‘Unity, now more than ever’
TERESA GUTIERREZ at WORKERS WORLD PARTY NATIONAL CONFERENCE NOV. 11-13
Welcome to Day 4 of the Resistance!!!
In organizing for last night’s rally, I reached out to an organization we have not worked with here in NYC to ask them to speak.
This was their response: “Although many in Workers World have their hearts in the right place, your organization’s desire to create a deeply authoritarian Marxist-Leninist government is at odds with our goal of worker control.”
For full disclosure — or transparency as Imani would say — here is what I replied: “Really? Now, today of all days when a white supremacist misogynist is elected president, you want to talk about differences that probably don’t matter in trying to create a united front or help the struggle? Sorry, but I am a Mexican lesbian and I cannot take this today, of all days.”
Yes, my young friend, we are unabashedly “deeply Marxist-Leninist,” but do not confuse democratic centralism with totalitarianism. They are not at all the same.
I bring up this exchange because after an unprecedented and even depressing election season, our tasks are too great, our challenges too many to entertain any ideas that do not advance the struggle.
And to advance the struggle today more than ever because we need unity and solidarity: with each other, with the politically conscious — as well as with the unconscious politically.
That is not so easy. So I want to turn to two great Marxist leaders. First is Comrade Fidel, one of the greatest revolutionaries of all time.
As you know, among Fidel’s many accomplishments is that he was able to defy U.S. imperialism and solidify the greatest revolution in this hemisphere. What an astounding task!
I want to humbly focus on one of Fidel’s traits to the best of my ability. It is a skill that I believe is of the utmost importance in this Trump period and with capitalism at a dead end. Over 50 years ago, Fidel was able to begin a political process that transformed the island of Cuba.
How did he do it? How was Fidel able to build socialism only 90 miles from the empire?
Back then, the Latin American movement argued that the United States would never tolerate a socialist revolution in this region, that it was impossible to defeat a regular army, even with guerrilla tactics. Fidel proved them wrong. Armed struggle was heavily debated.
Fidel sought a political strategy
But to Fidel, there was more than guns. He sought a political strategy. He built a political coalition instead of solely focusing on the armed struggle.
To achieve victory against the brutal Batista dictatorship, the task to him was to unite as many social forces as possible. Fidel carefully and stage-by-stage built unity not just with the revolutionaries but with reformists and EVEN reactionaries.
Anyone who had a contradiction or opposition to Batista — he brought them in.
No one fought for unity like Fidel. He sometimes had to retreat. But he never ceded on his fundamental principles. Fidel understood that the differences would be resolved through practice.
Fidel’s political thought was the foundation that established the revolution and helped it withstand 50 years of imperialist aggression.
This sense of unity, nonsectarianism, always putting the struggle first had impact everywhere. To this day the only meeting where all the left comes together to work on a common cause is Cuba. Cuba unites the left here.
Historians have writen: “Fidel’s great historic merit lies in having known how to identify the decisive link that would make it possible to seize the entire chain and enable the revolution to advance. That decisive link was the struggle against Batista.”
Fighting Trump: the decisive link?
Comrades, I ask you today, is our decisive link the struggle against Donald Trump?
In less than 24 hours after his election, queer folks, Muslims, people of color, immigrants, Jews have all been attacked by those emboldened by the Trump election. They have risen up, too, thank Marx!
But the Klan calling for a march in North Carolina, swastikas, white youth yelling “Build the wall” to Latinx youth means we have to take our fight to a whole new level. And that level demands a whole new kind of solidarity and unity and organization with as many social forces as possible.
So, second, I turn to another great revolutionary, Sam Marcy, the founder of our Party. Sam is our Fidel. A tenet of Sam was defense of the socialist camp and nations under attack by imperialism — despite their flaws. More study of Marcy is needed as the possibility of war with Syria and others escalates.
But I want to focus on his other main tenet: the national question, which will be key under a Trump administration. When you have an anti-Central Park Five, ‘pussy’-grabbing jerk in the White House and possibly supercop Rudy Giuliani as the attorney general, the movement had better improve on this issue.
While warmonger Clinton and pig Donald dominated the news, there was hardly a mention of the Black people who had been gunned down in the streets. Police terror conveniently disappeared from the news despite ongoing attacks.
From here on we have to turn that around and do everything we can to put Black Lives Matter back on the national agenda, which many protesters already have.
I raise Fidel and Sam because in order to defeat the coming attacks from the Donald, Wall Street and the Pentagon, we will have to muster every ounce of solidarity to build the necessary coalition to advance the struggle.
For example, I for one refuse to give up on white workers, even some of those who voted for Trump. For heaven’s sake, Latinx voted for Trump! Let’s get them back!
We cannot abolish capitalism, much less build socialism, without white workers. We have seen that the best of the best of the white workers understand that if you want to be a real fighter, you had better stand with Black Lives Matter.
Sam Marcy understood this; he knew that without the oppressed in front as leadership, well, give it up. This is why myself, Larry, Monica, Berta, John, Lydia and others stand here today. We are Brown and Black. But we are also red.
We are the only party in this country that has a Black chairperson! Thank you, Sam. Sam is our Fidel, but Larry is our Lenin. And a special shout-out to Fred who laid our foundation for today with “Capitalism at a Dead End.”
What has happened in the streets since the elections shows this period will be like no other. We have to work to channel this momentum into something great. And understanding political strategy like that of Fidel will be necessary.
To build the movement and to shut things down, let us continue to assess how to win like Fidel. Look to Sam and Harriet Tubman, Rosa Luxemburg, Emma Tenayuca, John Brown and so many others.
Finally comrades, I believe with all my heart and soul that this is the only Party that can take the struggle to the next level.
On to defeating the Trump agenda!
Let’s make this country unfxxkinggovernable!
In the words of our Cuban comrades: Socialism or death!