Fantastic start

Howard Roak looks ahead as we square up for two months of hard work

A group of comrades were swapping anecdotes in the pub after the June 19 CPGB aggregate and launch of our 25th Summer Offensive. The conversation drifted round to the rest of the left’s rather odd attitude to our organisation’s annual fundraising campaign and the lurid tales told in the past about the sources of our funds. To laughter, one comrade listed some of the more wacky explanations on offer over the years.

Apparently, our party leadership once instructed student comrades to give up their digs and sardine themselves into an industrial squat in Brixton. Jack Conrad was, in fact, a descendent of the novelist Joseph Conrad and was able to dip into the literary estate of his illustrious ancestor when the organisation was a little strapped for cash. Conrad also was said to own a nationwide chain of high street dry cleaners - that’s Jack, not Joseph, of course.

Now all of these had a small nugget of truth secreted beneath the hillock of crap, the comrade explained. For example, it had to be conceded that Jack Conrad had once lived above a dry cleaners. The only accusation that had ever really flummoxed him was the rather gruesome notion that some of our people had sold their livers - although, it dawned on him as he spoke that “we did have a comrade who once advertised a Hammond organ for sale. Perhaps someone read it too quickly and saw ‘human’ ...”

Our comrades have been inventive and selfless over a quarter-century of SOs. But no-one has ever sold a body part, to my certain knowledge - their own or anyone else’s. As we square up to the next two months of hard work to achieve our collective goal of £25k by August 14, rather less dramatic plans are being hatched by comrades to hit their personal targets. Of course, our people will to some extent be cutting back on personal consumption. However, we try to make the two months of the SO an opportunity for comrades to turn outwards, to engage with the sympathising periphery our organisation and its paper has built around itself over the years.

So, in addition to World Cup sweepstakes and sponsored events of one sort and another, many comrades reading these words can expect a party mail-out plopping onto their doormats or into their in-box and perhaps a phone call from a CPGBer looking to bring a little more post-emergency budget financial pain into their lives - but in a rather better cause, I’m sure comrades will agree.

The individual pledges from our comrades currently total £16,870 - which compares favourably with the £14k of initial pledges in the first week of the 2009 campaign. Similarly, the first week of this year’s SO beats last year’s equivalent period hands down. Our comrades and readers have donated £4,551 this year already, compared to £1,396 12 months ago. A fantastic start that bodes well for the campaign as a whole - in 2009 we were able to smash through our £25k target and forge on to over £28,000, despite the slower start. Perhaps £30k beckons this year, comrades?

Special mention goes to comrade PK for his donation of £1,000 in the form of a new computer and software for the party office. Particular thanks also go to comrades ST (£280), MM (£30), CG (£35), PS (£50) and WD (£50). In addition, well done to those comrades - BL in particular - who undertook a badge-making marathon to fulfil some large orders in double-quick time, raising £400 towards their various targets in the process.

Well over £4k in the first week of the 2010 SO, comrades! Can we keep up the pace and take another large chunk out of the total? Watch this space ...