“Taking care of the future, from here to socialism” was the subject of a wide ranging google hangout with CPUSA chairman Sam Webb. The conversation opened the discussion period for the 30th National Convention June 13-15 in Chicago.
“Connecting the struggles of the present with the future is easier said than done,” said Webb. “The main starting point is engagement in the issues which millions are struggling around today.”
“We are going to engage people to the extent we are involved with the issues moving millions,” he said.
Webb argued it is vital to participate in what he called the “new surge of people’s struggles” that are breaking out mainly at the state and local level around raising the minimum wage, organizing low wage workers, passing marriage equality legislation, and joining in the Moral Monday protests, to name a few.
This new people’s upsurge is reflected in the election of a progressive mayor and city council in New York City and the election of a socialist to the Seattle City Council.
It is also reflected in the growth of political independence both within and outside the Democratic Party. Those who want to take care of the future need to build on these trends, which will be the basis of any third party that emerges in the U.S.
Webb said this should involve more communists running for office especially at the local level.
He also said a big challenge is to combine immediate reforms with more radical reforms that cut into the power and profits of big business: for example taxing the rich, demilitarizing the economy and winning a peaceful foreign policy.
“We should be taking part in discussions around socialism,” he said. “Millions are talking about it. You would probably have to go back to the 1930s for a similar discussion.”
“Our vision of socialism has to be forward looking, a modern vision that is sunk into the 21st century and the new challenges facing humankind,” he said.
Webb paid special attention to the climate crisis, which he termed an “existential crisis” threatening the survival of humanity. Any vision of socialism must address this question.
“There is not a bigger challenge facing humankind,” he said.
There is no way to win socialism without combining the overall struggle with the struggle for full racial, gender and sexual orientation equality. This challenge has grown and is the bedrock of building a united movement.
“There is much talk about a post-racial society but not much evidence for it. I’m not suggesting there aren’t notable gains for equality. But at same time there is a new racial order in society, which makes struggle for equality more difficult.”
Webb also said key to the struggle for socialism is building a much bigger Communist Party USA and left.
“Part of the reason we were able to surmount the crisis of the 1930s was because there was a mass communist party and left. Similarly today the communist party and left can play an important role in building the mass movement that is growing before our eyes,” said Webb.
Nearly 200 joined Webb in the live session and many were able to pose questions in the hour-long event. Since then, over 1,400 people have viewed the video, which has been posted on the Communist Party USA Youtube page.
Regular Google Hangouts will take place throughout the convention discussion. To receive alerts sign up here.