After many years of not being a member of any political party, and long after resigning from the old Communist Party of Great Britain (in 1976) and the Labour Party when it re-wrote Clause IV (calling for the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange), I’ve applied to join the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), to give it its full title.
Why should I decide to join a tiny group like this? Well mainly because I can’t yet bring myself to rejoin the Labour Party, which at least till recently termed itselfÂ New Labour, and now the Liberal Democrats have gone into coalition with the Tories, I won’t be voting for them again in a hurry. Being a member of the CPGB will mean I vote Labour in future elections, since no CPGB candidate is likely to be standing in my constituency.
I found the policies of the CPGB as being like a breath of fresh air on the Left. Uniquely on the far Left they are not anti-EU, my main reason for joining, but also they are for forging links across the far Left and with the Left in the Labour Party, they are for a united Left party, andÂ as the EU becomes a federal state, they are for a Communist Party of the EU. This strikes me as a political party looking forwards not backwards, and not clinging to old nationalistic and dogmatic ideas.
If I find them becoming like the small ‘confessional sects’ they speak against, then I may well reconsider, but Ed Miliband and his comrades will have to rewrite much of New Labour’s present constitution before I can consider it worth rejoining. When Annual Conference is reduced to a Stalinist rubber stamp of leadership policies, what is the point?
Ken Livingstone, who I greatly admire, once described the CPGB (PCC) as ‘MI5 agents’, but Ken, what’s new? MI5 agents will be in all Left political parties, in the trade unions, in all political organizations, even in the Labour Party. So what? I am not an MI5 agent, so why should I worry?
Many of the CPGB’s other policies seem to tally with my own, including the fact that the Soviet Union and the other Socialist countries developed intoÂ bureaucratic states with a new ruling clique (despite Socialist advances, it was a seriously distorted form of Socialism) and that cooperatives and smaller publicly owned enterprises are usually preferable to huge, bureaucratic State monopolies (with some exceptions, such as the railways, Post Office, and public utility companies perhaps).
Old labels such as ‘Trotskyist’, ‘Stalinist’, etc. need to be discarded as we all work together to form a united Left and accommodate various models of Socialism and debate all sorts of ideas in a non-dogmatic way. Marxism is a science and philosophy which has to constantly adapt and develop if it is to stay alive, learning from experience and the mistakes of the past. The CPGB seems to be willing to do this.
Here is the text ofÂ my letter of application:
I enclose a membership application for the CPGB and a Bankersâ€™ Order form for the Workersâ€™ Weekly. I presume this needs to be downloaded weekly, or is it available in printed format?
I see some of my letter has been published in this weekâ€™s edition. It had to be shortened for lack of space, so it came across as not fully representing my views. I believe the strike weapon is one way of enforcing the Socialist revolution if parliamentary methods are blocked, and this must be accompanied by setting up workersâ€™ cooperatives to supply essentials to those on strike. We must by-pass the capitalist agencies which exploit us and workers across the world. The Peopleâ€™s Supermarket in Holborn and, of course, the Cooperative movement itself are good examples.
As to the United Nations, this cannot be democratic or effective until the Security Council is abolished with its undemocratic vetoes by the five permanent members. Only then can a permanent international security force be formed operating under the auspices of the UN General Assembly.
As an internationalist I am glad to at last find a far-left organization which recognizes that the European Union is here to stay, and is a fledgling United States of Europe. As such we must organize across the EU as well as on a global scale, and strive to build an EU Communist Party. I am already an individual member of the European Left, though this means very little as I never receive anything from them (apart from my meager initial joining pack) and never pay a subscription. I do feel the CPGB should affiliate itself to the European Left along with other Communist and progressive parties. The EU itself, at present capitalist by nature, could be changed, and a break-away Socialist European Union could be formed once there are several states with progressive governments in the EU.
I agree that we must end confessional sects and form a united Left party, and also strive to win over the Labour Party. As the largest working-class party by far with many trade unionists affliliated to it, we cannot ignore it, and I will vote Labour at the next election if no candidate from the CPGB is standing in my constituency.
I find your policies like a breath of fresh air as they are not dogmatic and recognize the need for debate and discussion, even of factions, within the united Left.
I have long remained outside all political parties, and debated whether to rejoin the Labour Party, but have no appetite for this at the moment. The CPGB seems to have the line closest to my own and also to accept the views of other leftist parties and the need to forge unity, which I have long advocated.
(Click on Show Comments below for ‘Why Now?’ explaining why I feel it is necessary to join a small political party at this time)