Kick in the shins

Mark Fischer reports on the latest on the CPGB's annual fundraising drive

Clive Power (Letters, June 5) seems to take real exception to my article introducing this year’s Summer Offensive, the CPGB’s annual fundraising drive (Weekly Worker May 30). Despite my assurances to readers that it is not a “gruesome” ordeal for people, Clive sees it as evidence of the sect practice of “periods of manic activity” that leave burned-out shells of comrades in their wake.

I’m not sure what particular sect chewed Clive up in the past, but it is instructive for our purpose that he cites the example of a “slightly deranged socialist” of his acquaintance in the 1980s who was active (very active, it seems) in the Workers Revolutionary Party.

A good example, Clive. It illustrates my point perfectly. The levels of activity of the old WRP were indeed “manic” - precisely because the perspectives of this nasty little sect were maniac perspectives. From the mid-1970s onwards, the WRP decided that there was a revolutionary situation in Britain. Its poor, pulverised dolts of members were kept at fever pitch with talk of imminent military coups, the dark machinations of MI5 in their ranks and a campaign for the TUC to call the general strike - a full-blown assault on power. WRPers slept with their boots on - when they slept at all.

In order to keep these mad ideas intact internally, a regime was required that entailed systematic abuse and intimidation. A member of ours recalls once seeing the leader of the WRP - the nauseating bully, Gerry Healy - publicly kicking some underling who had displeased him.

I don’t think even Clive would suggest that our practice is remotely similar. Yes, we do ask for a level of commitment from comrades that compares well with other sections of the left. But its intensity must be linked to societal realities, not to the sect fantasies of madmen.

This week, comrades and friends of the Communist Party have raised £1,495, taking our total up to £2,247 - an excellent figure for this early stage of the campaign. And all without the threat of a military clampdown or a kick in the shins, comrade Power will be pleased to hear.