This blog has long contended that the Communist Party USA and other Marxist groups have heavily infiltrated the Democratic Party.
This has enabled the Communist Party to both influence Democratic Party policy and to choose and promote Democratic candidates at all levels.
Comrade Atkins also admits that Party members work in in Democratic-aligned organizations including Organize for America, Progressive Democrats of America, the Campaign for America’s Future or the New York Working Families Party.
The context here is that Atkins believes that the Party is stigmatized by the “communist” label and should drop the name, in order to more easily and effectively work through the Democrats and other “mainstream” organizations.
Forces on the progressive left must organize as currents within the orbit of the Democratic Party, but as elements separate from it. This is the stance taken by the organized labor movement. And, if the CPUSA is honest with itself, we would see that this is an approach which we have already taken for quite some time as well. Our members participate in the Democratic primary process at the local level, volunteer in GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts, and many take part in the platform-drafting process in their local Democratic committees. More participate in Democratic-aligned outfits such as Organize for America, Progressive Democrats of America, or the Campaign for America’s Future.
However, by not formally affiliating with the Democratic Party organizationally (though many members do individually), the CPUSA and some of these other left formations are able to maintain the independence that allows them to join in the mass coalition efforts to defeat the ultra right without endorsing or accepting the corporate influence and control that prevails among too many top Democratic policy-makers.
All of this is to say, we have to consider the possibility that our current practice, which is broadly in agreement with the understanding of political independence summarized above, may not best be served by our continued adherence to a specifically party-type of organization. I would suggest that we ponder whether it may be appropriate to drop not only the “communist” half of our title, but the “party” half as well.
It is my belief that we could be more effectual operating as a socialist and working-class political organization which does not present itself as a “party” as such. By doing so, we could eliminate the ambiguities and confusion which sometimes arises when CPUSA members run as Democratic or independent candidates. Our members can freely participate in the Democratic Party process, with the Working Families Party or other independent political formations, etc. as appropriate to the circumstances and in accordance with collective judgment of the situation. The details of what such an organization would look like would of course have to be discussed in greater detail by the party as a whole, but it is a transformation worth considering.
So as should be clear, this article is both a call for change as well as a suggestion for the codification of existing practice. The CPUSA has done much to renew itself and join the 21st century. It is now time to move forward with this process and remove any obstacles that still stand in the way of fully participating in the broad democratic upsurge of our times. We are living in an era of change and must do everything to make sure we stay in tune with the movement of history.
The Communist Party USA works closely with the Communist parties of Cuba, China, Russia, and with many Latin America, Africa and Asia.
It’s loyalties do not lie with the United States of America, but with a re-energized and growing international communist movement.
Why isn’t it?