Art by Yousef Amairi

Art by Yousef Amairi
the struggle continues

March 15, 2010

Ohio CP leader Rick Nagin wants the CPUSA to change its Name to something like "the New Socialist Party", By Andrew Taylor, March 15, 2010

Quotations from the Cleveland Plain Dealer story of September 29, 2009

An Ohio CPUSA leader was on the news on September 29, 2009. Veteran Ohio Communist Party leader Rick Nagin was fighting in a run-off for a Cleveland City Council seat. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Nagin was one of two candidates to emerge from a contentious City Council primary in Cleveland's Ward 14 to notch his first political victory.

“Nagin combined with Brian Cummins, whose Ward 15 seat was chopped in a council downsizing, to beat incumbent Joe Santiago, former Councilman Nelson Cintron Jr. and three others. A strong second-place finish earned Nagin a spot in a Nov. 3 runoff against Cummins.

“The possibility of a Nagin win -- greater than ever before -- presents perhaps the most fascinating storyline in this fall's mayoral and council elections. If Nagin defeats Cummins, he will be the first known communist to serve on Cleveland's council, at least in recent memory.

“The historical significance is not lost on Nagin, who would fulfill a goal he said was inspired in the 1970s by Communist Party USA standard-bearer Gus Hall. Yet at times in his latest campaign, Nagin has seemed unprepared or unhappy to discuss his beliefs.

“He writes for the party's newspaper -- his most recent article, about a labor rally, appeared in May -- but complains when the word "communist" appears by his name in The Plain Dealer. In a recent interview that he was reluctant to grant, he equated the word with a racial slur.

“"It's an epithet in this country," said Nagin, 68. "Like using the n' word."

“Nagin even suggests that the Communist Party he joined 39 years ago needs a new name.” Rick suggested the party needs a new name, perhaps "the New Socialist Party".

Perhaps Nagin will eventually get his wish. The merging of the CPUSA with the US Democratic Party may necessitate a name and ideological re-branding. After all, the title “Communist” may no longer be felicitous to Nagin because he is a leader in a party that is presently vetting its founding principles according to the rubric of political expediency and relevance. The CPUSA, like some European former-Communist parties before it has placed itself in the centre of the national "Broad Left" and forsaken its role of seeking to lead the working-class struggle . As a result, today the CPUSA serves as a sort of faux-left cheering squad for the byzantine-style labyrinthine policy zig-zags of the Obama White House .

Rick Nagin was a close Second in the Cleveland City Council seat, but who knows, might he have won if he had expressed more confidence in the Party he has spent his adult-life serving? Wouldn't some voters be dissuaded from supporting a Candidate who proposed dumping his Party's historic Name during his Campaign ?

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