A Beginner's Guide to American Communist Parties: Part 1

A Beginner's Guide to American Communist Parties: Part 1
Democrats Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (L) and Rashida Tlaib in Washington on Jan. 16, 2019. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
Trevor Loudon
It's been this author’s experience that most U.S. journalists, politicians, police officers, and even intelligence officers have minimal understanding of America’s contemporary communist movement.
The average American voter, naturally, has very few outlets available that acknowledge the continued existence and influence of contemporary communism. Yet communism is currently the most important political and cultural influence in the country. Therefore, thumbnail sketches are provided here that outline significant domestic communist organizations currently undermining the Constitution and imposing socialism on the American people.
A word on communism versus socialism: Socialism is a euphemism for communism. They are two peas in the same pod and all lead to tyranny. Communism is socialism, and those who want you to believe otherwise are attempting to indoctrinate you. Period.
There are two American “lefts”: Communists willing to work with and inside the Democratic Party to achieve their goals; and communists who regard the Democrats as a hopelessly “bourgeois” capitalist party.
The first group is more organized, realistic, and dangerous. The second group, like the first, often work with foreign communists and are more likely to engage in street-level violence.
Part 1 of this article will deal with the communists who work with the Democratic party, as a matter of policy. These organizations are the most subversive and dangerous in America.

Democratic Socialists of America

Despite its regular public protestations, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is a communist organization. Many of its 55,000-plus members are indoctrinated college students, but most of its leaders are hard-core Marxist revolutionaries.
Currently the United States' largest Marxist organization, the DSA was formed in 1982 out of two similar groups. The larger “Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee” mainly consisted of older activists from the rapidly imploding Socialist Party USA. The smaller “New American Movement” consisted of young Vietnam War-era “Students for a Democratic Society” members and a group of older radicals who split from the Communist Party after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
The most enduring influence in the DSA is Antonio Gramsci. An Italian communist theoretician, Gramsci believed in promoting socialism through patient infiltration of all political and cultural institutions before resorting to revolutionary violence.
Americans of all political persuasions may be surprised to learn that the DSA was initially very influential in the Democratic Party. The DSA helped establish the Congressional Progressive Caucus in 1991 with longtime ally Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and successfully elected hundreds of Democratic Party officials, many local politicians, and several Congress members.
Currently serving Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) have all been dues-paying DSA comrades at some point. In the last election, the DSA assisted the election of more than 20 local and state officials and two additional Congress members, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).
DSA influence waned through the early 2000s, and by 2015, the organization was down to about 6,000 members, only about a third of whom were active.
Sanders changed all that. The DSA has backed Sanders since at least 1990. When he ran for president, the DSA became the backbone of his team. As Sanders took off, so did the DSA. When President Donald Trump was elected, DSA membership exploded, and is only now starting to slow, and in some places reverse.
The DSA now has more than 200 chapters in all 50 states. DSA strongholds are Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, the Bay Area, and Southern California, but almost every significant city in America—and many small towns—now have DSA chapters. New York City’s DSA branch boasts more than 3,000 dues-paying members; Austin, Texas, claims 700, and Portland, Oregon, has 800. These numbers have given the DSA the ability to penetrate the Democratic Party in almost every state.
The DSA also controls “Our Revolution,” which backs hard-left candidates and boasts 100,000 members working vigilantly to carry on the Sanders movement. Our Revolution’s door-knockers and phone-bankers give the DSA the ability to elect comrades to Democratic committees and leadership posts all over the country. In July 2018, the Washington Post reported that the DSA “has never had more adherents or more clout.”
The DSA has a religious commission that features many pastors, church officials, theologians, and religious academics who vigilantly indoctrinate malleable minds that Christianity and socialism go hand-in-hand.
The DSA is also huge in colleges. In the early days, nearly a third of DSA members were academics. Today, the youth-wing of the DSA is known as the YDSA and is featured on campuses across America.
For most of its existence, the DSA was formally affiliated with the Socialist International (SI), an alliance of more than 100 socialist and social democratic political parties. At its annual conference in Chicago in 2017, the DSA officially pulled out of the SI because it was too moderate. The DSA allied instead with several European communist-oriented parties. The DSA is particularly close to Die Linke (The Left), which is the direct ancestor of the old Stalinist East German Communist Party.
In the 1980s, the DSA worked closely with Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who eventually became the socialist president of Brazil. “Lula” then worked with Cuban President Fidel Castro to elect socialist governments across most of Latin America, known broadly as the “Red Tide.”
Prominent DSA members have included theologian professor Cornel West; the late father of the socialized healthcare movement and former Obama family doctor Quentin Young; Obama immigration adviser Eliseo Medina; actor Ed Asner; feminist Gloria Steinem; Muslim activist Linda Sarsour; and convicted East German spy Kurt Stand.

Communist Party USA

The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) was started in 1919 in Chicago, where it's headquartered today. In the 1940s, the CPUSA had more than 100,000 members. With only 5,000 comrades, the CPUSA isn't as large as it once was, but is still a political force with clout.
While the CPUSA has comrades in every state, it's strongest in Boston, New York, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Missouri, Chicago, Detroit, Northern and Central Texas, Arizona, and California. The party has considerable influence in organizations such as the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the U.S. Peace Council, Jobs with Justice, Alliance for Retired Americans, and dozens of smaller local front groups. The CPUSA is very active in the labor, environmental, and "racial justice" movements. The CPUSA has systemically worked to recruit black pastors to cement its influence over the Democratic-voting black population.
The Democratic Party has long-since stopped expelling communists from their ranks. Consequently, in some parts of the country—Connecticut; West and South Chicago; Northeast Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Tucson, Arizona; Houston, Texas—the CPUSA controls some Democratic precincts.
In Connecticut, the CPUSA has relationships with the governor, both senators, all five Congress members, and multiple state, county, and city elected officials. In Texas, CPUSA member Sema Hernandez ran on the Democratic ticket for the U.S. Senate and got 250,000 votes.
For decades, the CPUSA was a wholly-owned and subsidized Moscow franchise. Today, the CPUSA owes allegiance to China, but also maintains close ties to the communist parties of Russia, Vietnam, Cuba, Great Britain, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil.
The party still participates in the still-existing Soviet-era international communist front organizations: World Peace Council, World Federation of Trade Unions, Women’s International Democratic Federation, and the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY). In 2017, the CPUSA sent a youth delegation to a WFDY festival in Sochi, Russia, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally secured the venue and addressed the estimated 30,000 attendees.
Prominent modern CPUSA members include party chairman John Bachtell (precinct captain for then-Senate candidate Barack Obama), Judith LeBlanc, a Native-American activist who trained the protesters at the 2015 Dakota Access Pipeline standoff, and perennial Cleveland Democratic Party candidate Rick Nagin.
The CPUSA also has some cross-membership with the DSA.

Committees of Correspondence

The CCDS began in 1991 when approximately one-third of the CPUSA’s then 3,000 members split from the party to form a new organization. The ex-communists were quickly joined by dissident Maoists, Trotskyists, anarchists, and “democratic socialists.”
In 2000, the Committees of Correspondence (CoC or CofC) became the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS).
The organization quickly grew to 2,000 members and was poised to become what the DSA is today—a mass-based, multi-tendency socialist organization. However, in recent years, the CCDS has dwindled to about 400 mainly older members.
The CCDS is headquartered in the Bay Area, and is strongest in Chicago, New York, Boston, Western Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Mississippi, and Louisville, Kentucky. The organization has some electoral influence through its close work with the DSA.
Prominent members include state Rep. Kathy Sykes (D-Miss.) and South Carolina labor leader Donna Dewitt. Iconic communist Angela Davis and folk musician Pete Seeger were early members, as was current Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).
The CCDS very strongly supports China and Vietnam, as well as Cuba and Venezuela. It also has some cross-membership with both the DSA and CPUSA.

Freedom Road Socialist Organization/LeftRoots

The Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) grew out of the Maoist student movements of the 1960s, '70s, and early '80s.
Formed in 1985, the FRSO drew together the Proletarian Unity League and the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters, and later the Organization for Revolutionary Unity, Amilcar Cabral-Paul Robeson Collective, and the Socialist Organizing Network. In 2000, the anarchist group Fire by Night joined. The FRSO also picked up members from the long-defunct Communist Workers' Party, League of Revolutionary Struggle, Line of March, and Communist Party USA (Marxist-Leninist).
In 1999, the FRSO split in large part because of the main faction’s willingness to work with the Democratic Party. The group that broke away—the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and its Fight Back! division will be covered in part 2 of this series.
The FRSO doesn’t openly affiliate with China any longer, but many members work or live in China, or do solidarity work with Chinese organizations. Some members also work with pro-North Korea groups, or support Cuba, Venezuela, officially designated terrorist groups, the Communist Party of the Philippines, or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The FRSO is extremely secretive about membership, but this author estimates that it has 2,000 to 3,000 active members. The FRSO is concentrated in the Bay Area and New York City, with significant centers in Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Boston; Philadelphia; Ohio; Missouri; Tennessee; North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; New Orleans; Southern Florida; and New Mexico.
The FRSO has some cross-membership with the DSA and CCDS.
Like all Maoist-derived groups, the FRSO delves heavily into racial and gender politics. The organization is comprised predominantly of “people of color,” at least 50 percent female, heavily gay, and comparatively young.
Black Lives Matter and the Marxist concept of “white privilege” comes from the FRSO orbit, along with the leftist fetish for using gender “neutral” pronouns.
Unlike most older Maoist groups, the FRSO is actively involved in electoral politics. The FRSO controls several voter-registration and electoral front groups including the New Virginia Majority, the New Florida Majority, Memphis For All and Stand Up Nashville (both Tennessee), Durham For All (North Carolina), Lancaster Stands Up, and 215 People's Alliance (both Pennsylvania), which have been pivotal in the elections of many local and national politicians.
The FRSO has deliberately targeted Southern states and areas with high black and Latino populations.
The FRSO also runs a plethora of well-funded front groups around the country, including the Chinese Progressive Association (San Francisco), Chinese Progressive Association (Boston), Highlander Research and Education Center (Tennessee), Miami Workers Center, Right to the City (New York City, with affiliates nationwide), Showing Up for Racial Justice (chapters nationwide), Southerners On New Ground (Atlanta and Birmingham), Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Causa Justa: Just Cause (Bay Area), and Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (Los Angeles).
LeftRoots was formed in 2014 by Steve Williams, a former member of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), and N’Tanya Lee, an FRSO affiliate. In essence, LeftRoots is an adjunct to the FRSO with a little bit of DSA input.
LeftRoots has about 500 members with branches in Miami, Philadelphia, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York.

Left Inside/Outside Project

All of the above groups work together in the Left Inside/Outside Project, which was established in early 2017 to coordinate infiltration and eventual takeover of the Democratic Party.
Many of these groups receive significant funding from the Ford Foundation, Open Societies Foundations, Tides Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and similar groups. Taxpayer funding additionally is often given to the front groups of socialist organizations in the form of grants and tax-exempt status. Unions often prop up front groups financially, and with logistics and training.
Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics. He is best known for his book “Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress” and his similarly themed documentary film “Enemies Within.”
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