Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee)

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For other British Communist organizations, see Communist Party of Great Britain (disambiguation).
Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee)
Leader Collective leadership (Central Committee)
Mark Fischer,
(National Organiser)
Jack Conrad,
(Chairman)
Founded 1980[1]
Split from Communist Party of Great Britain
Headquarters London, United Kingdom[2]
Newspaper Weekly Worker
Ideology Communism,
Marxism,
Leninism,
Anti-Stalinist left
Political position Far-left
National affiliation Left Unity
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament group None
Colours Red, White
Website
http://www.cpgb.org.uk/
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties
Elections

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) is a political group which publishes the Weekly Worker newspaper. The party favours the creation of a unified "Communist Party of the European Union".[3] In addition it is in favour of the unification of the existing Marxist left in the United Kingdom, to be achieved through a political struggle against what it claims are its present deficiencies. It is not to be confused with the now-defunct Communist Party of Great Britain or the Communist Party of Britain.

Formation[edit]

The origins of the CPGB (PCC) lie in the New Communist Party of Britain which split from the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1977. Under the influence of a faction of the Communist Party of Turkey, a handful led by NCP youth section leader John Chamberlain (who uses the pseudonym Jack Conrad) attempted to rejoin the then CPGB.

Few actually regained party cards but the grouping began to publish The Leninist, first as a journal, then as a more or less monthly paper. Initially The Leninist appeared to some to be a Stalinist publication in its politics, but over time it mutated into something very different. This may be due to their interaction with various Trotskyist groups including a series of exchanges with the Spartacist League. The faction developed a critique of the Stalinist states as well as the bureaucratism and political liquidationism of the old CPGB.

Post CPGB Dissolution[edit]

After the dissolution of the 'official' CPGB in 1991, and its relaunch as the Democratic Left, the group declared their intention to reforge the party on what they declared to be "firm Leninist principles". They organised an "emergency conference", at which they claimed the CPGB name, but not its assets. They also changed the name of their paper, increasing its regularity to weekly.

By the early 1990s the group was working closely with the tiny Revolutionary Democratic Group and the discussion magazine Open Polemic. It also sought to deepen its links with a group of recent ex-members of the Socialist Workers Party who called themselves the International Socialist Group. The CPGB (PCC) described this process as "Communist rapprochement". The attempt failed as the ISG collapsed and Open Polemic briefly enrolled a few of its supporters in the CPGB (PCC), only for them to quit in a row over money.[citation needed]

During the general election campaign in 1992 Ken Livingstone claimed that the members of the CPGB (PCC) were "MI5 agents".[4]

Recent activities[edit]

The group was for a short while embedded in the Socialist Labour Party, but left to join the Socialist Alliance, in which they came to work closely with the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, and proposed a merger of their papers, rejected by the AWL. The two have since politically drifted apart.

In 2004 the group affiliated to the Respect Coalition. A minority disagreed with the tactic of working within Respect and formed a faction called the Red Platform. The new faction called instead for the CPGB (PCC) to rejoin a Socialist Alliance reform current called the Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform. The Red Platform won their aim but the CPGB (PCC) majority continued to work within Respect. Members of the Red Platform subsequently left to create the Red Party in August 2004 over a disagreement about their views being published in the paper.

The group was active in the Campaign for a Marxist Party (2006 - 2008) and is critical of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party and the Convention of the Left.[5] The CPGB (PCC) was heavily involved in founding the Hands Off the People of Iran (HOPI) campaign; Mark Fischer, National Organiser of the CPGB (PCC), is HOPI secretary.[6] The CPGB (PCC) also enjoys close links with Communist Students.

The CPGB (PCC) endorsed the Labour Party in the June 2009 European Parliament elections and criticised the No to EU – Yes to Democracy coalition as "left-wing nationalist."

Non-members such as former Soviet dissident Boris Kagarlitsky, Matzpen founder Moshé Machover and Professor Hillel Ticktin — editor of Critique and chairman of the Centre for the Study of Socialist Theory and Movements, University of Glasgow — have spoken at CPGB (PCC) events.[7]

Campaign for a Marxist Party[edit]

The Campaign for a Marxist Party was a campaign (founded 4 November 2006) run by the CPGB-PCC and other organisations on the British left for a political party with explicitly Marxist goals as part of a rebuilt workers' international.[8] Its members were Critique (who proposed the campaign initially), Communist Party of Great Britain (PCC), and the Democratic Socialist Alliance. The Irish Socialist Democracy group welcomed the CMP.[9] Similar socialist campaign groups include Campaign for a New Workers' Party and Convention of the Left.

The Campaign agreed three founding political principles at the founding conference: 1. We are in favour of a planned, democratic socialist society and against the market; 2. Socialism will be achieved in a single step when the working class seizes power over society, there are no intermediate “democratic” or other stages; 3. The Campaign is against the destructive incubus of Stalinism and will seek to make clear the counter revolutionary and anti-human nature of the Stalinist regimes and Parties. Stalinism was responsible for mass slaughter, brutal incarceration and the atomisation of the people of the countries under its control. In addition the Stalinists were responsible for the most cynical and costly betrayals of the working class everywhere from Germany to South Africa – no Party which has as its aim the liberation of humanity can do other than condemn the Stalinist current and seek to undo the damage done to Marxism by it.

Its seven-member executive mainly consisted of members of the CPGB (PCC) and the Democratic Socialist Alliance criticised the party for its "hijacking" of the campaign.[10] A group of members became known as the Trotskyist Tendency. The campaign published Marxist Voice.[11]

In November 2008 it was announced that the CPGB would move to wind up the campaign at its December AGM.[12] Having done so, it claimed it will establish a new committee to promote "unity of Marxists as Marxists".[13] A minority of members objected to the dissolution of the campaign including in published articles by Dave Spencer,[14] Phil Sharpe[15] and Steve Freeman.[16] Since then, the CPGB has operated tendencies in both the Labour Party (as Labour Party Marxists[17]) and Left Unity (as the Communist Platform of Left Unity[18]).

Communist Platform of Left Unity[edit]

In 2013, the CPGB intervened in the campaign for a new left party initiated by film director Ken Loach. The CPGB accused the campaign's initial appeal of making "Keynesian platitudes"[19] and called for a new formation on the left to have an explicitly Marxist programme.[20] The CPGB described the "politically decrepit" Socialist Resistance as "the one ‘insider’ group" in the campaign[21] and accused the group of attempting "to relive old Labour-style Keynesian welfarism."[22]

In the run up to the Left Unity founding conference in November 2013, the CPGB launched the Communist Platform in response to the Socialist Platform "[obscuring] the differences between Marxism and a left reading of clause four-type politics."[23] The CPGB launched the Communist Platform as a permanent tendency in Left Unity on 8 February 2014.[24] On 29 March 2014, CPGB member Yassamine Mather was elected to Left Unity's National Council at the party's first policy conference.[25]

Policies[edit]

The party has been involved in a rethinking of the class nature of the former USSR. Despite its origins in the NCP, The Leninist advanced sharp criticisms of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc countries, while strongly opposing movements it considered to be in support of capitalism.[26] Today, leading member Jack Conrad calls these societies "bureaucratic socialist",[27] in a view strongly influenced by Hillel Ticktin and the Critique journal,[28] while Mike Macnair argues that the USSR was a peasant based society frozen in transition from feudalism to capitalism.[29] However, the CPGB (PCC) does not formally endorse any particular theoretical analysis of the USSR.

During the Kosovo War of the late 1990s, the party supported the ethnic-Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and supports the complete secession of Kosovo from Serbia. The party refers to the Serbian province as "Kosova", the Albanian and Ottoman Turkish name for Kosovo.[30]

The party lists the abolition of age of consent laws among its immediate demands.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker2/index.php?action=viewarticle&article_id=762
  2. ^ "http://www.cpgb.org.uk/info/index.html". 
  3. ^ "http://www.cpgb.org.uk/documents/cpgb/what.html". 
  4. ^ Eddie Ford "Ken Livingstone: A man for all seasons", Weekly Worker, 548, 14 October 2004
  5. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/738/leftdoesnt.html
  6. ^ http://www.hopoi.org/committee.html
  7. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/cu/
  8. ^ http://www.marxistparty.org/index.html
  9. ^ Weekly Worker Issue 650http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker2/index.php?action=issue&issue=650
  10. ^ http://www.sademocracy.org.uk/Defeat%20the%20hijackers.htm
  11. ^ http://www.marxistparty.org/MVoice/MarxistVoicev2i1.pdf
  12. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/745/exploring.html
  13. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/749/somethingserious.html
  14. ^ The Commune, 28 May 2009
  15. ^ New Interventions
  16. ^ New Interventions
  17. ^ http://labourpartymarxists.org.uk/
  18. ^ http://communistplatform.org.uk/
  19. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/956/left-unity-appeal-realise-potential-avoid-pitfalls
  20. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/961/left-unity-the-spirit-of-45
  21. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/962/left-unity-anti-sectarian-sectarianism
  22. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/962/sectarian-left-svengalis-of-left-unity-block-unity
  23. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/981/left-unity-communist-platform-formed
  24. ^ http://communistplatform.org.uk/?page_id=16
  25. ^ http://leftunity.org/internal-elections-results/
  26. ^ Jack Conrad, From October to August, November Publications 1991
  27. ^ for example, "Mimicking the delusions associated with capitalism - as witnessed under bureaucratic socialism in the Soviet Union - brings constant disappointment, ecological degradation and the certain revenge of nature." http://www.cpgb.org.uk/article.php?article_id=1004005
  28. ^ http://vimeo.com/6185943
  29. ^ http://vimeo.com/14808875
  30. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/273/indkosova.html
  31. ^ http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/about-the-cpgb/draft-programme/3.-immediate-demands

External links[edit]