What we need today a program for working peopleELECTION PLATFORM 2004, COMMUNIST PARTY USA

Editor’s note: The Communist Party USA recently released the following election platform. We reprint it here as part of our coverage of the broad, people’s movement to defeat President Bush. The platform is also available on-line, in English and Spanish, at www.cpusa.org.



This is no ordinary election year. Across our country, people are searching for security, hope and peace.

The George W. Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have delivered unemployment, economic insecurity, inequality, fear and war. Instead of freedom and democracy, the people of our country and the world have been subjected to unilateral military aggression and curtailment of democratic rights, based on lies and deceit. The young generation is being shut out of education and good job opportunities.

These policies are not accidents. They flow from a campaign by the biggest, most aggressive capitalist interests for complete control over all the world’s resources, markets and labor. The shocking disparity between wealth and poverty worldwide, and the never-ending search for new sources of profit, set the stage for sharp conflict.

The 2004 elections are a test of history in our country’s quest to build a democracy “of, by and for the people.” For too long, big money corporate politics has turned away millions of voters from participation. In 2000 the Supreme Court disregarded the voters’ choice and installed George W. Bush. Now is the time for all democratically minded people to stand united, march to the ballot boxes and vote in massive numbers to end right-wing Republican control of the White House and Congress.

Nothing can be taken for granted. No state should be conceded in this national crusade to take our country back from extremist, life-threatening policies.

The power of the movement to defeat Bush on Nov. 2 goes far beyond this election. The new alliance of labor, African Americans, Latinos, women, youth, seniors, and glbt, peace and environmental activists who make up this movement holds in its hands the potential to win much bigger change. The upsurge of independent activity to defeat the ultra-right opens new possibilities toward a people’s party free of transnational domination.

The need for a system free of the exploitation, racism, militarism and profit-driven policies that burden our country today is on the agenda for consideration, discussion and action.

Throughout our history, the Communist Party has recognized the need for fundamental change with a vision of a socialist United States built on the foundations of our Bill of Rights. In 2004, we project a program to meet the immediate needs of the people of our country.

The bottom line in this election year is that the devastating, dangerous, anti-human, Bush/ultra-right agenda must be delivered a resounding defeat. The entire world is watching.

PEOPLE BEFORE PROFITS

Living-wage unionized jobs, health care, decent affordable housing, quality public education, racial equality, equality for women, a clean and peaceful environment, and civil liberties should all be basic human rights.

Tax cuts for the rich and limitless funds for war are bankrupting our government and making our nation less safe. A complete change in priorities is necessary to meet human needs, insure a certain future for the young generation and provide real security. No one should be forced into poverty in our wealthiest nation.

We offer the following People before Profits Program as a basis for movement building. We support the many efforts of labor, community, civil rights, youth, peace and environmental coalitions that move toward these goals.

JOBS AND ECONOMIC SECURITY

Almost 10 million workers are unemployed, 3 million more than when Bush took office. Millions more, including many youth, are stuck in low-wage, part-time jobs. Emergency action is needed to create good jobs.

H Support the Employee Free Choice Act to allow workers to gain union representation without harassment or recrimination. H Create living-wage, union jobs with a massive program to rebuild the bridges, schools, water treatment plants, and parks of our nation, while sending funds to cities and states to fully staff education, childcare, health care and other peoples’ needs. H Special measures for federal spending and job creation in the African American and Latino communities where jobless rates are up to twice as high because of overt and institutional racism. H Expand aid and job creation in rural areas with disproportionately high unemployment. Protect family farmers with price supports and no curtailment of subsidies. H Expand federal funding of youth jobs, vocational and apprenticeship programs and higher education especially geared toward low-income and racially oppressed youth. H Raise the minimum wage to living wage standards taking into account cost of housing and other essentials. H Provide adequate federal funding to cities and towns for first responders and emergency personnel.

HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE

Health Care for All. Over 43 million now have no health coverage, 4 million more than when Bush took office. The fake “Medicare reform” will not deliver prescription drugs, but will undermine the entire program. No one should be without health care.

H Support the Medicare for All bill, HR 676, which provides full health coverage including prescription drugs, for everyone. H Allow bulk government purchase of prescription drugs and re-importation of drugs as an emergency measure. Curb price gouging by the pharmaceutical industry. H Access to reproductive health care for young women. H Expand funding for HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

Equal, Quality Public Education. The Bush administration eliminated $8 billion in funding to public education after creating new, costly mandates in the “No Child Left Behind” act, which undermines public education in favor of vouchers for some children to attend private or religious schools. Every child should have the best possible public education.

H Guarantee full dedicated federal funding for quality, equal public education from pre-K through college. H Enact the DREAM Act and Student Adjustment Act to increase access to education for immigrants. H Increase Pell Grants. Repeal provisions that deny funds to students with drug convictions.

Social Safety Net. The Bush administration has slashed funding for human needs and privatized services. The social safety net should be expanded and secured.

H Extend unemployment compensation to include entire time without a job. H No privatization of Social Security or Medicare. Use the Social Security surplus to increase benefits instead of funding the Bush tax cuts and war in Iraq. Protect retirement funds. H Restore and expand the social safety net for women and children and victims of economic dislocation. Emergency measures to end child poverty. H Expand Section 8 and other affordable housing measures. Federal funding of construction and maintenance of housing for working-class families.

END RACISM, BIGOTRY AND DISCRIMINATION

The gap in equality of health care, education and employment has widened for African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian-Pacific Islanders. Immigrants, women and gays have been targeted. Winning equality is a vital interest for all working people.

H Enforce and expand affirmative action to end racism and achieve equality in jobs, housing, health care, education (including university admissions), and all areas of life. H Outlaw racial profiling. Enact federal hate crime legislation. H Alternative sentencing for non-violent crimes. Abolish the death penalty. H Enact the SOLVE Act, HR 4264/SB 238, to fulfill the goals of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, including a clear path to citizenship, equal rights on the job and civil liberties protections. H End the wage gap for women. Equal pay for equal work. Reject efforts to repeal

Roe v. Wade that would restrict women’s reproductive rights. H Reject the Bush proposed amendment to the Constitution that would prohibit gay marriages. End discrimination because of sexual orientation.

PEACE AND FOREIGN POLICY

End the United States’ unnecessary and illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Hundreds of young soldiers have been killed and thousands wounded, along with many thousands of Iraqi civilians, while giant military contractors reap financial benefit.

H Bring the troops home from Iraq. U.S. out, UN in. Full funding for veterans benefits. Support HR 690 for a full investigation into prison abuses in Iraq, especially at Abu Ghraib. H End the policy of preemptive war, war without end and world domination and occupation. Foreign policy based on cooperation and negotiations utilizing the United Nations. H Stop procurement and testing of nuclear weapons. Stop deployment of nuclear weapons to outer space. H End the harmful buildup of the military budget. Transfer funds to human needs. H Repeal NAFTA and negotiate enforceable labor and environmental rights into the body of all new agreements. H Support a Department of Peace as a cabinet-level position. H Remove military recruiters from public schools and campuses. Require parental agreement before students’ names are given to the military. H End the policy of promoting regime change in Cuba, Venezuela and other countries. End support for repressive governments around the world.

PRESERVE AND PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT

The Bush administration’s “Healthy Forests” and “Clear Skies” initiatives only further pollute land and water and deplete our natural resources. The environment should not be destroyed for profits.

H Protect our natural resources. Repeal the Healthy Forests and Clear Skies acts. Prosecute corporate polluters. H Develop renewable clean energy alternatives. H Support the Apollo Project of labor and environmental organizations to create environmentally friendly jobs in transportation and infrastructure. H Enact energy price controls and public ownership with investment in renewable and sustainable energy. H Ratify the Kyoto Treaty.

DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES

The large-scale disenfranchisement of African American voters and the stoppage of the vote count in Florida in 2000 was an assault on the integrity of the entire election. Extreme infringements to democratic rights have escalated during this administration. Democratic rights and civil liberties make our nation strong.

H Repeal the USA Patriot Act, which limits constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech and dissent. H End appointments of right-wing, extremist judges to federal courts. H Funding for enforcement of the Voting Rights Act to ensure that no voters are denied their rights. Restoration of voting rights to ex-felons in every state. Same-day voter registration to allow for the largest turnout. H Pass the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003, HR 2239, to require a verifiable paper trail for every electronic voting machine. H Publicly financed elections to take big money influence out of politics. H Expand opportunities for minority candidates by replacing the “winner take all” election system with Instant Runoff Voting and Proportional Representation, which allow voters to rank candidates by choice and elect the candidate with the most overall support. H End monopoly control and censorship of the media.

TAX THE RICH

The Bush administration tax cuts to the rich forced a budget deficit and severe funding cuts to states, cities and towns for human needs and services. A fair tax system can provide the resources for strong communities and healthy families.

H Repeal Bush tax cuts for the rich. H Restore tax rates on the rich and corporations to 1970 levels. H Restore and increase federal funding for human needs. H Enact a refundable child tax credit.

For more information, write to Communist Party USA, 235 W. 23rd St., New York NY 10011, e-mail cpusa@cpusa.org, or call (212) 989-4994. Contact the Young Communist League at ycl@yclusa.org, or call (212) 741-2016. *(See related story below)

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The first debate: Kerry knocks Bush out of the ballpark



From a recent interview with Sam Webb, national chairperson, Communist Party USA:



“The Bush team thought this would be their knockout blow,” said Sam Webb, “but instead, Kerry knocked Bush out of the ballpark. Public opinion polls show two out of three viewers (some say over 71 percent) thought Kerry won. The whole political dynamic has changed and Kerry is on new ground. His supporters were energized and the race is more competitive now.”

“Kerry seemed presidential” in style, noted Webb, “while Bush seemed to be a very small person.” On substance, Webb sees that “Kerry made a good case against Bush’s foreign policies. He held that that the Iraq war was based on lies — ‘a colossal misjudgment.’ Iraq was a diversion from the war on terror, where the hunt for Bin Laden has been ‘outsourced to Afghan warlords.’ Kerry would pursue no long-term interest in Iraq, as opposed to Bush’s building 14 bases there.”

“Kerry’s points on nuclear weapons flew in Bush’s face,” Webb said. “Bush’s belligerence on bunker busters, the missile shield, and pulling out of international treaties don’t make us safer — and as Kerry pointed out, they don’t stop nuclear proliferation.”

“For the next two debates,” Webb thinks, “house parties will be an important place to build on this momentum. Participate in them, or organize one yourself for friends, co-workers, neighbors. People can watch and discuss together.”

“The whole get-out-the-vote effort is going to ratchet up a few notches. We urge everybody in the country to join those efforts, and in voter registration where it’s still open. Now that the two candidates have shared the same platform, people can compare and measure presidential timber of each. Our CPUSA position stands out even more strongly now — there are serious differences between Kerry and Bush, and the outcome of this election will have enormous consequences.”