The Third International after Lenin

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CPUSA national leadership organizes an unprincipled Houston split

Some thoughts on recent CPUSA activities in Houston

By A. Shaw

John Bachtell and Juan Lopez, two national leaders of the CP, split the Houston club of the CP during their visit to Houston, Texas between June 29 and July 3, 2012. Before their arrival, Bachtell and Lopez were invited by the club's leader, Pat, to meet with the whole Houston club. But Bachtell and Lopez chose to go behind the club's back and meet individually with members and some non-members of the Houston Club.

Bachtell and Lopez formed a new club in Houston composed of some former members of the old club who defected to the new club and some non-members of the old club who joined the new club.

Tactically, Bachtell and Lopez may have blundered in their intrigue. They should have accepted Pat's invitation to meet with the whole Houston club and then asked the whole club to endorse the views of the national CP. As a result of their possible blunder, the former members of the old Houston club can no longer vote in the old club. Of course, non-members in the old club who just joined the new club can't vote in the old club.

Thus, the old club is now almost totally made up of advocates of proletarian democracy while this new club, created during Bachtell and Lopez' visit, is totally made up of proletarian oligarchs addicted to intrigue. The new club is a kind of local replica of the national CP. However, the national CP, unlike its newly-created local version, is a fossilized proletarian oligarchy.

After the split caused by the intrigue of Bachtell and Lopez, the old club met July 4. Six members showed up for that meeting. The vote was 5 opposed to dissolving the club with one abstention. The next vote was 6 opposed to surrendering the website with 0 in favor. The next vote was 6 opposed to surrendering the club dues with 0 in favor. Three members voted absentee to ratify the club's decisions arrived at on July 4. So, in practice as well as in theory, the old club has now at least nine members. Of these 9 members, 8 are opposed to dissolving the club and 9 are opposed to surrendering the website and/or the finances.

On July 4, the old club voted to disregard the intrigue of the two national CP leaders seeking to dissolve the old club and to set up a solitary new club in Houston. While affirming its own existence, the old club voted to recognize the new club as an entity of the CP even if the new club refuses to return the same courtesy to the old club. The old club on July 4 also voted for continued affiliation with the national CP although the national CP may not — for a while — recognize the old club in Houston.

In classic oligarchic style, on July 9, Bachtell emailed Pat to inform him that the National Board had decided to "drop" him from membership in the CPUSA. The e-mail further commanded Pat to turn over all party records and club dues to the newly formed, fully recognized Houston club.

A. Shaw, a member of the old Houston club, argues that intrigue by national CP leaders aiming (1) to remove Pat as chair of the old club and (2) to "drop" Pat from the CPUSA membership violates the principles of proletarian democracy and therefore the intrigue of the national office is null. Shaw argues the members of the Houston club elected the chair of the club. Thus, the chair was not selected by national leaders. Members of the Houston club have in fact elected Pat as the chair of the club and his term of service has not expired nor has he been removed by the members of the club. Indeed, the decisions, mentioned above, reached July 4 by the old club implicitly affirm Pat as chair. So, Pat remains chair of the old club.

As for as the dropping of Pat from the CPUSA is concerned, it is the view of the members of the old club that the national leaders of the CPUSA are unjustly retaliating against Pat chiefly for his exercise of his rights under the principle of freedom of expression which is fundamental to nascent proletarian democracy, to fading bourgeois democracy, and even to the duties of "each" CP member under Article VI, Section 2 of the constitution of the CP which declares:

Each member shall critically evaluate the work of the Party
collectives and his/her own activity, with the aim of improving
the work of the Party, its bodies, and his or her own activity.
The National Committee and leadership at all levels shall take
the initiative and give the lead for the development of the fullest
critical evaluation and self-evaluation in regard to improving its work.
(Article VI, Section 2)

Prompted by both the word and the spirit of proletarian democracy which is coming into being, the members of the old Houston club believe it is an unjust act for the CP to expel a member for his or her performance of a party duty — namely to "critically evaluate the work of the Party," as Art. VI, Sec. 2 requires.

So, this national CP in NYC may capriciously announce the dropping of Pat in Houston. Let national do so if it likes.

But Pat remains a member, with excellent standing, in the old Houston club of the CP.

In the spirit of proletarian democracy extolled by Marx, Engels, and Lenin, the old Houston club reaches out in solidarity with all clubs of the CP, especially those clubs which embrace the principle of proletarian democracy over troglodyte, fossilized proletarian oligarchy which afflicts all levels of the CP.

We in Houston have recently heard that the national office of the CP now officially refuses to recognize the old Houston club as an affiliate of CP. The old Houston club had anticipated this pettiness from the national.

Many CP clubs throughout the USA — which NYC still recognizes — complain that national recognition of their clubs results in no or, at best, only minimal benefits.

Evidently, the hardened remains of fossilized proletarian oligarchs in NYC can't tolerate the mere presence of proletarian democrats even as far away as Texas.

But proletarian democracy, first in the Party and later in the State, is here to stay.

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