Communist Party USA held its 27th National Convention July 6-8, 2001 at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Here’s the view from the Texas table
Texans Attended Communist Convention
I arrived in Milwaukee a few days early and helped with PR work. Local and national coverage was pretty good. The local Milwaukee paper went to the trouble to scrounge the world for a credible anti-communist to write their headline. They finally found somebody in Atlanta, Georgia, who would testify that we are all dead. They used that for their headline, but the text of the article was good. They noted that Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was spinning in his grave to see so many lively Communists who outlived his witch-hunt!
Everybody I talked to agreed that the convention was better organized and more enjoyable than any in recent memory. There were 512 folks. 45% were union members. 79% have e-mail! The temperatures topped out at 80! We had “coffee shop” entertainment every night, at least two major parties in the dorm, and we had cultural presentations like music and videos every now and then all through the convention.
Everything came off well. We got seriously behind when the international delegates began to be presented. I guess there were around 20 of them. None spoke very long, but there was a wealth of information about their own countries and their observations about their areas. I think the Brazilians and the Middle-Easterners struck me the most because so much is changing in their areas.
I didn’t get to go to much of the night life because of my PR duties, but I was able to attend 3 of the 20-30 workshops presented: culture, seniors, and educating activists. Attendance was good and everybody was eager to share ideas. Part of the success of the thing was that cpusa had just gone through a pre-convention discussion period that was probably the largest and most extensive in history. Internet use made that easier. I think everything is still up at www.cpusa.org. They’ll also put some of the presentations there.
I was pretty excited to hear about plans to enlarge the web site. I think that districts like Texas will be able to move onto the national site, so people can find us all together.
Everybody, including me, was charged up and eager to get to work on making America a better place to live. I’m looking for feedback from people who want to get active and/or people who want to learn more about how to work for change.
With Love & Solidarity
We held our Texas Convention on June 3. Here are some notes:
Attending were people from the major Texas cities, several Young Communist League members, and a national leader.
Our District Organizer opened with explanation of how pre-convention discussion works. She described the overall situation in Texas. Emphasized working in coalitions, especially coalitions with labor. Our scattered members need to form clubs. We want to be inclusive. We urge collective process. “We have to be reality based.”
There were reports from each of the major cities, then discussion. Here are some of the points made:
The People’s Weekly World is an organizing tool that we should all use if possible. It’s easier to fight for something than against something.
The nature of labor struggles is on positive demands such as living wage, health benefits
Our national leader said, “You are in a more strategic position than you might think.” He went on to stress the importance of minority rights. He said that immigrants are the traditional base of the labor movement in America. Historically, the CPUSA die not win the great victories of working people alone, “But the Party was always part of the mix.” Today is a time of extreme crisis. There is absolutely no bar to the success of our efforts in Texas.
Other discussion points made:
Unity is our main goal.
Cultural groups are very critical to future development of people’s struggle.
Education in Texas is an extremely critical issue.
“Right to Work” (anti-union) struggle in Oklahoma is also important.
Commercial media sources are far from adequate and getting worse.
The convention went on to select delegates for the national convention. All guests and delegates need to get their travel arrangements made quickly.
We took up a quick collection that almost paid our expenses for the convention.
Our national leader made one parting synopsis of the state convention: “This was a good long step.”
Some Questions for you:
· Do you want a role in directing the Party over the next period? Do you think it’s important?
· Have you read the documents already published on www.cpusa.org? Have you written your ideas in the on-line discussion?