Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Unity Association (Marxist-Leninist)

Economism or Revolution? A Critique of the Communist Party of Britain (M-L)


Today the struggle of all the people of the world against imperialism, led by US imperialism and by Soviet social-imperialism, is reaching new heights. Oppressed peoples, such as the Indo-Chinese, the Palestinians and the broad masses everywhere in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, are turning to armed struggle and are scoring victory after victory. The struggle of the working classes of the imperialist countries, long with that of progressive young people, is mounting everywhere. The great People’s Republic of China, led by Chairman Mao, more united and revolutionary than ever after the tremendous victories of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the current movement to criticise revisionism, stands as a bastion of socialism, showing the way forward for all the people of the world. In contrast, the whole imperialist system is facing deeper and deeper economic and political crisis. Truly, as Chairman Mao says: “Revolution is the main trend in the world today.“

In Britain, the ruling imperialist bourgeoisie sees its super-profits from colonial exploitation become less and less secure, as it falls further behind in the inter-imperialist rivalry of the big powers. It is profoundly shaken by the crisis in the whole imperialist system, suffering under the hammer-blows of armed national liberation struggles. In Ireland, British imperialism’s oldest colony, more and more ruthless and murderous attacks on the people are being made by British troops in a vain attempt to crush the just struggle of the Irish people for national reunification and independence. In order to improve its position in the inter-imperialist rivalry, the British monopoly Capitalist class has taken Britain into the EEC. At home, attempting to solve their economic difficulties in order to ensure their profits, these monopoly capitalists launched redoubled attacks on the standard of living of the working class. Mass unemployment, the wage freeze and massive price and rent increases, and welfare cuts, are all aimed at ensuring the profits of the capitalists at the expense of the exploited masses of workers. The Industrial Relations Act, a vicious, fascistic attack on the hard-won trade union rights of the workers, has been brought in to undermine resistance to increased exploitation. The racist Immigration Act is aimed at dividing the working class, by arousing the anger of white workers against their black brothers, rather than against their common exploiters.

The Tory government, traditionally the open agents of the bourgeoisie, has brought t in such laws, and others such as the Housing Finance Act, which facilitates the increasing of rents. The Labour Party, which foreshadowed all these legislative attacks on the working class when in office, has been relegated by the bourgeoisie to its traditional role as a bourgeois agent, namely, that of providing a phony ’opposition’ in order to divert the working class from any effective struggle to defeat these attacks. The revisionist CPGB and the Trotskyites tail closely behind the Labour Party, with their “Tories Out” slogans, working to preserve or rebuild illusions about the bourgeois parliamentary system and the thoroughly bourgeois and reactionary nature of the Labour Party.

Such vicious, redoubled exploitation and oppression is producing a growing resistance from the working class. What the working class needs is leadership, revolutionary leadership that is, to raise the political level of its struggles. There is no lack of bourgeois agents working to ’lead’ the workers’ struggles into channels safe for the bourgeoisie. In the present circumstances, the need for leadership, for a truly revolutionary working class party, is made even more apparent. To bring this party into being as a first, crucial step to the working class revolution and to socialism in Britain, should be the aim of all Marxist-Leninists, all revolutionaries, all true class conscious proletarians.

In this pamphlet we examine, severely criticise and condemn the political line of the so-called Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). We do this in no sectarian spirit, but rather because we believe that the false pretences of that organisation stand in the way of building a truly revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party of the working class.

We are strongly convinced that the party-we need can only come into being on the basis of:
a) correct political line or strategy for revolution as expressed in the party programme which will be based on a correct application of the universal truths of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse-Tung Thought to British conditions
b) proletarian ideology, which is the class outlook of the working class, its method of thinking and analysing the world, that is, dialectical and historical materialism
c) links with the working class.

To create these conditions, and to unite all proletarian revolutionaries on the basis of these conditions, will require intense struggle. The interests of the working class demand that all who can, should unite on a correct basis to form a revolutionary party, but this unity must be on a correct political and ideological basis that will provide revolutionary leadership for the working class. The unification of all or part of the Marxist-Leninist movement on any other basis is of no value. This pamphlet is intended to be one contribution to the struggle to create a revolutionary party. Since it is only dealing with those incorrect ideas propounded by the CPB(ML), although posing a number of problems in the course of this, it is only a beginning to the type of struggle that will be needed.[1]

We welcome any comments or criticisms, including criticism from those who may strongly disagree with ideas expressed in this pamphlet. Only though thorough, honest and intense struggle, and through constantly testing our ideas in practice, can correct ideas and a revolutionary strategy and a revolutionary party for the British working class, be achieved.

August 1973
Second edition


[1] Our strategy for party-building has been completely discussed in other publications.