Irish band to help kick off CPUSA conference

NEW YORK – The Communist Party’s national conference on building the Party clubs and grassroots organizing will kick off June 28 with a concert by the Irish band, Morning Star, which will follow CPUSA National Chairman Sam Webb’s keynote address to the gathering.

“The 2002 elections are slowly making their way into the headlines,” Webb said. Besides the Republican and Democratic parties, “the other major player is the American people.” What this means for the CPUSA and the left will be a focus of Webb’s remarks.

Formed in 1982 by Irish-born Mary Courtney and Margie Mulvihill, Morning Star was for more than a decade the only all-woman Irish trio on the Eastern seaboard. They have since enhanced their dynamic sound with fiddler John Reynolds and button accordion player John Nolan.

Mulvihill and Reynolds are both winners of the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. Noland is the first American ever to win the senior all-Ireland Championship on the “box.” The group drew national attention in 1999 when they played at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the Kennedy/Bessette memorial mass.

The group has shared the stage with Black 47, Shane McGowan and Eileen Ivers and others. Their stage and film credits include Frank McCourt’s The Irish and How They Got That Way and The Saint of Fort Washington, starring Danny Glover and Matt Dillon. They appear regularly at New York City’s Tir na nOg (33rd St. and Eighth Ave.).

Preceding the concert by Morning Star, Webb will open the conference at 6 p.m. with his remarks, which will give the conference its political direction.

In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, Webb noted, “the people of our country were solidly in the camp of the Bush administration.”

However, since the beginning of 2002, as they began to feel the impact of Bush’s policies, many are beginning to balk. “They are not all speaking the same message or with the same tone,” Webb said, “but they are expressing growing skepticism about the administration.”

“Indeed,” Webb said, “the 2002 elections present the best opportunity to slow down and reverse the reactionary drive of the Bush administration. It is the main front in the struggle for democracy, to which everything else should be connected, even subordinated to.”

The conference will continue until 1 p.m., Sunday, June 30. For more information, go to www.cpusa.org or call (212) 989-4994, ext. 224 or 231.

The author can be reached a crummel@cpusa.org