[Marxism] Ohio CP Leader says CPUSA needs name change

jayroth6 jayroth6 at cox.net
Tue Sep 29 01:20:07 MDT 2009

Cleveland, Ohio was one of the first U.S. cities where militant supporters of the Socialist Party left wing began building a Leninist party in 1919 to emulate the Bolsheviks.  Clevelander Charles Ruthenberg, one of the first leaders of the Communist Party of America, served a prison sentence for anti-war speeches made in the city during World War One.  He was buried in Moscow.  Another future leader of the CPUSA, Gus Hall, first made his mark as an organizer with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee in northeast Ohio.


Another Ohio CPUSA leader is in the news today.  Longtime Ohio Communist Party leader Rick Nagin is in a run-off for a Cleveland City Council seat.  According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Nagin was one of two candidates to emerge from a contentious City Council primary in Cleveland's Ward 14 to notch his first political victory. 


"Nagin combined with Brian Cummins, whose Ward 15 seat was chopped in a council downsizing, to beat incumbent Joe Santiago, former Councilman Nelson Cintron Jr. and three others. A strong second-place finish earned Nagin a spot in a Nov. 3 runoff against Cummins. 

"The possibility of a Nagin win -- greater than ever before -- presents perhaps the most fascinating storyline in this fall's mayoral and council elections. If Nagin defeats Cummins, he will be the first known communist to serve on Cleveland's council, at least in recent memory. 


"The historical significance is not lost on Nagin, who would fulfill a goal he said was inspired in the 1970s by Communist Party USA standard-bearer Gus Hall. Yet at times in his latest campaign, Nagin has seemed unprepared or unhappy to discuss his beliefs.


"He writes for the party's newspaper -- his most recent article, about a labor rally, appeared in May -- but complains when the word "communist" appears by his name in The Plain Dealer. In a recent interview that he was reluctant to grant, he equated the word with a racial slur. 


""It's an epithet in this country," said Nagin, 68. "Like using the n' word." 


"Nagin even suggests that the Communist Party he joined 39 years ago needs a new name."


In all likelihood, Nagin will eventually get his wish.  The growing-together of the CPUSA and the Democratic Party has resulted in something similar in the past.  In 1944 Earl Browder orchestrated the dissolution of the party into the Communist Political Association, which gave left cover to Washington's wars of imperialist plunder and policed a no-strike-pledge offered to Wall Street by the labor union leadership at the outset of the war.  Only after the war, when Moscow decided it needed a U.S. party for leverage in currying favor with Truman, was the party re-launched.   

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