The Communist Party and Revolutionary Leadership

The aim of the Communist Party is to replace capitalism with socialism, as the prelude to achieving a fully communist society.

Founded in Britain in 1920 as a party of a new type, it represented a fundamental break with the class collaboration and pro-imperialist approach of social democracy which has always prevailed in the Labour Party.  The Communist Party bases itself on the ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin about the class character of capitalist society, the exploitation of labour power, the role of the state, the development of imperialism and the need for a revolutionary party to ensure that the working class and its allies take political power and use it to overthrow capitalism.

The Communist Party is rooted in the working class, as the leading potential force for revolution, while also being open to all who share its aims and ideas.  The Party also seeks to organise itself in every major area of economic, social, cultural and political struggle.

It draws upon the commitment, creativity and initiative of its members in order to make the most effective contribution possible to the labour and progressive movements.  It is also a democratic and a disciplined force, striving to involve its members fully in the formation, renewal and implementation of the Party’s policies.

As part of the international communist movement, it benefits from extensive links with scores of communist and workers’ parties and national liberation movements around the world.  Such links enhance the contribution that the communists in Britain make to the trade union, peace, solidarity and other movements.

The basis, outlook, organisation and internationalism of the Communist Party enable it to combine theory with practice.  It engages in the battle of ideas while at the same time assisting the labour and progressive movements to fight consciously and strategically across every front, and not just from day to day.  As the Marxist party with the longest and deepest roots in the labour movement, communists therefore have a fundamentally different approach to the often shallow, opportunistic, short-term and ultimately self-defeating politics of the Labour Party and other reformist organisations.

The Communist Party’s class basis, historical experience and Marxist-Leninist outlook also distinguish it from many Trotskyist, Maoist or anarchist groups.  These are usually notable for their ‘ultra-left’ slogans and adventurist tactics, combined with a sectarian approach that puts the interests of their own organisation above of those of the labour movement.

But this does not make the Communist Party immune from criticism and mistakes.  Indeed, the party had to be re-established in 1988 after revisionist and anti-democratic trends, especially in the leadership, threatened to destroy it.  Moreover, within the Labour Party and some far left parties there are many socialists who make a vital contribution to the working class and progressive movements, and with whom the Communist Party works closely on the basis of common policies or objectives.

But it is the Communist Party’s strategic and political outlook, expressed above all in its programme, which enables communists to analyse the major struggles – including that for socialism itself – and to identify the potential allies at each stage.  In this way, on the basis of cooperation and mutual respect, it seeks to give guidance and win leadership in the mass movement that must be built for socialist revolution.

In order to play its vital role in every stage of the revolutionary process, the Communist Party must constantly seek to strengthen its organisation and improve its membership in both quantity and quality.  A loose association of communists, whether or not part of a wider political party or alliance, would not provide the type of organisation, the resources, the independence of thought, the freedom of action and the international relations that enable the Communist Party to provide influence and leadership.

This does not preclude, for example, affiliation to the Labour Party or other bodies on a genuinely federal basis, where communists retain their separate organisation and the capacity to act independently.  But history and experience show that a powerful, influential Communist Party is essential if a mass movement for revolutionary change is to succeed.

Socialists and progressives who broadly agree with the Communist Party’s programme should consider joining the party and help put Britain on the road to socialism.

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