Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist League of Britain

Militant RCL Conference Denounces Faction

First Published: Class Struggle, April 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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Towards the end of March, the Revolutionary Communist League of Britain (RCL) held a conference to discuss the activities of a tiny faction that had tried to split the RCL, and had consequently been expelled in January. At the conference, members of the RCL denounced the faction, giving concrete examples of faction members’ arrogance and idealism. The bad leadership of Neil Redfern, when he was Secretary and in charge of day-to-day work of the RCL was particularly criticised. Now that the faction is in opposition to the League, its documents criticise the RCL leadership for lack of faith in the rank-and-file. But while Redfern was Secretary, criticism was ignored or met with calls to work harder. He applied Marxism to others and liberalism to himself. This led to a serious suppression of democracy in the RCL. The liberalism of the faction was most clearly revealed when two of its members were in a minority on the Central Committee, they refused to abide by the discipline they expected of the lower committees and rank-and-file. For themselves they demanded the “right” to wage a war of extermination throughout the organisation against the Central Committee using whatever weapons they saw fit. In their thinking bureaucracy and anarchy go hand-in-hand.

Their failure to “seek truth from facts” and to integrate theory with practice was shown in a number of contributions to be behind their ultra-left idealism in political line.

The Conference itself was a vivid expression of the militant unity of the RCL and its determination to get on with the struggle to rebuild the revolutionary Communist Party of the working class.


A representative of the fraternal British Marxist-Leninist organisation, the Communist Workers Movement attended the Conference as an observer. In a speech to the Conference, he spoke of a previous experience the CWM had had of factionalism which had some points in common with the struggle against splittism and factionalism in the RCL. He reaffirmed the growing unity between the RCL and the CWM, and the intention of the CWM to continue the struggle for unity with the RCL.

Comrade Chris Burford, the Chairman of the RCL pointed out that now that the central bodies of the RCL were not being held back by the splittist activities of the faction, the RCL would be able to pay even more attention to struggling for unity with the CWM. This would be a major contribution to the unity of the Marxist-Leninists in Britain. The RCL itself, was in a stronger position to struggle to deepen its political line, and improve its practical work in the class struggle in Britain.

In the evening a social was held. A spirit of unity and enthusiasm pervaded the celebration. Turkish and Bangladeshi comrades, as well as members of the Communist Workers Movement and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist League joined in. Two singing groups, New Era Singers and Red Flag led the singing of old and new songs of the British workers’ movement, as well as communist and anti-fascist songs from other countries.


The faction, which was expelled from the RCLB in January, for its attempts to split the RCLB has now formed an “organisation” and published an attack on the RCL. Their new “organisation” is continuing its opportunist manoeuvrings. With great irony these two couples have named themselves “Communist Unity”· But there is a purpose behind this action. The RCLB was created after lengthy principled struggle to reach unity by two organisations – the Communist Federation of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Unity Association (Marxist-Leninist). The faction is trying to give the impression to the Marxist-Leninist movement and to anyone else they can interest, that the RCLB has split into these two defunct groups. This intention is made clear in their pamphlet where they attack the unity between the two organisations as “unprincipled”, flatter the CUA whilst condemning the CFB (and lying about its previous transformation and connection of its worst errors), and where they refer to the RCLB as “CFB/RCLB”. In fact the faction is made up of two couples. One couple was in the old CUA. Of the other couple, one was a member of the CFB, and one joined the RCL after it was founded. Their pathetic attempt to distort what they are, and present themselves as something they are not, just serves to expose their own opportunist manoeuvring even further.

Clearly they also hope that such an approach will split ex-CUA members from the RCL. At the recent conference of the RCL on splittism and factionalism, the answer was given, as ex-CUA members denounced such opportunism as an insult to the old CUA, and as a betrayal of the principled struggle for unity of Marxist-Leninists waged by the CUA.


The opportunism of the splitters is shown even further, as they condemn the RCL on the basis of either outright lies, or at times on the basis of a thoroughly ultra-left outlook. They lie about the mass work of the RCL in order to set up an Aunt Sally for them to attack. Yet they are curiously silent about what mass work they stand for. They attack the analysis of the international class struggle put forward by the RCL, during which they distort or lie about the RCL’s position as one means of giving their ultra-left criticism credibility. But again these opportunists avoid making any mention of whether or not they support the theory of the three worlds. Why? Why do they wish to hide the fact that Phil Dixon, whose name is given as the contact address, has attacked the theory of the three worlds as “opportunist” and “revisionist”? Why are they hiding his view that China is a “revisionist, capitalist, superpower carrying out aggression against Vietnam”? Why are they ashamed to admit that he thinks that “Mao Zedong NEVER developed Marxism-Leninism” and that China has always followed either an ultra-left or a rightist line? Why does their tiny grouplet not take any stand at all on these major questions? Could it be because the genuine communist movement will laugh in their faces?

And if they bleat out that the four of them cannot reach agreement on these things, but that such matters are “secondary” compared to their hatred for the advances made by the RCL, we can only reply that in their pamphlet, they accuse the RCL of believing in “unprincipled unity”.

Such opportunists are beneath contempt.