Communist Party convention opens in New York

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NEW YORK - Just blocks north of Wall Street here, the site of the biggest crime spree in history, Communist Party Chairman Sam Webb said executives who planned, aided and abetted the theft of wealth and sent the economy into a tailspin deserve to "be in prison." Webb opened the 29th Convention of the Communist Party USA, May 21.

Anger at corporations and "bosses," who constantly take, take, take from workers, communities and taxpayers leaving financial crises, joblessness, foreclosures and environmental disasters in their wake, was apparent at this gathering of a few hundred delegates and guests. Anger was also directed at the use of racism and immigrant-bashing to further their pro-Wall Street agenda.

But there wasn't just anger in the keynote and delegate speeches. There was also optimism, compassion and readiness to organize a fightback on jobs and in the mid-term elections.

Saying the far-right political forces in the United States have launched a "new racist counteroffensive" in order to "strip away popular support for the first African American president," Webb said, "if unchallenged" it could lead to a "much uglier version of the Bush-Cheney administration." But if the "racist barrage runs into a powerful anti-racist response coming not only from people of color, but also from the white majority and white workers" it can be stopped.

"My guess," said Webb, "is that the Republican Party, which has turned into an instrument of unabashed racism ... will not be successful" in 2010 or in 2012.

Webb called on the delegates to step up their involvement in the fights for jobs, anti-racism and grassroots election work.

Webb also expanded on a vision for socialism. Calling it a "work in progress" Webb spent time on developing a vision for socialism based on U.S. culture, history, democracy and traditions. And that socialism has to be sustainable - environmentally/economically - and given the huge dangers of global warming, socialism is a necessity.

Jarvis Tyner, CPUSA executive vice chairman, welcomed the convention along with CPUSA organizer Rossana Cambron who spoke in Spanish.

"Socialism is getting popular. The right wing has no solutions to this economic crisis, except cut taxes for Wall Street. The Communist Party sees there is a way to come out of this crisis by uplifting all working people, not the Dow Jones," Tyner said in a statement.

Secretary-Treasurer Roberta Wood says, "When just about every working-class family in this country has somebody out of work, while Wall Street profits haven't missed a beat, you know capitalism isn't working. The American people can do better and we're here to talk about how. And we're serious."

Numerous delegates took the floor and spoke about the new Arizona law, SB 1070, which empowers state law enforcement to stop anybody suspected of being "illegal." A delegate from Phoenix hailed the boycott of Arizona, which has taken on a "life of its own" with so many organizations, businesses and government bodies refusing to bring their tourism or other business to the state.

Young people, their future bleak with skyrocketing jobless rates, education cuts and the promotion of violence also were addressed by many delegates.

The convention sets the main political strategy for the next four years and elects a collective leadership body called the national committee. Workshops on saving public education, winning green jobs and sustainable environment, religious and faith-based communities and building online communities and organizing were among the more than 22 workshops. Convention plenary sessions are on jobs, 2010 elections, struggles for equality, peace and solidarity, the Young Communist League, and building the party and its online media.

The CPUSA received international greetings from communist and workers parties from around the world. In a deeply emotional moment, Vietnam's Deputy Ambassador to the United States, Minh Tien Nguyen, gave greetings on behalf of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Founded in 1919, the Communist Party USA has been on the U.S. political scene for more than 90 years. For more information go to, www.cpusa.org.

Photo: Marilyn Bechtel

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  • Once again the republicans are getting a bad name and the truth of the matter is that the republicans are the only party that is pro-constitution, and pro-liberty. Anti-Big government is also a republican trait including anti-war and so many other ideals that the U.S. was founded upon. If you believe in the communist manifesto or are a devout communist I would recommend Cuba or China. The U.S. will not fall to communism nor will it tolerate the Democrats agenda to bring it to Communism. That being said, I hope those of you on the fence about socialism or communism pays attention and realize what the real danger is. I wish no ill-will to anyone but don't think about setting foot in my house...

    Posted by L. Taylor, 11/18/2010 4:57am (4 years ago)

  • To me it seems like the CPUSA is blindy suppoting the Democrats. Sure, it's great that our nation finally has a black president, too bad he turns out to mirror George Bush.

    Tell me, should we really support Obama in light of this? Any support for Obama based solely on race is just idiotic, and it will ultimately make the CPUSA look like a mere microphone for the neo-conservative Democrats.

    We should not support the Democrats in any way as long as they are still supporting Capitalism.

    Posted by August, 11/17/2010 11:16pm (4 years ago)

  • Listened to Sam's speech with great interest. Thank you Sam and the CPUSA for an end to rhetoric and for adding an indispensible critical voice: a speech that Marxists everywhere will appreciate as a revolutionary analysis that starts with a sober estimation of what the American working class and peoples are up against. I am sure it will resonate as you go forward. Good luck from a Canadian friend.

    Posted by George Hewison, 05/26/2010 7:52am (4 years ago)

  • What you say here,Joel is true,however,for those who want more information and feedback on this issue,see David's,Peter Zerner's and my comments on the article by John Case,The Path to Socialism an its "Marxist-Leninist"critics,in PA,on line.
    The international working class is telling us something essential to our movement:fascism and war are indivisible,as democracy and peace are. One cannot have fascism and peace any more than one can have democracy and war. We must get as clear as Paul Leroy Robeson and William Edward Burghardt Du Bois on this,if we are to lead any movement toward economic and political democracy,let alone communism.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 05/23/2010 4:07pm (4 years ago)

  • Great keynote by Sam. Laid out the main areas of focus: jobs crisis and 2010 elections. Especially enjoyed the attention given to our evolving vision of socialism and the need for the organization to stay up with the times.

    Posted by C.J., 05/21/2010 10:10pm (4 years ago)

  • This seems like a good speech, but they should support third party efforts and not just blindly work to support Democrats.

    Posted by Sean Mulligan, 05/21/2010 9:48pm (4 years ago)

  • Sam does look good in a suit

    Posted by Red Grandad, 05/21/2010 9:43pm (4 years ago)

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