New tendency’s first meeting
The first meeting of the revolutionary democratic communist tendency (Organising Committee) was held on January 9. It was accepted that agreed minutes and/or reports of these meetings could be published in the Weekly Worker and Open Polemic.
The meeting agreed that there would be three ‘gateways’ into the tendency’s aggregates. These would be critical support for three draft documents - rapprochement, factions and revolutionary democratic communism. The last of these would be discussed at the next meeting. The first aggregate would be held on January 31 and discuss the ‘gateways’ and the related question of openness. Amendments to these documents must be submitted to the Organising Committee by January 24.
It was reported that the Republican Worker Tendency was prepared to attend the aggregates. However, there were some outstanding matters arising from a letter of complaint from the RWT. It was agreed to try to sort this out through mediation and to invite other organisations.
Provisional dates for the second and third aggregates are March 21 and May 30.
The following statement drafted at the end of 1997 was issued by the tendency:
“We believe the time is now right to take the next steps in the rapprochement process on the basis of the agreed documents on factions and rapprochement. We identify the following stages in the process: preliminary stage; transitional stage; fusion conference.
1. Preliminary stage
- Exploratory talks take place.
- The CPGB (PCC) and the RDG (OC) publish a call for the formation of a revolutionary democratic communist tendency and invite others to join us.
- The tendency will come into existence at the beginning of 1998 and be open to all who accept, though not necessarily agree with, the joint documents.
- Representatives of participating organisations will act as the organising committee for the tendency with powers of cooption and the right to publish joint statements under the name of the tendency.
2. Transitional stage
The tendency will call a series of joint aggregates starting in January 1998. The number of these aggregates (provisionally three) will be flexible, depending on what progress the participants feel has been made. These aggregates will work on joint perspectives and other matters which require clarification. A provisional agenda might include: rapprochement; organisation of the new tendency - theory and practice; SLP work; Scotland and SSA work; building the tendency; general perspectives. At the end of the transitional stage, organisations and individuals will have the opportunity either to withdraw or to take the next step.
Entry and withdrawal from these aggregates is voluntary and this step should be taken without resort to polemics.
3. The fusion conference
At the end of the transitional period, a conference will be convened by the tendency to create a new fused organisation. Decisions at the conference will be taken by majority voting. The conference will decide:
- name of the tendency;
- organ for the tendency and its name;
- new ‘Where we stand’;
- programmatic basis;
- organisational principles, rules, subs, etc;
Breakdown or failure
In going through this process it is always possible that there will be a breakdown or failure. We consider that the way we handle this is just as much a testament of communist politics as anything else. In the event of a failed unity, we should seek to establish the facts, in the first instance, concerning the breakdown by means of an agreed statement between all participating organisations. Further polemics must be handled with the greatest calm, precision and the interests of both communist rapprochement and the wider movement.