Communist Party of Great Britain
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1943
Printer: Marston Printing. (T. U. all depts.), Nelson Place, Cayton Street, London, E.C.1
Transcription\HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
IN accordance with the recommendations of the 15th Party Congress, the Central Committee herewith submits to the membership the following draft of the constitution which is to take the place of the constitution adopted by the 12th Party Congress in 1932.
Following discussion and amendment in the branches, the revised draft constitution will be submitted to the 16th Party Congress (London, October 7-9) for final amendment and endorsement.
The Communist Party of Great Britain is the organisation of the advanced and resolute section of the working class. It aims at the overthrow of capitalism and the conquest of power by the working class for the purpose of establishing Socialism, the first stage to Communism, its ultimate aim.
Regarding the everyday struggles against class oppression as part of the common fight against capitalism the Communist Party actively participates in these struggles in order to raise the consciousness of the workers, to strengthen their organisations and to mobilise the working class and the mass of the people for the final struggle for power.
The Communist Party strives to bring about the international unity of the workers of every country and asserts the right of self-determination for all the peoples of the British Empire and oppressed peoples everywhere.
The Communist Party of Great Britain.
(1) Any person eighteen years of age or more, regardless of race, sex, colour or religious belief shall be eligible for membership.
(2) A Party member is one who accepts the programme of the Party, who is prepared to become a member of a Branch and attend its meetings, who pays membership dues regularly and is active in some form of Party work.
(3) New members can be accepted by any Party group, but each application form must be referred for endorsement to the Branch.
3. MEMBERSHIP DUES
(1) Membership dues shall be 1/- per month for employed members, and 4d. per month in the case of unemployed members, also where necessary, housewives or other members at the discretion of the Branch Committee. One-third of the dues collected shall be at the disposal of the Branch, one-third remitted to the District Committee and one-third to Headquarters.
In addition, an International Levy of 3d. per quarter must be paid by every member and remitted to Headquarters.
(2) The Branch Committee shall be responsible to the District Committee for the District and Headquarters proportion of dues from its members, according to the last membership return.
(3) Party members more than three months in arrears with dues must personally be informed thereof by a visit from a member of the Branch Committee or a comrade acting on its behalf. Failure to meet arrears will result in the lapsing of membership.
(4) No levy is to be imposed upon Party members unless with the express permission of the Central Committee.
4. RIGHTS and DUTIES of MEMBERS
(1) Every member of the Party has not only the right but theduty to participate in the making of the policy of the Party and in the election of its leading Committees.
(2) In all Party organisations, the majority vote is decisive. After a decision has been taken it becomes binding upon all members.
(3) Party members disagreeing with any political decision of a Party organisation or Committee have the right to appeal against that decision to the next highest body, and may carry the appeal to the Central Committee and the National Congress. The decision of the National Congress is final. Whilst the appeal is pending, the decision must nevertheless be carried out by every member of the Party, and discussion on the issue must not be allowed to divert the attention of the Party from its main tasks.
(4) Members standing for public office and serving on public bodies must act in consultation with the Party.
(5) All Party members who are eligible shall belong to their appropriate trade unions or professional association.
(6) Party members are expected to take the fullest advantage of the educational facilities provided and to make themselves conversant with the political and organisational decisions of the Party.
5. THE BRANCH
(1) The local organisation of the Party is the Branch, which consists of all members living in a given locality and all factory groups within that locality.
(2) Party members in factories, mines, railway depots and other industrial and commercial undertakings, where three or more Party members are employed, are organised in groups under the Branch. Other groups on an area or other basis, may be set up by the Branch for the purpose of organising the work of members not in factory groups.
(3) The Branch is led by the Branch Committee which is elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Branch, or at a general meeting specially summoned for this purpose. The Branch Committee is responsible for the whole of the Party organisation in the area under its control. The Branch Committee elects its own officers.
(4) Branch meetings must be open to sympathisers and should be held fortnightly or monthly.
6. THE DISTRICT
(1) The District Committee leads the entire work of the Party within a given district and directs the work of the Branches in that district. It is elected at an annual congress of the Branches concerned.
(2) The District Committee shall meet at least once monthly. To conduct its daily work it shall elect a smaller committee from its own members.
(3) The District Committee elects its own officers. The appointment of the Secretary is, however, subject to ratification by the Central Committee.
(4) The District Committee can form a number of Branches and groups into a city, county or area organisation covering a given part of the district. The city, county or area committees which work under the control of the district committees, are elected at annual congresses.
7. THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
(1) The Central Committee, which is elected by majority vote at the National Congress, is responsible for carrying out the decisions of the Congress and enforcing the Constitution. It has the right to make decisions with full authority on any problem facing the Party between Congresses.
(2) The size of the C.C. shall be decided upon by the Party Congress. Members of the C.C. must have been active members of the Party for at least three years.
(3) The C.C. organises and supervises its various departments and committees. It controls all the political and organisational work of the Party; appoints or removes the editors of its Press who work under its leadership and control; organises and guides all undertakings of importance for the entire Party and controls the central funds.
(4) The C.C. elects from amongst its members a Political Bureau. The Political Bureau, which meets weekly, is held responsible for the whole work of the Party in between the monthly meetings of the C.C. For conducting the permanent routine work, the C.C. appoints a General Secretary and two Assistant Secretaries, who together constitute the Secretariat.
The Political Bureau and the Secretariat are responsible to the C.C.
(5) In addition to the permanent Departments, the C.C., when considered necessary, organises bodies or committees for special work, or as may be considered necessary in the interests of efficiency. Such departments, committees or bodies, must work under the control of the C.C. in line with the general policies adopted at the Party Congress or as developed by the C.C.
(6) The C.C. fixes the boundaries of the Districts and the City, County and Area Committees. It has the right to combine or divide existing organisations either according to territory or otherwise in conformity with their economic and political characteristics and in accordance with any plan for the administrative division of the country.
(7) The C.C. issues model rules for the guidance of the Districts and Branches.
8. THE NATIONAL CONGRESS
(1) The National Congress is the highest authority of the Party. It is convened by the Central Committee at periods not exceeding two years. The Central Committee is also empowered to convene special conferences when necessary.
(2) The National Congress shall be composed of delegates from the Branches and District Committees. The delegates are elected on the basis of the numerical strength of the organisation. The basis of representation shall be determined by the Central Committee.
(3) The draft resolutions and reports of the Central Committee to the Party Congress must be issued two months prior to the date fixed for the Congress. Discussion shall take place in all Party organisations and in the Party Press on the main resolution and the problems coming before the Congress. During this discussion all Party organisations have the right to adopt amendments to the draft resolutions submitted by the Central Committee.
(4) The duties of the National Congress shall be:
(a) Receiving reports of the C.C. and the Control Commission.
(b) Deciding questions of Party Programme.
(c) Formulating resolutions on all political and organisational questions.
(d) Electing the C.C. and the Control Commission.
9. THE CONTROL COMMISSION
(1) The Party Congress shall elect a Control Commission for the following purposes:
(a) To maintain and strengthen Party unity and discipline.
(b) To investigate any complaints which may be referred to it by the C.C. and to make suggestions for dealing with same.
(c) To undertake any special enquiry at the request of the C.C. or with its sanction.
(d) To investigate complaints of individuals, Branches and Districts against disciplinary measures taken against them by higher Party organisations, and to submit their opinions on these to the C.C. for definite decision.
(e) To audit the financial accounts of the C.C. and to supervise the accounts of the District Committees.
(2) The number of members composing the Control Commission shall be decided upon by the Party Congress.
10. PARTY DISCIPLINE
(1) Breaches of Party discipline by individual members, financial irregularities, as well as any conduct or action detrimental to the prestige of the Party amongst the working masses, and harmful to the best interests of the Party, may be punished either by censure, public censure, removal from responsible posts or by expulsion from the Party.
(2) Charges against any individual member must be formulated in writing. The Branch shall have the right to decide on disciplinary measures; including recommendation for expulsion, and the member concerned shall have the fullest right to participate in the discussion on the case. Recommendations for expulsion must be referred to the District Committee for decision.
(3) It must be established that maximum care, comradely concern and thorough consideration of the grounds for accusation presented against a Party member is ensured when deciding questions regarding expulsions from the Party, and that measures of education and persuasion are to he applied in cases of minor offences and not expulsion from the Party which is the highest measure of Party punishment.
(4) The Party member shall have the right to appeal against any disciplinary action to the Central Committee and the National Congress. Such decisions shall in the meantime be upheld.
(1) The Communist Party of Great Britain is affiliated to the Communist International which consists of the Communist Parties of all countries. It participates in Congresses of the Communist International and is represented on its Executive Committee.
Resolutions and decisions of International Congresses shall be considered and acted upon by the National Congress, or between Congresses by the C.C.
(2) The Communist Party of Great Britain shall seek affiliation with the British Labour Party in order to unite all the forces of the working class.
(3) The Communist Party of Great Britain shall affiliate to other bodies in those cases where the association of activities is in the best interests of the working class.
12. AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
(1) This Constitution may be amended by decision of a majority of the delegates at the National Congress, provided that the proposed amendment has been published in the Party Press at least one month prior to the Congress.