MLToday has published a series of articles on internal struggles within the Communist Party USA, a North American organization preparing for a congress in May. Such struggles are indicative of other tussles on the Left over how best to respond to the rise of Barack Obama to the presidency.
Its two-part “Crisis of the CPUSA” series critiques the party and its apparent challenges, from ending of its People’s World newspaper to budget problems. Author Edward A. Drummond says the group is facing party liquidation right now. In other instances, Drummond accuses the organization’s leadership with folding in the wake of Barack Obama’s ascension, essentially choosing to tail the Democratic Party rather than lead struggles and leverage its strength to push harder for alternatives.
Elsewhere, Andrew Taylor of Left Turn raises similar points about the CPUSA’s overestimation of the Obama movement.
Arthur Shaw presents the crux of the conflict within the CPUSA as one of the struggle of the working c…
We aren't going to be worried out of the Marxist Movement by the opportunists...We aren't going to be pushed out of the Communist Movement by old or new style Social Democrats...We promise but one thing: we are in for the long hard fight for a better world and are not yet dissuaded from our goal by nationalistic patois ~ Andrew
I believe there is only one realistic way to overcome the economic crises, the grotesque current inequity of resource distribution and political power and the encroaching ecological meltdown that is even now beginning to compromise the earth's eco-systems, and it is a hard path that can only be won through the dedicated effort of the workers, led by socialist parties "of a new type" solely devoted to the cause of the working-class.
The goal is to establish a world of working-class power, with a socialist planned economy and public ownership of the key sectors of the economy such as energy and banking, etc. The socialist state's educational systems will self-consciously and assiduously apply itself to educate its citizens in socially aware, cooperative aspirations. In this socialist state, the key means of production are owned by the people themselves and the economy functions in a rational fashion through planning.
Cindy Sheehan: President Chavez, thank you for allowing the truth to be told about Venezuela, and about you and your revolution. Before the revolution, Venezuela was a nation ruled and used by the oligarchy. How did the revolution begin and how has it remained relatively peaceful?
President Hugo Chavez (HC): Thank you Cindy, for your efforts to find out our truth, we wish you luck in your struggles, which we share, against war, for peace, for justice, for freedom and equality, against imperialism. We accompany you in those struggles, you and the people of the US. The bourgeoisie of Venezuela dominated the country for more than 100 years, with force, with violence, through persecution, assassination, forced disappearances. Unfortunately the history of Venezuela is a history with a lot of violence. Violence of the strong against the weak. In the 20th century in Venezuela, dominated by the oligarchy and the bourgeois state, a reverse m…
Recent remarks by Canadian State of Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Kent with regard to the media and “shrinking democratic space” in Venezuela  are but a few of a number of disapproving comments expressed by the Canadian government over events in the country in the past few years. But given that the remarks came during a three month prorogation of the Canadian Parliament, it was only to be expected that criticisms would arise over whether the government's comments actually stem from genuine concerns over democracy . Regardless of what full motivations may be behind Kent's comments, the Canadian government's ongoing sweeping claims of faltering democracy in the country are deserving of close examination. Deciding whether democracy is improving or “shrinking” in Venezuela requires a more thoroughgoing and contextualized look at the country's democratic institutions, rather than short glimpses into single events.
What are some of the formal democratic institutions in…
President Barack Obama has increased the Pentagon's perennially-bloated annual spending spree to its greatest magnitude since World War II $708 billion. Congress eventually will overwhelmingly approve Obama's war budget request for fiscal year 2011, which takes effect in October.
The Obama administration's funding recommendation was announced Feb. 1. The next day Reuters reported that "Shares of major U.S. defense contractors rose on Monday after the Obama administration unveiled a defense budget... that seeks a 3.4 percent increase in the Pentagon's base budget and $159 billion to fund missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan."
Also released Feb. 1 was the Pentagon's Congressionally-mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which calls for a considerable expansion of U.S. military power, especially in bolstering counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaigns.
The QDR is a strategic guide for America's present and…
Here's the good news. After four years in office, Stephen Harper's Tories are still a minority in Parliament. Despite all the advantages of power, and the open support of the ruling class and the corporate media, Harper's polling numbers are lower today than during the past two elections. In part, this reflects the Tory capacity to remind working people of their vicious, reactionary politics. Whether it's their brutal imperialist war in Afghanistan, their utter indifference to mass layoffs, or their hatred for women's reproductive rights, the Tories regularly shoot themselves in both feet.
Even the sleazy attempt to paint themselves as "populists" has backfired, thanks to all those temper tantrums. It's hard to hold a pose with your Timmy's double-double when the Veteran's Affairs Minister is screaming at security guards for refusing to let him take his expensive bottle of tequila onto the plane.
Now the bad news. Stephen Harper is still in offi…
The singular contribution that Marxism offers to the theory of the working class movement is the idea of exploitation as well as a way to gauge its intensity. Prior to the pioneering efforts of Marx and Engels, those sympathetic to the miserable conditions of working people brought on by the rise of industrialization pointed to the grinding poverty and short, brutal lives of employees and urged reforms and relief. They failed to locate these conditions in the very logic of capitalism. They failed to find the source of these conditions in the relation between capital and wage-labor.
Marx and Engels brought the concept of exploitation to the fore as both a rich and robust moral concept and as an objective, measurable centerpiece of working class political economy. Exploitation, in its most intuitive and simplified sense, is the appropriation of the product of labor by those not engaged directly in producing those products. Stealing, of course, is a kind of appropriation as well, and a ki…
On Tuesday, a speech by controversial American Ann Coulter at the University of Ottawa was cancelled because of fears there might be physical violence.
One of the arguments I've heard over and over about the cancellation is the "free speech" argument: Coulter has the right to say whatever she wants. This, her supporters argue, is what free speech means and what Coulter is being denied.
What people who launch the charge of "free speech" (and other charges such as "anti-democratic", "censorship" and "lighten up, it's just entertainment") fail to acknowledge and understand is the social concept of power.
Sexism, racism, ableism, heterosexism, classism and anti-semitism are not about individual acts of discrimination (what some conservative commentator might have specifically said to offend someone or some group). These terms do not primarily refer to acts of discrimination (expressions of prejudices like Coulter's). They refer to…
In the Manitoba budget yesterday the NDP government said it will try to freeze the wages of lower-income public sector workers, many of whom are Aboriginal, immigrants, women or youth. This kind of injury will be remembered for many years.
Originally the government threatened to impose a wage freeze or fire workers. It will now "negotiate" a two-year wage freeze with nurses, health and home care workers, and provincial government employees.
Unless these workers force the government to back down, they could lose about $250 million in two years.* Teachers and professors are specifically excluded from the government's wage "pause."
How far will the NDP go to wrest wages from its lowest-paid workers? Will they lock them out or force them into a costly strike?
The only realistic reply is that a united and militant fight supported by the whole Labour movement - by all workers - can and will defeat this plan by a government that would cr…
The Hammersickle Song with apologies to Arlo Guthrie
I don't want a pickle Just really got to ditch my ole hammernd... sickle! And I don't want a hammer 'Cause I'm gonna tail behind president obammer And I don't want to die just on the gogo for a logo, the old college-try!...
The foregoing revised song lyric was inspired by these words of Roberta Wood who said in her presentation to the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party in the United States:
"We love our history but there’s no point in being a cult about it. For example, do we need a hammer and sickle? A sickle was a common agricultural tool of European peasants, but that symbol doesn’t mean anything to Americans – we only see a sickle if someone dresses up as the Grim Reaper for Halloween. Yes, we need a new 21st century logo that evokes an image of the unity that WE are building."
I wanted to give a wider perspective on my own reasons for now speaking publicly and openly about the Left in the USA: Its not only my own history as a US landed immigrant with American family that prompts or permits me to keep asking serious questions of your party leadership. Earlier you brought up the point that Canadian communists are "telling Americans how to bring socialism to America"! I urge you for the sake of the international Movement to try to see my concerns about the current US Administration and US Communist party not as some sneaky attempt to encroach upon your organization's national turf, but as normal and realistic concerns many communists and people of good will around the world keenly feel today - given the statements of the CPUSA in the last seven years.
May we do a reversal of roles comrade ? Humour me: what if Canada were the imperial centre and had 800 foreign military bases encircling the world, and moreover was leading the Wars in …