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

Trotskyists and the Social Democrats

Just as dramatic was the collapse of the Trotskyite left, never large, consisting of some hundreds of thousands rather than millions. Strident, vocal and encouraged by the bourgeoisie, they devoted all their energies to attacking socialism wherever it existed from the position of a self-styled left opposition. The collapse of the Soviet Union removed their only justification for existence and they were faced with the same stark ideological choice as the rest of us — revolution or reform. With very few exceptions they chose electoral politics and as a result the parties of the fourth international shrank with the same speed as those of the third.

The crisis on the Left has not stopped there. The collapse of the Soviet Union should have been the moment of triumph for the parties of the second international, the parties of social democracy.

Since 1917 they were the bitter enemies of communism — positioning themselves as critics of the Russian revolution from the right. At home they made an accommodation with their capitalists, arguing that gradual reforms were preferable to revolutionary change. On foreign policy they sided with their own imperialists’ interests and were to be correctly described by Lenin as “social imperialists — socialist in words, imperialist in deeds”.

For the imperialists the deal was simple — after 1917 they faced the prospect of losing everything. For the cost a few concessions and an occasional social democrat government they survived.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War the deal was off — the imperialists had no further use of their quislings. They forced the social democrats back, winning concession after concession at the expense of the workers. Each time the social democrats moved further to the right until they had given up any pretence of arguing for socialism, democratic or otherwise. In Britain Blair and Brown were only too happy to trade clause four to take “power” in 1997.

The social democrats’ reward has been electoral defeats one after another: in France, Germany and eve their heartlands of Holland and Scandinavia.

Both left and right critics of the Soviet Union were two sides of the same coin. Both existed only as parasites on the strength of the international working class after 1917. The paradox is that before 1917 the social democrats were everywhere too weak to take power. After 1989 the imperialists were too strong to need them. The defeat of the working class in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe was to be a defeat for the whole working class of the world in the same way that the defeat of the British miners in 1985 was not just a defeat for them but for all workers in Britain and beyond.