On the offensive

The 13th Summer Offensive fundraising drive of the CPGB begins on May Day. Pledges received already total £10,000 and comrades should be sure to invite Party friends and sympathisers to the launch meeting on Sunday May 5 to experience for themselves the enthusiasm of collective communist commitment. Now is the time to make concrete fundraising plans, especially on how to involve Party sympathisers for the first time, and to ensure the launch meeting, always the key to an effective campaign, is blessed with not only personal pledges and a good attendance, but also ready money.

Our tradition of giving political priority to fundraising for a two-month period each year was learned directly from the ‘Summer Attacks’ of the Leninist wing of the Communist Party of Turkey in the early 1980s. In such self-sacrifice (some comrades survived for a period on ‘vitamin P’ - ie, potatoes - to save money), in collective work, not for personal gain but for the common good, we see a microcosm of the collective labour of the communist society of the future for which we strive, in which each will give “according to their ability” and each will receive “according to their needs”.

For the struggle to reforge a revolutionary democratic Communist Party, the 10% of income paid as dues - the basic regular financial contribution of each member - is not enough. The £25,000 target to be raised through hard work, self-sacrifice and commitment during May and June is a political necessity. Without the tens of thousands of pounds raised in successive Party Offensives, we would have had no office, no print-shop, no weekly paper, no parliamentary election contests and no books, to name a few essentials.

Now the extensive public discussion required to take communist rapprochement to a higher level and to thrash out a revolutionary democratic communist programme depends on extending the circulation, size and frequency of the Weekly Worker. This fact alone imposes a duty on all groups and tendencies who recognise the necessity of rapprochement to take a full part in creating the necessary means for it. Just as the views in the Weekly Worker come from a number of sources, so must the funds.

A precondition for drawing newcomers, sympathisers and supporters into the work and self-sacrifice of the Summer Offensive is that each Party member accepts and strives to fulfil the collectively agreed Party minimum personal target. Whereas Party supporters and sympathisers are invited to participate in the Offensive at any level of their own choosing, the Party minimum is obligatory for members. This is because a successful Party Offensive is a political necessity for the organisation, without which its work would be seriously set back. Membership rights carry membership duties, and we can have only one class of membership. All members are equal in both rights and duties.

Reforging the Communist Party is not just a theoretical, but a practical struggle, in the course of which communists are made - and many who consider themselves communists already are remade. Communists cannot develop in isolation, but only through collective communist work. Comrades make themselves into communist individuals precisely to the extent they work for the good of the collective - and thereby for the good of humanity.

There are those who can talk a good revolution, but it is through practice that communists are steeled. Those who warn us against the danger of ‘burn-out’ forget that the most advanced consciousness must produce the highest levels of commitment in practice or all is lost. Conversely, a low level of practice tends to debilitate theory and transform it into an apology for existing (lack of) practice. If comrades work mindlessly and get fed up with their ineffectiveness, they may ‘burn out’ through lack of consciousness rather than excess of practice.

Those who believe the Party can be built by “more comrades doing less” should remember that the Party must become a pole of attraction for the most militant workers involved in the most militant struggles. The level of commitment required of communists must surpass that required of, for example, miners on strike for a whole year in 1984-85, with all the personal sacrifices which that struggle called for. How else can the Party hope to gain the respect of and lead the best of those workers?

Practice sorts the wheat from the chaff. The 12 previous Summer Offensives have always had the effect of drawing towards the Party those who wish to put their lives in the service of the self-liberation of the working class and humanity, and of purging those who would have the Party dragged down to the level of commitment to which they have become accustomed. This simultaneous building and purging helps to make our communist nucleus fighting fit in the struggle for the Party, for world socialism and for communism.

Ian Farrell