Editor’s Note: The article below is a submission to the CPUSA’s preconvention discussion. Comments are welcome.
Recent developments both favor and require we: RECOMMIT TO COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL UNITY! The documents opening our pre-convention discussion are in our best tradition, encouraging contributions. The draft program is strong on growing threats from environmental dangers and wars.
The program repeats established truths but misses important changes which have strengthened labor internationally and weakened our class foe. An effective Communist program focuses on and scientifically assesses major developments and their implications for our work.
The draft supports international solidarity. But Communist international unity is more possible, essential and urgent than ever. Without it, humanity faces social and environmental disintegration. With it, we can renew advances to socialism.
Major developments necessitate – and favor – Communist International unity.
Several negative developments necessitate communist international unity to avoid disintegration. The program reviews these, including the existential threats from environmental crises and war, along with crises in hunger, jobs, housing, national oppression. Capitalism is materially incapable of halting these crises; it is not simply unwilling. Only a globally-united working class can begin to stop the destruction.
China’s tremendous economic strengthening is an unmentioned but major positive global development. All indications are that overall productivity of labor in Chinese manufacturing is now highest in the world. This allows China to ‘set terms’, an extraordinary development – the Soviet Union never came close.
Today’s Chinese state was created by a great socialist revolution. It is led by one of our parties. (The program incorrectly lumps India with China. India is sinking, like other capitalist countries; GDP misleads!)
Also unmentioned is the strengthening of Marxism in China, in theory and practice, among leaders and ‘ordinary’ workers and youth. (I have been fortunate to witness it in many visits over 20 years.)
Marxism’s over-arching commitment is to advance world socialism. Its strengthening in China is essential to overcome escalating resistance from exploiters, domestically and internationally.
Marxism’s strengthening was reflected in the CPC’s difficult 2006 decision to unionize workers at Walmart and all Fortune 500 corporations in China. The CPC followed with participation in international meetings of Communist and Workers parties.
In 2017, 103 CPs – combined membership: over 100 million! – converged on Moscow to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution. This was unparalleled in recent decades. (91 parties participated in the most recent IMCWP, in Athens last November.)
In May 2018, the CPC hosted 71 Communist and workers’ parties in Shenzhen. I believe hosting so many CPs was a first in the CPC’s 98-year history. (The CPUSA participated, comrades John Bachtell and Carol Ramos reported in the PW.)
In another positive development, the World Federation of Trade Unions has rebounded, after terrible demoralization in the 1990s. Its affiliated unions were mainly formed or transformed by our Parties. It is committed to class-based, not business, unionism. Combined membership is around 100 million.
Rapid weakening of U.S. and World Imperialism
Also favoring our cause is imperialism’s rapid weakening. For example, in four years, 2007 to 2011, US industrial production fell from 160% of China’s to 81%! Europe and Japan’s decline has been even faster. This impedes capital’s ability to intervene, divide and rule.
Donald Trump has witlessly helped! He is weakening imperialist institutions such as NATO, the UN, WTO, EU, and — dollar hegemony. Labor’s rising up – witness recent teachers’ and hotel workers’ strikes!
The existential insecurity of life greatly favors Communist international unity — provided we offer genuine solutions.
2019 – Centenary of the Comitern CENTENARY OF THE COMINTERN!
This year marks the centenary of our Party – and of our class’s potentially most-effective weapon: the Communist International. Lenin considered its founding as important an achievement as the Russian Revolution.
Organizing the Comintern proved difficult. It strengthened some Parties, including our position on the African-American national question. But it also weakened and misled many parties. The solution lies in identifying and addressing the weaknesses, not discarding this weapon.
In 1927, the Communist Party of China suffered a grievous defeat traceable to Comintern errors. The defeat taught the CPC to think. It rebounded with great contributions to Marxism, including one of humanity’s great revolutions!
Since the Comintern was disbanded, events have consistently shown that no International is the worse evil. The greatest defeats in labor history have followed. Most serious are the counter-revolutions in the USSR and eleven similar states. Lack of world Communist unity spelled defeat for many likely socialist revolutions, as in Lebanon 1976, and facilitated breaking many important unions, such as the British miners’ union.
Please allow me a “personal” example – Palestine (where I was born). In 1945, the Soviet leadership, under pressure from US imperialism, unilaterally moved to reverse the Comintern’s strong opposition to partitioning Palestine. (A 1937 Comintern paper denounced “The Plan to Divide Palestine”.)
Soviet assent to forming the Israeli state meant a Communist Party was now supporting taking land FROM the tiller.
If world CPs had a say, they would have kept the Soviet party from committing such a major error, which ripped sickle from hammer, breaking the hammer. That weakened our world movement and contributed to fundamentalism’s rise.
First step in Workers of the World Unite is Communist Parties of the World Unite, Consciously.
One of my teachers at the Beijing-based Academy of Marxism, Liu Shuchun, has explained, “The first step in workers of the world unite is Communist Parties of the world, unite!” (She later added, “consciously!”).
Lenin emphasized, we cannot force revolutions, but we can prepare for them. Since the Manifesto, our movement has built key ‘building blocks’ to help us prepare. These include our extraordinary philosophy, Marxism; working-class methods of organizing, education and even production (ecological agriculture!); our Parties and Young Communist Leagues worldwide (combined memberships – over 100 million!); unions (especially unions formed or transformed by our Parties, combined memberships 400+ million!); and five states created by socialist revolutions (Vietnam, People’s Korea, China, Cuba, Laos).
Revolutionary optimism requires conscious Communist mobilization of labor’s past achievements. Without CP initiative, humanity faces social and environmental destruction.
Workers of the World Unite is Communist Parties of the World Unite, Consciously.