February 24, 2014. Chicago. The Communist Party USA has announced it will be holding its 30th anniversary convention in the city where the party was born - Chicago. Still four months out, organizers are already putting plans together for a memorable and impactful event. The convention theme will be putting people before profits and building a movement to transform America.
Chicago CPUSA organizer John Bachtell. Image courtesy of TrevorLoudon.com.
1984 turned out to be a monumental year in the world of opposition politics in America. Perhaps it was a subconscious reaction to arriving at the long-feared year of 1984 - the year ‘big brother’ secures its tyrannical and absolute authority over America, at least according to George Orwell. In reality, Orwell wasn’t far off and it was during that year that both the Green Party met for the first time in St. Paul and the Communist Party met for the first time in Chicago.
30th annual Communist Party Convention
The CPUSA likes to say, ‘A better and peaceful world is possible.’ How would they achieve that? The party envisions, ‘a world where people and nature come before profits.’ That’s socialism, they say. That’s their vision, the vision of the Communist Party USA.
‘The people of the United States face enormous challenges today,’ the Communist Party’s convention announcement begins, ‘We live in a capitalist system where 99% of people struggle every day to survive and the richest 1% control the vast majority of wealth and power. Capitalism cannot meet the needs of the vast majority.’ The notice goes on to take aim at three common adversaries of the working class including ‘the rich and powerful’, ‘the extreme right’, and ‘the Republican Party’.
Organizers go on to illustrate the basic difference between capitalists and socialists. ‘The drive of the rich and powerful to gain wealth at the expense of working people is the only logic of capitalism,’ they explain, ‘But everywhere in our country people unite to fight to improve their lives, to change the world for the better.’ In other words, socialists fight to improve the lives of everyone. Capitalists fight to improve their own lives at the expense of everyone else.
The party’s announcement confirms that the CPUSA’s annual convention will take place in Chicago, Illinois from June 13-15, 2014. While the Communist Party itself was founded in 1919, the Communist Party USA first met in the Windy City in 1984. And as the convention and party organizers like to say, “This isn’t your grandparents’ Communist Party.”
"The convention will be an important moment in helping build a transformative movement in our country. Such a movement will put the interests of the ninety-nine percent over the one percent and lay the basis of eliminating class, gender and racial inequality," said CPUSA Chairman Sam Webb, "It's an exciting time. The labor, civil rights, women's, immigrant, youth, and LGBT movements are poised as perhaps never before to turn our great country around."
Among the issues to be discussed at the annual convention are the minimum wage, fast food workers, voting rights, the environment, immigrant rights, the economic crisis, marijuana legalization and more. Local CPUSA leaders were obviously excited to learn the news that they’d be hosting the important event. “We expect about 250 delegates and guests from around the country,” Illinois district organizer John Bachtell told us, “They’ll be coming from all walks of life and over 40 states. It may surprise some that a good number are coming from the South.”
The party announcement also points to two items to show just how far the Communist Party has come. First, the annual convention in Chicago is expecting fellow party members from all over the world including Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa, and Germany. Second, they point to polls that show, ’30 percent of Americans age 30 and under think socialism is a good idea.’
For more information, visit CPUSA.org.
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