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An Open Letter on My Expulsion from World Can’t Wait

by Lee James
(World Cant Wait, Philadelphia)

I came home on Nov. 5 and found this message on my answering machine:

"This is Bob. It is Wednesday nite at 10.30. I hope you have not bought a ticket to Chicago. I do not want you to come to Chicago to the national meeting. You are not welcome at the national meeting. So don't come."

This was the complete message with no other explanation.

Please join me in protesting this exclusion from the upcoming November 22nd national meeting in Chicago – and in demanding a public explanation from WCW's national coordinator.

Here is some background:

As many of you know I have been an enthusiastic activist with World Can't Wait Drive Out the Bush Regime since its inception in 2005. I have met many of you at WCW national meetings or talked to you on conference calls.

I have also been for many years a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Together with quite a few other people, I recently left the RCP over a deepening dissatisfaction with the party's direction.

I believe the RCP has moved away in an increasingly sectarian direction -- and away from combining revolutionary politics with the organizing of broad creative resistance. For example, I did not share a tone of hostility I felt the RCP was directing against ordinary people. I felt that the RCP had mistakenly insisted that a theocratic fascist state was literally about to be imposed by the Christian right -- there are truly fascist dangers in this country and in this moment, but they are not being posed in such a simplistic way. And while I respected Bob Avakian for many years, I was unable to participate any longer in the promotion of his extreme cult of personality. And I disagreed with the RCP's withdrawal from the campaign to free political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal.

I remain a committed revolutionary. And I am now working with Kasama, a new communist project.

When I received that blunt message from Bob -- I immediately suspected that my developing disagreements with the RCP were behind my exclusion from the upcoming WCW national meeting on November 22.

This has now been confirmed to me directly by Debra Sweet (WCW’s national coordinator). I confronted her during the recent WCW organizer conference call on November 13. She explicitly said I was being excluded because of my work with the Kasama project.

I think we should demand to know why participation in Kasama excludes me (and others) from our membership in World Can't Wait. Where was that decision made? And by whom? Why has it not been publicly announced and justified?

We all know that the Chicago National Conference is going to discuss where to go now that the Bush Regime is gone. We face a real danger of new escalations (Afghanistan? Iran? Pakistan?) while quite a few progressive people are on a wait-and-see honeymoon with the new Obama administration. There needs to be a sober assessment of the analyses and tactics adopted by WCW over the last couple years. And there needs to be a creative course charted for the period ahead – either inside the framework of WCW or outside.

I am determined to help rejuvinate the resistance movement to the U.S. government’s wars and atrocities, and to oppose the continuing domestic repression. And I believe I would have made a contribution at this crossroads.

Unfortunately I believe my exclusion was an attempt to control (and limit) what views would be expressed in that important WCW discussion. And further my exclusion from the national conference is intended as an expulsion from WCW itself. And I am not the only person being expelled in this way.

What kind of conference and what kind of future can WCW have if someone like me is excluded for these troubling reasons? Do we really want to engage in divisive small-group politics at such a moment?

All this clearly goes against the spirit and principles of World Can’t Wait. Several people have remarked to me that our organization has always been proud to include Democrats and even enlightened Republicans as well as activists of the radical left -- and so, they point out, it seems especially wrong for WCW’s leadership to exclude people like me simply for belonging to a communist project that has made a thoughtful critique of the RCP.

Please oppose my exclusion from the WCW national conference and from WCW itself.

Please contact me directly with your thoughts and support.

I look forward to working together with all of you on the urgent problems that lie ahead.

Yours in the struggle for worldwide change.

Lee James


My open letter is being discussed here:  http://kasamaproject.org