EC resolution for the 54th Congress
BLOCK THE RULING CLASS OFFENSIVE AND WIN A LEFT-LED GOVERNMENT Capitalist crisis and imperialist aggression 1. Britain is seeing dramatic political change as the ruling class offensive against the working class is increasingly and more confidently challenged, bringing hundreds of thousands of working class people – many of them young and new to class politics – into activity. 2. This struggle has now reached the stage in which each side, out of necessity, must either inflict a major defeat on the other or itself be defeated. The outcome will determine the nature of society in Britain for decades to come – as did the defeats suffered by the left in the 1980s. 3. Every economic and political event must now be considered in the following ways. How can it help to build a mass movement to defeat the ruling class? How can it reach deep into the trade union movement, into the workplaces, into diverse communities of working class people and expose the truth about capitalism? Does it unify, energise and organise the working class? How can it be used to ensure that it will be the labour movement which inflicts a decisive defeat on the capitalist class, and in the process wins a left-led government, rather than vice versa? 4. This monumental struggle is not restricted to Britain or Europe. Capitalism’s international crisis continues to deepen and it seeks to resolve this by attacking working class and progressive forces everywhere. But it faces mounting resistance and a growing fightback. 5. Exactly a century ago, in the midst of inter-imperialist war, Lenin wrote: ‘Monopolies, oligarchies, the striving for domination rather than the striving for liberty, the exploitation of an increasing number of small and weak nations by a handful of the richest and most powerful nations – all these have given birth to those distinctive characteristics of imperialism which compel us to define it as parasitic or decaying capitalism’.
6. Today the main imperialist powers – the US, Japan, Germany, Britain and France – are caught in a whirlpool of corporate and banking debt, very low levels of productive investment and declining productivity. At the same time, uneven development between capitalist economies has increased, as has the growing concentration of monopoly control and an all-round rise in the rate of exploitation, further depressing demand. The resulting collapse in commodity prices has intensified unequal trading relationships with Africa, Asia and South America and deepened the continuing cycle of slower growth and underconsumption. 7. As in Lenin’s day, this period of acute crisis is marked by a striving for domination. A new political and economic offensive has been launched against those countries which are seen to challenge the future dominance of the biggest imperialist power, the US. This offensive has seen systematic attempts to destabilise progressive governments in South America and Southern Africa. It has also seen NATO’s further advance into Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and growing economic and military pressures on China. 8. Each front in this battle for imperialist control has its own special characteristics and makes distinctive political demands on the solidarity of the working class movement in Britain. 9. In the Middle East, US forces are openly or covertly in action from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to Yemen and Libya in a region that remains pivotal for world energy supplies. The US seeks a fragmented Middle East, with no dominant regional power, where it can retain overall control and where continuing conflict allows Israel to defy UN resolutions and itself act as the local enforcer of US interests. Within this regional strategy, Britain acts as a key partner of the US and is closely linked by finance and trade to the most despotic regimes. 10. Imperialist sponsorship of dictatorships across the Middle East, direct military intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, together with the continuing denial of democratic and national rights to the Palestinian people, have created the conditions in which reactionary fundamentalism has spread across the region. Western state terrorism has fuelled the terrorism of Al Quaeda, DAESHISIS and similar organisations. 11. A key objective for the left in Britain must be to prevent further military intervention, end all support for despotic regimes and win a comprehensive boycott against Israel which, together with disinvestment and sanctions, can
compel its government to undertake genuine negotiations. This should be combined with far more active solidarity with progressive and trade union organisations, including the peace forces in Israel, and campaigning for the full implementation of UN resolutions on the rights of the Palestinian people and the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. 12. The overall geo-political priority of US policy remains that of ensuring the containment of China. This requires military alliances and trade treaties that can prevent China from challenging US economic dominance and giving aid to governments elsewhere seeking to free themselves from imperialist control. The now ratified Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership and the still to be ratified US and EU sponsored Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are ultimately designed to provide leverage for intervention in the Chinese economy and to limit Chinaâ€™s ability to develop alternative trading arrangements which challenge neo-liberal dollar dominance. 13. Directly related to this policy of encirclement and economic isolation is NATOâ€™s advance into Eastern Europe and its support for the coup in Ukraine. Under its previous government, Ukraine was developing closer economic relations with China and considering membership of the Eurasian Economic Union along with other former Soviet republics. The grab for power by proNATO politicians, supported by fascist violence, thwarted these developments. The coup was followed by an Association Agreement with the EU, the use of Ukrainian territory by NATO troops, the abrogation of the civil rights of all-non Ukrainian speaking minorities, an intensifying attack on freedoms of speech and association and the banning of the Ukrainian Communist Party, previously the country's third largest in terms of electoral support. Communists in particular have a responsibility to win an understanding of the wider threat to world peace posed by these developments and to organise support for democratic and progressive forces in Ukraine. 14. The recent visit of US President Obama to Cuba and the limited reestablishment of diplomatic relations, together with the release of the remaining members of the Miami Five, represent a victory for the Cuban people. At the same time, we must recognise that the US commercial blockade of Cuba remains in place and the intention of the US government to impose an economic, political and social system on Cuba designed by Washington is unchanged. We must continue our solidarity with Cuba, while vigorously combating the spread of disinformation about human rights and the nature of the recent economic changes.
15. These victories for the Cuban people run alongside more negative developments for the left in the rest of Latin America. We have seen the defeat of the FernĂĄndez government in Argentina, the continuing destabilisation and economic war waged by right-wing forces in Venezuela, the removal of the Rousseff government in Brazil and the installation there of a right-wing government hostile to all left-wing and progressive forces. These developments benefit US imperialism and extreme reactionary elements committed to neoliberal economic policies and threaten all left and progressive forces in Latin America, including Cuba. 16. Imperialism is also intent on turning back challenges to its hegemony such as the development of the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) alliance. 17. In this context, we must be aware of attempts to sow confusion about the nature of developments in South Africa. While recognising the uneven and contradictory nature of the process taking place there, we must combat those who blame every negative development on the ANC government and tripartite alliance. Attempts to build support for 'alternative' left parties or trade union federations will undermine the unity of progressive forces dealing with the legacy of apartheid and ultimately benefit those who wish to roll back the advances that have been made. 18. The approaching 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 will provide an occasion for celebrating its contribution to national liberation across the world. It will also provide an opportunity to reassert its revolutionary principles and the understanding that, for socialist development to succeed, a new type of state has to be created based on a mobilised and politically class-conscious working class. 19. In the EU today we see the exact opposite: a bureaucratic structure, responsible to monopoly capital, which is designed to crush movements for popular sovereignty. 20. Britainâ€™s decision to leave the EU places a responsibility on the left to win a mass base for policies that will advance the economic and social interests of working people and demonstrate that coming out of the EU makes it possible to reverse neo-liberal policies and defeat right-wing populism. Doing so will be critical not just for political progress in Britain but also for those elsewhere in Europe battling racism, seeking to eradicate its economic roots and assert socialist objectives and popular sovereignty.
21. This makes it all the more important to win mass support for Labourâ€™s demand for an early general election in order to secure a government genuinely committed to carrying out the popular mandate for EU withdrawal and negotiating a new set of international arrangements that serve the interests of the working class. In these circumstances, the Communist Party will seek to build a broad coalition of forces based on the labour movement to combat all attempts by the ruling class in Britain and by the US to obstruct and sabotage transition from EU membership.
Peace still the priority 22. The response of imperialist powers to the ongoing economic crisis of capitalism has been the intensification of aggression in their struggle to maintain hegemony, control resources and markets, stifle emerging competition and eradicate the influence of left-wing and progressive movements across the world. The conflicts instigated by imperialism in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa are in danger of escalating into devastating regional wars, bringing ever closer the potential of a generalised global conflagration. 23. The Communist Party stands for peace and socialism. It is therefore fundamental that we make clear that violence and war are not inevitable and that the peace-loving peoples of the world are able to challenge and overcome this threat. 24. In Britain, it is the role and duty of all left and progressive people to continue to build a broad, strong and united peace movement to challenge imperialist warmongering and aggression. Recognising the imperative of being linked to the international peace movement, Communists will continue to build and strengthen the recently re-established British Peace Assembly, the British affiliate of the World Peace Council. We need to develop awareness in the peace and labour movements of the true nature of NATO and help construct a consensus for Britain to withdraw from it and from all other aggressive pacts and alliances with the US, EU and their allies, thereby contributing to the dismantling and dissolution of NATO itself. 25. The Communist Party will also continue to bring its perspectives to the broad peace movement, notably CND, the Stop the War Coalition and specific campaigns against the arms trade and chemical and biological weapons. We will step up our work in the campaign against renewal of Trident, the estimated
cost of which now exceeds £200bn which could be invested in vital infrastructure projects and other socially useful production, utilising the skills and retaining the jobs of all workers currently engaged in the armaments industry 26. Peace is the prerequisite for equality and justice. Understanding this, the National Assembly of Women (Britain's affiliate to the anti-imperialist Women’s International Democratic Federation) campaigns for peace, in the full knowledge that women and children continue to be disproportionately killed, injured and violated by war and comprise the majority of displaced people and refugees. The Communist Party will redouble its efforts to win wider support for the NAW, especially from the labour movement.
The structural crisis of the British economy 27. The British economy's recovery from the 2008 financial crash and economic recession has been late and fragile. This reflects structural weaknesses which persist and are worsening. 28. Firstly, it is an economy that is dominated by the parasitic finance sector of monopoly capital, supported by the state, and thus it remains dangerously dependent on financial services instead of the production of goods and services for home consumption and export. A large share of British imperialism's profits come from banking and investment activities through the City of London and from economic and financial assets around the world. This imbalance has meant that Britain's global balance of payments deficit has now reached its highest level since records began, at 7% of GDP. Imports of goods remain far higher than exports and the balance of investment is now negative for the first time. The provision of services – notably financial, property and legal – to the rest of the world alone produces a positive balance. Only the net inflow of investment capital and speculative 'hot money' from overseas currently stands between the British economy and international bankruptcy. 29. The domination of domestic industry and services by finance capital means that instability, shocks and crises in the financial sector rapidly have an adverse impact on credit, investment, production and employment throughout the economy as a whole. 30. Secondly, this structural imbalance exists because the British monopoly capitalist class has long sought to maximise profits through investment in
commodity production in many other parts of the world as well as in financial services, privatisation and speculation. Historically, this has meant substantial underinvestment in productive industry, socially useful services, science, new technology, education, training and research and development at home. Such investment that does take place in Britain is heavily weighted towards the statesubsidised armaments industry. 31. Thirdly, as a result, many important decisions about the British economy are taken in corporate boardrooms overseas, reflecting the interests of company directors and shareholders who have no long-term stake in Britain's economy and society or the needs of workforces and local communities here. 32. Fourthly, in the absence of a technologically advanced, productive and stable economy, many millions of jobs in Britain are low paid and precarious. A low paid workforce means that any economic recovery that has taken place has been fuelled at least in part by resurgence in consumer credit and spending from the proceeds of an inflated housing market. 33. In short, in Britain, all the factors which exacerbated the last economic and financial crisis remain in place, with some more pronounced than ever.
Challenging the ruling class offensive 34. This is the economic context in which the ruling class has escalated its offensive, intensifying austerity and privatisation policies through the Tory government in Britain and through the EU Commission, European Central Bank and IMF in other European countries. The driving imperative is to re-establish a higher rate of profit at the expense of the working class. Thus the monopoly capitalists are using state power to roll back seventy years of social gains, accelerate privatisation, reduce so-called 'burdens on business', drive down wages and pensions, and further undermine collective bargaining, employment and trade union rights. 35. This offensive has had a disproportionate and devastating impact on the lives of women, highlighting why the struggle against it â€“ and for the socialist alternative â€“ can only be viable if underpinned by a real commitment to economic equality. 36. But the attempt to conceal the ruling class agenda behind pledges to 'eliminate the deficit' and 'reduce the debt' has now been widely exposed as the
political fraud that it is. The anti-austerity movement has grown throughout Britain, largely co-ordinated through the People’s Assembly. This resistance and the growing public awareness of increasing wealth disparity, generalised capitalist corruption, ever more exploitative forms of employment and lies to justify war have led millions of working class people to see through the propaganda that 'We are all in it together' and 'There is no alternative'. The result is a strong and increasingly entrenched anti-establishment mood. 37. Jobs, pay, pensions, benefits, state education, the NHS, housing, peace and environmental issues such as fracking have all become significant political battlegrounds. In particular, the anti-austerity struggle has sharpened class contradictions and working class political awareness. Economic, social and political alternatives have been set out, including in The People's Charter and in People's Assembly publications such as The People’s Manifesto and In Place of Austerity – A Programme for the People. 38. One result has been dramatic change in the Labour Party leadership. Mostly young working class people seized the right to vote in the Labour leadership election (ironically provided by those in the Labour Party who had intended it as a route towards severing links with the organised working class) in order to create a vehicle for their struggles on a mass political level. 39. They helped secure the victory of the only candidate with a long-running and consistent record of support for public services, the welfare state, progressive taxation, public ownership and democratic rights and opposition to privatisation, racism, imperialist war and nuclear weapons.
The left turn in the Labour Party 40. Jeremy Corbyn’s victory, with the backing of most Labour Party members and a wide range of trade unions, rejected the pro-market and pro-imperialist politics of New Labour. Despite his massive mandate, however, Corbyn received the support of fewer than one in ten Labour MPs. He therefore faces not only the relentless hostility of the ruling class, but also a constant drive to undermine him by its representatives within the Parliamentary Labour Party. 41. Substantial forces in the PLP and in the party at every level do not agree with a decisive turn from neoliberal policies to a consistent socialist or even social democratic position. They reject left and progressive policies in principle and their commitment to imperialist interests, NATO, nuclear weapons and the
EU is paramount. Other MPs, more to the left, believe that left policies cannot lead Labour to victory at the next General Election. 42. Despite this, Labour's new left leadership has defied neoliberalism, taking a coherent anti-austerity line on economic questions and raising such issues as public ownership and the redistribution of wealth. 43. It is, however, proving much more difficult for it to successfully challenge Labourâ€™s pro-imperialist orientation. The PLP was significantly divided over war with Syria and is so on Trident renewal. 44. In order to move forward, it is essential to rebuild a strong, mutually reinforcing trade union-Labour link. To this end, the Blair-Brown regime's reforms to curb inner-party democracy and weaken the organic link with the trade unions will need to be reversed. Fully restoring the link will be a key step in reclaiming the Labour Party as the mass party of the working class. 45. Overall, the significance of the advances made by Corbynâ€™s politics should not be underestimated. He and his shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, have sought to bridge the gulf between parliamentary and extra-parliamentary politics, attending labour and progressive movement rallies, demonstrations and picket lines. Their position will be strengthened by the influx of members into the party. Nonetheless, the situation remains extremely fragile, not only because of the pro-capitalist line of the majority of the PLP, but also because many of the new recruits do not have a clear understanding of the forces at work in their party and in society and how to combat them. 46. Thus the political class struggle in Britain has entered a new phase, manifested in the dramatic change of Labour leadership and fierce opposition to it. The battle of ideas in the Labour Party and the wider labour movement is on, reflecting the real class struggle in society at large. All left and progressive forces should be engaged in the fight to overcome anti-left resistance inside the Labour Party and ensuring that the mass movement provides the wider context for winning this struggle. 47. Ideas and beliefs by themselves are not enough to bring about political change; they have to reflect and take forward practical campaigning. Moreover, not only will it be essential to bring many more people into action on the issues which concern them. They must also be won to engage in the political and electoral arena â€“ exercising their right to vote. The trend towards non-
registration and abstention must be reversed through public information and canvassing in working class communities. 48. Developing and deepening mass class struggle in society generally will develop and deepen the contest of ideas in the labour movement, strengthening the left. Otherwise, the right in the Labour Party will reassert itself and an historic opportunity will be missed. As the Marxist party of the labour movement in Britain, the Communist Party bears a major responsibility for assisting the movement to advance politically, not least in the struggle to reclaim Labour for the working class. 49. The Morning Star makes a substantial contribution on both the ideological and campaigning fronts, while also linking them together. We welcome the paper's enhanced role in the labour and mass movements. It played a significant part in the Labour leadership election campaign and as a result has achieved greater prominence in the mass media, even wider support in the trade union movement and an increase in daily readership. 50. With its editorial line guided by the Communist Party's programme, Britain's Road to Socialism, the paper will continue to inject political clarity into the class struggle as well as providing invaluable information and a discussion forum for the left and labour movement. In particular, it can serve as a bridge between the new and young left in the Labour Party and anti-austerity, peace and environmental campaigns on the one hand and the organised labour movement on the other.
Federalism and devolution 51. The escalated ruling class offensive and the significant changes in the Labour Party produced by heightened resistance are two defining features of the new phase of political class struggle. The third is the national question. 52. Mass campaigning in favour of Scottish independence fell short of achieving a majority in the September 2014 referendum, but it laid the basis for sweeping gains by the SNP in the subsequent General Election and in the May 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, mostly at the expense of Labour. 53. It is now essential that all sections of the labour movement in Scotland move away from neo-liberal and pro-Trident positions and reject collaboration with those who seek to impose austerity cuts. Labourâ€™s left turn away from neo-
liberal, British centralist and pro-Trident positions must be used to win back hundreds of thousands of former supporters lost as a result of previous rightwing policies. In Wales, too, there has been a shift away from support for Labour, although this has been minimised by Welsh Labour's more social democratic approach in government. 54. The Communist Party reaffirms the perspective set out in Britain's Road to Socialism that progressive federalism is the best basis on which to resolve the national question. It combines the need for the Scottish and Welsh people to elect legislatures which have the powers and resources to intervene decisively in their countries' economies in the interests of the working class and the people, with the retention of sufficient powers at British level to effect a radical redistribution of wealth within and across Britain, thereby enhancing the working class unity built up across the three nations during more than a century of struggle against British state-monopoly capitalism. 55. An urgent priority now, therefore, is to win the labour movement in Scotland, Wales and England to champion the demand for progressive federalism, based on equal status and massive wealth redistribution to workers and their families in every nation and region of Britain. 56. The EU referendum result raises serious issues for relationships with and between Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and the EU. Britain's Communists express their continuing solidarity with the Irish working class and the socialist movement, especially the Communist Party of Ireland, in their efforts to win Irish independence from Brussels. In this new situation, public services and benefits on both sides of the Irish border should be brought into line and enhanced; no cuts must be made to public spending programmes and community development projects in the North, with extra funding for schemes to reintegrate ex-prisoners and all the human rights provisions in the Belfast Agreement must be maintained. The Communist Party of Britain reaffirms its view that the only lasting solution to the national question is a united independent Ireland free of imperialist control and interference. 57. Restoring substantial powers and resources to local government in England, Scotland and Wales is also an important part of the agenda needed for democratic transformation in Britain. This should not be mistaken for past proposals to establish regional assemblies that would draw powers away from local councils. Nor should it be confused with the powers provided under the 2016 Devolution Act, which hand directly elected regional mayors and combined local authorities powers and budgetary control over such areas as transport,
housing, strategic planning, policing, further education and training, business support and health and social care. This is a recipe for the big business control of local government and the death of local democracy. 58. Renewing local government requires the recovery of lost responsibilities for education, housing, planning and other important matters, combined with new revenue raising opportunities through local income and commercial taxes, lowinterest loans from central government, greater freedom to issue state-backed bonds, and a reformed central government support scheme funded from progressive taxation allocated on the basis of social need rather than obedience to central government demands. In particular, reinvigorated local government has a central role to play in overcoming Britain's enormous housing crisis by building millions of new council houses and controlling rents. 59. Extra financial support should also be made available for the promotion of mass democratic involvement of local people in local decision-making, including enhanced mechanisms for communication, genuine consultation and direct participation by people in council meetings on the basis of concerns and representations.
Trade union rights for workers' advance 60. The Communist tradition is rooted in working class struggle and a shop stewards' movement that could challenge capital in ways demonstrated so well in the late 1960s and early 1970s, culminating in two victorious miners' strikes, the release of the Pentonville Five and the defeat of the Industrial Relations Act. 61. Full employment through much of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s had made the working class stronger. As a result, the Communist Party in Britain was able to develop militant mass organisations rooted in workplaces and the trade union movement, such as the shop stewards' committees and the Liaison Committee for the Defence of Trades Unions. But a sustained attack on trade union organisation, together with deindustrialisation and mass unemployment, have since left the trade union movement weakened. Not only has trade union membership halved in the last four decades but the number of workers covered by collective bargaining has been reduced to a quarter of what it was. 62. The Thatcher regime's ruthless use of state power against the trade unions, together with falling union membership, led to a loss of confidence by some union leaders in their ability to organise, fight and win. Thus the TUC looked
instead to the European Union to provide 'protections', 'safety nets' and 'guaranteed rights' â€“ despite its track record of attacking workers across Europe at the behest of monopoly capital. 63. Today, in the aftermath of the 2016 EU referendum, class contradictions are intensifying and so confront trade union leaderships with the challenge of how to move onto the offensive against the ruling class. 64. The predominance of small disaggregated workplaces and precarious work through sub-contracted 'self employment' and short term, part time and zerohour contracts is a threat to workersâ€™ ability to organise and thus to their collective confidence. Nonetheless, as what amounts to an eight-year long wages freeze hits ordinary peopleâ€™s pockets, signs of innovative methods of struggle are evident, including e-petitions and naming and shaming on social media. The TUC and affiliated unions now need to reinvigorate tried and tested methods and to learn from new forms of flexible organisation and tactics. 65. Significant action took place around N30 in 2011, when the biggest single number of lost days for decades was recorded in the fight to defend public sector pensions. However, much of the trade union movement failed to recognise that this was a strategic ruling class attack on the pension rights, wages and trade union strength of the working class as a whole. More could have been done to develop directed, co-ordinated action on a range of issues. This is now a strategic necessity if trade unions are to lead wider struggles involving the whole working class at local, regional and national levels. 66. How then can the trade union movement organise itself in an era of antiunion laws, mass non-unionism and a disaggregated working class and how can the Communist Party help drive this forward? 67. The only real freedom trade unions have in Britain is immunity from the legal action that they would otherwise face during a trade dispute. Now even that is challenged by new laws. In the light of the 2016 Trade Union Act, workers will need to consider how far they can go officially within their unions in a lawful dispute and what else they might need to do in order to defend themselves. 68. The challenge is to make connections that are inter-union, relevant to workplaces and local to communities and which seek to involve people in precarious employment and make sense to younger workers. Renewed activity in local trades union councils is especially important in the work of forging
stronger links between campaigning trade unionism and local working class communities across Britain. 69. Communists resolve to campaign for 'Decent Work for All', focusing on demands for all workers to have a wage on which they can live, safe and secure work, guaranteed hours and access to training that enhances their skills, enabling them to contribute to the workplace, economy and society. 70. If the trade union movement is to secure these objectives, the Labour Party must commit itself to the abolition of all Tory anti-union laws and full restoration of sectoral collective bargaining. 71. However, this will not of itself end the gross inequality of power that currently scars employment relations. For this there must also be a transformation of workplace organisation involving the active redevelopment of class understanding based on political education. 72. At the core of the Communist Party's strategic vision for the next generation are the two following objectives: first, winning new members for the CP and YCL in the trade union movement and enhancing their capacity to take the movement forward, organisationally and politically; and second, helping to build Morning Star campaign committees in Wales and the English regions, as already developed in Scotland.
Women to the fore 73. Ongoing attempts to destroy the welfare state, public sector services and local councils have already resulted in millions of women workers losing their jobs or being forced to accept low paid, part-time or zero-hours contracts. Young and black and ethnic minority women have been particularly badly affected. The closure of 'Sure Start' nurseries, rises in childcare costs and the persistence of gender discrimination by employers force more and more women out of the workplace. Changes to the benefit system have increased family poverty and driven rising numbers into rent arrears, fuel poverty and dependence upon food banks. 74. Women have a vital role to play because their experiences, skills and abilities are crucial to building a society that delivers a progressive alternative. To this end, the work of the National Assembly of Women, the Womenâ€™s Budget Group and women organised in their trade unions is vital in order reframe the debate
and transform the culture and content of alternative economic policies. The objective must be to create a sustainable economy, with sufficient investment in the social infrastructure â€“ notably health, education, public housing and transport â€“ to improve well-being and create long-term benefits, including jobs. 75. This would mean investing in a publicly owned welfare state that delivers free universal early education and childcare, creating an economy that boosts employment and gender equality and provides dignity in old age. It means creating a social security and pensions system which ensures that women and men are supported throughout their whole lifetime. 76. The imposition of poverty on women, their removal from the workplace and hence from participation in decision-making in public life and the wider social sphere, impoverishes the whole labour movement and must be challenged as a direct, deliberate and fundamentally divisive attack on the working class and its struggle for a just and socialist future. 77. The Communist Party has a special role to play in exposing the class nature of the attack on women and continuing to raise awareness of the imperative of lifting barriers throughout the labour movement to their full participation in the struggle for equality and justice.
A class agenda for equality 78. Recognising the diversity of the working class, the Communist Party supports the struggle for equality of women, black and minority ethnic communities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and people with disabilities. We welcome the work done by disability campaigners in challenging the impact of the austerity agenda on a section of society that has long faced impoverishment and marginalisation. 79. However, chauvinist attitudes continue to prevail in the labour movement, with attacks on the principles of self-organisation in some trade unions. While opposing these attitudes, we also recognise that politics based on identity alone cannot offer a way forward for any oppressed group. We must combat any tendency towards separatism and liberal discourses which seek to deny any link with class exploitation. The corporate takeover of Pride and the relegation of trade unions on the march is an example of a struggle being utilised by the ruling class to negate the original revolutionary politics of the Gay Liberation movement.
80. In particular, the Communist Party recognises the threat to working class unity posed by politicians and the state-monopoly media in their treatment of immigration, refugees, asylum and terrorism. The negative character of the official Remain and Leave campaigns sought to create divisions among working class people for political gain and played into the hands of reactionary nationalist and fascist groups. This places an urgent responsibility on the left to counter racism, not least by explaining the class nature of Britain's major social, economic and environmental problems and of the solutions they require. 81. This is especially urgent in the case of those millions of voters who have been deceived by the UKIP leadership's bogus anti-establishment and leftsounding rhetoric. Such people will not be won back to class politics by merely denouncing them – inaccurately in many cases – as racists. The Communist Party and the left must explain the class basis of immigration, unemployment, low pay, precarious employment, shortage of decent housing, pressure on public services and the like. 82. As part of developing a Marxist approach to fighting for equality, the CP will do more to promote the contribution of Communists who have played significant roles in linking the struggles against racism, sexism and homophobia with class politics.
Immigration – a working class response 83. Racism of any kind divides working people and weakens resistance to the current onslaught against rights at work, collective bargaining and trade union organisation. The Communist Party condemns any attempt to exploit the issue of immigration in ways that are racist. We will redouble our work with such campaigning bodies as the Indian Workers’ Association (GB) and the Bangladeshi Workers Council (UK) to demand the repeal of all Britain's immigration, asylum and nationality laws that discriminate directly or indirectly on grounds of race or ethnicity. This includes the 2016 Immigration Act, which intensified the scapegoating of migrants. 84. During the pre-EU referendum negotiations, the Communist Party warned that the government’s focus on immigration would serve to steer debate in a racist direction and away from the fundamental issues of democracy, EUimposed austerity, privatisation and the dismantling of collective bargaining. In the event, Cameron's 'success' in securing agreement to restrict migrant
workers' access to child benefit and tax credits not only fuelled the antiimmigration hysteria, it also paved the way for the application of these restrictions to all workers by a future government. 85. In this context, collective bargaining retains its central importance as a means to ensuring the fair and equal treatment of all workers. Within this framework, joint councils like the former Wages Councils and the Agricultural Wages Board should be re-established to implement industry-wide agreements on the terms for employing migrant as well as home-based labour. 86. Across the EU the forced movement of workers is being used to push down wages, disestablish employment practices and contracts, create more precarious working and undermine trade union organisation. To achieve this, the ruling class is using the infrastructure of the EU to enable it to act as gangmasters and legalised people smugglers, while whipping up anger against migrants to deflect opposition to what it is doing and the downward spiral of misery it is creating for profit. 87. Slogans such as 'No borders' and 'Abolish all immigration controls' are idealistic and unhelpful in that they fail to address the problems posed by the movement and super-exploitation of workers in capitalist markets. We must focus attention on campaigning to protect and extend the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers at and within our borders in accordance with the international conventions to which our government is and must remain committed.
The next steps 88. In resisting ruling class and Tory policies on every front, it will be essential to bring to the fore the connections and common interests which can unite the different streams of protest. 89. The clear priority for the labour and progressive movements today is to oust the Tory government. This requires understanding of the class interests of both the ruling class and the working class and the conflict between them. 90. The lack of class analysis led to the mistaken positions taken by some on the left during the EU referendum campaign. Without an understanding that the EU has been the major European project of state-monopoly capitalism in
Germany, France, Britain and other member countries, it was not understood why withdrawal should be supported. 91. The best basis on which to build left and labour movement unity around the agenda for a 'Left Exit' from the EU is: • Implement the democratic mandate of June 2016 to leave the EU – no second referendum. • Elect a left-led Labour government to lead the negotiations. • No membership of a 'single European market'. Regulate the movement of capital, commodities and labour in the interests of the working class. • Renounce EU Court of Justice rulings – no more super-exploitation of migrant workers, no more under-cutting, equal terms and conditions in the job for all. • Transfer all progressive EU social and environmental provisions into British law. • Maintain public funding of all necessary programmes and projects previously supported via the EU. • Cease contributing to the EU budget. • Retain the Human Rights Act in full, together with affiliation to the European Convention on Human Rights. • Guarantee permanent residence for all Europeans currently living or working in Britain and reverse the anti-immigration restrictions imposed on people outside the EU as part of the 'Fortress Europe' policy. 92. In the longer term, all the forces battling against cuts and privatisations have to be drawn together in a united movement with its roots deep in trade union memberships and local communities. This reflects the approach set out in Britain's Road to Socialism for the development of a popular, democratic antimonopoly alliance led by the organised working class. 93. Mass activity in workplaces, local communities and in the streets will be decisive in winning the battle in the Westminster Parliament to bring down the Tories and building the mass movement to put and keep a left-led Labour government in office. Achieving this is the top priority of the Communist Party over the coming period. 94. Integral to this work must be a consistent effort to involve Labour Party members in extra-parliamentary campaigning and political discussion and to campaign for left and progressive Labour as well as Communist candidates in elections.
95. The Communist Party will seek to build maximum unity in and around the labour movement for the election of a Labour government on a left-wing programme that will challenge capitalism and imperialism. The Morning Star also has an increasingly significant part to play as the only daily paper that promotes left and progressive unity in struggle, as well as providing a unique platform for information and debate. 96. In light of the new political situation in Britain, the incoming CP Executive Committee is mandated to: • Draw up and implement an action plan to improve and increase the Party's political work among young people – workers, students and unemployed – in conjunction with the YCL. • Carry forward the process of 'Communist Renewal' in order to equip the Party, its organisations and members more thoroughly for the challenges posed by the new phase of the political class struggle in Britain. • Update Britain's Road to Socialism in the light of recent and contemporary developments, including the decisions of this 54th congress.
Bring down the Tory government! Defeat the ruling class offensive! Build the labour movement and its Communist Party!
Executive resolution for discussion by branches, districts and nation committees. Amendments to be submitted by 5 September 2016. Congress w...