The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 26th March 2010

The following pages contain the text of the political opening given to the March meeting of the New Communist of Party's Central Committee. This meeting agreed to call on the working class to vote Labour in the forthcoming general and local elections. This opening was printed in it's entirety in the New Worker - week commencing 26th March 2010

Communists in today’s world

The revolutionary party, bourgeois elections and social democracy

by Neil Harris

The Labour Party

By the early 20th century trade unionists realised that even combined in unions the workers were no match for the ruling class and its control over the state. Social democracy arose when workers organised in unions began to seek political power themselves and created political parties to promote their interests.

Once again, social democracy arose out of the class struggle — most of its votes and members are workers. There being nothing revolutionary about the class struggle itself, there is equally nothing revolutionary about social democracy, which exists only to reform capitalism and as a defensive measure in the class struggle.

There are broadly two kinds of social democrats:

Where do communists stand in relation to the Labour Party?

Since our formation, the New Communist Party has always called on the working class to vote Labour and will continue to do so except in the case of European Union elections, which, as an undemocratic sham, we call on all workers to boycott.

We call on the working class to vote Labour not because we have any illusions that it is anything other than a social democrat party or that its leaders can ever be won to revolutionary politics. On the contrary, even if our campaign for a democratic Labour Party that opens its doors to left-wing parties like ours to affiliate as autonomous, independent groups were to succeed, it would still be a social democratic party.

We support Labour in elections because it still has a mass membership of working class trade unionists, affiliated through their unions. This mass membership and the votes the party receives as a result are what make it a class-based party in spite of its opportunist, petty-bourgeois leadership.

Workers vote Labour because they are still social democratic in outlook themselves, not out of misguided belief that the Labour Party is socialist. It is social democratic ideas that must be fought, not the institutions of the working class.

In 1848 Marx and Engels asked themselves the same question, although their reference to “party” predates our understanding of the term. “In what relation do the communists stand to the proletariat as a whole?”

“The communists do not form a separate party, opposed to other working class parties.”

“They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.”

“They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.”