First Published: Red Front, Vol. 2, No. 1, March/April 1968
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY AT THE END OF NOVEMBER AT A MEETING OF MEMBERS FROM VARIOUS LONDON BRANCHES OF THE YOUNG COMMUNIST LEAGUE:
At a time of crisis for capitalism, when bourgeois ideology is obviously out of keeping with the requirements of the age, when it is becoming increasingly apparent that the epitaph of the capitalist economic order is currently being written by the revolutionary peoples of the world -at such a time it is of supreme importance that we Communists have a thorough understanding of Marxism-Leninism for, in Lenin’s words:
“Without a revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement.”
In that they have failed to present the need for such a theory, the Communist Party of Great Britain and its youth movement, the Young Communist League, have both proved to be no longer capable of uniting the working class of this country tinder the banner of scientific socialism and of leading it in revolution. The C.P.G.B. and the Y.C.L. have deliberately neglected to educate members in the principles of Marxism-Leninism, negated the role of the working classes in changing society, repudiated the need to smash the capitalist state machine, and instead have attempted to ingrain in their members a belief in social-democracy, in the establishment of socialism by the use of peaceful means, suggesting that the ruling class would take their sham “parliamentary democracy” at its face value and permit the masses of the people to vote away their wealth and power.
This is the essence of the degenerate political atmosphere that pervades the C.P.G.B. and the Y.C.L. today. Obviously, such organisations are dangerous to the movement – for social-democratic parties serve the interests of the capitalists, not those of the working class. But past events and recent analyses have proved that it is virtually impossible to change the policies of these organisations. What must be done is to expose them, while at the same time building a new Communist Party based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, a Communist Party that is really dedicated to the revolutionary overthrow of the existing social order and to the construction of a Socialist Britain. Unless such a Party is built along correct lines, with a correct leadership and with a programme for the seizure of power – all future struggles on the part of the working class of Britain will inevitably be doomed to failure.
Within the Young Communist League a situation now exists where many members have openly come out in opposition to the leadership’s approach to the class struggle – an approach that is anti-Marxist-Leninist, as is evidenced by their journal “Challenge”, by their attitude to recruiting, by their methods of work, by their “appraisal” of the Labour Government, by their approach to broad-front organisations, notably the B.C.P.V. [British Council for Peace in Vietnam – MIA Note] and the Y.P.V. [Youth for Peace in Vietnam – MIA Note] – in all, a total failure to stand by principles, and a policy that rarely shows a trace of working class consciousness. The leadership has launched vile, slanderous attacks on the Marxist-Leninist vanguards of China and Albania, which chose to reply to the attacks levelled at them by the Soviet revisionists – attacks which, coupled with the renegade Khrushchov’s denunciation of the great proletarian leader J.V. Stalin, brought about the rift in the international Communist movement.
The National Committee of the Young Communist League, instead of using the Y.C.L. journal “Challenge” as a means of promoting healthy discussion on the many major issues facing the Communist movement, such as the split mentioned above, has given over the pages of the journal to commentaries on present-day phenomena of miner importance, such as the “Hippies” and the Pirate Radio Stations, in order to try and win support from the middle class.
The Young Communist League has for many years “fought” many issues from what is virtually a bourgeois-pacifist position (for instance, thy campaigns on the U.S. aggression in Vietnam, on Rhodesia and U.D.I., on nuclear weapons, etc.), and by its failure to adopt a Marxist-Leninist standpoint has misled many young people on the vital issues of peace and war. Thus, the inevitable disillusion of young people in the concept of non-violence and the resultant demise of the C.N.D. as an effective organisation has left a body of anarcho-pacifist-liberals of primarily middle-class origin in need of a political body through which to channel their protests. These found the Y.C.L. most obliging. With the absorption of the ex-C.N.D.-ers into its ranks, the Y.C.L. was virtually compelled to retain the outworn pacifist slogans in order to recruit and keep these people as members. And so, organisations calling for solidarity with the Vietnamese people were passed over in favour of those calling for “negotiations now”, for “stop the bombing and talk”. The failure of the Y.C.L. to organise for, and participate in, the demonstration of October 22nd is a direct result of the Y.C.L. forsaking principle. While other groups which are also part of the Y.P.V. took part in this demonstration, the Y.C.L.’s non-participation was a damning reflection of its revisionist policies: the parent body, the C.P.G.B., has chosen the electoral “road to Socialism” and, as a result, cannot contemplate an encounter with the class enemy other than in the accepted institutions, such as councils and parliament.
The national leadership flagrantly violated the principle of democratic centralism at the 26th. National Congress held at Skegness over the Whitsun weekend of this current year. Those opposed to the revisionist line of the leadership were vetted by a group of loyal Y.C.L. lickspittles, and thus prevented from speaking. In the few exceptional cases where opposition speakers managed to elude the vetting committee, their words were shouted down by the Chairman yelling over a microphone. Votes for National Committee nominations who opposed the revisionist line were conveniently “lost”, as were some emergency resolutions. In all, it was a travesty of democracy – but all that could be expected of a congress under the control of the present national leadership.
At the present time opposition to the revisionist policies and insidious tactics of the Y.C.L. leadership are becoming more and more evident, more and more widespread. Particularly in the London district, attempts by the District Committee to interfere in the affairs of branches that were upholding and defending the principles of Marxism-Leninism have results in numerous expulsions over the last twelve months.
Comrades – it is time to take very careful stock of our position. The “efforts” of the social-democrats to attain Socialism have always resulted in the working class finding itself abandoned and betrayed. Such will be the fate of the workers of Britain without a vanguard party which adheres to the principles of Marxism-Leninism. The C.P.G.B. and the Y.C.L. cannot be transformed from the middle-class talking shops, which they now are, into a Bolshevik party. A new, revolutionary Communist party has to be constructed.
Comrades! Let us dedicate ourselves to the building of a REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNIST PARTY!
Forward to the building of a REVOLUTIONARY YOUNG COMMUNIST LEAGUE!
WORKERS OF ALL LANDS, UNITE!