WW archiveIssue 393
19 July 2001
Iraq solidarity; Heavy rain; Red Lambeth; Shift to left; Mars front; Dump estates; Follow BNP; China dichotomy; Fight for reforms; Balance; Euro logic
This ?Open letter? by the International Socialist Organization (USA) rebuffs in detail accusations of sectarianism levelled by the SWP leadership. Nevertheless, in sects, conformity of thought is all. As can be seen from the IST resolution, the split between the SWP and its former US co-thinkers is now complete
Ouseley report hides anti-working class agenda
The Communist Unity Convention (later known as the First Congress) came together over the weekend of July 31 and August 1 1920. On the first day it met in the plush Cannon Street Hotel in the City of London, but on the Sunday shifted to the distinctly more proletarian surroundings of the International Socialist Club. The number of delegates varies according to different sources: James Klugmann?s History of the CPGB Vol I says there were 152; the launch edition of Communist puts the figure at 158; the CPGB?s official account of the convention lists 163 delegates, with 211 mandates. On top of this there must be included five of the eight-strong Provisional Central Committee, who seem to have had speaking, but not voting, rights. Of these, 102 were delegated from branches of the British Socialist Party, 25 from Communist Unity Groups and 36 from a wide variety of smaller organisations. These included branches of the South Wales Communist Council, two branches of the Independent Labour Party (Barking and Glasgow/Carngad), one branch of the Socialist Labour Party (Birmingham), three branches of the Herald League (supporters of the Daily Herald), the Socialist Prohibition Fellowship, the Guild Communist Group, various unaffiliated local socialist societies and communist groups, Birmingham shop stewards and the City of London Labour Party. They all accepted that attendance at the convention implied agreement with what the invitation to the convention called the ?fundamental basis of communist unity: (a) the dictatorship of the working class; (b) the soviet system; (c) the Third International?, and agreed ?to abide by? the convention?s ?decisions on points of tactics, and to merge their organisations in the new Communist Party.? Bolshevik security seems to have been non-existent. Not only was every delegate listed by name and organisation in the official report, but members of the expanded provisional leadership had their full addresses given. However, there can be no doubt that, with the convention, the process of forging a party of the new type had begun. The day the convention began was the anniversary of the death of Jean Jaur?s (the leader of French socialism, assassinated in 1914) and the delegates rose and stood in silence as a mark of respect and esteem for him and all others who had fallen in the revolutionary cause. Albert Inkpin opened the proceedings by proposing that Arthur MacManus, chairman of the Provisional Committee, be invited to preside (MacManus was a leading Clyde shop steward and member of the CUG: he died in Moscow in 1927 and his ashes were interred in the Kremlin wall). This was unanimously agreed and, as the official report says, MacManus then delivered his opening address.