Critique of the Communist Party, United States of America by Punkerslut
The following is a letter that was sent to the Communist Party, USA, on November 19, 2006. To this date, February 28, 2007, no response has been received.
Letter: Dated November 19, 2006
I discovered the CPUSA website and, after reading through a few articles, I thought I would offer some comment. Allow me to start by saying that I'm a self-described class-struggle-focused Anarchist, and while I hardly consider a Libertarian Socialist/Revolutionary Socialist government as the ultimate force of tyranny, it is still very far from the ultimate goal of Anarchism.
Earlier this century, the CPUSA had a very strong connection and good relations with the Soviet Union, the USSR, and Stalin. I see that things have changed a bit since back then. A search for Stalin through your website archives revealed only a few references in ten some documents; instead of hoisting up this international leader as the benevolent patriarch of your political party, you've now shushed him to the back of the stage and have asked him to keep his controlled conversation limited to sentences involving one or fewer subjects. On several instances, on May 6 of 1929 and on May 14th of 1929, Stalin spoke favorably of the American Communist Party, as well as purging members who had a more democratic vision of socialism than Stalin. [ http://www.marx.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1929/cpusa.htm ]
You haven't put the same distance between yourselves and Vladimir Lenin, however. In fact, there's a list of Lenin's quotes on the state: http://www.cpusa.org/article/articleview/498/1/104/
Allow me to say some things about these quotes. There are eighteen citations here by Lenin. Nine of these citations are from the time frame of 1903-1917. This was the era of Lenin's power where he ardently worked for an elected Communist government to overthrow the Tsarist Despotism that existed. After the 1917 elections, the Bolshevik Party lost power, but Lenin dissolved the Constituent Assembly and established himself as undisputed, absolute dictator. On August 30, of 1918, Fanny Kaplan shot and critically wounded Lenin in a failed assassination attempt. She was a Socialist Revolutionary, dismayed that the revolutionary struggling done by herself and many others was being thrown away on recreating a new, Tsarist regime. Of course, this taunted Lenin into ceasing even more civil rights and becoming even more of an enemy against Democracy. This marked the Red Terror campaigns of Lenin, where 70,000 civilians were imprisoned by September of 1921. Most of his statements after the dissolution of the democratically elected congress and the assassination attempt were anti-Democratic. On some instances, he even denies the possibility of a Democracy. Just read about anything on the state by Lenin after 1917. He just makes several obvious statements, saying that the governments of Capitalism have been hijacked against the people by Capitalists, so that the governments of Communism should be hijacked against the people by the Communist Party. He then paints his opponents (the true Russian revolutionaries) as counterrevolutionaries.
To quote Emma Goldman, "...in Socialist Russia the sight of pregnant women working in suffocating tobacco air and saturating themselves and their unborn with the poison Impressed me as a fundamental evil. I spoke to Lisa Zorin to see whether something could not be done to ameliorate the evil. Lisa claimed that piece work was the only way to induce the girls to work. As to rest rooms, the women themselves had already made a fight for them, but so far nothing could be done because no space could be spared in the factory. 'But if even such small improvements had not resulted from the Revolution,' I argued, 'what purpose has it served?' 'The workers have achieved control,' Lisa replied; 'they are now in power, power, and they have more important things to attend to than rest rooms--they have the Revolution to defend.' Lisa Zorin had remained very much the proletarian, but she reasoned like a nun dedicated to the service of the Church." ["My Disillusionment in Russia," by Emma Goldman, New York Doubleday, Page & Company, 1923, chapter 9.]
To quote Karl Marx, "The first socialists (Fourier, Owen, Saint-Simon, etc.), since social conditions were not sufficiently developed to allow the working class to constitute itself as a militant class, were necessarily obliged to limit themselves to dreams about the model society of the future and were led thus to condemn all the attempts such as strikes, combinations or political movements set in train by the workers to improve their lot. But while we cannot repudiate these patriarchs of socialism, just as chemists cannot repudiate their forebears the alchemists, we must at least avoid falling back into their mistakes, which, if we were to commit them, would be inexcusable." ["Political Indifferentism," 1873, Marx, from the French by Bignami, source: The Plebs, Vol. XIV, London 1922.]
You would be extremely naive to believe that Lenin created a true Democracy where each person had equal rights of suffrage, expression, and freedom of conscience. There is no sign whatsoever that the culture of his reign reflected Democratic tendencies. On the contrary, this is not an instance of the "Father of the People's Democratic and Socialistic movement" creating a Democracy and then dying, only to leave his nation the prey to one of his uneducated, misguided disciples. No, that was not the case. This was a simple matter of the brutal king dying and then being immediately replaced by the one nearest to him with most power and influence. To say that Lenin meant anything is to say that one of the thousands of popes meant anything. They were all simply power elites who manipulated social systems and exploited the working class and the poor by describing themselves as "their savior." Political patriarchy has given few blessings to the world. The African nations were exploited, worked as slaves, stripped of their natural resources (including their children), and then left rotting in the middle of epidemics, mass starvations, genocidal terrorist groups propped up by corporations, and an almost unbelievable poverty rate. The political patriarchy that the European nations so "kindly bestowed" upon Africa has been a tree bearing rotten fruit. The church, the state, the capitalist media, or vanguardist Communist parties (i.e.: Leninist, Stalinist, Maoist, etc.): each of these groups will tell the masses that they are needed to defend them from the others. The only result of these authoritarian regimes is that a new master takes power, sacrifices civil liberties to quell unrest, and then begins the long, cruel, and bitter persecution of anyone who tries to lift the veil over society's eyes.
These games are not new. Power wars are not new. The problem is not an issue of removing Capitalism, but it is an issue of removing all obstructions to autonomy. That is to say, it is a matter of removing all forms of authority, including the state. Furthermore, should the CPUSA decide that it truly has the interests of the people in mind, it will condemn all forms of authoritarian, totalitarianism, and dictatorship. Your party should make its platform involve as much about improving Democracy, defending suffrage, protecting unions, and maintaining free speech as it should concerning an improvement of wages, a ban on importing products from sweatshop factories, universal healthcare, and all issues that are directly at the heart of the socially-conscious proletariat.
Your terminology has truly become worn out and needs to be reinvented and reshaped. If you truly support a Democratic form of Socialism, then cut off all links to Lenin or Stalin, and condemn the actions that they are responsible for taking against the Socialist movement. Declare yourself the defender not only of Communism but of Democracy. And finally, it would only be fair to publish a dedication to Fanny Kaplan, a greater defender of Socialism, Democracy, and the Russian Revolution against the Tsar than Lenin could ever hope to be.