07/18/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/18/2019 16:04
Editor's Note: This is the full main report, to the 31st National Convention of the Communist Party USA held in Chicago, Illinois, June 21-23, 2019. The abbreviated oral presentation is available here.
John Bachtell served as CPUSA national chair from 2014 to 2019. Rossana Cambron and Joe Sims were elected as the new CPUSA co-chairs.
Welcome delegates and guests! Welcome and warm greetings to international guests! And welcome to our live-stream audience!
Welcome to our 100th birthday party! We're feeling rambunctious and just getting started!
We gather at a pivotal moment. The very existence of people and our planet are in peril.
Humanity, all life forms, and nature face unprecedented, interrelated and unsustainable global challenges: climate and ecological crises, rampant militarization, an escalating war danger with Iran and in the Middle East, including nuclear war, and a crisis of wealth extremes.
We face a crisis of wealth extremes, growing racial and social inequality, the instability and unpredictability of a crisis-ridden and predatory capitalist system, made more chaotic with the Trump trade wars.
We face unpredictable economic and social disruption brought on by the new phase of the scientific, technological, communications revolution, including robotics and artificial intelligence.
We face a lawless, lying, climate-denying occupant of the White House, who has brought on a democratic and constitutional crisis, and a global extreme right and wealth concentration that threatens democracy elsewhere.
Today's multiple crises must be addressed globally and simultaneously.
These crises intersect, converge, and compound one another. They must be addressed globally and simultaneously, on a scope and scale that meets the challenges.
Together, the solutions, the transition to a green and demilitarized economy, and funding this transition through radical wealth redistribution and reallocation of military spending, are a basis for the unity of the overwhelming majority of people in our country international working-class solidarity, global political and economic cooperation.
These are radical solutions and will also require the greatest mobilization of people and resources our country and planet has ever known.
We have witnessed enormous changes in the past few decades. But they pale in comparison to the changes, challenges, and upheaval now bearing down on us.
A turning point moment and the democratic upsurge
For many, this is a moment of despair. A moment of fear and insecurity. A moment of scapegoating and division.
But this is also a turning point moment. A time of growing unity, of democratic and transformative upsurge profoundly impacting politics and mass thinking.
Millions are turning to each other and rising to fight. We are marching, voting, and organizing to oust Trump and the extreme right-wing; determined to defend democratic rights and rescue our shared planet and future.
Millions are challenging the basic ideas and institutions of white supremacy, patriarchy, and the capitalist system itself.
Our multi-racial working-class in alliance with the African American, Latinx, Asian American, Native American and other communities of color, women, youth, organized labor, environmental justice, and other social movements are finding hope in community, unity, and struggle!
We're the ones, this broad democratic alliance, we've been waiting for.
We're the ones, this broad democratic alliance, we've been waiting for. And we're the ones who will lead the fight to expand democratic rights and save the planet. And we're the ones who will bring into being a radically new kind of society free of exploitation, hate, and inequality.
Just a few weeks ago, Chicago's first African American woman and first openly gay mayor took office. Lori Lightfoot's landslide victory was made for this moment. It was a repudiation of the legacy of corrupt machine politics, of racial division, police brutality, and of corporate looting that has made this an increasingly unaffordable city.
And something else shook this city - the election of six socialists to the city council. Now that's a demand for a change!
As part of the massive national voter upsurge in November 2018, voters in this state ousted a right-wing governor who had spent four years obstructing change.
It's a new day in Illinois. The new governor and legislature raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, voted to place a referendum on the ballot for a progressive tax and legalized recreational marijuana, expunging the criminal records of nearly 800,000 residents.
People in Chicago and Illinois are not waiting to see what the newly elected officials enact. Grassroots movements are organizing to demand a people's agenda.
People-powered victories here and elsewhere show the political ground is shifting; that organized labor and other people's movements can elect our own and impact politics.
The crisis is local and global
Not far away in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, a mother grieves for her son killed by gun violence. This is intolerable! And communities and families of victims of gun violence are marching to end it.
In Parkland, Virginia Beach, Las Vegas, and Pittsburgh - mass shootings are claiming hundreds of lives, invading even what was thought to be the safest of spaces - our schools and places of worship. This is outrageous, and millions are demanding outlawing assault weapons and for common-sense gun control.
What unites both struggles are opposition to gun manufacturers obsessed with maximum profits and blocking every effort to regulate weapons and reduce the flood of guns. At long last, the tide appears to be turning.
Not far away, the criminal police murder of Laquan McDonald is still being grieved by his parents and the community. Movements for civilian control of the police and ending police murders and brutality committed against African American and Latino residents exploded in response and continue to grow, electing district attorneys accountable to the people.
In Little Village, a Dreamer and their family fear a knock on the door by ICE. These families are criminalized and terrorized. This is outrageous, and communities are organizing to defend immigrants and block deportations.
Tens of thousands of immigrant families are criminalized for fleeing violence and poverty, detained in concentration camps, and an unknown number have died. Children and babies are being ripped from parents, forced to endure neglect and misery. This is inhumane, immoral, and people of goodwill everywhere are fighting to stop it.
In neighboring states like Indiana and Missouri, women seeking an abortion and medical workers who perform them are criminalized. This is intolerable! Meanwhile, mass movements are ensuring reproductive rights are protected and expanded in Illinois, Nevada, Vermont, California, and other states.
Somewhere a young person is fearful of coming out because an LGBTQ classmate was bullied or a transgender person murdered. But the LGBTQ community and their allies have won expanded democratic rights and led a revolution in social attitudes.
All across this city, families are forced to choose between food and rent. This is outrageous, and the fight for a living wage has led to municipalities and states passing measures for a $15 minimum wage!
Newly graduated students from this very university wonder if their lives will be spent in servitude paying off student loans. They and their parents are burdened with enormous debt. I know. I'm one. This is outrageous, and cancellation of student debt and a free college education is now advocated by presidential candidates!
Chicago is like so many cities. Downtowns prosper while working-class neighborhoods face neglect. Property taxes and rents are too damn high, driving working-class families, especially African Americans, out. This is outrageous, and movements for affordable housing and tenant's rights are growing here, in New York City, and across the country.
While this administration dismantles the Environmental Protection Agency and puts polluters in charge of regulating themselves, states and cities are declaring their commitment to the Paris Climate Accords, and the Green New Deal has bolted into the national discussion!
While the GOP passes one voter suppression law and adopts one more insane gerrymandered map after another, voters in states like Michigan and Florida are expanding voting rights and defending democracy!
Our nation and the world face enormous challenges, and people everywhere are rising!
The CPUSA celebrates 100!
The Communist Party USA, 100 years young and going strong, is an essential part of every movement. We believe the moment calls for a much larger CPUSA, a working-class based party of socialism.
We are in the fight of our lives.
The crises facing humanity are rooted in the predatory system of global capitalism; the capitalist mode of production and drive for maximum profits. They beg the question of what comes first: People and nature or corporate profits?
As Dr. WEB DuBois famously penned while joining the CPUSA: 'Capitalism cannot reform itself. It is doomed to self-destruction. No universal selfishness can bring social good to all.'
We are fighting for a new society of majority rule, economic and political democracy, full racial and gender equality, a society based on solidarity, community, and cooperation; a society without classes, prisons, walls, and borders.
We seek a humane, peaceful society in harmony with nature; in which the working class enjoys the full fruit of its labors.
This is our vision, this is our mission, this is why we are here.
The moment may be dangerous and sometimes feel dark. But the fire of human liberation grows. And we have unshakable confidence in the power of working-class and human solidarity; of global socialist and communist unity; of international solidarity and global cooperation to save planet and people and ensure the future.
A planetary emergency
Rachel Carson wrote that:
'We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road - the one less traveled by - offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.'
We are experiencing a planetary emergency and world ecological crisis without precedent. The very existence of humanity and nature is at stake.
The rapidly evolving climate crisis is interconnected with multiple other mega ecological crises reaching tipping points. These include a biodiversity crisis and mass extinction of plant and animal species. A new climate regime with extraordinary heatwaves. The warming and acidification of the oceans and sea-level rise. The appearance of enormous oceanic dead zones. Mega-droughts and flooding threaten most of the world's agricultural and food production. Mega wildfires and deforestation. Evaporation of freshwater lakes and aquifers. Desertification, and ruination of soil, and environmental toxins. Waste streams, the ubiquitous spread of plastic waste, and microparticles. Disruption of atmospheric and oceanic currents.
We do not yet fully understand what will happen when crises reach tipping points and the impact of feedback loops. We do know these crises are disrupting and threatening the most essential elements of our lives-where we live, what we eat, what we drink. They are growing worse by the day and crowding out and intensifying every other issue.
Without a radical reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the near term, our planet could become uninhabitable. Even if humanity transitions to a sustainable path tomorrow, the processes in motion and damage done are likely to worsen and last for generations. Society will have to adapt to a changing environment in unimaginable ways.
San Francisco, Miami, New York, Houston, New Orleans, and other coastal cities will be increasingly flooded. With a rise of 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, the land inhabited by 375 million people will be flooded, including Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Indonesia is moving its capital from the sinking city of Jakarta.
The climate and ecological crises more heavily impact the global South and developing countries, deepening social crises, conflicts, and mass migration. Hurricane Maria devastated the entire island of Puerto Rico, killed thousands, and forced tens of thousands more to migrate to the US.
The severe drought in Guatemala is a huge factor, along with extreme poverty and gang violence, in forcing families, the majority who are indigenous peoples, to flee northward.
In the near term our planet could become uninhabitable.
Everyone except the climate deniers, knows the climate and ecological crises are driven by human activity. And not just any human activity, but that rooted in the capitalist production process, the exploitation of labor and nature, and the drive for maximum profits. The crisis has accelerated because of the sheer scope, and scale, of the exploitation and destruction of nature.
Marx foresaw this crisis over 150 years ago. He understood society is part of nature, and the capitalist system is inherently hostile to nature. Capitalism is unstable and requires an infinite consumption of resources in a finite world.
This crisis is driven by fossil fuel extractive industries, energy and military-industrial complexes, agri-business corporations, chemical and plastics industries, and finance capital. This is the same reactionary section of the capitalist class backing the extreme right, driving wealth inequality, threatening democratic rights, and peace.
The entirety of human civilization must act on a timetable and scale that meets the crisis; one that adopts a zero-carbon and sustainable path of development, allocation of every human, scientific, productive and natural resource necessary for the transition while also adapting to the effects of these crises.
It will require a strengthened role of government, one dominated by a growing influence of the working class and its allies, which has the ability to marshal human and material resources and coordinate action.
This is why the Green New Deal, an overarching vision that meets the challenges posed by the climate crisis and extreme wealth and social and racial inequality, is so exciting. It is an idea that has fired the imagination of millions. While it is not a program for socialism, it is a radical economic, structural, and social reform. Its realization will shift the political balance and open a new stage in the fight for green, peaceful, democratic socialism.
More far-reaching steps are needed, including putting every natural resource and the energy complex under public authority, revolutionizing production to create zero waste, demilitarization of the economy, reparations and addressing the legacy of environmental racism, and enshrining the rights of nature in the constitution.
Nations cannot address these crises alone. Global cooperation that exceeds the Paris Climate Accords is needed among nations with different social systems, sections of capital, democratic and social movements, regional blocs, and global institutions.
The developed nations have a human and moral obligation to assist developing nations and emerging economies in adapting to a changing environment and transition to sustainability.
Militarism, growing nuclear danger, and war
Total US military spending exceeds $1.25 trillion a year, nearly 70 percent of the federal budget. This enormous and growing waste is outrageous and unsustainable.
Humanity is being robbed of desperately needed resources that could provide every person with basic needs, fund the transition to a green economy, and adapt to the effects of the climate and ecological crises. Besides, the US military is the world's largest consumer of oil.
US imperialism continues to deploy millions of troops, maintain 800 military bases around the world, and encircle Russia and China militarily. NATO continues to expand eastward and into South America.
The world is awash in weapons and yet less secure. US military corporations account for 34 percent of the global arms trade. US arms exports are 58% higher than those of Russia, the world's second-largest exporter. And while US arms exports grew by 25% in 2013-17 compared with 2008-12, Russia's exports fell by 7.1% over the same period.
The world is on the precipice of a new crisis in the Middle East and a war against Iran. A war, possibly a nuclear war, would be disastrous to the region and world.
Extremists in the Trump administration, US imperialism, the military-industrial complex, oil corporations, and extreme right-wing regimes across the region are driving this danger. US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, the imposition of sanctions and vilification of Iran, is provoking Iran to resume its nuclear program providing the pretext for an attack.
The Middle East is the most unstable, chaotic, and heavily armed region in the world. Rivalries, reactionary regimes, and US imperialism seeking control of oil resources dominate politics and economics. Middle East states accounted for almost half of US arms exports during 2013-17.
The Trump administration and weapons manufacturers are pouring gasoline on the fire with $8 billion in new arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the largest recipient of US armaments. The reactionary Saudi monarchy has created the world's most massive humanitarian crisis by carrying out a brutal war against the Houthis in Yemen. According to media reports, underlying Trump's agreement to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia is corruption connecting the Trump and Saudi Royal families and 2016 election collusion.
The development and spread of nuclear weapons compound the war danger. Nine countries possess nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons, and the US and Russia have 92% of them. The thought of Donald Trump's finger on the nuclear trigger has alarmed the entire world.
Since their peak in the mid-1980s, global arsenals have shrunk by over three-fourths. More countries gave up weapons and programs in the past 30 years than developed them.
However, the US is engaged in a $2 trillion nuclear modernization and development of a 5th military branch, a space force. Russia and China are undergoing similar modernizations. The world faces a new nuclear arms race. New classes of nuclear weapons are being developed and produced called 'hypersonic weapons' and small 'low yield' nukes. These 'gateway nukes' make their use more likely.
The strategy of 'escalate to de-escalate' is growing in acceptance. Use of nuclear weapons is increasingly advocated, including by Trump and the military. A miscalculation, an accident, mistake, catastrophic terrorism or cyber warfare, are the most likely catalysts of a nuclear use.
The CPUSA demands nuclear abolition, no first use, scrapping the nuclear modernization program, closure of the 800 foreign military bases, and dismantlement of NATO. We demand the demilitarization of US society and using the military budget to fund a transition to a green economy, universal health care, free education, and other social needs.
The transition to a peace economy will require a massive shift in public opinion, and entail massive investments in new industries and services to transition to a peaceful economy including for cities and regions that depend on military bases and related industry. It will require a transition living wage and major environmental repair. US military forces should be converted to a peaceful, environmental mobilization whose mission is to assist this transition to a peaceful, sustainable society and assist in emergency responding to the disastrous effects of the climate and ecological crises.
Defeating Trump, the GOP and extreme right in 2020 will be a blow to the oil corporations and the military-industrial complex, and open new possibilities for achieving a peaceful foreign policy and demilitarized domestic economy and society, and radically addressing the climate crisis.
Capitalist crisis of wealth extremes and disruption by robotics and artificial intelligence
Trump and the GOP trumpet what they claim is a record economic expansion creating a historically low unemployment rate.
'It's never been better,' brags Trump. Indeed, it has never been better - for the rich. We live in the wealthiest country in the world, and the wealth produced by the exploited working class has flowed to the top .1%.
Working-class Americans live in a starkly different world. We are working harder and longer and falling further behind. We, along with our families and communities face fear and insecurity, battered by austerity, 40 years of wage stagnation, de-industrialization, union-busting, and the growth of low wage service jobs, without benefits and retirement security.
Most wage growth is the result of states and municipalities raising the minimum wage. In 1980, the top 1 percent earned, on average 27 times more than the bottom 50 percent. Today they make 81 times more.
Institutionalized racism and sexism compound income and wealth inequality. Black workers receive roughly 75% of what white workers receive. Women earn 80 percent of what men receive, while African American women receive 61% of what white men receive. The difference is reaped by the boss in super-profits.
The official unemployment figures obscure the actual state of joblessness. Nearly 95 million Americans don't participate in the production process, a labor participation rate of 62.5%. The real unemployment or underemployed rate is 37%. Millions have given up looking or work part-time and can't find full-time jobs.
Unemployment among Black workers is twice that of white workers. Some Native American reservations report unemployment at 85 %.
Most working families haven't recovered from the Great Recession. Millions lost their life savings and homes. An ACLU study shows 'by 2031, white household wealth will be 31 percent below what it would've been had the recession never happened. For black households, wealth will be 40 percent lower.'
Millions live by a thread, many working two or three jobs to put food on the table and a roof overhead. 60 percent can't come up with $1,000 in an emergency, and half of older Americans have zero retirement savings.
Workers are working harder and are more productive, but household debt is 21% higher than it was in 2013 following the Great Recession, due to auto loan debt, the $1.5 trillion student, mortgage and credit card debt.
Gig and part-time work are growing. Approximately 40 percent of the workforce is composed of contingent workers, i.e., temp agencies, on-call, contract workers, independent contractors, self-employed, and involuntary part-time (6.6 million).
Poverty rates - unchanged since the 1960s
Forty-one million Americans officially live in poverty, and 18 million live in extreme poverty. Poverty rates have barely changed since the 1960s.
Due to institutionalized racism, 25% of Native Americans, 26% of Latinx people, and 27.7 percent of African Americans live in poverty.
Most who live in poverty work.
Thirty percent of African American children and 33 % of Native American children live in poverty. About one-third of the 13 million children in poverty are white. Areas of deep poverty also exist among white workers, mainly rural areas.
Most who live in poverty work, including at Wal-Mart and Amazon, and many receive government assistance. Public school teachers in GOP dominated states often visit food banks.
Most cities and towns have a vast and growing shortage of affordable housing. Over 500,000 people are homeless on any given night. You don't have to travel far to see homeless tent communities under highway viaducts. Millions are being priced out of their homes and apartments because of rising property taxes and gentrification of working-class neighborhoods.
The CPUSA demands a national guaranteed living wage, massive construction of publicly and cooperatively owned affordable housing and federal rent protection laws.
Health care crisis
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) reduced the number of uninsured Americans from 44 million to 27 million Americans. But the ACA is under constant assault by the Trump administration and the GOP, and the uninsured population is increasing. 70 million people are either uninsured or underinsured with high deductibles and co-payments.
Life expectancy is on the decline, including 'death by despair' for middle-age whites by suicide, alcohol, and drugs.
Maternal deaths are rising. African American, Native American, and Alaskan Native women suffer three times the maternal death rates as white women reflecting institutionalized racism and sexism.
Infant mortality among African American babies is near twice the rate for white babies. Overall, infant mortality is nearly double that of Cuba.
Working-class communities are being inundated by an opioid crisis destroying families, leaving grieving parents and children in its wake. Over 700,000 people died from drug overdoses between 1999 and 2017, 70% from opioids.
However, the pharmaceutical companies that peddle the opioids are reaping huge profits and while health care is slashed.
The CPUSA demands Medicare for All and placing the pharmaceutical industry under public authority.
The rich get much, much richer
These conditions are rooted in much deeper systemic processes taking place in global capitalism resulting in a crisis of wealth extremes, imbalances, instability, and crisis nodes.
Concentrated wealth is connected to wage stagnation, which, despite rising productivity, has been flat or declined in the past 40 years. As economist Thomas Piketty says, 'the rise of the top 1 percent mirrors the fall of the bottom 50 percent.'
Monopolization or the formation of oligopolies, and extreme wealth concentration is accelerating. This process is intrinsic to the system of capitalism, and its drive for maximum profits. The system is incapable of reversing it.
The world's eight richest people own wealth equal to the poorest half of the world's population. 80 percent of the world's population subsists on 2 dollars a day.
In the US, the top 0.1 percent of Americans, our oligopoly, held 20 percent of the nation's wealth in 2016 (up from 7 percent in 1979) and owned as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.
The nation's three wealthiest individuals-Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos-collectively hold more wealth than the bottom 50% of the US population. Roughly a fifth of Americans has zero or negative net worth.
According to Piketty, wealth accumulation is accelerating because of the 1 percent control more of the economy. Witness the results of the 2017 Trump tax cuts for the rich. Wealth accumulation is exceeding economic growth, and long term will lead to growing instability, erosion of capitalist democracy, and economic insecurity.
At least 60 of the nation's biggest corporations paid no federal income taxes in 2018 on a collective $79 billion in profits, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said.
Besides, corporations receive public subsidies worth at least $110 billion a year or $6,000 per each family.
Wealth concentration is a threat to democracy under capitalism, especially with Citizens United, billionaire patrons of candidates, and the flood of ALEC-inspired legislation. This state of affairs led Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis to remark: 'We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.'
Looming crisis and disruption from robotics and AI
A feature of capitalism is the constant revolutionizing of the means of production and introduction of new technology, resulting in economic and social disruption.
The scientific and technological revolution has facilitated capitalist globalization and massive increases in productivity and caused economic dislocation and crises of under consumption.
It has revolutionized everything, giving rise to just-in-time production and the gig economy.
Unjust trade agreements, shifting transnational corporate investments, and outsourcing to global low-wage zones have harshly impacted US manufacturing employment and devasted working-class communities and entire regions.
However, corporate authored trade pacts don't tell the whole story. Obscured in all this, including by Trump's economic nationalism and racist scapegoating, is the impact of automation.
In the past 25 years, a span that includes NAFTA and China's entrance into the WTO, US manufacturing output has increased 40 percent. US workers are being exploited more than ever.
'America has lost more than 7 million factory jobs since manufacturing employment peaked in 1979. Yet American factory production…more than doubled (from 1979 to 2015)' reported the New Haven Register.
One study found 'the vast majority of the lost jobs - 88 percent - were taken by robots and other homegrown factors that reduce …labor.'
The Obama Administration estimated 47 percent of all jobs in the US would be at risk of elimination due to automation by 2025.
If these forecasts are accurate, automation will create economic dislocation, disruption, and loss of jobs on an enormous scale, including 5.1 million over the next five years.
Transportation, sales, customer service, medical/ healthcare, and legal fields will be most impacted.
Loss of coal mining jobs is not due to a 'war on coal' but to greater automation. Between 1980 and 2015, the coal industry shed 59 percent of mining jobs but production grew 8 percent.
Since 1997, 42 percent of jobs in the steel and metals industry has been eliminated, and production has grown by 38 percent. Five hundred thousand construction jobs will be lost in the next 5 years due to automation.
Outsourced industries, like the textile industry, are beginning to return to the US. But they are globally competitive because of automation.
The debate is ongoing whether this newest round of automation will have a significant impact on job loss. In the past, technological advances have also given rise to new industries, created millions of new jobs, and changed the composition of the workforce.
What's different this time is artificial intelligence (AI), which is being applied to visual and voice recognition. Computers can now 'think and learn' without humans.
While this is a crisis for capitalism, automation creates the material conditions and abundance for socialism and allows society to deal with disruptions without placing any burdens on the working class.
A green transition with large-scale infrastructure works and the reorganization of production is necessary to address the crises of climate change, wealth inequality, and automation and AI.
The Green New Deal would create millions of new jobs. To realize it will require a massive wealth redistribution, including funding a transition wage, free education, and healthcare, a shorter work week with substantial wage increases, sizeable public investment, and the need for a massive transfer of funds from the military budget.
But it starts with a defeat of Trump, the GOP and extreme right in the 2020 elections.
The political and constitutional crisis and extreme-right threat to democracy
Compounding the ecological and climate crises, militarization, nuclear war danger, and the crisis of wealth extremes is Trump, the GOP, extreme right-wing, and their corporate backers, and the threat they pose to capitalist democracy. We face an unprecedented political and constitutional crisis.
The extreme right danger and political crises are global, especially where extreme right-wing, nationalist forces threaten to take power or already have.
The extreme right and fascist movements are fueled by anti-immigrant hate, racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia. Communities of color, immigrants, Muslims, and Jews, are being scapegoated to maintain power and divert anger away from the corporate ruling class for extreme wealth concentration, profound changes in the economy and society, and declining standards of living.
And without breaking the domination of the extreme right on US politics, the working class, and people cannot address the threats to our existence posed by the climate crisis, militarism, and wealth inequality, the outbreak of a new economic crisis, and the oncoming disruption by robotics and AI.
New features of the extreme right danger
The limited democratic, social, and civil rights won by the working class and people under capitalism are always threatened. Now they are under assault in unprecedented ways.
With the extreme right takeover of the GOP and election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980, the CPUSA recognized the emergence of a new kind of danger. Gus Hall described it as a 'whiff of fascism.'
Their aim was, and remains, dismantlement of the New Deal Era reforms of the 1930s and Great Society reforms of the 1960s and gutting of every worker and civil right protection. We were among the first organizations to sound the alarm and called for the formation of an all-people's coalition to defeat the extreme right.
This threat has evolved and gotten more dangerous with the extreme concentration of wealth, the Koch funded ALEC takeover of the GOP, state governments, and the right-wing takeover of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
The extreme right's goal is maintain power by any means necessary.
To one degree or another, the extreme right will always pose a danger to democracy, so long as its capitalist support base exists.
The GOP is in crisis because traditional conservatism is a dying ideology. The party is dominated by those forces responsible for unprecedented threats facing nature and society. It is without solutions, and its only objective is to maintain power by any means necessary.
With a declining base of voters, it maintains power with vile appeals to hate and division, obstruction of progressive legislation, voter suppression, gerrymandering, authoritarianism, and institutionalizing its power and policies by stacking the courts.
The GOP crisis created an ideological vacuum which allowed the insurgent Tea Party extreme-right and Trump to take over its apparatus.
The extreme right and its support base include sections of finance capital, fossil fuel industries, military-industrial complex and state security apparatus, gun manufacturers, and parts of finance capital. It aggressively builds its base among disaffected members of the working class, neo-conservatives, social conservatives, religious conservatives, Christian Evangelicals, white supremacists, and anti-immigrant hate groups.
The ascendance of Trump represents a qualitative step for right-wing extremism, a radical departure from mainline conservatism, and increased danger to democracy, peace, and the planet.
The Trump administration is characterized by authoritarianism, lawlessness, daily attacks on democracy, and breaching of constitutional norms, separation of powers, and checks and balances.
The Trump administration has open links to white supremacist, male supremacist, fascist groups, and networks. They and their ideas have been brought from the political and internet fringes into the White House. The activity of fascist terrorist networks and hate crimes has grown since 2016.
Trump's hateful ideology is a concoction of anti-Black and anti-Mexican racism, anti-immigrant hatred and national chauvinism, misogyny, Islamophobia, homophobia, and anti-Semitism.
Trump draws directly from the 'alt-right' or rebranded fascist playbook: exploit people's fears and insecurities by conjuring up dire external threats of immigrants taking jobs, Muslim terrorists, and the 'Jewish global conspiracy,' and internal threats like 'deep state conspiracy,' criminal immigrants, terrorists, socialists, and communists.
A crucial part of Trump's base and administration are right-wing religious fundamentalists and nationalists, including Pompeo and Pence. They put their stamp on every policy and judicial appointee.
The Trump administration is the most corrupt in history, and he is a gangster masquerading as president. When the full Mueller report is finally released without redactions, it may only be the beginning of uncovering a vast network of money laundering, bribery, obstruction of justice, connections with global criminal syndicates, and other criminal behavior.
The criminality of Trump and his cohorts underlies the collusion with foreign powers including Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel, to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and the subsequent obstruction and coverup.
Foreign election interference undermines national sovereignty and democracy. It is wrong when the US violates the national sovereignty of other countries, and it is wrong when it is done to the US and affects our working class and people.
Trump belongs in prison. We support beginning an impeachment inquiry in the House, which is the most effective way to expose Trump's corruption and lawlessness. However, this is not possible without a shift in public opinion and unity of the House Democratic Caucus. Convicting Trump of his crimes in the US Senate is even harder. None of it should divert us from total focus on the 2020 elections.
Right-wing propaganda eco-system
Another new danger to democracy is the unprecedented daily assault on the truth and press and the development of a vast right-wing media and propaganda eco-system. Fox News, Infowars, Breitbart, and other media outlets are propaganda arms and policy shops for the Trump White House and GOP.
This right-wing media propaganda eco-system is showering tens of millions of people with massive disinformation, conspiracies, racism, paranoia, and vile hate.
The existence of social media has allowed progressive, Marxist, and socialist ideas to be disseminated widely and is a powerful organizing tool. But it has also been corrupted by the greed of the social media corporations who look the other way when disinformation is used.
Foreign powers exploited the social media in the 2016 election and continue to do so. Social media is being used by the extreme right, neo-fascists, and global right-wing to organize and spread hate, confusion, and disinformation.
The fascist danger
The Republican Party has become the cult of Trump. The threat of the emergence of a full-fledged fascist party with a mass base of support and propaganda machine cannot be discounted. Fascism never comes into existence full-blown but morphs in a step-by-step process and must be fought at every turn.
Fascist ideology spreads by the dehumanization of whole groups of people like Trump's vile racism, the criminalization of reproductive rights, Islam, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants and asylum seekers, the terrorization of immigrant communities, and the attack on 'globalists,' a traditional anti-Semitic trope.
It's no surprise that male supremacist groups that advocate online the subjugation of women are identified as the 'gateway' to right-wing extremism and white supremacist groups.
They promote the idea of 'victimhood' - that whites are the real victims of racism, and men are the real victims of sexism.
The extreme right, white supremacist, fascist and so-called 'alt-right' elements have a more sinister goal - to slow down, stop, and reverse historic demographic shifts. The US will be a majority of people of color country by 2050, and birthrates among whites are historically low.
These forces believe their hold on power rests on winning a substantial majority of whites to white supremacy and passing laws that suppress the rights of people of color, particularly voter suppression, ending immigration and asylum, and carrying out mass deportations, while at the same time breaking the power of the organized labor movement.
Fighting for unity in rapidly changing times
The US and world have undergone rapid, tumultuous, and profound economic, political, social, and demographic changes since the end of the Cold War.
And these changes are small compared to the storm bearing down on humanity and nature.
It's not just changes, but their scale, scope, and speed. People's lives, livelihoods, and communities are being upended overnight. They are profoundly unsettling, confusing, and involve seemingly distant and powerful global forces. They have left millions of working-class people fearful, anxious, and insecure.
US society has also witnessed tremendous positive social and cultural changes as a result of transformative social movements. These include blows to white supremacist and male supremacist ideas, advances for equality, including the election of the nation's first African American president, the passage of marriage equality, and nomination of the first women to run for president of a major party.
Millions of working-class people are fearful, anxious, and insecure.
Our country's population, its multiple languages, and cultures are becoming more diverse than ever, continuing the historical process of creating a uniquely American working-class culture. These demographic and cultural changes have heightened understanding of racial equality, multi-cultural awareness, and appreciation for the rich and growing diversity of our working class and people.
But it has also left many people, particularly many whites, feeling fearful, insecure, and threatened. The idea of a loss of status and perceived advantages have left many whites vulnerable to appeals to racism and 'white identity.'
The advances of women, the militant upsurge of the #MeToo movement has raised awareness of gender equity, freed millions of men from male supremacist ideas, challenged them to become better partners, fathers, friends, and changed social relations for the better.
But it has also left many men feeling insecure and threatened. The idea of lost status has left millions of men vulnerable to appeals to sexism.
The advances for the LGBTQ community represent a victory against homophobia, and for democracy, inclusivity, and new understandings of sexual identity, gender, and gender fluidity.
But it has also left many heterosexuals feeling insecure and threatened, radically challenging traditional norms, including of the family.
The fascist chant of 'we will not be replaced' shouted at the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi torchlight march in 2017, was meant to tap into these fears.
Throughout our nation's history, every time our multi-racial working class and people win social advances, reactionary corporate forces attempt to turn back the clock, including post-Reconstruction, the McCarthy period, and the post-Civil Rights era. And the rise of Trump can be understood in no small measure as a reaction to change, including the election of President Obama, and advances for people of color, women, labor, and the LGBTQ community.
Powerful capitalist forces feared these advances, particularly the election of the nation's first black president, and the one thing they fear most - the power of a united working class and people.
Consequently, the Koch brothers and other right-wing billionaires created the Tea Party movement. Trump rode to fame on the racist 'birther' lie against President Obama, attacking Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers and turning back the clock to 'Make America Great Again.'
While the soil has been tilled by decades of right-wing and racist ideological assault on the American people, and white working people, in particular, the ruling class and extreme right have been working feverously to divide and turn a section of white workers against their class interests.
Class oppression, racism and white supremacy, and male supremacy have been fused throughout US history, most notably the legacy of slavery and inequality. Voter suppression, criminalization of reproductive rights, and union-busting are attempts to divide and weaken the movement, to turn back the clock, reassert domination, and restore oppression based on class, race, and gender.
Trump and the extreme right aimed their sites directly at the growing class and people's unity. Anti-immigrant hysteria, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, anti-communism, and anti-socialism and massively spreading lies and disinformation, is a desperate attempt to divide and hold power.
People's economic insecurities and anxieties over social changes are manipulated by conjuring up dire threats from internal and external enemies.
Economic nationalism is aimed to exploit fears and insecurities.
Economic nationalism is aimed to exploit fears and insecurities and turn the US working class and people against the working class and people of other nations and whip up Trump's base.
As Jamelle Bouie writes, 'Never mind the jobs or economic growth, what 'Make America Great Again' looks like in practice is the imposition of social control on groups that threaten a regressive, hierarchical vision of the country. MAGA is the Muslim ban; MAGA is child separation; MAGA is a woman in handcuffs for thinking she had the right to her own body.'
Defeat the extreme right - an opening to transformative change
An essential feature of the Communist Party's work is our strategic policy - to identify the most important political goal at this moment that when achieved will advance the whole working class and democratic struggle, and then to help organize and unite every force possible to make it happen.
The extreme right and the most reactionary section of the capitalist class backing it are concentrated in and around the Republican Party. Defeating this monster is the most critical thing the working class, and people must do at this moment. It affects everything else, including the ability to win any social advances. This is the front line of the class struggle today.
The most decisive arena to accomplish this strategic task are the 2020 elections. The aim is to oust Trump from the presidency, the GOP majority from the US Senate, defend the Democratic majority in the House, and break the GOP domination of governorships and state legislatures.
A majority of voters oppose Trump and GOP policies. An unprecedented voter registration, grassroots mobilization, education, and turnout, is required, and every vote must be counted.
The working class led movement, its critical allies, and the broad anti-right alliance is gearing up for this battle. The US labor movement is playing a critical role in providing resources, mobilizing millions and creating alliances with core groupings.
Maximum unity, or a popular front, is needed of our multi-racial, male-female, gay-straight, multi-generation, native and foreign-born, working class in alliance with all other democratic and core forces including communities of color, women, youth, immigrants, and every social movement, and left and center political currents.
The strategic policy also requires taking advantage of what Lenin called 'conflicts of interest' and 'the use of any, even the smallest, rift between the enemies, any conflict of interests among the bourgeoisie of the various countries and among the various groups or types of the bourgeoisie within the various countries.'
This is a necessary tactic at this moment, wrote Lenin, 'even though this ally is temporary, vacillating, unstable, unreliable and conditional' to advance the interests of the working class.
Relationship to more advanced stages of struggle
Defeating the extreme right is the first stage of a more protracted fight for achieving full economic and political democracy and a government led by the multi-racial working class and its democratic allies, who make up the vast majority of the people.
When the extreme right domination of government is broken, a new balance of forces and political situation will occur. A new strategic policy will be called for.
The objective of the current stage to defeat the domination of the extreme right, dialectically intertwines with the next stage, confronting the entire monopoly section of the capitalist class. There are no clear lines of demarcation between these stages.
Defeating the extreme right will take multiple election cycles, mobilizing a stable majority in the electoral arena, in the streets, and legislative chambers. A bigger, broader, deeper, and more united and conscious mass democratic upsurge is needed than exists now.
Defeating the extreme right is strategic because it weakens the most reactionary section of capital and all its allies. The election of a left-center governing alliance creates new possibilities for radical reforms, new space to expand the organization and participation of the working class, every social movement, the left, socialists, and communists. It's all part of the revolutionary process.
No advanced democratic reforms, including Medicare for All, free university education, criminal justice, and electoral reform, reproductive rights, and the Green New Deal can be won without a decisive victory in the 2020 elections.
CPUSA role in 2020 elections
Our role in the 2020 elections is to assist the working class led democratic upsurge to impact the entire process and outcome, to build this movement in unity, breadth, and grassroots depth, deepen consciousness, and expand the field of battle.
The overriding concern of the anti-extreme right alliance is to defeat Trump and the GOP. These forces are not united behind a single Democratic candidate in the primaries. Therefore, our role is to help build unity on the issues and not around personalities. In many cases, there is broad consensus on the goals, but differences on how to achieve them.
Our role is to build support for unity around defending the democratic gains won now being eroded by Trump and the extreme right and, as circumstances and conditions permit, more advanced positions, working to build majority mass support and, even better, overwhelming support as the struggle intensifies. This includes among Independent and Republican voters.
Our role is to help find the intersection between issues and movements; to build maximum multi-racial working-class unity; to build solidarity between the working class with other democratic allies and between left and center political currents.
Our role is to help heighten the level of class, and anti-racist, anti-sexist consciousness in the course of struggle.
Our role is to assist in drawing more people into the political process. We should be among the most energetic volunteers to register voters, expand the field of battle into so-called 'red states and districts' and activate those on the sidelines.
Our role is to help strengthen political independence of the working class, the core forces, and democratic allies, including helping build structures of political independence which at this moment often take place both through the Democratic party and autonomous of it, and running candidates from their ranks, including communists.
These independent structures will one day form the basis of a political party led by the multi-racial working class, its allies, and social and environmental justice movements.
Our strategic policy is applied under unique circumstances of the two-party, winner takes all, electoral system. The history of political parties in the US is a history of alliances. The GOP and Democratic Party are both dominated by capital but also represent different alliances of class and social forces.
The present electoral alliance within and alongside the Democratic Party includes critical organizations of the US working class, first and foremost organized labor, communities of color, women, youth, and democratic and social movements, and a section of the capitalist class. Each force sees the Democratic Party as a vehicle to advance its interests at the present moment.
Naturally, there exist class contradictions and struggles within this alliance over direction and policies. Our challenge is to help the working class and mass democratic and social movements make this necessary alliance work in their interests, impact its policies, to assist it in emerging as the leader of the fight to defeat the right, and for a revolutionary transformation of society.
Given our strategic policy, we do not see the center political forces, including corporate and so-called establishment forces in the Democratic Party as the main enemy. The center forces, including candidates they back, and the more extensive moderate set of voters in the country are not static. They are shifting and adjusting to the issues in response to events.
We will never compromise on principals and ultimate goals. But here again, Lenin pointed out the need for momentary compromise on issues with 'temporary and unstable' allies given the prevailing balance of forces that still advance the working-class struggle. We will never hesitate to criticize these forces when they are wrong, but we will always do it in a way that does not break the temporary alliance brought together by the overriding goal of defeating the extreme right.
Mass democratic upsurge and fight for unity
The mass democratic movements have grown over the past ten years and are now a significant factor in US politics. These movements, including an openly socialist current, have mobilized and educated the grassroots and helped shift public opinion, in some cases dramatically.
The #MeToo movement helped transform the national conversation on institutionalized sexism, sexual, and domestic abuse.
The Black Lives Matters movement helped transform the national conversation on institutionalized racism and white supremacy, criminal justice reform, and police brutality and murder.
The Dreamers and immigrant rights movement helped transform the national conversation, bringing the undocumented out of the shadows, and demanding a path to citizenship.
Transformative campaigns to win $15 minimum wage helped shift public opinion and won victories in states and municipalities across the country.
Teachers walkouts and strikes transformed the national conversation from demonizing teachers to raising wages and challenging right-wing austerity policies.
Government workers, TSA agents and airline flight attendants, put an end to the 35-day Trump government shutdown when they threatened to shut down the air traffic system nationwide.
Taxing the rich is now taking hold on a state level and municipal level.
The Sunrise and climate justice movements helped transform the national conversation on the climate crisis with the Green New Deal.
Students, parents, and victims of gun violence and their families have helped shift public opinion on gun control, and put the NRA is on the defensive.
The movement for Medicare for All has helped transform the national conversation on healthcare, which is now seen as a universal right.
The democratic upsurge exploded with the election of Trump. In particular, the socially transformative mass movements against sexism and misogyny led by women, which intersected with movements against racism and for worker's rights and other movements.
These movements converged in the 2018 elections, which recorded the highest voter turnout in a midterm election in 50 years, the most racially diverse turnout ever. Latino voter turnout doubled, and youth turnout increased by 16%.
A record number of activists, women, people of color, trade unionists, LGBTQ activists, socialists, and now communists, were elected. These newly elected officials are helping transform public opinion and legislative bodies.
Class unity - no worker left behind
The ruling class understands that the growing unity of organized labor, the nationally and racially oppressed, and women create a powerful foe, capable of radically transforming society.
People of color and women are also fighters, organizers, and unifiers; and they bridge the main sectors of the people's movement.
Trump and the extreme right are aiming their sites directly at this growing unity, using anti-immigrant hysteria, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, anti-communism, anti-Semitism, and anti-socialism and by massively spreading lies and disinformation, in a desperate attempt to drive a wedge in our multi-racial working class and people.
The criminalization of reproductive rights, criminalization of voting rights, and outlawing collective bargaining, go hand in hand.
Abortion has been effectively outlawed in 89% of counties. These are many of the same places that have passed voter suppression laws and adopted 'surgically gerrymandered' maps and the same states that have passed right to work laws.
Trump and his allies are cynically banking that they can win enough white working-class and male voters and suppress enough people of color, particularly African American and Latinx voters, and young voters to win key battleground states.
A debate has roiled progressive and democratic movements over the best way to win in 2020. Some say to defeat Trump the democratic movements must focus on economic issues to reach white workers who they view as the key constituency to be won over.
Others argue white male workers are a declining share of the electorate and Democrats should focus on so-called identity politics by focusing on people of color, who will soon constitute the majority and are the most loyal Democratic constituencies, women, and Millennials.
It is true that people of color, particularly the African American and Latinx working class communities, and women of color, are the most consistent voters for Democratic candidates. African American women are a decisive voter block and were critical to electing Doug Jones in Alabama.
It is also true that to advance the working class and people as a whole, our entire multi-racial working class, and people must be united and mobilized as one.
Therefore, identity politics shouldn't be countered to working-class issues. These are not mutually exclusive. Instead, the interests of our multi-racial working-class and core allies in people of color communities, women, and youth, are inseparable. The interconnection and interrelationship between class, race, and gender must be stressed.
When one speaks of ignoring identity politics, this is code for ignoring special oppression and the solutions necessary to achieve full equality. As Stacey Abrams so eloquently said, 'Identity politics is America.'
And yet jobs and living wages, universal health care, free education, criminal justice reform, and reproductive rights, impacts communities of color and women and can unite the entire working class and people.
This was the experience of Stacey Abrams' campaign for governor in Georgia. Abrams made an appeal to the special issues facing African American, Latino, and Asian voters. But she also spoke to the urgent issues facing all voters and campaigned in white working-class communities. By talking to every voter on the issues, turnout overall increased including white voter turnout for Democrats.
Youth fighting gun violence, including mass shootings at high schools, on campuses, and in communities, had a similar experience. Students at Marjory Stoneman Highschool in Parkland Florida united with African American youth from Chicago to build a multi-racial movement for gun control, including a national march on Washington D.C.
In a fight against great odds, 'cowboys' and 'Indians,' ranchers and Native Americans united to block the Keystone XL pipeline.
The US working class and people have always been multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, including long before European settlers arrived. We are becoming more so. But the legacy of slavery, and the genocide against Native Americans, the theft of lands from Mexico, courses through every aspect of society. Inequality and special oppression based on race, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation and identity, are interwoven in the capitalist system and have existed throughout US history.
The fight for unity of our multi-racial, multi-national, multi-gender, multi-generational US working class and advancing equality has also been a common thread in our history. When issues of class, race, and gender are brought together, our working class and people have made their most significant advances, including the Civil War and Reconstruction, the 1930's and worker's rights, the 1960s Civil Rights, women's rights, and Great Society, and the election of President Obama.
The working class can only play its historical role in bringing about a classless society if it is united. And to be united, racism and sexism and their ideologies and practices must be acknowledged, fought, and addressed with special measures that overcome historic inequality, and institutionalized racism and sexism dismantled.
Elevating the fight for equality; against racism and sexism
Our multi-racial, male-female, diverse working-class and working-class unity is under unprecedented and daily ideological assault by the extreme right and its corporate backers.
Racism causes working-class whites to ally with capitalists over their fellow workers of color. Xenophobia causes workers to ally with capitalists over their working-class brothers and sisters from other countries, and misogyny causes working-class men to ally with capitalists over working-class women.
A section of the US working-class, consisting primarily of white workers, have been influenced by right-wing ideology. Forty percent of trade union families voted for Trump in 2016, voting against their own self-interests.
Our working class can never concede one section of workers to the extreme-right wing and its corporate backers who are influenced by racism, sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, or Islamophobia because it is immoral, divides and weakens the entire working-class.
Organized labor was and remains the most significant organization bringing together our diverse working-class. Unions are often the leading mobilizer, unifier, and political educator.
In many areas, de-industrialization severely weakened industrial unions and their influence on members, and ties to community allies in key Midwest states. The Democratic Party, under the sway of the Wall Street wing, essentially abandoned many congressional districts and states.
The vacuum was too often filled by the right wing, including the Fox News, the NRA, Tea Party, and right-wing Christian Evangelicalism who then took over state governments and carried out a wholesale attack on basic rights.
The only way to counter this is to rebuild a mass organized labor movement and its alliances with the African American, Latinx and other communities of color, and democratic movements, and to re-engage in the battle of ideas.
Rebuilding organized labor, and its multi-racial unity, and unity of industrial unions, service unions, and the building trades, with their allies, is a strategic imperative to advance a working-class and democratic agenda. And in fact, this is what is happening.
Teachers in 'red' states, including many who voted for Trump, show how grassroots movements for better wages, working conditions, and education funding can unite diverse constituencies and affect state politics and elect teachers to office. These movements are challenging right-wing policies of under funding education, regressive taxation, and attacks on public workers.
In many instances, these coalitions are also taking over the Democratic Party apparatus at the local level. These kinds of movements can and must be built in 3000 counties, and all 50 states.
Our multi-racial working-class and democratic movements must win a decisive majority among white workers, therefore advancing the fight against racism is essential. Anti-racist white workers have a special responsibility to engage other white workers.
The same is true for advancing the fight against sexism. Winning a decisive majority among working-class men is essential. Anti-sexist men have a special responsibility to engage other men.
This means engaging white workers who voted for Trump. But it's also about activating large numbers of white voters who are anti-racist but don't vote because they have lost confidence in the political system.
People are complicated and have many minds on many issues. A section of people are unmovable racists and misogynists, but a more significant share can be influenced by movements and events.
One example was so-called 'Obama-Trump' voters. Many voted for Democratic candidates in 2018, after experiencing two years of Trump and GOP misrule.
The fight against racism and sexism and for full equality go hand-in-hand. An essential element of class consciousness is the recognition of special oppression and the need to fight ruling class ideas and practices of racism, sexism, all forms of prejudice, and national chauvinism.
An injury to one is an injury to all and the working-class and people either stand together, fight together, and rise together for a common shared future or perish divided.
As Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. once said the US working class and people were 'caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.'
Changing world balance of forces and a new stage of globalization
Capitalism is a crisis-ridden system. A crisis anywhere in the global capitalist system can become a world contagion. It is only a matter of time before a new one occurs, perhaps even more destructive than the 2007 financial crisis.
Neo-liberalism is the current set of economic policies defining globalization. The extreme right originated it to undo the New Deal and Great Society gains and reverse the falling rate of profit.
Domestically the result was deregulation, privatization, and austerity. Globally the result was a race to the bottom for the working class, and the widening gap between the North and South, between developed capitalist and developing economies. Everywhere it resulted in extreme wealth concentration, industry oligopolies, and attacks on democracy and national sovereignty.
The scientific, technological, and mass communications revolutions have facilitated globalization and the creation of far-flung production chains. Financial and economic crises originating in one place can quickly spread globally.
The mass communications revolution has also elevated the battle of ideas. Cyber warfare and mass disinformation, including 'deep fakes,' are seemingly impossible to stop and can bring down governments, affect politics, and alter election outcomes.
Cyber warfare is aimed at a nation's infra-structure, military installations, and key industries, all aiming to disrupt and incapacitate the natural functioning of the economy, government, media and social media. They present new challenges to democracy and national sovereignty.
The world is a smaller, more complex, and interconnected place.
A new global order on the horizon
After WWII, a new global order with the US as the dominant capitalist power was established. Alliances, institutions, and rules comprise what is called the 'liberal international order.' Democrat and Republican party establishments generally support this order.
However, the world is changing rapidly, and the old global order is increasingly battered by crisis and contradiction. Has the current phase of neo-liberal globalization exhausted itself? Is a new global balance of forces and new stage emerging, perhaps one that is not capitalist but not yet socialist-oriented?
US imperialism is a descending superpower in today's world. The ability of the US and other capitalist powers to define globalization and dominate the global order has weakened. Globalization is increasingly shaped by the rise of China, emerging economies, and alternative global institutions and blocs.
Other factors include:
How will US capitalism respond to this new reality, shifts in the world balance of forces, and growing infeasibility of the post-World War II global order? Will US ruling circles adjust or seek to regain a dominant status by force, as happened in the invasion and occupation of Iraq?
Trump foreign policy
Trump foreign policy is shaped first and foremost by Wall Street and US capitalist corporations, primarily the banks, fossil fuel, and military corporations.
Its goal is to restore the unchallenged dominant status of US imperialism. However, the Trump foreign policy has specific new features producing instability, turmoil, and an elevated war danger.
The policy is shaped by extreme right sections of capital, officials rife with contradictions and competing interests, and Trump family members and their circle of cronies who unabashedly seek to expand their business empire.
The State Department and national security apparatus are run by extreme right officials with lineage to Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, and Dick Cheney including John Bolton and the war criminal Eliot Abrams.
These forces include individuals with links to Tea Party right-wing evangelicalism (Pompeo, Pence) who seek to impose their religious views on policy and economic nationalists like Steve Bannon.
What unites these forces with Trump and economic advisor Peter Navarro, is 'America First' nationalism. This foreign policy favors military might and regime change over diplomacy, nuclear supremacy, the 'preventative war doctrine' based on self-defense, the notion that accommodation is surrender, and despises global institutions. It embraces free-market capitalism and the elimination of socialism. Bolton, Pompeo, and some sections of US capital in alliance with the rightwing governments in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, are obsessed with carrying out regime change in Iran. The provocations toward Iran could quickly spiral out of control, escalating into a regional conflict and possibly nuclear war.
The refusal by Israel to recognize the right of Palestinian people to national self-determination, the occupation of Palestine, and its annexation through an expansion of settlements has created an explosive situation. The right-wing extremist alliance of the Trump administration, Netanyahu government, and the Middle East feudal monarchies have created new dangers of war without end.
Solving this crisis begins with the ouster of both Trump and Netanyahu, the extreme-right forces backing them and the Middle East feudal monarchies. Then a two-state solution, still supported by majorities in Israeli and Palestine, the U.N., and the US Jewish community, may be possible.
In the end, it will be up to the Israeli people, both Jews, and Arabs, to change their government and its policies, win equal rights for Israeli Arabs, and end the occupation of Palestinian territories.
US foreign policy and ruling class splits
Finance capital, energy, and military corporations dominate the US foreign policy establishment spanning both Democrat and Republican parties. However, 'conflicts of interest' and splits in the ruling class play out in foreign policy promoted by these parties: unilateralism over multi-lateralism, military force over diplomacy, and addressing climate change over ignoring it are some critical policy differences.
Trump's 'America First' demagogy is geared to mobilize his base of supporters. Racism and white supremacy, anti-immigrant hate, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-communism, and nationalism infuse this demagogy.
Immigration, foreign policy, and militarization intersect at the US-Mexican border. The goal of Trump and the extreme right is to slow down, halt, and reverse changing demographics. Trump is trampling on US and international law on migration, refugees, asylum, and religious freedom.
The Trump administration sees China as the chief strategic and competitive rival and is building a global front against China through military encirclement and the trade war. Although it differs in important ways, some aspects of Trump's policy are a continuation of Obama's approach to isolate China by the 'Pivot to Asia' and now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Undermining China's socialist orientation, its ability to compete scientifically and technologically, and increasing profits for key US corporations is Trump's goal.
The US seeks to restore its single dominant power status in the Western hemisphere, through regime change in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, the defeat of anti-imperialist center-left governments and reverse increasing economic, diplomatic, and cultural ties and cooperation with Russia and China.
The global fight for peace
But the rest of the world is not going along with Trump. He finds little support for his efforts to foster regime change in Iran and Venezuela, and nearly every country continues to support the Paris Climate Accords.
Building a broad global democratic alliance for peace, sustainable development, and a new democratic global order is the only way to counter US and global imperialism, and especially the extreme right, and fascist circles connected to the Trump administration.
This alliance includes every force possible to isolate the global extreme right, including global public opinion, non-militarized states, socialist-oriented, and independent developing nations and blocs.
Global working-class unity and solidarity of all peace, environmental, and democratic forces are critical.
Unity of communist, socialist, and revolutionary left democratic forces, and currents are also critical.
Employing splits in the US and global ruling circles, isolating the most reactionary sectors and regimes, is crucial.
A people's foreign policy and 2020 elections
The purpose of the CPUSA is to help build broad unity of the working class with every democratic and social movement and international solidarity; to challenge US ruling class ideological seepage of great power chauvinism and other ideological poisons into the US working class.
Moreover, to win support for a new pro-people, demilitarized foreign policy linked to an advanced pro-people, pro-working-class domestic policy.
The CPUSA and other democratic movements need to challenge the embrace of increased military spending and the dominant pro-corporate foreign policy by these forces in the Democratic Party.
Nevertheless, if Trump and the GOP are to be successfully ousted in 2020 and a broad center-left governing alliance elected in its place the terrain will be altered. A victory will mainly be possible with the vehicle of the Democratic Party and those in its orbit. And with the working class and democratic forces and movements independent of the Democratic party itself working in more or less close alliance. The working class, its allies, and mass democratic movements can then gain leverage to shape a new peaceful foreign policy.
Celebrating 100! The Communist Party USA and the new era of socialism
The 2007 global financial crisis and the Great Recession decimated families and communities, exposing the greed, ugliness, and brutality of the capitalist system.
In the economic earthquake and political aftershocks that followed, some responded with cynicism and despair, and others turned to the extreme right.
But millions of others concluded capitalism would never work. They joined the Occupy movement and a search for radical alternatives, including socialism.
Millions more are convinced capitalism is destroying the planet, and human society must radically reorganize itself to survive.
Saying anything positive about socialism was utterly forbidden since the dawn of the Cold War 70 years ago. But today, we live in a moment in which millions are open to the ideas of socialism.
Already by 2010, the majority of Democrats and Millennials had a positive attitude toward socialism. Bernie Sanders campaign gave voice to this sentiment and started a national discussion about socialism. Sanders won 13 million votes in the 2016 Democratic primary. Most of the issues Sanders championed are now mainstream in the 2020 campaign.
Today, 43 percent of Americans believe 'some form of socialism' would be a 'good thing' for 'the country as a whole.' 47 percent say they would vote for a socialist for president.
Discussions about socialism are occurring in the mainstream media, workplaces, communities, and on campuses. DSA has exploded in growth, and DSA candidates, socialists, and communists have been elected to office.
Ideas the Communist Party USA helped pioneer are now mainstream: Social Security, industrial unionism, equal rights, black-brown-white unite and fight, universal childcare, community control of the police, and the slogan 'People Before Profits.'
At one time, we were one of only a few organizations promoting Marxism. Now Marxism is available to anyone with an internet connection and discussed, debated, and taught on most college campuses.
Anti-communism has also declined, especially among the young generations born after the Cold War.
But it's also deeply embedded in the political DNA of the country and still a powerful weapon of division by the ruling class. The perception that communism equates totalitarianism is still prevalent and a pressure pushing the Party to the margins.
We are still perceived by many as either long dead, illegal or tied to the Soviet Union and past models of socialism. Many of our members don't feel comfortable being public. Some labor and community leaders and elected officials fear publicly associating with us.
We should expect these ideological attacks to grow with the heightened use of anti-communism, and efforts to start a new Cold War with China by Trump, Bannon, and the extreme right.
And still, the times, people, and political atmosphere have dramatically changed. This is a new day. Since 2016, the Party has grown substantially, and the People's World circulation has doubled. Many clubs hold public events with broad participation and are appreciated by our allies for their contributions.
The possibilities for growth are enormous. Building the Party and its presence in this democratic upsurge and moment when millions are opening to socialist ideas, must be a top priority.
Our multi-racial working-class and people, the mass democratic and social movements need a much larger Communist Party USA to help grow, to unite, and expand their reach.
A much larger Communist Party USA is needed to help give clarity and guidance in the face of the massive challenges of the climate crisis, nuclear war danger, and economic disruptions bearing down and the path forward.
Growing the Party can't be left up to chance. That is why we are projecting steps to strengthen the organization and finances, improve our Marxist education and theoretical development, and grow among youth, while also involving young members in all aspects of the leadership.
It means growing our ability to communicate with millions through the People's World and cpusa.org website, and mastering all forms of digital and social media.
It means developing our vision of modern Bill of Rights democratic, green socialism, socialism that fits our country in our times, and sharing it widely with the American people, particularly the rising young generations.
It means fighting for the truth and creating an atmosphere for serious self-reflection, critical and independent thought, flexibility in tactics, reality-based approaches, with no tolerance for dogma.
This convention has laid the basis for the Party to retool and radically elevate our participation in working-class and social movements, the public discussion of socialism and our public presence in the movements, streets, and media.
The unique role of Communist Party USA
The Communist Party USA is unlike any other organization. We play an indispensable and unique role, which is why we are celebrating our 100th birthday.
We are a working-class party guided by Marxism, or if you prefer Marxism-Leninism, or scientific socialism, or the ideas of Marx and Engels, developed by Lenin, and Georgi Dimitrov, Antonio Gramsci, Rosa Luxemburg, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, and Harry Hay, Anna Rochester, Claudia Jones, Gus Hall, Henry Winston, Lorenzo Torres, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, William Z. Foster, W.E.B. Du Bois, George Meyers, Angela Davis, and others.
We also embrace the entire experience of the communist and workers movements including developments in Central and South America, South Africa, draw lessons from past experiences in socialist construction, and today's socialist-oriented states including China, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Laos, and Nepal.
The Marxist methodology allows us to understand and gain insights into developments. We seek to creatively and collectively develop Marxism by embracing what is new in the class struggle and our experience, never fearing to objectively examine any question, in all its sides, contradictions and complexities.
We learn from the rich experiences of our working class and mass democratic movements, including from other non-Party Marxists.
The point is not to just interpret the world but change it. Therefore, we are a party of mass action, immersed in the day to day struggles of the working class and people.
We are a party that energetically works to build a movement of the vast majority for transformational change, to grow existing working-class and democratic movements, but also takes initiatives when necessary to advance those struggles.
We are a party of unity builders, of our multi-racial and diverse working class and people; uncompromising foes of racism, sexism, homophobia, and all forms of bigotry. We seek intersections between issues and class, race, and gender, and all who face oppression.
We are about bringing people together, one to one, and community to community, finding common ground, and the intersection of concerns, issues, and movements.
We are a party of socialism, of full economic, social, and political equality and democracy; a champion of the working-class, committed to assisting it in emerging as the leader of the entire movement up to achieving power and through building socialism.
We are a party with a developed Marxist strategy and tactics including a strategic policy, stages of struggle, critical democratic tasks, the balance of forces, and need for alliances that allow the working class and people to get from here to socialism.
We are a party engaged in the battle of ideas in the age of mass disinformation. Our role is to combat ruling class ideas and educate millions in the spirit of socialism and Marxism; to assist the working class in developing class consciousness and a scientific world outlook.
We are a party of internationalism, for international working-class solidarity, global peace, and sustainability. Our responsibility first and foremost is to oppose US imperialism and end its domination over other nations and peoples.
We are a party of revolutionary working-class morality, humanism, equality, unity, cooperation, solidarity, compassion, and concern for the well-being of all.
Adapt and change in the new era of socialism
All organizations and movements have to change if they want to endure, be a growing factor in today's struggles. They must adapt to rapidly evolving political terrain, new moods and sensibilities, and modern popular culture. In fact, organizations like the AFL-CIO, NAACP, and others are struggling to reinvent themselves in this era.
If we want to be here in another 100 years, we have to evolve too. Gus Hall said it best. The Party has to 'change so we can grow.'
Changing doesn't mean eliminating what makes us unique. On the contrary, it means strengthening those unique characteristics by adapting them to today's changing world. It means developing their content based on new experience, so they resonate with millions.
We are proud of our history and accomplishments. We honor those who preserved and built the Party and then passed it to us to safeguard. We stand on their shoulders - hundreds of thousands of ordinary working people. But we won't rest on our laurels and be wed to the past. We treasure what they gave us, but we have to win our leadership in the struggles of today, each and every day.
The democratic and peaceful path to green socialism
Our organization is deeply rooted in the revolutionary-democratic traditions of this nation. We are the product of our multi-racial working-class and people in the fight for a better life. We embody every struggle for social progress, every hard-fought democratic gain, everything that affirms and deepens our humanity.
Our vision of socialism has evolved in light of new experience. It is rooted in the revolutionary struggles, traditions, values, culture, and dreams of our working class and people - full equality, democracy, and freedom. It is the fulfillment of the most advanced thinkers and doers of the revolution of 1776, the second revolution that ended slavery, the 1930s upsurge, the Civil Rights revolution, and today's democratic upsurge.
It envisions every means for the vast majority of people to participate in creating and governing the new society and giving democratic institutions working-class leadership and content.
The US path to socialism is one that embraces militant peaceful non-violence as a means, a creed, and an end.
The US path to socialism is a collaborative project of every force committed to full economic and political democracy, a project shaped in the here and now - the battle to defend and expand democracy and defeat the extreme-right, at the ballot box, in the streets, and in the battle of ideas.
The core of today's anti-extreme right alliance, our multi-racial working class, communities of color, women, and youth, are the core of the broad coalition for socialism that is in gestation.
The rising era of modern socialism is shaped by humanity's response, including the American people, to the crisis of wealth extremes, to save our planet, for a sustainable and demilitarized economy and society.
It is being shaped by the fight for full economic and political democracy. To make the working class both the creators of wealth, and masters of its distribution; for full social, racial, and gender equality; for a more secure, humane and joyful life and creative work ensuring the most comprehensive development of each and all; a sustainable and demilitarized economy and society
Where prisons are abolished, walls become bridges, weapons turn to plowshares, smokestacks become wind turbines, where capitalists go the way of kings and dinosaurs, and where the rights of nature take their place alongside those of humankind.
This is the future if we grasp it. The Communist Party USA too will rise to the challenge!