Welcome to the official website of the Houston club of the Communist Party USA. The CPUSA is the organized vanguard of the American working class in its struggle for peace, democracy, and socialism. The Communist Party stands with all progressive movements that fight to expand the democratic and economic rights of the 99%. We fight against all forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression and exploitation. The Communist Party invites you to join our struggle to place people before profits and to construct a new world.
Late in 1946, the Houston Informer reported that Stanford gave a speech in the basement of a Baptist church, under the sponsorship of the youth wing of the NAACP
Stanford, delivered his Houston speech to support a lawsuit by Heman Sweat, a Black postal worker, to gain admission to the University of Texas law school.
After a tough campaign Sweatt was victorious. He posthumously become a Texas hero-his portrait displayed at the Institute of Texan Cultures, a scholarship and college campus named in his honor.
Stanford moved to the Bayou City following his graduation from UT, and on September 16, 1948 – El Diez y Seis de Septiembre, Mexican Independence Day – the bilingual agitator was arrested for distributing Party leaflets decrying “the ruthless economic, political, and social oppression of the Mexican-American people.”
In 1950, Stanford circulated the Stockholm Peace Petition, which called for banning nuclear weapons and was a project of the CPUSA.
In 1951, Texas passed a Communist Control Act that required Party members to register with authorities, and prescribed a two- to 10-year prison term for failure to comply with the law. The Party decided to challenge the law’s constitutionality and Stanford, who was by then living in San Antonio, volunteered to be the test case, mailing an open letter to officials in 1952, declaring his membership. According to the plan, he was to refuse to register when the authorities responded.
After Stanford mailed his statement, the Party’s leadership found that it didn’t have the resources to pursue the Texas challenge, and ordered him to go underground.
To avoid arrest, he fled to Alabama, finding a job as a waiter at a diner and tried to lay low. After a few weeks in Birmingham, Stanford began attending meetings of a committee that was opposing fare hikes on city buses. Alabama bus fare activists, however, were wary of the Texan who showed up as if from nowhere-they thought that he was an FBI agent.
Stanford’s arrangement with the Party–was that he was to stay out of view for six months, then place a classified ad in the leading daily newspaper, saying that he had lost a meerschaum pipe. The person who called to report the discovery of the meerschaum, the plan went, would become his contact with the Party. Stanford placed the ad and a young woman called. He asked her to meet him at the diner on a Sunday morning, when business was slow.
Joanna Tylee walked in, she recalls, and upon seeing the Texan whom she remembered from the bus fare meetings, thought that she had walked into a trap. Joanna Tylee became Mrs Joanna Stanford.
Following their marriage, the Stanford's returned to San Antonio to reorganized the city’s Communist Party club.
In 1961 Stanford began selling communist literature through a mail-order bookstore in his home called All Points of View.
The business was raided in 1963 and Stanford was hauled into court-represented by his attorney, the late Maury Maverick Jr.
The case went to the Supreme Court, where it failed and all of Stanford's material and literature was returned.
People’s World, June 12, 1971, covered a San Antonio meeting “!,500 in San Antonio at Free Angela meeting."
“San Antonio, Texas—The first mass rally and dance for Angela Davis in the Southwest was a smashing success here May 23 as some 1,500 persons attended.
"David Poindexter main speaker of the evening, termed the rally and dance the most successful he had yet seen.
“First speaker for the evening, Rev. C.W. Black Jr., pastor of the Mt Zion First Baptist Church, was followed by Franklin Garcia international representative of the Amalgamated Meatcutters and Butcher Workmen’s Union.
“Seated on the platform were Carlos Richardson, Texas co-ordinator of Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee and chairman of the San Antonio Committee to Free Angela Davis; Raul Rodriguez, publisher of Chicano Times, and Rosie Castro, both candidates for City Council; G.J. Sutton and John Inman, black community leaders; John Stanford, Communist party spokesman; Mario Cantu, Chicano businessman; Mrs Manuela Sager, and David Plylar.
“Poindexter dealt with the August 7 shoot-out at the Marin County Courthouse, used as the excuse for Angela Davis’ subsequent imprisonment. He said Davis ‘didn’t know about Jonathan Jackson’s attempt; didn’t give Jonathan any guns; and had she known, she would have stopped Jonathan. Angela knew that the only defense we have is organizing people.’
The People's Weekly World of May 20, 2000, carried a May Day Supplement. On page B, San Antonio activists paid tribute to contributors to the "worker's cause" - all Communist Party USA members Emma Tenayuca (1916-1999), John Inman (1896-1996), Manuela Soliz Sager (1911-1996), James Sager (1902-1979), Luisa Moreno (1906-1992).
Signatories included John Stanford.
In later years Stanford was involved in dozens of other causes-the unionization of Valley farm workers, the campaign to free Angela Davis, protests over U.S. involvemnt in Central America and since 2001, Thursday peace vigils at the San Fernando Cathedral.
In 2007, John Stanford was honored at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, Texas.
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Employees at a T-Mobile call center here say they endure a constant battle against the stress that comes from unrealistic performance standards, job insecurity and humiliation. At a "Speak Out" event earlier this year, T-Mobile's Charleston employees provided testimony to the working conditions at the call center.
Of the more than 300 workers at this call center, 75 percent are African American, and many are women and single parents struggling to support their families.
In addition to dealing with customer inquiries, the workers are required to meet a sales quota of $29 dollars per productive hour while ensuring that calls last under six minutes. This means that while assisting a disgruntled customer with resolving a problem, the employee must maintain quota by making a sale and adding charges - and all within six minutes. Not only does this aggravate an already upset customer, it also generates considerable frustration and stress for the employee. Angry customers mean poor customer feedback, and customer feedback determines employees' salary and bonus rewards. Sales targets take precedence over customer concerns at T-Mobile, and not meeting quota could result in punishment or termination. Workers must find a way to balance satisfying the required quota and preserving customer satisfaction, while facing humiliation from their supervisors in an effort to encourage productivity. This results in an unbearably stressful working environment for the employees.
Job insecurity consumes T-Mobile call center employees in Charleston. Besides the fear of their jobs being offshored to foreign countries, they say they worry constantly about job loss and termination for minor mistakes. Management treats call center workers as if they are completely expendable. According to a report released by the Communications Workers of America, a company message mistakenly sent to all employees at the call center indicated management's desire to terminate a certain number of workers each month.
Employees faced with such a difficult working environment would seem to deserve to mobilize and demand better for themselves. Unfortunately, neither T-Mobile or South Carolina's governor, Nikki Haley, are shy about their opposition to unions and collective bargaining.
T-Mobile has always been openly committed to operating union-free in the U.S. and urges its managers to discourage union organizing. Call center trainees are advised to stay away from unions and are shown anti-union PowerPoint presentations during new employee orientation. Adams, Nash, Haskell & Sheridan, a firm dedicated to "union avoidance," wrote T-Mobile's 2003 training manual, which instructs management on how to thwart union organizing attempts. The firm offers strategies on ways to avoid unionization and prevent interference by third parties with employers' productivity and profits. T-Mobile also hires attorneys and human resources staff skilled in dodging organizing attempts.
After the "Speak Out" event where workers testified about the conditions they face, management held meetings to discourage union involvement and portrayed unions as threatening, stating that union membership meant signing away your rights.
Gov. Haley expresses pride in the fact that South Carolina is one of the least unionized states in the country. She is a self-appointed "union-buster" and strong supporter of tough "right-to-work" laws, which cripple union organization and reduce wages. In fact, according to information from a news release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Carolina has experienced a decrease in wages since Haley took office in 2011. The evidence indicates she cares only for the protection and success of big businesses and nothing for the well-being of the state's working people.
At the Speak Out, the call center employees explained that they love their work and find satisfaction in helping customers solve their problems, but the stress at T-Mobile makes it difficult for them to do their job. They simply requested the peace of mind to not have to worry about job loss due to offshoring or termination for slight mistakes, and to be able to collectively organize so they can communicate their needs and demands for better treatment to their employer.
It often seems as if the odds are against call center workers in Charleston. They are up against the widespread fear that any action to improve their work environment would create a backlash from both a fiercely anti-union company, and a governor who threatens that unions "are not needed, not wanted and not welcome in the State of South Carolina."
Despite these obstacles, Charleston call center workers continue to fight for their right to work without fear. They have the support of local elected officials, community members and students. And they are backed by a global campaign that includes the Communication Workers of America, ver.di, Germany's largest union, and other unions around the world. All these people will stand by the workers in their continuing efforts to organize and put an end to T-Mobile's behavior.
On Thursday, President Obama forcefully brought the issue of student loan debt before an overflow crowd at the University of Buffalo's Alumni arena. Over 7,000 people filled the 6,000-seat stadium. (See video of speech at end of story.)
"Higher education cannot be a luxury - it is an economic imperative," Obama declared. "Every American family should be able to afford to get it."
And yet most cannot afford it: the cost of college tuition is a crisis that almost every student faces.
Previous generations didn't have to deal with this problem. The Buffalo News reports, "In recent years Obama said, there has been a striking rise in the cost of tuition, which has been outpacing wages - with states spending less, and families taking out more loans."
In fact, Obama said college costs have risen 250 percent in the last 30 years while family wages have risen only 16 percent during the same period.
Ever escalating costs create a vicious cycle of associated problems. Rising debt for example, is slowing down graduates obtaining degrees. Because of the overwhelming cost, instead of students attending all of the classes they need, they only take the classes they can afford. This prolongs their education, which simultaneously prolongs the time needed to enter the workforce.
Obama said, "Our economy can't afford the $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, much of which may not get repaid because students don't have the capacity to repay it."
To really put things into perspective, look at the president's own personal situation. He and Mrs. Obama just paid off their debt nine years ago. Imagine: they have been paying off their college debt longer than Obama's entire political career!
Today, the average debt for a student is $26,000, almost the equivalent to the average salary of minimum wage worker.
How did we get to a point to where a college graduate's debt is a minimum wage worker's salary? Why are we seeing people fall victim to overwhelming costs on services that used to be so affordable that they were dang near free?
Obama put it this way, "We can't price the middle class and everybody working to get into the middle class out of higher education."
In Buffalo, the president proposed a three step policy to begin to address these issues: a ratings system to measure how efficient colleges are in working to keep tuition costs down; more innovation and competition among schools; and helping students manage their loan debt.
The rating system would by 2015 measures schools on issues like " tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend." Financial aid would based in part on these rankings.
Under the president's proposal student debt would be capped at ten percent of discretionary income.
After the president's speech, criticism from the right was fast to come. Rep. Ron Kline, R-Minn., who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said he is "concerned that imposing an arbitrary college ranking system could curtail the very innovation we hope to encourage, and even lead to federal price controls."
The Republican National Committee branded Obama's latest trip as a "Lame Duck Bus Tour" with little substance.
Students, educators and parents however are likely to rally around Obama's higher education initiatives. While no policy or legislation is perfect, the White House's proposals are an important start.
In order for it to have a chance at passing however, Congress has to be lobbied and lobbied hard. Many on the right may reject the president's plan, but bringing our voices to the floor will at least show the nation stands behind solutions and not inaction.
As Bill Nowak of the Sierra Club said on Thursday in Buffalo "The president and governor can only do what mass movements allow them to do. A lot of our friends are going in there (to hear Obama)," he said. "He needs people to stand behind him."
On Friday, Obama will speak at the State University of New York at Binghamton before concluding the trip at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Penn., where he will be joined by Vice President Biden.
The president is on the right track. We know that there needs to be a fundamental change and Obama knows this as well: "Our national mission is not to profit off student loans" the president stressed. "Our national mission must be to profit off having the best-educated workforce in the world."
An educated workforce is key to the liberation of the workforce period. Because knowledge is power, the working class needs to possess and use it so that it may become the power that restructures the nation back to a society that works for it and not the few at the top.
I was 14 years old and going on my first march on Washington.
I had been at the march in Detroit a couple of months earlier. It was huge. It filled Woodward Avenue. It seemed to go on forever.
I remember going to a black church the week before to make posters for the Detroit march. I was the only white kid there. Didn't bother me, I grew up in Detroit in a predominantly black neighborhood. When your parents are communists, you grew up with picket lines and a multicultural view.
For the Washington march there was a train going from Detroit. My older sister and I were going, along with several adult friends we knew. I guess my mother had to work, but she packed sandwiches for everybody.
I don't remember a lot about Washington D.C. and the march itself on that day - Aug. 28, 1963. It was massive, and because of that we were far away, it seemed so far away - and couldn't make out the speakers. It wouldn't dawn on me for some time that I was part of this historic event. I couldn't hear the passionate speeches, but I knew I was in good company and it was the right place to be.
I have my button from that day. It is the one button I value.
It's 50 years later but we still have to march. We're marching for Trayvon. We're marching for voting rights - still! We're marching because our schools and communities are being cast aside. We're still marching for jobs, peace, and equality.
There will be four of us driving in this weekend. I plan to hear the speakers this time.
In 1963, I was a volunteer at the March on Washington's headquarters in Harlem. Under the leadership and direction of Bayard Rustin and his lieutenants, others and I stuffed envelopes, answered phones, provided information, and organized transport to Washington.
On the eve of the march, my task, with others, was to load people onto the fleet of buses leaving from the office and ensure that everyone who wanted to go got a seat on a bus. The last bus left close to midnight, I think, and there was no seat left for me. In the morning, I went out to La Guardia Airport and jumped on a shuttle to Washington. As the plane flew low over Washington I looked out the window and my heart sank. I couldn't see any people on the ground. Would the promised numbers not materialize? Then I suddenly realized that what I was seeing was not the ground but the masses of people; so many people that the streets below were completely covered. I burst into tears. That memory has stayed with me for 50 years; I didn't need the invitation to write about it to recall it.
Everyone knows about Dr. King's magnificent speech but I feel it is important that Rustin's role and influence has recently been recognized and written about. I'm glad too that in recent times the focus on the March on Washington has broadened to include a reminder that it was a march for jobs as well as for freedom and equal treatment. Bayard himself always acknowledged and paid tribute to others in the movement who supported the march: the trade union leaders, especially of course A. Philip Randolph, the leaders of national and local progressive churches and synagogues, the community activists from all across the United States. The march office remained open and functioning for a time after August 1963 and the phone calls and letters (well before email of course) that came in provided evidence that all those people, in organizing participation on the day, were also building activist movements and participation in the ongoing struggle for "jobs and freedom."
A postscript: Earlier that year I and others had participated in a sit-in at the office of the governor of New York to protest work on state building projects being carried out by companies and unions who would not hire or accept as members Black workers. We were arrested for trespassing and during the week of the march we had been in court. Our lawyers, Percy Sutton and Mark Lane, asked that our trial be suspended for the day of the march so that we could go to Washington. We were astonished that the judge granted their request. In retrospect it may have had to do with Sutton's position and influence in the Democratic Party - he had been Manhattan Borough president, and judges were elected.
Borders: A Texas Quartet Seeks to Erase the Line Which Divides
By: Marcel Hidalgo
Liquid Casing is a quartet from the Lone Star State. But, they are not all native Texans. John Pitale is from New Jersey, Jim Stettner is from Upstate New York, and Okikiolu Olufokunbi is from Nigeria. The Texan is Alvaro Rodriquez who is from Houston. Liquid casing, however, is a material used in the oil industry as a confining agent to keep the drill walls from collapsing. Yet, Liquid Casing, the progressive rock band, wants nothing to do with confinement. The band's focus is to expose the politics of racial and ethnic divides. They want to end xenophobia and remove borders that separate people. In a nation built by diverse nationalities, Liquid Casing asserts territories spawn from diverse histories.
As it happens, this notion of borderless states is a lot easier to sing about than to act upon. All one needs to do is turn on a news station or read a newspaper and the convoluted discussion of what to do with U.S. borders and immigration smacks you in the face. The climate in America accuses the current wave of immigrants of not wanting to assimilate. And anti-immigration voices latch on to the argument that the economic problems in the U.S. are exacerbated by those pouring into America illegally. ...read more.