Which Road? (1991) | .pdf
Without a Communist Party the working class can never liberate itself. And without a communist programme there can be no genuine Communist Party. The roots of the collapse of the bureaucratic socialist states of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union can be seen in those parties’ abandonment of Marxism. This was not the fault of one person, or the break-down in collective intellect. The programmes of ‘official communism’ reflected – were designed to serve – those in the workers’ movement who had no interest in revolution.
In this book Jack Conrad deals with the reformist programmes of various strands of opportunism in Britain.
Religion, as defined by Marxism, is fantastic reality. Fantastic, not in the trite sense that the claims religion makes about existence are verifiably untrue, unreal or baseless, but in the sense that nature and society are reflected in exaggerated form, as leaping shadows, as symbols or inversions.
So religion should not be dismissed as mere false consciousness. Religion reflects something of the real; but, as Jack Conrad’s book shows, there is even more to it than that. Religious ideas are not only determined by reality; they can themselves become materially effective. The ideas people have in their heads – especially when mediated through institutions such as churches, mosques and temples – no matter how wrapped up in the godly and seemingly unrelated to the corporeal world, impact on their surroundings.
“Jack Conrad writes in the best Marxist tradition. Following the insights of Marx and Engels, he analyses religion as a socially conditioned individual outlook, a social ideology that reflects reality in fantastic form, and an oppressive institution of social and political control.” – Moshé Machover
In the Enemy Camp (1993) | .pdf
Marxists have always viewed parliamentary democracy as a sham. So why does the Communist Party of Great Britain – in the tradition of Lenin’s Communist International – think that standing in elections is “obligatory”?
Jack Conrad examines the theory and practice of communist electoral and parliamentary work – from Russia’s Bolsheviks to the Communists Party’s 1992 general election in Britain.
From October to August (1992) | .pdf
The August 1991 counterrevolution unleashed an unprecendented barrage of bourgeois triumphalism. The bourgeoisie think they will now last forever. They want, they need, to believe that they have beaten, not simply this or that Communist Party, this or that revolution. No, they want to believe that the collapse of ‘official communism’ is the organisational expression of capitalism’s final victory over its own mortality.
Jack Conrad charts the rise and demise of the Soviet Union and delivers an effective answer to this reactionary crap. It shows how Marxists clearly warned of the counterrevolutionary danger of Gorbachev and the forces he was unleashing. As such it is an important contribution to the fight to build a Party capable of leading new Octobers, of turning the world upside down once again.
European unity is one of the biggest, most complex and bitterly contested political issues of the day – there are no easy ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Europe is an enigma. We are told it is a nascent military threat and a guarantor against war; a wide field of struggle and a remote bureaucratic machine; a black hole of patronage, subsidy and corruption and a global haven of stability, The 25 heads of government propose enshrining the virtues of neo-liberal capitalism, the EU’s quasi-democratic institutions and reformist palliatives. We need our own inspiring, and thoroughly practical, alternative.
In this book, Jack Conrad argues that the working class can and must establish a ‘third’, fully articulated, camp with a view to winning our own, social, Europe. A Europe stamped by the working class, which is ready for its domination and rapid emancipatory extension.
Some comrades in the Socialist Alliance say we should settle for a loose conglomeration of leftwing groups and local campaigns. For these comrades the word ‘party’, when it comes to the Socialist Alliance, is an anathema. It is as if they were anarchists. Of course such comrades already their own ‘party’.
Jack Conrad argues, however, that there is no party. They are groups or, worse, sects. Members who disagree with the described ‘line’ are expected to gag themselves in public. Either that or face expulsion.
Many on the left view Europe, the European Union and the euro with trepidation. Joining the euro zone will mean the end of Britain’s sovereignty and the rule of an unaccountable European Central Bank. The euro is supposedly the nuclear weapon of those who want an EU capitalist superstate. If the euro replaces the pound, working class strength will be severely reduced – some say to a vanishing point. This view owes more to nationalism than internationalism.
There is another tradition. That of Karl Marx, Fredrick Engels, Karl Kautsky, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg. They viewed the voluntary union of peoples, and especially the working class, into the largest state units as progressive. At the urging of Trotsky, the Communist International called for a United Socialist States of Europe against the Balkanisation imposed upon the ruined continent after World War I.
Organisation at the highest level and unity in action are vital. An important step in the direction of a Communist Party of the European Union would be a European Socialist Alliance.