NEW YORK – Communist Party leaders from around the nation met here Feb. 9-10 to assess Bush’s “never-ending” war on terrorism and its dangers to life on the planet.

“Never before have we had such a critical meeting during such dangerous times,” said CPUSA National Chairman Sam Webb. “We are here to make sober assessments and move forward. Every district brings concrete experiences.”

Webb opened the National Committee (NC) meeting with an assessment of Bush’s “bellicose, belligerant and chauvinistic” State of the Union address, and an analysis of the Enron scandal and its impact on the thinking of millions towards capitalism and the Bush administration. Webb continued to stress the critical nature of the fight for peace.

Webb highlighted the victorious struggles since Sept. 11, from the Charleston Five to Connecticut’s Pratt and Whitney workers to Ohio school workers.

“While the fight against the ultra-right Bush administration’s policies are our main emphasis, this also can’t be a substitute for the struggles at the point of production,” he said. Webb also devoted a substantial portion of his opening to the fight for socialism.

The NC honored veteran activists and dedicated its meeting to Helen Winter, a long-time NC member who died last month.

Dr. James E. Jackson, Jr., was present to receive a certificate of honor, presented by CPUSA Executive Vice Chairman Jarvis Tyner, for his more than half a century of contributions to the class struggle, the fight against racism and for international solidarity and socialism.

Jackson told the CPUSA leaders, “You are en route to a future that will honor humanity.”

Joelle Fishman, chair of the CPUSA political action commission, gave a special report on the 2002 elections. Fishman stressed the importance of these elections in shifting Congress away from the ultra right and building political independence.

Special reports were given on numerous subjects, including the economy, the struggle to free the Charleston Five, Enron, the steel crisis and the April 20 march for peace.

Remarks from the floor focused on the peace movement, the youth and student movement, the 2002 elections and the increased militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. Workshops were held on the elections, the fight against racism, for civil rights and civil liberties, the peace movement, the economic crisis and building the CPUSA.

Roberta Wood, a member of the Party’s National Board, presented a special award to the schoolworkers in Jefferson County, Ohio who fought and won a battle for union rights and public education.

Wood said, “Who are our heroes? Those who work patiently day after day, building unity on every level, fortifying the power of working people.”

Diana Sowry, a strike leader, accepted the award. She said the workers of her union were never on strike before but the courage and heroism of these workers in the face of a brutal and arrogant attack by the school board made all of them stronger.

“Hillary Clinton coined the phrase, ‘it takes a village.’ Well, it takes a village to educate children. Yet the school board spent a half a million taxpayer dollars to break the union instead of spending it on the kids. We asked for a measly raise and they forced us out on strike,” she said.

Elena Mora, national organization secretary, presented a major report on building Communist Party clubs. Mora argued that for any basic change in society to occur it has to come from the millions of ordinary working people, women and men of all races, nationalities and ages. The whole Party has to be involved in building vibrant Communist Party clubs, Mora said.

“Building at the grassroots … is something others in the labor and people’s movments are trying to tackle. It’s not an easy issue,” she said. Mora proposed a national conference in June on this issue.

To read this and other reports go to www.cpusa.org or call (212) 989-4994 to order copies. Webb’s report and the tribute to Dr. Jackson can be heard through streaming audio on the CPUSA website.

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