Summer Offensive - Homepage

Mark Fischer gives a final update on this years Summer Offensive fundraising effort, which concluded at Communist University

Our annual, two-month fundraising drive, the Summer Offensive, this year came up short of our £25k target. When all the Communist University bar tabs were hunted down, when all the stall moneyboxes were gutted and the five-minutes-to-midnight standing orders factored in, our comrades, readers and supporters had raised £23,266.

So not a vintage year by any stretch of the imagination - regular readers may remember that we actually bust through the same £25,000 barrier last year, when we raised a magnificent £29,684. It is probably accurate to say that this year’s SO actually showed our comrades more potential than it realised. But still an’ all, it was a fine achievement for a small organisation. Again this year, our people have performed collective and individual financial miracles and the leadership of the CPGB sends its warm congratulations and thanks to every single comrade - whether they are members of the organisation or currently on its periphery - who have contributed to this year’s campaign.

At the SO celebration meal on August 25 - a benefit event for Workers Fund Iran held on the penultimate evening of Communist University - we thanked some of those individuals. Comrade MM was rightly honoured for his magnificent individual finishing total of £1,256. However, it was a particular pleasure for me to see comrades who had put in such hard yards on the redesign/relaunch of the party’s website (which, of course, had provided real impetus to the SO drive itself) get some recognition for their invaluable work. Thanks and congratulations once again to comrades JE, LM and JT for this. (The first of these deserves particular credit, as the comrade comes from a very different political current/tradition to ours - but is a communist with sufficient nous to recognise the precious role that the Weekly Worker and the organisation that supports it is playing in this critical period for the revolutionary left.)

In fact, speaking of the role of our paper - and the website where most comrades read it and whose content it drives forward weekly - prompts me to highlight what I think is the real missed opportunity of this year’s SO. Last year, we “put the paper, and the development of its format and reach, right at the heart” of the Summer Offensive. There is no question that this is what accounted for our brilliant success in 2011. This year, despite our declared aim to do the same, a genuine campaign to make this a reality did not come together.

This speaks of a number of organisational problems we drag around with us.

On the one hand, as a political trend we have always operated with a relatively skeletal organisational centre - made weaker over the past few years or so by our unpaid volunteers trying to work around growing time constraints, as social pressures have multiplied and the dull compulsion of earning a crust has become more insistent. So ‘HQ initiatives’ have been fewer and less inclusive this year.

On the other hand, it also underlines the fact that for too long much of the initiative for SOs has come from that centre, from a small team of veterans of an annual campaign that has been with us since 1985. A challenge for us over the coming period must be to generalise those aspects of our culture that have been important building blocks of what we have achieved as an organisation; the political/cultural norms that have allowed us to build so much despite an often stubbornly unreceptive audience.

To summarise, this year’s SO should again provide us with optimism and a sense of potential. We should take the momentum we established in its course to properly address what we talked about in the campaign itself: consolidating and building the supporting reader-base of the Weekly Worker and utilising the outstanding material it produces to make it simply unthinkable for any serious partisan of the workers’ movement not to have our site as their home page.

So, comrades - that’s the next task. How are you going to help?