Move into action

With war only days away, Communist Party members gathered at an aggregate in London on Sunday March 16 to debate how the party should react to this critical situation. In such a period, when millions of people have taken to the streets in protest against the war, we still fall far short when it comes to what needs to be done. Correctly members were critical of themselves and the Party leadership for lagging behind the dramatically changed situation. Now we must radically transform every aspect of our organisation and approach to work. National organiser Mark Fischer told the aggregate that normal cell meetings and educational seminars must be suspended. Open CPGB anti-war forums are a good idea but the main thing is immersing the entire organisation in the anti-war movement. Passive membership of a communist organisation is a contradiction in terms. Especially in such a period as this. All comrades must increase their commitment, both financially and in terms of work. The main thing, however, it to play a full part in the Stop the War Coalition, the people's assemblies and the mushrooming anti-war activity amongst college and school students. Current circumstances will undoubtedly require rapid, centralised decision-making to enable the Party to respond effectively to rapidly evolving political events. But, combined with this, individual comrades and party cells must show increased initiative in their local activities. The Weekly Worker remains key to our politics. Although it is beginning to adjust to the new conditions, reporting and commenting on events as they occur, as yet it has failed to act as an organiser. In his opening on perspectives, comrade John Bridge emphasised that, although the CPGB remains weak organisationally, we are strong politically. All the left papers and even some bourgeois publications such as The Guardian discuss the democratic deficit created by Blair's insistence on going to war against the wishes of 57% of the population. But the CPGB can go beyond describing the problem and provide concrete answers for the working class based on our programmatic understanding of democratic politics. People's assemblies have the potential to answer the democratic deficit. But the advanced part of the working class also needs a real Communist Party and the creation of such a democratic combat organisation remains our overarching goal and purpose. We have always recognised that such a party will not simply come from the unity of the left sects, but from the class itself. Nevertheless the Socialist Alliance could have acted as a focal point for a wider unity, but, as comrade Marcus Ström pointed out, the SA has dismally failed to make use of the current opportunities, and effectively closed down for the duration of the war. Clearly it no longer represents the concretisation of the party question in British politics at this time. The 'What we fight for' column in the Weekly Worker has been revised to reflect the shift of emphasis in Party work from the Socialist Alliance to the anti-war movement. These changes were discussed and the aggregate entrusted the Provisional Central Committee with the task of keeping the column under constant review in this critical and fast-moving period, with all the possibilities it provides. Mary Godwin