-election period would pivot on the issues that drove the election process itself

But because of the concerted drive to steal the election, the main battleground for now is to uphold the democratic will of the American people. The voting rights of citizens of West Palm Beach County and elsewhere in Florida are the frontline of a much broader struggle to defend our democracy and Constitution.

We would make a mistake if we cast this issue in narrow partisan ways. This is a once in a lifetime struggle to defend democratic and constitutional rights whose outcome will have long-term repercussions on our nation’s political life.

To be sure, millions of people, who are outraged over the systematic and pervasive violations of voting rights, including African American, Haitian, Latino, and Jewish people, are not indifferent as to who eventually wins the presidency.

Nearly all of them understandably hope that Gore will be the winner. And the attempt to hijack this election by Bush and the extreme right has only added to their hopes that Gore is the next President.

Nevertheless, their main concern at this moment is not so much the outcome of the election, but rather the protection of voting rights of all Floridians. Count every vote, they say.

This battle will be won in the court of public opinion as much as in the courts. Accordingly, we have to find creative ways for millions to express their outrage over what is going on in Florida.

A broad people’s coalition in defense of voting rights is both necessary and possible. Needless to say, broad and flexible tactics are in order. Immediately we should touch bases with our coalition partners in the 2000 elections, but we should also reach out beyond the millions who voted for Gore.

Just as opposition to the Republican Party’s failed attempts to shut down the government in 1994 and to impeach President Clinton went well beyond partisan supporters of the Clinton Administration, the current struggle can likewise enlist far more than those who cast their ballot for Vice President Gore on election day.

Many Americans of different political views consider our democratic rights too precious to be traded away for narrow partisan gain by George W. Bush or anybody else.

But we must act with great speed. If this drags on and on, we may see election fatigue set in to Bush’s advantage and democracy subverted. We must join with millions in the days ahead and make our voices heard.

Mass demonstrations are one way and a very important way, but other ways that allow people to enter the struggle on whatever level they are prepared to are needed as well. One size will not fit all in this diverse movement for democratic rights.

If in the end, voting and democratic rights are upheld and Gore prevails, it will constitute an historic victory, something that later historians will allude in history classes attended by our grandchildren and great grandchildren. Even though a Gore Administration would be under enormous pressure – and it may be its preferred mode of operation – to govern from the center, to pursue a so-called moderate, bi-partisan policies, to triangulate, much like his boss did on many issues, a Gore victory under the present circumstances could only give a fresh and huge boost to the labor and people’s movement. Everybody would be pumped up.

A Bush victory on the other hand would be a setback. To be sure, he would enter the White House tainted and illegitimate. His ultra right instincts and cast of mind would be obvious to millions. His room to maneuver would be constrained, especially given the new makeup of the Congress.

Still a cautionary note is in order. Even though Bush is tainted doesn’t mean that he would necessarily pursue centrist policies. Such an assumption could be a faulty reading of the governing posture of Bush and his gang.

A Bush Administration’s preferred method of rule would be to utilize its control of all three branches of government to rapidly put in place reactionary policies and personnel and shift the balance of political forces to the right, an objective that they did not achieve on election day. Whether that is possible is an entirely different matter, but we should be mindful of Bush’s political inclination.

While much of this is speculative, one thing we can say for sure: mass struggle is the order of the day regardless of who enters the White House. What will drive the post-election struggle are the same issues that drove the elections, namely social security, Medicare, public education, taxes, the budget surplus, hate crimes, labor law reform, affirmative action, prescription drugs, and so forth.

Whatever the post-election landscape in our nation’s capital, large people’s majorities on such issues are imperative. Only popular majorities will be able to deter the right and compel the enactment new progressive legislative measures in Congress on the issues that drove the election campaign. This understanding, I believe, is critical.

The labor and people’s movement can and must build on the unprecedented level of mobilization, of coalition building and of multi-racial and all people’s unity that took shape during the election campaign.

To borrow a phrase from Lenin, what the moment calls for is ‘a deepening and broadening, and a broadening and deepening’ of the people’s struggles.


As you know, a convention of our Party is scheduled for next year. Had we followed our constitution, we should have had it this year, but for a number of reasons we had to postpone the convention until next summer. To be exact our 27th Convention will convene on July 6, 2001 in the beautiful city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

By good fortune we were able to secure the University of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee campus. The price was right compared to rental prices of hotels in Milwaukee as well as other cities in the Midwest. And the location in the middle of downtown and not far from Lake Michigan is hard to beat.

Milwaukee has rich socialist and progressive traditions. It is a center of the multi-racial, multi-national working class. Its political landscape is filled with militant movements and struggles. So we should be comfortable in one of our nation’s great cities and confident that the convention will be a great success.

Conventions, as we call them, or, congresses, as most of our fraternal Parties call them, are crowning moments in the life of a Party. No gathering is more representative of our membership or more authoritative or more important.

Conventions take stock of the main trends and developments in political, economic, and social life with an accent on longer-range developments. They bring together elected delegates who discuss and debate the policies that will guide the Party’s work and activities in the period ahead.

Conventions are empowered to make changes in the Party’s structure and rules. And convention delegates elect a new national leadership whose task is to provide political direction to the Party and broader movements until the time of the next convention.

Conventions also offer an opportunity to break bread with old friends as well as make new acquaintances. They are a venue where delegates get a first hand feeling of the Party’s national scope, range of activities, and influence.

And conventions provide a stage on which to sing, dance and enjoy working class and people’s culture.


Our convention should have all of these features that I just mentioned. We should make it a turning point in the life of our Party.

We should review our work as well as thoroughly and comradely discuss our policies for today’s and tomorrow’s struggles. Every delegate should leave Milwaukee with a clearer vision of our immediate and more distant tasks.

Our convention should be an energizer, putting more bounce into the step of every delegate. We should leave Milwaukee with a new sense of confidence in the Party.

We should invite our friends and coalition partners in the broader movements to our convention. Since our last convention in 1996, our mass relations have grown and this fact should be reflected at our gathering in Milwaukee. Our convention shouldn’t be strictly a family affair.

It should be a festive occasion. Even those of us who have little rhythm on the dance floor, have a hard time carrying a tune, and are culturally challenged should feel free to join the festive moments at the convention too. So relax Fred, you can get down in Milwaukee.

Our convention should utilize the latest audio, visual, and communication technologies. Film and video festivals, chat rooms, daily posting of speeches and discussion on our Web site are a few things that we can do with new technology.

We should invite international guests to our convention. Four years ago only a few representatives of the Communist and Workers movements attended. But given the resurgence and growing relations of communist parties around the world, more international delegates, I suspect, will probably attend our coming convention.

The financial costs of hosting foreign guests even without paying airfare will be considerable, but their presence is well worth the price. They will add a special quality and excitement to our deliberations.

Furthermore, we should consider whether we should host a meeting of our fraternal delegates immediately following the convention.

Young people should be prominently represented at our convention as well. This is a challenge for the Party as well as the YCL.

Our convention should elect a new national committee that will lead the Party in the first years of an exciting new century. If this year were any indication of what lies ahead, my advice would be to hang on and enjoy for the ride.


Our convention should reverberate with the spirit of the marches, rallies, strikes, demonstrations and picketlines of the post-election period. Delegates should palpably feel the political and economic whirlwinds that are sweeping our nation. Our convention must dance to the beat and feel the rhythm of the working class and people’s movements.

While our convention should soberly and realistically assess objective developments – and that is imperative -, it should do it with a sense of elan, with a conviction that this is a new moment in the life of our country bursting over with promise and possibility.

What separates a good convention from a routine one is the degree to which the delegates, the discussion, the documents, and the decisions are embedded in and reflect the ongoing struggles of our working class and people.

In this regard, our convention should not simply record our role in class and social struggles. More importantly, it should aim to enhance the initiating and organizing role of communists in mass struggles. It should aim to elevate the level of engagement of the Party and the broad left with center forces in the labor and people’s movements.

It should aim to make us more effective at unifying our multi-racial, multi-national, male-female working class as well as our working class with all of its allies, particularly the racially oppressed and women. It should aim to link immediate struggles in which we are active with our strategic and fundamental goals. It should aim to build our Party and its press and publications in the course of these struggles at a quicker pace than we are presently doing.

All this should be captured in the convention’s theme, slogan, banners, culture, and deliberations.


At our convention and in the preconvention process we want to take a wide-ranging view of objective and subjective developments. Without trying to be exhaustive I want to briefly mention some of the areas that we have to address between now and the time of our convention:

We should examine the U.S. economy and the notion of a ‘new economy,’ the process of monopolization and its effects on class and democratic struggles, and the status of extreme right wing.

We should analyze imperialism and the new war dangers, the status and difficulties of the socialist and developing countries in a global capitalist world, and the process of globalization and the struggle against it.

We should put a spotlight on the impact of the new technology as well as on the environmental crisis, sustainable development, and global warming.

We should closely examine the struggle for political independence in light of the 2000 elections.

We should look at the new features of the national question, the women question, and the struggle for immigrant rights and the way in which the changing profile of the working class and labor movement bear on these questions?

We should assess the new features of the struggle for Black, Brown, and white unity and the fight against racism, including the level of anti-racist consciousness and the new aspects of racist ideology.

We should also take a fresh look at the youth and student movement, seniors movement, the gay and lesbian movement, the family farm and farm workers movement, the anti-globalization movement, and faith based movements.

Finally, we should closely examine the status, role and activities of our Party, our press and publications, and the YCL in this period?

I may be a fool but not a big enough fool to try to do that now or ever for that matter. Examining these questions is a collective undertaking of the convention and preconvention process. But I would like to spend a few moments on a question that, I believe, will weigh heavily on all of our deliberations between now and the convention.


I would argue that a sea change has occurred in the depth, scope, and level of the class and people’s upsurge. It is arguably a new era of struggle.

When we met in Cleveland four years ago I don’t think that we could foresee that the newly emerging labor led people’s movement would be occupying center stage in our nation’s political life to the degree that it now is.

Nothing better demonstrates this fact than its role in the 2000 elections.

What this broad coalition did during the elections has not been remotely approximated for more than 50 years. What unfolded over the past several months was truly unprecedented. This evolving coalition made the difference and moved to an entirely new level in doing so in the process.

Its understanding of the ultra right danger to our nation’s future was right on target despite the stealth tactics of Bush and his gang. Its capacity to organize and mobilize voters was breathtaking. Its anti-corporate consciousness was deep. Its understanding of the need for unity – working class unity, multi-racial unity, and all people’s unity – shifted to higher ground. Its breadth and reach were unsurpassed. When have we seen a movement of this scope? I say never in my lifetime and I’m no longer a youngster.

Of course, the emergence of this broadly based coalition in which labor is steadily earning its leading role did not come out of thin air. It’s been gestating for some time.

But I don’t think any of us expected this nascent movement to erupt onto the political stage quite like it has. Perhaps we had some inkling, a slight sense, a sneaking suspicion in Cleveland at our 1996 convention that something was afoot, but not much more than that. We couldn’t foresee – and that’s not surprising – the scope and the pace of its development between then and now. Marxism allows us to see the main trends of development, but it doesn’t make us clairvoyant.

If the ‘Battle in Seattle’ was the dress rehearsal announcing a new social force had arrived on the political stage of our country then the fierce and broadly based struggles surrounding the 2000 elections drive home the fact that this coalition is here to say and moving to a higher ground.

Indeed, this emerging social force is capable of changing the political direction of our country and challenging capital’s dominance of our nation’s economic and political life.

In the center of this extraordinary development is the labor movement. In just a few short years labor has shed much of the debilitating outlook that greatly weakened it during the Cold War era. The thinking of our nation’s working people has changed radically. The changes are not quantitative but qualitative.

Four years ago when delegates gathered at our 26th Convention, the new leadership team of the AFL-CIO had barely gotten a step or two out of the starter’s block. We knew that things in the labor movement would be different, but we didn’t know how different.

Now four years later we can say that the changes in the labor movement are far reaching. New mass initiatives combined with internal restructuring of labor’s apparatus have catapulted the labor movement into a leading role in today’s struggles.

Organizing the unorganized, coalition building, independent politics, mass multi-racial unity, and the struggle against the extreme right and capitalist globalization are becoming the hallmarks of the present day labor movement. Turtles and Teamsters, Project Big Vote, WTO, GOTV, Rapid Response Teams, Labor to Neighbor, and Union Summer are now a part of the vocabulary and practice of the labor and people’s movement.

Labor’s strategic allies in the communities of the racially oppressed are experiencing a resurgence of struggle too. This too was evident during the elections although to be accurate the new level of struggle in these communities predates the 2000 elections.

Traditional mass organizations like the NAACP and La Raza are assuming a new posture of struggle. At the same time, new organizational forms, not always permanent in character, are emerging and bringing a new impulse and level of organization to broad mass struggles.

Racially oppressed workers are more and more a catalyst of struggle in their own communities and in the labor movement. Now found in leadership positions, minority workers are instrumental in organizing coalitions of labor with the African American, Mexican American and other racially oppressed peoples.

Also a force for broad unity and militancy are immigrant workers.

And finally, African American, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Asian, and other racially oppressed legislative representatives, as we have repeatedly seen, are vocal advocates against the extreme right and champions of people’s unity.

The women’s movement is a prominent player as well in this broad coalition against the extreme right. Given changing profile of the working class, the entrance of more women into the labor movement, and labor’s commitment to diversity in the leadership, working women – Black, Brown, and white – are playing a larger role in labor’s struggles, in the women’s movement and in the communities where they live. Women in elective office are people’s advocates and coalition builders too.

New social movements also bring their strength and innovative tactics to this loose labor led all people’s coalition. These movements should greeted with open arms, much like John Sweeny, George Becker, and Jesse Jackson have done. Where there are differences, they should be discussed in a friendly and respectful way.

In sum, what we see coming to life is our textbook concept of a powerful anti-monopoly movement. It probably doesn’t exactly fit our textbook model, but then again who thought it would. Nonetheless, it’s a close approximation.


Moreover, this is not a momentary development, but rather it is long term. Like everything else it is part of a large pattern of social development. It is embedded in a larger social reality.

If we agree this emerging labor led coalition is a major player in what is arguably a new era of class and social struggle then we should take a hard look at this new development during our preconvention period and at the convention itself.

More to the point, we have to take a fresh look at our level of involvement as well as our policies, tactics, structure, and culture to see if they correspond to this new reality.

No one is challenging the revolutionary role of the working class, or the strategic importance of the alliance of labor and the racially oppressed or the predatory and parasitic danger of imperialism or the necessity of socialism. But even these concepts have to undergo some modification in a changing world.

Our concepts are not set in stone. They have to be fitted to new conditions without sacrificing their essence. They have to be altered without changing their basic content.

Generally, I believe that our concepts have to be more elastic and adaptive, and especially now when political and economic life is so fluid.

To take on small example, our concepts of left and left center coalition should be different in the present day situation than they were 20 years ago. Owing to the changes in the labor movement, the left is a much broader current and its task is not to appeal to a limited spectrum of the trade union movement. Instead, it should actively work with the broad center as well as be a force for broad working class and people’s unity forces on issues that drove the elections. If it doesn’t do that then I’m not sure what its purpose is. Lenin once said:

‘The task of the Party is not to invent some fashionable method of helping the workers, but to join the workers movement, to bring light to that movement, and assist the workers in the struggle which they have already started themselves.’

That remains good advice.

At any rate, we should make a fresh examination of a broad range of questions as we move toward the convention. Enough has changed in the world in which we live to warrant such a study and discussion. Our theory is a guide to action not an encoded message or blueprint.

The main danger is not that we will go off in a right direction. The main danger is that we won’t adapt fast enough to new conditions, new circumstances and new possibilities of struggle especially.

The movement today has new scope, new depth, and includes new forces. So we can’t sit still.

To borrow a phrase from Gus, we have to change in order to grow.


The pre-convention period should allow for a full and freewheeling discussion. In fact, we should use the preconvention period to make permanent changes in our political culture at every level of the Party.

We would like to propose that the preconvention discussions begin on January 1 and continue until the time of the convention. Of course, that means that we have to begin to prepare now.

Unlike previous conventions, we are not proposing a main resolution, but rather several documents. Some are already in the hands of the clubs and we expect each commission to draft a discussion document related to their area of work. The labor commission, for instance, is in the early stages of writing a new labor program.

Where we don’t have commissions, we should organize small ad hoc committees. For example, we should establish one to draft a paper on women’s equality and another to draft a position on gay rights.

In addition, because this report is too long, I deleted from it discussion questions for many areas of work. We will send those to the Party as well.

As in the past we should publish a discussion bulletin, and the first issue in print and electronic form should be on its way to the districts and clubs no later than January 1. To meet this deadline we need to receive written submissions as soon as possible. So we should urge comrades to send submissions to the national office.

For this convention, we should organize new ways to prod discussion. Regional meetings, chat rooms on the internet, roundtable discussions, and forums on specific subjects are a few of the things that we could do. We could also organize public discussions and events to celebrate people’s holidays. For example, February is African American history month, March 8 is International Women’s Day, May 1 is May Day, and May 5 is Cinco De Mayo.

I’m sure you have other ideas to make our preconvention period a stimulating experience and we would like to hear from you.

Perhaps this is not necessary to say, but we shouldn’t worry too much that our preconvention discussion would distract us from day to day struggles. That’s always a danger, but it is also true that vibrant preconvention discussions can enhance our role in mass struggles.

To insure a fruitful preconvention discussion, National Committee and District Committee members have to set the tone. We have to encourage discussion and allow for differing points of view. We have to be good listeners and have the patience of a saint.

We have to avoid sounding officious and flinching at the first dissonant word. The final arbiter on ideological and political matters, as I said on another occasion, is no single comrade, but the collective and even the collective has to exercise that responsibility in a considered way.

We should also avoid sweeping labels to characterize the views of other comrades. Terms, like anti-Party or petit bourgeois or anti-working class, seldom convince anybody of anything, but they invariably turn up the temperature and poison the atmosphere in the collective. If we disagree with the views of another comrade then we should present persuasive arguments for our point of view. Every comrade expects and deserves to be treated in a respectful way.

2001 is not 1991 nor is it 1951. Political circumstances are different in the world and our political culture has to change. The Cold War is over and anti-communism doesn’t carry the same bite that it once did. Thus our internal culture should be more open and transparent.

Our Party is not a fragile institution. It has endured and endured amazingly well for nearly 82 years. We weathered several storms that have tested its resilience. But each time we have survived and moved forward.

Thanks to Gus and the older generation of communists we stand on solid political ground. We have an experienced leadership. We keep our eyes on the working class. We understand the importance of Black, Brown, white unity to every struggle. We have a sound strategic line and a well spring of tactical experience from which to draw. The degree of Party unity is high. We are closely connected to the emerging labor-led coalition that is shaking the country.

Thus, we should take advantage of this moment to open up new channels of communication and membership participation in every aspect of our life. Such steps would allow us to make sounder political assessments of overall developments. It would also enhance our ability to draw members into activity by giving every member a deeper sense of ownership of the Party. And for a voluntary organization that is critical.

Moreover, a vibrant and transparent internal life attracts new activists and fighters who we are meeting in class and democratic struggles. Frontline fighters for democratic rights, especially in this era, will expect that any organization that they join will have a democratic culture as well as a mass struggle orientation.

Some comrades ask, ‘But I thought we are a democratic centralist organization?’ Well, we are, but I would only add that sometimes we turn democratic centralism into an administrative concept, strip it off its political content, and reduce it to only the obligation of the minority to comply with the decisions of the majority. But there is more to it than that. But let’s save that discussion to the preconvention period.


We would like to set some goals as we proceed to the convention. One is that member of the National Board and National Committee attends 75 clubs meetings at which they will either lead or participate in preconvention discussion. A second goal is that we organize a series of recruiting meetings between now and the convention. The first series is scheduled for January and February. Elena will speak more about this at the district organizer meeting tomorrow.

Another goal is to wire the Party from top to bottom. Every collective in the Party should have internet access. If a club can’t afford it then a fundraiser should be organized. This is a new organizing instrument that we absolutely need.

Still another goal is strengthen and shore up the Party organization at every level leading up to convention. We have gotten a little loose in recent years.

In addition we want to resolve some nagging personnel/cadre issues. Maybe there simply aren’t enough comrades to fill vacant positions, but I’m not yet convinced of that. In this connection I’m happy to announce that we should soon have a full-blown, functioning collective for the internet and our Web page work.

A fifth goal is to stabilize our regional structure, which currently includes New England, the Mid Atlantic states, the Midwest, and the West Coast, Southwest, and Rocky Mountain area.

A final goal is that we establish the PWW on line, get back on newsstands, and set some PWW and PA circulation goals.


At this meeting we should establish committees that will organize the work of the convention and preconvention period. I would like to propose 6 committees.

First, a convention organizing committee that has overall responsibility for all aspects of the convention preparations. I propose that Elena chairs and that its members include Jarvis, Evey, Joelle, Judith, Joe, Scott, John, Lee, Noel, and Terrie.

I would also like to propose a preconvention discussion committee and Judith chair, a convention constitution committee and Joe chair, a committee on Party organization and structure and Evey chair, a convention program committee and Joelle chair, and a finance and budget committee and Jarvis and Esther co-chair.

Obviously, we have to fill out every committee with additional comrades promptly. I would suggest that we ask the full national Board to do that as soon as possible. If comrades would like to serve on one committee or another they should let Elena know.

Finally, all committees should operate under the authority of the National Committee and Board.


As you can see, there are many unanswered questions relating to the convention. What we wanted to do today was to present a skeletal political and organizing structure for the upcoming convention. In the discussion and in subsequent meetings we can put meat on the bones.

Let me end by saying that no matter how good and detailed the convention plans, our success depends in no small measure on each of us in this room. We have to work harder and smarter. What we do will determine how successful our convention is.

And I’m sure we will meet the challenge. Thank you.



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