Reformist call to ban revolutionary funds

COMRADES around the country are currently preparing themselves for our annual fund-raising drive - the 12th Party Offensive. As they do, they will be amused by a pristine piece of compressed opportunism in last week’s Morning Star (Monday, May 15), paper of the Labour Party-loyal Communist Party of Britain (CPB).

Commenting on the Nolan committee’s inquiry into ‘standards in public life’, the editorial puffs, “There should be a blanket ban on donations to British political parties from abroad.”

The Star even suggests that “all donors” to political parties “of £1,000 or more” be “recorded”. What a perfect illustration of naive reformist faith in the state! What a brilliant example of the danger of ‘national roads to socialism’ espoused by the CPB.

We are not in the business of offering advice to capitalist parties. But the Star’s prescriptions apply to everyone, it seems - a “blanket ban”, they say.

First, should we in principle stand against accepting donations from ‘abroad’? How can we if we want to call ourselves genuine communists - that is, true internationalists?

Compare the attitude of Lenin and the Bolsheviks to the tired revisionists of the CPB. Communists in Russia knew that their revolution in 1917 was dependent for its survival on other revolutions. World revolution was its salvation.

The agony of isolation seemed to be at an end in late 1918. The German revolution exploded. Lenin demanded that by the spring of 1919 an army of three million be raised in Russia “to help the international workers’ revolution - for the German working masses, for the German toiling millions, once they have made a start with the spirit of revolt ... we begin to propose brotherly union, bread, military help.” (Emphasis in original).

At a time when revolutionary Russia was undergoing one of its most severe crises, with famine looming, the Soviet government sent two train-loads of grain to Germany. The new ‘Labour’ leaders of that country - the ideological and political foreparents of the CPB, brought to power on the back of the still evolving revolution - stopped the convoy at the frontier.

Later in 1923, when despite the efforts of the reformists the German revolution again seemed imminent, two solidarity funds were set up - one for grain, the other for gold. The wives of revolutionary Russia were invited to donate their wedding rings for the sake of the coming world revolution.

The Morning Star would not have to look even as far Germany for political parties receiving ‘foreign’ donations. The Communist Party in this country received sizeable amounts from the USSR.  For many years the Star itself was the recipient of Soviet ‘donations’, in the form of advanced orders for the paper! This ended with Gorbachev, of course. But don’t opportunists have short memories?

The key difference between the donations of the early years of the communist movement and later was political, of course. Money was used at first for principled revolutionary action: later, the Soviet bureaucracy curried favour, influence and diplomatic silences with their ‘largesse’. The Star’s windfalls belonged to this latter period, naturally.

Real communists understand that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the world’s first workers’ state materially aiding the world revolution. But unlike the Morning Star, we would never accept donations with strings attached. Our principles are not for sale.

The Star’s second call - for donations to political parties over £1,000 to be “recorded” - is, if anything, even more disgusting, even more anti-communist.

A communist party is in the business - supposedly - of revolution. As such, it attracts the hatred, the attacks, the bans and proscriptions of the ruling class and its state. In the history of our movement, literally millions of our comrades have been murdered, tortured, imprisoned and exiled. To preserve their freedom to make revolution, our parties must, as Lenin’s Communist International put it, be “combat organisation[s] for the revolution”. The famous 21 conditions of affiliation to the International insisted that all communists “place no trust in bourgeois legality. They have the obligation of setting up a parallel organisational apparatus which ... can assist the Party to do its duty to the revolution” (Condition no3, passed in 1920).

The idea therefore that financial contributors to the revolutionary party should be “recorded” - presumably by the state - and that this information should be freely available is perverse. It shows just how loyal the reformists around the Morning Star are to the bourgeois state.

Readers can be assured that while the 12th Party Offensive of the CPGB is prepared to take donations - big or small - from partisans of the working class from any part of the world, we definitely won’t be publishing personal details of contributors for the bourgeois press and secret service to pore over.

Our Summer Offensive - set this year at £25,000 for the months of June and July - is the high point of our year’s revolutionary work. We call on all readers and supporters to fight to make this year’s a huge success.

Ian Mahoney