Mortal wound?

Just when our CPGB is reinforcing its ranks by actively recruiting a variety of revolutionary tendencies as factions, taking the communist principle of openness to a new and invigorating level, so the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain is attempting to expunge factions - and therefore revolutionary ideas - from its organisation. Such bureaucratic centralism condemns the organisation to certain, if lingering, death.

As the fragile CPB “limps on”, a mere shadow of the ‘official’ CPGB it claims to have re-established (as one old-timer informed me), the thrust of the Socialist Labour Party is forcing differences of opinion to flow from the pages of the Morning Star like blood from a mortal wound. In order to preserve the existence of the CPB, the SLP must be rejected. Since the SLP should not stand candidates against Labour, nor should the CPB - but where does this leave Robert Griffiths and other champions of the communist electoral tactic? To conserve its logical right to existence, the CPB must now give itself a suitably limited role within the Labour Party orbit.

Richard Cage of Coventry (Morning Star letters, February 10) explains: “The perspective of the British Road to Socialism is dependent on the return of a Labour government. To achieve this, Labour must get the highest possible vote in all constituencies, regardless of the actual candidate.” This view from an anti-SLPer is confirmed by SLP sympathiser Gerrard Sables of Barnstaple (February 14): “The Star’s editorial [on the Hemsworth by-election] did not help either. The argument, ‘Don’t split the vote’, would prevent any Communist Party candidate from standing in any ward or constituency.” Roger Walker of Salford sums up (February 14):

“The Communist Party was never an intentionally populist mass party of the Labour type. It knew its role was one of fighting as the vanguard of social consciousness, developing and enhancing the class struggle.”

The logic of these individual views is strikingly confirmed in a desperate attempt to stem the haemorrhaging (February 14) by CPB general secretary Mike Hicks. Comrade Hicks fails to recognise that the central cause of ‘official’ CPGB liquidation was its reformist BRS programme: if your aim is not revolution, you don’t need a revolutionary party.

Boasting that the CPB is based on the same “rules, aims, constitution, programme and policies” which produced the demise of the ‘official’ CPGB, he stupidly condemns the SLP for not basing itself on the “rules, aims, constitution, programme and policies” of the Labour Party! Then he rationalises a limited role for his ‘party’: “The key ... is the organised labour movement - the trade unions - and we must see our position within that organised section.” Important though it is, especially to a full-time trade union official like Hicks, this is only one aspect of the all-embracing role of the Party of the class which must raise itself up to lead all of humankind to a classless society.

Stan Kelsey