Originally published in The Leninist No.32 June 1 1986, available on our archive here
Our rally to celebrate the launch of The Leninist was characterised by internationalism, militancy and optimism about the future. The rally was more than a resounding success – it was a political statement of determination to reforge our CPGB into the organisation that will lead the socialist revolution in Britain.
The rally to celebrate the launch of The Leninist on May 16 was a resounding success. It was attended by over 90 people, some old, some young, some new to the communist movement, some veterans of fifty years, some came from London, some travelled hundreds of miles to join their comrades. Communist dedication, internationalism and confidence in the future characterised the gathering. We had a speaker from the Union of Turkish Progressives in Britain, David Kitson – for 20 years a prisoner of apartheid – spoke in a personal capacity, and a member of The Leninist editorial board. As well as this messages of support were read out from Jack Collins (Secretary of Kent NUM), the Wolfe Tone Society and Un-American Broadcasting. The rally also saw People of No Name, an agit prop group which featured the heroic songs and words of Irish working class resistance and rebellion, and dancers from Turkey. They performed the dances of ‘Turkey’s Irish’ – the Kurds – who have unremittingly fought for national freedom decade after decade. Given the enthusiasm of both groups and the revolutionary spirit of their work this half of the rally proved immensely successful and both musicians and dancers were warmly applauded. Showing the healthy response to the launch of our fortnightly and the recognition that the Leninist could not, and did not want to, live off the fat of the past, or subsidy from the socialist states, the rally was capped with a magnificent collection of £632.09.
Fittingly the first speaker was from the Union of Turkish Progressives in Britain. He was introduced in the light of the profound impact the ideas of İşçinin Sesi (Workers Voice) had had on those who founded The Leninist
The comrade from Turkey explained how the Mensheviks who dominate the ‘official’ Communist Party in Turkey had failed the proletariat miserably. As a result of this and the formation and growth of the Communist Party of Turkey (İşçinin Sesi) “today the difference between Menshevik politics and revolutionary politics is what we are doing about the practical organisational problems of the working class in Turkey”. The comrade said that this revolved “around a single point”. And that is “are you for the independent organisation of the workers to fight for better conditions and democracy, or are you in favour of tacking the workers struggles onto the coat-tails of the treacherous social democrats”.
Closing his remarks the comrade correctly declared that “in parallel with us, The Leninist must now put forward concrete proposals and ideas to the working class of Britain. We must aid each other’s struggles and walk forward together to revolution”.
Chastened and inspired by the level of struggle in South Africa, in tribute to his contribution and sacrifice, the rally greeted comrade Kitson with a standing ovation. The comrade said it was “an honour and a great pleasure to appear on this occasion to mark The Leninist newspaper becoming fortnightly”. He went on to describe the innovative and militant way the masses in South Africa have begun to control their own destinies, the rent strikes, the Alexandria township rebellion and the growth of the armed struggle. Comrade Kitson also pointed to the desperate attempts by the apartheid authorities to split the ANC and how the communist Joe Slovo and the nationalist Nelson Mandela were not falling for Botha’s tricks. The impact of a successful revolution in South Africa was emphasised – “It would produce a situation for British workers that would be equivalent to the liberation of Ireland” – remembering the huge impact that Marx saw that would have on the working class in Britain. Indeed the South Africa revolution “will be a resounding blow against the whole of world imperialism”.
The comrade representing The Leninist pointed out that this May saw the 60th anniversary of the General Strike. He insisted that while there was room for legitimate criticism of our CPGB in the mid-1920s, it did not – as many ‘left’ groups say today – betray the British revolution. “There was no revolutionary situation” the speaker said. Turning to the present period it was pointed out that “If the working class had had the type of Communist Party they had in 1926, the outcome of the 1984-5 miners’ Great Strike would have been significantly different”. Ironically many of the ‘leftist’ critics of 1926 stand far to the right of it as their record in the Great Strike showed. Because of the lack of a united vanguard party and its tragic effect on the class struggle the comrade declared the “task before communists in Britain is to reforge the Communist Party onto a higher level”. This is a task “only The Leninist stands for” and the fortnightly will be “the vehicle for doing this. The Leninist fortnightly will aim to unite theory with solid practice”.
This the comrade concluded is the key to swinging the balance of class force towards the working class. The defeats of the workers at the hand of Thatcher did not show that “our class is weak” but “our movement’s leadership and the dominant ideology in our class are”.