First Issued: March 3, 1976. First Published: Voice of the People, Vol. 6, No. 2, May 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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As this issue goes to press reports are coming in of a serious clash between Marxist-Leninists a delegation from the Communist Workers League of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (CWLB(M-L)) – and revisionists of the so-called CPB (M-L), both outside and within the Conway Hall on the evening of Saturday 30 April on the occasion of the latter’s May Day meeting.
The CWLB (M-L) delegation, comprising mainly factory workers, was abused and pushed and shoved and had its leaflets snatched by CPB (M-L) goons outside the hall where, they were distributing. Inside the hall, when statements from CWLB (M-L) comrades, exposing the political bankruptcy of the CPB (M-L) were made, once again the workers were set upon, only this time they were punched in the face, kicked, thrown to the ground and violently ejected from the hall.
One of the communists whose mouth was injured by the CPB (M-L) goons when his head was used as a battering ram against the doors of the hall.
This was done with the complicity of those on the platform including R. Birch, chairman of this so-called workers party, who did nothing to stop the assault.
Several of the people attacked are well-known to many workers and M-L organisations and have a record of years of hard and serious work.
Eye witnesses testify that in no way did the delegation start the violence but only responded to protect them selves. The onus for the brutality lies solely with the CPB (M-L) leadership and their goons in the audience, it is reported.
The CPB (M-L) misleaders never even attempted to politically counter the serious criticisms made by CWLB (M-L) speakers.
The CWLB (M-L) distributed a detailed polemical indictment of the “CPB (M-L)” which criticised its role in the recent strike at Heathrow, and made an analysis of the inherent political weaknesses of the line of its organisation. The leaflet that (drove the CPB (M-L) goons berserk is reproduced inside this issue on pages six and seven [See below – MIA].
Although no formal statement has yet been made by the CWLB (M-L) it is understood that a letter is being sent to the (leaders of the CPB (M-L) demanding a public apology for the outrage.
What has happened can only convince even more people - including honest elements within the CPB (M-L) that the organisation has entered an advanced state of political decline and degeneration. Letters are also going out, it is understood to M-L organisations throughout the country, asking for support for the democratic rights of the CWLB (M-L) to distribute its leaflets and speak out against the “CPB (M-L)” line and for condemnation of the thuggery of the CPB (M-L).
Many eye witnesses were especially incensed by the comment made by the petit-bourgeois CPB(M-L) misleader, William Ashe, who jeered and ridiculed the CWLB (M-L) factory worker for losing his train of thought during his speech, that being hardly surprising considering the amount of shouting and jeering that was going on from the goons.
...[What followed was eleven extracts from statements made by some of those workers who were attacked and abused.]...[edited out – MIA]...
Speeches of the CPB (M-L) platform speakers and the manner in which they were delivered was another clear exposure of this sham party. With tired, non-militant, gutless presentation three ’leaders’ of this so-called revolutionary party delivered a platform position that can only be called an insult to communism and to workers all over the world. When the chairman of the meeting introduced Reg Birch he referred to him as a “revolutionary leader and figurehead in the working class movement” and said he had “shown how to lead workers in the past few weeks”, clearly a reference to Heathrow.
Reg Birch, the chairman of this so-called party, spoke like a variety hall hack. Dismissive comments interspersed with jokes were an insult to any thinking workers. He ridiculed the Heathrow and British Leyland strikers for being backward and not understanding the correct methods of struggle. Then, in what was obviously an attack on Marxist-Leninist theory he said “we have no need for theoreticians and mentors of the working class”...He went on to say that “the third world and second world alliances are nonsense”. Finally to round off this farce, Gwyn Jones said to the audience ”I am the least political of the politicos”...“a funny thing happened on my way to the meeting tonight, I started to think, and that is a funny thing.” The pathetic charade could only re-confirm the views expressed in the CWLB (M-L) leaflets contained in this issue written before the meeting even took place.
(Note: Distribution of this April 1977 leaflet caused physical clashes between the CWLB and CPBML members at a May Day Rally in 1977.)
At tonight’s meeting the leaders of the so-called Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) will make speeches as “Marxist-Leninists” and claim to represent “the vanguard Party of the working class”.
There is no truth in either claim. They are not Marxist-Leninists and their party is not a real vanguard of the working class.
Sometimes, like tonight, they voice loyalty to Marxism-Leninism and socialist revolution. On other occasions they help bosses break strikes, try to sap the will of struggling workers and reveal them selves to be blatant representatives of social democracy and sell-out trade union politics.
On many issues of interest to the working class these “leaders” have failed to take a public, militant stand when they could have done. The latest example of their bankruptcy is their strike-breaking role during the recent Heathrow strike. No matter what side-issues are involved, when an acute contradiction develops between capital and labour communists always take the side of labour. The “CPB (M-L)” misleaders exposed their party’s loyalty NOT to Marxism-Leninism but to the bourgeois T.U.C. high command – the general staff of the British ruling class operating with the workers movement – the bourgeois Labour Party, the capitalist class and state, and stabbed struggling workers in the back in the midst of their fight.
This was blatantly an example of class collaboration with the enemy. The line of the “CPB (M-L)” was to side with the bosses who wanted to impose bad working conditions, sack workers, victimise militants, close the airport, lock workers out, and recruit black-legs. The “CPB (M-L)” in this way gets Marxism-Leninism a very bad name and fuels the revisionists and trotskyites who seek to opportunistically exploit such situations.
At a mass meeting a “CPB (M-L)” trade union misleader, in an attempt to belittle strike leaders, was reported to have stated “they are brand new people who are green to the union, not familiar old sweats. I’m very angry that they do not understand advice that is well meant”. The very same old sweats this misleader praised and presumably the same social democratic types who have sold workers down the river for years.
One cannot serve two masters in the class struggle of opposites. One is either for or against the bosses. Those who one moment stand on platforms beneath the Red Flag paying lip service to revolutionary communism and at another moment stand on another platform doing the dirty work of the class enemy are Jekyll and Hyde characters who are nothing but vulgar scabs who must be exposed, isolated and politically smashed, for they are renegades.
Tonight, instead of making phoney speeches praising Marxism-Leninism and the working class, it would be better if the audience could sit back and listen to a tape recording of the misleader’s speech to the Heathrow strikers.
Even better, the audience might like to listen to the secret discussions that the “CPB (M-L)” misleader participates in within the hallowed sanctums of the capitalist T. U.C. General Council where all sorts of plots are regularly hatched against the working Class, especially the industrial proletariat. Or the audience might learn a lot by listening to the private talks of the AUEW national misleaders when Scanlon and his fellow sell-outs make their plans.
The “CPB (M-L)” is becoming more exposed as the months go by. It is splitting up as its internal contradictions become more acute. Honest members and branches have left in some numbers. The latest Heathrow fiasco will cause more to leave. How can any honest person still in the “CPB (M-L)” any longer stomach its political rottenness? All who stay in will have to answer to the working class for their support for this bourgeois organisation.
What has happened recently is but an effect NOT the cause of the degeneration of this sham party.
In launching this polemic against the “CPB (M-L)”, the industrially-based Communist Workers League of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (CWLB (M-L) speaks on the basis of knowledge of acts, past and present about the “CPB(M-L)”, The CWLB (M-L) has done the groundwork on the “CPB (M-L)” and knows the truth,
In a unique and deep investigation of the “CPB (M-L)” carried out during 1973-5 (during which time 23 other organisations claiming to be Marxist-Leninist were investigated) the CWLB (M-L) concluded that “The CPB (M-L) does not possess the characteristics of a genuine communist party.”
No organisation that has made massive concessions to anti-science (metaphysics and its attendant diseases of subjectivism, dogmatism, idealism and empiricism) on the fundamental matters of importance can accurately regarded as a genuine communist party. The “CPB (M-L)” has made such concessions from its very inception.
it has never made a scientific class analysis of society in order scientifically to locate the enemies and any friends of the working class in the fight for socialist revolution;
its so-called programme is thus not based on a class analysis but was dreamt up in disregard for social investigation of class forces;
despite a lot of talk about the workers and the unions it has never produced an industrial programme for educating, and organising the leading force for socialist revolution, the industrial proletariat;
it has never made an independent scientific analysis of friends and foes of the working class internationally;
it has not made a scientific investigation of the national question in Britain;
it has not achieved a scientific and creative understanding of the present stage of the class struggle, nor produced a genuine strategy and tactics for the present situation;
it did not properly prepare for the coming into being of a party;
it does not practice in the spirit of seeking unity, but instead is arrogant, splittist and sectarian towards others;
it does not scientifically and militantly fight deviations from Marxism-Leninism, such as trotskyism and revisionism;
it displays an anti-communist attitude towards Marxist-Leninist theory and possesses no theoretical journal with which to clarify important matters;
it appears to have no scientific and creative cadre training programme;
it does not possess a scientific understanding of history and has dishonestly distorted certain comments of Marx in order to support its two-classes-only theory;
its publications are drab and trade union in political orientation and do not reflect communist spirit and tenacity;
it has produced no scientific and militant programme for combating the threat of growing fascism and racism;
These are but some major indictments that lead to the conclusion that the “CPB (M-L)” is not what its name implies, but is in fact a bourgeois organisation, led by opportunists masquerading as Marxist-Leninists.
Hence, the Heathrow fiasco is but an effect, a manifestation of the root cause of the problems of this organisation, that root being revisionism in methodology, revisionism in line, and revisionism in practice.
The “CPB (M-L)” is the leading force in Britain of the anti-science camp. It is not alone in this camp, But because, for example, it has some contact through trade unionism with workers; because it claims “recognition” from genuine communist parties abroad; because it produces a regular newspaper which claims that the “CPB (M-L)” is the “vanguard party of the working class”; because some people with a low level of political understanding are overawed by the status one of its leaders has in the social democratic trade unions...for these and other reasons the “CPB(M-L)” is the main centre of revisionism operating within the so-called Marxist-Leninist movement at this time, the most dangerous misleader.
A genuine revolutionary communist Party, rooted in the industrial proletariat and led by industrially-based communist men and women, has yet to be built.
In its historic document “For A Real Communist Party – Hey It’s Up To Us!” the CWLB (M-L) spells out the main weaknesses of the movement that has called itself Marxist-Leninist, defines a genuine communist party and makes concrete proposals as to how such a Party can be brought into being and the preparations that must be undertaken for it to be soundly based in terms of class line and class content.