On Clinton and the Communist Party

Charlotte Kates ckates at mosquito.com
Fri Aug 9 00:10:44 MDT 1996

        Thank you, Louis, for your thoughtful post. As a fellow CPUSA
member, I must say that I agree and disagree, but in a much more
insignificant way, with your post. I disagree only in that it seems that it
is my duty as a member of the Party, to support the Party's electoral line
for 1996, and that this is my responsibility which I voluntarily accepted at
the time I joined the Party, with my adherence to the Party Constitution's
advocacy of democratic centralism.

        But there is a question which faces all of us--especiallly those of
us in the CPUSA--today--after the welfare bill, what? After Clinton
willingly participated in a fascistic, murderous Republican plan, after he
announced he would sign, we can pressure him to veto. We can pressire and
pressure him but Clinton has proved time and time again that he has
absolutely no concern for progressive pressure, which is quite fitting in
respect to his obvious disregard to racially and nationally oppressed
peoples, the poor, women, gays and lesbians, the environment, the people
struggling for liberation around the world. He is belligerent toward
Socialist Cuba and friendly with Suharto's Indonesia. After all, what really
can we expect from any capitalist president.

        As always, not much. However, Clinton has proved not to be the
liberal many mistook him for. Liberalism isn't a solution for the problems
of capitalism--only socialism is. But their reforms can help to alleviate
some of the misery caused by the profiteering, privateering system. Clinton,
however, is a president in the Reagan-Bush mold.

        No, he's not worth our time. No, he's probably not worth our votes
either. But the problem gets worse from there--if not Clinton, who? Ralph
Nader may seem the obvious choice--but is he? After all, he has refused to
take a definitive stand against racism and sexism, and dismissed gay and
lesbian concerns as "gonadal politics".Sure, he has a record of activism.
And yes, he seems much better than Clinton. But even so, is he worth our votes?

        I can't think of one Party member who is truly enthusiastic about
supporting Clinton. If they were, it would be rather incompatible with
Communism. All public statements are now anti-Dole. You'd be hard-pressed to
find anything truly pro-Clinton. This isn't a policy anyone loves. And at
convention time, when Clinton was vetoing Republican measures, when we
thought once again that left presure could sway him, it didn't even seem a
topic for debate.

        And now, of course it is. Clinton seems to begetting worse and worse
as his tenure continues. From fascistic repressive "anti-terrorism" bills to
anti-gay, heterosexist "Defense of Marriage" acts to this latest
development, it's quite safe to say that Clinton isn't on the left.

        And it's quite safe to say he will do nothing for the people. And
our Communist Party should never, *never* be beholden to any representative
of the bourgeoisie. I don't think we are beholden to Clinton.

        It's a practical measure, pure and simple. As Louis says,
>Many in our Party's
>leadership feel with some justification that a second Clinton term would
>mean better federal court appointments,  a less belligerent policy toward
>Cuba,  less sweeping cuts in Social Security,  a friendlier climate for
>labor,  less retrenchment on civil rights, and so on and so forth.    They
>point to a Republican Congress untrammeled by a Democratic Executive, and
>thus free to bring the country lurching even further to the right.

It is about opposing the right. But when Clinton goes further and further to
the right himself, is supporting him going to do any good against the right
wing? It seems it would just be helping them. There will be people out
there, many people, ofthen not members of the Party, voting for Clinton for
one reason and one only--because it is the Party's position. And if it is
the Party's position come November, I will do the same.

        It won't be something anyone will relish.

        And it is a severe dilemma--how can we defeat the Republicans,
oppose Clinton and support independent political action at the same time?
It's late to run a full-scale Communist candidacy, and after all, the
Convention decided against it. And no, supporting Harris or Moorehead is, at
least in my opinion, absolutely unacceptable. I think the leadership would

        Also, it seems that we thought we had settled this 5 years ago. One
of the main issues at the 25th convention, CPUSA, Dec.6-8, 1991, and the
tumultuous period preceding it was just this. And at that convention we
declared that for a Democrat to gain our support, he must, in Gus Hall's
words, "cross that class line". Clinton does not pass the test.

>Let us take our stated policy of unconditional defense of the working class,
>jettison its Democratic Party trappings, and return to our principles as
>laid down by William Foster and others, those of building the working class
>movement as an independent, revolutionary force, beholden to no bourgeois
>politician or interest, and answerable only to the workers we claim to

Of course. But it is not necessry to go back even so far as the time of our
great Comrade Foster. We need go back no further than the convention floor
at the Sheraton Center in 1991. we need reclaim no legacies but those of Gus
Hall and Evelina Alarcon, of Sam Webb and Jarvis Tyner, of Judith LeBlanc
and Mark Almberg, of Scott Marshall and Tim Wheeler, of Joe Sims and Carole
Marks. Yes, our current leadership. In 1991, they pointed the way. We need
to retake our positions. Those positions, the militancy of that convenmtion
was formed through struggle--unfortunately an inner-Party one. But with the
defeat of the "Initiative" faction, conciliationism was also defeated. It
was our leadership who led the way then, and I trust they can do it again.

        These are difficult and troubling questions that surround this
campaign. Comrade Louis has done an outstanding job in raising them. Now it
is up to us to seek the answers. And I am confident that they can and will
be found through our Party's struggles, as Louis says, in "shop floor, job
site, community center".

Comradely, Charlotte


    Charlotte L. Kates     ckates at mosquito.com        Collingswood, NJ

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