Union Expert Visits North Texas
Scott Marshall, Chair of the Communist Party's Trade Union Commission, spoke with North Texas union members on July 18. The Commission is making a special effort to speak with activists in the field.
Marshall began with broad ideological questions facing today's activists such as:
Marshall then turned to the reasons that lead progressive activists to put so much emphasis on unions. He pointed to the diminishing percentage of the American working class that is unionized, but said, "Even if unions were only 3% of working class, we would still place the same emphasis. They are the organized expression of the working class. They are the united segment of the working class." If one realizes, as all Marxists do, that only the working class can confront the capitalists, then one sees the primary importance of the organized sector.
The CPUSA leader then led the discussion around to the special role of communists in their workplaces. He said that only the party can relate the issues of each day to the overall struggle of the working class. He said, "Our role is to present the basic concepts."
Party members also work to recognize new trends, particularly long-term trends that may be less obvious to those who have studied less. The particular problems caused by the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afganistan were discussed at length. Neoliberalism, or what some people call "free trade," was another special topic for analysis.
Marshall talked about the union movement's recent trend toward reaching out to the rest of the working class through constituency groups for those discriminated against by race, gender, or sexual orientation. A new constituency group for communities gives virtually every American the opportunity to work with and strengthen the union movement, he said.
Marshall, who has studied union history extensively, was extremely optimistic about today's situation. Anti-communism is on the wane, and many unions are becoming more and more open to progressive activities. He reminded the group that industrial concentration is the policy of the entire party, not just those members who have union affiliations. He said that the party needs more 'worker correspondents" to provide feedback to the People's Weekly World and to the party as a whole. Everybody contributed reasons that more people should join the Communist Party and become more effective in their progressive activities.
One of the discussion group members remarked, ""The United States
is better prepared for socialism, economically and politically, than any country
in the world."