Thursday, April 19, 2012

Critique of CPUSA lesser-evilism

The CPUSA's Present Political Line, "Unity against the Ultra Right," is Wrong and Harmful    
Written by Edward A. Drummond  

At the April 21 national meeting, top CPUSA leaders are sure to defend the present line, emphatically declaring the main enemy is "right-wing extremism," whose loathsomeness and frightfulness they will denounce at length.

With self-assurance they will deflect their critics — if there are any critics — with "OK, maybe Obama is a disappointment. Maybe he and the Congressional Democrats didn't keep their campaign promises. Maybe we got too enthusiastic in 2008. Look, we never said he was for socialism. But isn't it obvious the Republicans are so much worse? Imagine a President Newt Gingrich in the Oval Office with a finger on the nuclear trigger. C'mon, the main enemy is obviously the ultra right. Isn't it common sense?"

Such a rhetorical non-answer will probably head off the much-needed debate, if past national meetings are any indication.

This "unity against the ultra right" line may be "common sense" to some, but it is not correct. It is not Marxism. It is not a step on the path to socialism. The line is base on half-truths and untruths. It is one-sided. It distorts theory, history, and fact. It is harming the Party, the international Communist movement, the working class, and the country. It should be replaced by the Party's historic policy, the anti-monopoly policy.

As this article will show, the present line, Lesser Evilism, misidentifies the main enemy as a fragment of the ruling class, not the whole of the ruling class. This is no accident. The line was contrived to push the CPUSA into the arms of the Democrats; the theory came later.

The line misunderstands the nature of contradictions with the US ruling class. It adds an extra stage on the path to Socialism USA that is wholly unjustified and which no other comparable CP envisages. The line exculpates an increasingly reactionary, war-inciting, and racist US Administration. It even has trouble pinning down what the "ultra right" is. It overstates the threat from right-wing extremism. It falsifies the actual views of Dimitrov on the Popular Front. Its claim to derive from his thought is demonstrably bogus.

The line has isolated the Party from mass movements, which reject the notion that the GOP is uniquely evil. The line hobbles the CPUSA's growth possibilities. It is an opportunist, no-struggle policy that repeats old errors and turns its back on our finest traditions. It seeks to maneuver within the two-party trap instead of trying to break out of the trap. The line is class collaboration in electoral politics.

Moreover, it is simple-minded: Republicans evil, Democrats good. It sees no shades of gray. We need a sophisticated policy.

After ten years, the line has done us no good. Our Party is in trouble. We will not recover unless we repudiate it.

Science Should Guide Strategy, Not "Commonsense"

"Commonsense is all that strikes us as being obviously true, such that to deny any part of it appears, at first sight, to involve us in speaking nonsense."

Commonsense does not suffice for a scientific approach to politics. Marxism is committed to science. And science may or may not correspond to common sense. Marx once wrote, "All science would be superfluous if the outward appearance and the essence of things directly coincided."

Class analysis is the basis for a scientific approach to politics. The class approach to the analysis of the life of any society into classes is one of the fundamental methodological principles of Marxism... 'People will always be the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be, until they have learned to seek out the interest of some class or other behind all the moral, religious, political and social phrases, declaration, and promises ..."

The CPUSA's turn toward the opportunist policy of backing the Democrats, and away from the struggle for the working class movement's political independence, is only one part of a larger pattern of ideological retreat. It is of a piece with the stronger opportunist currents in the Communist movement since the downfall of European socialism in 1989-91. The retreat has been especially marked among Communists in developed capitalist countries, including the CPUSA.

Although in 1991, right opportunism was formally defeated at a CPUSA convention and the social reformists left the Party, the old virus reasserted itself furtively in the 1990s, and later openly after a new Party leadership took the reins in 2000. The right opportunist deviation in the CPUSA has been amply documented by US writers, as well as by Canadian, Greek, Mexican, and German Communists. The CPUSA right deviation goes way beyond electoral politics. It extends to Party organization and ideology. The process of CPUSA liquidation is snowballing, and alas, may be beyond remedy.

But in this article the opportunist degeneration of the CPUSA's electoral line, emerging after 2000 is the focus. The article will critique the sophistry still used to cover up the opportunist line formally put in place in 2004-2006.

Another major feature of the opportunist erosion of the CPUSA approach to electoral politics: the reduction of all CPUSA politics to electoral politics, will also be left to one side.

Codified into the 2005 Party program – perhaps the best summary of what this article will call "the line" — the line holds that political independence should be limited to work, "within" the Democratic Party, stony ground indeed. In the nature of the case, such forms of "independence" are weak.

In the present new-found anti-ultra right "stage" on the way to socialism, any attempt to go outside the two-party system is said to be sectarian and futile. Third party efforts, particularly those with an anti-monopoly thrust, may actually impede the struggle. Over time, ignoring the words of the Party's own 2005 program, Communist candidacies have come to be viewed by CPUSA leaders as especially narrow and self-defeating. For now and indefinitely, electoral struggle in the Democratic Party is the only arena of progressive struggle.

In other words, the CPUSA top leaders nowadays claim that, at this stage, "the main enemy" of the US people is exclusively the "ultra right," that part of the US ruling class whose political expression is the Republican Party. They assert we are not yet in the anti-monopoly stage of struggle. Therefore, what is required is multi-class "unity against the ultra right," interpreted to mean an alliance between peoples' movements and the other, "more realistic" trend in the monopoly ruling class, represented by the Democrats.

This line is being used to justify support for Obama and Democrats in 2012, as it was in 2008.

The Historic CPUSA Position

There was a time when CPUSA leaders saw how wrong a "lesser evil" line was:

Lesser evilism is an ideological and political disease. Any reflection of lesser evilism in and around our party reflects a serious weakness — tailism. Lesser evilism is a liquidationist concept. It liquidates the basic class elements in mass politics... We have to maintain a longer-range strategic class viewpoint as our guide. If we don't, we're out of business. Our unique contribution is to inject a broad anti-monopoly class viewpoint. Lesser evilism drives people back into the two party fold ...To argue against lesser evilism does not mean that we see no differences between candidates.

The politics of the Lesser Evil is a political trap. Understandably, an average US voter may reason that social pain might be somewhat less severe under a Democratic White House and will cast a "lesser evil" vote.

For a revolutionary party, however — purporting to lead the working class and people's movements — to accept this common sense reasoning is inexcusable.

A political line – a political strategy - is the general view a political party takes on the path forward and its tasks in a given period.

For Communists, the key strategic question is the correct path to socialism. The political line gives Party members guidance on what the main enemy is, what to do and say, what issues to prioritize, what alliances to build, what the main danger is, how to distinguish class friends from class enemies. In short, it creates a framework in which to carry out political work.

For Communists, strategy isn't arbitrary and subjective. A Communist political line is developed on the basis of scientific theory, i.e., Marxist Leninist-theory, enriched by an all-sided consideration of facts and experience. As Lenin put it in Left-Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder, "The Communist Party... must act on scientific principles. Science... demands that account must be taken of all the forces, groups, parties, classes and masses operating in a given country."

If devised correctly, the line makes their work easier and more effective. If the line is badly designed, as this line is, it can make their work ineffective and pointless. For a revolutionary movement to correctly identify its main enemy — and its main ally – is all-important in crafting a political line

Tactics are the concrete forms of political action at a given moment. Strategy, in contrast, is the course projected over a considerable length of time. Strategy entails estimates — judgments and forecasts — as realistic, all-sided, and scientific as possible about the likely conditions and the correlation of class forces to be expected at each stage.

Marxism Leninism recognizes this:
When elaborating the strategic line of the party under capitalist conditions, it is important in the first place to determine correctly the main aim of the working class at the given stage and the chief class enemy against whom it is necessary to concentrate at the given stage the class hatred and the shock force of all the working people in order to overcome this enemy's resistance.

The present ill-conceived CPUSA line picks the wrong main enemy.

Contradictions in the Ruling Class

First, the line misidentifies the main enemy as a fragment of the ruling class, not the whole of the ruling class.

Second, the line also mistakenly elevates non-antagonistic contradictions within the ruling class to the status of antagonistic contradictions within the ruling class.

Marxism is precise on the nature of contradiction. Terms such as "strategic" versus "tactical" differences in the ruling class, or sometimes, "differences" versus "splits" are often unhelpful. They don't get to the heart of the matter.

There are a thousand conflicts within the US ruling class — and in and between its two main parties — all the time.

But class unity predominates. True, the ruling class has various tendencies, but much more unites it than divides it. Unlike the US working class, the US ruling class is intensely class conscious.

Unity on essentials is the normal condition of the monopoly ruling class. Monopoly, nevertheless, strives for full class unity. For example, George W. Bush, though he sprang from its more reactionary political circles, managed to keep his class united by the immense tax cuts he showered on all of the class.

If the CP leadership circle that concocted the new line had been more familiar with the part of Marxism called dialectics, it might have been able to discern the flaws in their argument.

In Marxist dialectics, there are diverse kinds of contradictions in society. Two important kinds are antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions.

Ruling class contradictions are non-antagonistic. The resolution of the contradictions that do exist within the class does not necessitate the abolition of one of the two contradictory terms, in this case, the "ultra right" and the rest of the US ruling class.

Antagonistic contradictions arise between hostile social forces (classes and groups holding opposite economic positions, vital interests and objectives.) They are, for example, characteristic of all societies where there is exploitation of one class by another. Exploiter vs. exploited is a prime example of an antagonistic social contradiction.

Non-antagonistic contradictions arise between social forces, which, while having some opposite interests and tendencies, have the main and basic thing in common, for example, the contradiction between the working class and the peasantry. In the transition period from capitalism to socialism, as a rule, non-antagonistic contradictions do not develop into hostile opposition.

Another example: in the working class, the contradictions, say, between various trade union sectors: the building trades, the public sector, and the manufacturing unions, are non-antagonistic. If managed well, such contradictions can be resolved with compromise and debate.

The distinction is clear: antagonistic contradictions can be resolved only with abolition of one of the two terms of the polarity. Non-antagonistic can be resolved short of abolition of the one terms of the contradiction through compromise, discussion, etc. The antagonistic contradiction between the working class and the capitalists can be resolved only with the end of capitalists, i.e., socialism. Socialist revolution, in due course, expropriates them and abolishes them as a class.

The distinction between antagonism and non-antagonism in social contradictions is crucial.

There are many contradictions in society, and it is practically important to distinguish which are antagonistic and which are not, in order to find the right method of dealing with them. If a contradiction of the one kind is mistaken for a contradiction of another kind, then wrong actions are taken which cannot lead to the desired results. For example, reformist socialists think there is no need for the working class to take power and to use it to suppress the capitalist class, whereas Marxists recognize that capitalism can be ended and socialism achieved by no other method.

To proclaim the "ultra right" section of the ruling class to be the main enemy is just such a mistake.

It can be shown to be wrong because, if "the ultra right" and the "right" — each with their own political party expressions — were in an antagonistic contradiction, then we would expect to see the two monopoly parties at loggerheads. They are not. We would expect to see the non-ultra right section of the US ruling class, represented by the Democrats, in an objective alliance with the US people. It is not.

In fact, we see the opposite: the policies of the Obama Administration draw closer and closer to the policy of the Bush regime and the Republicans. This Administration and corporate Democrats generally are in no objective alliance with the US people. Rather, they are in an objective alliance with the rest of the ruling class.

Differences in the ruling class are also normal, and actually growing in range in this era of state monopoly capitalism. No Marxist-Leninist theory has been more dramatically confirmed in the 2008-2012 crisis than the theory of state-monopoly capitalism, which holds that at the current stage of capitalism, the state and monopoly capital join forces, and the state plays a permanent and profound role in regulating the economy mainly to enrich monopoly. Across a capitalist world in economic crisis, government after government is slavishly bailing out finance capital.

Under state monopoly capitalism, ruling class conflict extends further, to politics and state policy, beyond mere inter-monopoly economic rivalry.

The error in the CPUSA line lets off the hook the forces of finance capital whose main instrument is the Obama Administration. A strategy that ignores half the class enemy is tantamount to fighting the enemy with one hand tied behind one's back. It is bound to fail. It is failing.

Many of this Democratic Administration's attacks on working people are wanton and gratuitous, and in no way forced upon the Administration by the Republicans. The offensive against the US people is coming from the whole ruling class, not only part of it. Here is a selection from the impressively reactionary record of the "Democratic wing" of the ruling class:

•The White House has continued Bush policy of bailing out the banks unconditionally.

•It put the major social insurance systems - Social Security and Medicare hard won by the working people in earlier struggles, "on the table," for cuts advantageous to Wall Street.

•It has maintained record arms budgets, in the $700 billion a year range

•It abandoned promises on the Employee Free Choice Act, the supreme priority of organized labor and a matter of survival for private sector unions. This bill was the centerpiece of the argument for union members to support Democrats in 2008 and to bring them back into office. It was tossed aside on Inauguration Day.

•It has taken no special measures to address Black youth mass unemployment, which is about 50 percent.

•It has increased deportation of undocumented workers, mostly Latino, above the level of deportations in the Bush era.

•It used Homeland Security, a federal agency, to coordinate mayoral evictions of the Occupy movement in big cities around the country.

•It did not lift a finger to help the public sector workers under attack in Wisconsin.

•It has continued the 50-year blockade of socialist Cuba.

•It is indifferent to Palestinian suffering and international law. It gave the green light to Israeli bombing of Gaza. It ignored Israeli seizure and detention of humanitarian relief ships to Gaza. In many craven cave-ins to the Israel Lobby, it renewed loan guarantees for Israel. It failed to come down firmly against continuing Israeli settlements.

•It threatens and encircles People's China by forcing Australia to accept a US base on its territory at its closest point to China; it adopted a ten-year plan to build up US forces in East Asia, aimed at People's China.

•It organized aggression against Libya and Honduras, overthrowing both legitimate governments. In the former, the US gave all-out military and political support for aggression by other NATO powers, and assassinated the Libyan head of state. In the latter, the US gave at least tacit approval of the Honduras coup, refusing to label it as such. It has recognized the elections run by the coup government in Honduras.

•It now works on destabilizing Syria, fomenting civil war in preparation for "regime change."

•It continues threats and military pressure against North Korea and Iran.

•It continues the Bush-era policy of internal subversion and military pressure aimed at Venezuela and other progressive Latin American governments. It continues to build up the Fourth Fleet encircling Latin America.

•It signed a blatantly unconstitutional "National Defense Authorization Act" that empowers a US president to assassinate anyone, anywhere, for any reason.

Attacks from the "Democratic wing" of the ruling class are to be expected. The White House has the support of the same sectors of capital correctly cited in CPUSA documents as the economic core of the ultra right: finance capital, the military-industrial complex, the oil and energy industries, the private insurers, high-tech industry; and manufacturing and distributive giants, such as Wal-Mart. Differences arise among sectors — energy leans towards Republicans, hi-tech towards Democrats—but so what? There is no irreconcilable difference between their various allegiances.

In recent months, the president's re-election campaign has tacked leftward, rhetorically – even going so far as to cautiously praise the Occupy movement - to try to recover support among the Democratic base voters, hoping they will forget the full, grotesque record listed above.

Where Did the Present Line Come From?

Only the naïve can believe that picking the wrong main enemy was an accident. Neither theoretical epiphany nor big defeat overwhelmed the circle that hatched the present line in 2004-2006, when it was taking final shape.

The line was contrived to rule out the struggle for political independence. Its authors framed it in such a way as to turn the CPUSA into an enthusiast of the Democratic Party. The change in line was planned for years before, and the theory was duly concocted to justify it.

Grim political circumstances were favorable to the sales job carried out by Party leaders. They took advantage of the embattled mood of activists leading up to 2004-2006. The Republicans had control of three branches of government. The antiwar movement had failed to stop the Iraq War. Two presidential elections had been stolen. The Bush-Cheney regime frightened the world with its bellicose foreign policy. Self-criticism is in order too. The Party's ideological immune system was weak. Low levels of political development prevailed in the CPUSA.

In the Communist movement, a change in strategy has to be justified in the light of new experience and in theoretical terms. Possibly the most famous example of such a change in line was in 1935 at the Seventh Congress of the Communist International where the Dimitrov leadership, taking into account recent working class defeats and probing the causes, pushed for the creation of an even broader front than the united front of the working class, the main Communist tactic since 1917. In 1935 they called for a popular front of all anti-fascist forces, including middle strata.

At best the CPUSA line bears an only slight resemblance to Dimitrov's ideas. True, each calls for the formation of a bigger coalition. Each changes the main enemy, in the one case to "fascism, in the other case to the "ultra right."

Resemblance stops there. Dimitrov's bigger coalition — the Popular Front — took in new popular elements — middle strata in cities and countryside. By contrast, the CPUSA's new line proposes a bigger coalition, — an "All Peoples Front," by taking in part of the US ruling class. Moreover, the CPUSA's coalition isn't well aimed at a class, monopoly capital, but at a class fragment, the ultra right.

Vaguely invoking this 1930s history, the phrase "All People's Front" – denoting a transient, objective, multi-class front against Reagan, first used tentatively in the CPUSA in the 1980s — was embraced again, but now for a different purpose.

Now, CPUSA leaders claimed, a long-term strategy against "the ultra right," newly dangerous for reasons never spelled out, must be built. The ultra right is declared to be synonymous with the Republican Party.

The new line was a non-class analysis of politics. It was not Marxism.

Worse, besides explicitly implying an alliance with part of the US ruling class, the line's promoters insisted on an unstated corollary — the Communists had to cede ideological leadership in this multi–class coalition. The new line sometime conferred leadership on a monopoly-run Democratic party, and sometimes on a reformist-run trade union bureaucracy. The former is the real meaning of the phrase "unity (with the Democrats) against the ultra right" (the Republicans). The latter is the meaning of the phrase "Labor-led All People's Front."

To be sure, in words they denied ceding the struggle for political leadership. But since the line appeared there have been countless instances in which the CPUSA covered up and mades excuses for corporate Democrats. Obsequious defense of the present Administration and Congressional Democrats is the rule in the People's Weekly World and in Political Affairs, which downplay or ignore the mnay bad policies and exaggerate the few good ones.

For example, Political Affairs now describes itself, as "designed to appeal to the broad left." It has shifted its politics to centrist positions, which is altogether different from finding grounds for common action with centrists.

This is a perversion of Dimitrov's ideas on the Popular Front. He never called for Communists to yield ideological territory. He demanded the opposite:

...Joint action with the social democratic parties and organizations requires from Communists serious and substantiated criticism of social democracy as the ideology and practice of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, and untiring comradely explanation to the social democratic workers of the program and slogans of Communism "

The line puts forward a notion of a transition to the anti-monopoly stage when "the ultra right suffers a severe rebuff." But what such a rebuff might be is never spelled out. It admits that the Clinton Administration – and politically the present Administration strongly resembles the Clinton Administration — did not deal a decisive rebuff to the Reagan and Bush presidencies.

It's fair to conclude the real purpose of CPUSA electoral strategy is its main objective consequence: endless embrace of the Democrats. "Endlessness" is suggested by the curious omission in the CPUSA Party Program. How is the revolutionary movement ever to get out of this new-fangled "anti-ultra right" stage, to a subsequent anti-monopoly stage? Only one reading is possible: as long as any differences remain between the Republican and Democratic parties, the Communist Party is stuck on an endless treadmill of tailing the Democrats.

The alleged temporary nature of the newly inserted stage in the path to Socialism USA "unity against the ultra right "— is bogus. There is no exit.

Even in its own terms, the line's essential fakery is now in plain sight. In 2012 as in 2008, there is no political emergency which calls for emergency defensive strategies. The ultra right (the GOP) no longer controls both chambers of the Congress, and the White House and the Supreme Court, as it did in 2004. The Democrats control the White House and the Senate. But, unconditional support for Democrats is still insisted on by CPUSA leaders

Its improvisational nature is now clearer. When he came along in 2008 Obama was a godsend for the CPUSA leaders. He gave their flawed line a second wind. Already their pro-Congressional Democrat line was foundering on the shoals of reality. Their hopes the Congressional Democrats would grow a spine and stop the wars were dwindling. Despite the improved electoral performance of Democrats in 2006 and in 2008, a bigger presence of Democrats in Congress did not stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What Exactly Is the Ultra Right?

The line has trouble pinning down what the "ultra right" is. As everyone knows, the terms "right" and "left" and, later by extension, ultra right and ultra left, arose in the French Revolution. Originally signifying the relative position of political factions in the French National Assembly, they are terms denoting the relative radicalism of political tendencies along a spectrum. They are a convenient shorthand, and widely used by all writers.

The ultra right is a relation, not a thing. It is an adverb ("right") modified by an adjectival prefix borrowed from Latin ("ultra"). The ultra right's use as a noun may seem to suggest that it is a thing.

But the word is neither precise nor stable. For example, to make left-center-right language useful in the Party's trade union work, it was necessary to define left, right and center in terms of issues: anti-Communism, racism, and class collaborationism.

"Ultra right" is not even a useful name for a stable, reactionary section of the ruling class. Its composition is not stable. True, one can discern in a few sectors, such oil and arms making companies, predictable supporters of a more aggressive US foreign policy.

The 2005 Party convention which wrote into the Party Program the "unity against the "ultra right" line, declared: The ultra-right is dominated by the most reactionary sectors of the transnational monopolies. The ultra-right includes the military-industrial complex, the oil and energy industries, and pharmaceuticals. It also includes sections of the high tech industry; finance capital, and massive manufacturing and distributive giants, such as Wal-Mart.

The present Administration also serves these sectors, and as a result it receives their political support and campaign donations.

For some reason the Party literature names Big Pharma as a component of the ultra right. Why? This industry may be a foe of health care reform, but it hardly has an objective interest in a more aggressive foreign policy, like arms makers and oil companies, or in a more brutal policy to workers and unions.

What is the ultra right, or far right? Bourgeois writers cannot agree. Their definitions are arbitrary and subjective.

The present US Administration, as noted above, is doing many if not most things that the CPUSA line has called "ultra right." Is the Obama Administration part of the ultra right? If so, it is illogical and self-contradictory to support it.

The definition is unstable through time. For example, historically, the same class has taken different political positions on the spectrum. German finance capital supported the Hitler dictatorship in 1933-45, the Adenauer-Erhard conservative regime in the 1950s, and the Willy Brandt Social Democrats in the 1960s, depending on its political requirements.

Lenin suggested a solution. The main duality within the ruling class that Lenin noted was two systems of rule. One particular method of rule was the use of coercion rather than consent, its normal method. One set of policies emanating from ruling class based on coercion are relatively more harsh and extreme than other ruling class policies based on consent.

...in every country the bourgeoisie inevitably devises two systems of rule, two methods of fighting for its interests and of maintaining its domination, and these methods at times succeed each other and at times are interwoven in various combinations. The first of these is the method of force, the method which rejects all concessions to the labor movement, the method of supporting all the old and obsolete institutions, the method of irreconcilably rejecting reforms. Such is the nature of the conservative policy which in Western Europe is becoming less and less a policy of the landowning classes and more and more one of the varieties of bourgeois policy in general. The second is the method of "liberalism", of steps towards the development of political rights, towards reforms, concessions, and so forth. The bourgeoisie passes from one method to the other not because of the malicious intent of individuals, and not accidentally, but owing to the fundamentally contradictory nature of its own position.

Why an Extra Stage?

The line adds a stage of struggle on the path to socialism, an "anti-ultra right" stage that precedes the anti-monopoly stage. No other Communist party in the developed capitalist world — that is, no other CP in comparable circumstances – does the same.

Of course, it is not the concept of two stages that is problematic. Famously, Lenin explained the need for a two-stage revolution in Tsarist Russia with his homely metaphor of the two heaps of rubbish. "Imagine that I have to remove two heaps of rubbish from my yard. I have only one cart and no more than one heap can be removed in one cart. What should I do?" It should be borne in mind that Lenin referred to two distinct classes, first feudal landed property would be removed. Then, next, capitalist exploiters.

What is the great US political emergency that required the climb-down, the addition of a new stage? Is there some special US circumstance, comparable to the triumph of fascism in Germany in 1933, which in its day required the switch to the Popular Front? We are not told.

Dimitrov saw through the ploy long ago. In his day, just as the CPUSA leaders are doing today, opportunism was trying to evade class struggle by adding a stage to the revolutionary path. Dimitrov exposed the opportunist motive of adding a "stage." He wrote:

Fifteen years ago Lenin called upon us to focus all our attention on "searching out forms of transition of approach to the proletarian revolution."...

The right opportunists on the other hand have tried to establish a special democratic intermediate stage lying between the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of the proletariat, for the purpose of instilling into the workers the illusion of peaceful parliamentary passage from the one dictatorship to the other. This fictitious intermediate stage they have also called a transitional form and even quoted Lenin's words."

The purpose of the added stage today is to put the CPUSA in the service of the Democratic Party. It avoids the difficult task of leading the building of the anti-monopoly coalition.

However, the inconsistencies involved in simply cooking up a new stage are apparent in one interesting omission. If the anti-monopoly coalition line is against monopoly capital and if the Popular Front line is against fascism, what is "unity against the ultra right" line against?

One Party leader, to his credit sensing a gap in the argument, tried to answer the question. He searched for a noun, and came up with "conservative authoritarianism." His idea gained no traction.

The Main Enemy and Political independence The analysis of the new main enemy, the ultra right, is carried out with no reflection on previous CPUSA positions, which declared monopoly capital to be the main enemy, and political independence from that enemy to be a central goal.

For example, in the 1970s Party program, the main enemy was monopoly capital. Also, that program declared, "The historic challenge that faces labor therefore is to assert its political independence, to break out of the monopoly controlled two-party system." When the party helped to launch Trade Unionists for Action and Democracy (TUAD) in May 1970 at its founding convention, TUAD pledged to work to build political independence.

In 1984 the program refined the name of the enemy and referred to "The Enemy: State Monopoly Capitalism."

Instead, in the 2005 Program, the new ultra right "main enemy" is abstractly deduced from the alleged features of the current era. Its emergence is simply a matter of alleged "fact."

The Two-Party System Instead of seeing the two-party system as a trap to escape, as Communists have done since 1919, the line seeks to work the system, to wield it as instrument of progress.

Marxism has been studying the US two-party system a long time. As early as 1891, Frederick Engels, with President Benjamin Harrison in the White House, stressed the similarity of the Democratic and Republican parties:

And nevertheless we find here [in America] two great gangs of political speculators, who alternately take possession of the state power and exploit it by the most corrupt means and for the most corrupt ends, and the nation is powerless against these two great cartels of politicians, who are ostensibly its servants, but in reality exploit and plunder it.

Counterfeit Dimitrovism

The line, embodying an erroneous estimate, overstates the threat from the ultra right.

All of modern history teaches that a monopoly capitalist ruling class resorts to fascism – the open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinist, most imperialist section of finance capital – only when it can no longer rule by normal, peaceful, consensual methods.

The US ruling class is no such existential crisis.

On the contrary, US monopoly rulers are getting mostly everything they want. They can rule by the two-party system. They have no need to turn to fascism.

In other ways, the line, misrepresenting facts, is a muddled analogy to the Popular Front line of the mid 1930s. Dimitrov, the head of the Communist International never called for the support of one "wing" of a fascist ruling class, against another putative non-fascist "wing." He called for Communists to work for an expansion of the mass base of the united front of the working class (Communist and social democrats) to include middle strata and petty bourgeoisie, to deprive the fascists of growing mass support among such intermediate classes.

The Dimitrov line was a call for widening the popular struggle, from a united front of the working class to an even broader formation, a popular front of all non-monopoly classes. It was not a call to make an opportunist peace with part of the German ruling class.

In Communist political strategy, it should be possible to specify the main class forces at each stage of the road to socialism and to identify clearly the boundaries of succeeding stages. For the proponents of the present line, however, in their confused view of the future, the present stage is forever.

Dimitrov did not say it is the task of the Communists to organize any non-fascist section of the ruling class. Even more, it is not the job of the Communist to take their lead from such ruling class elements.

True, Dimitov's classic definition implied that not every member of the financial oligarchy wanted fascism, but he did not call for an alliance with such ruling class elements, but for the expansion of the United Front beyond the working class to include intermediate strata, the urban middle class and peasants, a fertile soil source of recruits to fascist parties.

"Ultra Right" Monopoly and Its Mass Base

The "ultra right" ruling class, prepared to rule by coercion, is an enemy of progress, to be sure.

The mass base – in and of itself — is not fascism. The real danger of fascism arises when a desperate ruling class mobilizes such backward currents to impose a dictatorship. In the US, fascist ideology would likely be a toxic mix of racism, anti-Communism, hatred of immigrants, gays, Muslims, Jews, etc. deployed to mobilize a mass base for the establishment of an open, terrorist dictatorship.

Reactionary mass opinion and sentiment are not hard to define, though they are hard to measure. The bogeyman of the CPUSA leaders is nothing new. As a current of mass opinion, some say it represents about 20 percent of the US population. It waxes and wanes with the fluctuations of the economy. It is waxing now. When it was in the Democratic Party, it was called the "Solid South." In 1948 it found expression in the so called "Dixiecrats," but since the late 1960s, as the civil right struggle impacted the Democratic Party, the base has step by step oozed into the Republican Party.

The mass base of the ultra right is not wholly regional in nature. Racism, religious fundamentalism and other forms of backwardness can be found in places other than the white South.

The ultra right current was seen, for example, in the decade after the 1919 Palmer Raids, the resurgent mass KKK that lynched Blacks and hated immigrants and Catholics, and Jews. In the 1930s it was the pro-fascists (Father Coughlin; Lindbergh and the America First Committee; the German American Bund). In the 1950s anti-Communist hysteria, it was the McCarthyites in Washington and their allies. In the 1960s it was the John Birch Society, as well as the movements backing Goldwater and George Wallace. In the 1970s and 1980s it was the militia movements.

Today it is the listeners riled up by the rants of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. It is the supporters of the "Tea Party" movement, a problematic mass base that makes for conflict in the Republican Party. The "Tea Party" influence, as in the past, is amplified by the corporate media.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has written: The underlying conflict [between Tea Partiers and corporate Republicans] lies deep in the nature and structure of the Republican Party. And its roots are very old. ... Today's Tea Party is less an ideological movement than the latest incarnation of an angry white minority - predominantly Southern, and mainly rural - that has repeatedly attacked American democracy in order to get its way.

It's no mere coincidence that the states responsible for putting the most Tea Party representatives in the House are all former members of the Confederacy. Of the Tea Party caucus, twelve hail from Texas, seven from Florida, five from Louisiana, and five from Georgia, and three each from South Carolina, Tennessee, and border-state Missouri.

Others are from Border States with significant Southern populations and Southern ties. The four Californians in the caucus are from the inland part of the state or Orange County, whose political culture has, was shaped by Oklahomans and Southerners who migrated there during the Great Depression.

This isn't to say all Tea Partiers are white, Southern or rural Republicans - only that these characteristics define the epicenter of Tea Party Land."

Who Is Being Sectarian?

Boasting that it is anti-sectarian and flexible, and implying that it overcomes the sectarianism of earlier CPUSA strategy, in fact, the line promotes the sectarian isolation of the Party. It doesn't bother to cite any evidence of  CPUSA sectarianism in earlier anti-monopoly Party programs, sectarianism that presumably had to be overcome by the new line.

In fact, the current party line has led to the sectarian isolation of the CPUSA. Sectarianism means to work in a way that excludes others, excludes potential allies. It is policy that leads to isolation. It is a style of work that does not seek to reach out, influence others, make allies, and draw them into joint struggle.

The line has even isolated the party from popular opinion. What do the US people think? Is our only enemy the ultra right, defined as the GOP?

The people's movements seem to think otherwise: our main enemy is Wall Street, which both parties serve. Witness the explosion of support for Occupy Wall Street.

In the dismal summer of 2011, when both monopoly parties stumbled over each other proclaiming that "deficit" and "debt" — not mass unemployment and inequality – were the main US problems to be remedied by austerity and privatization, Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots were the mass response.

The line isolates the CP from the international Communist movement. No other Communist party posits an "anti-ultra right stage" preceding an anti-monopoly stage. How incongruous, that at the world meetings of the international Communist movement when all the other parties are embattled by US imperialism, all alone, the CPUSA delegate speaks of the Party's common ground with the US Administration.

The line isolates us from center forces, not only the rest of the Marxist left. For example, recent CPUSA National Board meeting notes complained that, at the March 2012 Left Forum, largely a social democratic affair, there was too much "sectarian" criticism of Obama and the Democrats. It seems academic social reformists now are to the left of the CPUSA leadership.

Class Collaboration Instead of Political Independence Communists are supposed to wage the class struggle. But the CPUSA line represents unconditional support for a monopoly capitalist party, the Democrats.

Why is building political independence of monopoly parties all-important? Communists believe the destiny of the working class, its historical mission, is to "win the battle of democracy" in the words of the Communist Manifesto, and to become the ruling class building the new society, socialism.

At the present moment in US history, the two-party monopoly system prevails. The working class is trapped in this binary system. The task of revolutionaries is to get the class out of the trap, not to think up reasons to leave it in the trap.

Like all political parties, the Democratic Party has a class character. It is a party of monopoly capital. The party's big funders come from the financial oligarchy. Its leading cadre and its elected officials objectively, consciously or not, serve it. They think and act within the confines of monopoly's class interests. They are rewarded and promoted accordingly, by monopoly capital, directly or indirectly, financially or politically.

President Obama was the main recipient of Wall Street donations, including Goldman Sachs donations, in 2008 and so far in 2012.

True, the two parties have a different mass bass, which accounts for the few differences between them.

It is shocking that the present CPUSA line of electoral politics mirrors that of right social democracy — SDUSA — as George Meyers pointed out long ago. He quotes Bayard Rustin, "...SDUSA believes in working within the framework of the Democratic Party – the party of trade unionists, minorities, liberals and youth."

Needed: a Return to a Measured, Sophisticated Electoral Policy

For example, it remains true that at the humbler levels of political life, where monopoly influence is weaker, some Democrats take a positive stand. For example, in Wisconsin last year some Democratic state legislators had the moxy to go into hiding to avoid giving Wisconsin Republicans a quorum for a legislative anti-worker victory. We can work with such Democrats.

Higher up the food chain, it's another story. In 2011, the Democratic President caved to Wall Street pressure and put the big social insurance systems, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, "on the table." These are precious working-class gains from the New Deal and the 1960s. No modern Democratic President had the audacity to do this before.

On foreign policy there is almost no difference between the two monopoly parties. Continuity marked the shift from Bush to Obama foreign policy. This is understandable. At the national level, both parties are dominated by Big Banking, Big Insurance, Big Oil, the Pentagon, the Israel Lobby and other reactionary forces. To be sure, Democratic rhetoric is usually less bellicose. But, by some counts, Obama has started more wars than Bush did.

Therefore, the classical political formulations used by the CPUSA for many decades remain correct: "there are no basic differences between the two monopoly parties. There are tactical differences. The difference between them is their assignment in carrying out the same tasks. That difference has always been there. It is not new."

History Has Already Passed Judgment Ten years on, the line has proven ineffective; in fact, it is counterproductive. This line has been operative since shortly after 2000, i.e., well more than ten years. The line has not weakened the right or the ultra right, or finance capital.

It is, however weakening the CPUSA and the people's movements. Has the Party gotten stronger? Is the Party less isolated? Is it united? Is it growing? Has the mass movement achieved its goals or is it in process of doing so?

Practice is the test of theory, Marxism holds. Ever since the election of Richard Nixon as president in 1968, the country has moved pretty steadily to the right, including in the last decade when this CPUSA line has been in effect.

Every Republican president has been more conservative than the one before, and every Democratic president from Carter to Clinton to Obama, despite election-year rhetoric, has embraced most of the neo-liberal agenda, pursued imperialist wars abroad, and turned his back again and again on the needs of workers, the poor, and people of color.

The Republican Party did not suddenly spawn an ultra right current. It was in US politics already, in the Democratic Party. Moreover, the ultra right is not the new fact that has caused the center of political gravity in US politics to move rightward.

That shift is a result of two other historic causes, internal and external. Internally, the success of neoliberalism – that reassertion of monopoly class power, symbolized by Thatcherism and Reaganism — from 1980 until the 2007-8 crisis. Neoliberalism's triumph ended the "postwar era," 1945-1980. It ended concessions to the working class, and weakened the "welfare state."

Two, externally, the rightward drift grew more marked after the 1989-91 downfall of European socialism which strengthened the right and demoralized, confused and weakened the Communist left, including the CPUSA.

More False Theories

The line is based on false theories, as well as faulty estimates. The CPUSA line comes close to a claim of two ruling classes, one good and one bad. Though not stated in so many words, the two ruling class "sections" or "trends" are quite distinct. They are found in different industries or economic sectors. They vary in "realism." They disagree with one another, and they each support different parties.

A key assertion of the line is that the Democrats represent the "more realistic" wing of the US ruling class. This assertion would have made sense before 1989-91. It is doubtful now. Isn't greater upper class aggressiveness against working people realistic nowadays, with no socialist camp and a weak domestic left? It is realistic, which is why it is happening.

Of course, the popular movement and our party must take tactical advantage of differences in the ruling class. If history is a guide, such struggles for independence will cause the Democrats to swerve leftward, not the opposite.

How Grave a Threat? What Determines Gravity of Threat?

The "ultra right" is not more fearsome today than in yesteryear. Bush was bolder and more extreme than Reagan, or than Goldwater, primarily because there was no socialist camp to fetter him.

There is no historical or current evidence for such a dramatic split in the ruling class suggested by the CPUSA line. The Obama Administration has demonstrated — not its differences from the Bush-Cheney Administration — but its similarities. The continuity of the foreign policy of both Administrations is obvious.

The line has massive hidden costs. Working for the Democrats the line implies no building of political independence at a historical moment of mass upsurge, spontaneous struggle (Occupy), youth radicalization, renewed interest in Marxism, protest of racial injustice, worker discontent, trade union militancy, and the shedding of mass illusions about capitalism.

Tragically, while the class struggle and other struggles sharpen, the CPUSA leadership is rowing in behind the Democrats.

The line fails to seize the time and to give a lead to the union movement on what it should do at a moment when worker disgust at the two-party system is at a historic high. Real Communist leadership is desperately needed. The AFL-CIO bureaucracy, bereft of new ideas, despite the blows and betrayals inflicted on unions by the Administration, has voted to endorse it.

The line damages the Party. It ensures no growth of the CPUSA at a moment of mass radicalization. By turning the CPUSA into a cheerleader for the Democrats, the leadership has taken away a main reason for newly radicalized people to join.

The line repudiates the whole of CPUSA history, except for Browderism, which it replicates. "The historic error of social democracy is trailing behind the big bourgeoisie," wrote William Z. Foster in 1946, after the Browder debacle of Party liquidation. The present line of the CPUSA, essentially social reformist, repeats the Browder error: trailing an illusory "liberal" monopoly bourgeoisie whose political expression is now said to be the Obama Administration. Obama and the Democrats – we are asked to believe – are the voice of the liberal big bourgeoisie, our rampart against the "ultra right."

The line is not a new blunder or even native to the US. It represents an old mistake, the Liberal-Labor policy of British trade unions. Lenin criticized the willingness of British trade unionists to settle for crumbs from the British Liberal Party, instead of creating their own mass party.

The CPUSA has a splendid history of supporting the building of working class political independence. In 1886, the Socialist Labor Party, a Marxist precursor of the Party, supported Henry George for New York City mayor. The CP itself, after a sectarian misstep in not supporting the LaFollette movement in 1924, went on to correct its error and supported the CIO-PAC, the American Labor Party (1930s-1940s), and the Progressive Party (1948).

In the McCarthy era and after, CP activists quietly worked to build many regional independent formations. And, of course, the Party ran its own candidates in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, and 1984.

Even in 1964, though the GOP right wing led by Senator Barry Goldwater captured control of the whole Republican Party, the CPUSA did not endorse his "lesser evil" opponent, President Lyndon Johnson, even though it was aware many Black people would vote for him, given his positive civil rights record.

The line worsens racism. Admittedly, at first glance, this is a startling and paradoxical claim, given the current president's racial background and given the hideous racism so on display in the Republican primaries. Nevertheless it is true.

Racism is not mainly a set of subjective attitudes. It is not merely bigotry. Racism is rooted in the political economy of US monopoly capitalism, and rooted in US history, institutions, and material reality. Racism is expressed in racial inequality. Under this Administration, inequality in all forms is growing by leaps and bounds. The corporate ruling class has an objective interest – super profits — in maintaining and extending inequality. Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford has written:

"A rising tide lifts all boats," Obama told a Black reporter at the 100-day mark of his presidency. Obama has since caused the tides to rise dramatically for his banker friends, whose fortunes have soared to obscene new heights through infusions of trillions of public dollars, while a bipartisan austerity is the prevailing order for the rest of us. For three years, with every resource at his command, Obama has resisted mandatory measures against home foreclosures, resulting in the collapse of countless Black neighborhoods and decimation of the Black middle class. Obama has been remarkably consistent in his steadfast service to the banks, having opposed moratoriums on foreclosures since early 2008, while still a candidate, even as presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and John Edwards backed voluntary and mandatory halts on foreclosures, respectively.

The conclusion is inescapable: if the CPUSA is calling for support of this Administration's policies, then the CPUSA line is abetting racism. It is a bitter irony that some Party leaders are prepared to call left critics of the US Administration abettors of racism.

The line is opportunist. Opportunism is the sacrifice of long-term, basic principle for immediate, often personal advantage. Opportunism is usually recognized by its abandonment of struggle, taking the easy way out.

It is absurd to think that CP support of the Democrats makes a difference to the Democrats, as if the CP vote or members – a few hundred at best — could alter the outcome.

What motivates it then? It is not merely a theoretical error. For all too many, becoming a drop in the Democratic Party ocean is an easy way out. Lip service to industrial concentration will now suffice. There will be no need to build the Party in the industrial working class.

With this opportunist line, there is no need to fight the Obama Administration. A cyber news journal is a way of avoiding the necessity of producing a costly, real newspaper made of real paper and to get up early to hand it out to real workers at a shop gate.

If one abandons the fight for political independence, one can evade the hard work of alliance-making with other left parties and independents, not to mention the hassle of canvassing on a hot August day for signatures for Communist candidates.

The electoral line of the CPUSA, the seeking of a safe haven in the arms of the Democratic Party, is one reflection of its demoralization and confusion, one of its many concessions to bourgeois ideology. Trying to cover their tracks, the CPUSA leaders have portrayed their rightward move as an updated Popular Front.

Objective trends, however, are not helping the prevarication embedded in the CPUSA line. One of the causes of the rightward move in US politics – neoliberalism — has been dealt a mighty blow since 2008. Even more important, economic hardship has sharpened the class struggle. Illusions have been torn away. The two-party monopoly is losing its grip on the US people. The preconditions for the US working class to break out of the two-party trap are ripening.

A big roadblock remains, however, the weak, leaderless, and confused US left. Hence, the high stakes in defeating the CPUSA leadership's line.

Why Is the Line Still Convincing?

Why, then, is the "unity against the ultra right" line still convincing to anyone?

First, the line sometimes has a semblance of common sense. In this Republican primary season, tens of millions have seen on TV the crackpot GOP hopefuls pandering to the most backward sections of the US people. It is painful to watch. It can be frightening. "The GOP is much worse," is the instant cry. It's a plausible enough sound bite to win knee-jerk assent.

Second, noticeably, the defense of the present line is no longer done by argument. It can't stand up to rational scrutiny. Rather, it's done by pointing with frantic alarm at the reactionary opinions of Palin, Perry, Cain, Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum, and the like.

Third, a key justification is that President Obama by virtue of his identity couldn't want the outcome he actually produces. "The right wing made him do it," say his apologists, including those in the CP. His background — occupational (ex-community organizer) and racial — is held up as proof positive of noble intentions and sympathy with the oppressed.

The facts tell a different story. In his first two years, he was free to keep his promises and help the US people. He chose not to do so. There is reliable evidence he is fully conscious of the Wall Street interests he is serving. For example, according to progressive journalist Laura Flanders, in March 2009 the president said to bankers, memorably, "My Administration is the only thing standing between you and pitchforks."

In arguing for the CP line its supporters assert, falsely, that there is no alternative. They even appeal to the self-discipline of veteran Communists, implying that only they have the tenacity to keep the real strategic enemy in view. The rising criticism of the US Administration and of the Democratic Party among social democrats and unions is denounced as "sectarianism" by CPUSA leaders.

Conclusion

There is another, better way to fight our class enemy, monopoly capital, in all its incarnations.

There is a political line that can replace the dead-end, failed, decade-old, "unity against the ultra right line," which amounts to trailing behind the corporate Democrats.

Restore the Party's historic policy. The main enemy is the monopoly capitalist ruling class, all of it. While still working with progressives and independents who fight corporate power, the main task of Communists is to build the political independence of the union movement — and all the people's movements — from the two parties of monopoly.

A prominent labor educator recently proposed,
The union movement can start to build its own independent political voice, divorced from both Democrats and Republicans. With some 16 million members in its ranks in cities and towns across the country, it represents, potentially, a powerful political force that can criticize or support the Obama administration, whenever it so decides.

The CPUSA, with its rich experience and, with the exception of a few leaders, its class understanding of politics, could lead the union movement on that path. It will be a long, arduous struggle, but it leads to socialism.

But it can't be done while the Party is saddled with this harmful line. The present line is not the road to Socialism USA. It is the road to nowhere.
 

Endnotes

[1] One example of over-the-top euphoria: 2008 What a Year for Labor!  "Talk about a sea change. A President-elect who actually walks on  picket lines rather than busts unions. Unprecedented independent labor political action that arguably made the difference in changing the direction of our country. Stunning victories at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel, North Carolina, at Republic Windows in Chicago, and Boeing in Seattle. New higher levels of labor unity – it's been a long time since the whole labor movement has been so united on a presidential candidate. The most unifying and far-reaching discussion in labor of racism as a central block to working class and trade union unity since the 1930's. And important new steps towards a truly international labor movement." Labor Upfront Newsletters, December 30, 2008.

[2] Bertell Ollman,  Alienation Marx's Conception of Man in Capitalist Society,  Cambridge UK, CUP, 1971,  5.

[3] V.A. Malinin, et al. eds. The Fundamentals of Marxist-Leninist Philosophy  (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1974), 352.

[4] Marxism-Leninism Today web site. <www.mltoday.com> See statements by Greek, Mexican, German and Canadian Communists.

[5] In official documents the CPUSA declares its role to be "of service" to the people's movements. It has dropped the struggle to be a vanguard party. It has distanced the Party from 20th century socialism. Taken together, these amount to unstated evolution toward a Eurocommunist understanding of party organization. The national chairman goes further and advocates a fully social reformist form of organization.  Some of its key staff are frank social democrats. Some push for a Party name change. The national chair dislikes the word "Leninism," believing it to be foreign-sounding.

[6] The Road to Socialism USA: Peace, Jobs Equality, 2005

[7] The Road to Socialism USA, 61.

[8] Many of these ten suggestions for independence within the Democratic Party, advocated by the unions under the current reformist leadership, have already failed. For example, the trade unionist elected head of the New Jersey State Senate, (a Democrat and a building trades official, Iron Workers), led the attack on public sector unions in 2011.

[9] Henry Winston "The Politics of Peoples Action," New Outlook Publishers, February 1972. 48. He wrote: "It is clear that a people's party, which would be the leading expression of a mass breakaway from the two parties of capitalism, while expressing a high degree of independence, is not yet an antimonopoly coalition developed to the point of an anti-monopoly party developed to the point of an anti-monopoly party as formulated in our Party program." The present 2005 Party program completely muddles these clear distinctions made by Winston.

[10] Gus Hall, "For Independence from the One Class, Two Party System, " Political Affairs, September 1976, 8-9.

[11] Otto Kuusinen et al., Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, 1963, Foreign Languages Publishing Hose, 346.

[12] G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America? (Englewood  Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hall,  1967) Chapter  1, "The American Upper Class,"  on differences and cohesion in the US ruling class.

[13] "… it is generally agreed among Marxist that  dialectics has to do with  understanding things  in their interrelations  and changes, as opposed to  the "metaphysical" way of considering  things separately, out of relationship and in abstraction from changes. " Maurice Cornforth, Marxism and the Linguistic Philosophy, "The Laws of Thought,"  (NY :International Publishers, 1971) 292.

[14] Maurice Cornforth, Materialism and the Dialectical Method, 106.

[15] The author is grateful to trade union comrades for this list.

[16] G. Dimitrov "Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class against Fascism   Aug 2, 1935, 48. In The United Front, People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1971.

[17] The Road to Socialism, USA.  Unity for Peace, Democracy, Jobs and Equality. Program of the Communist Party USA.  July 2, 2005. 48.

[18]  The Road to Socialism, USA.  Unity for Peace, Democracy, Jobs and Equality. Program of the Communist Party USA.  July 2, 2005.

[19] In standard dictionaries "ultra right" can mean anti–immigration and anti-integration stances, elitism, oppression , genocide against people on the basis of their alleged inferiority, authoritarianism, nativism, racism ,xenophobia, nationalism, religious fundamentalism, reaction, fascism and neo-Nazism.

[20] Lenin, "Differences in the European Labor Movement," 1910. Marxist Internet Archive.

[21]  Quoted in Konstantin Zaradov, Leninism and Contemporary Problems of the Transition from Capitalism to Socialism  (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972), 156.

[22] "Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class against Fascism."   August 2, 1935, 63. The United Front.

[23] Sam Webb, "What Is This Beast?" People's World.

[24] George Morris, "Labor and Politics, the Fight for Independence," Political Affairs, November, 1971, 48.

[25] New Program of Communist Party USA May 1970, "Political Independence: Key Need," 50-51.

[26] The Road to Socialism, USA  Unity for Peace, Democracy, Jobs and Equality. Program of the Communist Party USA.  Chapter 4. "Unity Against the Ultra Right." July 2, 2005. 46.

[27] Engels, in 1891. After 1877, when the Republican Party abandoned reconstruction of the South, the two major parties grew closer. Arguably, the Republican Party remained the less reactionary of the two. In 1891, the main regional base of the Democratic Party was whites in the former  Confederacy, the "Solid South." The Democratic Party's other main base, which became dominant by the 1920s,  was the urban machines of the big Northern cities.

About twenty years later, Lenin, also a student of the US two-party system, added: "After the emancipation of the Negroes the difference between the one and the other party became even smaller. The struggle of these parties was conducted predominantly over the question of higher or lower customs tariffs. This struggle had no serious significance whatever for the masses of the people. The people were deceived, diverted from their essential interests by means of affected and meaningless duels of the two bourgeois parties. This so-called 'two-party system' reigning in America and in England, was one of the most powerful means of hindering the rise of an independent workers' party, that is, a real socialist party."

[28] "Right-wing Hate Groups Exploding in Size and Reach, " Spring 2012, Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center<<http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/the-year-in-hate-and-extremism>

[30] Robert Reich, "Why the Republican Crackup is Bad for America." http://robertreich.org/post/14535718993

[31] www.OpenSecrets.org

[32] George Meyers, "The Role of Right Social Democracy," Political Affairs, September 1975, 42.

[33] "Independence and Coalition -- the Communist View." Si Gerson, Political Affairs, December 1979, 8.

[34] www.aflcio.org

[35] Foster et al., Marxism-Leninism versus Revisionism, 1946.

[36] Historically, inside and outside the Democratic Party, the CPUSA has worked for political independence in a sophisticated way, on many levels. In the New Deal, the Party supported independent political action within the New Deal coalition, e.g., while it simultaneously aided the birth and growth of the American Labor Party and other regional and local independent formations and candidacies. From September 1939 to June 1941 the Party broke with Roosevelt's New Deal coalition over foreign policy, viewing the war in Europe as an imperialist war, whose class character radically changed after the Nazi assault on the USSR.  P. Dennis, "Independent Political Action, " Political Affairs, December 1971, 47.

[37] In 1968, Charlene Mitchell and Michael Zagarell; in 1972, Gus Hall and Jarvis Tyner; in  1976, Gus Hall and Jarvis Tyner; in 1980, Gus Hall and Angela Davis; in 1984,Gus Hall and Angela Davis.

[38] "Labor and the Menace of Goldwaterism," George Morris, 1964, 19.

[39] Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report.

[40] According to Jarvis Tyner, "I think Obama could have fought harder on many instances, but I also think when the racism was pouring down like acid rain polluting the atmosphere, and staining the political and moral fabric of the nation, the left was amazingly unresponsive. Too many times I heard people say it was Obama's fault for not fighting back. But the movement could have fought back. Blaming Obama makes it seem that the attacks are acceptable. Is that a principled position? For me, it's a form of capitulation to the extreme right and racism." Jarvis Tyner, Dec. 22, 2010.  This dismaying statement smears left-wing critics of Obama by accusing them of the racism of the ultra right.

[41] In January 2012 Fidel Castro aptly called the Republican primaries "the biggest competition between ignorance and idiocy the world has everseen."<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/fidel-castro-republican-race_n_1230930.html>>.

[42] Laura Flanders  http://www.thenation.com/blog/155823/lessons-elizabeth-warren

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