The Committees of Correspondence (CoC), also known as the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) was formed in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Several prominent party Communist Party USA ruderless without the Soviet Union to offer funding and instructions, and disillusioned with the dictatorial rule of CPUSA General Secretary Gus Hall, split off and to form their own group.
The Vanguard of World Revolutionary Communism
- Main article : Revolutionary Vanguard
The groups first organizational conference was held in Berkeley, California, July 17–19, 1992. Charlene Mitchell, who had been a leader of the California Communist Party, spoke at the conference. Mitchell said "the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe left the United States in a near unchallenged position of world leadership." She continued,
|“||What began as a moment to take stock and ponder where to go from there has now become a very different entity. People from the Communist Party, from CrossRoads, from the Democratic Socialists of America, from NCIPA [National Committee for Independent Political Action], from Solidarity, from the Socialist Organizing Network and many others, including independent leftists and independent socialists, have come together here in Berkeley.||”|
Criticizing U.S. actions in the First Gulf War, Mitchell stated,
|“||progressive forces were nearly powerless in the face of an onslaught of demagogic, patriotic jingoism and yellow ribbons. This war, fought for no legitimate reason, was the crowning height of President [George H.W.] Bush's New World Order. Previously, the Soviet Union helped to provide a certain balance to rein in the crazies in this country. Now, that balance is no longer there. It is now up to us, the American people, to rein in our own crazies. The left must take a major responsibility in organizing this task.||”|
Former congressional investigator Herbert Romerstein said the CCDS has "a close working relationship with the Stalinist remnants in the former East Germany, now called the Party of Democratic Socialism..." Romerstein points out these were the people who ran the concentration camps and the Communist Party apparatus in East Germany.
- "The Communist Party of the United States has disintegrated, as has
the party in Minnesota, as a result of its own failures and misdeeds. The political and ideological crisis that brought down the Soviet Union and the Eastern European socialist countries produced crises in Communist Parties throughout the world from which none have emerged unscathed.
The CPUSA survives at present only as a shell, with many of its most active members and best-known national leaders having given up the attempt to reform from within and leaving to work in a new form.
These reform forces have regrouped as the Committees of Correspondence, for the exchange of information, promotion of education and discussion and coordination of activities....
On February 9, the Northern California district, with the second largest (after New York) membership in the CPUSA, declared its independence from the national party and joined the Committees of Correspondence. Retaining its Marxist-Leninist ideological and political framework, the Northern California organization stated:
"We desire to be a working-class, multiracial, internationalist, anti-imperialist organization of women and men, regardless of sexual orientation, with a commitment to coalition politics and mass struggle and a goal of participating in the leadership of such movements. Our work will be based upon participation with people and organizations in struggle, earning leadership through our concrete deeds.
"The struggles of working people, the racially and nationally oppressed, and women are central to the struggle for social progress, indispensable to fundamental economic and political change. The growing alliance of these forces is central to the building of a broad coalition of democratic forces that will challenge the rule of monopoly capital in this country. The victory of such an anti-monopoly coalition and the establishment of an anti-monopoly government is a necessary step toward the development of socialism in the United States."
...Dissent and disaffection within the CPUSA became an outright split because party chair Gus Hall blamed the crisis in the world Communist movement entirely on attacks by imperialism and the weakness of Gorbachev. He did not acknowledge the corrosive role of the autocratic, bureaucratic, paternalistic administrative structures passed down from the Stalin period through the Communist International (Comintern) to most of the Communist Parties in the world, including the CPUSA.
In reality, these undemocratic structures were ultimately responsible for the inability of the socialist economies to develop to a level that would enable them to counteract the economic offensives of the industrialized capitalist countries against them.
A second major division arose over domestic political strategy. The Gus Hall leadership wanted to continue a policy of concentrating primarily on blue-collar workers in basic industry, on the grounds that they are most exploited and the sole source of capitalist profit. Critics of this narrow focus argued that the majority of workers contributing to capitalist profit are no longer industrial workers in basic industry, that Marxists must pay particular attention to those sectors of the working class in which there is the greatest opportunity to develop militant resistance to corporate onslaught on living standards, whether in industry, trade, or services, in the private or public sector.
The most militant labor struggles, they say, are now emerging where there are the greatest concentrations of the most oppressed sections of the working class, particularly African-Americans, Latinos and women. A labor policy ignoring these realities of the contemporary U.S. work force is, in practical effect, racist and sexist.
The first significant criticism of Gus Hall's political leadership came with near unanimity from leading African-American members. The rigged convention subsequently purged most African-Americans, including Angela Davis, Charlene Mitchell, Kendra Alexander and Carl Bloice, from the national committee. No one among over one-third of the Party's members who had signed a call for reform in the party, including Herbert Aptheker, was safe; all were purged.
As more and more U.S. Communists re-thought their understanding of socialism and political activism, they confronted a blank wall at the top of the party. Those seeking reform were branded as enemies. The effective lack of inner-party democracy became impossible to ignore. The doctrinaire rigidity of party policies that had rejected rank-and-file union reform groups (unless party-led), denigrated labor organizing of service and clerical workers, lagged in supporting the women's movement, ignored gay and lesbian issues, branded other socialist and progressive organizations as the "phony left" and have been blind or dishonest about "existing socialism," was intolerable if members could not hope to change these policies....The Committees of Correspondence provide hope for new ways of drawing together progressives to work for the replacement of capitalism with a just, humane and democratic socialism, created by and for the working people of this country." -Erwin Marquit is a Professor in Physics, Doris G. Marquit is on the adjunct faculty in the English and Women's Studies Departments."Party survives, but as a shell", Minnesota Daily, February 19, 1992. (Archive.org copy)