Whatever you do, not only read but sell the new Party pamphlet. Ask anyone you know to fill in the standing order form, especially those who say they can’t join the Party because Labour has got better. The special Solidarity Fund will help us rebuild the Party’s leading role in trade unions by helping young Party and YCL activists become better involved.
The Young Communist League (which boasts a majority of members who are actually in work!) is increasingly active and there are exciting new possibilities for unionisation in the fast food sector. Our first weekend school for Young Workers was an important step in our trade union cadre development programme, with a dozen activists drawn in to a team that aims to develop educational resources, such as podcasts, even short films, tutors’ notes, all of which could be used to reach out to a new generation of potential activists.
New international briefings in the Communist Party series, Needs of the Hour, are now available to view and download online. We are now developing others for domestic policy and would positively welcome suggestions and drafts for trade union briefings. Volunteers to write material would be a good practical outcome here.
The Party is looking to see how our members can be better co-ordinated in their activity in the many Retired Members Associations and other pension’s campaigns groups. Volunteers with a particular knowledge of pensions’ matters, especially workplace pensions, can a collective of members offer themselves for this task? If so, see me afterwards!
Sadly, only one twentieth of CP members are under 35 years of age. It should say here `pause for effect’ but I think I astound myself, let alone you. The rejuvenation of our Party is long overdue. It is a myth that our Party has always been an aged one, borne only of the failure to recruit an entire generation during and after the Thatcher years. In the year I was born, our Party’s EC had six members older than 60 years. You’ll guess their names. The average age of an EC member outside of that small group was 30 years old.
Any Party renewal must start from the simple maxim that everything we do, everything we say, everything we read must be conditioned by the desire to maximise proximity to ordinary people. Every petty conflict, personal grudge, carelessness, or perceived slight that we take to heart about our life in the Party has to be judged by that test. How much do we know about the lives of others; those in our class but not in our party? The real test of a theoretically sound comrade is not the length of shelving read but whether they understand just how hard it is to be in today’s working class.
The nature of work today is fragmented and some unions are not interested in organising out of the way and difficult to service individuals or groups. There are even CP members who are not yet in a union. Let’s get all who can join into a union! And, while we are at it, let’s recruit, organise, and train a whole new generation of activists who we can be proud of in building a new and more vigorous profile for Communist trade union work.
Is this a period in which it can be said that finally, the left is in the ascendancy in the labour movement? Our own Constitution makes clear that we aim for a socialist Britain: “in which the means of production, distribution and exchange will be socially owned and utilised in a planned way for the benefit of all. We do not waver from this – our flag is forever red. Our Party and YCL stand proud, ready for action in this developing new chapter of working class experience. A movement without the Communists is inconceivable. A class without Communists is weakened beyond belief. Build the Party, boost the Star, win and train for the YCL.