The Communist Party’s African American Equality Commission will hold a conference in St. Louis on June 8-10.

Jarvis Tyner, CPUSA executive vice chair, told the World that the conference is aimed at bringing party members and friends together from across the country to share their experiences in the fight against racism and for equality, and then return to their home states and build on the conference’s collective conclusions.

When “the existence of racism and inequality still prevails,” Tyner said, “it weakens the fight for democracy, peace and justice in general and prevents a better life for all working people.”

During the conference, there will be three panels: one on the state of Black America; one on, in Tyner’s words, “the growing upsurge in the Black community”; and, finally, a panel on building the Communist Party in the African American community.

On the current upsurge, Tyner noted that the 2006 congressional elections would not have turned out the way they did without the African American vote, which, Tyner said, was “nearly unanimous.”

“African Americans understood what was at stake in that election, after 30 years or more of assaults by the Republicans on the fundamental principles and practice and enforcement around civil rights,” Tyner said. “That vote was a call for a stepping up of the struggle against racism, and the Communist Party fully endorses that spirit, relates to it and is a part of it.”

He said, “Our job is to bring together a coalition composed of labor and all of the people’s progressive forces to understand the priority of the fight against racism. The labor/African American alliance is decisive to this.”

The conference will be multiracial, reflecting the CPUSA’s conviction that the fight against racism is a fight that benefits working people of all races and nationalities.

Tyner said it is being hosted in St. Louis because the Missouri party “is one of our finest districts in terms of the presence of Black workers and links to the labor movement, the civil rights movement and the fight against racism.” Tyner expects 100 people to turn out for the conference and related public events.

The opening night of the conference will include a public forum on the current situation in the movement against racism and for Black equality.

Tyner noted that the Communist Party USA was founded as a split from the old Socialist Party because “some on the left thought that the issue of race equality and freedom had to be put off.” In that sense, the struggle against racism and for African American equality is “part of the party’s political DNA.”

Among the things the conference will discuss will be increasing the circulation of the People’s Weekly World in the African American community, Tyner said.

dmargolis @pww.org

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