More about the Communist Party’s draft program

The following are reader responses to “Upholding Theoretical Foundations”(Tillow, Godwin, Kenny) which appeared in this column in our 5/14-20 issue.

For the last five years, we have analyzed the fascist danger of the Bushites and their corporate backers. We have understood that their basic attempt is not only to dominate the world, but also to take back every gain our working class has won since the days of Franklin Roosevelt.

When Bush says, with a 51 percent victory margin, that he now has capital to spend for his agenda, this is the same trick that the Nazis performed in 1932, when they capitalized on a narrow victory as leverage to gain total power.

The ultra right is, for now, operating within our constitutional traditions, but their effort is still to grab total power. We are, correctly, committed to do our maximum to keep this from happening.

How does this fit in with the class struggle today? Is the class struggle just workers on a picket line, or is it workers in their communities and their unions trying to stop privatization of Social Security, denial of women’s rights, appointment of reactionary judges, tax cuts for the rich, cuts in health care and education, and so on?

Building coalitions to stop the Bush ultra-right corporate drive is part of the class struggle, and another part is, at the same time, where appropriate, to indicate that these are only stopgap solutions and that we have to go forward to a more advanced struggle against capitalism.

To claim today that fighting the Bush administration is not the main focus of the class struggle, and that we must instead focus on more advanced goals, is to isolate ourselves from the fighting coalition.

The authors of the May 14 article seem to equate the tactics that we should follow with those of countries like Venezuela or Cuba, with very different conditions and levels of class struggle and consciousness. That is a mistake. The struggles in these countries have developed according to their historical conditions. Where communist parties enjoy the confidence of the masses, it is because they have defended first and foremost the people’s immediate needs. We must do the same — fight for the immediate concerns of the U.S. working class. We must make every effort to reach workers who mistakenly voted for Bush, and to form a common bond with them around the bread-and-butter issues of the day. If we do this, reaching out beyond our left and progressive “choir,” we will be able to stop the Bush/corporate drive towards a fascist state, and build the movement for progressive change and socialism.

I believe the Communist Party USA draft program has correctly characterized the way forward. We can’t just yell “class struggle,” but have to get down and dirty to fight it with real people and the real issues they are ready to move on.

Emil Shaw is chair of the New Mexico Communist Party.