My last post discussed how tiny communist parties can covertly influence the policy and direction of much larger “mainstream” parties.
Please read this “hot off the computer” article from Political Affairs, the theoretical journal of the Communist Party USA, with my thesis in mind.
You have to read between the lines a little, but the basic message is pretty clear.
New York (11-20-06) “The right-wing stranglehold on Congress has been broken,” declared Joelle Fishman, chair of the Communist Party USA’s (CPUSA) political action commission, to a meeting of its 81-person National Committee this past weekend.
Fishman noted, “This is a victory being celebrated around the world.”
Fishman delivered her report to the committee as it discussed the results of the election and prepared to move the struggle for democracy, peace, and economic justice forward in the new Congress, and to build the size and influence of the Communist Party.
Overwhelmingly, the committee claimed victory for the US working class, the world, and for democracy as a result of the landslide that swept the Republican Party from power in Congress.
“Our Party gave its heart and soul to the struggle,” declared CPUSA’s Executive Vice-chair Jarvis Tyner.
Sounding a caution that the right is already “working to ease the impact of what happened on November 7th,” Tyner urged the Communist Party’s leadership body to push forward with its progressive agenda.
Fishman argued that the results of the election were a mandate to withdraw from Iraq, pass health care and labor reform legislation, and to control political and corporate corruption.
The key forces that enabled the victory, Fishman stated, were part of what she called the “All Peoples’ Front.” This united collection of forces were led by the labor movement and included at its core the women’s equality movement and the African American and Latino communities.
Other democratic forces such as the peace movement, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, environmentalists, and other public advocacy groups lent a large hand to the victory as well.
According to the data Fishman provided, labor union members and their families may have comprised as much as 25 percent of the voter turnout and voted about 3-to-1 for union-endorsed candidates, unanimously Democrats.
Labor contacted 13.2 million union members and mobilized tens of thousands of people in key races to staff phone banks, canvass neighborhoods, do literature drops and mailings, and poll watch.
Fishman applauded the labor movement for this role and for the broad unity of unions from both the AFL-CIO and Change to Win. Because of this decisive contribution, “Labor emerges from this election in a key position to lead,” Fishman said.
As a result, labor’s broad agenda is definitely on the table.
The Democratic leadership in the House has agreed to some key elements of that agenda, including raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour, controlling health care costs, reducing student loan interest rates, and developing a troop withdrawal plan.
But labor wants and deserves more.
According to Communist Party Labor Commission Chair Scott Marshall, “The Democrats are beholden to labor and must pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).”
EFCA is a bill already introduced in the previous session of Congress that would increase democracy in the workplace by enabling workers to vote for a union through a procedure called card-check. This would make joining or organizing unions easier, and because 57 million non-union workers say they want to join a union, such a law would make it easier for them to do so.
Fishman also pointed to the enormous contributions of African American, Latino, and Jewish voters who lent their support to Democratic candidates by margins of more than 12-to-1, 2-to-1, and 12-to-1, respectively.
These strong contributions to victory on November 7th suggest that an anti-racist, pro-civil rights, pro-immigrants’ rights agenda should also be put forward in the next session of Congress.
Tyner argued that the Congress has to address immigration reform that provides for legalization, a path to citizenship, and treats everyone fairly. He also stated that the victims of Hurricane Katrina must be provided for and that egregious provisions in the PATRIOT Act have to be eliminated.
Fishman called for the full participation of the Communist Party in the battle to pass a broad agenda.
To accomplish this, CPUSA Chair Sam Webb stated in his report on the role of the Communist Party, the CPUSA must be larger and more deeply tied to the democratic and workers’ movements.
Erica Smiley, National Coordinator of the Young Communist League, said, “The results of the 2006 election indicate a turning point in our struggle.”
Instead of defensive battles to stop regressive Republican Party policies, the people’s needs can now be addressed.