Communist Renewal Bulletin 5. September 2016
Report from the Secretaries’ and Cadres’ meeting… and preparation for Congress September 10th saw comrades from Communist Party Branches, Districts and Nations filling Marx House – home to the Marx Memorial Library and Workers’ School . They were there to take part in the Party’s Secretaries’ & Cadres’ meeting – this year focused on Communist Education and the process of Communist Renewal. This has now been taken up by the whole Party to ensure that we are as fit and strong as we need to be as the ruling class offensive deepens yet further, and working class resistance also grows and finds renewed militant voice and action. The Secretaries’ & Cadres’ meeting helped to establish the areas for discussion on this process - to be part of the Party’s 54th Congress in November.
Communist Renewal as a membership process Welcoming delegates in the packed main hall of Marx House, Bill Greenshields for the Party’s Executive said that there were to be no great speeches or messages for them to take back to members, other than those that they themselves were to bring to the meeting. The process of Communist Renewal is one of progress and development in fighting fitness and organisation brought about by the membership of the Party, not “demanded” by the Party leadership. Areas for discussion concerning Party activity and organisation previously identified in direct conversations between members of the Party’s Renewal Team and Branch, District & Nation Secretaries, formed the basis for four “workshop” discussions, to maximise the use of time, and comrades’ participation.
The 4 discussion groups
Branch life, work and plans. What do we want/expect of members? Public campaigning, the Morning Star, and work with other organisations. Trade Union work and though the questions posed in the last Renewal bulletin in preparation for this meeting were useful starting points, the groups were invited to contribute to the process in ways they felt best in the limited time available – knowing that the process would continue at Congress and beyond. The subsequent group report back session underlined great work being done by Party organisations, showed that the Party is deeply aware of both opportunities for, and threats to our class and Party in the current situation, and that comrades are keen consequently to sharpen up all Party work. The reports, together with outcomes from EC discussions, will be used to produce a document for the special session of Congress.
Recruitment The afternoon session opened with an introduction from John Taylor, Acting Secretary of Yorkshire District on Party recruitment (attached) and a lively discussion with a number of “angles”. The question raised in the “membership” discussion group earlier about what we expect of members, and how this impacts on recruitment. The issue of the PROCESS of recruitment of an individual being one which needs to be consciously undertaken by the Branch – not just waited for! It needs to suit the individual as well as our collective! How recruitment and activity and leadership in the mass movement are linked, and what it means to aim to recruit “the best” people from that mass movement. How recruitment is directly related to retention and comrades’ development what John’s paper referred to as “embedding into activism and comradeship” – a process which can start before actual recruitment. We did not have the time to take up the issue of Cadre Development as we’d intended. All Branches, Districts & Nations are invited to discuss the full spectrum of issues to do with Recruitment, Retention and Cadre Development – “the embedding” of our comrades in the Party, and to let Party Office know your outcomes, and how you feel the Party as a whole can help to meet your needs in this important work.
Communist Education & Cadre Development The meeting decided to extend the time available for the session on Communist Education, and this proved to be the right decision with time very well spent on David Grove’s expertly “guided discussion” on the question of Dialectical & Historical Materialism. Prior to the meeting the much studied article by Joseph Stalin – a short and straightforward article – had been circulated together with study questions. David took us through DHM with a guided discussion, using another framework (attached). His success was demonstrated in both the clarity of what emerged and also the final judgement by almost all of the dozens of comrades’ participating that they felt, having had the background reading and the experience of David’s “guided discussion” that they felt able to lead such a study in their own Party organisation… which is exactly the point!
Next Steps We didn’t get time to finally formulate as intended “Priorities, Strategies & Planning” in the light of the day’s work. But this was felt by some to be a positive! Please consider in your branch the outcomes from the discussion groups, the paper on Recruitment, the article on Dialectical & Historical Materialism and David’s framework… and be prepared for the special Communist Renewal and Communist Education session at 54th Congress in November.