The Anatomy of Stalinism: The American Communist Party today by Mary-Alice Waters.
....the CP's policy is for members to seek
posts in the unions-not only as shop committee people and grievers, butofficial posts as high as they can go. They do not get elected on the basis of clearly explaining to the workers the limits of what can be accomplished by electing any given individual to a union office. Also, they are often not even known to their fellow workers as socialists who, as individuals, defend a whole range of political views.To the contrary, they soft-pedal their politics. Like other aspiring bureaucrats they tell the workers, "Elect me, I'll set you free."
Thus a CP member starts down the slippery slope of the union bureaucracy like any other petty office seeker who wants to get the "outs" in. The labor bureaucracy is expert at the art of corrupting promising potential leaders who engage in that kind of union politicking.
This is just the opposite of the Socialist
Workers Party's policy. SWP members in the unions seek to mobilize the ranks to fight for their own interests. We tell them that only they can open the way for labor to move forward. This doesn't exclude participating in union elections, of course. To the contrary. But that's useful only as part of building a movement of class-conscious union members.
Third, the CP's line in the unions is to build sectarian "rank and file" caucuses, which are invariably counterposed to the development of any real motion toward a class-struggle left wing. An example of this was the way the CP counterposed the National Steelworkers Rank and File Caucus to Steelworkers Fight Back. While formally supporting Ed Sadlowski's campaign for president of the Steelworkers, the Stalinists feared Sadlowski and the forces in motion around him. They thought he was too radical, too independent, too far ahead of the center bureaucrats. They thought he would isolate himself from the majority of the workers.
The one thing the CP fears most is the mobilization of the ranks of the labor movement. As real class forces begin to move, they can take an independent direction and develop a dynamic the CP cannot control. On this the CP has a profound feeling of psychological identity with the entire labor bureaucracy....
The Struggle for Black Liberation
....The Communist Party's opposition to the right of self-determination is a genuinely counter-revolutionary position for one simple reason. Unless the oppressed nationalities of this country are convinced that a workers government will guarantee the right to genuine self-determination for them, the forces necessary to assure the victory of the American socialist revolution can never be assembled....
Equal Rights Amendment
....In a letter to the Militant a few weeks ago, George Breitman posed a question. If 100,000 Blacks supported by numerous trade unions and other organizations had marched on Washington demanding equality, would the CP have been absent, even if they were critical of the demands raised? Breitman defied anyone to come up with an explanation for the CP's stance other than simple chauvinist bigotry towards women. I think he is correct.
But this still doesn't answer the question, why? Why is it so hard for the CP to make a shift on this question? Why is the resistance so strong?
Why is this true on all the issues related to women's rights? For example, the CP favors legalized abortion, but they are uncomfortable with the question. They don't like to raise it and avoid it like the plague. You have to go through months of the Daily World to find even one article about the fight for abortion rights. The answer lies in the central place women's liberation occupies in the socialist revolution.
The Stalinists have a deep fear of the independent and radical character of the struggle for women's liberation-radical in the original sense of the word: going to the roots....
....Year by year, we have steadily gained on our main opponent in the American labor movement.
One thing we know for sure. The mounting forces of world revolution are on our side.
We approach our competition with the CP, our fight to win the confidence, trust, and leadership of the American working class, without an ounce of sectarianism in our blood. Unlike the CP, we have no interests distinct from those of the international working class.
The fate of humanity is at stake. The hegemony of the Stalinist movement in the 1930s - the small size of the Trotskyist movement, and the success of the Stalinists in winning major influence in the American labor movement in that decade - derailed the movement for class independence and crippled the anticapitalist and antiwar forces. This paved the way for the imperialist slaughter of World War II.
Today, in the nuclear age, the stakes are
higher. But the odds in our favor, in favor of the survival of humanity, are better too.
We say it without bravado but with the deepest confidence: the Socialist Workers Party is a party equal to the challenge.