Our discussions on rapprochement have brought us into contact with the Revolutionary Democratic Group, the Revolutionary Worker Tendency and the International Socialist Group, all excluded from the Socialist Worker Party because of their differences. The RDG has taken a lead in trying to unite our different traditions, and here we reprint their reply to our proposals for communist unity and their call to the ISG
To the CPGB
Thank you for your letter requesting that we consider your proposals for communist unity and the possibility of the Revolutionary Democratic Group joining the Communist Party of Great Britain.
We have considered this and agree in principle that all Marxists/communists should be united in a single party committed to a revolutionary programme. Given the ideological differences that inevitably arise, we agree that a condition for such unity is genuine democratic centralism. We therefore welcome your initiative and believe that all Marxists should give serious consideration to it.
Given the different traditions from which we have emerged (ie, Stalinism and Trotskyism) and also differences on theoretical, programmatic and tactical questions, yet to be clearly identified, we do not think it would be correct for us to join the CPGB at present.
We are however prepared to enter a preliminary stage of discussions which could lead to unity in a single organisation. Meanwhile we think it is important for us to unite in carrying the arguments for communist unity and democratic centralism to the left in general and - for us, the RDG - to the Socialist Workers Party in particular. As a faction of the SWP, we intend to write an open letter to them on this basis and ask you to join with us in this campaign.
To the ISG
The Labour Party has moved to the right and there is now a political vacuum that could be filled from the right or left. The Marxist movement has so far failed to do this from the left. In fact it has become more fragmented with many small groups like ourselves, whilst at the same time being dominated by sectarian organisations like the SWP.
We need to fight more effectively against the sectarian methods of the SWP and against the small sect mentality that can develop around groups like ourselves. We have to take up a principled struggle against this - not only in theory, but by showing in practice that we will unite with and work with other organisations for agreed aims.
We are in favour in principle of all communists or Marxists uniting into a single revolutionary socialist workers’ party. We do not think this can happen by waving a magic wand over our past disagreements. But we think, especially after the break-up of the USSR, that it is both desirable and necessary to work for this end. This cannot be separated from the fight for genuine democratic centralism.
In order to counter the dead weight of sectarianism on our movement, it is important that we put to the top of the agenda the defence of working class principles, programmes and policies and not make recruitment our prime purpose. As you know, this is a form of sectarianism practised by the SWP.
We are inviting the International Socialist Group to unite with us in campaigning for communist unity and democratic centralism. We think that the SWP should be one of the main focal points for such a campaign. Not because there is any prospect of recruitment - there is not. What is really important is not petty sectarian considerations, but the open defence of working class principles and politics.
We are asking you to support the ‘open letter’ signed by the CPGB and the RDG, and join us at our meeting at ‘Marxism 95’ to put forward your view on this subject.