CPGB resigns from LU
Jack Conrad and Yassamine Mather of the CPGB and Left Unity Communist Platform proposed a motion at the Left Unity National Council calling for “an emergency national conference…..as a matter of extreme urgency. The emergency national conference must happen within one month”.
At the last LU national conference in 2015 I moved a resolution that made the same call for an early 2016 conference. The 2015 conference decided that LU should continue but caused confusion by deciding not to stand candidates. Serious problems about programme, strategy and orientation remained unresolved. So I support the CPGB call for an early conference.
The first time that I and the rest of the rank and file LU members heard of this resolution was when it was reported it had been voted down and the CPGB had left! This shows one or both of the following. The CPGB are contemptuous of the rank and file and could not be bothered to seek our support, or it was simply a ‘provocation’ as a smokescreen for exit. Either way it does not show the CPGB in a good light.
Unlike many in LU, I am disappointed in the CPGB decision to leave. The Communist Platform showed that communists should be supporting the building of an independent socialist party in which democratic socialists and communists could work together to further the political struggle of the working class. The Communist Platform turned the ‘half way house party’ from a theory into a fact. LU adopted a kind of inner party democracy that made this possible.
The CPGB and the Communist Platform say “that the idea dominant in Left Unity that there was a large political space to the left of Labour for a ‘broad party’ on a broadly left-Labourite platform and organisational principles was illusory”. Republican socialists have argued this since the founding conference but identified the fatal flaw in LU’s “a broadly left-Labourite platform”.
I agree that “Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership election blew up this illusion” and that “since Corbyn’s victory a part of Left Unity’s members, including leading comrades, have ‘voted with their feet to leave LU and join Labour”. They say “those who remain have been unwilling to address seriously the complete falsification of their perspective by the events in the Labour Party”. This is true of Labourite socialists, but not republican socialists.
Left Unity’s Labourites screwed up on the Scottish referendum, continued the ‘economist’ policy of avoiding the democratic revolution and the fight for democracy and are now backing the Cameron-Corbyn popular front on the European referendum. LU’s attitude to the Acts of Union shows that so far that they learnt nothing from the Scottish referendum. But now the acid test is the European referendum.
The CPGB demanded an emergency conference on a) how to change the Labour Party b) adopting democratic centralism c) adopting a min-max communist programme for world revolution. Republican socialists have a very different perspective and agenda. We should be addressing a) the European referendum b) standing candidates in elections c) the (minimum) social and democratic programme for UK d) building an alliance with the Scottish left gathered round RISE.
The CPGB conclude that that rejection of their motion by the NC and the absence of any alternative proposal for serious rethinking shows that Left Unity is unable or unwilling to adopt a different strategy and programme. Left Unity is locked into a failed strategy and will continue to decline.
In summary the CPGB went wrong because although they embraced the so-called “half way house” party in practice, they did not accept it in theory. Instead of fighting for a militant minimum programme of republican democracy, a social republic and self determination, they turned the weapon of the minimum programme into a programme about weapons. It is sad to see their shift from Maximalism to Labourism until the magnet of Corbyn has now finally sucked them down the plug hole of the Labour Party.
Steve Freeman (LU and Rise)