I don’t know which is the more preposterous.
There is a long history of state infiltration into the Communist Party. The joke back in the day was that you could always tell who was from the Bureau because they always paid their dues on time.
It’s impossible for me to believe that anybody heading up a Marxist party could say the things he does in the video. Past CPUSA heads have been exposed (Ward Churchill’s work on this topic is quite good) as agents of the state. I think Sam is in good company.
*Rich Gibson. Rich has written on the topic here. And here’s an excerpt:
Revolution, taken seriously, was rarely raised. Working with a sheen of radicalism, and plenty of militancy from time to time, at base the CPUSA operated much like the people habituated by a life of wage work, subordinated within family life, surrounded by mysticism and pain, the people the reds claimed they would make class conscious — in a devoted search for someone else to tell them what to do. Take several examples of the twisted maneuvers, the contorted changes in line, that any long-term CPUSA member would have had to support and struggled for, patiently explained to other people, got arrested for, careers ruined for, in a few cases, died for:
The open declaration of the New Economic Policy in 1921, which announced a return to capitalism in the USSR, under the guidance of the party, and the related reliance on subordination and technology in work places — openly capitalist relations of work never hidden but taken as a Soviet ethic;
The establishment of socialism-in-one-country, and the attendant nationalism it produced;
The preposterous idea, originating in the USSR, that a Negro Nation existed within the US, and that the CPUSA should fight for its secession, the establishment of a new nation in an area of the south;
The 1938 declaration that class struggle had ended in the USSR, as socialism had reached its highest stage, and henceforward there would be no discussion about class struggle in the newly announced classless nation which coincided with:
Stalin’s 1938 eradication of the “negation of the negation,” in Soviet philosophy, that is, the idea that things continue to change, endlessly, at odds with the end of class struggle;
The abundantly obvious reality of the lifestyles of party leaders in the USSR, far away from anything that might be thought of as an ethic of communism — and the lifestyles of technicians, scientists, and the new class in power under what must be seen, now, as the failure of socialist equality in all realms;
The cult of personality around Stalin and some CPUSA leaders like William Z. Foster;
Relentless attacks on honest radicals inside the USSR and the CPUSA, like Louis Fraina, or, on the other continent, ALL of the old Bolsheviks inside the CPSU, destroying the concept of democratic centralism, eradicating all but the centralism;
The shift from the successful “third period,” in the twenties and early thirties when the CPUSA viewed fascism as a logical and necessary working out of capital’s processes and, therefore, attacked liberals and political leaders like Roosevelt as “social fascists,” who mislead and disarm workers, to the 1935 shift of line originating from the Stalinist controlled Comintern — the Popular Front, which identified fascism as a fluke, bad people of the ruling class seizing power (Dimitroff) and, hence, calling for alliances with liberals, like Roosevelt, which drove working-class people out of the CP, and middle-class people into it;17
The sudden shift from opposing all imperialist wars and fascism to favoring the Hitler-Stalin pact, yet witnessing the nature of the pact as, clearly, an identity of interests (not Stalin stalling for time, but Stalin and Hitler making a common deal) when Poland was divided, and Finland invaded — and Stalin directed the dismantling of his anti-German intelligence network;
The switch from support for the Hitler-Stalin pact to, “All out to save the Soviet Motherland” (sic), when the once-militant CPUSA took the lead in demanding and enforcing no-strike pledges in US auto plants (which ran full steam in Germany, working for the Nazis, as did Ford-owned plants);
The CPUSA supported the internment of Japanese-Americans in the internment camps, that is, concentration camps, during WWII, following the logic of patriotism and support for the US-Soviet alliance, such as it was;
The CPUSA declaration that socialism is 20th-century Americanism and the next step, the dissolution of the party by Earl Browder, as there was no need for it in modern America;
The mechanical belief (and practice) that battles for economic demands (wages, hours, but not much on working conditions) in unions are inherently demands that lead to dramatic social change, coupled with the vast “secret underground” network of the CPUSA, so infiltrated by police agents that the people who needed to know about the CPUSA could not be told, to salvage secrecy, while the people who did not need to know, cops, knew the whole story — and the rightward turns of the secret wing, paralleling similar underground efforts all over the world, combining the twin forces of opportunism and sectarianism and quite neatly;
The reestablishment of the CPUSA, which soon became a militant leafleting operation within the Democratic Party, urging ties with top labor bosses, who hated the CP;
The abandonment of that underclass of workers who were not in the organized sphere of the AFL-CIO during and after WWII, especially workers in the south, black and immigrant workers, reinforcing the Achilles’ heel of all labor movements: racism and nationalism;
The unremitting denials that the CPUSA was on the payroll of the USSR, the insistence that the Rosenbergs were not guilty, the glorification of the reformist past of the CPUSA with no critical reflection of its grotesque failures, or the ruin of its Motherland when the CPUSA was indeed on the payroll of the USSR. The reforms of the past were all, predictably, taken away, and the social fascist Soviet Motherland collapsed of its own inertia (and a shove from the CIA in Afghanistan) to become an unprecedented form of capitalism in decay, suffering war-time death rates, a rapidly declining population, the rise of religious irrationalism, etc.18
What kind of class-conscious communist rebel would dance through that, and still be faithful? Many did, though many quit.
47. Every shift in CPUSA policy spilled directly into the heart of American trade unionism, especially the UAW. CPUSA policy drew from the well of the socialism-in-one-country nationalism of the USSR. It would be hard for the CPUSA to explain, for example, a battle for control over the processes of work in US factories when the life blood of work in the USSR was the rushing line of a Taylorist factory — all for the national interest.