Letters – April 5, 2017

Motions In Motion

Comrades Pierre, Simone, and Desbordes proposal to move for the call of a labor party (p14) is is both noble and perhaps necessary. There are a few things that must kept in mind as we agitate: Given that less than 20% of the US working class is even in a unionized form of employment, and the limitations of Taft-Hartley, the call for a labor party for an increased political platform for the working class can only work with the reversal of Taft-Hartley and massive re-unionization, or a complete re-thinking of labor organizations.

Existing unions will need to be cut from capitalist parties or made redundant by other organizations. So while I endorse this push for labor policy, we need “working groups” outside of the Central Committee to share thinking load for how to achieve this beyond anachronistic organizational methods that have plagued socialist formations for the last fifty years as de-unionization and de-centralization of the industrial economy have arrived. In short, while that work is important, the work that needs to be done is both more immediate and more diffuse to enable such a Labor party to even come into existence, much less be effective.

This brings me to Comrade Pierre’s concerns about proposals, particularly the responses  to p11, p16, and p 14. in which Comrade Pierre states, “It would be poor form to create a separate committee to duplicate work already done by the CC and by other party units, mainly branches.”  Comrade Pierre is rightfully concerned for the redundancy of work, and particularly given concerns of communication by other groups within the party, I share some of this concern.

However, it is crucial to remember that working groups and committees have an advise and consent aim and serve as a accountability mechanism for both the parties continued cultivation of membership and as a check to executive power within the central committee without having to resort to recall voting. In short, working groups have functions seemingly not considered in the statement and go beyond seeming redundancy of work.  This enables more of the party to contribute to party documents outside of conventions and the central committee, whose membership must be necessarily limited. .

In solidarity,

  • C. D.  Varn

 

Structural Racism

Over the weeks leading up to our convention there has been some debate about Red Party’s stance on national liberation for U.S. territories and indigenous North Americans. While this is certainly a debate we should be having, it is also worth noting the lack of discussion, and the lack of any recognition in our current programmatic demands, of the oppression of black communities in the United States.

Part one of RP’s current program does mention racism in the United States, “fighting social oppression is an essential need for working class partisans. In particular, racism in the United States is a bedrock on which the repressive state apparatus is built which is then wielded against the people in general”. Additionally, our current program has provisions, aimed at the entire working class, that would address sites of oppression disproportionately affecting black communities such as mass incarceration, the police state, and economic demands. What we lack are concrete demands to end racial oppression.

The United States is more segregated in 2017 then it was under Ronald Reagan. Black communities were disproportionately affected by the 2008 crash. Black workers are paid less than white workers. They are imprisoned and killed by police at a higher rate than white people. Black communities are currently being gentrified. Schools in black communities are underfunded.  Black communities are internally colonized by an outside army that extracts profit from them via heavy fines and other penalties. Racism permeates through every institution in this country- public and private alike.

It would be a severe oversight to have no mention of this in our demands. There are a number of measures that could be taken under a Workers’ Republic to begin dismantling the specific and unique oppression of black people in the United States.

Structural racism is a useful tool for the maintenance of capitalism. We must fight both, and our program must recognize this fight.

We encourage comrades in general agreement to contact us to discuss creating a potential motion at the convention. I equally encourage comrades who disagree to write in response so we can begin to have an open debate.

Comradely,

  • J.R. Murray
  • D. Knowles

 

Against General Election of of CC Secretary

I’m always in favor of increasing the accountability of our membership and our leadership but this proposal doesn’t do that. In fact, it does the opposite and reduces the accountability of the secretary position.

Let’s start with our current system of accountability: the secretary is elected by the central committee and can be directly recalled by this body. Alternatively, the membership can call for a recall of the CC comrade (or the whole committee for that matter) who serves as secretary.

Now if we pass this motion, we will get rid of the recall ability of the central committee (due to electing power being solely in the hands of convention). In effect, less accountability.

There’s one more brief note. Our current system provides for our CC to replace the secretary and continue on its work. This motion would mandate a convention if the secretary is to be removed and replaced, taking more time away from accomplishing the mandates of the previous convention.

  • Miah Simone
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