Keep it coming

Party notes

As the Weekly Worker takes an eight-page step along the road “Towards the Daily Worker” - as our masthead boldly proclaims - we must remind ourselves that a communist paper depends upon communist money. Funding the Weekly Worker depends on the regular personal contributions and collective fundraising work of communists. Neither advertising nor sales revenue gives life to a communist paper: only the commitment - work and money - of those who make its existence and development their own responsibility.

Financing the paper is inseparable from financing the communist organisation which creates it, and which the paper exists to develop. Communist politics and organisation cannot be reforged except through the continuous exchange of information and ideas between the various revolutionary tendencies in an open, polemical paper. Only a mass circulation paper can draw all the advanced workers together into a mass party. The paper is the scaffold by means of which the Communist Party building can be constructed. Conversely, only by strengthening today’s embryonic Party can the future of the paper be guaranteed. The Party is the backbone of the paper.

Life today is hard for newspapers, especially leftwing ones. Tribune is complaining of WH Smith’s new restrictive “shelf policy”. Three weeks ago the New Statesman declared its insolvency and put up for sale the only marketable side of its business - the title! The fading Morning Star - which still carries the undeserved subtitle, “Incorporating the Daily Worker” - has announced its “Keep it shining” survival campaign with a four-page supplement. “A tidal wave of public support will be necessary to overcome the present threat to our paper’s survival,” writes editor John Haylett.

The Star, however, has no party “backbone”, having ‘freed’ itself from the Communist Party a dozen years ago. Nor can it be the “scaffold” even for reconstructing the reformist Communist Party of Britain. “Older Morning Star readers,” writes Mary Rosser, “remember the wholesalers’ ban which lasted 12 years from 1930. An improvised distribution network was set up, with readers collecting parcels at railway stations early in the morning ... Could this be repeated, as many have asked? Unfortunately not!” Not by Labourite parliamentary reformists, of course.

When asked about the CPB’s response to Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party, a Star journalist replied starkly, “How should I know! Most of us belong to the Labour Party.”

So the Star whimpers about the “refusal to advertise - both of government and big business” and appeals to the fairness of a future Labour parliament. “A diverse and accessible range of newspapers ... is essential,” Rosser argues, “for any parliamentary democracy.” Well, there’s the difference! We work to replace the parliamentary democracy of capitalism: they want to preserve it.

The rapprochement of revolutionary tendencies, combining open polemic with disciplined work in a democratic Communist Party, means reforging independent working class politics. An essential condition for this process is independent working class money. Each comrade and each organisation must do their duty.

Stan Kelsey