Rita Polewski, from Duluth, and I talked about this problem in the Party at great length this morning and we have met with others over the past couple months. After consulting with others we are issuing this statement:
For far too long Party organizing has been ground to a halt in the Minnesota/Dakotas region. Efforts at re-establishing a public presence and involvement of the Party around issues affecting the lives of working people have been undermined and sabotaged--- at the center of this dirty work have been Sam Webb and Erwin Marquit. The reasons are now becoming obvious for all to see.
For those of you who don't know Rita, her uncle was one of the longest dues paying members of the CPUSA in Minnesota until his death at 92. Rita and I have been working with several comrades on the Iron Range, two of whom are elected leaders of the USW and two members from North Dakota in re-establishing the Minnesota/Dakotas District of the CPUSA. It is our intent to throw this into the lap of the next National Convention to make a decision as to what Districts are officially part of the Communist Party USA... At this time there isn't enough left of the Communist Party in the Cities to constitute much of a club, let alone a District. In the Northern Minnesota/North Dakota District there are two dues paying members remaining... again, not even a club, let alone a district. We would stress that none of these remaining members in the Central/Southern District or the Northern Minnesota/North Dakota District have any ties to the mass movements, with the exception of Mark Froemke, the AFL-CIO big-shot known for his "2% a year raise is a good contract" as injuries and workers killed on the job in the sugar beet industry mount. Mesaba Co-op Park continues to muddle along with less and less participation every year.
Our Party has sprung to life around the issue of the Ford Plant/hydro dam issue; proving, once again, it is the "class" thing which stimulates working people to work with our Party and brings us into the struggles side by side with working people. Working people across this region instinctively understand the importance of the Ford Plant/dam issue... it is our responsibility to contribute the "Communist Plus." As we have found, Minnesotans have no fear of discussing public ownership as a solution to this problem.
We have concluded that the best way to resolve this is to continue to build clubs, be they some kind of discussion groups or action committees independent of the Party, but close to the Party so when things begin to be corrected we can move most of the people into Party membership and either convert the groups to clubs or establish clubs, with these other groups continuing to exist as forms to bring people closer to the Party.
All we can do is continue to explain to people what is going on through showing what these people are saying and writing; most working people with a left outlook will understand and appreciate our approach to this problem.
We will be distributing leaflets using the name and logo of the Communist Party USA. We will stamp copies of the PWW and PA with our addresses for people to contact us. We now have a person in the Cities obtaining the PWW's from stores, restaurants, and other places where the paper is dropped off. We encourage everyone else to do the same. Distribution of the PWW is most successful when handed out worker to worker, not simply thrown on a rack in some restaurant or coffee house. Where there are articles with serious problems, or articles that do not include all the facts, we will include a leaflet which includes the entire story.
This Party is as much our Party as it is Webb's or Marquit's. In fact, the only reason there is any kind of mass influence from the Party in Minnesota at this time is because of the activity of all of us who Webb now describes as "The Minnesota Problem."
That there have been distinct groups within the Party with some conflicting views for many years is nothing new. In the past an abundance of activity has held the Party together, united; most people are tolerant of others' views in the Party because they understand we have common goals and objectives; obviously Webb, Marquit, and Marshall lack this working class trait--- their answer is to silence, drop and expel while chasing the donkey's tail.
Webb, Marquit, Marshall and this faction have tried to remove the Party from mass activity which has exacerbated this problem. The correction is to become involved in mass work as a prerequisite to solving the problems.
We have agreed that Rita will be the District Organizer and Alan Maki will be the Secretary/Treasurer until this matter is resolved by the National Convention.
We want to caution people not to get too worked up about all of this to the point where things take on an anti-Party character... historically our Party has been very resilient and bounced back along with the upsurges in the peoples' movements, especially as the economy weakens. WE HAVE NO REASON TO BELIEVE IT WILL BE ANY DIFFERENT THIS TIME AROUND. The correction will come as we plunge into the mass movements providing our special "working class" perspectives and contributions to the peoples' struggles.
In over four years there has been no communication between these two phony Districts Webb and Marshall established in order to protect Erwin Marquit from criticism... make no mistake, this is the only reason the District was divided in the first place... neither Webb nor Marshall can provide any other explanation. The Minnesota/Dakotas District has served our Party well in the way it had been organized over the years. At this time there has been no contact with members in South Dakota... if they express an interest we are willing to take them in, too.
We encourage everyone to participate in the October 27 anti-war activities.
We are working on a leaflet that more fully reflects the situation with the closing of the Ford Plant/ownership of the hydro dam and the impact of all of this on the Iron Range. We believe this should be the focus of our activities for the immediate period ahead because it places our Party where it should be, at the center of the class struggle for jobs, peace, and social justice.
We will also focus our activities on the single-payer, universal health care issue from the perspective that it is a needed step on the way to socialized health care.
Our work will be done openly in full view so that anyone who wants to respond to what is taking place has the opportunity. We do not want it said that this little factional group led by Webb and company does not have the opportunity to respond to anything.
Rita Polewski, District Organizer,
Minnesota/Dakotas District Communist Party USA
Alan Maki, Secretary/Treasurer
Minnesota/Dakotas District Communist Party USA