Political suicide

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.

My club had just finished going door-to-door with the AFL-CIO petition to save Social Security and giving out PWWs when I read “Upholding Theoretical Foundations.”

Too often, during our convention review of work and in projecting direction for the coming period, we fall into a “we’re doing it right, we just need to be bigger” mode. Such an uncritical approach does little to hone our tactics, strategy and theory. “Upholding Theoretical Foundations” is not in that mode. Unfortunately, I found it wildly off the mark.

It sets up a straw man and proceeds to pillory it.

The authors want the CPUSA to project “advanced ideas” and move “beyond a defensive posture and draw masses to the idea of socialism.”

They claim the strategy outlined in Sam Webb’s comments (PWW 4/16-22) “appear to reflect a retreat from the theoretical foundations of communist activism.”

However, Webb explains the basis in communist experience for the party’s anti-Bush-administration strategy. He states that the draft program “singles out the Bush administration as the main obstacle to social progress, and the struggle against it as the main form of the class struggle at this moment.” He cites Lenin’s conclusions that “the struggle for socialism goes through different stages and phases during which the configuration of contending class and social forces changes, requiring, in turn, new strategic policies to match the new alignment of political forces and the new level of political consciousness of tens of millions.”

Tillow, Godwin and Kenny proceed to confuse the situation in the U.S. with the conditions faced by Venezuela and Cuba. The authors appear ready to foist a one-size-fits-all strategy on these countries as well.

Who’s retreating? Those who would function, strategically and otherwise, as if a revolutionary moment is upon us would lead us into a self-satisfied sectarian retreat. Such an approach is in a historical and harmful to the working class and the CPUSA. Up in my neck of the woods, it would be political suicide.

Nick Bart is an environmental activist in Connecticut.