Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An Open Letter to the Norman Transcript


THERE has been much speculation on the role of socialists, Marxists and Communists in the Occupy movement. Therefore it seems appropriate that we, Communist Party members of Oklahoma, offer a clear and definitive account of our position on Occupy Wall Street and its solidarity demonstrations here in Oklahoma.
First and foremost, the Communist Party of Oklahoma is wholeheartedly and unapologetically devoted to improving the conditions of Oklahoma‘s working people – and working people everywhere. We also are unequivocal defenders of our constitutional guarantee to free speech, free association and peaceable assembly. Furthermore, we are in agreement with the majority of Americans who can see that the real threat to American democracy does not come from Communists – but from Wall Street.
Let‘s be clear: it was not Communists that took tax-payer money for bailouts – it was capitalists. It was not Communists that enacted the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act which curtailed our rights – it was capitalists. Communists are not confiscating peoples‘ homes and property in America today, nor are Communists driving our local small business people into bankruptcy while multinational corporations declare record profits. Communists did not give Norman tax-dollars to multinationals while businesses on Main Street struggle. No. Those responsible for today‘s economic crisis from Wall Street to Main Street are 100% pro-capitalism. The creation of a monopolistic economy, the lack of rewarding job opportunities in our country, the instigation of wars of aggression between Arab capitalists and American capitalists are all the product of post-Cold War global capitalism. Communism has played no part in creating these crises.
With all of this said, both the Occupy Together movement and the Tea Party movement before them echo many of the same criticisms of capitalism that we Communists have put forward for over one-hundred and fifty years. If anything, these facts prove the relevance of the Communist analysis. But do these facts mean that Communists control the Tea Party or the Occupy movement? No. Granted, there are members of the Communist Party in the Tea Party (believe it or not) and there are members of the Communist Party supporting the Occupy together movement. (In fact, in Norman, some Communist Party members have participated in supporting local Tea Party candidates for election.) But the Communist Party of Oklahoma did not create the Tea Party nor did it call for the Occupy movement and has not orchestrated any of its camps in Oklahoma. The people of Occupy are speaking truth - the interlocking powers of global capitalism have taken control of our national government and the people of the United States have had enough. They want their government back. If the small group of capitalists controlling Oklahoma are looking for scapegoats to blame for these problems, they have only to look in the mirror.
On the accusation that Communists are inciting violence at the occupy movement – we would challenge any person in this state to provide evidence for this spurious and slanderous claim. The Communist Party of Oklahoma is a legal and lawful political organization and does not encourage violence of any kind. In Norman, ironically, the only persons to commit any act of violence have been "conservative." Have conservatives become so senile that they believe it acceptable to use violence against young Americans – their fellow citizens – voicing concerns in a way that is in total accord with the principles of the Bill of Rights? Fortunately, the people of the Occupy camp in Norman - in spite of threats - recognize that violence is in contradiction with the Jeffersonian spirit of political freedom that drives most of Oklahoma's conservatives.
We Communists have been delighted to see the level of discipline exerted by those participating at the various occupy camps when they have been harassed and attacked. They have resisted the urge to defend themselves. They have put faith and trust in their local law enforcement and have been grateful that Norman police have demonstrated an exceptional level of professionalism and foresight. As for the occupiers themselves, they have proven that standing firm on principle is far more effective than violence. They have shown a level of courage and patriotic integrity that their political opponents lack.
Those who would dare to use violence on peaceful demonstrators in the United States are proving their patriotism to be nothing but manipulative rhetoric – a political tactic used by only the most cynical hypocrites. A patriot is devoted to the people and works diligently to improve their lives. Therefore, if the Communist Party is the only party to vocally demonstrate its support for the rights of the Occupy camps in Oklahoma, then perhaps the Communist Party is the only "patriotic" party left in this state. Time will tell.
We of course would love to claim that everyone in the Occupy Together movement has suddenly become convinced that a unique form of communism – democratic, worker-driven, American communism – is a better way to organize our lives. But the Occupy movement is much bigger than any one organization or ideology. It represents every exploited, marginalized, and disenfranchised person in this country. If the people opposing the Occupy movement would take the time to visit the camps, to discuss things with the demonstrators, and to get over their fear of new ideas, they would see that the Communist Party is only a tiny voice in the crowd. Yes, we are supportive of the rights of the Occupy movement. And we stand side beside Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, Libertarians, Independents and others that have come together to peacefully demonstrate. We are supportive of every American who is brave enough to stand up in defiance of corruption. This has been the historic role of the Communist Party, USA and the Communist Party of Oklahoma since its inception – which explains why the corrupt use every opportunity to denigrate and demonize Communists.
America is a free country, and as long as America remains a free country, there will be a Communist Party committed to peace, justice and a better life for all working people. It is our hope that the people of Norman will take the time to engage with their local activists, regardless of ideological bias, and learn more before letting fear or corporate propaganda pit the people of our community against one another.

Norman Chapter, Communist Party, USA
On Behalf of the Provisional Coordinating Committee of the Communist Party of Oklahoma

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