CPB congress

CPB congress

pollit
pollit

June 4th, 2006, 11:42 am #1


anyone know what is going on at the cpb congress?
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Mediaman
Mediaman

July 21st, 2006, 10:38 pm #2

was the CPB's submission to the electoral commission and it can be read here:


http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/r ... nd2002.cfm


with interesting data concerning membership over the past few years.

Also note the RCPB(ML) submission with the curious statement that they only have three members. (2004 report)

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Todor Zhivkov
Todor Zhivkov

July 25th, 2006, 11:04 pm #3

Interesting.

This really just shows what a peripheral campaining organisation the CPB currently is - which should be of concern even for non-members as the CPB offers the best chance of offering a communist perspective inside developing social movements.

Comparing there accounts to those of say, Respect (let alone the BNP), says it all. Take out a sub. to the Communist Review and make a significant contribution to party finances!
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Comrade Kim
Comrade Kim

July 26th, 2006, 7:49 pm #4

Why does a communist organisation publish it's accounts in the first place?

I dont mean that a communist organisation should be a secret society, but really ...... The CPB accounts and Report of Work make the CPB look even more of a joke than the pathetic vote they get in elections. It shows a very low level of commitment in all fields of work from an organisation that claims over 900 members.

Delusions of grandeur does not make a good grounding for class leadership I'm afraid.
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Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker

August 14th, 2006, 8:47 pm #5

And it must have made gloomy reading to all those Artists who were going around telling everyone that the CPB was the "fastest growing party on the left" last year and claiming that they had over a thousand members this year!
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Kim Philby
Kim Philby

August 15th, 2006, 6:03 pm #6

The CPB has been suffering from a credibility gap in recent years mainly due to extraordinary claims of size and influence that bear no resemblance to reality. I couldn't believe it when I read the latest in the Weedy Wanker about the YCL (as Chamberlain's followers make equally vain claims in the columns of their journal). So I looked up the link to the CPB website and found the reference to the 'National Summer Offensive',that " will provide the basis for continuing the massive expansion of the YCL's activity, membership and involvement in British politics, so that we can entrench our position as Britain's largest revolutionary youth organisation," explained Gawain Little".

Back in the early 1970s the old Party, which afterall was 30,000 strong on paper, was definitely the biggest party to the left of Labour. But it rarely boasted about its membership prefering to look back in nostalgia over the CPGB's greatest moments (Cable Street, Stockholm Appeal, Suez etc) and to claim that it exerted enormous influence in the labour movement and indeed the Labour Party itself (or so Ramelson said).

Nowadays, the CPB seems to be suffering from a crisis of identity which some of its leaders believe can only be combatted by inventing ludicrous claims designed for internal consumption. The 2006 Report of Work contrasts starkly with all these officially inspired rumours and on closer examination one can see that, despite peaks and troughs, the membership has been in steady decline since the ousting of Hicks and Rosser.

The leadership is composed of retired old-timers and while some fresh blood has come in through the peace campaign it really is insignificant given the size of the anti-war movement.

During a Stop the War march in London earlier in the year I listened in amazement when a YCL'er (from the Midlands I think) told me a similar story about the growth of the CPB's youth wing while trying to sell me a copy of Communist Review.
When I queried this I was told that the membership of the CPB as a whole resembled an hour-glass (for the benefit of Inkpin and other younger readers that's a big egg-timer you used to see in churches) with a "large" tranche of members at either end of the age spectrum.

In fact that was the position of the old Party in the late 60s and 70s but it was called the "Cold War gap" then -- reflecting the massive loss of members after Hungary and the difficulty in recruiting during the heart of the Cold War.

What the 2006 Report of Work shows is that the membership more resembles an inverted pyramid with a large bloc of retired members and members close to retirement age. As Star sales have gone up (though I have doubted the 10,000 plus claim for reasons given in previous postings) the only explanation for the failure of the CPB to grow is the millstone of the British Road that it carries round its neck.

pip,pip,


H A R Philby
(Col.ret'd)
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Challenger
Challenger

August 16th, 2006, 5:08 pm #7

Dear Comrade Philby

Your knowledge and facts about the CPB and BRS are well argued. But if the reason why the CPB has been limited in growth is due to the millstone of the BRS, how to you account for the much smaller NCP?

They were established on the basis of opposition to the BRS, and the logic of your arguement would suggest that their size and influence should be greater than that of the CPB. But the reverse is true. Equally, the same question can be applied in part to both the RCPB(ML), CPB(ML) or even the CPGB(ML).

It's a genuine question, as I have enjoyed reading your contributions and am interested in your reply.

Challenger.
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Kim Philby
Kim Philby

August 16th, 2006, 6:40 pm #8

And it's a good one but you may have slightly missed the arguments I have advanced over several years on the "formers" sites. Nor can any attempt to analyse the problems facing the British communist movement, which includes as you say the NCP, CPB (ML), RCPB(ML) and the CPGB(ML), begin without looking at the core questions.


The first question, it seems to me, is why does the Labour Party retain its support amongst the working class and beyond today?

I have never claimed that the "British Road" type platform (which I would argue is essentially the programme of Respect/SWP, the SSP and the SP,the SLP and a number of other parties that claim to be Marxist-Leninist or Trotskyist) is a complete no-no for the working class. What I have always maintained is that it doesn't work and cannot work as long as a social-democratic party supported by the union movement continues to have mass support.

The BRS or parliamentary reformist road is essentially a left social democratic platform outside the mainstream of left social democracy -- which remains within the Labour Party. The Labour Party, at a time when Britain continues to be a leading imperialist power that can provide a relatively high standard of living for workers compared to the rest of the world, remains an engine for reform. Modest reforms have been won even under Blair such as devolution in Scotland and Wales, the Good Friday Agreement and some very minor concessions to organised labour to comply with EU legislation.

Labour's three general election victories since 1997 and the grip of social democracy throughout the union movement clearly indicates that working people as a whole still put their faith in reforms, parliamentary roads and the whole bag and baggage of social democracy, which is essentially a form of class collaboration. The BRS-style parties certainly do appeal to a small section of the left who are disillusioned with Labour and believe an alternative outside the labour movement can be created even though we live in an essentially two party system in a bourgeois democracy which as Marx pointed out was actually democracy for the bourgeoisie who exerted their dictatorship over the working class.

But all attempts to build this "alternative" have proved to be ultimately ineffectual and they all end in failure. The old CPGB died a slow death from the 1950s onward, the SLP came and went like a meteor and Respect and the SSP, I have no doubt, will go the same way. (remember the Socialist Alliance?). The CPB is the least successful in the current race but the "mill stone" of the "parliamentary road" hangs round the necks of all of them.

We have to ask ourselves why that is and work according to the temper of the class and not to preconcieved ideas.

Then we have to look at why the communist movement in Britain is small and fragmented. An easy answer to your question concerning the NCP would be to point out thatthe NCP is now bigger in relation to the 900 or so in the CPB than it was in 1977 when some 500 comrades left a party some 30,000. But the real problem is that which faced the communists when the CPGB was founded in the 1920s.

I want to develop this idea in a further post and leave it here for your response and indeed that of any others who visit this corner of cyber-space.

pip,pip,


H A R Philby
(Col.ret'd)





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Bert Papworth
Bert Papworth

August 16th, 2006, 9:55 pm #9

Interesting discussion, also interested to hear Kim say that the NCP were now relatively larger. an interesting take on their development...Perhaps Kim could explain that more fully? What would be the NCP's membership nowadays at a guess, and I would be surprised if its age profile was healthier than that of the CPB but I am prepared to be convinced.Also what are the chances of the RCPB-ML and the NCP fusing....they seem quite friendly,and if they did would this dwarf the CPB? although I know it would be a question of one dwarf being slightly bigger than another! I wonder how many Artists stayed out of the CPB and do they still function at all as an organisational grouping in any respect, I wonder what happened to arch ultra-nicholsonite comrades such as Noah and Calvin Tucker , P Turnbull, etc they never appear in any CPB discussions. Also how many prominent artists have simply just faded away...? Often wondered about the likes of Gary Lefley, wasnt he Gen Sec of CND once or something? I have been expecting him to pop up in the AntiWar Movement but no sign to date. In fact so many formerly prominent artists seem to have faded out of active politics that one may be excused for speculating that at least a few of these nicholsonites were as likely to have been state agents as the euros who they loved to excoriate in public...
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Kim Philby
Kim Philby

August 18th, 2006, 1:01 pm #10

Relations between the two parties are good but I don't think there is any prospect of "fusion" in the near future. The major difference is over the Labour Party and standing in elections. The RCPB (ML) believes in running candidates -- usually under a broad name -- and currently it supports the Respect coalition. The NCP's position is well-known and unchanged. But they both work together with others in Korean solidarity and there are regular discussions between the leadership of both parties.

On the question of size I don't think that even the combined membership of the NCP and the RCPB(ML) would equal that of the CPB's 900 claimed in their report of work this year. Neither do I accept John Foster's silly claim that the CPB represents 85 per cent of all the communists in Britain (or words to that effect in the CPB's international bulletin). I wouldn't like to hazard a guess at what you would get if you tallied all the communist movements outside the CPB in Britain (NCP, RCPB(ML), CPS, CPB (ML), CPGB(ML and not forgetting the supporters of the late Bill Bland) but I would suspect that altogether it would easily exceed the CPB.

The NCP has chalked up some modest successes over the past two years but you have to remember that it does not directly use the criteria of full membership in this calculation. The first is sales of the New Worker and the second, these days, is the growth of the supporters groups that have an organic link to the party. As for its age-spread, I think it is better than that of the CPB though the NCP does not have a youth movement.

The major weakness of the NCP, and their leaders are the first to admit this, is in Scotland. When the NCP was formed in 1977 it had two small branches. Paradoxically the New Worker has more readers in Scotland now that it has ever had before but no organisation -- just supporters and readers. This has little to do with the CPB's Scottish wing or the Communist Party of Scotland (though the Alert Scotland group of old CPGB that formed the CPS and the Scottish CCG that formed the CPB in Scotland are a factor) and more to the movement that led to the establishment of the Scottish parliament and the Scottish Socialist Party.

more food for thought?

pip,pip,


H A R Philby
(Col.ret'd)
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