The Summer Offensive - the annual fund drive of the Communist Party - always hits highs and lows during its eight-week or so duration. The vast bulk of comrades who make donations during this intense period of fundraising for the CPGB are working class. Many contribute to the limits of their personal circumstances - others ignore those limits and contribute relatively huge amounts anyway. Our general approach to donations is … if it stings financially, you’re doing something right at this time of the year.
The first two weeks of this year’s fund drive have seen tremendous amounts added to our drive towards the £30K minimum we have set ourselves. Frankly, I was preparing myself for a much more modest total this week after our galloping start. Not so, however. Our comrades have stumped up £2,040 of new money over this past seven-day period, bringing our running total to £11,276.
Of course, we still have a long way to go to reach that target by Saturday August 24 - the last day of our annual school, Communist University. However, this looks like shaping up to be a very successful SO - possibly reflecting the political turmoil and unpredictability that presently characterises mainstream politics, but also (and perhaps less immediately discernible) opportunities for an advance of the left. The revolutionary left specifically, we hope.
When I joined this trend in the ‘official’ Communist Party as was in the early 1980s, I was astounded by the example set by our (exiled) comrades from Turkey (the İşçinin Sesi wing of the Communist Party of that country). We worked closely with these comrades and took from them the principle of a fundraising drive upon which the Summer Offensive is based. Their rigorous, theorised levels of commitment put to shame the bureaucratic, self-serving apparatchiks in the ‘official’ CPGB - dullards whose main concern was to scrape together enough in dues from an inert membership to pay (first and foremost) their own wages. They were foul parasites on our workers’ movement, wretches that left nothing behind them apart from the stink of corruption - as the subsequent careers of some of the more talented amongst them proved.
Unlike the silly accusations of some comrades in the movement, we did not seek to adapt a rigid ‘Turkish’ template to our own different circumstances: that is, try to artificially manufacture the same levels of intensity and almost military discipline that our comrades in Turkey operated under during their illegality and the imposition of martial law. Their culture of sacrifice, hard work and tough commitment to serious working class organisations was, however, a breath of fresh air for young comrades like me. Amongst the many things we learned from these brave people, the Summer Offensive has been one of the most enduring - and politically instructive - of them all.
When comrades contribute to the SO, they are giving money to bolster the very best party traditions of our movement, the mass communist parties we have built historically, as well as to amplify the message of the Weekly Worker and its open, partisan journalism.
Special thanks this week go to JB for a tremendous £400 and the £100 from TG - both of whom I am assuming have been harassed in a comradely manner by our telephone team of SO callers. Many thanks to them, and all those who have contributed over the last seven days.
Just over £11k in the bank, comrades - that means the best part of £20k still to go before we hit our minimum of £30,000