Online scaffolding - 200,000 hits

Around the web: CPGB

In his discussion of the partyist role of the revolutionary paper Iskra, Lenin wrote: ""� it may be likened to the scaffolding round a building under construction, which marks the contours of the structure and facilitates communication between the builders, enabling them to distribute the work and to view the common results achieved by their organised labour"� (VI Lenin, 'Where to begin?' CW Vol 5, Moscow 1977, p22). Quite rightly this metaphor has informed the way our communist collective approaches its relationship with the Weekly Worker, helping the paper become essential reading for the left in Britain and beyond. This no doubt explains why the CPGB website has just passed the 200,000 mark. Looking at the statistics for the week ending December 18, there were 6,629 individual views of the Party's website (accessing just under 13,000 page views) from 65 different countries. Predictably English-speaking territories feature most prominently, Britain and the USA accounting for just over half of all traffic. But it does appear that the Weekly Worker has quite a following in Ecuador, leading to some healthy discussion around the possibility of setting up an Ecuadorian CPGB branch "� It is probably fair to say that if the Party website was badly designed and offered minimal information other than an online edition of our paper, the rate of individual sessions would not differ much from the current standing. But luckily our website is anything but amateurish. While it may not be as vast in scope as that of the Socialist Party (see Weekly Worker January 9), it does offer a great deal of information about the Party and stands up extremely well against the SWP's presence online. At the core of the website is the paper itself - a comprehensive archive running uninterruptedly back to December 1998 is offered. Before that the coverage becomes decidedly patchy. All but seven of the issues for 1998 are carried, but only 13 from between 1994 and 1997 appear. Certainly getting these online (plus an archive of the Weekly Worker's forerunner, The Leninist) would serve to enhance the website as a resource for those not just interested in the trajectory of our organisation, but as an historical record of the British left for the past 22 years. The Weekly Worker aside, there are a number of other features to recommend the CPGB site. Though a 'Frequently asked questions' is missing, this niche is partially filled by the 'Theory' section. Here we have a collection of articles from the paper grouped under topic headings such as 'The Soviet Union', 'Programme and method', 'The British-Irish debate', etc. However, this section too is in need of an update. The most recent article in this collection dates from May 2000. Therefore the debates around the possibility of peaceful revolution, the Alliance for Workers' Liberty and so on have yet to be included. The links section is grouped under three headings: organisations; publications; and archives and other sites. The first of these is relatively comprehensive, listing the main organisations of the left in Britain and a few others besides. The final listing only provides six links, but they are to valuable online resources such as the Marx-Engels internet archive and From Marx to Mao. Links to unions and other campaigning organisations are not available, but the practice of hyperlinking websites in articles helps make up for it. To take just one example, the short article on the Birmingham anti-war movement in the January 9 edition provides direct links to the SWP, Workers Power, Socialist Action, Birmingham Stop the War, and the Socialist Alliance! Returning to Lenin's metaphor, the CPGB website should be considered as much a part of the Party scaffolding as the paper, and will become an ever more significant part, as internet costs come down and more people get online. Given that a significant number of Party contacts have come to us via our current website, the updating of current features and the addition of others can only serve to bring more comrades closer to the organisation. Phil Hamilton