Communists debate with SML

What type of party does the working class need - the Communist Party of Great Britain or Scottish Militant Labour? These were the two alternatives being debated at a public meeting in the Hilltown ward of Dundee last week.

The meeting had been called by the Dundee branch of the CPGB - an open invitation given to all four council election candidates in this ward to come along and air their policies in public. The SNP sent their apologies, while the Labour candidate dismissed the meeting as a “publicity stunt”. In the absence of the two pro-capitalist parties, a serious and comradely debate was held between Mary Ward (CPGB) and Mark Walker (SML).

The debate centred on the nature of socialism, and the correct attitude towards the Labour Party. SML comrades claimed they recognise the need for revolution and the overthrow of capitalism if there is to be a fundamental change in society. However, this contrasts with the ambiguity of their paper Militant, where there seems to be an aversion to the use of the ‘R’ word - revolution - and the easier anti-Tory line is plugged. This is known as opportunism.

It is the duty of all those who call themselves communist, Marxist or revolutionary to honestly tell the working class what is needed to achieve socialism, not disguise it with reformist language. We need to smash the bourgeois state through class struggle, not through parliament or local councils. The reformist and revolutionary roads are different paths to different ends, as Rosa Luxemburg pointed out.

Since its wholesale expulsion from Labour at the end of the decade, ML has found it difficult to junk its loyalty to that party. However, its current paper does not call for a vote for Labour in seats where SML is not standing, and this seems to be a change. It was obvious from the meeting that the relationship with the Labour Party is at least under debate in the organisation. If only it was published, the working class would be a lot wiser.

What Militant and its members must face up to is that the working class in Britain does not need a ‘Real’ Labour or a ‘Militant’ Labour party. The task of all revolutionaries is to reforge an independent, revolutionary working class party - a communist party.

Nick Clarke