An Important Report From Lee Dlugin forthe New Jersey District of the CPUSA by Norman Markowitz

Here is an exellent report on the elections nationally and the coming struggles in New Jersey,where we will have elections for governor and the state legislature in 2013.  New Jersey has the most powerful governor's office in the U.S., and even with a Democratic legislature, Christie, as bad  as any of his Republican compatriots but without the legislature to back him completely has done great damage in his first term and is expected to seek a second term

Lee Dlugin

District Report - Dec. 16, 2012

 

1. Nov. 6th historic victory

 

The American people overcame the most vicious racist offensive, the aim of which was to stop the historical process of demographic changes. Despite every form of division, mass voter suppression, lies, slander, veiled and not so veiled threats and actual violence, the people came together and formed an historic coalition. The Romney right-wing campaign was fundamentally a "whites only" campaign. That racist thrust was rejected by millions, the very people whom they sought to use to create a racist victory for them. In fact, the very suppression laws they wanted to use to insure their victory, turned into its opposite. People were angry and they came out and voted.

 

At the center of this new coalition is the trade union movement which put 600,000 pairs of feet on the street. That's why, the new right-wing offensive for "right to work" laws. In fact, the bill is already written for New Jersey. Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, Republican from Monmouth County has introduced it. We'll come back to this later.

 

It is important to note that the Obama victory was well organized by the entire movement. Joelle Fishman, in her report to the National Committee put it this way: "The vote was not spontaneous. It was hard fought. It was the result of millions of conversations at doors, at work, on the phone and on social media." And we should say here, New Jersey made a major contribution to the battleground states with tens and tens and tens of thousands of calls and visits to PA, Ohio, FL, VA, WI. The New Jersey AFL-CIO sent their full time organizers into Ohio in particular for at least a week at a time. In the last 4 days of the campaign the AFL-CIO and SEIU knocked on 15.7 million doors.

 

But what's most important about this new coalition is that every sector of the core forces and people's movement was involved and working together. We can see the beginning of real structuring taking place. And it continues after the election; something that didn't happen in 2008. In 2012 there is a determination to secure the victory and move on a people's agenda.

 

Just a few significant statistics from the election:

 

African Americans - 93%

Latinos - 71% (2008 -67%)

Asian Americans - 73%

Youth - 60%

Jewish - 70%

Single women - 67% (23% of electorate)

Working America households - 66% in the country as a whole and 74% in battleground states

Senate - The democrat majority was strengthened and with more progressive voices

House - Although republicans retained control, more democrats were elected and again, with more progressive voices. More than one and a half million more people voted for democrats in the House but because of extreme gerrymandering, the republicans were able to retain control with a minority vote. A number of the most vicious tea party congress people were defeated. including Joe Walsh of Il and Alan West of FL.

 

The conditions of struggle have changed as a result of the election. It is possible to win major legislative victories even without having won the House. The right wing Republicans may have the majority in the House but they don't have the people. This is witnessed by the polls on questions of taxing rich, hands off social security, medicareand medicaid and growing demands for jobs and stimulus bills. Sometimes the way the republicans talk you would think they won the election, but they are just whistling in the dark.

 

There is a new realization across the country that there is a need for a new, uniform, federal election law which ends voter suppression and guarantees the right to vote in federal elections. There is also a determination to get rid of Citizens United.

2.In New Jersey:

 

Obama decisively won all the industrial counties by a substantial majority and reflects a sharp reaction to the racist class warfare campaign of the Republicans. This reflects the coalition at work - the TU movement, the NAACP, Move-on, Organizing for America, Planned Parenthood, etc. 1n 2008, Obama won all 21 counties; this time he lost 7 - Cape May, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Sussex and Warren. This is mostly the impact of the racist offensive. But it shows the work we have to do.

Senator Robert Menendez won by 20 points even though early on, nationally the republicans thought they could pour in enough money to defeat him.

The New Jersey Congressional outcome, the reelection of all 12 incumbents - 6 democrats and 6 republicans, shows that had the movement paid more attention to these elections, there very well may have been a different outcome. This is important for 2014.

 

3.The issues:

 

Now it's time to translate the energy and action from the election victory and apply it to the issues before us.

 

Fiscal Cliff: The imperative in the struggle around the "cliff" is to break the back of the Wall Street ruling class stranglehold on the economy and make them pay. It will be an important class victory. This will set the stage for new higher levels of mass involvement in the struggles It is important that we continue to bombard Congress with demands to let the tax rates on the top 2% expire. 70% of the people want them to pay. There have already been a number of mass demonstrations on this question such as in Newark and Toms River, etc. last week.

 

In an interview with Art Perlo, he put forward a minimum program;

·Allow Bush tax cuts to expire for the richest 2%, as well as closing their individual and corporate loopholes.

·Preserve tax cuts for the 98% including the payroll tax cut.

·No cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security

·Immediately renew the federal extended unemployment program and return it to the 99 week limit.

·No cuts to discretionary spending that meets real needs.

·End wars and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and reverse the last decade's military buildup.

·Promote economic growth with strong levels of job-creating Federal investments in infrastructure and education.

·Eliminate the unnecessary debt limit which has become a tool for economic sabotage.

 

New Jersey has a critical jobs crisis. It ranks 48th in unemployment - 9.7%. One of the first things Gov. Chris Christie did when he was elected was cancel the construction of a tunnel to NY which was already underway. This led to the immediate loss of 6,000 union construction jobs and millions of dollars in federal grants. Every step of the way Christie's policies have led to mass layoffs, especially in the public sector. He is refusing to sign the minimum wage bill which would increase purchasing power for those who need it most. This would help create new jobs.

 

We need a massive new stimulus program. Our state suffered enormous devastation as a result of Sandy. Our shoreline needs to be reconstructed. Tourism is a critical part of the state's economy. Our bridges are in extreme disrepair as witness the derailing of a train off a rickety bridge in Paulsboro last week. The train was carrying deadly chemicals and caused mass illnesses and evacuation of an entire community. This bridge had been cited many times as extremely dangerous. Every major road (and minor ones too) need a complete makeover. This is how we solve the unemployment crisis in the state. It is in the interests of every city and town council to pass resolutions calling on the state and federal governments to pass stimulus bills. Last year President Obama called for an American Recovery Act but the republicans have blocked it every step of the way. In January, with the new Congress, this should be a top priority.

 

4. 2013 Elections

 

We have a golden opportunity in 2013 to continue the people's march that was begun on Nov. 6th. The state elections are this November. Already the media is trying to create an impression that Christie is a lock for being reelected. Nationally, the media is trying to portray Christie as an "old-fashioned" republican, but we in New Jersey know him better. At the moment we have a somewhat uphill battle. But we can win. The destruction of the state apparatus and public education continues. Christie is dedicated to the privatization of public education and the destruction of the teacher unions.

 

The Newark Star Ledger had an article yesterday (12/15/12) entitled "Private education grant tied to Gov. Christie staying in office." It describes the use of private grants and the strings attached in giving the money. The article quotes the executive director, Dave Sciarra of the Education Law Center in Newark: "It is highly unusual, maybe precedent-setting - to require that an elected official remain in office as a condition for a grant." It further states that "it is a foundation driving public educational policy that should be set by the Legislature." In other words, private foundations are trying to bribe the people of New Jersey to vote for Christie.

 

We will have time to discuss the many issues that need to be dealt with in this campaign such as health care - remember one of the first things Christie did was eliminate women's health benefits. Now he has vetoed the Health Exchange required by the Affordable Care Act. He can't stop progress; the exchange will be set up by the federal government which will result in the growth of employment in the medical field. Another critical issue for NJ is the question of the environment and climate change. The Christie Administration is fundamentally anti-science. Last year when hurricane Irene devastated Passaic county and the city of Patterson, this devastation was directly related to the overdevelopment of the areas surrounding the Passaic River - the torrential rains could not be absorbed by the soil because of the denuding of the forests for urban development. The Department of Environmental Protection has been severely weakened under Christie.

 

With Hurricane Sandy, Christie was everywhere after the fact. But the preparations were a different story. The administration rejected US Weather Service projected information on the severity of coastal storm surges in North Jersey.They decided that it was safe to store NJ Transit's rolling stock in the path of the surge right up against Newark Bay. The damage was $100 million to the trains and buses and countless millions to the economy as a whole. In hearings last week, the head of NJ Transit said "We now know under certain circumstances, that the yard can flood." Contrast this to NY where the MTA listened to the scientists and although there was $5 billion of other losses, there was no damage to the rolling stock - not one penny.

 

It is not yet clear who will be running against Christie. So far the only candidate who has announced is State Senator Barbara Buono who has a very progressive record. Newark Mayor Cory Booker has decided that he will not run. There will be other candidates. Early in the New Year we should have a further discussion. But it is necessary to mount an all out struggle to defeat Christie - both NJ and the country need this. The defeat of Christie would be an important stepping stone for victory in 2014. Only NJ and VA have gubernatorial elections in 2013.

 

5.The Communist Party

 

We have monumental struggles ahead of us. The people's movement is beginning to take on that challenge. Such a movement needs a strong and growing Communist Party to help build unity and help set a winning course. The Party can and should grow out of these struggles.

At the recent National Committee meeting Sam Webb said that the biggest challenge is growing the Party and developing Communist cadre. We're too small. Our outlook is to build a mass Party. Weneed to build our Party in size along with influence. This is an essential ingredient to developing a socialist direction.

 

The Party is an integral part of the new people's coalition. Our ideas, our energy, our optimism are welcomed everywhere. New, deeper on-going discussions on socialism are growing everywhere. Look at the recent polls that show that among youth, the majority think socialism is a better system. This is fertile ground for building the Young Communist League. In the new year we should devote a meeting to this very question.

 

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  • Not relishing writing it, seems incredible that there is no outpouring response to this excellent report, especially in New Jersey, but also throughout and within the states where there are state and local CPs.
    Obviously, all states have to do something analogous, to seize the political and economic crises and offer solutions, organization and struggle.
    This is certainly true, given the national and local setbacks for the working class in the U. S. , after the 2010 debacles.
    We need to study it in Missouri.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 01/03/2013 11:42am (7 years ago)

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