Reflections on CPUSA convention

I have never, at any time in my life, experienced anything as engaging, rewarding and beautiful as the 28th National Convention of the Communist Party USA. From the reports and lively debates to the picket line, from the amazing stories of struggle to the comrades I met, I have nothing but deep-felt gratitude and renewed commitment to the working class in my heart.

Comrade Sal and I returned to the airport together on Sunday to catch our flight. While we waited for the train, we chatted about various progressive and communist movies we’d seen or wanted to see.

A young man sitting nearby, roughly the same age as we, overheard our conversation and asked, “Have you ever seen ‘Ten Days That Shook The World’ or ‘The Battleship Potemkin’ by Sergei Eisenstein?” We confessed that we hadn’t.

The young man continued, “I ask because I am a communist.”

I replied, “Awesome, we are too. We’re on our way home from the 28th National Convention of the Communist Party USA.”

Sal added, “Are you in any of the Chicago clubs?”

“I’m a Trotskyite and a member of the Spartacist League,” the young man replied.

Sal said, “I read about that organization just the other day on Wikipedia. Can I ask what made you join the Spartacist League?”

“I joined because it’s the only party capable of smashing capitalism,” the young man replied.

Later, on the plane, we reflected on the young man’s comments. His belief that the Spartacist League was the only party capable of “smashing capitalism” forced us to consider the relationship between a political party and the mass movements. We concluded, that in fact, the Spartacist League could not “smash capitalism.” And neither could the CPUSA, for that matter. Only the working class can do that, and we counted our lucky lone stars that we belonged to a party that operated on that basis.

Matt Parker

Dallas TX

The Ugly Warrior

We are struggling for survival on the “home front” while “The Ugly Warrior” continues to engage in domestic terrorism on the citizens of the United States. Twenty-six percent cuts in Medicare are in Bush’s hopper for activation, privatizing Social Security and any other public institutions he can get away with.

Ignoring children in his bogus “Leave No Child Behind” law by the well utilized underfunding, stacking the courts with justices bent on taking away our gained liberties, human rights and human dignity.

Indeed, this “Ugly Warrior” is devastating the home front, while leading our boys, girls, men and women into a falsely contrived war with a cavalier “Whatever it takes.” We have already lost 1,700-plus lives of U.S. military personnel as well as the “wholly innocent” casualties of war.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt is long gone, but he was “The Happy Warrior” who created the public benefits that the cronies of the “Ugly Warrior” are out to destroy. We will need someone with the intestinal fortitude of Roosevelt, to update and improve those programs and get America rolling forward again.

Rohn Webb

Melba ID

Science conversations

I enjoyed reading Emile Schepers’ article on intelligent design (“Intelligent design? Stupid idea!” PWW 7/2-8). I agree that the attack on the teaching of evolution is a serious subject. The issue really is the right of working class students to study modern science.

Unfortunately, the headline didn’t quite get it. Schepers wrote that intelligent design was “one more mystical or religious explanation of human origins.” He did not call it a “stupid idea.”

The article did surprise me with “every chain of scientific reasoning must be rooted in unproved assumptions at some point.” That’s not what I learned in my science classes. I thought the natural sciences must be rooted in nature, in the real world.

Beatrice Lumpkin

Chicago IL

Emile Schepers responds:

Science is indeed rooted in material reality, or should be if it is any good. Yet some unproven, or inadequately proven, assumptions have to be utilized almost always — due to limited knowledge or instruments — or we would have to conclude that science is perfect and its work is finished. That’s all I meant to say.

Meat is OK

I enjoyed the article by Gene Gordon titled “Marxism without meat” (PWW 6/4-10) and the letters that followed.

Education, lack of stewardship and industrialization have harmed Americans’ health more than the slaughter of animals. The word slaughter has a negative presumption that killing of animals is “wasteful and destructive to themselves and the species with whom they share the planet.”

Not all of this is true. Early people were centered in warm climates that produced abundant fruits, vegetables, cereals, roots and fibers such as hemp for clothing. There would have been no migration of man without killing animals for food and hides. Of the traditional foods, staples of Indian tribes — wild game, salmon, berries, roots, teas and indigenous vegetables — no one portion could sustain a population that migrated to seasonal climates; all were needed. If we wanted to live longer, the traditional Native American diet would save us.

Saying all that, I believe processed foods will be the death of us all.

In closing I quote Loretta Barrett Oden, a Potawatamie chef and food historian: “There’s no better way to know a people than through their food.” And I want a meat sandwich (a grass feed, sustainable herd with no hormones roast beef if possible.)

Mike Kidney

Via e-mail

Eminent domain

I was pleased to see your paper on the mark on the eminent domain decision (“High court rules on ‘taking’ doctrine” PWW 7/2-8). The left must not alienate the lower middle class in my opinion. They are the ones who get screwed by these decisions.

Ned Price

Framingham MA

Gulf of Tonkin, not Watergate

I understand why you would say “Iraq: Bush’s Watergate?” (PWW 6/18-24), but I don’t recall so many people dying because of Watergate as died because of the Gulf of Tonkin set up. I would prefer to think of the Downing Street Memo as Bush’s Gulf of Tonkin.

Glenn Avery

Via e-mail