New Communist Party of Britain
The New Communist Party was formed in spite of enormous organisational difficulties but is confident that a correct Marxist-Leninist strategy in line with the policy of the over- whelming majority of the World Communist Movement is the only way forward. The modest achievements in fifteen weeks confirms the correctness of the decision.
With the realisation of how far the old party's strategy had moved to the right, and of the level of decline in its branch life and, therefore, its internal democracy, by preventing the election of Marxist- Leninist delegates, it became necessary not to wait for the November congress and the Charade it would have represented but to take decisive action.
Of course, not all those who opposed the drift to revisionism saw the need to support the New Communist Party. The contradiction of their position has forced an embarrassed minority to express hostility to us whilst many others have maintained good relations. The future situation will determine the correctness of our action and we are confident it will prove us justified.
In the meantime, we shall seek to maintain the friendliest possible relations with and to work jointly with our old comrades and with all sections of the labour and progressive movement. Left unity must be a reality and not a formula.
Bourgeois democracy has a class content; socialist democracy equally has a class content—in our view the two can never be reconciled. In bourgeois democracy the dice are weighted in favour of monopoly capital- ism. The comparison of the two types of democracy shows clearly why it is essential to retain the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Reformist ideas are very strong in the Labour movement. To combat these and to organise the working class and its allies into a movement for socialism will need a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party. We must build such a party.
Marxism-Leninism is not an ideology relevant only to one particular country or to one particular period. It is an all-embracing, historically verified world outlook within which, through experience in varied circumstances, there have been established certain fundamental principles, including those of proletarian internationalism, the class nature of the state and proletarian dictatorship.
Revolution has never been achieved by social democratic parties—only through the leadership of Marxist-Leninist parties that have stuck firmly to the basic principles of scientific socialism.
The establishment of socialism as a world system and the victories of national liberation and anti-imperialist struggles are proof of the validity of the science of Marxism-Leninism.
In Britain, there exists one of the oldest and most experienced social democratic parties and our relationship to it is a most important question.
It is necessary when examining an issue to analyse its particular as well as its universal aspects. The Labour Party has very important and unique characteristics, notably that it is not a party of individual members alone, but a federation of different labour movement organisations with a minority of individual members.
A full discussion in the party on the profound question of uniting all working class forces for the common aim of achieving a Socialist Britain, especially the historic advice given to British Communists by Lenin about their affiliation to the Labour Party, will be initiated by the new leadership for future decision.
The Labour Party contains left and right social democrats, one cooperative organisation and, formally, most of the Trade Union organisations. What is missing is the Marxist-Leninist vanguard party's involvement.
The Labour Party must be broadened to include such involvement. This can be brought about by the ending of bans and proscriptions which prevent those members through Cooperative and Trade Union affiliation from playing a full and active part throughout all levels of the party structure. In taking this view we do not deny the vanguard or independent role of our own party.
In these circumstances it became necessary to form the New Communist Party. With the situation crying out for a Marxist-Leninist organisation to give the leadership required, the old party is steadily becoming more impotent.
Its daily paper is steadily declining in circulation to half its pre-war sales. Week-end extra sales have been slipping below the 6,000 mark. The membership is falling with another 11% decline being reported to its coming congress, and with half those remaining not paying dues at all. Its youth organisation has withered to a figure of only 430 dues paying members in all of Britain.
In the face of all these problems its leadership moved steadily to the right. It dropped the word “Worker” from its paper, condemned the Warsaw Pact's fraternal assistance to Czechoslovakia and concentrated increasingly on cultivating a “respectable” image. The so-called electoral strategies were continued though the votes became microscopic. The New Stockholm Peace Appeal, despite its over 400 million signatures was boycotted.
The formula was always to move further to the right and to increase the level of disassociation from the Soviet Union. The result was always fresh decline. The culmination came with the publication of the new draft of the “British Road to Socialism” with its final dismissal of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” and the pledge to grant the capitalist class a come-back if they won a “free” election.
The document also gave public endorsement to the process, already under-way, of abandoning that vanguard role of the Leninist Party without which no working class has yet achieved socialism anywhere in the world.
The main core of the leadership, unable to face up to this in a self-critical way, sought to blame the Soviet Union for giving British Communists the wrong image. The tiny minority of so-called dissidents were encouraged in their anti-Soviet campaign. Without admitting it, the main core followed the ideology of Euro-Communism.
The situation poses a tremendous challenge to the limited resources of the New Communist Party.
Whilst, therefore, it is necessary to build the greatest possible mass movement on the issues facing the working class and to do everything possible to ensure the development of our own organisation in the next few months, there needs to be some concentration of those resources.
Apart from their efforts to strengthen the cooperative and trade union movements, our branches should therefore concentrate on the main campaign as follows:
THE NEW BEGINNING
The New Communist Party has made an effective start. 64 branches are operating. A fighting weekly newspaper has been launched. Thousands of our TUC Broadsheet and other leaflets have been distributed with successful public meetings and events organised in many areas. Pamphlets on the case for the NCP and peace have been produced.
Already we are making our contribution to the development of the mass movement, especially on peace and wages.
The high level of activity stems from the political conviction and knowledge that we are part of the forces of World Communism.
Winning the British Labour Movement for Socialism has never been an easy task. It is precisely to this that our Congress dedicates itself.