Split looms in CPB

IT SEEMS that all is not well in the Labour-loving, ultra-reformist Communist Party of Britain organisation.

At its recent congress deep and controversial divisions were highlighted over the question of party democracy. True to form, however, the CPB is not about to tell anyone what they were arguing about. Under the heading, ‘Updating commission backed’, the Morning Star carried the following report (November 27):

“Delegates voted to set up a commission to update the party’s document on inner-party democracy. The close vote of 56-42 reflected the sharp differences which were expressed during the debate. Supporting the call, Derek Robinson from the Midlands district complained of a ‘general drift toward old practices’. Barney Crockett from Aberdeen warned that the commission would take up an ‘inordinate amount of time’.”

The report leaves us in the dark about the “sharp differences”, but one thing is crystal clear: the CPB continues its “old practice” of running like the plague from anything remotely resembling open ideological debate.

Not to worry. General secretary Mike Hicks reassures us that the divisions amongst his members are all the product of somebody’s overactive imagination. Stung by such talk, he dismisses it all in a letter to the Star with the claim that the congress “voted overwhelmingly to unite on our programme” (December 8).

Such ‘unity’ is worthless. In the real world the CPB’s continued support for Tony Blair’s Labour at the cost of outright opposition to any Socialist Labour Party will tear what remains of its own organisation apart. Already a split is rumoured over the issue. But don’t expect it to be given voice in the pages of the Star.

Alan Fox