|Volume 47 Number 6, March 25, 2017||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
March 19 marked the 38th anniversary of the founding of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) in 1979, as a continuation of its forerunner organisations. RCPB(ML) traces its history to the youth and student movement of the 1960s, and in particular to the historic 1967 Necessity for Change Conference, led by Hardial Bains, the 50th anniversary of which we are marking this August.
We are taking this opportunity to reprint remarks given at the seminar marking the 35th anniversary of the Party in 2014.
In assessing and celebrating the 35 years of the history of RCPB(ML) and its achievements and the work and sacrifices of all its comrades and its sympathisers, what is the reference point? It is based in the necessities of the present, not from controversies from the past. What we are arguing, our thesis of these 35th anniversary celebrations and discussions, is that it must be what the times are calling for today. We are arguing for the necessity of building the Party in the 21st century as decisive not just for the victory of some struggles of the working class and people, but specifically to break with all that is holding back the progress of society, to challenge the old culture and social forms based on property relations and the privileges based on the supremacy of the private ownership of the means of production, and the political processes and institutions that go with that economic organisation of society, which in the present times has become so criminal, parasitic, anti-human, incoherent and irresponsible.
The crux of the question that the seminar is addressing and inviting everyone to consider, discuss and elaborate, is what kind of Party is it that the times are calling to be built and strengthened in the 21st century, at this juncture of history. There is a revolutionary red spine and red thread running from the founding of the Party in 1979 and before, in its roots in the revolutionary and anti-imperialist movements of that time, to RCPB(ML) and its revolutionary activities and analysis today. It is essential, we hold, to look at the work that led to its founding and its revolutionary work of that period, from the perspective of the present. In particular we are calling for the study in an organised form of the example of John Buckle and the work of the Party which he led.
Why do we hold that this is necessary? It is not from nostalgia or to say that the Party was more revolutionary in those days. We do recognise the outstanding qualities of John Buckle, and that is why so much emphasis is being given to his example and inspiration. But it is also to recognise that these outstanding qualities were put in the service of the work of the Party, and to lead the struggles of the working class and people in the form which was necessary at that time. In fact, it can be said that the work of that time took place in the context of the inter-imperialist machinations of the Cold War, of the bipolar division of the world, of anti-communist rhetoric, slander and historical falsification. The task now is not to keep fighting those old battles which that period has settled. But the issue which presents itself is that the rich and powerful of the imperialist system of states today and the media which they control or which are their mouthpieces rehash and intensify Cold War propaganda against the revolutionaries, Marxist-Leninists, and generally against all the progressive movements of those times. The state attacked and denigrated them as violent and extremists then, and it is doing so now.
The task as it presents itself today in the context of the focus of our celebrations is to recognise this legacy objectively and to hold it high and carry it forward. In a few words, it is to ensure that the legacy lives on today in the work to renew all the arrangements at the base of society, provide society with a new economic direction that serves the public good and empowers the working class and people, and ensure that all the political and social institutions are human centred, not capital centred and serving the interests of the monopolies and the financial oligarchy as at present. The task in defending and carrying forward this legacy is also to show in theory and practice what is Marxism-Leninism, as the caricatures, distortions and disinformation, as well as its dogmatic rendering, serve only to, and have the intention of, disorientating those forces who are today seeking serious solutions to serious problems. Today, for instance, there is propaganda against and criminalisation of those engaged in political activity and fighting for rights and for social change. "Revolutionary communism" is linked with "Islamic fundamentalism" in order to create the impression that both are cults and extremism which should be targeted by the state and made the targets of the "war against terrorism". At the same time, provocateur activities are carried out both to entrap certain forces and also to attempt to discredit the Marxist-Leninists and social activists. At the height of the time John Buckle became active also, the US and British secret agencies were carrying out such activities as engaging in violent actions which they blamed the Marxist-Leninists for, as well as launching coups and horrible crimes against the people who were demanding democracy and human rights. Our Party and its forerunner organisations were no stranger to these state-organised attacks, the planting of explosives, the attacks by the police when it was the comrades who were branded as "violent". These days the powers-that-be carry out attempts to discredit and criminalise those who are fighting for rights and against the anti-social offensive. Their aim is to fragment and disorientate the political movements, sow doubt and distrust, and try and prevent the broad front uniting and growing against the so-called "austerity agenda".
The Party organises the people to be history-making. The Party always addresses the necessity to be on a par with the needs of the times, with the requirements of the movements of the working class and people, with the demands of history. At this time of the celebration of the Party's 35th anniversary, it is aware that there is a renewed interest in communism, in the necessity for organisation, consciousness and leadership as the way forward, and not only of the presentation of the ideology of communism, but how communism is linked with the solutions of the problems that the sections of the people are facing in their daily lives. One reason for this interest is the realisation that these problems are linked with the organisation of society, its social and economic base and its class composition.
But there is an interest which goes beyond this realisation. It is that a crucial necessity of the times is to build a Party of modern communism, a mass communist party, itself as what the times are calling for at this juncture of the 21st century. We refer to a Party of modern communism meaning that this is a Party which is bringing communism on a par with addressing and solving the problems of the 21st century. If communism does not do this, what kind of communism would it be? It has to be consistent not only with the objective conditions but consistent with the tasks of the time to overcome them. This means that it fights that the working class should take up its own programme to chart a way out of the crisis, take the stands which are in its own interests and that of the society as a whole, and delineate the alternative. We refer to a mass communist party, meaning its quality of the participation in its democratic centralism. In other words, its members are duty bound to be conscious participants in arriving at decisions and be conscious participants in implementing them. But its implications are for the whole of the Party's organising work. Its method of work is to mobilise the people in the objective movements to themselves be active in setting the agenda, based on the interests of the movement, and themselves to follow the principles of conscious participation in arriving at decisions in order to be conscious participants in implementing them. Such a method of work is aimed at empowering the participants in the movements of the working class and people to work out how to take a stand which favours their interests within the situation they are addressing.
We think that this method of work is key to overcoming the old and facilitating the rise of the new. It is certainly key to the vitality of the Party and ensuring it rises to meet the challenge of the times. The Party's call for this 35th anniversary, to build such a Party in the 21st century, is a call for all who are actually in motion, who are looking to strengthen the organisation and resistance of the working class and people's movements. The issue is that the ruling circles have concentrated so much political and economic power in their hands that they have the potential to and are unleashing great tragedies not only abroad but also at home.
So our reference point is the work of the Party in the 21st century. The Party has its vision for a new society, which is neither a truism nor a utopia, but, like the solution of any scientific problem, involves the practical application of sound theory. To bring this about is political work.