To: ‘Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition’: A report on the CPUSA Convention Live Feed

BY: Walter Lippmann| July 14, 2005

Walter Lippmann is a writer, photographer and activist, who directs the CubaNews list, a free e-mail service.

This adds a bit to my notes from yesterday on this:

This morning I had a chance to listen to some of the final sessions of the CPUSA convention. The session included a trade union panel and credentials report.

The report stated that one third of the Communist Party’s membership has been in the organization for five years or less. This meant that they had joined since the previous convention of the organization.

The final section with the delegates included hearing a report from the resolutions committee. Some of the resolutions were recommended for immediate approval, some for referral to the incoming National Committee, and one for rejection. That one had to do with Israel and Zionism, and resulted in some controversy among the delegates, and some back and forth between the chair and the delegate who was speaking in favor of the resolution which was being proposed for rejection.

A motion to study industrial concentration and its impact on the organization was also referred on to the incoming NC.

A motion calling for the extradition of Posada Carriles was adopted, along with an amendment from the floor to include reference to the existing extradition treaty which the US has in force with Venezuela since 1922. The amendment was friendly and accepted by the chair.

A recently-recruited member was introduced who was a soldier who had served in Iraq and has since decided to join the Communist Party. There was a round of very enthusiastic applause greeting his introduction.

At another point, the chair introduced a number of audience members, who were asked to stand, who held elective office. One was named in particular, a man from Missouri, who got up and thanked the party for the active work it did in helping him win his race.

The convention also adopted a proposal to establish a commission to help the organization to understand and find ways to engage in action in support of the struggle for lesbian-gay-bisexual and transgendered rights. The Communist Party has changed its approach on this subject in recent years. Political Affairs, the party’s monthly magazine has run a number of articles on this, and had a special issue devoted to gay rights, including a particularly significant item by Victor Grossman on East Germany’s struggles with gay rights. Get a sense of how they’ve changed their attitude on gay rights issues by reading this:

As indicated, I wasn’t able to listen to the entire final session. Perhaps they’ll post the sound file online. It would be interesting to hear more of it.

The Communist Party, USA is a substantial institution within the United States left. The left itself is not a great force in US life, but within the left the CP is a significant force. Its attitude toward Cuba is a very positive one, as is its attitude toward both China and Vietnam. It is also a appears to have both a cohesive organization with a workable structure, apparatus and geographical distribution. The CPUSA will have a continuing, and it seems probably to me an increasing role, in the unfolding political and social struggles of our time.

Walter Lippmann Los Angeles, California

—–Original Message—– From: Noel Rabinowitz Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 11:37 AM To: walter lippman Cc: Erwin Marquit; Libero Della Piana Subject: [Fwd: FYI: A result of the streaming.]

Dear Walter,

I received your report (copied below) via Erwin Marquit. As the CPUSA Webmaster, I greatly appreciated it, as did others who saw it. We’d like to ask your permission to either put a link to it on our website, or we can post the text to our site. Please let us know. And thanks again.

Yours, Noel Rabinowitz Communications Technology Organizer

—–Original Message—– From: Walter Lippmann [] Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 12:19 AM To: ‘Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition’ Subject: A report on the CPUSA Convention Live Feed

Thanks to Doug Smiley’s posting news of it up to the list, I was able to listen to part of the proceedings of the CPUSA convention. The evening segment was predominantly greetings from their international guests. The ones I was able to hear included the Vietnamese Communist Party, which sent a three-member delegation, including a member of the Central Committee, and two other CC staffers. The Vietnamese delegation received a particularly intense round of applause. The final message read was from the Cuban Communist Party.

The guests included leaders of the South African Communist Party, the Portuguese Communist Youth, the Sudanese Communist Party.

The South African delegate was also very warmly received. He regaled the audience with a story of how he was greeted by US customs. They asked him why he was visiting the United States. He replied he was here to attend the national convention of the Communist Party, USA. He then spoke about a series of issues, the most striking of which to me was his opposition to the impending split in the AFL-CIO.

In addition there were representatives from the Popular Socialist Party of Mexico and the Mexican Communist Party, from which a Central Committee member came and spoke, as did the PSP representative. Also present was the correspondent of the Japanese Communist Party’s newspaper AKAHATA, who is based in Washington, DC.

Especially well-received was the representative of the Iraqi Communist Party, who spoke against the occupation and stated that his party had suffered thousands arrested, tortured and killed by the fascist government of Saddam Hussein. He gave a strong statement of appreciation to the CPUSA who reported on the reality of the situation in Iraq, against both the capitalist media and what he called pseudo-radical sources of information.

Also very well-received was a representative from the Iranian Communist Party (better known as the Tudeh Party). This party, which makes clear that it’s opposed to the Iranian government and was against both of the candidates in the recently-held election.

The Colombian CP reported on a campaign which it has waged on behalf of arrested members of its leadership. He announced that after twelve years of struggle, the Colombian government provisionally released the members they had been fighting for.

Also speaking were representatives, mostly members of Central Committees, from such parties as the Communist Party of Britain, of Brazil, of Canada, of Chile, of Greece and others.

Those who couldn’t come, but who sent messages were: Chinese CP, Mongolian CP, Czech CP which stated that it has 100,000 members, the Bangladesh CP and the German CP (the DKP), and the CP of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Communist Party, USA, is a strong supporter of the Cuban Revolution. It has been a supporter of the Cuban Revolution through thick and thin for forty-five years.

Two years ago when Cuba took strong defensive measures to protect itself from US attacks, many on the left made statements sharply critical of those measures. Members and supporters of the CPUSA did not join in the attacks which were leveled against Cuba at that time. That was very much to the credit of the CPUSA.

The final greeting was from the Cuban Communist Party. The message focused mostly on the struggle to free the Cuban Five, and demanded that the full strength of the law be applied to Cuban-born terrorists Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch. Since only excerpts were read, the full text of the Cuban document will be posted separately.

This broadcast was with an audio stream, not video, and was very professionally put together. The impression I got was of a serious, determined and professional organization which knows how to put its ideas forward in a coherent and compelling manner. I’m glad it was broadcast and also that I had the time to listen in. At times I listen to Cuban radio via the internet, but the sound quality here was far better, and there were no interruptions of the broadcast as often happens in internet radio.

The convention wraps Sunday and one last session, the trade union panel, will be webcast Sunday morning.

More details on the CPUSA convention here:

Walter Lippmann


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