Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Political Programme of the Communist Workers’ Movement


Published: 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.


The Communist Workers’ Movement is an organization dedicated to building the revolutionary party of the working class. It is a part of the international communist movement and is therefore part of the international movement of the vast majority of the world’s people to overthrow the oppressive system of capitalism and imperialism.

The capitalist class is no longer fit to run society. Capitalism is the main obstacle preventing progress towards a new society in which there will be a good living standard and a rich political and cultural life for all working people and their families; the basic problem of present-day society can only be solved by a revolution by which the working class makes itself the ruling class. This revolution necessarily involves the smashing, by revolutionary violence, of the bourgeois state machine, upon which the continued rule of the capitalist class depends. This apparatus will be replaced by the workers’ state, which has new, genuinely democratic institutions, through which working people wil1 have real control at every level, from the centre to the locality. The period of the dictatorship of the proletariat, when the working class is organized as ruling class, is necessary for the transition to the classless, communist society of the future, in which the state will no longer be needed and will cease to exist.

It is essential to build a revolutionary party which will exercise leadership in the working class on all fronts, including in the struggle for a revolutionary line in the labour movement, strikes, demonstrations, elections, the fight against racism, fascism, the oppression of women, and super-power aggression, etc. and solidarity work with peoples fighting British imperialism. This party will lead the working class in making socialist revolution.


The Communist movement is dedicated to struggle. The path to the conquest of power by the working class will lead through many complex situations. The movement needs not only militancy and a spirit of self-sacrifice, but also the ability to steer a steady course in the most difficult circumstances, being flexible in its tactics without becoming opportunist. Strikes and trade union activity in themselves will not lead to the conquest of power. The task of the Communist Party will be to raise the struggles of the working class to a higher, consciously political level, and concentrate them into one great struggle for the seizure of power.

Firstly, though, the Communist Party must be built. This means that the central task at the present time is one of laying the foundations for the building of the revolutionary party by winning the most advanced proletarian elements to Communist politics and struggling for unity with other genuine Marxist-Leninist organizations.

To this task, the Communist Workers’ Movement dedicates its main energies.


The founders of the international Communist movement, Marx and Engels, studied the laws governing the inner workings of human society, and scientifically showed that the future belongs to the working class, with the industrial proletariat as its backbone. Marxism shows that classes came into existence historically in connection with the development of the means of producing wealth, and the rise of certain systems of production corresponding to the development of the technical productive forces; it shows that the capitalist system must inevitably be overthrown and replaced by the socialist system under the dictatorship of the proletariat and that this, in turn, is but a prelude to the abolition of class divisions generally.

The spontaneous development of the working class movement (trade unionism, etc.) does not give rise to communist consciousness, but tends to give rise to a political line which does not help it to make revolution, but in fact accommodates it to the interests of the capitalist class. The scientific, revolutionary, Marxist line has developed and grown strong in the course of the struggle against this bourgeois line in the Labour movement. Today, this bourgeois line against which we have to fight exists mainly under the forms of social-democracy and modern revisionism.

At the time of the First World War, nearly all the workers’ parties in the world betrayed the interests of the working class. These organizations were the social-democratic parties (one of which today is the British Labour Party) which form an integral part of the capitalist system, and help to keep the proletariat enslaved to capital. Lenin began the struggle against revisionism and social-democracy, developed Marxism to a new stage and successfully led the Russian revolution, which established the world’s first socialist state. At that time, new revolutionary parties were founded in many countries. These were the Communist Parties of the Third (Communist) International.

These parties led many revolutionary struggles throughout the world, but many, particularly in the developed countries, fell prey to right opportunist, social-democratic ideas and their politics degenerated. This process speeded up following the death of Stalin, when control over the Soviet party and state was taken by a new bureaucratic capitalist class; many parties became thoroughly revisionist. The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was one of these parties. The main aspect of its revisionist line (which it shared with other modern revisionist parties) was its view that socialism could be won by a peaceful transition from capitalism, largely by parliamentary means. Today, the CPGB and its offspring, the “New Communist Party”, have become dangerous agents of Soviet social­ imperialists, and are both class and national traitors.

The Communist Party of China (CPC), under the leadership of Mao Tse Tung, supported by a number of genuine Marxist-Leninist parties (including, at that time, the Party of Labour of Albania), began a great international movement to criticize revisionism. Mao pointed out that the bureaucratic leadership of the Soviet Union was the headquarters of present-day revisionism, and, after the restoration of capitalism in the USSR, he showed the Soviet state had become social-fascist (socialist in words, fascist in deeds) and social­imperialist (socialist in words, imperialist in deeds). The USSR had in fact become a state monopoly capitalist system where everything is run for the benefit of a small privileged ruling class. The CPC showed how to prevent the restoration of capitalism in a Socialist country by launching the Cultural Revolution in the mid-60s; this gave a powerful impetus to the regeneration of the international communist movement. Since Mao Tse Tung’s death in 1976, the CPC, under the leadership of Hua Kuo Fong, has smashed the counter­revolutionary “Gang of Four” and has creatively developed Mao’s line of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. This ensured that China has remained a reliable bastion of world revolution.


All around the world, now, genuinely revolutionary Communist Parties are being built in opposition to the decaying old revisionist parties, which are communist only in name. There have been false starts and set-backs, particularly in Britain, but the process is irresistible.

The Communist Workers’ Movement is determined to rely firmly on the working class, integrate Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought with the concrete conditions of the British socialist revolution, fight against imperialism, unite with working and oppressed peoples the world over, and struggle against revisionism. It will work alongside and seek unity with other organizations working for the same cause, and strive to build the revolutionary communist party – the working class’ own party. The CWM will struggle against the remnants of the old revisionist party and against the various brands of phoney “leftism” which serve the interests of the ruling class, particularly against trotskyism, which is in essence a mixture of revisionism and social-democracy. However, we recognize that because of the weakness of real communist leadership at present, many sincere people have been attracted to these “leftist” groups and we must struggle hard to win them over.

The party we are working to build will inherit and carry forward the great tradition of struggle of the British labouring people, a tradition of fighting class against class which has run through the Peasants’ Revolt, the Levellers, the Diggers, “Rebecca”, the Chartists, the Communist movement of the 20s and 30s and the rest of our history.

Any Marxist-Leninist party can degenerate, but this can be prevented if the party forges the closest ties with the working people, particularly the poorest and most oppressed, and in its internal life, practices democratic centralism, gives the fullest scope to discussion and initiative, seeks unity of will through struggle, carries out criticism and self-criticism, and persists in the struggle against revisionism in all its forms, including the specific forms it takes within the Marxist-Leninist movement. As a party-building organization, we will strive to do this.


Historically, capitalism broke down the old individual forms of production and replaced them with co-operative labour; it developed the productive forces to a tremendous extent, but those processes only took place along with the concentration of ownership of means of producing wealth into the hands of a small number of individuals and the conversion of peasants, artisans and others into a propertyless proletariat, only able to exist by selling its labour power to the capitalist class. Capitalists buy workers’ labour power at its value (that is, the bare minimum necessary for workers to live and bring up a new generation of workers to take their places), for wages. Proletarians are then obliged to work not only to produce enough to cover the price of their labour power (which includes the value of their labour power), but also produces surplus value, which is the source of the capitalists’ profit. Capitalists realize their profit by selling the commodities produced by the workers, although at times the products cannot be sold in fact, and periodic crises of over-production are the result.

Thus, the capitalist system is a parasite on society and is maintained entirely by the labour of working people. This can only happen because capitalists possess a monopoly of the means of production, and their control is backed up by the powers of the state. In general, the state has the character of the class which is dominant in the prevailing mode of production, and thus all the actions it takes will serve that class. This means, in our time, that any attempt to destroy the capitalist system must include as a first priority the destruction of the capitalist state, if it is to succeed.

Capitalism has imposed great suffering upon working people, but its development of the forces of production was progressive. Reformists have claimed that it is possible to do away with the “bad side” of capitalism and preserve its “good side”, but this has always been impossible. The motive force of the capitalist system, independent of the wishes of individual capitalists, is the drive for profit, which can only be obtained by the exploitation of the working class. The very best that the working class can win under the capitalist order – and then only by unceasing struggles – is to be expected on slightly better terms, and even this becomes less and less possible during periods of crisis!


The ruling classes of the capitalist powers of Western Europe and those of the USA and Japan grew rich not only by exploiting their own working classes, but also because the particularly intense, ruthless exploitation of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The super-profits derived from this international exploitation enabled the imperialist ruling classes to develop industry and buy over small sections of the working class into their service; these sections helped them fend off socialist revolution. Ideologically, these developments provided a basis for many British workers to be taken in by ideas about “our empire” – no matter how oppressed they were; they also provided a basis for the spread of illusions about peaceful reform of capitalism.

Now that Britain no longer has an empire on the old scale, outright “buying off” has become more important: hundreds of trade union leaders have become enmeshed in the state and financial system to an unprecedented extent. To membership of the House of Lords have been added the inducements of capitalist directorships, membership of government boards and every opportunity to share the lifestyle of the bourgeoisie.

Under imperialism, the free competition which used to exist between capitalist firms is replaced by monopoly; the weaker firms go to the wall, particularly during crises and productive capacity is concentrate in the hands of fewer and fewer giant companies. Under imperialism too, particularly since the First World War, the state has come to play an increasingly important part in the economy. In Britain there is a large nationalized sector, while in addition to this, the state, through instruments such as the National Enterprise Board, has bought up stakes in other companies, and by manipulating government contracts, it is able to influence many firms which remain wholly under the control of private capital. This state activity is sometimes presented as “socialism” but it is nothing of the sort. It is a further development of the imperialist tendency to monopoly, and shows how the state acts as representative of the capitalist class collectively. With the expansion of the state’s role has gone a vast growth of the state bureaucracy; the state machine has become more and more parasitic.

The era of imperialism is the final stage of capitalism, when the latter loses any progressive character it once had, and its days approach their end.


The major imperialist powers struggle with one another constantly for markets, sources of raw materials, spheres of influence, etc. As their relative strengths change, they contend for a redivision of the world, resorting to war eventually. There have been two world wars this century launched by the imperialist powers; both brought great suffering to the world’s peoples, but both weakened the capitalist system and provided opportunities for revolution. The Russian Revolution came out of the First World War, and the revolutions in China (to a large extent) and several other countries came out of the Second. War can only be abolished by socialist revolution.

In order to understand the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution today, we must see that the globe is divided into three main forces – three worlds.

The First World consists of the two super-powers, the USA and the USSR, which are the foremost representatives of the imperialist system of exploitation. Today, these are the only two imperialist powers capable of contending for hegemony on a world scale.

After the last war, the USA definitely displaced the old imperialist powers such as Britain from their leading position in the imperialist league table. But the US has declined in recent years itself; it has been opposed by the anti-imperialist people of the world, received its first major defeat in the Korean War, and its decline was accelerated by its defeat at the hands of the peoples of Kampuchea (Cambodia), Vietnam and Laos. Now a new rival has arisen.

The Soviet Union, which became an imperialist super-power as a result of the restoration of capitalism there, is now working throughout the world to push out the US from its old positions and take over itself. It is now more dangerous than the US, more cunning and deceptive and more expansionist, because it is a young imperialist power, with a highly centralised state monopoly economy, a fascist political system and serious internal political, economic and social problems. The strategic objective of Soviet social-imperialism’s expansionism is western Europe, with its concentration of heavy industry and skilled work­force; its current moves in Africa and other parts of the Third World are for the purpose of gaining control of sources of raw materials (e.g. in Southern Africa) and routes of communication and trade (e.g. in the Horn of Africa) in order to enslave Europe, whose economy depends upon these resources and routes, and prepare for world war.

The other imperialist and developed capitalist countries make up the Second World. Britain is part of the Second World. Its ruling class still draws great profits from exploiting the countries of the Third World, mainly in collusion with US imperialism. The British Working Class is exploited by US imperialism, as well as by its “own” bourgeoisie. The ruling class of Britain and those of other west European countries would like to go on exploiting the Third World, but they tack the political, military and economic strength to compete effectively with the super-powers and to dominate the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. If the British ruling class may try to do the latter by tagging along at the coat-tails -of one of the super-powers, some favouring collaboration with US imperialism and some, represented by the Labour “Lefts” in particu1ar, with Soviet social-imperialism.

The dominant trend among the bourgeoisie of western Europe is to strive for some degree of independence from the super-powers, but this trend Is weaker among the British bourgeoisie than among its European counterparts. Much of it is still tied to US Imperialism and opposes Soviet social-imperialism, while allowing US domination.

The bourgeoisie of Western Europe have grouped themselves together in the European Economic Community. The tendency towards solidarity among them, expressed in the EEC, has a positive role po1itically insofar as it promotes independence from the USA(which is quite prepared to see Western Europe turned into a battleground, quite happy to fight to the last European against the USSR) and counters the Soviet strategy of dividing the targets of its aggression and swallowing them one by one. Because superpower domination over the Third World would inevitably bring with it superpower domination over Europe, there is a certain tendency among Second World bourgeoisies to accept more equal relations with the Third World than they would have at an earlier period. But this is a very weak and indecisive tendency, and only exists at all because the Third World has won repeated trials of strength with imperialist countries.

The Third World (Asia – excluding Japan – Africa, Latin America and countries in some other regions) consists of those parts of the world whose development has been stifled by imperialist exploitation. It is where the contradictions of the world are focused. Since the disappearance of the Socialist Camp (which used to exist when the Soviet Union and East European countries were still socialist), the Third World has become the strongest force for change and progress. This is because it contains the overwhelming majority of the world’s population and those who have suffered and suffer the intense exploitation and oppression. It includes China, which is guided by a firm proletarian line in international affairs, as well as the other genuine socialist countries.

Apart from China and other socialist countries, most of the states of the Third World are headed by bourgeois or even feudal regimes. These, in general, want to develop their own countries independently, and take a larger cut of the fruits of their people’s labour than imperialism allows them. For this reason, and because of the demands and struggles of their peoples, these regimes are in general, standing up. (to different degrees) to the imperialist powers and fighting for a more equal relationship with them, but they wish to go further and eliminate all forms of capitalist and feudal oppression. They are the most resolute opponents of imperialism, and are giving a hammering to the ruling classes of the USA and the western imperialist countries, and, increasingly, to Soviet social-imperialism.

The Third World peoples are a reliab1e ally of the proletariat in the imperialist countries, including Second World countries like Britain. The imperialist system is the common enemy of the peoples of the Third World and the workers of the imperialist countries. In the international fight to overthrow imperialism, the international proletariat is the leading force and the Third World is the main force.


Class struggle develops in complicated ways. Communists must analyse every situation concretely, distinguishing between their main features and the less important ones, between those trends which are growing and developing, and those which are declining; they must assess the various class forces at different stages so as to formulate correct tactics for waging the class struggle and building the revolutionary Communist Party into a reliable headquarters for the proletarian forces in their fight for socialism.

In the early 1970s there was an acute conflict between labour and capital in the form of strikes. The strike movement in itself could not endanger the capitalist system, but class conflict was acute and the bourgeoisie was driven into a corner by the miners, following the working class defeat of the Tories’ Industrial Relations Act.

Since the advent of the Labour government in 1974, there have been definite setbacks. Workers have been forced (mainly by the social democrats in the trade union leadership) to accept the Social Contract and other forms of wage control, while prices have gone on rising faster than pay, and an effective fall in living standards has resulted. Labour has achieved by ideological means what the Conservatives fail to do by direct state repression. This was possible because of the low po1iticallevel of the working peop1e in the absence of a leading Communist core; and the collaboration of the trade union leaders with their class brothers in the state bureaucratic section-of the bourgeoisie.

To bring down the real value of wages is a strategic objective of the ruling class, as Marxist political economy shows. Capitalists always seek to improve their competitiveness and increase their profits by introducing more sophisticated machinery, thus increasing the productivity of labour, cutting production costs and often reducing the labour force. This increases unemployment. It also means that out of the total invested in the production process, an ever-increasing proportion is represented by machinery, and a decreasing proportion by wages paid to workers. But since only labour can be a source of surplus value this means that the rate of profit (the return on capital invested) will tend to fall. The total profit of capital could only be maintained by increasing production, but this comes up against the contradiction that the working classis too poor to buy the goods it itself produces.

Nevertheless, despite this contradiction, the capitalist class and its state are bound to try to drive down workers’ living standards, and no amount of social-democratic soft-soap can hide that fact. This tendency can only be resisted by the working class mobilizing and hitting back; a key object for attack at the present time must be the latest version of the “social contract”, which in one form or another has played a central role in capitalist strategy since 1974.

In order to drive down the real value of wages, the Labour government elected in1974 worked for the destruction of the unions as independent working class organs; this represents a major step towards a fascist corporate state.

At the end of the Second World War, the working class had no intention of returning to pre-war conditions; under its pressure, the post-war Labour government brought in the Welfare State. But, as is the way with all gains made by the working class under capitalism the ruling class has tended to turn it into a weapon for use against it. The Welfare State system means that workers receive a considerable portion of the value of their labour power in the form of “social benefits”. These are paid for by taxation and other deductions; they do not appear in the net sum received in the pay packet. This gives the capitalists an effective means of pushing down workers’ living standards, since they are able to make cuts in the social services, and it is very difficult for workers to use traditional methods of struggle (such as strikes) in fighting back against this particular form of attack. New ways of countering this are evolving, and these need to be summed up well so that they will be developed more effectively in the future.

Together with capitalism’s attacks on the living standards of the working people goes its offensive against hard-won democratic rights – a move towards fascism. The main danger of fascism comes from the trend towards a corporate state, backed by the threat of using the type of measures which the British government is using in Northern Ireland in response to the mass struggles – including armed struggle – of the nationalist population.

The introduction of the Prevention of Terrorism Act is one indication that these methods are now being put into effect here. This is not to underestimate the threat posed by open Nazis like the National Front.

A very important aspect of the trend towards fascism, which it is essential for working people to resist, is the promotion of racism. The latter is encouraged by the immigration policies of both the major parties of the bourgeoisie. Racism has gained a certain influence in a situation where people are extremely disillusioned with the major parties of capitalism, and Labour has lost a great deal of credibility with most working people. Racist organisations like the National Front have benefitted from active propaganda support (direct or indirect) by the bourgeois media and the support of police, in many cases.

Like the threat from Soviet social-imperialism and social-fascism externally, the threat from fascism internally has to be fought on every front and in every shape and form, be it open Nazism, racism, corporatism or increasing state repression.


On some fronts, working class struggle is suffering setbacks in certain of its forms, but it is surging forward in other sectors. In answer to the threat of racism, a mass anti-racist movement has arisen. Recent anti-racist demonstrations have involved the largest mass marches since the Vietnam movement of the late 60s. The anti-racist movement is mainly working class in composition, and includes many young people just awakening to political involvement. Communists should participate in this movement and work to give it correct leadership.

A very important feature of the present period is the fact that young black workers are playing a militant part in a struggle which is aimed, in the first place, against the NF, but in essence, faces the racist policies of the capitalist state.

Working people are struggling hard on other fronts too. Resistance to the cuts in the social services have brought into struggle workers and working people in the fields of health, education, etc., and white collar workers are becoming more militant.

The highly organized industries’ workers such as miners and engineers are not at present playing the leading role they have done in the past, but this is beginning to change, as the Fords strike of late 1978 indicates; after a lull during most of Labour’s term of office, the class struggle is again growing in breadth and depth.

Particularly important is the fact that the poorest and most oppressed, the hitherto most backward and isolated sections of workers, have begun to organize to defend themselves and advance their living standards. This movement encompasses many sectors previously regarded as unorganizable, from shop, hotel, and catering workers to low paid workers in the health service and local government. The struggles of the Grunwick workers and the firemen were symbolic of the new forces coming to the fore in the class struggle.


Working class struggles at the moment are scattered and unsystematic. The CWM holds that it is necessary to build a party which can give those struggles unity of purpose and a strong political lead.

In furtherance of the key task of party-building, Marxist-Leninists must plunge into mass struggles in order to learn from, concentrate and give systematic form to the ideas and initiatives of the working class, to remould themselves as better Communists, link them­selves in the closest possible way with the poorest, the most oppressed, and the most active in struggle, and win the advanced elements of the working class to Marxism-Leninism. To these ends, work should be concentrated on the factories.

Communists cannot build a party behind closed doors and then unveil the finished work to the masses, but when they are engaged in any practical work, they must always seek a sound understanding of how it fits in with the key task of party-building; when new areas of practical work are being considered, this question must be to the fore.


The main contradiction in Britain is between the proletariat and the monopoly bourgeoisie, who are few in number, but effectively control the national economy. The state and all other parts of the superstructure of British society (including culture) serve their interests. The monopoly bourgeoisie is the main force holding up progress towards a new society.

Objectively, they stand in contradiction with the interests of the vast majority of people in Britain, since most people from other classes and strata are oppressed by them (to a greater or lesser extent) and would lead a fuller life under socialism. However, only the proletariat, who have nothing to gain from the present system, can be the main and leading force in overthrowing it.

As Communists talking about the proletariat, we are talking about our own class but we still have to analyse it accurately! The proletariat is the main and key force for overthrowing the old society and building the new one because (a) this class is the special product of modern industry and the backbone of society in a country like Britain; (b) the proletariat is the class most exploited by, most directly opposed to and most accustomed to struggling against monopoly capital, state monopoly capita1, and the government policies, courts and police which hold up the capitalist system; (c) the proletariat lives by the sale of its labour power, has little property and stands at the hub of the production process – thus, under the leadership of its own revolutionary party, it is able to understand the inner workings of society and the historic trend of social development; (d) through its experience in a process of production which is collective rather than individual, the proletariat learns to operate as a disciplined and organised force.

The working class sells its labour power to the capitalist class in order to survive and its surplus labour provides the capitalists with their profits and with the other costs of production, including those of administration. The core of the working class is formed by the industrial proletariat which in comparison with other sections of the proletariat generally has a higher level of organisation and class consciousness. This is so mainly because of its immediate relationship to the means of production, its concentration, and consequent ability to understand more easily its exploitation by the capitalist class.

The industrial proletariat thus has a leading role to play in the struggle for socialism. It consists both of those workers who labour physically with the means of producing wealth, and of those who perform essential supervisory and administrative work.

In addition to the industrial proletariat, the working class also includes workers in service industries such as hotel and catering workers, those in the sphere of circulation of commodities such as shop assistants and bank clerks; and also people such as nurses and typists who play no direct role in production or the creation of wealth but who do sell their labour power to capitalist firms or enterprises administered by the capitalist state, generally come from families belonging to other sections of the working class and have incomes similar to (or lower than) those of industrial workers.

While the working class includes some groups of non-manual workers, these are – in comparison with the manual workers – generally more heavily influenced by bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology, owing to the “status”, “perks”, better working conditions and, in many cases, higher pay which they enjoy.

While relation to the process of production is of primary importance in determining class, class-consciousness is also significant. The proletariat includes unemployed and retired people who have generally done types of work associated with that class or who come from and identify themselves with a proletarian class background.

Recent technological and organisational changes in the process of production do not alter the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist mode of production, or the class contradictions which rest upon them. Just because the proportion of sheer physical work is shrinking it should not be thought that the proletariat as a class is shrinking. The objective antagonism of interest between those who labour and those who appropriate the fruits remains, and if the new production processes introduce new ways of veiling the antagonism, Communists should work to strip away these veils. On the other hand, it should not bethought that just because increasing numbers are living by wage-labour it automatically means that the proletariat is getting stronger. A long struggle for ideological consolidation is necessary if the proletariat is to mobilise its numbers and act as a coherent, organized force in the movement for revolutionary social change.

The petty-bourgeoisie is composed mainly of people who own small businesses in the fields of production, distribution or exchange, for example small contractors, shopkeepers, small farmers. Typically, such concerns are staffed mainly with the labour of the owners and their families, and exploit only a small amount of additional labour.

The tendency of the development of capitalism is to squeeze out of existence all intermediate strata between the proletariat and bourgeoisie. However, the present imperialist phase of capitalism is a period of decay of the old social order, where the contradictions cannot be resolved short of the proletarian revolution. In these circumstances, the agony of the petty-bourgeoisie is cruelly dragged out. As a class, it is continually being ground out of existence only to re-emerge in different forms.

The petty-bourgeoisie is not and cannot act as a coherent independent class. The members of this class suffer acute oppression by the monopolies (e.g. monopolies in the field of distribution – supermarket chains), but their oppression is not the same as that of the proletariat – who in general have nothing to fall back on – and their response is different. The petty bourgeoisie can only think in terms of surviving by hanging on to an illusion of independence and whatever property it owns, and cannot possibly be capable of realizing, like the proletariat that the resolution of society’s contradictions can only be brought about by a revolution leading ultimately to the abolition of private ownership.

There is a danger that fascist organizations may exploit “anti-monopoly” demagogy to build a base among the petty bourgeoisie. This can be countered by the proletariat and its Party taking account of the need for members of the petty bourgeoisie to survive, and working to convince them that fascism – really serves the interests of the monopolies.

The characteristic of petty-bourgeois ideology is to seek individual rather than collective advancement. The petty-bourgeoisie has its material basis in small ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, but its ideological influence extends beyond the class of small proprietors, and exercises a powerful effect upon the intermediate strata which lie between the proletariat and bourgeoisie.

This applies particularly to the intelligentsia – scientists, doctors, teachers, etc. These people do not share the material conditions of the proletariat and their mode of life tends to give them an individualistic perspective akin to that of the petty bourgeoisie. On the other hand they have to sell their labour power and are increasingly threatened by the ill­effects of the capitalist crisis (unemployment, cuts). Some are employed to propagate bourgeois ideology, but at the same time a significant minority are in one way or another dissatisfied with this role. Certain well-established professional people are undoubtedly close to the bourgeoisie, but on the whole the intelligentsia can be won over to serve the proletariat, and some even identify themselves actively with its cause. This identification is made initially in a petty-bourgeois spirit of revolt but can become much more sound and thorough under the guidance of the proletarian Party.

The lumpen proletariat is comprised of a group which has removed itself from the normal economic and social relations of class society and lives in a parasitic and opportunistic way: for example petty criminals and those who choose to remain permanently un­employed. This stratum can be easily mobilised by fascist organisations. On the other hand, the proletarian Party must be conscious that the problems faced by the lumpen proletariat are caused by the contradictions and oppression of capitalist society, and must strive where possible to win over the better members of this stratum.

The non-monopoly capitalists are those who own small firms, in general. In many cases, they exploit their workers very intensively, while at the same time they often have severe contradictions with monopoly capitalists.

The parliamentary system under monopoly capitalist dictatorship above all serves as a cover to hide the true character of that dictatorship. But the crisis has intensified contradictions between different factions of the monopoly bourgeoisie, which each try to maximise their own share of the profits. This contention is reflected to some extent in the bourgeois political arena.

One section of the monopoly bourgeoisie thrives on salaries and privileges arising from · the state-owned sector of the economy. This group is, to a certain extent, represented politically by the so-called “left” wing of the Labour party which favours an increase in state capitalism, and is closely associated with the leading trade union bureaucrats. The trend towards state-monopoly is the dominant one in the British capitalist system.

A contradiction exists between this group and the “free-enterprise” monopoly capitalists who are dependent upon shares, directorships, etc. in the non-state owned companies. Their parliamentary voice, to a certain extent, is the more “traditional” wing of the Conservative Party.

Communists do not support one or other of these groups, but pay attention to the collusion and contention between them. The fundamental policy of the proletariat is to isolate to the ma mum and struggle against the monopoly bourgeoisie, neutralize the other capitalists, and unite with all other sections of the population who do not line up with the ruling class as its faithful allies and agents.

The petty-bourgeoisie and the various strata of the intelligentsia form a fairly large section of the population who work for a living and are oppressed-by capitalism. In Britain, these people are the working class most important allies. The proletariat’s alliance with them is strategic, not tactical, and will continue into socialist society; however, these allies have to be struggled with by the proletariat if they are to take a firm stand on its side, and if unity is to be ensured. The alliance is a revolutionary one, which can only be consolidated under the leadership of the revolutionary Communist Party. Without this leadership, the petty bourgeoisie could be drawn into the enemy camp, and the revolution would suffer a huge setback.

In uniting with the petty-bourgeoisie, Communists do not lose sight of the fact that the proletariat and the petty-bourgeoisie are two distinct classes whose existence rests upon different economic bases and who have different ideologies (even though in individual cases there is often a mixture of the two). The Communist movement will give particular attention to combatting the influence of petty-bourgeois ideology in its own ranks.


In fighting to organize the industrial working class, other workers, and oppressed and exploited people, the main focus for Communists is the place of work, and the primary level of organization of the revolutionary Communist Party will be the factory cell.

The working class is hitting back against the monopoly capitalists’ strategy of turning the trade unions into part of the repressive state machine, and against the trade union leaders who assist the ruling class in this. Communists must assist it in this struggle, and take a leading part in the work of turning the unions into fighting class organizations. But by being active only in industry and the place of work, Communists would give only a one-sided lead to the working class in the fightback against the effects of the capitalist crisis. The present attacks on the living standards and democratic rights of working people has many different aspects, including neglect of housing, cuts in health services and education, and unemployment, which forces many working people to draw on a set of complicated, humiliating and low social security payments. Marxist-Leninists must take a very active part in the tenants associations, claimants groups, etc., in which working people organize in their fightback.


Reforms can only be won through class struggle, and not by expecting kindness from our capitalist rulers. The bourgeoisie will always try to take back in one way what it has conceded in another, and no reform won can be more than a limited and temporary gain. This is because state power remains in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie and its representatives. Communists must participate in and lead struggles for reforms in such a way as to raise peoples’ consciousness to an understanding of the importance of this question of state power and to assist the proletariat to learn to rely on its own fighting strength.

The reforms for which we call are aimed at strengthening the working class physically, economically and politically, at making it more united, more broadly and deeply mobilized and prepared for its decisive struggles against monopoly capital and super-power aggression.

On the industrial front, our fundamental demand is:
* A living wage for all, adequate to enable all workers to obtain their material requirements with ease.

While the average normal working week is between 38 and 39 hours, the great majority of workers are obliged to work many hours of overtime. In principle, we are:
* Against overtime. We will fight for a living basic wage and the limitation of overtime as a step towards its abolition. In the same spirit, we call for:
* The abolition of shift work and night-work save where technicality indispensable.
* No productivity deals and speed-ups.

Regarding the unions our guiding principle is to oppose the trend towards corporatism, to fight for structural changes aimed at helping to bring forward the initiative of ordinary workers (in conjunction with working on the political and ideological fronts to assist them to advance) and at weakening the hold of the present bureaucratic leadership. In line with this, we call for:
* Democracy in the unions, this involving the holding of annual conferences, all officials being made subject to erection and recall, and fairly frequent union branch meetings during working hours..
* Complete freedom to join a union, we are for the organization of all workers into trade unions, but oppose attempts by trade union bureaucrats to use the c1osed shop as a means to discipline militants.

These demands are essential to our strategy of building fighting, class struggle unions.

Concerning the capitalist state, the fight for reforms today must centre on resisting the tendency towards use of fascist methods to suppress working people’s struggles. We stand:
* For the abolition of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and of the Conspiracy Laws;
* Against the use of computer files by the police, against phone tapping and other forms of intelligence gathering, while recognizing the necessity of countering super-power espionage;
* Against the Official Secrets Act, which is mainly used against the working people of this country;
* Against the re-introduction of capital punishment;
* For working people to have the same right to anonymity in the courts as the bourgeoisie generally does;
* Against the granting of facilities in the media and in public buildings to racist and fascist organizations.

On social provisions, our demands centre around the struggle for a decent living standard for all working people. In line with this, we call for:
* Retirement at 55;
* Optional paid leave for either parent after the birth of a child;

In order to prevent the bourgeoisie from cynically manipulating pensions in order to win votes, we call for:
* A pension of 75% of the average salary currently paid to others currently working in the former occupation of the people concerned;

We call for a simple and not humiliating system of social security which provides adequately for people’s needs, and specifically for:
* Abolition of means testing;
* Unemployment benefit related to average wage level;

Concerning the health service, we call for:
* Abolition of medical and dental charges;
* Free abortion on demand;
* Free, readily available contraception, with proper sex education to be an integral part of lower secondary school curricula.

Concerning housing and the environment, we demand:
*A programme of council house building, employing direct labour, with close controls on quality of materials;
*Immediate and regular carrying out of maintenance and repair work on council housing;
* Provision of interest-free mortgages by local government;
* Abolition of the Criminal Trespass Laws and recognition of the right of working people to squat in empty properties when they cannot find or afford decent accommodation.
* Reduction of fares on public transport;
*Firm action against pollution and against contamination by dangerous substances;
* Firm safeguards for nuclear power plants, and no despoliation of the countryside or forced expropriation of small farmers.

On the question of women’s rights and women’s liberation, besides demands already stated, wecall for:
* Full equality of rights and opportunities with men, including prohibition of discrimination against women on the grounds of their having children;
* Rape to be treated as a serious crime, and victims to be treated with sympathy, not as though they had provoked it; victims to be guaranteed complete anonymity;
* The banning of pornography and indecent advertisements which exploit and degrade women, and act as incitement to rape.
* We oppose discrimination against homosexuals and support the fight for their full democratic rights.

Concerning education, we call for:
* Provision of free and adequately staffed nurseries;
* Adequate pupil-teacher ratios and provision of educational materials;
* Free and decent schoo1 dinners and free milk;
* Courses dealing with the culture of national minorities in Britain;
* School students and teachers to have a real voice in the running of schools and in the content of courses;
* Abolition of corporal punishment, religious services and compulsory religious education;
* Schools facilities to be available to the community in the evening;
* Higher educational grants related to the average level of wages;
* Further education as a right, not a privilege;
* Proper training, including day release, for apprentices without discrimination in wage levels.

On the national question, we demand:
* The right of self-determination for the peoples of Wales and Scotland, up to and including secession;
* Equal status with English for Welsh and Gaelic in Wales and Scotland respectively, and the vigorous promotion and safeguarding of the cultures of all nations and nationalities under the British state;
* Special guaranteed economic provisions for Wales and Scotland to halt the drift of young people away to areas of England with more employment opportunities;
* A Welsh television channel and radio stations;
* No repressive measures against Romanies

We stand for the unity of British working people of all nations and nationalities against the common enemy, British imperialism.

On foreign policy, we demand:
* Complete and immediate British withdrawal from Ireland, which is in the common interests of the British and Irish peoples. We support the just struggle of the Irish people for national liberation, which is presently partly conducted in an armed form;
* Immediate, full and unconditional independence for all remaining British colonies and, where appropriate, reunion with mother country;
* Withdrawal of all British troops from abroad;
* An end to neo-colonist policies, particularly in southern Africa, and severance of economic ties with South Africa;
* Withdrawal of Investments from abroad;
* Development aid not to be accompanied by any strings or ties;
* Support for demands by Third World countries for a new international economic order;
* Support for the Third World in using the United Nations and other international institutions against super-power hegemonism;
* Support for a policy of unity with other second world countries against the super- powers and for a policy of unity and equality between the Second and Third Worlds;
* Expulsion of US bases from Britain;
* Resolute action to expel foreign agents;
* Firm resistance to provocations by the super-powers, and refusal to appease Soviet Social imperialism;
* Preparation for Civil defence, including shelter provision for working people in the face of the threat of Soviet aggression;
* A policy of friendship and co-operation with socialist China and other genuine socialist-countries.


The world of ideas, culture and political institutions is the superstructure of society. It reflects the character of the economic base, while at the same time also influencing the latter. The present superstructure serves to protect the capitalist mode of production.

One part of the superstructure is the state, which consists of all the bourgeoisie’s instruments of repression and all aspects of bourgeois political organization. The state is the main target of the revolution; it will have to be smashed and replaced with a socialist state before it is possible to create the new, socialist system.

Bourgeois culture, especially as promoted in the mass media (press, television etc.), is entirely geared to supporting the dictatorship of monopoly capital and in fact forms a most important prop for the present system. The attack on bourgeois culture is a part of the revolution and Communists must play a leading part in it. While of secondary importance to the question of state power, the cultural question is a more immediate one; bourgeois culture must be attacked and weakened to a certain extent before the seizure of state power is possible. It will be necessary to begin building an authentic working class culture, incorporating progressive aspects of traditional and contemporary popular culture, and drawing upon the finest cultural traditions of all the peoples of the world.

One aspect of the superstructure which is already under strong attack is the ideology of male domination, an ideology which serves to protect the current relations of production. The movement for women’s liberation is an extremely powerful and progressive force, and Communists must be active in this field, furthering its development while combatting those who try to make out that that main contradiction in society is between the sexes, not between classes.


At all stages of our revolutionary struggle, we need to fight to unite the vast majority of the people against the main enemy. The united front is a means of developing the role of the proletariat as the leading force on the political life of Britain, by collecting other classes and strata around it, so as to attain the goals of the revolution step by step.

At present, the two main spheres of united front work are those of opposition to fascism and to super-power aggression, but anti-racist work must be a component part of the fight against fascism, and a strong united front against British imperialist aggression in Ireland and Zimbabwe has to be built.

The united front against fascism is necessary to counter ruling class preparations for the introduction of a terrorist dictatorship over the working class. The fight on this front is closely linked with the fight-back against cuts in living standards, and is directed against all aspects of fascism; this united front should include within its ranks people of all classes and strata who are ready to fight this danger.

The united front against super-power aggression is directed partly against the oppression of Britain by the USA, but principally against the threat of an imperialist war of aggression, which the Soviet ruling class is planning to launch.

The present stage of the British revolution is one of struggle for socialism, but, while this is our main goal, it must be combined with fighting for a united front against Soviet aggression. If the Soviet menace develops to such a degree that it objectively changes the relationship of class forces in Britain, then the party of the proletariat will change its approach, will unite with and take the leadership over all class forces which are opposed to social-imperialist aggression, and wage class struggle primarily against the capitulationist section of the bourgeoisie, While never forgetting that our aim is the establishment of socialism.

In such circumstances, anti-superpower united front work will become the main aspect of our activities. However, this stage will only serve to lay firmer foundations for socialist revolution, following the defeat of Soviet social-imperialist aggression. This stage has not yet arrived, but must be prepared for.

At present, it is necessary to conduct the class struggle against Britain’s monopoly capitalists as vigorously as possible and strive to develop Communist leadership over that struggle. This will strengthen the working class organizationally and politically, and thus place the proletariat in a favourable position to lead the struggle to smash Soviet aggression.

If we were to play down the class struggle in Britain under the pretext of not weakening the country in the face of Soviet aggression, this would, in practice, weaken proletarian leadership and retard the development of the proletariat as an independent political force, and this would provide more favourable opportunities for the Soviet hegemonists.

Anti-super-power united front work in Britain contributes to the building of an international united front against the two super powers.

In all united front work, the proletariat and its party will, at every stage, decide its own policy without trailing behind the bourgeoisie, retain its full power of initiative, and not mortgage its independence to any other social group or party.


A revolutionary situation will arise when the bourgeoisie is unable to continue ruling in the old way, and the proletariat is not prepared to go on in the old way. In order to force down the working people’s living standards still further and suppress the struggles which workers are bound to wage against this, the state will intensify its use of violent repression. The working class, under the leadership of its party, will counter with revolutionary violence, overthrow the bourgeois state and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the fight to overthrow the system, the more the working class is able to defend and extend democratic rights, and the more it is able to win allies, the easier it will be to win victory and minimise the bloodshed which is unavoidably involved.

If such a revolution occurs before the defeat of the two super-powers, it will make a great contribution towards strengthening the resistance of the world’s peoples against their aggression.

However, it is almost certain that a new world war will be unleashed by Soviet social­ imperialism before the working class seizes power in Britain. If this happens, the proletariat will take the lead in defeating aggression, building up its strength for the transition to socialism.

The socialist revolution is the achievement of the masses of workers, and cannot possibly be carried out “on their behalf” by a few individual heroes or terrorists. The work of Communists, both before and after the victory of the revolution, is to serve the working people, defend their interests, take on the most difficult tasks, remould themselves so as to do such work better, convince people by example, mobilize the working class and arm them with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung thought, and draw class-conscious workers into the party, so as to provide the revolution with an organisational core.


Through the proletarian revolution, the working class will take power and will have the right and responsibility to take decisions on all matters from local up to national level.

The old parasitic imperialist state will be completely destroyed and replaced by a new kind of state, the dictatorship of the proletariat. This state will guarantee the broadest democracy for working people, while exercising dictatorship over remnants of the old exploiting class, their representatives, and also over any new bourgeoisie which may attempt to restore capitalism and cheat the workers of their power, as happened in the Soviet Union.

Apart from this handful of class enemies, all other non-proletarian people must be united with, and convinced by their own experience of the superiority of the socialist over the capitalist system. Most will support the building of socialism, accept the leadership of the working class, and make great contributions to the new society.

Fundamental changes will be made in society once the working class has power. These revolutionary changes will be possible because: ** The economy will be rationally planned, in a balanced, all-round way. ** Profits will no longer be the goal, so that goods will be produced for use and not as commodities which must be sold to provide profits for a few. ** Consequently, the cyclical crises of capitalism will disappear, so that there will no longer be any barrier to the steady expansion of production. ** The initiative and creative energy of working people will be released.

All means of production, distribution and exchange will come under social ownership. In order to change the existing state sector from state-capitalist ownership into real socialist ownership, the working class will take over the actual work of management and, even more important, they will assert their control over the actual exercise of state power, since it is the character of the state which determines the actual character of state ownership. Economic planning will be carried out through democratic consultation.

Bureaucracy will be reduced sharply and most office workers will spend some time doing manual labour. There will be a big extension and development of agriculture, forestry and fishing. The present concentration of industry in certain areas will be reduced, and it will be spread more evenly. Sectors of production which are poorly developed under capitalism because of unprofitability, but which are socially useful, will be developed and expanded. All indirect taxes will be abolished, and there will be a gradual phasing out of direct taxation. Government spending will be financed out of the proceeds of state enterprises.

Community life will be developed, so that children and old people will play a greater part in society; more and more household chores will be taken on as a community responsibility, and a spirit of co-operation and comradeship will be fostered.

The well-being of the whole of society will be the condition for the healthy development of its individual members. Capitalism, contrary to its claims, represses the potentialities of the great majority of people; these can only be developed under socialism.

If, by the end of the socialist revolution, the Irish people have not already achieved national liberation, Britain will immediately withdraw from Ireland. Wales and Scotland will have the right to self-determination, which Communists advocate they should exercise in favour of participating in a socialist federal republic of Britain, along with England.

The armed working class, organised in a people’s army and people’s militia, will ensure the defence of the country against any imperialist threat. The workers’ republic will pursue a foreign policy based on independence and self-reliance, solidarity with genuine socialist countries and the oppressed nations, support to communist and national liberation movements and all revolutionary and progressive causes.

All power in the new workers’ state will be exercised by the people through assemblies which will be real working bodies and not talking shops; they will be under the leadership of the proletariat and its party. All organs of state power at local, regional and national levels will have officials elected by the people directly and by democratic consultation. They will be the servants of the people and not their masters, and will be subject to recall by their electorate at any time; there will be a unified system of national and local administration, resting on workers and popular councils at its base. Special attention will be given to keeping out of office the kind of anti-working class bureaucrats who at present (in general) run the trade unions, etc.

Class struggle will continue under socialism. To defeat the inevitable attempts at capitalist restoration, the working class, led by its party, will unleash great mass movements like the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, to defend and extend their proletarian state power.

Socialism will fulfil people’s rising expectations and needs. Unemployment, poverty, inflation and hunger will become things of the past forever.

People will work according to their abilities and receive according to the labour they do. Wage differentials and other forms of inequality will be steadily restricted under socialism; in the future, under Communism, people will give according to their abilities and receive according to their needs.

The abolition of classes is the fundamental goal of Communists. This can only be attained by going through the stage of socialist society in which there is a revolutionary and transitional kind of state, the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The purpose of this programme is not to explain the world, but to help change it. It is based upon practice and must serve as a guide to practice. Use it as a weapon in the class war, in the war to defeat super-power aggression and make revolution, in the struggle for socialism and Communism, which represent the highest interests of mankind!

Workers of the world, oppressed peoples and nations of the world, unite!
For an independent, self-reliant, socialist federal republic of Britain!
Build the proletarian headquarters, the revolutionary party of the working class!