Was the Communist Party USA behind Obama?
In order to answer this question, I simply visited their website and did a keyword search for Barack Obama. Lets look at some of the results here in chronological order.
February 22, 2008 Newsletter: Labor Upfront
“Buffenbarger election speech could strip gears of labor unity” By Scott Marshall
Getting carried away with your own rhetoric is rarely a good thing. Tom Buffenbarger, president of the Machinists’ union (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers), did just that in a “warm-up” speech for Hillary Clinton the night of the Wisconsin primary win by Barack Obama. (Necessary disclaimer: I have great respect for the Machinists’ union and president Buffenbarger, a tough industrial union that goes up against some of the biggest multinationals. So this incident is all the more worrisome from a seasoned labor leader.)
Ironically Buffenbarger’s main point was to ridicule Obama’s oratory. John McCain made a nasty attack on Obama’s speech-making that same night, but Buffenbarger’s was even more mean-spirited.
Besides the unfairness and shallowness of this attack on Obama, Buffenbarger’s speech also rudely, and with rightwing stereotypes, attacked Obama’s supporters. Ridiculing supporters as “latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies” ignores the large number of union members and their families, of all races and nationalities, who are supporting Obama. Not to mention that I know lots of steelworkers who appreciate a good latte now and again, and who would like to drive a hybrid car to save gas and the environment.
Working people sorely need to defeat John McCain in November. That can only be done with the full support and unity of all the labor movement. No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, there will be millions of labor households who were once supporting the other candidate.
Most of those in the labor movement, both AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions, who have endorsed a candidate for the Democratic nomination are campaigning positively on the strengths of their chosen candidate. Most recognize that all of both Clinton’s and Obama’s supporters in labor are vital sections of the democratic coalition that it will take to end corporate, rightwing domination of our political life
March 22, 2008 CPUSA 2008 Electoral Policy
The Communist Party USA views the 2008 elections as a tremendous opportunity to defeat the policies of the right-wing Republicans and to move our country in a new progressive direction.
The record turnout in the Democratic Presidential primary races shows that millions of voters, including millions of new voters, are using this election to bring about real change. We wholeheartedly agree with them.
While we do not endorse any particular candidates, we do endorse and join in the anti-Bush/anti-right wing sentiments that are driving so many people to activism.
The fact that the Democratic frontrunners are an African American and a woman speaks volumes on how far the country has come. Hillary Clintons campaign has attracted large numbers of supporters, especially women. Other Democratic contenders presented some excellent proposals to reverse the devastation caused by the Bush administrations policies.
Barack Obamas campaign has so far generated the most excitement, attracted the most votes, most volunteers and the most money. We think the basic reason for this is that his campaign has the clearest message of unity and progressive change, while having a real possibility for victory in November.
As we see it, however, this battle is bigger than the Democrats and Republicans, even though those parties are the main electoral vehicle for most voters today. Our approach is to focus on issues and movements that are influencing candidates and parties.
We will work with others to defeat the Republican nominee and to end right-wing control of the new Congress.
The activism growing out of this election will help guarantee a progressive mandate no matter who is elected. It is critical to our countrys renewal and future.
We think this election is a great opportunity to bring an early withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. It can mean job creation and relief for those who are losing their homes or unable to pay their bills.
This election can set the stage to advance the interests of working people; of those excluded because of race, gender, sexual orientation and immigration status.
This election can begin to turn the tide: it can help bring universal health care, save the environment and start the restoration of our democratic rights. This election can strengthen democracy for all.
In the long run, we see the need for an independent peoples party — an electoral party that will unite labor and all democratic forces. We also are working for a political system and government whose priority is to watch the backs of working families, not fill the pockets of the corporate fat cats. Our slogan, people before profits and our goal of Bill of Rights socialism say it all.
April 11, 2008 Report: A Labor and People’s Landslide is Necessary and Possible
This election presents an historic opportunity to breakthrough and change the political landscape.
The grand coalition of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win along with National Council of La Raza, Womens Vote, ACORN, MoveOn and Rock the Vote has launched the biggest ever independent voter mobilization, which is at the heart of winning a massive turnout on election day and after.
The purpose of this report is to discuss how we contribute to the remarkable movement growing in our country, how we can help build the unity needed to defeat the ultra-right with a landslide vote, and how we can build the movement and the Communist Party and YCL to achieve bold and sweeping gains in the post-election period.
Mobilizing a landslide win against the ultra right, necessary to turn the country around, is at the center of our tactics.
A landslide vote that changes control of the White House and improves the balance of forces in the House and Senate and in the states will create a new political dynamic in our country and the possibility to win gains far beyond the current platform of either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.
We do not yet know who will emerge, but with each new phase of the campaign Obama is proving to have the greatest potential to bring out a landslide vote to defeat John McCain, and the greater openness to working with mass movements. His recognition of the role of the people in moving history forward, and his message of inclusion not division inspires youth and all generations to get involved It reflects his own life experience.
In response to right-wing media attacks and the Clintons dangerous and opportunist negative campaigning, Obamas profound speech tackling race and racism in America opens a new door to uproot the legacy of slavery and the devastation of the era of ultra-right domination. He makes a deep contribution to unity in the way he addresses white people and shows that racism holds everyone back and the progress made in overcoming racism benefits everyone. Bill Richardsons response, embracing Obamas vision and addressing racism against immigrants and Latinos further uplifts the level of unity.
But whether the nominee is Obama or Clinton the landslide vote must be fought for as a necessary first step to winning a different direction for our country. Neither candidate is of the left. But history teaches us that when mobilized, labor and peoples forces can push through and win progressive gains in a climate like today.
The community affiliate Working America is active in 14 states with 2 million members. Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the battlegrounds.
The primaries have been challenging because of the different union endorsements and the need to keep unity for November while at the same time building support for Obama. Change to Win has activated their member-to-member operation for Obama. Twelve AFL-CIO unions have endorsed Clinton with different amounts of activation, six have endorsed Obama and the rest are waiting until the nominee is decided.
A remarkable 30% to 40% of voters who turned out so far in the Democratic primaries are union members. The media plays a negative role in promoting the idea that wage workers are Clinton voters and professionals are Obama voters. A deeper look is required. For example, in Rhode Island Change to Win union members voted 56% for Obama, but the union vote reported was 59% Clinton and 40% Obama. Clearly wage workers were among those voting for Obama, as in other states.
The Obama campaign has moved the African American community in a special way, expressed in the turnout and vote. The African American vote has been the most consistent progressive voting bloc over decades, 90% Democratic. We have noted if African Americans vote the proportion of their population in South Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia those states will flip from red to blue. That process is underway, starting with the large primary turnout. Massive voter registration drives are taking place . Participating in community mobilizations will deepen our ties and contribution on an ongoing basis.
The media and the right-wing have been working overtime to diminish the African American vote. Constant distortions by FOX News and others combined with the Clintons slash-and-burn negative campaign has been damaging for future unity and must be challenged.
Attempts by anti-immigrant groups to split the African American and Latino people are being rejected in many instances at the local level. If such fissures are left untouched it will endanger the potential of a landslide vote and movement that can chart a new course. Obamas speech on race made a great contribution in this regard and can be drawn upon..
There has been a big increase in Latino voters in the primaries, with the largest number of young voters. Latinos represented 10 percent of the voters (up from 6.7 percent in the 2004 general election). They voted 79% Democratic (up from 60-63 percent in the 2004 general election).. The vote was in majority for Clinton, but it is fluid as Obama becomes better known. Outreach to all Latinos on all of the issues is crucial for unity in November.
Women voters have been turning out in large numbers for the Democratic primaries. Clinton has the overall advantage, reflecting the possibility of the first woman president, and the endorsement of NOW. But women are voting for both Clinton and Obama. African American women are voting overwhelmingly for Obama. Single women have voted overwhelmingly for Obama in Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri and Utah, while Clinton carried single women in the remaining ten super Tuesday states.
When young people began flocking to vote in the Democratic primaries it galvanized the overall turnout. Young people want to impact these elections, and they want change. They want jobs, affordable education and an end to the war in Iraq. They are concerned about health care and the environment. (Rock The Vote 2/08) The number of under 30 voters in the democratic primaries tripled (3 million) from 4 years ago. My space and face book sign-ups on the internet show youth support for Obama who has 1 million friends compared to Clintons 330,000 and McCains 140,000. (NYT 3/27/08)
Progressives for Obama just formed. Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher, Jr.,Barbara Ehrenreich, and Danny Glover are calling on those in the peace movement who have been sitting out the election to join the grass roots upsurge around Obama and build the demand to end the war. This call to action should be useful locally.
We do not know all the twists and turns that the campaign will take. The great democratic spirit spreading through the country will hopefully prevail in a big way for a transformative election. If we stay on top of new developments we will be able to play our unity role. .
The movement for a landslide victory is the beginning. The more decisive the victory, the greater the possibilities for that movement to keep going and growing to win big new gains in a new stage of struggle.
It is clear to me they are more behind Obama than Clinton by the smearing of her “negative campaign” and citing how Obama has more support, and can pick us more of the Latino vote as he becomes more “well known.” While they refuse to endorse a candidate, demanding unity and showing Obama has more support, and smearing Clinton’s campaign is pretty close.
April 26, 2008 UNITY & THE STRUGGLE OF POLITICS
Erica Smiley’s Bi-Annual Report to the National Council April 12-13, 2008; Chicago, IL
Who was the last national Democratic leader you heard blame greedy corporations for dividing workers along racial lines?
And have you ever heard a presidential candidate acknowledge the role of discrimination in the disproportionate numbers of Black youth in prison?
The movement surrounding the candidacy of Barack Obama is epic.
What makes this candidacy epic is what it has come to represent. This campaign has wrapped up in it all the hopes and dreams for the betterment of our country and the working people it belongs to. This campaign isnt about a man so much as its about whats possible if we are able to take our country out of the tight grip of the Ultra-right.
Is Obama a Communist? Is this upsurge around Obama a Communist movement?
Of course not.
But who dare say the upsurge around his campaign does not have a working class character? These elections are a pivotal battlefield for us to turn a corner in our struggle for socialism.
No where else would we be able to struggle for such broad unity within the working class in this specific moment.
No where else would we be able to struggle and persuade on our vision for the country and our understanding of the current barriers on so many issues.
In this period, we dont have to wax profound about all of our advanced demands in order to advance the struggle for peace and equality, as some have suggested. Our task is to build and maintain unity in this surge against Bush and the extreme right. We fight for the most advanced demands of our movements center, the most unifying demands against the Right.
And right now, there is unity in struggling within the movement surrounding Barack Obama, especially given the divisive attacks on Obama and the speech of Reverend Jeremiah Wright. This is where the forces of unity are mobilizing.
Labor and people from every walks of life see hope in the Obama presidency, and they see someone who will be responsive to the demands of the broader peoples movement more so than Wall Street. This was exemplified when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi got a letter from big Democratic donors demanding she take back her support of Super Delegates switching their votes based on their Districts.
Its not simply that Obama is a great leader. It is the recognition of the key role between leaders and the movements they represent. The Clinton campaign made some divisive remarks earlier this year, claiming that even Dr Martin Luther King needed a Lyndon B Johnson. What was missed in this remark, which was designed to de-legitimize Obama as more of a great speaker and repeater of rhetoric than a great leaderwas the fact that the movement benefited in having a president that would take a phone call from Martin Luther King, and President Johnson benefited from taking that call.
Forget that little red phone commercial! The united front of American workers, Black communities, immigrants, women, and youth needs a president that will answer the phone when we call.
You might ask yourself how Smiley could possibly give a report like this when our policy is not to endorse any candidate outside of the Communist Party and YCL. You might even think that this is an over-simplification.
Its true. We do not endorse Obama or any other presidential candidate.
And the post-election struggle will probably be more complicated than it is now.
Now I have said a lot about the campaign of Barack Obama. But there is one thing I do not want to get lost in this discussion.
Even if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, the Ultra-right will suffer a massive defeat.
A Clinton Administration would still govern to the Left of McCain, and arguably further to the Left of the first Clinton Administration. By necessity, it would be more beholden to the will of our movement. Even if the Wall Street interests within the Democratic Party would rather see Clinton over Obama, they dont want to see a landslide victory of either. They want business as usual, and a landslide victory would be a mandate for change.
Therefore, a landslide victory by either Obama or Clinton would be a striking blow against racism and sexism in the United States; it would be a blow against the Ultra-right. We have to make this clear, especially if Clinton wins, in order to ensure unity against McCain and the extreme right wing.
The enemy for us remains the extreme right, and it is our responsibility to build unity in the struggle against them. If we stick to this, the McCain supporters will eventually join us. If we hold unity above all else in our discussions, it will not be as difficult for us to win Clinton supporters over to Obama if he wins the nomination and vice versa if Clinton manages to pull it off.
This election is not about progressive Democrats vs Blue dogs, and it isnt even about how progressive Barack Obama is or can be. This election is about an overwhelming majority of Americans frustration with the direction the Ultra-right has taken our country into. This election is about turning a corner in the fights for working people. And working people understand we can do that best with a Democratic majority in Congress and a Democratic president.
Isn’t this one interesting. Completely sings Obama’s praises and the power of his campaign while giving the catch phrase, “We do not endorse Obama or any other presidential candidate.” While saying Clinton has some potential, this report is, in my opinion, a clear endorsement of the Obama campaign.
The Communist Party USA’s publication “Peoples World” published an article on every union endorsement for Obama throughout the election, heres a link to the Search Page, there’s too many to post.
Then came this report
A Landslide Mandate For Change – Report to the National Committee Meeting 11/15/08
Congratulations on an extraordinary history making election!
We can think back with pride to decades of hard work toward our strategic goal of a big enough, broad enough and united enough labor and all-peoples movement that could overcome the ultra-right blockage to all progress. That all peoples movement has come to life, it is dynamic and it has the potential to keep growing.
The election of Barack Obama and a strengthened Congress creates new conditions in our country. There is now the possibility to shift gears and move forward. This new day requires us to further develop our tactics in order to continue to deepen and broaden labor and peoples unity.
There are thousands of experiences that we all have had in these momentous days, some large, some small, all of which express the enormity of change in thinking and readiness for involvement that is underway and that steels us for the battles ahead.
The tears of joy we all shared as crowds gathered to watch the election results here and throughout the world dramatize the new moment we are in.
Noting that self-identified moderates and liberals agree with Obamas program, Robert Borosage concludes that this election marks the consolidation of a new majority coalition, and the mandate provided for progressive reform….in what is, increasingly, a center-left nation.
The beginnings of a qualitative shift took place in the 2006 Congressional elections. The broader movement that emerged this year around Obama represents the biggest progressive ideological shift since the 1930’s. The rejection of red baiting, racism, and tax baiting against Obama by the voters shows a new majority in opposition to basic Republican right wing ideology.
People are angry, hopeful and ready to go. Our program to rebuild America should be strong and decisive. There is no other way to meet the emergency needs of this moment as the economic crisis spirals through every sector. We should call for taking the profits out of health care and energy which are basic human rights, and explore public ownership including of the finance and automotive industries .
This was a transformative election for many reasons. The vote for Barack Obama and the conversation on race which he opened up at Independence Hall. The rejection of 30 years of ultra-right horror. The emergence of new grass roots involvement and participation and a shift in thinking. The leading role of the multi-racial labor movement. A renewed respect for our Party and some growth. All point to the process of a rising consciousness and struggle for democracy and equality. All are part of moving forward the progressive arc of history.
As Obama said in his acceptance speech, ‘This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change.’
And so the hard work begins. Obama is going to include many people in his cabinet and advisors that we would not pick, but protesting that will not build a movement. Our energy and focus should be invested in building the labor and peoples broad movement at the grass roots. That is how we can give a constructive push in a united way.
They were clearly overjoyed with the Obama victory and instantly sought to promote Communist solutions with Obama’s Presidency. The only dissent was on perceived future cabinet picks not on resistance to Communism. Whether or not they ever said that they endorsed Obama really doesn’t matter, they were clearly behind him throughout the campaign.