Sunday, July 1, 2012


To: CPUSA and YCLUSA District of Oklahoma                     Date: June 4, 2012
To: Secretaries, Officers and Guests                                 From: J. Shepherd, CPUSA Organizer
for the District of Oklahoma

This is just a quick memo to thank all our Secretaries and officers for coming to June 3rd’s meeting with the New Roots Committee. This is a very exciting time for our party and, as Esther and John from the CPUSA Headquarters noted, there is a lot of potential here in Oklahoma. We undoubtedly have some unusual circumstances to address, but as John pointed out our challenges are not unique and we have a lot to gain from studying the history of previous movements as well as the innovative new organizing methods being used to win progressive campaigns in spite of the fierce resistance from the far right. I am firmly convinced, as I believe our National Headquarters visitors are as well, that the new generation of Oklahomans is of a qualitatively different political and social consciousness.
I’d also like to submit a personal note on the work we’ve been doing here in Oklahoma.
I believe we will see a radical change for the better in the coming years, but only if we maintain our focus and work diligently. Thomas Paine once noted that victories achieved too cheaply are esteemed too lightly: the more arduous the task, the sweeter the win. And let me assure you, friends and comrades, as someone who has participated in some local Oklahoma upsets where the “underdog” (organized Oklahoma workers) rose up against the odds and won their campaigns, improved their lives, secured their jobs and even got health insurance for their families through their union activity, there is no more satisfying feeling in this world that building a movement for change from the ground up. These may seem like minor victories in a global scope, but when you see the light go on in someone’s eyes—someone who has always felt like they were powerless– when they realize that people-power, strategic organizing and working-class pride can change the world, you start to recognize that there are no small victories. But first we must win the trust of our coalition partners through bolstering their work with our support and analysis—even through the small victories; then we move them forward with their new found confidence to take on bigger challenges, and before you know it, we’ll live in a qualitatively different world.
Christianity and Communism have a lot in common, as some of our resident theologians have pointed out, and—as an organizer—I’d like to point out one other similarity: both the disciples of Jesus and the disciples of Marx started out small, with about a dozen or so “believers” - and while neither Christianity nor Communism “in practice” have been perfect, the fact is that we have never resigned ourselves to defeat. What Christian would say, “Well, ‘Love they neighbor’ looks good on paper, but it doesn’t  work in practice.” Likewise, the science of Marxism has helped us to conceptualize the real potential of human societies. And as scientists, we don’t give up when the first experiments fail. If the world’s scientists gave up after the first try, there would be no fire, no steel, no medicine, no technology. What if the Wright Brothers had given up on the “theory” of flight after the failure of the first experiments? Likewise, we Communists have never conceded to the cynicism of the exploiters and their culture of death. We share a common faith with all the world’s great spiritual leaders—a faith in what Marx described as our “species-being” which holds that reason, free will and compassion are indomitable facts of our human essence and  that these ingredients hold unlimited potential—it is precisely these facts that the Libertarians, Anarchists, ultra-right wingers and all the other phony “freedom lovers” deny. They believe we are slaves to a dark spirituality or that we are simply animals in a dog-eat-dog fight for survival. They deny the power of reason and compassion, and reject the view that mankind has free will to choose good over evil. We Communists, however, know better: our theory disproves such cynicism and, more importantly, our work reveals that out human essence is good and that when we rally together for a common cause, we can create a better world.
But it is not enough to simply carry the torch rhetorically. We must work, now harder than ever. There are no small parts to play. Each of us are essential. Recognizing this fact is not only essential to appreciating out organizing effort, but also to understanding the ethos of the Communist idea. Each of us are part of the process that gives life to every other part of the process, and we, “the few, the proud,” the Reds of Oklahoma, are on the cutting edge. As Fidel Castro noted in his address to the 2nd Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, “Quality remained the main criterion for acceptance in the ranks of the [Communist] Party.” We have grown a lot in the last few years, and we have grown well. We have not sacrificed, nor will we ever sacrifice, quality for quantity.

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