Movement of the class

Danny Hammill reports on last week’s CPGB aggregate

Given the fact that we are witnessing the birth of a new, left moving political formation - ie, the Socialist Labour Party, which has made a total organisational break with the Labour Party - this party aggregate was of unusual importance. Indeed, this aggregate had to be postponed on a number of occasions because our comrades have been engaged in intensive political work on this front.

The meeting discussed in some detail a resolution from the Provisional Central Committee, which stated: “The CPGB calls on all partisans of the working class to take out individual membership of the Socialist Labour Party.”

The overwhelming feeling of the meeting was that this resolution was not focused enough; it did not provide the clarity which was so necessary at this period. Some comrades, particularly from the For a Permanent Party Polemic Committee faction, were worried that such a resolution might even prove to be a diversion from the process of communist rapprochement and could open up our organisation to trends willing to compromise on the fight for the type of party our class needs, a reforged communist party. 

An amended resolution from the Weekly Worker cell (printed below) was passed, with only one vote against. This resolution provided the major debate, as the FPPPC faction comrades argued that there should be an absolute differentiation, at this stage, between “partisans of the working class” and Communist Party supporters and other revolutionaries. The comrades in FPPPC want those who call themselves communist to be kept separate from partisans of the class, in order to maintain and safeguard a Marxist-Leninist ideology. If the resolution was passed, it was argued, that would help to undermine Marxism-Leninism. The partisans of the class should be encouraged to join the SLP, but not be invited into the process of communist rapprochement. They proposed an amendment to the Weekly Worker resolution, which would have given expression to that sentiment.   

The majority of comrades, however, felt that such a sharp distinction was artificial, if not damaging. If handled correctly, our work in the SLP will make partisans of the working class into actual communists, not ‘downgrade’ communists into ‘ordinary’ partisans of the class.

The majority argued that the line advocated by the FPPPC comrades would relegate the CPGB to near eternal irrelevancy, making it just a comfortable home for isolated individuals who like to call themselves ‘Marxist-Leninist’. The CPGB has to be a mass party, otherwise it will never be able to make revolution and contribute to the liberation of humanity. The comrades in FPPPC faction were viewing the movement around the SLP in a static, mechanistic manner, rather than trying to grasp the living dynamic unfolding before their eyes.  

A resolution on the International Working Class Association (printed below) was passed without dissent. All the comrades agreed that an ‘even-handed’ approach to the SLP and the IWCA would be mistaken. The SLP represents a qualitatively higher level of development in British politics than the IWCA - the creation of an actual party, not yet another sect, tendency, group or ‘mere’ organisation. Some comrades expressed the fear that the IWCA even has the potential to become an anti-party formation, given the large degree of anarcho-communist input into it.

We also discussed the new series of seminars. Provisionally, this would incorporate four ‘units’ of discussion: Lenin and Leninism, Marx’s theory of value, revolutionary profiles, and the nature of programme.

We will be inviting other organisations and groups to present their ideas on programme, as part of the process of communist rapprochement. The details are to be finalised.

Resolution on the Socialist Labour Party

The CPGB urges all its supporters, and all partisans of the working class, to join the SLP in order to further the fight for communist rapprochement and a reforged Communist Party.

Resolution on the IWCA

1. Notwithstanding our stated reservations concerning some of the formulations in the Independent Working Class Association launch leaflet, the CPGB recognises the immediate value and future potential of an avowedly anti-social democratic, working class association.

2. Further, we recognise that in the process of participating in anti-capitalist action, the IWCA may become a site for communist rapprochement.

3. Accordingly, the CPGB will affiliate to the IWCA on the basis of the original concise founding statement of the organisation passed at the October 21 1995 meeting. The Provisional Central Committee of the CPGB will appoint a representative(s) to the IWCA co-ordinating meetings and will participate in and support the IWCA activities when and where we consider it to be appropriate.