Summer Offensive fact file
Jack Conrad tells of what you might want to know about the SO
- The first full SO was in 1985 (we had organised a mini-Offensive the year before). This year’s campaign is therefore our 21st campaign.
- We adapted the idea from campaigns run by Marx’s Neue Rheinische Zeitung, the Iscinin Sesi trend of the Communist Party of Turkey and the Bolsheviks’ Subbotniks (all had a refreshingly robust approach to fundraising - our comrades from Turkey dubbed their equivalent campaign an ‘attack’ rather than an ‘appeal’, for instance).
- Our organisation sets itself a collective target to raise in two months - this year £30,000 - and individual members set personal minimums.
- Non-members participate at whatever level they feel they can - all donations to the campaign are gratefully received.
- The SO ends with a celebration, where we announce the final amount raised and present awards for comrades’ individual achievements (for many years this was dubbed “the Offensive meal”, until someone pointed out this may be a little off-putting …). This year’s celebration takes place on the evening of August 13, the first day of our Communist University.
- At the time of our 1988 SO, our faction in the ‘official’ CPGB (as it then was) raised £10, 473 (and nine pence, we felt compelled to tell readers - see The Leninist September 3 1988).
- This SO dramatically revealed the huge political gulf between our Leninist trend in the party and the degenerate contemporary ‘official communist’ groups we were locked in battle with. They were utterly compromised, politically and organisationally. Thus, we noted that donations at our 1988 SO launch meeting had raised more than seven whole districts of the ‘official communist’-dominated party had managed to cobble together in the course of its two-month appeal (remember, we were a very small faction at that time, consisting mostly of younger comrades).
- We were also pleased to announce to our party opponents that every participating sympathiser of our faction (let alone its members) had raised more than three whole districts of the opportunist-dominated party.
- Opponents have scrabbled around for explanations for our success - all of which told us far more about them than it did about us. Thus, we have in the past been reliably informed that party members were selling livers for the fund drive; that all student comrades had been instructed to give up their digs and live together in industrial squats in Brixton; that we had a T-shirt sweatshop in Turkey that supplied the cash; that Jack Conrad was a descendant of the novelist Joseph Conrad and we financed our political activities from his literary estate; that lucky blighter Conrad was also the heir to a nationwide chain of dry cleaners and, of course, that we were financed by MI5, the Communist Party of Turkey, the German Democratic Republic, the Revolutionary Communist Group or some exotic combination of the above. The simple explanation - that genuine communist politics inspire revolutionaries to high levels of self-sacrifice and inventiveness - does not seem to occur to them.