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Year 2009 No. 43, June 24, 2009 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Fighting to Apply the General Line – The Party and its Professionalisation

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Fighting to Apply the General Line – The Party and its Professionalisation

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Fighting to Apply the General Line – The Party and its Professionalisation

Paper presented to the Seminar “There Is a Way Out of the Crisis”, March 14, 2009, organised by RCPB(ML) to mark the 30th anniversary of its founding and the 15th anniversary of the launch of its general line for this period. For a report of the Seminar, see WDIE of March 23, 2009.

One of the most important conclusions of the 3rd Congress of RCPB(ML) in 1999 was that the Party and its cadres are in place. It was a declaration that the Party was not just an organisation of words, but most importantly of deeds, and that its deed is its word. And the Congress declared that it was the Party’s work that had produced that victory, that in RCPB(ML) we had a living organisation, with its form and content, its militants, that had fought its battles and built itself in the period of the flow of revolution, but had emerged to find its bearings in the ebb of revolution. One could say that the Party had its general line, its draft programme for the working class, its fighting political programme to stop paying the rich and increase investments in social programmes. But most crucially these had gone hand in hand, step by step, with building and consolidating a Party of a new type, consistent with the requirements of the time, a Leninist Party, which had its thinking of contemporary Marxist-Leninist thought, whose members were political leaders who were at one with the movement and their peers, and who strove alongside them and at the head of them to advance the movement and to provide their problems with solutions.

            Most importantly, the Party adhered to its being as the general staff of the working class, whose mission was to create the subjective conditions for revolution in the here and now, to give substance to and realise the call that the working class must take hold of what belongs to it, and to constitute itself the supreme power and to empower the people thereby.

            As the report to the 3rd Congress stated: “The Party stuck to the task of finding its bearings in the new circumstances. It did so by refusing to accept the passivity and liquidationist pressure that the bourgeoisie wanted to impose on the whole communist movement as the period of the retreat of revolution came into being, and beginning from the principle that if the communist party does not use its own head it is nothing. As well as making, as it did in 1993, various developments to strengthen the technical base as the precursor to strengthening the Party’s organ Workers’ Weekly, the Party reached the conclusion that the guideline to start afresh, for the Party to revolutionise itself anew, during this period of retreat of revolution was one which it was essential to follow, and it put its words into deeds. Once it reached this conclusion and began its own work in earnest to elaborate a general line, a programme and tasks for the Party and the class, it did indeed establish its bearings in the new circumstances.”

            It can be said that these elements, and the work to elaborate them, have ensured that the Party has maintained its bearings in the ten years since the 3rd Congress. And the Party has fought to apply its line and programme in this period. It has never stopped doing so, and because of doing so it is able to advance, correcting any mistakes and overcoming its shortcomings as it goes and summing up its experience.

            The fact that our general line IS there is a way out of the crisis; the fact that there is a draft programme for the working class based on the fact that all have rights by virtue of being human; the fact that the fighting programme is stop paying the rich, increase investments in social programmes; the fact that we have militated in the new millennium advancing along the line of march to a new society – this is the proof that these provide the Party with its bearings, that the Party and its cadres are in place.

            But what is this Party that has given rise to these things, that has been constantly striving to elaborate and put into practice this line and these programmes. What kind of Party is it, and how does it define its role. The Party is constantly addressing these questions, not from the point of view that it does not know what it is, but from the motivation of effecting the revolutionary transformation of society, and answering the questions always from the point of view of consolidating what it has established and renewing itself according to the needs of the times.

            The Party can be said to be the embodiment of the line, the number one instrument to ensure that history moves forward, that the working class is organised as a conscious force to unblock the path to progress and establish a socialist Britain. We say that the working class has to become a class of itself and for itself, which is to say that it has to forge that subjective consciousness of its objective role. The whole weight of the Party is therefore summed up in saying that it has to prepare the subjective conditions for revolution.

            But, as the 3rd Congress said, “All there is is the real world and our own work within this situation. Posturing, giving a so-called ‘politically correct line’, or simply juggling with categories of ideas have no place in the communist party. This leadership, this stand, this work is not a matter of individuals but of the collective, of the body itself.” It went on: “In the course of the work to formulate this programme and other work, the Party learnt to distinguish between ideological and political considerations. This concerns the need for the Party actually to carry out work to formulate and place political tasks before society, before the whole of the polity, and then carry out the work to mobilise the sections of the people to accomplish those tasks. This ensures that political considerations are not dealt with as abstractions, that the formulated tasks are not left merely as policy objectives, but that the emphasis is put on implementation, the working out and fighting for the success of each practical political step. It ensures that once the general line and the general programme are formulated, priority is put on political considerations. Placing priority on political considerations means that the plan and line of march are set, not on the basis of ideological considerations, that mobilisation should take place on the basis of ‘agreement’ or ‘disagreement’ and long hours spent winning the sections of the people over to an ideological position, but that mobilisation takes place on the basis of practical politics, along a line of march. In particular, the practical politics has the aim of bringing the working class to the centre of political life, ending its marginalisation and taking up its independent programme, and beginning to open up the road to a new society, a socialist Britain. At the same time, ideological considerations are of utmost importance to the Marxist-Leninist party. In essence, the ideological struggle that it wages is for the defence of the purity of Marxism-Leninism and the road of the Great October Revolution. In striving for modern definitions in accordance with contemporary conditions and circumstances, it does not depart from the principled positions of Marxism-Leninism. In particular, it is resolutely opposed to all neo-liberal and social democratic illusions, and recognises that such illusions are used to ideologically disarm the working class movement and divert it, so that the working class holds back from fighting for its own emancipation. Thus the ideological considerations which inform the working out of the independent programme for the working class are, for example, that there can be no illusions that this system can of itself give rise to socialism, that there can be no illusions that any other force but the working class can lead society out of the present crisis and open up the way to a new socialist society, that the notion should be rejected that the working class must confine itself to the industrial and economic struggle and not become political themselves, and that there can be no illusions that change will come about spontaneously. In the course of the work during the May 1997 election period, the Party also further learnt not to abrogate the responsibilities of the vanguard to provide the working class with its fighting programme and its weapons in the class struggle, its battle plans, its strategic aims and its orientation – while the responsibility of the broad masses of the people themselves is to engage in these battles and trials of strength with the bourgeoisie, thus bringing into play the human factor/social consciousness.”

            It said, “Now is the time for this consolidation, the issue being the consolidation of the Party as the most important subjective force in the preparation for the coming revolutionary storms.”

            Since the 3rd Congress, the work of the Party has advanced on many fronts. On all these fronts, the mass Party press of Workers’ Weekly and Workers’ Daily Internet Edition is of crucial importance. This press has as its role both of consolidating the Party itself, and also of providing orientation and consciousness to the working class, youth and other sections of the people in their struggles. To publish and produce WW and WDIE is a central feature of the constant work of the Party. RCPB(ML) strives in the conditions where the work of the Party is advancing, but the forces are not enough to do everything, to regularise WW and WDIE. From the launch of the millennium project at the beginning of the new millennium, the year 2000, the Internet Edition was produced on a daily basis for three years. It is the case that the advance of the Party work has put strains on the regularity of the paper. But in actual fact, the advances make regularisation even more crucial, and how to achieve this, while maintaining the line of improving its quality as well as extending its readership, is an issue for the whole Party. It is something which has to be fought for, and in fact goes hand in hand with demanding the highest quality of the content and the expansion of its distribution network.

            The paper is a vehicle for building discussion, developing conscious participation, building organisation, combating disinformation, strengthening the Party, giving calls to the mass movements, and to the working class and people. It expresses the conviction that the working class and people are at the centre of era, that truth must be sought from facts to serve the people and that ways and means must be found right now in today’s conditions to advance the movement for the working class to come to political power, and to vest sovereignty in the people. The journalistic work is imbued with that passion. The cutting edge of the work, given the regularisation of WW and WDIE, is to develop that conviction and inspire and become a force in the mass movement. It has to facilitate the Party activists in being effective in the movements of the working class and people, how to assist them in their quality of being political leaders, how to embody their voice and their calls, and through them the voice of the working people in struggle, uniting them all in the movement for another world. Most crucially, it is the paper of the vanguard of the working class and gives the Party’s line, its analysis and calls, the most advanced positions. It recognises that this is still a period in which there is a trial of strength between the oppressed and the exploiters, with the proletariat and the monopoly capitalists at the head respectively. It gives the call to the working class to make a complete break with the old consciousness spouting out of the ruling elite with all its links in the labour and trade union movements, that the class must consciously take up its mission to “save the day”, that it must make common cause with the oppressed throughout the world, including the working people in those countries in which they have been able to decide on their social system. It gives to the call to the working class to be true to itself, to defend the rights of all, to uphold its historic spirit that an injury to one is an injury to all.

            Fifteen years ago when we launched the draft of our general line, the Party was conscious of having to fight the liquidationist pressure, very strong at that time, that the movement was everything and the Party was secondary, an adjunct of the movement. The relation between the two was forgotten or denied, as was the necessity for its leadership, for the principles of democratic centralism, and so on. The 3rd Congress settled scores with all that, and the 4th Congress carried on with the line of march, and re-emphasised that the Party has to define tasks for itself in order to put itself on a par with the necessities of the time, in particular its work to build the mass party press, its work to fight for and elect an anti-war government, and the work to develop guidelines for the organising of the working class to come to power.

            The tasks the Party has placed in front of itself and the class necessitate at this time the further professionalising of the Party. It has to have its central organs, its institutions, its journalistic staff. In this respect, the work of transforming the Party centre is the central task that the Party has taken up for solution in professionalising the Party. It is one of its most precious assets, a headquarters that we have maintained through the years, really dating back to the mid-1970s. The Party has a detailed plan of how all its work hangs together, making a coherent but vital whole, like the functioning of the human body and person, with its brain and its other organs, and its connection with the rest of society. It has to take care of its internal life, as well as set an aim for itself and define its role.

            The pressures of bourgeois society, of the conditions of life themselves, are very real, no less real though different in detail from the liquidationist pressure of the early 1990s, or the pressure of the 1970s for example, to put career above everything. Of course, everyone has to stand in their place, and the Party is a whole system with members, supporters and friends, it has its links in the working class and people, it has its youth contingents and so forth. In opposition to these pressures, we build the Party with the recognition that being revolutionary is not a part-time activity or one which can be approached on an amateur basis. But nor is it a question that everyone in this whole Party system has to be a professional revolutionary. The issue is professionalising the work, and this begins with the implementation of the principle of democratic centralism, so that the membership is enfranchised as well as that the Party acts as a single cohesive force, able to implement its tasks which are set as the application of its line and programme at any stage. So that professionalism is not a question of individuals becoming professional in some field detached from the tasks and needs of the Party at any stage; nor is it a question of building the structures and institutions of the Party without activating the human factor/social consciousness. The key question in democratic centralism is that it is based on the line, and that there can be no organisations of the Party that exist without discussing, elaborating and working out ways to implement the line of the Party.

            Our experience is that it is both hard work and scientific to carry out the discussions which characterise participating in arriving at decisions in order to participate in implementing them. The Party in professionalising its work, works according to its plan, but it is important this plan is an all-round plan based on the application of its general line and programme. It is a programme of action in which everyone in the Party invests their aspirations so as to overcome the hiatus between words and deeds.

            At this time, in the work of affirming that there is a way out of the crisis and organising the working class and people so that that line takes root, we are paying great attention to transforming the Party Centre, the John Buckle Centre, to meet the needs of the Party and the class at this time. This is work which is and has to be totally integrated with these needs, with the requirements of the times for a modern and professional proletarian Party. It presents itself as very crucial at this time when what is being called for by the objective situation is to step up the tempo of the Party’s work. This work has the aim of overcoming the blocks to what is new and progressive coming into being. It is connected with consolidating WW and WDIE, it is connected with building the National Office of the Party, it is connected with building the Party on the basis of democratic centralism. It has to be commensurate with the needs of the modern working class.

            The capitalism which is in such crisis at the present time represents the Old, whereas the socialism which the Party and the class envisions represents the New, and this is a decisive time for this struggle between the Old and the New which is seeking to overwhelm and overcome it. Without the Party as the most organised vanguard detachment of the working class, which has the theoretical and practical understanding of the line of march and can stand at the head of the class and organise and make it conscious of its programme, this New cannot come into being. We seek to organise into the Party and its organisations all those who are conscious of this work and will take up its implementation, particularly the class-conscious workers. Building and consolidating WW and WDIE, which is our constant work, but which is once again our priority, is indispensible for the class and for the activists who are taking up this work. They are the most precious weapon in the struggle.

            What is most acute at this time is that the consciousness that a change in the direction for Britain is necessary is emerging, and the Party has to rise to the occasion to provide this consciousness with a form and a coherence that is going to draw in those fighting against the government’s programme which is serving the ruling elite and the financial oligarchy. This needs both the elaboration and implementation of the Party’s general line, and for the working class to take up the independent political programme of the class as its own. The period ahead we are convinced will be one of profound revolutionary developments. The leadership of the Party is both theoretically and practically indispensible. As the report to the 3rd Congress said: “The Marxist-Leninist party is both in theoretical and in practical terms the most decisive subjective factor in bringing about this revolutionary transformation of society in Britain to socialism, as well as contributing to this same cause internationally.”


For a new direction for Britain!

For the line of march to a socialist society!


To access “The Line of March to a New Society” online, please click Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter III.

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