New from the Communist Party History Group, John Ellison on the First World War and the popular struggle to end it. Available in CP shop.
This 54th Congress of the Communist Party of Britain took place on November 19-20 at Ruskin House in the London Borough of Croydon. More than 100 full and consultative delegates and visitors participated in extensive debates and discussions.
The main resolution ‘Block the Ruling Class Offensive and Win a Left-led Government’ set out the party’s analysis of the current national and international situation and its campaigning priorities for the coming period.
This pamphlet is based on the fifth part of an introductory course on Marxism produced by the Communist Party in 1949 – edited and updated for today with the assistance of Robert Griffiths, David Grove and Graham Stevenson.
This publication is dedicated to the memory of Kevin Halpin (1927-2017), the outstanding workers’ leader, chair of the militant Liaison Committee for the Defence of Trade Unions.
Alexandra Kollontai (March 31 1872 – 9 March 1952) was an active socialist and fighter for women’s rights in Russia from 1899. A member of the Russian Social Democatic and Labour Party who was at first independent of the factions, she joined the Bolsheviks in 1915. The only woman member of the Bolshevik central committee, she also served as Commissar of Welfare of the Soviet Republic and head of the Women’s Section of the Bolshevik Party.
After the Bolshevik revolution in October 1917 Kollontai became People’s Commissar for Social Welfare and founded the Zhenotdel or “Women’s Department” in 1919. In the first days of soviet power, this worked to improve the conditions of women’s lives in the Soviet Union, fighting illiteracy and educating women about the new marriage, education, and working laws put in place by the Revolution.
In 1923, she was appointed Soviet Ambassador to Norway, becoming the world’s second female ambassador in modern times. She later served as Ambassador to Mexico (1926–27) and Sweden (1930–1945) and was also a member of the Soviet delegation to the League of Nations.
Kollontai and Zetkin between them were between them largely responsible for establishing IWD and its international significance came out of the Russian Revolution.
This pamphlet will look first at the likely course of the negotiations themselves: how options are currently being defined by the British government and what their implications are for workers’ rights. Next, it will examine the EU: its positive achievements but also its neo-liberal economic framework and the consequences both for the crisis of social democracy and the rise of right-wing populism. The third section will look at the objectives of British big business and the City of London, the relationship with the US, and most important of all, why British big business and the City will not and cannot resolve the basic problems facing the British economy and why public sector intervention is essential.
The pamphlet will end by considering the opportunities and dangers posed by the negotiations for working people in Britain. It argues that the opportunity now exists for restoring democratic control over the economy, for addressing the structural problems of stagnation and job loss and for re-establishing workers’ rights. A campaign for such an outcome has the potential to galvanise a wider movement across Europe and constitutes the best chance for winning the battle against right-wing populism.
The alternative, of the Conservative Government creating a new right-wing populist base for neo-liberal economics, is one that should persuade every trade unionist of the necessity to campaign for a progressive settlement.
Main Resolution of the Communist Party of Britain 54th Congress, 19-20 November 2016
- Bring down the Tory government!
- Defeat the ruling class offensive!
- Build the labour movement and its Communist Party!
Communist parties across the world play a unique role in demonstrating that capitalism, because of its commitment to marketisation and profit, cannot provide lasting reforms and that a socialist alternative is the only solution to capitalist crisis. The Communist Party can play this unique role in Britain and its programme Britain’s Road to Socialism is a key tool in support of this. It is the role of the Communist Party to give the working class and its allies a vision of an alternative society, a socialist society, by taking into account our
own country’s history and conditions.
The Communist Party and its programme provide a Marxist analysis of the crisis of capitalism and the role of imperialism in the world. We point out the urgent need to lift people out of poverty, to protect hard won gains made over the last 70 years and to protect our planet’s ecosystem.
Yma scues ow tropla Ewrop – scues a Gemynoryeth. Oll an Powers a Ewrop coth a wrug entra dhe gefrysyans sans rag pellhe an tebelscues: an Pap hag an Tsar ha Metternicht ha Guizot ha radycalys Pow Frynk hag aspyoryon an wythysy-cres Almaynek.
Ple’ma an party contrary, an pyth na vue dyspresyes avel Kemynoryeth gans aga eskerens gans an mestrynsys? Ple’ma an party contrary may na wrug dastewlel an rebuk merkyans a Gemynoryeth, erbyn an partyow gorth moy avonsys, kefrys hag erbyn aga eskerens ventenus?
An taclow a sew dheworth hemma yu dew:
- Yma Kemynoryeth aswonys solabrys gans oll an Powers Ewropek bos Power hy honen.
- Termyn da yw rag Kemynwer dhe dhyllo aga gologow hag aga thowlow hag aga flegyansow, yn ygerys, y’n fas a oll an bys, ha dhe vetya whedhel floghva-ma an scues a Gemynoryeth gans Deryvadow an Party an Gemynwer y honen.
Adermyn, Kemynwer a nacyonalytas dyvers a wrug cuntell yn Loundres, hag y a wrug delynya an Deryvadow usy ow sewya, an pyth a vedh dyllys y’n tavasow Sawsnek ha Frynkek hag Almaynek hag Italek ha Flamanek ha Danek.
The pamphlet examines the background to the current crisis in the Middle East and the challenges this poses for the Left.
It highlights the importance of securing a sovereign Palestinian State with full powers as required by UN resolution.
It also argues that the political use of Islam, in terms of religious fundamentalism, has been a relatively new development, that the Middle East has a strong tradition of secular and socialist politics and that the rise of religious fundamentalism has been closely linked to the reactionary agendas of the regional allies of imperialism.
The pamphlet is based on contributions to the seminar organised in 2015 by the Coordinating Committee for Communist Parties in Britain and has been developed and updated with the cooperation of the International Commission of the Communist Party of Britain.
The Communist Party believes that socialist revolution and the construction of a fundamentally new type of society to replace capitalism is essential for the future of humanity and our planet.
In all three countries of Britain, capitalism has become a barrier to balanced economic development, environmental security, social justice and meaningful democracy. The big business profit system has to be replaced by a new system – socialism – based on mass participation in decision making, social ownership of the economy, democratic planning and solidarity.
But fundamental change will also require a transfer of political power, taking it out of the hands of a small number of monopoly capitalists whose interests dominate our society.
Such a revolutionary process will have to be led by the working class – the producers of society’s wealth – at the head of an alliance of forces representing the interests of the people as a whole.
What is the role of the Communist Party in helping to achieve a socialist society in England, Scotland and Wales? Why is a strong and influential Communist Party essential for victory?
This pamphlet aims to stimulate discussion and understanding of the unique role that only a communist party can play. It divides into four distinct but inter-related sections, each of which can form the basis for a political education session or class.
1 2015: a year of struggle January 2
1 Despite its flaws Labour remains the best choice for the working class March 11
3 Socialism is the only antidote to exploitation May 1
4 After the election, what priorities for the left? May 23
6 The Tories are fighting on a wide front – so must we June 20
8 Bail-out sell out July 14
10 The illusory recovery August 8
12 Big spending – the spark our economy needs August 10
14 Corbyn’s victory stands to chart a new course for Britain September 14
16 An unabashed socialist is at the helm again October 3
18 Privatise the profits – the only game in Tory town November 27
20 2016: A year for decisive advance November 28
22 March, demonstrate, lobby & strike against Tory government policies January 2, 2016