AMAC Exclusive – By David Lewis Schaefer
With the breakup of its patron, the Soviet Union, more than three decades ago, one might have thought that the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) would similarly have met the fate of the dodo bird. But, while reporting a membership of only a few thousand, it survives.
Periodically, the CPUSA announces policy stances on the issues of the day. It has, for instance, worked through an affiliated organization, Housing Justice for All (HJFA), to pressure the New York State government to extend its COVID ban on allowing landlords to evict tenants for nonpayment of their rent.
As Cea Weaver, a campaign coordinator for HJFA who advocates thoroughgoing Marxist doctrine on her Twitter account, explained in 2019, “Private property including and kind of ESPECIALLY homeownership is a weapon of white supremacy” (her caps). Apparently, just owning your own home (rather than having it owned by the state) is evil!
As New York City Democrat Councilman Bob Holden observed, communist organizations like HJFA and elected officials aligned with them had in the past “hidden in the shadows,” but now “proudly display their affiliations.” The communist-linked group forms part of the Upstate-Downstate Housing Alliance, which is sponsored by a “nonprofit” organization called VOCAL-NY, which reports having received eight grants worth over $1.1 million to support its activities from the Open Society Foundation – an instrument of capitalist billionaire turned leftist social reorganizer George Soros.
The preamble to the CPUSA constitution proclaims its devotion to the achievement of “Bill-of-Rights socialism” in the USA, where working people – those who produce all the riches of society – will have political power and will collectively decide priorities for investment and distribution of our nation’s wealth.” But it appears that – judging from its now minuscule membership – its success will depend far more on the contribution of what Vladimir Lenin called “useful idiots.”
Lenin reportedly claimed that capitalists would sell the communists the “rope” with which to hang them. But gullible, sometimes plutocratic, Western sympathizers ranging over time from John Reed, eulogist of the 1917 Revolution, to British socialists Sidney and Beatrice Webb, right up to Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, and Soros appear eager to supply the rope at no charge whatsoever.
It’s fair to ask why any of this should matter today – especially since the CPUSA’s goals and policies are now shared by numerous larger and better-known political organizations.
One answer lies in the preamble of the CPUSA’s constitution, a statement of unabashed “pride” in the party’s history – presumably its support for Soviet, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Latin American communist tyranny and imperialism, and of domestic subversion in this country. Thanks to the internet, the CPUSA is able to spread its messages, such as they are, via weekly newsletters. (Don’t ask me how, but I wound up on their mailing list.) Its website also offers regular broadcasts titled “Good Morning, Revolution!”
Here are some excerpts from the party’s most recent program:
“All of humanity is faced with multiple, interlocking crises–in the economy, in our shared environment, in extreme weather disasters, in the growing danger of pandemics. These crises expose the rampant income inequality, the disparate impacts of these crises on those facing exploitation and oppression, and, in the U.S. especially, the inhumane lack of health care for all.”
“These are crises of capitalism, an inhumane, exploitative, oppressive economic system of greed… Ultimately, to solve the challenges facing humanity, we need to replace capitalism with socialism, a system of cooperation, democracy, and equality.”
“As we adopted this program, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic exploded around us. This pandemic has laid bare the economic weakness of capitalism. The system is unable to adequately compensate workers for lost income, unable to deal with the economic devastation for both small businesses that crash with only a few weeks of being shut down and the workers who are laid off as a result, unable to take the necessary concerted collective action when saddled with a financial system geared only to endless profit-taking instead of prioritizing the health of the entire population.”
“An economic system that demands death for seniors in order to “restart the economy” is a system that is morally and economically bankrupt…Capitalism is a cause of much of the problems we face, and is also the main obstacle to finding real and lasting solutions. We need a system that prioritizes the needs of the people before the greed of the few, the 1%.”
From this program, one would never know such facts as that: the COVID virus in all likelihood emanated from a communist Chinese lab; the U.S. led the world in developing treatments for it, including multiple vaccines; the Biden administration in a flurry of deficit spending lavished funding on the unemployed (whether or not their unemployment was due to COVID); in 2019 just before the pandemic, median family income in the U.S. increased by 6.4%, the largest annual increase since 1967, all under the much-maligned Trump administration – 45% more growth in a year than the Obama administration had achieved in eight years; and every racial group experienced a record high growth in median family income that year, including a 5.7% increase for whites, 7.9% or blacks, 7.1% for Hispanics, and 10.6% for Asian Americans. Nor would one know that the single most destructive human-caused environmental disaster was the 1987 explosion of the (poorly designed) nuclear reactor in Chernobyl (then part of the Soviet Union).
As for the CPUSA’s current foreign-policy stance, one can glean a sense from the title of one of its most recent “online classes,” arranged to commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Give Peace a Chance: China and the World Today, a presentationbyCarlos Martinez, co-editor, Friends of Socialist China.”
But just in case you worried that CPUSA hadn’t kept up to date with its politics, one of its current policy slogans is “Male Supremacy Hurts All of Us.” And to confirm that its program is backed by the intellectual elite, it lists as one of its “organizers” in “the fight against Trump” and for “class consciousness, democracy, equality,” and socialism one Scott Hiley, holder of a doctorate from Yale who has been a party member since 2010. While having “taught French, literature, history, and philosophy at the high school, college, and post-graduate level” Hiley has remained active in “struggles against austerity and for education, justice and labor rights.”
One can easily imagine Marx, Lenin, and Stalin having a good laugh at that denunciation of “male supremacy” – just as Marx (who routinely used a disparaging epithet for his black son-in-law) would have taken little interest in the party’s billing itself as a champion of civil rights. But most hilariously of all, what is super-rich Soros doing aligning himself with a movement that denounces income inequality?
It may be that the CPUSA will never regain anything like its former strength – largely because much of its ostensibly egalitarian/populist program has either been adopted or is widely advocated by so many politicians of the left, from Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on. But the continuance of its “educational” programming, as well as its alignment with other left-liberal groups in urging such policies as abolishing the right of landlords to evict nonpaying tenants (imagine what that will do to New York City’s housing supply and quality!) evinces the continuing gullibility of all too many Americans, from billionaires to PhD’s to ordinary working people, which demagogic politicos and commentators who aren’t officially Marxists take advantage of.
The best remedy would be a restored education in the principles of American constitutionalism – rather than the New York Times’s widely shared and highly misleading 1619 Project.
David Lewis Schaefer is a Professor of Political Science at College of the Holy Cross.