Uptown youth

Recently the Uptown Club of the Young Communist League went to the Catskill Mountains for the 2nd Uptown Ideological Retreat. It was a great success. Leaders from the Communist Party led the classes for the three-day school with a focus on race, gender and youth. We rotated cooking and cleaning. There was also a game of “capture the flag”!

The combination of the classes, the games, the groups and the serenity of the location helped us create an agenda for the next six months, including the RNC and the Books not Bombs youth convergence, gathering signatures for the Ujima Build Me project registering folks to vote and getting voters to the polls in November.

Peace.

Que A., Bronx NY

China and socialism

Recently I have been reading an interesting excerpt from the book “China and Socialism: Market Reforms and Class Struggle” by Martin Hart-Landsberg and Paul Burkett, published as a special issue of the socialist magazine Monthly Review. The authors present a great deal of evidence to support the view that the market-socialism policies pursued by the leadership of the People’s Republic of China have served to steadily erode the foundations of socialism. Instead of “using capitalism to build socialism” (as the Chinese leadership had originally argued), the authors maintain that it is now evident that they have “used socialism to build capitalism.”

I recall reading in PWW a year or two ago about a CPUSA delegation to the People’s Republic of China. The general tone of the article was one of friendship between peoples, and a basic respect for the Chinese Communist Party, but tempered by a wait-and-see attitude on the developments there. Or so it seemed to me. I think it was a prudent course to take at the time. However, new scholarship should not be ignored. Will we be seeing a review of this book in a future issue of the People’s Weekly World or its sister publication Political Affairs?

Wally Brooker, Toronto, Canada

Editor’s note: The Monthly Review article has certainly made some splash. Volunteers do most of our book reviews so we’d like someone to volunteer for this review. Editorial Board member Marilyn Bechtel has just returned from a journalist’s tour of China and will be writing a series on her observations and experiences.

Insecurity

Thanks to sloppy security at its Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab, the Energy Department has shut down dozens of the nation’s atomic weapons research and production facilities, until it can be discovered what happened to some missing top-secret computer disks. For the time being, thousands of scientists won’t be working on re-inventing and perfecting the hydrogen bomb.

This is an unusual opportunity. We’re better off without these diabolical laboratories. It’s time to reconsider this dangerous, expensive and technically illegal research. Surely, one thing we don’t need is a “better” H-bomb. Yet, tens of billions of dollars are currently in the pipeline to push Bush’s plan to build so-called “usable” nuclear weapons.

We have for decades demanded that our nation’s WMD programs be permanently scrapped and resources re-directed to sustainable energy research and development. There’s not a single crisis in our troubled world that can be effectively resolved by our possession of nuclear weapons. Their continued existence, in fact, makes us all less secure.

Cord MacGuire, Boulder CO

Communists and religion

I read Bea Lumpkin’s article “Hattie Lumpkin: mother and fighter for socialism” (PWW 7/10-16). I very much enjoy these articles about people who were members of the CPUSA. So many of them come from different strata of society, different experiences and are so diverse!

I am somewhat drawn to the Communist Party. I admire their work in civil rights, labor rights and almost all progressive struggles here in America.

I am what most socialists would call “a religious person.” I believe in God, go to church, read the Bible and pray. This is a big part of my life as it is for millions and millions of other working-class Americans. I am sure you are familiar with this.

I noticed in your article that Mrs. Lumpkin was active in her church. May I ask if she continued to be active in the church and to believe in God? If so did the Party give her a hard time about this? May I ask which denomination she belonged to?

I am wrestling with this issue quite a bit right now and your open and honest answer would be of great value to me.

Bill Jones, Via e-mail

Author’s reply: My mother-in-law was also a deeply religious person, active in the Baptist Church. She used to say, “God is Love!” I believe that is what led her to join the Communist Party – her love of people. I met Hattie before I met my husband Frank. The story of the Lumpkins is in the book, “The Story of Frank Lumpkin, Steelworker,” available from International Publishers, (212) 366-9816. Yes, Hattie remained active to the end in her church and as a member of the New York State Executive Committee of the Communist Party USA. Neither she nor her comrades ever saw a conflict between the two.

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