Sam Webb, chairman of the Communist Party USA, announced that the party’s 30th national convention will take place in Chicago, June 13 to June 15.
"The convention will be an important moment in helping build a transformative movement in our country," said Webb. “Such a movement will put the interests of the 99 percent over the one percent and lay the basis of eliminating class, gender and racial inequality.”
"It's an exciting time" he continued, "The labor, civil rights, women's, immigrant, youth, and LGBT movements are poised as perhaps never before to turn our great country around.”
According to a Party press release, the convention will discuss the minimum wage, organizing fast food workers, voting rights, the environment, and a host of other Democratic Party issues.
"We expect about 250 delegates and guests from around the country" said John Bachtell, Illinois district organizer, and head of the CPUSA in the host city. "They'll be coming from all walks of life and over 40 states. It may surprise some that a good number are coming from the South."
According to Webb, the communists are gaining new influence. As evidence he points to the party’s 30,000 Facebook likes. “We’re also recruiting new members,” he added. They're bringing all kinds of ideas, energy and new thinking.”
International guests are expected from Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa, Germany and other countries.
"Socialism is gaining a fresh wind in many countries around the world," said Bachtell. "It's being renewed where it's being practiced. In other countries, Communist parties are in coalition governments experimenting with creating a new democratic transition. Even here at home, there's a new interest."
Recent polls show some 30 percent of Americans age 30 and under think socialism is a good idea.
"Our party is benefiting from that interest" says Teresa Albano, a co-editor of Peoplesworld.org which recently topped over 50,000 Facebook likes. "People are looking for alternatives. In Seattle a socialist was elected to the city council. In Lorain, Ohio, a labor slate won in city elections. Same thing in New Haven, Conn."
Immigrant rights, the economic crisis, the environment, marijuana legalization and the 2014 mid-term elections will also feature highly in convention debates.
“Can crises like global warming be resolved without getting rid of capitalism? It’s a big question.” said Jarvis Tyner, CPUSA, executive vice chairman.
"The party's changing" said Rossana Cambron, the party's leader in Los Angeles. “It's not your grandmother's Communist Party." Cambron pointed to social networks as an important source of activity and recruits: “Every time I post something on Facebook, several thousand people see it. That's new."
"A new generation is coming into leadership in the party," said Webb, "They're bringing their own sensibilities, styles and approaches. The party and Marxism are getting a new face."
"See you in Chicago" said Bachtell, "It's the place where the party and the 8-hour day was born. Welcome home!"