I agree with the assessment that the most important differences in the Communist Party’s preconvention discussion center on the proposed adoption of the main strategic line of defeating the ultra-right section of transnationals and the Bush administration by building the broadest possible all people’s coalition led by labor allied with racially and nationally oppressed peoples, women and youth and others.
Objective conditions have changed in such ways as to warrant a new program to guide our tactics, policies and slogans. The party’s draft program makes that change, substantiates the need for it, lays out the main lines of carrying it out and points to how it links to future stages. The draft program is an important step forward in playing our leading (or vanguard if you like) role as a working-class party nationally and internationally. In pointing out the class nature of the ultra-right threat and mapping out the key steps from here to socialism, it enhances our ability to give more revolutionary fervor to the quantitative steps necessary for the next possible qualitative changes.
I disagree with those who would retreat from the advances made in the draft program. I think the draft program, with positive improvements based on our preconvention and convention discussion, should be approved and the incoming national committee prepare its publication in good order.
Here in Southern California, the draft program has been very valuable in recruiting and consolidating new members, strengthening the involvement of current members, and bringing many former members and others closer to our orbit. There has been some hesitance from some in disagreement, but the overall direction is towards growth, greater activism and greater respect.
While building a town meeting event in Los Angeles about Social Security with the Californian Alliance for Retired Americans, one of the group’s officers handed me an application for affiliation, asking why we weren’t members yet. Our district is now an affiliate member of CARA.
We have made our renovated building more open to progressive Salvadoran community groups, among whom we gave out the People’s Weekly World and draft documents. A PWW distribution in a community college close to a large Salvadoran area was started. When the Spanish versions came out we distributed them to key contacts. We now have a new club developing in the Salvadoran community.
As the re-assembling of the anti-Bush coalition has accelerated in recent weeks, more and more opportunities to participate meaningfully are opening up. During the lunch break at the East L.A. Villaraigosa for Mayor headquarters on Election Day, May 17, scores of volunteers were reading the PWW edition I had handed out. We all celebrated together at the victory party that night.
In such activities I have found more and more opportunities to speak to other activists about how the most dangerous corporations behind both Bush and Schwarzenegger are the key thing and that the point is not just about replacing the Republicans. With some I can talk of anti-monopoly and socialist perspectives for better future solutions even while walking precincts or picket lines.
While conditions are opening people up to more activism, to new more radical thinking, the most common, and correct, concern is for greater, more effective action against Bush and the right wing. The bigger, more focused and effective the action, the greater the growth in consciousness.
As to slogans, tactics as always are key. What moves people forward in greater numbers and depth, not how advanced the concepts are ideally, is what is key to raising class struggle and consciousness.
In this period some of our slogans for mass action may not be as advanced ideally as in some past times. This is because of the changed relations of class today. One of many observations of Lenin that are relevant on this score is this one:
“Strictly differentiating between stages that are essentially different, soberly examining the conditions under which they manifest themselves, does not at all mean indefinitely postponing one’s ultimate aim, or slowing down one’s progress in advance. On the contrary, it is for the purpose of accelerating the advance and of achieving the ultimate aim as quickly and securely as possible that it is necessary to understand the relation of classes in modern society….”
With proliferating WMDs monopolized almost entirely by imperialism and its most reactionary sectors, led by our government, the word “securely” above should not be taken lightly.
Rosalio Muñoz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an organizer for the Southern California district of the Communist Party USA.