Date: Thu, 1 May 97 10:46:29 CDT
From: Peter West <Peter_West@duntone.demon.co.uk>
Subject: May Day—Communist Party of Great Britain website launched
The Communist Party of Great Britain today officially launches its website (see URL in sig below). Articles from the May Day issue of the Weekly Worker are available on the site, as are many articles from past issues of the paper, together with the Draft Constitution and the recent general election Communist Manifesto of the CPGB.
An article by Mark Fischer, National Organiser of the CPGB, in the May Day issue of the Weekly Worker follows.
This May Day issue of the Weekly Worker sends its revolutionary greetings to all partisans of the working class, of genuine democracy and human progress the world over. May 1 this year also coincides with the launch of our fourteenth annual fund-raising drive—the Summer Offensive—and a watershed British general election.
Our Party is a machine and exists in order to fight. The money we raise during our exacting SO campaigns provides no leaders with easy lives—it represents the sinews of war of this organisation. Politically and logistically, we constantly stretch ourselves—struggling not for what is ‘possible’, but for what is necessary, what must be. Inevitably, our material resources constantly lag behind the practice we are fighting for, as our Party treasurer will tell you in exhaustive detail if you let him.
Yet the strength of this approach has once again been underlined in the twelve months or so of Party activity and intervention since the last Offensive.
In Scotland, our recently reinforced organisation continues to make progress. Through the work of our comrades and the crucial influence of this paper, we start to see the effects of our Leninist politics on our main opponent there, Scottish Militant Labour. Beyond that, with the fluidity of the scene and the burgeoning mass nationalist movement, our work is starting to take on the contours of mass politics. This poses both potential and a challenge to our organisation.
It is hardly necessary to detail the influence the Weekly Worker has had on every stage of the development of the Socialist Labour Party. For the witch hunting rightwing, this paper and the organisation that supports it is the enemy. No doubt, without the principled fight we have conducted, today there would be a more 'relaxed' atmosphere inside the SLP. But what would that clarify?
Particularly over the last year, the leaders of the SLP have targeted those they have accused of Communist Party membership or 'support' for an ugly purge. In doing so, these forces are framing the SLP negatively, changing it from a potential bridgehead to genuine working class politics to a potential barrier.
If we had simply entered the process of formation of the SLP as others have, meekly advocating what was 'possible'—a left social democratic organisation or centrist mish-mash—then the apparatus would probably have been able to stomach us a little better. We would have ceased to be communists, however.
We have fought hard for what is necessary—a revolutionary party and workers' democracy. This has had the admirable effect of revealing very starkly where every subterranean tendency in the SLP stood on these key questions. We should regard this as a service to the movement as a whole.
Of course, the SLP is only part of a more general fluidity in the British and international left. This is to be welcomed, but again as communists we are posed with the task of intervening to shape these developments consciously, not to simply observing them.
There is nothing 'inevitable' that this flux must everywhere produce amorphous 'parties of recomposition', or centrist formations as discrete and predetermined stages in the fight of our class to constitute itself politically. The same objective conditions that could generate the raw material for a viable SLP or resurgent left social democracy also presents the potential for communism to become the natural mass politics of our class. It all depends on the vision, imagination and determination to win of those who call themselves communists.
On international workers' day we remind ourselves that this process - the fight to form the proletariat into a class—is a long, complex and contradictory one. We have seen moments of brilliant success like the 1917 revolution. Yet today we live in the shadow of the defeat of that revolution, culminating in the ignominious collapse of eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
The working class has ceased to exist as an organised political alternative to bourgeois society. This accounts for the drift towards the 'de-labourisation' of the Labour Party that so much of the left bemoans. Yet this also has produced movement.
The fact that important forces—the SLP, the Socialist Party and the
Scottish Socialist Alliance—are now standing against Blair's party
direct challenge to the Labour Party and begins to open up
the possibility of expunging Labourism itself from our movement (Helen
Ellis, Weekly Worker April 24 1997). This is something to be welcomed
and which it is incumbent on revolutionaries to critically support.
Comrades, we enter exciting times! The election of a Labour government changes the terrain of British politics drastically. If nothing else, in the short term it will add the ongoing soul searching and re-examination of past positions by sections of the revolutionary left. Communists have answers and we must make sure that our collective voice rings out even more resoundingly over the coming period.
Long live May Day!
Victory to the 14th Summer Offensive!
Forward to a reforged CPGB, component part of a reforged International!