Judith LeBlanc, who is a member of the national board of the CPUSA, delivered her report on the peace movement and the 2008 elections.
She argued that it was the people's movement – not the media or the Democratic Party – that have transformed the attitudes about the ultra right and the war in the recent years. "On the ground, people know the truth," she said. Seven years of organizing by the labor movement, the peace movement, and the various movements and communities against the Bush administration and the war have paid off and voters are ready for a big change.
She added that with regard to Iraq, the war can't wait until 2009. The peace movement has to continue the fight to end the war.
LeBlanc linked the war to the elections and the defeat of McCain and the Republicans. "In the peace movement, it is strategic to win and win big, and to have that victory interpreted as a result of the efforts of the antiwar movement," she argued. It will increase pressure on the majority in Congress and the next president to bring the war to an end.
The peace movement has developed two levels of struggle: one, direct involvement in the campaigns of anti-war candidates as a step in the struggle to end the war; two, continue to mobilize the antiwar movement to become involved in defeating McCain in November.
United for Peace and Justice, the country's largest antiwar coalition, plans to build a voter engagement project that will help educate voters on McCain's plans to expand war and to focus efforts on winning in the general election.
Some efforts by peace activists have begun to argue that "Obama is for peace" and have taken to highlight differences between McCain, Clinton, and Obama. Some in the peace movement have begun to make the argument that Obama is the best of the three. Many in the peace movement say "Obama is the candidate who would go the furtherest on foreign policy and Iraq," LeBlanc suggested.
LeBlanc furthered urged the antiwar movement's continued efforts to respond to the unfolding crisis happening in Iraq now with the collapse of the surge and Bush's apparent glee at recent military failures there. Bush is eager to expand the occupation and combat operations.
The peace movement must continue to push to end the funding for the war, LeBlanc said, and she noted that both Obama and Clinton voted to end war funding in the 2007 session of Congress.
LeBlanc argued for the Communist Party to develop a multifaceted effort that at the same time seeks to win the best antiwar candidates in the 2008 elections, but also to work within the peace movement to raise the discussion about how funding for the war saps resources for communities. Additionally, she stated, participating and leading political discussions about connecting war and the economy and health care and more to the elections helps to build the Communist Party.
As a result people will see that the Communist Party has both a vision and concept of winning the unity of the people but also that it has a strategic concept for winning peace and social progress, LeBlanc concluded.