Houston Communist Party

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Houston Communist Party has, since the 1920s been the HQ of the Communist Party USA in Texas.

Rainbow

In 1988 the Houston Communist Party organized the local Rainbow Coalition.[1]

2014 report

From a 2014 Communist Party USA convention report by Communist Party of Houston chairman Bernard Sampson.

Comrades, I’d like to talk about the growth of the Houston club in the last year and a half , and the reason for that growth. Our new club was born out of a factional struggle against the leadership in the direction the party was going. The new club was formed not because of ideological differences but because of actual factional activity. I believe that our party has room for different points of view, both from the left and from the right. I believe that this is what helps keep us on a revolutionary Marxist path. This combination has helped our club grow from six members to 42 members as it stands today. Our club has not only grown to this size in a year and a half, but has increased its influence among the civil rights and working-class organizations that exist in Houston today. As club chair of the new club in the last year and a half I tried to steer our club in a nonsectarian manner by trying to build the largest and widest coalition possible against the extreme right in the city.
Next the political struggle here in Houston. We worked in the Sylvia Garcia campaign for state rep in which she won. Where now raising $4000 to attempt to run one of her own candidates in the next elections. We sent one of our members to a special political school for running campaigns, we hope this type of professional training will help us in the future and we plan to send more comrades to further classes. We are a political party and so there’s no doubt that running candidates and being involved in the actual political struggle is the most important area that we can be involved in.
The Communist club in Houston back in the 1930s fought to bring the new deal to Texas against the racist and antiunion leaders of this city. The Houston Communist Party back in the 1930s was a headquarters for the entire Communist Party of Texas. We ran candidates for governor or lieutenant governor city Council etc. Here in Houston we organized the Longshoremen’s union and organized the CIO at Hughes Tools. Our club has been involved in the Maximus coffee strike from the day it started until the day it ended, our club was involved in the janitor strike in which victory was won. We are involved the struggle against wage theft. We work closely with the AFL-CIO and fighting for a living wage and in helping to organize low-wage workers across Harris County.
We have a very close working relationship with Working America and with the Texas Organizing Project. Some of our members are actually organizing members into unions. Outside of this we are involved in the civil rights struggles, both in the immigration struggle, and against police brutality and voter suppression. These are some but not all of the areas of struggle our club were involved in. We had a large contingent in the recent Martin Luther King demonstration and last May Day we had over 45 people march with us in which we carried a red banner and an American flag. In both marches we carried the Communist Party of Houston banner and people before profit banner.[2]

2018 activities

The Houston Communist Party is active with Unite Here Local 23 in the fight against United Airlines; they participated in the Democratic Party at their state convention in Fort Worth along with Our Revolution. At the convention, the club supported 19-year-old Mike Floyd getting elected as state treasurer. He is very progressive and is a member of Our Revolution. They actively participated in the recent Gay Pride Parade.

On the Houston club’s activities in June: "Well, first we have recruited more members and they are a diverse lot. We are maintaining the trend of increasing the number of women, people of color, and union members. We are also involved with Unite Here Local 23 in their fight against United Airlines. Presently we have around 4-5 members from that union in our club now".

Our members have been involved with several actions against ICE and Trump’s polices against immigrants. We had comrades who just got back from a demonstration of 1,000 at the border in Brownsville.

The club is working in Penny Shaw’s election campaign. Penny is running for a seat on the Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4. This precinct has over a million people in it and if elected she would help decide on the distribution to working-class constituents of a budget that’s well over a billion dollars a year.

Sema Hernandez is now one of the state leaders of the Poor Peoples Campaign. She just returned from the national Poor People’s Campaign event in Washington DC where she was a featured speaker. While there Sema also had a dance with Rev. Barber!

The Houston club also recently had a movie night and 25 people showed up. Movie night is a regular once-a-month activity: at the last one 2 new members joined.

The June club meeting was the smallest we have had in over a year: 19 people attended. The size of the meeting was due to several factors that are not politically related. Of those in attendance was 1 Asian, 7 white, 5 Hispanic and 6 African Americans. Some 6 of the 19 were women. Of the women 1 was Asian, 1 was Hispanic, and 4 were African American.

We also recently had a new type of event organized by TK who is a full-time organizer for the Texas Organizing Project. It was called “Artivism,” a cultural get together at the party headquarters. It was successful and we sold several Marxist books from our store. We will do this again on July 27th with a DJ and a political Hip Hop band.

Finally, we also just had our Houston Socialist Reading Group meeting which gets together once every 2 weeks. The subject was: “Why Does the Electoral Struggle Matter,” a critically important issue in light of what’s at stake in the November mid-term elections.[3]

References

  1. The art and science of building the Communist Party, BY:BERNARD SAMPSON| JULY 5, 2018
  2. [http://www.cpusa.org/party_voices/convention-discussion-the-way-forward/ CPUSA Convention Discussion: The Way Forward HOME > PARTY VOICES > CONVENTION DISCUSSION: THE WAY FORWARD EmailShare BY: BERNARD SAMPSON| APRIL 8, 2014]
  3. http://www.cpusa.org/party_voices/in-houston-party-building-comes-first/