What next for Campaign for a Marxist Party?

Following the election of a new committee of which he is a member, Hillel Ticktin gives his thoughts on the tasks of the Campaign for a Marxist Party

The CMP is not a party. It is a call for a party. What then is the difference? The previous committee was aware of the distinction in principle, but never spelled it out, and consequently confused the two entities by discussing such matters as participating in a general election, trade union committees, etc.

We cannot get involved in direct political action of that kind precisely because we are not a party. We can support individuals in their actions or support certain campaigns like Hands Off the People of Iran, but only with the understanding that this furthers the cause of the call to a party. We have to evaluate whether the left has adopted the correct approach to the white and blue collar working class both in its economic and political struggles.

We should set up a small group of people to produce pamphlets for discussion and which, when agreed, can then be used to recruit people. If we can produce a series of pamphlets or articles which help to clarify and evaluate the reasons for the failure of the left and so by implication the alternatives, we will give the process of forming a party a boost. While we aim to attract different views, that is only true within a certain spectrum and we need to show the nature of that spectrum.

We can censure individuals for uncomradely behaviour, however. In this respect a code of conduct is implicit and it requires more than a set of rules, because it is possible for individuals to use very polite language while being threatening in tone. In fact, such behaviour is normal in everyday institutional life in the UK and we have to get away from it. We have to be able to have a genuine discussion where people are not so wedded to their initial viewpoints that they feel their identity is at stake.

I think we need to accept groups affiliating, but they have to agree to dissolve into a new party at some future date, and then possibly maintain a faction within the party. If they affiliate they need to relax their discipline to some extent within the transitional period in the CMP. We cannot legislate on this, but if there is goodwill on all sides then it will be a relatively painless process. However, to achieve that desirable state it might require constitutional arrangements such that a sufficiently sized group has membership of the committee.

Issues for the committee

On the other hand, I am not certain that we need a printed journal for the immediate future. We could simply have views expressed on the net, with occasional pamphlets and articles in the Weekly Worker, if the latter is agreeable.

There is an argument that a journal expresses the identity of the entity. Perhaps something that appears twice a year might be possible, if we can find someone to do it. If we cannot, we could make do as above.