News, commentary and analysis by leaders of the Communist Party USA in New York State. We discuss State politics and issues in New York City, covering developments in labor, civil rights education, housing and more.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Minimum Wage March: NYC FIGHT FOR $15 In Pictures

This is a section from Tyko's Wassup this Week blog posted April 29th 2015. Link to complete Minimum Wage March: NYC FIGHT FOR $15 In Pictures 

America always has had a troubled relationship to the Communist Party, particularly after the onset of the Cold War.  Nevertheless, the Communist Party USA, which was established in 1919, played a not insignificant role during its first twenty years in the expansion of the American middle class. The Communist Party was a major actor in the founding of the first industrial unions which succeeded in raising wages for all workers;  it was a major defender of the civil rights of black Americans;  it opposed racism and pushed for integration in the workplace and in the community; and it was among the first organizations to push for women's equality and what today would be called "comparable worth" in the workplace.

However, after the late 1940s, a form of virulent anti-Communism emerged in America, characterized by the paranoid, demagogic and reckless Joseph McCarthy. From this time forward, words like "communism" and "socialism" would become interchangeable and synonymous with something "anti-American."  Americans of a wide range of political persuasion found it difficult to simply use these terms in any neutral way.

Even today, we encounter the distortion of political discourse begun by Joseph McCarthy in regard to words like "communism" and "socialism."   Take Aaron Klein's 2010 book on Obama, The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists.  Take the several examples of anti-Communist political rhetoric from a 2013 article by Marc Brodine.   Take Elspeth Reeve's 2013 article in The Wire on Ted Cruz (who I think sounds like McCarthy reborn), "Ted Cruz Sees Communists." 

Today's Communist Party USA is based in New York City, and its presence can be seen at most every social and political demonstration. Yet, in past blog posts in which I have covered demonstrations, I was conscious of a reluctance to focus on them. Such was the effectiveness of seventy years of conservative political demagoguery and its abuse of words like "socialism" and "communism."  Even I, a liberal and progressive, felt cowed and chose to avoid "conflict."

So in this, my extended commentary below my photograph of the flag of the New York State Communist Party, I begin to make amends.  The Communists belong to us and with us as much as anybody else.  I invite you to open this link to the Party's Constitution and read its Preamble. With the exception of our most rigid Republicans and conservatives, few could argue with what it says.  I conclude with the opening sentence of its final paragraph: "Our organizational practices are based on democracy, equality, unity of action and transparency."

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