Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee)
Collective leadership (Central Committee)|
|Split from||Communist Party of Great Britain|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|European Parliament group||None|
The Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) is a political group which publishes the Weekly Worker newspaper. The party claims to have "an internationalist duty to uphold the principle, 'One state, one party'. To the extent that the European Union becomes a state then that necessitates EU-wide trade unions and a Communist Party of the EU." In addition it is in favour of the unification of the entire working class under a new Communist International.
It is not to be confused with the former Communist Party of Great Britain, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist), or the current Communist Party of Britain.
The origins of the CPGB (PCC) lie in the New Communist Party of Britain which split from the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1977. Under the influence of a faction of the Communist Party of Turkey, a handful led by NCP youth section leader John Chamberlain (who uses the pseudonym Jack Conrad) attempted to rejoin the then CPGB.
Few actually regained party cards but the grouping began to publish The Leninist, first as a journal, then as a more or less monthly paper. Initially The Leninist appeared to some to be a Stalinist publication in its politics, but over time it mutated into something very different. This may be due to their interaction with various Trotskyist groups including a series of exchanges with the Spartacist League. The faction developed a critique of the Stalinist states as well as the bureaucratism and political liquidationism of the old CPGB.
Post CPGB dissolution
After the dissolution of the 'official' CPGB in 1991, and its relaunch as the Democratic Left, the group declared their intention to reforge the party on what they declared to be "firm Leninist principles". They organised an "emergency conference", at which they claimed the CPGB name, but not its assets. They also changed the name of their paper, increasing its regularity to weekly.
By the early 1990s the group was working closely with the tiny Revolutionary Democratic Group and the discussion magazine Open Polemic. It also sought to deepen its links with a group of recent ex-members of the Socialist Workers Party who called themselves the International Socialist Group. The CPGB (PCC) described this process as "Communist rapprochement". The attempt failed as the ISG collapsed and Open Polemic briefly enrolled a few of its supporters in the CPGB (PCC), only for them to quit in a row over money.
The group was for a short while embedded in the Socialist Labour Party, but left to join the Socialist Alliance, in which they came to work closely with the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, and proposed a merger of their papers, rejected by the AWL. The two have since politically drifted apart.
In 2004 the group affiliated to the Respect Coalition. A minority disagreed with the tactic of working within Respect and formed a faction called the Red Platform. The new faction called instead for the CPGB (PCC) to rejoin a Socialist Alliance reform current called the Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform. The Red Platform won their aim but the CPGB (PCC) majority continued to work within Respect. Members of the Red Platform subsequently left to create the Red Party in August 2004 over a disagreement about their views being published in the paper.
The group was active in the Campaign for a Marxist Party (2006 - 2008) and is critical of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party and the Convention of the Left. The CPGB (PCC) was heavily involved in founding the Hands Off the People of Iran (HOPI) campaign; Mark Fischer, National Organiser of the CPGB (PCC), is HOPI secretary. The CPGB (PCC) also enjoys close links with Communist Students.
Non-members such as former Soviet dissident Boris Kagarlitsky, Matzpen founder Moshé Machover and Professor Hillel Ticktin — editor of Critique and chairman of the Centre for the Study of Socialist Theory and Movements, University of Glasgow — have spoken at CPGB (PCC) events.
Campaign for a Marxist Party
The Campaign for a Marxist Party was a campaign (founded 4 November 2006) run by the CPGB-PCC and other organisations on the British left for a political party with explicitly Marxist goals as part of a rebuilt workers' international. Its members were Critique (who proposed the campaign initially), Communist Party of Great Britain (PCC), and the Democratic Socialist Alliance. The Irish Socialist Democracy group welcomed the CMP. Similar socialist campaign groups include Campaign for a New Workers' Party and Convention of the Left.
The Campaign agreed three founding political principles at the founding conference: 1. We are in favour of a planned, democratic socialist society and against the market; 2. Socialism will be achieved in a single step when the working class seizes power over society, there are no intermediate “democratic” or other stages; 3. The Campaign is against the destructive incubus of Stalinism and will seek to make clear the counter revolutionary and anti-human nature of the Stalinist regimes and Parties. Stalinism was responsible for mass slaughter, brutal incarceration and the atomisation of the people of the countries under its control. In addition the Stalinists were responsible for the most cynical and costly betrayals of the working class everywhere from Germany to South Africa – no Party which has as its aim the liberation of humanity can do other than condemn the Stalinist current and seek to undo the damage done to Marxism by it.
Its seven-member executive mainly consisted of members of the CPGB (PCC) and the Democratic Socialist Alliance criticised the party for its "hijacking" of the campaign. A group of members became known as the Trotskyist Tendency. The campaign published Marxist Voice.
In November 2008 it was announced that the CPGB would move to wind up the campaign at its December AGM. Having done so, it claimed it will establish a new committee to promote "unity of Marxists as Marxists". A minority of members objected to the dissolution of the campaign including in published articles by Dave Spencer, Phil Sharpe and Steve Freeman. Since then, the CPGB has operated tendencies in both the Labour Party (as Labour Party Marxists) and Left Unity (as the Communist Platform of Left Unity).
Communist Platform of Left Unity
In 2013, the CPGB (PCC) intervened in the campaign for a new left party initiated by film director Ken Loach. They accused the campaign's initial appeal of making "Keynesian platitudes" and called for a new formation on the left to have an explicitly Marxist programme. The CPGB (PCC) described the "politically decrepit" Socialist Resistance as "the one 'insider' group" in the campaign and accused the group of attempting "to relive old Labour-style Keynesian welfarism."
In the run up to the Left Unity (LU) founding conference in November 2013, the CPGB (PCC) launched the Communist Platform in response to the Socialist Platform "[obscuring] the differences between Marxism and a left reading of clause four-type politics." They launched the Communist Platform as a permanent tendency in Left Unity on 8 February 2014. On 29 March 2014, CPGB member Yassamine Mather was elected to Left Unity's National Council at the party's first policy conference.
In 2015, the CPGB (PCC) supported Jeremy Corbyn in his successful campaign to be elected leader of the Labour Party.
The party has been involved in a rethinking of the class nature of the former USSR. Despite its origins in the NCP, The Leninist advanced sharp criticisms of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc countries, while strongly opposing movements it considered to be in support of capitalism. Today, leading member Jack Conrad calls these societies forms of "bureaucratic socialism", in a view strongly influenced by Hillel Ticktin and the Critique journal, while Mike Macnair argues that the USSR was a peasant based society frozen in transition from feudalism to capitalism. However, the CPGB (PCC) does not formally endorse any particular theoretical analysis of the USSR.
During the Kosovo War of the late 1990s, the party supported the ethnic-Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and supports the complete secession of Kosovo from Serbia. The party refers to the Serbian province as "Kosova", the Albanian and Ottoman Turkish name for Kosovo.
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The 2008 annual general meeting, held in London on December 6, agreed a motion proposed by the national committee to dissolve the campaign. As the motion explains, some members of the CMP intend to establish a committee in the new year with the aim of promoting the study of Marxism and the unity of Marxists as Marxists. Not the unity of Marxists in yet another crazy halfway house project.
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When that strategy was abandoned, so was the 'socialism' of social democracy. Its material support had disappeared. Thus the Keynesian platitudes offered up by Hudson, Loach et al are fantasy politics. No objective basis exists for them.
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Kate Hudson and Andrew Burgin (important driving forces) would have liked the proceedings to have gone differently. After all, the Stop the War Coalition and Respect – organisations both comrades were prominent in – were far more choreographed. But, ironically, bureaucratic coherence in fronts like these was provided by the likes of the Socialist Workers Party, part of the organised left to which LU is to a great extent a reaction. The politically decrepit Socialist Resistance – the one 'insider' group – is no substitute.
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Comrade Thornett is effusive in his praise for Ken Loach's film The spirit of '45, which is "a big defence of socialist and collectivist ideas, and in particular public ownership and public services". That just about sums up SR's attitude and what kind of party it hopes will emerge – one that forlornly attempts to relive old Labour-style Keynesian welfarism.
- Fischer, Mark (10 October 2013). "Left Unity: Communist Platform formed". Weekly Worker (981). Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee). Retrieved 25 October 2015.
Logically therefore, the original drafting committee does not believe in these politics and have presumably framed the original text in a way that would obscure the differences between Marxism and a left reading of clause four-type politics.
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Socialism and communism do not raise the workers to the position where they own the planet and stand over it like a conqueror. Mimicking the delusions associated with capitalism - as witnessed under bureaucratic socialism in the Soviet Union - brings constant disappointment, ecological degradation and the certain revenge of nature. Humanity can only be the custodian.
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