Letters – February 2017

On convention preparation; Foundation manifesto

(Note: Since initial publication, this column has been edited to include a clarification letter – see “Response to Manifesto” below. -Ed.)

On Convention Preparation

The period before any conference is immensely important – formative ones like this especially so for a fledgling organization like the Red Party. That’s why it’s important that we all take these motions and discussions seriously. I was one of the original advocates for, and vote in favor of, this convention. Though if the quality of motions is what we’ve seen so far I’m inclined to agree with Miah’s letter against this. Maybe it is too early. Maybe not. If we can get some more discipline and rigor involved then we can get back on track to a productive convention. That being said, I think the following criticisms in general, and some in specific, would be well heeded:

Generally:

– Provide motivation for your motion.

– Demarcate between motivation and resolution.

– Make sure the resolution is clear, definitive, and actionable.

– A general framework for motions should be provided. We can look to parliamentary procedure for examples of how to structure them.

– Check for and publish submissions as soon as possible as I am aware that at least two comrades’ submissions have not been posted several days after the fact while newer submissions are still being posted.

Comrade James T’s motion on electoral activity:

– What is the rationale behind these theses?

– Make the theses more specific and grounded.

Comrade Susie M’s motion on a new principles seciton and program:

– What is lacking in the old version? What is substantially different in the new? These are questions that should be answered in a resolution calling for changes in points of unity and program.

– Though I helped flesh out some of the minimum program section, the maximum part is severely lacking in depth and explanation. We should look to the Erfurt Program or the RSDWP’s program from their second party congress.

I hope that through these criticisms the quality of this convention – and thereby our party – will grow.

Comradely,

– Henry M

 

Manifesto of the Foundation Faction

All human history is defined by class struggle. It is class struggle that propels the inevitable progression of society’s social standards and material conditions. The long-term goal of all Marxists is the realization of communism – a classless, stateless society that as of our current human understanding is the ideal achievable state of mankind. Throughout history, however, we have seen that communism is not something that can happen overnight even when the forces defending capital are removed from a society. The Red Party must recognize this fact if it wishes to attract the larger working class. In order to realize this a strong foundation, the socialist republic, must be created. The Red Party’s Draft Program is likewise centered around some of the policies that can form part of this republic. Without such a foundation, there can be no feasible hope of attaining the long-term classless, stateless society we desire.

Recent events have seen certain party members indirectly call this foundation into question. Some of our more recently-joined members have promoted a line against certain Party positions, most notably our longstanding policy on national self-determination rights for oppressed peoples. They have successfully advocated for an extraordinary convention (to occur approximately 10 months after the prior convention instead of the scheduled 24) solely to advance their views. While there is nothing in the Constitution that forbids this, it is unnecessary and sets a poor precedent of attempting to legislate out every disagreement on the spot. Certain advocates of the extraordinary convention have also spoke favorably of reducing the time between regular conventions to 1 year or even less. We in the Foundation faction object to this proposal – 2 years is a high enough pace for a party to be changing national policy. To be doing more conventions in less time could be very destabilizing to the party’s internal community and make our positions far too erratic. There is a time and place for debate, and rightfully it should be happening leading up to and in the time between regular biennial conventions.

More concerning is a recently published list of a “Proposal for a new Central Committee” which would completely replace everyone presently in our Central Committee. In its place would be one veteran member of the Red Party (MS, who has no relation to these developments and who was put on the list without their input) and four of these specific members (MB, ZS, PJ, GG). This would replace a committee composed of people of varying genders, races, and political stances with one that is entirely white and composed of largely the same political line. It would be a CC fully-empowered to make political decisions in recruitment and submit applicants to an ideological ‘acid test’ rather than gauge what a potential member could actually bring to the party. The list itself, likewise, has not been critically assessed for its value to the party but for its value to a political line. The only defense of this proposal, so far, has been an apparent interest in implementing single-term limits on the Central Committee. This is a terrible idea for a number of reasons. We have people in our CC who perform essential functions and manage our documentation and logistics well. Shuffling the entire CC every term without reason is only damaging to the basic operation of the Party. At best, it does nothing to help it. If a member is to be replaced there should be reason for it. Regardless of the level of seriousness with which the list and proposal was made it represents the fundamental issue that is at stake with this upcoming convention- brash action is being made that has potential to harm us if we allow it to.

It is in light of these circumstances that the Foundation faction is being organized. To us, it’s not just about two policy planks. It’s a matter of the integrity of the Party itself, and of the integrity of the workers’ struggle. We organize with no personal animosity towards our fellow party members in the convention faction, but out of a legitimate concern for the socialist cause and how it must be obtained. From the struggle that our opposition creates, we hope to build a stronger Red Party which is truly united in action per the principles of democratic centralism upon which it was founded.

 

Signed,

– Joshua Hollandsworth

– Gabriel Pierre

– Elisha Bryant

– Dametrious Peyton

– Mari P-A

 

Response to Manifesto

 

With great joy I see a factional fight brewing. I only briefly want to touch upon something, however. The Foundation Faction seems to have taken umbrage with a ‘proposal’ I made in a certain forum, given this statement “More concerning is a recently published list of a “Proposal for a new Central Committee” which would completely replace everyone presently in our Central Committee.” which was never submitted as a formal motion, nor intended to be. In fact, I was exceptionally clear that it was merely my opinion at the time. Even then, my opinion has changed.

I’m baffled as to why a particular opinion at a particular point in time is being presented as an ‘official proposal’.

– Susie

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