Communist Workers Organisation (UK)
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Communist Workers Organisation (UK)
|Preceded by||Workers Voice and Revolutionary Perspectives|
|International affiliation||Internationalist Communist Tendency|
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The Communist Workers Organisation (CWO) is a British left communist group and an affiliate of the Internationalist Communist Tendency, formerly the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party. It publishes a quarterly magazine, Revolutionary Perspectives and distributes an agitational broadsheet Aurora.
The group was founded in the mid-1970s with the union of Workers Voice, based in Liverpool, and Revolutionary Perspectives, a group based in the North of England and Scotland some of whose members had previously been active in Solidarity. Both groups were influenced by German left communism and in particular the KAPD. Both published articles on the German Revolution. Revolutionary Perspectives also translated Otto Ruhle's "From the Bourgeois to the Proletarian Revolution" into English. By 1975 the two groups coalesced broadly around the positions of the KAPD's "Essen Tendency". Both groups had also taken part in international conferences sponsored by the French group Révolution Internationale with the British group World Revolution. These two groups formed the International Communist Current, but the Workers Voice group denounced this as "counter-revolutionary" over its defence of the October Revolution and its position on the period of transition. Revolutionary Perspectives had tried to mediate between Workers Voice and World Revolution but was now forced to choose. As World Revolution had already rejected its draft platform and it had disagreements on several other positions, most notably the tendency of the rate of profit to fall Revolutionary Perspectives chose to unite with Workers Voice.
For a year the organisation grew, publishing ten issues (the journals Workers Voice and Revolutionary Perspectives) as well as distributing thousands of leaflets at factory gates and establishing groups in several factories. However, by the end of 1976 it was clear that the wave of working class struggle which had led to the rebirth of left communism in Britain was over. The Liverpool section now began to retreat into local activity and, without issuing a document or giving any political explanation, abandoned joint political work and dissolved. This loss was followed in 1977 by the demand of the Aberdeen section that the CWO should now join the International Communist Current, which they now claimed was the communist movement. Although the majority were prepared to discuss this the Aberdeen section left within a month (it would split from the ICC within a few years to form the Communist Bulletin Group).
In 1977 the CWO majority adhered to the international conferences initiated by the Internationalist Communist Party (Battaglia Comunista) and in the course of them became convinced by them that the positions the latter had defended since 1943 were the best product of the left communist tradition. The two organisations formed the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party in 1983. This organisation was eventually joined by left communist groups in France, Canada, the USA and Germany. In recognition of this expansion it moved towards a closer coordination of its activities in 2009 with the formation of the Internationalist Communist Tendency.
- An earlier British organisation with the same name in the late sixties was a Maoist group which merged with the Irish Communist Organisation in 1971.
- British left
- Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations,P.432