Letters between parting OP comrades and the PCC

OP to the PCC, April 18 1996

Finance and the Summer Offensive

With reference to your recent letter to Bob Smith.

The last aggregate did not vote on any specific proposal concerning the Summer Offensive and therefore did not take any majority decision.  

In our view, the PCC is attempting to impose its authority as the leading body in order to circumvent Rule and enforce the payment of additional dues by members in the form of a levy.

In principle, no member can be under any mandatory obligation to make any financial contribution over and above that required by Rule.

Apart from dues, any financial contribution that we make will therefore continue to be entirely voluntary.

Notwithstanding principle on financial matters, as we indicated at the aggregate without any oppositional response, particular consideration should be given to representational members at this stage of the rapprochement process.

For rapprochement,

Bob Smith, John Sandy

To Bob Smith/John Sandy, April 22, 1996

Thank you for your letter of April 18. As Party members, you have the right to raise this matter at the next Party aggregate (as does the PCC, of course). Before you do so, we think you should perhaps clarify exactly what your position is.

At the aggregate of April 7, Bob Smith indicated the willingness of Open Polemic comrades to participate in our 13th Summer Offensive, even suggesting that this annual campaign is a measure of our “seriousness” as an organisation.

At a subsequent cell meeting, comrade Smith then suggested that OP did not regard itself as obliged to undertake the same duties as other Party members. He attempted at this stage to negotiate a lower rate for OPers - perhaps 50%, he suggested. We reject this. It must be emphasised that all party members have the same rights and the same duties.

Now in your letter of April 18, you seem to suggest that the Summer Offensive is ‘illegal’ according to Party rule and that - incredibly - the Provisional Central Committee has “no right” to initiate Party levies.

No vote was taken at the April aggregate. This is both because Perspectives ’96 - with its £25,000 overall target - had already been agreed by our organisation and the SO is such an organic part of the Party’s practice. Furthermore, no comrade - OP included - raised any objections to either the overall target or the individual minimum suggested.

We are happy for the next aggregate to be given the opportunity to re-emphasise our serious approach to fundraising - an important political campaign of our entire organisation.

Mark Fischer
For the Provisional Central Committee

PCC to OP, April 28, 1996

The PCC has asked me to request that a PCC representative, possibly myself, be allowed to attend your Editorial Board meeting, which I understand is to be held on Tuesday April 30. We are concerned to make every effort to retain comrades Bob, John and Ian as CPGB members if that is possible. Their coming into membership, despite inevitable difficulties, has been an important step in the rapprochement process which has helped to open the way for others.

In dealing with the difference of opinion over the Summer Offensive minimum fundraising target for members, we hope you will accept our view that all members are equal under the rules, that all members have the same rights and duties as a matter of principle.

The offensive is a vital political campaign for Partyism. The membership minimum target has been established - but not increased - for a number of years. The £25,000 global target is essential to maintain and develop our organisation and its Weekly Worker, the main vehicle for communist polemic and rapprochement. We therefore look to the leading comrades in Open Polemic to set an example in fundraising, and to draw other OP comrades into the fundraising work.

In the unhappy event that any of the three comrades concerned decide not to retain membership status in the CPGB organisation, we would like to propose they (and other OP comrades) be CPGB ‘representative supporters’. As supporters, their involvement in Party work, financial contributions and fundraising would be purely voluntary. At the same time, OP is welcome to continue its Weekly Worker column, and we wish to invite comrades Bob, John and Ian to our forthcoming Party aggregate meeting on Sunday May 5, but without voting rights if they are not members.

Looking forward to discussing these matters with you as soon as possible,

Ian Farrell

OP to PCC, April 30 1996

The Open Polemic Editorial Board has decided to suspend its representational entry and therefore to withdraw its representational members from the Communist Party of Great Britain in order to allow for the possible re-establishment of its representational entry on the basis of a mutually clearer understanding of the process of communist rapprochement under the banner of the CPGB.

The OPEB envisages that this will entail discussions between itself and the PCC concerning the transitional character of the CPGB in the present period of communist rapprochement.

It envisages that these discussions will include the function of central leadership, pre-party democracy, the rights and duties of members and any other issues that have arisen during the period of Open Polemic’s past representational membership.

For rapprochement, 

Open Polemic

Resolution on Summer Offensive

This Communist Party aggregate confirms the decision in the Perspectives ’96 document to campaign for £25,000 in our 13th Summer Offensive. It also confirms the uncontested decision of the April aggregate that every Party member has a minimum target.

Party democracy and centralism applies equally to all members. Those that are unwilling to accept this exclude themselves - in theory and practice - from Party membership.

Passed unanimously at May Party Aggregate