WASHINGTON — The Communist Party USA played an important role in the Sept. 24 demonstration against Bush’s Iraq war, bringing its own members and mobilizing others to come, as well as forming a large contingent in the march.

“We had a wonderful delegation in Washington,” said Sam Webb, CPUSA national chair. “We joined with hundreds of thousands of others in calling for ending the occupation, bringing the troops home and rebuilding our country.”

On Sept. 26, 11 members and friends of the Communist Party were arrested in a planned act of civil disobedience to protest the war in front of the White House, along with more than 350 others, including Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan. The protesters began attaching the names of Iraqi and U.S. war victims to the fence in front of the White House when police ordered them to disperse. When they refused, the police made mass arrests. Those arrested were issued tickets and later released.

Still other party activists participated in visits to congresspeople on the same day to lobby for a speedy U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

The CPUSA has been involved in all of the major antiwar demonstrations. This time the party organized itself to have an even greater public presence in the actions.

In New York City, for the first time in years, the party organized its own bus. With the party still maintaining a focus on working with other organizations, and therefore a large percentage of its membership traveling on buses organized under the banners of other groups. As it turned out, one bus was not enough.

“We had to turn people away,” said Gabe Falsetta, who helped organize the New York bus. “The phone kept ringing, and I had to tell so many people there was no more room. It’s too bad we didn’t have two or three buses.” The ages of people on the bus ranged from 15 to 89.

Besides the bus, the CPUSA organized a contingent that marched behind a huge red banner reading, “U.S. Out of Iraq! Rebuild America! No Money for War!” The diverse, multiracial contingent was made up of hundreds of members and friends, some of whom came from far away, carrying signs and American flags.

“I feel great!” said Matt Parker of Dallas. “This is my first national march to come to, and it’s really a positive and inspiring thing to see all these Communists united here behind our banner. I think people will notice and it might undo some of the stereotypes that have damaged our reputation. It’s a real positive effort.”

The CPUSA and the Young Communist League had tables at the event, and both received warm responses. In addition, party members and supporters of the People’s Weekly World distributed nearly 10,000 sample issues of the newspaper to those attending the actions.