First Published: The Committee to Defeat Revisionism, for Communist Unity, January 1964
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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The Communist Party of Great Britain was founded in 1920-21, under the influence of the Russian revolution and of Lenin; with the coming together of several Parties and groups who accepted the main principles of Marxism-Leninism and agreed to merge their separate forces into one Party, which then affiliated to the Third International. So long as the Third International endured, that is until 1943, the C.P.G.B. supported, in the main, the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism, propagated these basic principles to the best of its ability, and stood four-square behind the new Socialist state, the U.S.S.R., hope of all progressive mankind. Within Britain, Communists were in the forefront of all class battles, and the Communist Party played an important role in defending the interests of the working people during these years. But it never fully mastered dialectical materialism, the Marxist world view, in the sense that it never proved itself capable of applying the generally agreed principles of Marxism-Leninism to British conditions, of working out its own independent and correct policies in each historical period. Continually, the Communist International had to correct lack of theory, lack of understanding in the C.P.G.B., which led the Party into error after error.
This basic lack of theory, common in varying degrees to all the West European Parties is well illustrated in the report Piatnitsky, member of the Executive Committee of the Communist International delivered in 1932. It was subsequently reprinted as a pamphlet: The Bolshevization of the Communist Parties of the Capitalist Countries by Eradicating Social-Democratic Traditions. I quote: “The XI Plenum of the E.C.C.I, recorded the fact that the sections of the Comintern in the capitalist countries lag behind the rise of the revolutionary labour and peasant movement... Each country has its objective causes to explain this backwardness. This does not mean, however, that the backwardness is not due in a very large measure to the subjective factor–the failure to utilise the discontent of the great masses of the toilers with the lowering of the living standards, with unemployment, starvation, the burden of taxation, the actions of the Social-Democrats and Socialist Parties and reformist trade union bureaucracy.
“How are we to explain this failure to capture the working masses from the Social-Democratic and Socialist Parties and the reformists, and to consolidate, organise and keep those workers who joined the Communist Parties and revolutionary trade union movements of the capitalist countries?
“It is due mainly to the Social-Democratic and reformist traditions, prevailing in every field of party and trade union work, which are deeply rooted in the Communist Parties, red trade unions and trade union oppositions...” And Piatnitsky illustrates this in a number of fields.
“When the Communist Parties appeared (and they appeared in some countries as a result of secessions and withdrawals from the Social-Democratic Party, while in others, such as Czechoslovakia and France, the majority of the Social-Democratic Party decided to join the Communist International, the remaining minorities constituting themselves into Social-Democratic Parties) they built their organisations exactly after the model of the Social-Democrats... (They) constructed their organisations along the same lines as the Social-Democrats, on the basis of election constituencies, along residential lines... the organisations of the Communist Parties in the capitalist countries were built without permanent organisational connections with the factories... During the war, and immediately after it, the factory workers in many countries appointed revolutionary representatives, elected factory committees (such as the shop stewards in England) and even sent representatives to local and National Councils. In this way they were able to realise the advantages of organising at their place of work compared with organisation along territorial lines. But after the revolutionary storm subsided the Social-Democratic traditions gained the upper hand over the forms of organisation approaching the Bolshevist forms of work in the factories. This is the main reason why the Communist Parties... rejected at that time the nearly-Bolshevik methods of work in the factories, and are now resisting the adoption of these methods, despite the fact that their superiority to the Social-Democratic methods has already been proven...”
“How is the enrolment of members by the Communist Parties of the capitalist countries organised to this day? Members are enrolled at meetings, at great mass meetings. Sometimes even in the streets (in England). A speaker makes a fiery speech, carries away the worker, and the latter submits an application for admission to the Party... A large number of applicants disappear in an unknown direction; some changing their addresses, some leave for other cities, some lose their ardour about joining the Communist organisation. Precisely because the admission to the Party takes place not in the factories, not on the basis of the work of the Party in the factories, through the creation of a body of active non-party workers who make themselves conspicuous in the everyday work, particularly during strikes and demonstrations, and from among whom the cell create new Party members, even those whom we have already enrolled leave us...”
“In the Bolshevik Party, even under the Czar, when the Party was illegal, we had democratic centralism. The Party organisations did not wait for instructions from the C.C., the regional committees, the provincial committees and the city committees; without waiting for them they acted, depending upon the local conditions, upon the events, within the framework of the general Party decisions and directives... Unfortunately, in many Communist Parties there is super-centralism, especially in the legal parties... The C.C. must supply leaflets to the local organisations, the C.C. must first state its opinion on the events in order that the locals should wake up... The local committees must receive “everything” from the centre: that is why the initiative of the local Party organisations is deadened...”
“The abnormal relations between the Communist Parties and the Communist factions in the trade unions and in all the other mass proletarian organisations are due to two fundamental causes: the Party committees sometimes supplant the mass organisations, they remove the elected secretaries and appoint others, they openly publish in the press such things as: We propose to the red trade unions that they do this or that: that is they act in a way as is very rarely done even by the C.P.S.U.... Another cause of the abnormal relations is that the individual members of the Communist Party work in their own accord, disregard the directions of the Party organs or disobey them.”
“Many of the Communist Parties have not yet learnt to agitate effectively, while the leading comrades acting as editors, agitators, etc., think that since they understand what is taking place it must be more or less clear to the workers as well. And this is the way they approach the Social-Democratic workers. Instead of taking every little act of treachery–where it happened, when it happened, naming the witnesses, citing the exact records, relating just how and when the Social-Democratic workers and reformist leaders negotiated with the Government and the employers and betrayed the interests of the working class, instead of painstakingly explaining this to the Social-Democratic reformist and non-Party workers, our comrades keep repeating: “Social-Fascists and trade union bureaucrats,” and that is all. And they think that having said “Social-Fascists” and “trade union bureaucrats,” all the workers must understand just what is meant by these terms of abuse and believe that the Social-Democratic and reformist leaders deserved them. This only has the effect of repelling the honest workers who belong to the Social-Democratic Parties and the reformist trade unions, since they do not regard themselves either as Social-Fascists or trade union bureaucrats.”
The history of the C.P.G.B. remains to be written. (The present leadership has found it impossible to produce such a history – the risk of exposing its own line of betrayal is too great). But even a cursory study of the struggles of the inter-war years, and the role of the Party in these struggles, reveals its inability to shake free from social democratic traditions and methods of work, its inability to master Marxism-Leninism so as to be able to apply it in practice.
With the final dissolution of the Communist International (in 1943) the Social-Democratic forces within the C.P.G.B. were powerfully strengthened. With the restraining hand from above removed, the Party soon produced clear evidence of its desire to return to the social democratic fold. In 1944 the Party published a pamphlet by Peter Kerrigan, head of the Industrial Department to this day, in which he wrote... “It is imperative to have the Communist Party, which represents that section of the movement which is inspired by the economic and political theories of Marx, in the Labour Party.” The need to present the Communist Party as an alternative to the Social-Democratic Labour Party, so as to win the masses away from Social-Democracy and for Marxist-Leninist leadership, was completely buried. As William Gallacher, the then Chairman, said to the 1945 Party Congress, “We have got to carry on continuous campaigns in the Labour Movement, in the trade unions, throughout the co-operatives, in the factories, everywhere throughout the country, in order to build up the greatest measure of unity of all working-class and progressive forces around the Labour Government. This is the one sure way of strengthening the forces in Parliament for carrying out the policy the people desire.”
This line of betrayal of working class interests, the argument that it was possible to transform Social-Democracy, that it did not need to be exposed, emerged from the war years, from the complete subordination of the policy of the C.P.G.B. to the democratic, anti-Fascist fight. The independent interests of the working class had been forgotten. Contrast this attitude with that of the Party in 1930. R. Palme Dutt, today’s Chairman of the C.P.G.B., wrote in Labour Monthly of January 1930 “The workers are urged to believe that, if only the Labour Government would move a point or two to the ’left,’ all would be well; instead of being assisted to see that the whole line of the Labour Government is the line of capitalism and imperialism, against the workers and that, therefore, support of the Labour Government is necessarily support of capitalism. In this way the ’left’ and the ’right’ in the Labour Party are objectively allied parts of a single machine.”
In the intervening 15 years had the character of the Labour Party been changed in any essentials? No, it was, and is, a capitalist Party, a Social-Democratic Party which purports to serve the interests of the working class, but is, in fact, nothing more nor less than the main instrument whereby the capitalists maintain their ideological hold upon the working class and thus contain the aspirations of the working class within the framework of the capitalist system of exploitation. That there is, as there has been throughout this century a mass base for Social Democracy in Britain, due to the loot which flows in to this country in immense quantities from the exploitation of the peoples of the colonial and former colonial lands, and part of which is judiciously used to buy off sections of the working people in Britain, explains, in part, the success of the Labour Party, but in no way excuses Communists from the hard task of exposing it, and its imperial basis.
Why then did the C.P.G.B. make the 180-degree turn during this period? Because Social-Democratic thinking, which was never thoroughly purged from the Party, but lay dormant, as it were, during the years of the Third International, had effectively captured the Party by 1945. One of the clearest expressions of this thinking is contained in a document issued by the Central Education Department in August 1944, on the subject “Britain for the People.” The question is asked: “Does the policy of collaboration between the capitalist and socialist states mean a new lease of life for capitalism?” The answer. “No. The fact that powerful sections of the capitalist class see the necessity for co-operation with socialism is a sign of capitalism’s weakened position. Co-operation between capitalism and socialism provides excellent conditions for the advance of all peoples to socialism, for capitalism, in accommodating itself to the existence of socialism, helps the workers to learn from their own experience the need for a change of system.” And the document concluded “The Labour movement is not yet strong enough to lead the Nation.”
There was resistance, but it was not resistance within the higher echelons of the Party, rather from Party units within which Marxist-Leninists had influence, and from individual Communists who attempted to raise questions of basic theory and practise in the Party press. Thus Marylebone Branch, in the 1945 Congress discussion wrote: “The present form of organisation on a residential basis has not provided the Party with the closest possible links with the people. The abandoning of factory groups (my italics M.McC) has not strengthened the Party among the industrial workers.” Comrade W. Zak wrote “Of democratic-centralism practically everything has been liquidated, to leave us with the stifling and stultifying so-called democracy of social-democracy, in which the leadership is practically immutable and the membership expected to do as they are told... In recent months the leadership of the Party have... been leading the Party into the slough of social-democracy.”
But these and other comrades who recognised and protested at the open appearance of Social-Democratic theory and practise in the C.P.G.B., were unable to check the degeneration of the Party into a radical appendage of the Social-Democratic Labour Party. By 1951 a new, and outright revisionist programme, the British Road to Socialism had been adopted. In this the peaceful, legal transition to Socialism was declared a real possibility in imperialist Britain, and an imperialist attitude openly adopted towards the peoples of the British Empire. Both the socialist revolution and proletarian internationalism were kicked out of the window. Thus; “For real democratic advance, the right-wing Labour leaders must be defeated, the policy of the Labour Party transformed, and a fight waged by a united Labour Movement to elect Labour and Communist representatives to Parliament who will carry through a consistent policy of Peace and Socialism.”
Thus, too, on the Empire and Commonwealth. “The enemies of Communism declare that the Communist Party, by underhand subversive means, is aiming at the destruction of Britain and the British Empire. This is a lie. On the contrary it is precisely the Tories and the Labour leaders who are doing this by their policy of armed repression and colonial exploitation.” What we should aim at is “a new, close, voluntary and fraternal association of the British people and the liberated peoples of the present Empire to promote mutually beneficial economic exchange and co-operation, and to defend their freedom against American imperialist aggression.”
And so, in 1951, this programme of Fabian imperialism was foisted upon the Communists of Great Britain. The man who introduced it to the 22nd National Congress of the C.P.G.B.–John Gollan, present General Secretary of the Party. That subsequent Labour and Tory Colonial Secretaries were to follow John Gollan’s advice, and work for this “new, close voluntary and fraternal association” or Commonwealth, within which the special interests of British capital, and all its lackeys, were to be maintained, is a tribute to the prescience of the leadership of the C.P.G.B. It might fairly be claimed that they led the way into the era of neo-colonialism. British imperialism owes much to these men.
In 1957 the British Road to Socialism was revised, and for the only time in recent years leading members of the Party permitted themselves the luxury of open disagreement, on this issue. The revised formula which finally won the day was this; “A Socialist Government in Britain can seek to promote close voluntary fraternal relations for economic, political and cultural independence, equal rights and non-interference in internal affairs, between Britain and the former colonial countries and existing Commonwealth countries willing to develop such relations.” Palme Dutt, in proposing that “fraternal association” be changed to “fraternal relations,” argued that, since 1951, “the overwhelming majority of the peoples of the British Empire have established their effective independence (not merely formal independence) and, as a result, “our formulation for this perspective needs to be less rigid, in order to be appropriate to the present fluid and rapidly changing conditions,” and not appear (my italics M.McC) to propose the establishment of some new unitary closed system of organisation to replace the present Empire.” He continues: “British Tory, Liberal and Labour propagandists speak of turning the Empire into a Commonwealth of Free Nations. We speak of turning the Empire into a Fraternal Association of Free Nations. Of course we are most sincerely aware that we mean something very different. But is the difference so obvious to the average colonial, who is often suspicious that all British parties are at bottom much the same? ... In our formulations in the revised programme we need to be precise in order to prevent the danger of any such misconceptions in relation to what we mean.”
In other words, now that what we proposed in 1951 has largely been achieved we must advance the aim of a rather looser, less formal, arrangement which can still be used to retain the substance of British imperial interests, should the need arise.
Dutt is one of the more “far-sighted” leaders. Others are much less radical in their approach. George Matthews, now Editor of the Daily Worker, sharply attacked him. “Comrade Dutt says continuation of the Commonwealth is a perfectly possible and reasonable policy in the new non-imperialist conditions. (But) after all his brave words about the virtues of the Commonwealth form of association, Comrade Dutt abandons even this when it comes to the draft of the Programme. I do not myself think that we should use the phrase ’continuance of the Commonwealth,’ because of its imperialist associations, and because the form of association need not be exactly (my italics M.McC) the same when a Socialist Government is in power as when Britain is imperialist...
“Thus what (Dutt is) proposing is that we should have the same attitude to the countries of the former Empire as to any other country, as if there were nothing special in the relationship. This would only make any sort of sense if it were argued that all the ties resulting from years of imperialist association would disappear like magic immediately a Socialist Government came to power in Britain. But this is nonsense. What will disappear is the imperialist relationship. But the economic and political realities resulting from the years of association will remain.”
What a wealth of great-nation chauvinism is concealed within that last sentence! We may be very sure that if and when “Comrade George” becomes the first “Socialist” prime-minister of Britain that he will firmly consolidate those “economic and political realities.”
“A Socialist Government in Britain,” he concludes, “should not, and will not be able to wash its hands of the problems arising from the existence of the British Empire. An association on a new basis is needed because of the existence of economic and political realities arising from a long history of imperialist domination.
“It is needed to enable a Socialist Britain to fulfil its responsibilities (note that well-worn phrase) to the former colonial peoples, to help them develop their countries, and the distortions of their economy which have resulted from imperialist rule, carry through industrialisation and modernise their agriculture. It is in the interests of Britain also, since it would put an end to the huge burdens on our economy resulting from imperialist relations and colonial wars, and enable fruitful trading and economic relations to be established on the basis of equal rights.” There is nothing here, is there, with which any Labour M.P. could not agree? Equality before the law, with the rich still free to continue battening upon the poor. So, in the event, the rather more cunningly worded ”fraternal relations” proposed by Dutt was accepted, and there it remains to this day.
This argument, I repeat, is the one argument, in all the post war years, which has ruffled the otherwise monolithic face of the group of full-time officials who dominate and completely control the C.P.G.B. The International Communist movement, and the working class, in Britain and overseas, have nothing to hope for from these men. They were the first “communists” in Europe to advance the prospect of the costly constitutional path to Socialism via the ballot-box; the first openly to embrace Social-Democracy (the Labour Party); the first to advance a neo-colonial attitude towards the peoples of the under developed world; in a word, they have led the way towards that outright betrayal of Communist principles and Communist practise which now characterises so many of the Parties of Western Europe.
Paradoxically, because the final aim, the overthrow of capitalism, has been abandoned, and the Party reduced to a “Left-wing” lobby, it cannot call upon the revolutionary energies of the working people, cannot mobilise the masses for struggle on any issue, and consequently fails miserably even in its expressed aim of winning gains for the working class from monopoly-capital. It counts for very little among the British people, and the British capitalists regard it with affectionate contempt.
Once a Party commits itself to a programme of advance towards Socialism by winning votes in local and national elections within the bourgeois Parliamentary democracy it must, inevitably, subordinate all mass struggles to this main aim. A Party which actively mobilises and leads the workers, in industry after industry, in mass action to maintain living standards in face of the employers attacks, alienates “public opinion” in a capitalist society. “Public opinion,” which is largely created by the capitalist press and television is entirely hostile to independent action by the working class. But “public opinion” plays a big part in local and national elections!
There is no third road. Either defend, and lead the workers in all their independent actions in defence of jobs and living standards, despite “public opinion,” despite the risk of losing votes at the next elections, or suppress mass action for the sake of acceptance by capitalist society, and vote-catching in local and national elections. The first is the revolutionary line, the mass line, the line of a genuine working class Party. The second is the reformist line, the Fabian line, the line of a social-democratic Party serving the interests of the ruling class.
Let us look at some of the immediate consequences of the British Road to Socialism, and the abandonment of a mass line. Seven out of eight members of the C.P.G.B. are organised residentially, so as to be able to wage the electoral battle. For those that are organised on an industrial basis the main field of struggle is held to be, not the factory floor, but the Trade Union branch. (With the Labour Party allegedly controlled by the trade unions it cannot, it is argued, be transformed into a Socialist Party until the Trade Unions have been captured by Socialists and Communists!)
Time and again mass struggles are suppressed for the sake of maintaining “the unity of the left” within the Trade Unions, when a successful defence against the employers attacks would have been possible. Ask the Ford workers whether, not so long ago, the principle of “one out; all out” was not abandoned, with the support and approval of the C.P.G.B., and sole reliance placed upon official Trade Union-Employer negotiations which eventually proved abortive. Sacked leaders were not reinstated despite months of negotiation.
In the recent dispute in London Transport where was the Communist Party of Great Britain? In support of a wage claim to meet rising prices and defend their living standards the busmen banned overtime for some weeks. The management did not budge. As Christmas approached, and in deference to “public opinion” the official union leaders did their best to get the ban on overtime lifted. But the feeling in many garages was that further action was necessary to enforce the claim. Did the C.P.G.B. give a lead? It did not. Members of the Party in this industry never met to decide what should be done. It was left to Communists, acting upon their individual understanding and initiative, and without support or co-operation from the C.P.G.B., to advance the slogan of “work to rule.” This was implemented by one important garage. Others were about to follow suit. Within a very brief period the management made an offer of increased pay. This was, in itself, not sufficient, and might have been improved upon, but such as it was it resulted directly from mass action, and the threat of further action.
Examples such as this can be multiplied. In industry after industry, in England, Scotland, and Wales, the C.P.G.B. defaults on the need to advance demands which are in the interests of the workers, and to mobilise the workers for struggle to achieve these demands, by giving a lead which they are willing and able to follow.
Both opportunists of the “left,” and opportunists of the right, are incapable of leading the masses in struggle. The former put forward slogans which are too “advanced ”for the majority of the workers to accept. The latter advance no slogans at all, and only tail after mass actions which have been initiated by others, in order to claim some kudos after the event.
But the mass of the people are ready to act in defence of their own interests. There is, among the working class, and wide sections of the lower middle class, an increasing bitterness and dissatisfaction with the standard of living and the way of life which capitalist rule permits them. This bitterness is at present largely dissipated in arguments among the people. But, given a correct lead, nationally and locally, it can be directed against the employing class, and win great victories for the working people.
What is to be done? This question is being asked by all honest militants, by all workers and intellectuals who seek to serve the interests of the working people. More and more are coming to realise the need to fight against the policies of betrayal which Dutt, Gollan, Matthews and company represent. The failure of the C.P.G.B. to act in the interests of the working class is becoming more and more openly apparent. In the fight for wages and to maintain living standards, as well as in the fight against the aggressive policies of British imperialism, and its United States ally, the C.P.G.B. has become today an active hindrance rather than a positive help, for it is stifling the revolutionary energies of the working class. Year after year it draws into its ranks as the Party which purports to stand for Socialism, the enthusiastic young industrial workers and intellectuals whose desire is to fight the rotten, dying system of imperialism, and within a few short years it has either convinced them that the Communist Party is just like all the rest, corrupted by capitalism, and driven them out of political activity, or it has converted them to bourgeois politics and bourgeois political methods, taught them that principles are nothing but high-sounding phrases, to be used or discarded as the need arises, and drawn them into unthinking routine execution of orders from above in the name of a Communism in which they no longer really believe.
A break with the past is now essential. For twenty years and more individual Communists who have refused to succumb to corruption, or to subside into inactivity, have fought on within, and without, the ranks of the C.P.G.B. for a return to the principles and practise of Marxism-Leninism. They have established beyond dispute that the group of full-time officials who dominate and control the Party are united in their social-democratic theory and practise, that the Party as an organisation is completely integrated with the existing Labour Movement and functions as a ginger-group, forever prodding the existing Trade Unions, the Co-operatives, and the Labour Party, towards more radical, “left” sounding actions, all of which would, if implemented, still leave the framework of imperialism intact. In these tactics of burying themselves within the existing organisations of the Labour Movement, as an essential step on the road to power, they are at one with the Trotskyists. (Opportunists of the “left” and right unite in practice, on essentials, for the thinking of both reflects the interests of the bourgeoisie.)
In the course of struggle against revisionism over the post-war years, British Communists have also established beyond dispute that the Party press is not open to Marxist-Leninist argument; either on matters of basic principle, or on the particular policies advanced by the leadership. For instance, there has never been permitted a full refutation of the revisionist Party programme since it was produced in 1951, and there is deliberate suppression of any attempt to analyse failures in action in the course of struggle on all immediate issues. From such analysis, of course, the truth would break through for too many militant workers and intellectuals. They would begin to interconnect the general Social-Democratic line of advance with the repeated failure to give a correct lead on all particular issues confronting the working class in its struggle against monopoly capital.
Suppression of factual information which would enable members of the Communist Party to gain a clear picture of the real issues within the international Communist movement, now that the revisionists have taken to public slander of Communist Parties which stand by the basic truths of Marxism-Leninism, and the basic interests of the working class, is persistent and deliberate. There has been no mention of important statements defending Marxism-Leninism made in recent months by the Communist Parties of Vietnam, New Zealand, Indonesia, Korea, Albania, Brazil, and many other countries, and only a few extracts from statements by the Communist Party of China, selected in an attempt to distort the true standpoint of this fraternal Party.
There has been virtually complete suppression of news in the Daily Worker relating to the Tito group’s restoration of capitalism within Yugoslavia, and its policy of collaboration with imperialism internationally. The Indian capitalists ruthless suppression of the peoples of India, and their armed aggressions against the People’s Republic of China, are ignored in the Daily Worker. The armed struggles for national liberation from British imperialism of the peoples of North Kalimantan and Oman are also largely ignored. At the same time the C.P.G.B. emerges with a stream of lies, distortions and half truths designed to bewilder, confuse, and split the working class in Britain from their class brothers in other lands. It is said that Tito has made his mistakes, but that he is building Socialism in Yugoslavia. It is said that Nehru is a well-meaning man, doing his best by the Indian people, that Kennedy is (was) a progressive capitalist, who must be encouraged in his struggle against the real, but unspecified, reactionary forces. And at the same time as these capitalists and their lackeys are prettyfied, a constant barrage of abuse is directed against those who attempt to defend the interests of the working people.
If democratic-centralism is dead within the C.P.G.B. If the Party press is closed to the truth on matters of vital importance to the working people, and the policies pursued by the Party run directly counter to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and the basic interests of the working people then it has ceased to be a Communist Party and those who wish to serve the working class must break it with, and establish a new and genuine political organisation of the working class which will operate democratic-centralism, which will stand firm by the principles of Marxism-Leninism, and which will attempt to apply these principles to Great Britain today. A genuine Communist Party must be established in England, in Scotland and in Wales.
Marxism-Leninism will triumph in Britain. The English, the Scottish and the Welsh peoples, who have suffered longer from capitalist exploitation than any people in the world, whose lives have been stunted by capitalism, over many generations, have a deep ingrained hatred of capitalist society. They will finally succeed in smashing the ruling class which has exploited them for so long. But for this they demand a Party which can lead them in their struggle, which will serve their interests, and theirs alone. To build this Party involves the destruction of that Social-Democracy whereby the ruling class attempt to divert the revolutionary energies of the working people and win acceptance of the capitalist system. Whether in its open form, as the Labour Party, or in its concealed form, as the Communist Party of Great Britain, Social-Democracy must be exposed before the people so that they can be won for Marxism-Leninism, which alone represents their interests.
In November 1963 the Committee to Defeat Revisionism, for Communist Unity, was set up in Great Britain by Communists who had come to recognise, in the course of struggle against the policies of the Communist Party of Great Britain, that to transform this Party from within, by accepting rules operated by men such as Gollan, Dutt and Matthews, was an impossibility. This Committee is now organising a public campaign to expose revisionism, and win the militant industrial workers and intellectuals to understand that a genuine Communist Party must be established before advance can be made against monopoly-capital in Britain. We shall, before long, achieve this goal.
In what ways will the new Party differ from the old? It will be based, firstly upon the principle of proletarian internationalism. Without firm alliance with all oppressed peoples of the capitalist world, and with those who have won their freedom from exploitation, in the struggle against imperialism, there can be no future for the peoples of England, Scotland and Wales. Neo-colonial “economic and political realities” will be ruthlessly exposed. All possible support will be given to those struggling for national liberation from the British and allied imperialists, and in particular those who have been forced to take to arms, as in Oman, and North Kalimantan. For us, there can be no special “associations” or “relationships” between a Socialist Britain and the countries within the Empire and Commonwealth. All Socialist lands will join hands without distinction.
Secondly, the Party will fight to establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in Britain. This involves smashing the capitalist state machine in a Socialist revolution which will be led by the workers own organisations (Soviets). Parliament, the instrument whereby the bourgeoisie maintain their rule, can never be used to win working class power. The role of Communist M.P.’s is to expose the capitalist system, and the fraud of Parliamentary democracy.
Thirdly, the Party will relate the struggles on all immediate issues (wages and conditions of work, housing, against military bases and militarism, for all democratic rights) to this central and final goal, the establishment of working class power. The result of struggles on all immediate issues should be to increase the understanding of the masses for the need to take political power into their own hands.
Fourthly, in the struggles for all immediate aims, and for the final conquest of power, the main line of the Party will be to mobilise the mass of the people for action. This demands organisation of the Party at the place of work. It is here that exploitation takes place, it is here that the workers are drawn together in common action against capital, it is here that agitation and propaganda can most effectively be organised.
Fifthly, the Party will fight for positions, and progressive policies, in all Trade Unions and Co-operatives, as a means of mobilising the mass of the people for action in defence of their own interests, but it will resolutely oppose the false idea that capturing of positions within the legal organisations of the Labour Movement, and the capitalist state within which they operate, is the road to working-class power.
Finally, not bureaucratic but democratic-centralism will operate within the new Party. Full discussion within the Party in order to reach agreement on policy in each new situation must be accompanied by united action to implement this agreed policy, with each basic unit itself translating the general policy into action within its local field of work. Only when the Party as a whole is capable of understanding the principles of Marxism-Leninism so as to apply them to conditions in Britain, and each unit of the Party is capable of understanding each policy and slogan so as to apply it to its own local conditions, can we give that leadership in the struggle against monopoly capital which the interests of the British people demand.