a guide for CP activists, members & supporters
A Communist Party pamphlet
Britain’s Road to Socialism The new edition of Britain’s Road to Socialism, the Communist Party’s programme, adopted in July 2011; presents and analysis of capitalism and imperialism in its current form; answers the questions of how a revolutionary transformation might be bought about in 21st Century Britain; and what a socialist and communist society in Britain might look like. The BRS was first published in 1951 after nearly six years of discussion and debate across the CP, labour movement and working class. Over its 8 editions it has sold more than a million copies in Britain and helped to shape and develop the struggle of the working class for more than half a century. Other previous editions of the BRS have been published in 1952, 1958, 1968, 1977, 1989 and 2000 as well as multiple substantially revised versions.
Contributing authors: Richard Bagley, Martin Graham, Robert Griffiths, David Grove, Chris Guiton, Phil Katz, James Rodie, Ben Stevenson, Lynne Walsh Compiled and edited by Ben Stevenson Published by the Communist Party May 2013. Copyright © Communist Party 2013. ISBN 978-1-908315-10-6 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher. Communist Party Ruskin House 23 Coombe Rd Croydon London CR0 1BD 020 8686 1659 email@example.com www.communist-party.org.uk Wales PO Box 69 Pontypridd CF37 9AB www.welshcommunists.org Scotland 72 Waterloo St Glasgow G2 7DA 0141 204 1611 www.scottishcommunists.org.uk South West & Cornwall www.southwestcommunists.org.uk
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Communist Party Handbook CONTENTS page Introduction Why a Communist Party? How is the CP organised? Party Life Finance & Fundraising Campaigning Fighting Elections Media & Communications The Morning Star Recruitment & Cadre Development Marxist-Leninist Education Build the CP - Build the Future
2 4 6 8 13 16 22 26 32 35 39 43
Introduction Throughout its history of more than 90 years, the Communist Party's achievements have been built by the work of disciplined, capable and knowledgeable party members (or cadres). They have been most effective when working collectively, whether in the workplace, their trade union, their local community or a broad campaigning body. While different periods of struggle have thrown up fresh challenges, the Party's most successful structures, cadres and activities have been those guided by the organisational and political principles of Marxism-Leninism. Because the ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin should not become a dogma, we have sought to apply them in keeping with realities on the ground, taking proper account of conditions as they have developed. Moreover, there is a dialectical relationship between theory and practice: one informs the other and vice versa. To put it another way, the collective intervention of communists in the political class struggle must be based on the application of Marxist-Leninist theory, while the development of Marxist-Leninist theory must be shaped by the collective experience of communists in the class struggle. Striving to combine theory with practice is one of the characteristics of a communist. As Lenin once put it: 'Practice without theory is blind; theory without practice is sterile'. Theory, strategy and tactics have to be constantly reviewed, revised or developed. In recent years this has produced such initiatives as: A new edition of our party's programme, Britain's Road to Socialism. More cadre school and Communist University events in the different nations and regions of Britain. The promotion of 21st Century Marxism as a major annual event. Enhanced propaganda and political education materials. Regular and more frequent publication – and wider circulation – of our theoretical and discussion journal, Communist Review. Increased use of the internet as a means of informing, involving and mobilising party members and supporters. Reorganisation through the re-establishment of districts and commissions. Our approach has long enabled the CP to exercise an influence way beyond the its numbers in terms of membership. In all this work, we have been – and continue to be – driven by our party's aims as set out in Rule 2 of the Party's constitution: “The aim of the Communist Party is to achieve a socialist Britain in which the means of production, distribution and exchange will be socially owned and utilised in a planned way for the benefit of all. This necessitates a revolutionary transformation of society, ending the existing capitalist system of exploitation and replacing it with a socialist society in which each will contribute according to ability and receive according to work done. Socialist society creates the conditions for the advance to a fully communist
form of society in which each will receive according to need.” However, words alone do not a party make. Our effectiveness as an agent for revolutionary change depends on the discipline, expertise and effectiveness of our members; on their ability to respond to developments and turn ideas into action. Yet we still have a great deal to do to rebuild the Party’s strength and influence. We have to overcome a range of problems, including our small size and our limited central resources and finances. Our membership does not fully represent the diversity of the working class and society in Britain today. Changes in the nature and patterns of employment make collective organisation more difficult. Then there remains the hostility towards communism fostered by decades of Cold War propaganda, not least the work of anti-communist historians. All of this makes it more important than ever that the political work that communists do – the ways in which we organise, agitate and educate – is subjected to continual critical analysis. Just as our theory must be a living, organic and evolving set of ideas, so too our practice should be dynamic and innovative while rooted in the reality that we seek to change. Now more than ever, the working class of Britain needs a bigger and more powerful Communist Party; one which exercises mass influence among working people. The offensive unleashed by our ruling class in response to capitalist crisis makes it more urgent than ever that we win recruits, expand our presence in every trade union and mass organisation, develop new cadres and spread Marxist ideas and understanding across the labour movement. The purpose of this Communist Party Activists' Handbook is to provide cadres and Party organisations with the theory behind the practice, as well as practical guidelines to help inform and shape our activities. Some of its practical proposals will not be applicable in all circumstances and everywhere, but its chief objective is to provide comrades with the necessary tools to equip and build the Communist Party, so that we can play a more effective role in the political class struggle. Additional and more detailed resources can be found on our website. The work of providing Party members with the most effective means and resources for organising is an ongoing one which cannot be done solely from the top down. Any resources, solutions and successes that Party organisations develop locally should be shared with comrades at all levels. That is one of the strengths of having and working in a collective, disciplined and democratic Communist Party. Organisation Committee April 2013
Why a Communist Party? “The Communists ... have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.” K. Marx & F. Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848)
“A party is the vanguard of a class, and its duty is to lead the masses and not merely to reflect the average political level of the masses.” V.I. Lenin, Speech on the Agrarian Question (1917) While the Communist Party does not have a monopoly on truth and wisdom, we have a particular, unique role to play in the labour movement today and in the ongoing struggle for socialism. The CP aims to provide political, ideological and strategic leadership for the working class on the basis of the Party's programme Britain's Road to Socialism. There we set out the characteristics of our party: The Communist Party is based upon the class and internationalist principles of Marxism-Leninism which enables it to analyse the changing nature of capitalist society and develop a strategy that will lead to the working class assuming power and beginning to build a socialist system. It is organised for socialist revolution, and therefore constantly seeks to strengthen its roots amongst the working class who will play the leading role in revolutionary social change. On that basis, the CP seeks to weld together all progressive movements at local and national level. In order to develop political class consciousness, we organise both in local communities and in the labour and progressive movement. The Communist Party is a democratic party, drawing on the experience, initiative and creativity of its membership to plan and carry out activity, policy and to elect an accountable leadership. Therefore the Party develops and maintains close relationships amongst members regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, nationality, sexual orientation. The Party is centralised, so it can intervene collectively in the class struggle as a disciplined and united force. The combination of democracy and centralism, helps make the Party capable of acting in a uniquely effective way. The Communist Party maintains close relations with communists in other countries, based on the independence, equality and mutual respect of each CP as part of a global movement fighting for socialism. The unity of the international communist movement, alongside practical solidarity with other movements and peoples fighting for peace, progress and national liberation, is vital not only in the short-term, but in order to achieve and build socialism in Britain. From its foundation in 1920, the Communist Party has demonstrated these characteristics. They
have enabled it to act as the vanguard party of working class and popular struggle, playing a vital role in many of the biggest battles fought by the labour and progressive movements, generating class and socialist consciousness, showing the need to win state power and advance to socialism. Learning lessons from these struggles is vital for winning victories in the future and achieving socialist revolution. The CP and its members play an essential role by helping to record, formulate and provide a 'collective memory' for the working class, promoting discussion of labour and people's history, and helping to develop class and political consciousness.
How is the CP organised? The Executive Committee (EC) is the collective leadership of the Party elected at Congress. The EC implements the policy and priorities decided at Congress, decides its own policies and initiatives on the basis of Congress decisions and the Party programme, guiding and directing the work of all Party organisations as necessary. It is responsible for all central resources and operations and for CP relations with other national and international bodies. The EC elects the central officers of the Party, together with the Political Committee and Organisation Committee, to carry out work as directed. The EC may also appoint other sub-committees as and when required.
Commissions are established by the EC to help implement Party policy in specific areas of work (such as international affairs, the EU, peace, the economy, the environment, pensions and education). Commissions may also research, advise and propose policies within the general framework of EC and Congress decisions and Britain's Road to Socialism. Commissions comprise EC members, representatives of Party districts and nations, and other Party members and close allies who have particular expertise or interest in the area concerned.
Communist Party The Branch is the basic unit of the CP, members are grouped together by District/Nation committees based on a particular locality, workplace or sector of the economy. Branches are responsible for planning, organising and coordinating Party work in their area - and mobilising members and supporters for local, district, national and all-Britain events and initiatives.
The Party Congress is the supreme democratic and decision making body of the Party. It comprises delegates elected by local Party organisations, together with non-voting consultative delegates who represent important areas of the Party's work. Congress decides CP policy in political and organisational
Members are organised into Nations and Districts for the purposes of Party work, in accordance with boundaries set by the EC (which usually reflect TUC regional organisation). The Scottish/Welsh Committees and English District Committees are elected by holding their own district or national congress every two years. These congresses decide how to implement Party policy in their own area, determine policies on local issues and â€“ in the case of Scotland and Wales â€“ exercise Area Committees are formed by a district/ national committee by grouping together several branches operating in the same city, county or local authority. They may also be
The Trade Union Coordinating Committee (TUCC) and Trade Union Advisories reflect the central importance of CP work in the labour movement. These bodies help to apply the Party's political strategy in the particular conditions of each trade union and sector of the economy. They seek to develop a broad alliance of left forces in any given union or industry, providing co-ordination and political support for workers in struggle, and projecting the Party's policies in individual trade unions and across the trade union movement generally. The Party's strength and reputation in the organised working class has always been the result of principled, disciplined and successful work to organise, mobilise and politicise militant workers.
matters and elects the Executive Committee, auditors and an Appeals Committee. The Congress normally takes place once every two years and during the run up to it every member is encouraged to participate in the discussions that will help shape its work.
substantial autonomy in decisions that are specific to their national political situation. These committees are responsible for implementing central, national and district congress decisions, reporting to and implementing the decisions of the EC, grouping Party members in their own district or nation into branches and other relevant local Party organisations. They are responsible for assisting, co-ordinating and monitoring local Party organisations, electing their own officers and organising aggregates of members. formed by the EC if there isnâ€™t a functioning district in a particular area. Area committees are normally formed to act as a precursor to the formation of a new district.
Collectives are formed by the grouping together or members district/ nation committees according to locality, place of work or sector of employment. Collectives are usually less formal and are mainly used to coordinate and develop activity to the point where a new branch can be formed.
Each Branch should have a Secretary (to lead and help coordinate the organisational and political work of the branch), a Chair (to assist the secretary and conduct branch meetings) and a Treasurer (to take responsibility for branch finances). Where possible, members should also take on other important responsibilities (e.g. Women's Organiser, Trade Union Organiser, Student Organser, MarxistLeninist Education Organiser, etc.). Where possible branches should elect a branch committee which can appoint these officers and meet between meetings to collectively deal with the necessary organisational and technical work required to implement branch decisions and take forward on-going activity.
Party life Being a member of the Communist Party can and should be a rewarding and empowering experience. In no other political force is the education and development of its members and of the working class as a whole such an integral part of its fabric. The CP is much more than just a collection of individuals who share a common point of view. To the greatest possible degree, it should embody the values and practices of the future society for which we strive. This means that at every level, Party organisations and individuals should exhibit our commitment to comradeship, solidarity, democracy and collectivism. Every member has a role to play and should be engaged in some way in the collective work of the Party. The many interests, experiences and skills of comrades should be utilised to educate, organise and mobilise the most exploited sections of our class. Of course, being a relatively small party operating in one of the main bastions of imperialist, capitalist power can at times be an isolating experience. For communists, our collectivism is a huge source of strength and, happily, there are more ways than ever in which members can participate in the Party's work – even when attending branch meetings is difficult or impossible. Political discussion Political discussion and debate are at the heart of our party's work. The Communist Party's strategy and many of our policies have not been decided before wide-ranging discussion within the CP and in the broader labour and progressive movements. Before the biennial Party congress, there is a six-month pre-congress discussion period during which existing policies and proposals for new ones are debated with complete frankness and freedom. Nor is such discussion limited to the pre-congress period. Local, district and national party meetings should not only plan, report and review activity – they are also an opportunity to collectively engage in political analysis and debate. This may be stimulated by inviting a guest speaker from the local labour or progressive movement, encouraging a local Party member to report on their political work or on a particular issue, or to provide a brief round-up and analysis of recent national and international events. There is a real lack of political debate in most labour movement organisations – including on the left – because meetings are viewed primarily as the opportunity to deal with organisational matters, as technical business-orientated affairs. This often leads to vacuum in left and labour movement circles, where analysis and discussion should be. The Communist Party can help fill this vacuum, through inviting friends and allies to participate in discussion at Party and Morning Star meetings. Marxist-Leninist theory provides the capacity for analysing and understanding not only economic, social and political questions, but those of science, culture, the arts and many other aspects of human expression and interaction. Communists should not be afraid to enter unfamiliar territory. Nor is it necessary to end every discussion with clear decisions or complete agreement. Indeed, exploring an area that has not previously been subjected to rigorous examination might allow comrades to deepen their understanding of Marxism and how it can be applied, without being unduly influenced by dogmatic and unscientific opinions that can sometimes dominate popular and even progressive opinion on an issue. Communists are renowned for often having strong opinions. At times, disagreements over a particular issue or proposed course of action will be forcefully expressed. But disagreements
should not be allowed to become personal. Every effort should be made by the chair and others in the meeting to ensure that everyone conducts themselves in a spirit of respect, tolerance and comradeship. It is not always necessary to end every discussion with clear decisions or complete agreement. When CP organisations agree to adopt a particular standpoint or course of action, having engaged in the necessary democratic discussion, all members of that organisation are expected to respect and help carry out those decisions. In fact, only by testing such decisions in practice – and making every effort to do so successfully – can we know whether they were correct or not, and learn lessons accordingly. Democratic debate and unity in action are required by the Party's highest organisational principle – 'democratic centralism' – which also insists that all leading committees and officers must be elected and accountable Turning words into deeds Vital though political discussion is, the CP is more than just a debating society. Communists seek to analyse and understand society so that we can be more effective in the struggle to change it. For us, discussion takes place in order to shape, develop and expand our activity. London East End councillor Solly Kaye used to tell a story about when he became the Communist Party secretary in Stepney, after the Second World War. He was escorted round the area by the London district secretary, who told him, ‘Look, Solly, you’re the leader of all these people!’ This was a time when Phil Piratin was Stepney's Communist MP and the borough had a dozen local communist councillors. Within a few years, we had more than one hundred across Britain. Solly's story illustrates two key points: first, that the leading role of the Party has to be earned through planned and continuous work; and secondly, in order to earn that leadership, communists have to be part of the people they seek to represent, identifying with their problems and concerns and taking action to remedy them. In this sense, communists should aim to be leaders (or, as Lenin put it, 'tribunes of the people'). This means, among other things, that CP members and their organisations regularly: Plan and carry out local Party campaigning work. Report to and from relevant Party structures. Publicise activity locally, online and through the Morning Star. Respond to and implement central initiatives. Develop their own initiatives as well, without prompting from the Party centrally. But aiming to give leadership does not mean behaving arrogantly or thinking that as communists we must know it all. We do not always have all the right answers – and sometimes we may not even be asking the right questions. Every member is valuable Many Party members face constraints on the political work that they can do, or on the time when they can do it. They may have work, trade union or other political commitments, family or caring responsibilities, or health or mobility problems. Such constraints should be understood and respected, with help offered when possible. This is why a party rooted in the working class should develop a flexible and inclusive approach
to its organisation and work. Rather than writing off members as 'inactive' or worse, all reasonable effort should be made to involve all Party members and keep them informed. Their circumstances might change, or other ways found to utilise their interests and skills. Today, there are more ways than ever before to involve every member in some form of political work, whether by helping to maintain a branch blog/website, writing letters to the local newspaper, undertaking research work for a Party commission, writing a report of work undertaken in a local solidarity, peace or progressive organisation, mentoring of new members or simply distributing central Party materials in their locality. Over the past 30 years, the working class movement has suffered some historic setbacks. This can breed disillusionment, defeatism and fragmentation. Communists are not automatically immune from such problems, which is why every member should be valued, encouraged and involved as much as possible. Communists should never be afraid of new ideas, initiatives or ways of doing things – even if they challenge the way we operate currently. Combining the CP Commissions knowledge of comrades who have spent a lifetime fighting for ANTI-EU & POPULAR human liberation with the ideas of new and enthusiastic SOVEREIGNTY members who play an active role in the class struggle today can ANTI-RACIST/ANTI-FASCIST give a real boost to CP work. CULTURE Therefore, the Party at all levels should seek to: CUTS & PEOPLE'S CHARTER Involve all members in the Party's discussions, decisions ECONOMIC and activities. EDUCATION Provide a supportive and comradely atmosphere at ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY every meeting and event. HEALTH & WELFARE Utilise the knowledge and experience gained by HISTORY comrades from past struggles. HOUSING Encourage new and younger members to express their views and interests from the time they join the CP and INTERNATIONAL LGBT involve them fully in the Party's life and work. PEACE Adopt an organisational approach based on the existing PENSIONS membership, conditions and priorities in the local area. RURAL & COUNTRYSIDE Consider the venue, frequency, timing and length of UNEMPLOYMENT regular meetings so that comrades with child-caring or WOMEN'S work commitments can attend as much as possible. The diversity of the working class The working class in Britain is not only made up of white, male, middle-aged, manual workers. Whilst some of the most class-conscious, politicised sections of the working class are those working for capitalist employers in manufacturing, transport, energy, construction etc. Over the last thirty years all workers (especially in the public sector) have become increasingly exploited under capitalism and have becoming increasingly organised and ready to take action in defence of their class interests. But the working class extends beyond this to all those who sell their labour power and are exploited directly or indirectly by the capitalist class, whether in the past, present or future. More than 80 per cent of Britain's population can be classified as part of the working class. Furthermore, as the power and reach of monopoly capital grows, higher paid professionals, the self-employed and small business owners – most of whom are likely to be subject to monopoly
power – are becoming increasingly proletarianised. Women and black people comprise some of the most exploited and oppressed sections of society in Britain, yet they are under-represented in the ranks of the Communist Party. Because we do not reflect today’s working class in all its ethnic, multicultural and gender diversity, we cannot fully represent it. The Party's weaknesses in these areas are a reflection of the weaknesses that exist across the labour movement and capitalist society, but they can be compounded by a failure to address this imbalance at all levels of the Party. It is an ongoing and continuing challenge, but concrete steps can be taken to improve the situation: Ensure that the range of speakers at any public meetings, whether organised by the Party or other labour and progressive movement organisations, broadly represents the gender and ethnic diversity of the working class and population as a whole. Create an atmosphere at Party meetings which is friendly and welcoming to women and to new and younger members: summarise and ensure that everyone understands any decisions taken before moving on; explain decisions, structures and ways of working. Encourage everyone to take part in discussion; the chair, in particular, should not allow a small number of individuals to monopolise it. Be prepared to change organisational arrangements and methods of work: “that's the way we've always done things” is not necessarily the best guide for the future. The Party's Leninist principles, structures and procedures allow for flexibility in practice to take account of changes in the composition of the working class, shifts in social and cultural attitudes, and technological advances. Be aware and avoid stereotyping when deciding particular roles and tasks for Party members: the division of labour between the sexes is largely a product of class society and communists are fighting to overcome this division – not to reinforce it. Provide a broad range of roles, tasks and activities so that all Party members can play a part; most people did not join the CP in order to do little more than sit through a two or three hour political meeting. Promote the Party's policies and materials that relate to the most super-exploited sections of society Establish lines of communication with relevant central Party officers (including those responsible for publications, commissions and trade union advisories) to help circulate materials and policies, encourage participation, provide feedback and generally promote different aspects of Party work in your local community, unions and other bodies. Work closely with any local members or organisations of domiciled communist and workers' parties from overseas; help them to organise locally where possible. Approach women's, black and ethnic minority and youth organisations to discuss issues of concern with a view to future cooperation; where appropriate, seek to involve them in broad campaigning movements. Branch life A properly functioning local branch should provide communists with a hub for debate, education and activity. Having a small and geographically dispersed CP membership means that branches vary greatly in their numbers, cadre force, age and gender profile, and in their capacity to carry out local political work. Nonetheless, there are some fundamental requirements that every local Party organisation should attempt to fulfil:
Page 12 Conducting regular branch meetings,
at least monthly. These should be informative, interesting and relevant events that do not spend too much time discussing routine business. Wherever possible, agendas, reports and other documents should be circulated in advance of the meeting to allow comrades to focus on the items requiring further discussion and/or decision. Holding an annual general meeting at the beginning or end of the calendar year, to which all members must be invited. The AGM should receive reports of activity from branch officers, agree a plan of work for the year and elect branch officers. Reporting and discussing the collective and individual Party and broad movement work of all local members. Carrying out a regular programme of public activity and Marxist-Leninist education. Establishing and maintaining a chain of communication between the branch and the Party regionally and centrally. Strengthening comradeship between members, their families and local allies through social and cultural activities.
Model Branch Agenda 1. Welcome & Apologies If a comrade can't make a meeting, they should send their apologies in advance to the branch secretary or chair). A special point should be made of welcoming any new members and visitors, with all present introducing themselves. 2. Minutes & Matters Arising This is an important opportunity follow up or review decisions and any action taken from the previous branch meeting. 3. Political Report/ Discussion An pre-selected or non-Party guest speaker should open the item. 4. District/ Nation Committee and Executive Committee Reports A brief summary and discussion of relevant decisions taken by higher Party committees to address branch responsibilities, promote political understanding and ensure unity in action. 5. Other Reports Reports from the branch committee and/or branch officers (including finance) and comrades involved in broad movement work. 6. Morning Star An essential item at every meeting to plan activities to strengthen the circulation, finances and coverage of the paper, with a Fighting Fund collection at the end of the meeting. 7. Activities and Events An opportunity to advertise Party and broad movement events and plan the involvement of branch members in them. 8. Date of Next Meeting An important reminder, but remember to inform absentees. 9. Any Other Business Beware AOB fanatics who see this item as an opportunity to speak at length on one of their favourite topics. AOB should be informational and brief, with points raised in advance with the chair before or during the meeting.
Finance & fundraising For communists, finance and fund-raising is political. Without it, the Party cannot run its organisation and fight the political class struggle. Membership dues Dues represent the primary source of funding for the CP centrally. Payment of monthly dues at the appropriate self-assessed rate is compulsory. It is the responsibility of local branches and officers to ensure that this happens and that all revenues are promptly received at Party centre. Payment by Direct Debit not only ensures a regular flow of income, it also frees Party activists and officers from spending time chasing after members for dues money. Nearly 70 per cent of members now pay by direct debit. Any comrade not paying through this method should be regularly encouraged to do so. Each year the CP executive committee determines its Annual Branch Statement of budget based on membership and dues rates as at Accounts January 1. Any net increase in membership provides windfall income and strengthens the Party's finances. £
Additional Voluntary Contributions These are voluntary payments made by members in addition to their dues. They are credited to the Party’s Development Fund under the control and supervision of the CP executive committee. Every member should be actively encouraged to pay an AVC – preferably as part of their monthly Direct Debit – and to keep the payments under review, increasing them when they can. Branch Treasurer While finance and fund-raising are a collective responsibility, it is also essential for branches, districts and nations to elect or appoint a dedicated Treasurer to manage local funds and liaise with the Party centrally. Proper records must be compiled and kept, including an annual statement of accounts for presentation to the AGM. This is an important job politically, as well as administratively.
Balance at beginning of year
Income Membership dues 114.00 AVCs 18.00 Donations 72.00 Merchandise & publications 81.00 Red November dinner 324.00 Workers' Beer Company 256.00 TOTAL
Expenditure Membership dues AVCs Merchandise & publications Red November dinner District building appeal Affiliations Morning Star adverts Local campaigning & events Party Congress
114.00 18.00 38.33 141.00 168.00 50.00 48.00 116.00 75.00
Branch accounts Because the CP is registered with the Electoral Commission, every Party branch by law TOTAL 768.33 should produce and approve an end-of-year statement of accounts, summarising its income and expenditure Balance at end of year 150.29 during the course of the year. These must then be submitted to the relevant district/nation treasurer and to the Party centrally, by no later than the March 31. A simple summary of areas of income and expenditure items is sufficient.
Donations The Electoral Commission monitors donations to political parties. The law means that branches, districts or nations receiving more than £1,500 from a single donor in a calendar year must report it to the Party centrally (within three weeks to be safe). Only donations above £7,500 need to be declared if they are made direct to the CP centrally. All donations from a single source totalling £500, to any Party body, must come from a UK resident who is on the electoral register, or an organisation which conducts activities within the UK. Any doubts or concerns about the legal position should be raised with the Party's treasurer centrally. Fundraising Since the Party centrally no longer organises a National Appeal every year, districts, nations and branches should feel free to hold their own regular fundraising appeals. Some CP organisations have their own Direct Debit system to raise funds for local purposes. These should not be used in place of the Party's central DD facility to collect membership dues and AVCs. While most of our members give gladly to the Party, their resources are not limitless. Local Party organisations need to find ways of fundraising other than by repeatedly asking the same people to put their hands in their purses or pockets. Fund raising is an ideal opportunity to reach out to supporters and allies to provide concrete support for our work. Inviting nonmembers to donate financially is also an opportunity to make the political case for the Party and its work as the Marxist party of the broader labour movement. It is important that all donors receive a proper receipt or a letter of thanks. Furthermore, they should be kept informed about our activities, so that they can see how their money is being well spent. Fund-raising appeals are more effective if they are linked to concrete initiatives, enabling donors to see that their contribution will have a measurable impact rather than just disappearing into CP accounts. But raising funds for the Party and the What will your donation buy? Morning Star can also be done in more Give the price of a pint 200 leaflets collective, political or enjoyable – and Give the price of a round 20 colour posters therefore effective – ways. For example: Give a day's wage a local branch banner Glasgow, Derby and North 5 people give a day's wage 5000 pamphlets London CP organise a traditional 10 give a day's wage 5 election contests ‘Burns Supper’ in honour of the 100 give a day's wage A year's salary for a partrevolutionary Scots poet. time local organiser Cardiff, Taunton and Manchester hold a 'Red November' dinner to celebrate the Bolshevik revolution. London branches organise a secular 'Seder Night' Jewish dinner. Summer barbecues take place in Hackney, Pontypridd, Brighton and Birmingham. Raffles or sweepstakes are promote at International Women's Day and other anniversary-based social events (which don't require a local authority licence). Bristol CP holds a 'Big Red Quiz' night. Exeter and Wolverhampton produce and sell their own badges, DVDs, CDs, T-shirts, postcards and reprints of local historical CP pamphlets Party organisations or Morning Star readers & supporters groups organise sponsored walks and historical tours (some of which include pubs of revolutionary significance).
The Party centrally, the Welsh Committee and the YCL provide volunteers to the
Workers Beer Company in return for payment. Many local CP organisations raise a surplus from their own online bookshops or bookstalls. Car-boot sales can be an easy earner. Book fayres, bazaars, music and other community festivals have also been organised, usually under the banner of the Morning Star, although like formal dinners these require a lot of planning and effort in order to make a worthwhile profit. Party branches have challenged local anti-war and international solidarity groups to fund -raising skittles, 5-a-side football, chess or other friendly contests. In some areas, when going for a drink on an anniversary or after a regular CP event, whoever is buying a round also 'buys a pint for the Party' or the Morning Star, putting the money into a collection pot.
For both political and financial reasons, we need many more May Day, International Women’s Day, Bolshevik Revolution and other anniversary events. However small-scale and local, they will be advertised by the Party centrally and – with or without payment – by the Morning Star.
Campaigning The Communist Party has a clear objective in its campaigning work in local communities. Our strategic goal is to help build a sustainable working class movement which reaches deep into residential areas and workplaces, drawing people into activity who currently do not even think of themselves as 'political' let alone as socialists. The CP has often been in the forefront of campaigning for decent housing, health and education services, to unionise workplaces, protect jobs and oppose imperialist wars. After more than 90 years of campaigning, there are few cities and towns that have not had a CP presence at some time or other. Communists go into action in order to: Project our profile and our policies, but also to find out what issues concern people most. Help build practical alliances among workers and across the local labour movement. Root the case for socialism in local communities and workplaces. Involve a broad range of Party members – including the retired, unemployed or those who cannot be involved at work – in political activity. Develop the skills, knowledge and political understanding that turns comrades into cadres. Win new allies, supporters and members for the CP. All local Party organisations must carry out some form of local campaigning. A good starting point would be to conduct activity at local shopping centres, people’s festivals and market squares. The location should be planned carefully to have maximum impact, where the Party's presence will bringit into contact with workers and their families. This may be somewhere near a large workplace, a town hall or a railway or bus station where people wait and provide a ready audience. A small branch might focus on a regular pitch at a Trades Council, peace, solidarity or other local meeting, or on a Saturday morning in a town square or shopping area. Preparation is vital if the Party's presence is going to be effective, lifting and maintaining the morale of those taking part – and enthusing them for the next mobilisation. Plan it well in advance and, if possible, make it a regular weekly or monthly commitment. Usually, it is much better (and easier) to carry out one or two commitments regularly and properly, than organising last-minute and piecemeal initiatives. Organisers should plan ahead about what to do if someone expresses interest in the Party: record their contact information, give them a copy of What We Stand For, invite them for an informal discussion or to a future event, add them to a database of allies and contacts. The first point about local campaigning is that it should rarely be done alone, especially when there may be safety and security considerations. The stronger the public campaigning presence, the greater will be the impact. Invite members and supporters – and other progressive organisations where appropriate – to take part. Where possible, make the work a communal activity and share the responsibility for making it a success. Sometimes, Party members and supporters do not participate in activities because they have not been invited, or the invitation has been made too late. Always aim to identify a campaign team, sharing various tasks such as ordering and bringing the
Morning Star and Party materials, staffing a stall and talking to passers-by, distributing leaflets, selling papers etc. Sometimes (and not as often as anti-communist propaganda might suggest), a member of the public might voice their displeasure at our existence. Campaigners should avoid getting embroiled in heated or lengthy argument. It is usually a waste of time and effort that would be better spent on other, more receptive and reasonable members of the public.
Types of public campaigning Leafleting. The CP website has a variety of topical leaflets that can be downloaded and printed off for distribution. Or Party organisations can produce their own local leaflets or broadsheets, or download materials produced by other branches and customise them (go to www.issuu.com/ communist_party). While Party centre will print bulk orders, the costs – notably the postage – often make this a more expensive option than producing locally. Leafleting is a one-way propaganda activity, best done in a concentrated way on a particular issue, e.g. when an estate is to vote on housing issues, or a local area is to be affected by transport cuts. If it is not door-to-door, make sure that you choose a popular throughway and do not cause an obstruction. A merchandise and publications stall. The Party centrally produces a wide range of pamphlets, magazines, books, flags, badges, DVDs and a host of other materials that can be ordered at a discounted rate. Stall organisers should always ensure that there are copies of the Morning Star on sale – these can be ordered through any good local newsagent or via the paper's circulation department (which can arrange for bulk orders to be dropped at someone's door). Make this a regular commitment. Again, to avoid problems with the police or store holders, stalls should be sited on public property and not cause an obstruction. Petitions, posters and questionnaires. These create a focus of attention for interested passers-by. Any petition should clearly state to whom it is addressed and should focus on a relevant local or national issue. A 'people’s referendum'. Choose a local, national or international issue, which elicits strong opinions. The EU is a good example. Draw up your own ballot paper, make a ballot box and let people cast their vote. Remember to publicise the result in the local and Party media and at the next street stall. People may be interested in the result! Public speaking. A loud-hailer can be an effective complement to leafleting, paper selling, petitioning or a conducting a people’s referendum. Concentrate on a few key points central to the main campaigning issue. Work out beforehand the best location in terms of visibility and range. Calling door-to-door. This is an opportunity for a team to collect petition signatures or canvass people about their view on an issue in which there is significant public interest. Don't be afraid to say that you are calling on behalf of the local Communist Party if it is a Party campaign. Flyposting and stickering are generally illegal and can result in prosecution, both for the
individual and the CP. Some local authorities are punitive, while others are more relaxed provided the flyposting is largely confined to derelict or unused properties, edge of town commuter routes, the back of road signs in remote or industrial areas, etc. Then, a display of posters or stickers can be very effective. In all circumstances, keep away from residential or commercial premises that are in use. Putting up posters and/or stickers is generally most effective when publicising a local event or during an election campaign. Slogan painting is even more likely to result in prosecution if the perpetrators are caught by the police, and should only be considered in relation to major issues and on walls that are more or less 'public' property. National and local demonstrations. There is a wide range of activities for CP members and supporters to undertake at demonstrations. These include holding flags, placards and banners on the Party contingent, speaking on the platform, using a megaphone to speak to onlookers on the day or lead the chanting (some slogans should be decided in advance), selling or distributing publications – not least the Morning Star – and staffing a Party or Morning Star stall. Comrades may also want to spend some time with workmates and fellow activists on other contingents. Unless they have a specific task as part of another contingent, CP members are urged to march with the Party. Nowadays, our contingent on most major national demonstrations is large and colourful, with a welcoming and vibrant atmosphere. Encourage friends, colleagues and close allies to join us on the CP contingent. In advance of any demonstration, the relevant party organisation should meet to plan and allocate tasks. Next, there is work to be done to maximise the turnout, not only but including for the Party contingent. Friends and allies may also be willing to distribute Party literature and sell the Morning Star on the day. Proper planning beforehand takes relatively little effort, but helps achieve a strong impact. Local banners and flags. While branch banners may require substantial investment in terms of time and money, they will last! A special fund-raising appeal or event would help pay for one. The Party centrally is always willing to help with the design and production of banners. Several local Party branches have adopted an effective solution in the short term by adapting the existing Party flags, painting or sticking on their name. Online presence and local newsletters. A regular newsletter can help to maintain contact with members, especially if they are spread out over a wide geographical area or age profile. The main aim, however, should be to distribute newsletters to a much wider layer of supporters and to use it to project the Party in a particular locality (perhaps one that has been targeted for a local election contest in the future). It is vital that every local Party organisation should aim to have a substantial presence online with a website, blog, facebook page and/or twitter feed. The Party centrally can supply direct assistance, advice and training to undertake this work. Using electronic means to circulate newsletters and other communiqués to members, allies, contacts and the local media is cheaper and far more effective, but an identified comrade should also take responsibility for passing on printed copies to members and supporters who do not have access to the internet. Local and regional versions of central electronic newsletters can be arranged with the Party’s central
communications team. Building a local network. The Party's campaigning activity will only be effective if, in the course of local work, comrades develop a network of friends and contacts who can then be informed about (and where possible involved in) future events. Printed or online materials produced locally should always carry a box or form through which people can provide their contact details to receive local and central Party information (including a free subscription to our centrally produced News & Views bulletin) and apply to join the CP and/ or Young Communist League. Routinely collect email addresses and other contact information from supporters, allies and contacts if they want to be kept in touch with the Party's views and activities. These can then be
Public Speaking Tips There is no single right way to speak in public. Develop your own style, one with which you are comfortable. Work on it. Ask friends and allies to be honest with their criticism of your performance. Learn from your mistakes and shortcomings. You will get better as you become more involved in working class politics and get more practice. Always believe in what you say. Always try to convince people of the validity of your case – do not assume that because they are at the meeting, they are convinced or even in agreement! The following tips might help. Know your subject. Preparation is essential. Research your case. Contact other knowledgeable comrades for advice. Make notes for your speech. As you gain experience, these can be reduced over time from a fairly full script to a list of main headings, sub-headings and key quotes and statistics. Plan the structure of your speech carefully. Decide what the main points are that you want to convey to the audience. Announce what you will speaking about. End on a strong note to sum up the position you have taken. Keep within any time limit and don’t speak for too long. Don’t try and include everything that you have learnt, or everything that could be said, about the subject. Enliven your speech with a striking quote, a stunning fact or a simple but telling statistic or two. Ask a rhetorical question and then answer it. Try a little humour where appropriate (but be careful and avoid ironic comments that might be taken literally). Do these things only in moderation – and avoid language that is too flowery, technical or complex. Be careful not to come across as an arrogant know-all. There will usually be at least one person in the audience who knows as much as you if not more about issues you are raising. When addressing an open-air meeting, in particular, be brief and to the point. To break up longer talks and lectures, don't be afraid to use props or audio-visual devices (including projectors, powerpoint, video, etc.). After the meeting, take time to meet people in the audience and answer their questions. Be prepared to record their contact details if they want further information. Make sure that a copy of your presentation, report and/or video of the meeting is available for Party and other websites. A press release should also be sent to the Morning Star and relevant local media outlets.
added to local and central databases as appropriate. The contact lists and databases of broad movement organisations should not be misused for the circulation of Party materials. EC speaking tours. Once or twice a year, Party centre initiates a major programme of public meetings across Britain. These have been very successful when enough central and local preparation has been done. Wherever possible, branches should aim to take the opportunity to host a meeting as part of these tours. The theme of each tour is designed to build support for the Party, its programme and key policies. Our broad political approach also makes it possible in many areas for friends and allies in the labour and progressive movements to join Party speakers on the platform. Established and larger Party branches may like to use the tour to hold meetings in new areas, as part of a strategy to extend Party influence and organisation. Some branches have also used the tour, very successfully, to hold supplementary formal or informal meetings in local schools and colleges or at the Trades Council, making full use of the main Party speaker's visit to the area. Public meetings. Organising a public meeting is an important undertaking which requires prior thought, planning and preparation. Every local Party organisation should organise at least one public meeting a year in the name of the CP. The rewards can be considerable, especially when particular issues have a resonance in the local community. Such meetings are an opportunity to strengthen the Party's alliances with other local progressive and labour movement forces. Think of these factors carefully when deciding the topic and speakers for the meeting. Some meetings will be an integral component of the Party's local campaigning strategy. Others might be called in response to an emergency event such as the announcement of a local hospital closure or the threat of another imperialist military intervention overseas. In each case, the local CP organisation should consider carefully what it wants to come out of the meeting, setting objectives against which the outcomes can be measured. For example, is the main purpose to persuade more people to buy and read Britain's Road to Socialism, to attract new or existing friends and allies, to win recruits to the Party, or to lay the basis for establishing a broad-based campaigning group on a particular issue? Depending on the topic and purpose of the event, it may be more appropriate to convene under the banner of the Morning Star, consulting and involving allies and trade union bodies at the earliest opportunity. Working in the broad movement. Building a movement capable of challenging the power of state-monopoly capitalism can only be done by involving a broad range of forces. The perspective is to forge a popular, democratic anti-monopoly alliance, with the organised working class at its core. Communists playing an active and leading role in broad movements â€“ whether in the trade union movement or bodies campaigning among women, unemployed workers, pensioners, students and in such spheres as peace, the environment, international solidarity and anti-racism â€“ is vital to the struggle for socialism in Britain. In the current period, the People's Charter provides an excellent platform for advancing this work and is a top priority for Party organisations and members. The Charter has been endorsed by the TUC annual conference, the TUC women's conference and the Scottish and Welsh
TUCs. The People's Charter and its six principles also form part of the campaigning work plan of the local trades union councils. Thus CP branches and local People's Charter committees can legitimately approach their local trades council, request attendance at its meetings and help promote broad-based activity on all the issues of the day, developing the popular democratic anti-monopoly alliance in practice. Independent CP activity should not be counter-posed to work in the broad movement. The working class needs both a mass, broad, class-based movement that challenges the existing order and a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party that fulfils a strategic role in this movement, developing political consciousness and providing cadres for the class struggle. Individually and collectively, communists should aim to be involved in both the broad movement and in independent Party work. However, until the CP is much bigger, this may not always be possible in any given locality. Regular local Party branch meetings are therefore essential to report, plan, guide and coordinate all types of political work. Special attention should be paid to work in the local trade union movement, particularly in trades councils, since this is where the majority of class-conscious workers are organised. Wherever possible, CP members should: Be active in their relevant trade union branch, trades council and trade union equalities structures at the local or regional level. Provide support to workers in dispute, visiting picket lines and offering to help with producing and distributing leaflets, forming local support committees in the case of prolonged disputes and providing information to the Morning Star as the only major media outlet that supports workers in struggle. Submit resolutions to local, regional and national union structures based on model resolutions in Needs of the Hour. Report on their activities to the relevant CP body or officer at local, district/ nation and central levels, as appropriate. Social life. Communists are revolutionaries. We fight for a socialist future so that everyone can enjoy the best that life has to offer – education, culture, friendship, family life, sport and other leisure pursuits. Communists do not present an attractive picture of the socialist future if we appear to be one-dimensional, grim and dispassionate fanatics. We treasure humanity, fully participate in it and try to reflect everything that is good about it. That is why Party members should be encouraged to have interests and friendships that go beyond their political commitments and the CP. Their participation in wider circles helps to dispel any unfavourable, false images that people might have about communists, while keeping the Party and its members in touch with every aspect of society. Being a communist, socialist or progressive should be an enjoyable experience as well as a challenging one. The labour movement in Britain has a rich and vibrant history that is worth celebrating. Organise cultural and social events, open to all, to allow people to meet one another in friendly, relaxed circumstances. Publicise and encourage members and allies to become involved in leisure and cultural activities. If Party members and acquaintances go for a drink after a meeting, don't leave some people – especially if they are new – uninvited, unless there is very good reason. Within the Party and associated circles, we should work to create and maintain a supportive and friendly atmosphere.
Fighting Elections Electoral work provides an excellent opportunity for us to take our policies to working-class communities. During elections, people are more open to political ideas and more willing than usual to discuss political issues. As communists, election campaigning also enables us to present the full range of our policies and our vision of a socialist future, rather than just highlighting single issues. At election time, too, people also tend to express their alienation from Britain's political system most sharply, providing an opportunity for Marxists to explain the failings of capitalist democracy and of the capitalist system itself. Contesting local council elections is the cheapest, most effective way in which communists can carry out electoral work. Not only can candidates contest these without having to pay a deposit, but electoral campaigning can be much more focused on real issues not dictated by the national mass media. Although we should have no illusions about the number of votes that CP candidates are likely to win, these tend to be higher in local elections than at a General Election, which is good for local morale and reputation. However, weighed against this is the reality that parliamentary elections have the advantage of attracting more publicity and possible media attention, as well as offering free Royal Mail distribution of the Party's election address to local households. Election broadcasts require a high level of participation in European, Westminster and Scottish and Welsh national elections, although even this has been achieved in some circumstances. However, it is also important to bear in mind that the Communist Party is not primarily or mainly an electoral force, unlike the bourgeois and reformist parties. For us, it is essential that campaigning activity continues between elections. Communists should be active in local community and workplace battles continuously, not just candidates who turn up on the doorstep or ballot paper every few years to ask people's votes. All types of campaigning can be used to strengthen each other, raise the profile of the Party and win new allies and members for the CP. Properly conducted, electoral work compels Party organisations to engage in the issues that affect people locally, distribute publicity materials on a large scale, engage in discussion and debate and reaffirm the existence of our party on a mass scale. Deciding where to contest Ideally, wards or constituencies should be chosen in areas where there the CP has a record of campaigning work. However, this should not exclude the possibility of breaking new ground and getting stuck into local issues for the first time as a result of standing a candidate. Indeed, it is important to identify new seats to target in order to broaden Party work in your area. Remember, our electoral work aims to project the Party and its policies, raise the important questions that other parties neglect, show how immediate local questions are related to the broader struggle, and to win new members and allies. Strategically, our participation in elections should aim to strengthen the prospects for building a popular, democratic anti-monopoly alliance. This means, among other things, that we should avoid standing where our intervention could cost viable left candidates â€“ especially Labour ones â€“ a seat, or let in the Tories or fascists. Notwithstanding this, where we face the charge of 'splitting the Labour vote' or jeopardising a
Labour victory, the point should be made that CP candidates stand in order to raise the level of political consciousness and debate. This usually has the effect of boosting the turnout and increasing the left vote generally, often to the benefit of Labour candidates. In party terms, our campaigns have the positive motive of promoting the CP and its policies, rather than a negative one of standing in opposition to Labour or other progressive organisations. Labour, Green and other supporters have no right to assume that electors who have voted CP would otherwise have turned out to vote for them! Very often, standing a single Communist Party candidate in a multi-seat council ward, where they exist, offers the best of all worlds. It tends to maximise the CP vote, because some Labour, Green or other progressive electors will give one of their votes to our candidate, while diluting the impact of a Communist vote on the prospects for left Labour candidates. However much we might want to see other candidates do well, urging second or third votes for other candidates can create complications for them (and us) in terms of the Electoral Commission's campaign spending rules. Wherever it is decided to stand, the decision should be taken by the local Party organisation as early as possible. This enables work to begin in terms of researching local issues, producing an introductory leaflet and identifying local people on the electoral register whose signatures will be required on a nomination form. Choosing the candidate Ideally, the CP candidate will be someone known in the local community through their participation in a local community organisation or campaign or in the trade union movement. It is also best if they are confident public speakers, able to think quickly on their feet and respond to questions at hustings and on the doorstep. However, it may still be possible to mount a decent campaign with a candidate who has yet to develop all of these qualities. Indeed, in the process of running election campaigns, comrades will find that they develop their skills in these areas. Appointing an election agent By law, every candidate must have an election agent who is responsible for managing the election campaign. The name of the agent has to be submitted by the same deadline as that for the candidate. If no agent is appointed, the position automatically falls to the candidate â€“ although this is best avoided, in order to select someone with an aptitude for administration or simply to share the burden of work. The agent or candidate has to collect nomination papers (and the electoral register for the area) from the electoral services department of the local authority in good time. Arrangements also need to be made through the Party's national election agent or Party centre to receive a letter authorising local use of the Party's name and symbol. Well before polling day, these then need to be completed and submitted on time (although it is highly advisable to to take them into the electoral services office at least one day before the deadline, leaving time for any errors to be corrected). The election agent should attend the count and must ensure that correct financial records relating to the campaign are kept and later submitted. The election agent's address (either home or that of a Party office) must be within the particular or adjoining Parliamentary constituency or, in the case of local elections, within the local authority area. For up-to-date regulations and
full details on the agent's responsibilities, go to www.electoralcommission.org.uk. Setting up an election team While we should aim to maximise the number of people involved in the campaign, it is good practice to form a core collective body to plan and organise the work. This should comprise the candidate, election agent and other key local cadres. Designated comrades should act as media/ press officer and treasurer for the campaign. The aim of the campaign team should not be to do all the leg work themselves, but to ensure that it gets done by Party members, allies, friends and relatives. Election time is when many people who would not normally carry out political activity for the CP are willing to distribute leaflets at work or in their street, make a donation or display a window poster. Drawing comrades in from surrounding areas will not only benefit the campaign locally; it can help to lay the basis for future contests in neighbouring wards or constituencies. A successful and dynamic campaign will come from an efficient, hard-working and innovative campaign team. Raising funds Elections don’t come cheap so it’s important to set realistic budgets for materials and other campaigning costs. A £500 deposit is required for Westminster parliamentary elections (and refunded when 5 per cent or of the vote or more is achieved). The deposit can be even higher for some regional and national elections. The Party centrally will usually cover deposits for House of Commons contests, but all such contests have to be authorised in advance by the Party's executive committee. Printing materials will also cost money: to make use of free Royal Mail delivery in non-local elections, thousands of election addresses will need to be printed and paid for. One of the main benefits of contesting local elections is that no deposit is required – every penny raised can go on campaigning! Party organisations should not rely on Party members alone to cover the election expenses. Local allies in the labour and progressive movements can be approached, especially if they can be shown an attractive leaflet or collecting sheet setting out why the communists are campaigning and how their money will help. Fundraising can be made part of the campaign itself – for instance, by putting on gigs, poetry nights or socials, raising money and strengthening the Party's relations with progressive forces locally. Start campaigning! The 'Types of public campaigning' section of this Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to the kinds of activity that can enliven an election campaign. But in order to concentrate fully on this public work, it is vital to ensure that all legal requirements are fulfilled as early as possible. Nomination papers must be collected and completed and any election deposit raised. Then the mass campaigning can begin. In particular, canvassing door-to-door and in shopping areas should not be treated as an optional extra and left to the last week or two before polling day. In can be a valuable source of information, electoral support, practical assistance and even Party recruitment. However, not eveyrone will feel confident enough to undertake canvassing, which is why potential volunteers should be provided with a training session. This should equip canvassers with a knowledge of basic do's and don'ts and a clear idea of our canvassing objectives. The count The time and venue of the count will be announced by the local authority, but
generally it will be held in a school or town hall and will begin as soon as polling stations close. All CP candidates and agents should be at the count to participate in decisions about unclear or spoilt ballot papers. The collation and counting of votes may also reveal significant patterns in terms of locality and, in multi-seat wards, combined preferences. This information could be of use in determining future electoral and non-electoral work in the area. Agents or candidates should ensure that Party centre receives full details of local contests contested by the CP locally, preferably by the following morning. These are not always available on council websites. Election accounts A record of all campaign expenditure should be kept as each expense is incurred, along with invoices, receipts and other relevant documentation. All candidates have to complete a written return of income and expenditure to the relevant electoral services department within a month after polling day. This needs to be copied to Party centre so that it can be incorporated into a central statement of accounts sent into the Electoral Commission. Reviewing the campaign As soon as possible after the campaign has finished, the core election team and the Party branch or district/nation committee should meet to review the whole campaign. In particular, an assessment should be made of successes, failures, strengths and weaknesses. Lessons from the campaign should be recorded so that they can be utilised in future election contests. (See also under 'Donations' in the 'Finance and Fund-raising' section of this Handbook).
Page 26 Using images An appropriate image will draw the attention of the reader and illustrate the central case that is being made. Humour is often a effective weapon. Political cartoons have a long tradition in British politics and we are fortunate to have a number of talented cartoonists and illustrators in the CP and wider labour movement who are willing to help local Party organisations. Time is well spent considering which images to use. The choice is wide and 'clip art' should be avoided at all times.
Contact information and imprints Local CP publications should either have a box where readers can apply for more information and Party membership, or at least display local or central contact details (phone number and/or website, email or postal address). The law also requires that published material should carry the company's name and address ('imprint') if printed commercially, although this can be replaced by a 'Published and printed by the Communist Party' imprint with a local address. Separate legal provisions apply to election materials, where the law is rigorously applied.
Communist Party Leaflet Side 1
'White space' There is a temptation to pack everything into whatever space is available, leaving the leaflet looking congested, poorly designed and badly planned. Ideally, there should be a decent-sized margin (1cm on A5, 1.5 or 2cm on A4) around the edge of the page, gaps between headings and text and spaces between paragraphs.
Sloganeering It should be possible to sum up arguments and demands in a couple of slogans. 'Workers of all lands unite', 'Peace, bread and land', 'Socialism is the future' are effective slogans because they are short, punchy and memorable. Slogans are blunt instruments with little room for nuance. In headlines and slogans, make use of linguistic devices such as alliteration (using the same letter at the beginning of each word e.g. Big Business Breeds Bankruptcy), popular sayings and puns. Plosive sounds (p, b, c and k) and sibilant ones (hissing s) at the beginning of words can make a slogan more memorable.
'Branding' It is important to be consistent in the use of emblems, formulations etc. Several local and regional Party organisations have developed their own variations on the Party logo, incorporating into it an iconic image, symbol, building or person linked to their locality. At the same time, it's always important to make it clear that the local Party organisation is connected to the national one, by using common symbols and wording. Make sure you use one of the three official symbols of the Party registered with the electoral commission: the hammer & dove; the Eric Gill hammer & sickle; and the
Handbook Design and emphasis Using a large variety of different fonts (typefaces), colours, sizes and formats in a single publication invariably looks more of a confusing mess than a creative achievement. As a general rule, a different format should be employed only to emphasise a small number of points or features. If too many words are capitalised, emboldened, underlined or italicised, readers are more likely to notice the formatting than the actual content. Use one or two types of formatting at most and use them sparingly.
traditional Soviet hammer & sickle. References should be to the 'the Communist Party' and 'the CP' rather than to 'the Communist Party of Britain' and 'the CPB'. This emphasises our continuity with the past, from 1920, and reaffirms our position as the only communist party in Britain of any significance in the labour movement. We are not the 'British Communist Party', the 'British CP' or 'British communists', but 'Britain's Communist Party', 'Britain's CP' and 'Britain's communists'. In Scotland and Wales, the Party identifies itself by those distinctive nationalities.
Page 27 Leaflet Side 2
Fonts and styles Be consistent. The CP centrally uses Gill Sans or Bodoni and the Morning Star uses Myriad Pro. Most font schemes will come with enough variations (extra bold, medium, condensed etc.) to allow use of the same font scheme for headings, sub-headings and the body of the text. Use font sizes consistently and scale up gradually (e.g. 10pt for the body, 16pt subheading, 28pt heading).
Writing & Designing Materials Writing and editing text Just as you can't get a quart into a pint pot, you can't get 500 words into a one sided leaflet. The maximum amount of words for a well designed one-sided leaflet A5 is 200 words. Much more than that and the reader will spend most of the time squinting at the page, rather than absorbing its content. Before you start writing, think of four or five main arguments to back up the central point to be made. Then develop them a little, making use of sub-headings and bullet points or numbered lists. Care should be taken to avoid libel. Allegations that could damage a person's reputation (whether or not they are named) can have severe repercussions. Whether they are true, well meant or can be substantiated will not necessarily avoid legal costs or defeat in court. Party centre can offer different levels of advice and information. In any event, attacks on people's character or integrity are usually best avoided in local publications. Criticism should be political in content.
Media & Communications Usually, the mass media only report the Communist Party in order to damage it. However, this isn’t always the case particularly where local papers and broadcasters are concerned. Several local CP organisations receive regular coverage for events because they have a clear communications strategy and a record of providing well-informed, current and professional looking material. Getting local coverage Journalists' diaries fill up very quickly, so they should be given plenty of notice if they are to turn up to an event. One way to do this is to send out an initial press release a few weeks beforehand, providing brief details about the local event and promising more later on. It’s also important to find out when your local newspapers copy deadlines are. This might also help you decide when’s best to hold your event. There’s no point, for example, issuing a press statement or holding a media conference at 12 noon on a Thursday if the biggest local paper went to press at 11.30am on Wednesday. Keep a record and the contact details of any reporters that turn up to local events. You should also be ensuring that you write up a report of any events, take photos and where useful, video. This material can then be put up online and offered or provided to media organisations that did not send someone down. A follow-up media statement should also be sent out after the event, unless a previous one has already reported everything that would be of interest to reporters.
How to develop your
Use existing skills and expertise: the Party has many comrades with experience of working in and with the media. Workload permitting, they are usually willing to help local Party organisations with information and advice. Develop relationships: make a point of establishing good relations with local journalists, reporters and editors. Don’t automatically assume that anyone who works for the 'capitalist media' are hostile to the CP or the left. Many are after all trade unionists and even if they don’t have any sympathy with what they think our politics are, they may still be interested in a ‘good story’. If you become known as a good source of reliable information, journalists will come to you when a story breaks, even if they disagree with the CP. It is worthwhile having an identified media officer, whose role should be to build relationships with local journalists and media outlets. These relationships can, in time, be utilised by other local progressive bodies, further strengthening the role of the Party locally. Make the most of the Morning Star: the paper is a vital resource for the CP and the labour movement, and should be provided with reports of activity even though these may not always be published. Read the Supply information and reports to the paper in the Morning Star section. Use ‘new’ media: you can develop an extensive Party presence at little to no cost by utilising the internet and social media platforms. Editors of local blogs are often more receptive than local newspapers and other more ‘traditional’ outlets to carry local Party press releases etc. Training sessions are available for comrades at centrally organised events such as 21st Century Marxism and CP building schools to help you develop your own presence. Be relevant, imaginative and interesting: given
Writing a media release Most news stories the speed and spread of technological developments, particularly those carried in local newspapers the news cycle is shorter than it has ever been,. It's are the result of well timed, well presented and much better to prepare something well in advance well written media/press releases. There are some and then be ready to edit it later in the light of key things you need to bear in mind when writing a developments, rather than risk missing deadlines. Don’t just send routine media releases, release:
Handbook local media strategy
Page 29 Many local media outlets are unlikely to be interested
in a political communique that does not involve
journalists are more likely to cover something a bit both the local community in some way and an ‘different’ e.g. handing in a tax bill to the local branch activity of some sort. They will prefer a statement of a notorious tax dodger. Focus on local issues or that relates to a local meeting or event of some find a local angle to a national or international one. Lead, don't follow: there are a multitude of local issues that are never dealt with by the media. Most local media outlets have dwindling resources and rely increasingly for copy on freelancers, central agencies and their own readers. Therefore, don't just react to developments – try to shape public debate as well. It's worthwhile allocating a comrade to do in-depth research into a particular issue over a longer period, and then approaching a local media contact once campaign objectives and activities have been decided around this issue. Know your subject: If local comrades know more about council housing than about the NHS, then focus on that issue rather than blustering and blundering on the other one. If, as is happening more often, a local radio or television station wants to interview a Party representative, it is important to: Establish the subject matter and format of the interview beforehand. Send someone who can be relied upon to speak coherently, calmly and broadly in-line with policy. Ensure that the comrade is knowledgeable about the issue(s) being discussed. Produce a fact sheet summarising key statistics and arguments. Anticipate the possibility that others may raise issues in keeping with anti-Communist prejudices and stereotypes (Stalin, the 'death' of Communism etc.) Contact the Party centrally if you need advice/ information Make the most of these opportunities. Otherwise you may not be asked in future.
kind, even if that is no more than the intention to send or hand in a letter of protest. A media release should be brief and concise; no more than six paragraphs, most of which should be no more than one or two sentences long. A short, catchy heading should reflect the main content (e.g. 'Communists protest against hospital closure'). The opening sentence should feature the most important point of the story. goes to the heart of the story (e.g. 'Croydon Communists held a protest outside the Town Hall last night, against the planned closure of the local Mayday Hospital'. The statement should make clear who is saying, doing or organising what – and where, when and why. A quote or two from a named individual involved in the story will add variety and human interest. After sending an email to a reporter or newsdesk, it is usually advisable to follow it up very quickly with a phone call, checking that it has been received and offering any further information. The media release should clearly display at the top and/ or bottom the name, position and telephone number of a contact person who can answer queries and provide more details. Conventionally, at the foot of the media statement (which should be marked by a line saying END). there should be a section headed 'Notes for Editors'. This is the place for background information, less important detail and any links to relevant social media such as email, website, Facebook and Twitter. These should be set out in brief, numbered points.
Develop and export success: if you develop a particularly successful approach to media work, provide assistance to neighbouring Party organisations. Focus your energies on what works. If you build up an effective blog and a presence on Twitter, but can't quite crack Facebook, then don't be afraid to leave that for later. It's better to do a couple of things Holding a press conference Any press or media well than to spread your efforts too thinly. Most conference should be organised as professionally as importantly, tell us about it! possible, because mischievous or hostile reporters
will gleefully report mistakes and shortcomings. Extra effort should be made to contact and attract the local media beforehand. A properly arranged venue and refreshments will impress. Media personnel should be welcomed, the media conference should be competently chaired, with the chairperson and Party speakers very clear about what they are going to say â€“ and how predictable and difficult questions will be handled. If the Party has a guest speaking at the conference who is a national or international figure, the local media should also have been informed that she or he might be available to visit media venues for an interview. Maximising local coverage Nearly every local media outlet has letters/comment pages as well as comment sections on their website. Not only can this be a way of getting the Party into the relevant publication it can also serve as a platform for driving traffic to local Party websites, blogs etc. Morning Star editorials and CP Press statements can help to provide the basis for a letter but you will need to draw out the specific local conditions. You should ensure that they not overly long or abusive â€“ in fact being moderately complementary to the local paper is likely to enhance the chance of publication â€“ and that they are a direct response to articles, editorials, letters etc. in a recent edition. Phone-ins on local radio stations and forums on local website blogs offer similar opportunities to promote the Party and its views.
The Party centrally uses a variety of methods and platforms to communicate with members, supporters, the labour movement and the general public. Information and additional contacts (particularly e-mail addresses) held locally should always be shared with the Party centrally to ensure an effective stream of information.
Communist News & Views is a regular ebulletin for members, supporters, media outlets, national and international progressive organisations and other contacts. The main aim of CN&V is to drive traffic towards the central Party website. Local and regional editions (which will go out to all relevant subscribers) can be arranged with the Party's central web team. Party Commissions can also produce special editions to go to anyone who has indicated an interest in that area of struggle. During the preCongress period, several special editions are published featuring articles from comrades at all levels of the Party.
CPtv, twitter, facebook and social media. Numerous Party members and local organisations maintain their own blogs and websites. Our central web team can provide information and assistance to set one up and integrate it into the central communications system. The CP maintains an active presence on all 'Web 2.0' platforms (where sites have mostly user-generated content), links to which can be found on the central website. However, we rely heavily on the work done by comrades in localities by specialised teams. Detailed guidelines for each platform (twitter, facebook, youtube, wikipedia etc.) can be found on the secure members area of the site or obtained from the Party centrally.
Leaflets and promotional Page 31 materials. The Party centrally produces a wide range of other materials for local distribution. Bulk copies of leaflets, stickers and posters can be ordered at no extra cost.
Party Organiser is a regular electronic bulletin for local organisers. It summarises Unity! a bulletin for union forthcoming events and conferences festivals, major industrial disputes and days of initiatives, gives a lead for local action. Get in touch with the Party work and highlights key decisions of the Partyâ€™s central Trade Union Co-ordinator structures. If you arenâ€™t firstname.lastname@example.org to help make sure receiving Party organiser but editions of Unity! are published want to contact webteam@communistand distributed.. party.org.uk General communications. Any member or local organisation may raise issues to be discussed and/or responded to by the relevant central body and officer. Using the 'contact us' form on the Party website will help ensure it goes to the appropriate department or officer. Individual e-mails are regularly sent out by the Party centrally to members to draw their attention to particular initiatives, decisions and issues of concern. The rising cost of postal distribution means that it is mainly the responsibility of local organisations to maintain contact with members not on e-mail, although the Party centrally still occasionally sends letters and materials by post.
Manifesto Press is a publishing house run by Party members communist-party.org.uk which has Almost all information, news, already reports and notices of events produced a valuable range of can be found on the central books on imperialism, the Party website. This features an Cuban education system, online shop, videos and other British labour movement and resources and is an important CP history, local government hub for communists across and economic strategy. They Britain. Input from local provide an excellent source of members and organisations is political education. important to ensure that the Accompanying study materials site is as relevant, informative have been produced for some and interesting as possible. A titles and books are usually secure members' area also available at a bulk discount for hosts resources, documents Party organisations and other useful information. Every member should set www.communist-party.org.uk as their browser's home page.
The Morning Star The Morning Star and the Communist Party have a unique political relationship, not only through our shared history but also because the editorial policy of the paper is based on our party's programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism. As BRS itself makes clear, the Morning Star has a vital strategic role to play as Britain's only socialist and co-operatively owned daily newspaper. Nevertheless, the Morning Star is not the 'official organ' of the Communist Party. Its predecessor, the Daily Worker, ceased being so in 1945. The clear majority of Morning Star readers are not CP members. It is important, therefore, that communists do not talk and act as if the paper belongs to the Party and is subject to CP commands – it is not. Rather, the paper is owned by the People’s Press Printing Society (PPPS), a co-operative of readers and supporters who own shares in the Society. At the annual general meetings of the PPPS, the shareholders present elect members to the management committee which directs the paper's affairs and appoints the editor. In recent years, a number of trade unions have taken out the £20,000 maximum shareholding in the PPPS, which entitles them to a seat on the management committee. However, the co-operative's rules limit the proportion of such seats, while shareholdings of every size exercise one vote only at the AGM. Each year at the AGM, the shareholders have reaffirmed Britain's Road to Socialism (BRS) as the basis of the paper's editorial policy. This is most clearly and consistently reflected in the daily Star Comment column, which is essential reading for all CP members. The broad approach of BRS means that the Morning Star carries a wide range of views and reports from across the labour and progressive movements. This breadth of coverage is essential for the paper's survival and development, while also increasing the paper's influence and keeping its readers well informed. Without the Morning Star, the labour and progressive movements – including the Communist Party – would lose a rich source of news, analysis and discussion. The Party itself would lose one of the very few avenues open to it to present its policies to trade unionists, political activists and other socialists. For all of these reasons, therefore, all CP members are expected to buy and read the paper every day, and to promote it whenever possible. Ask not what Morning Star can do for you, but what you can do for the Morning Star! There are plenty of ways in which Party members and organisations can help the paper to flourish: Buy the print edition every day. Where possible, a second copy that can then be left on public transport or in other public places so that people unfamiliar with the paper are introduced to it. One of the challenges faced by the Morning Star is securing access to the market to gain passing sales. Often a retailer will cease to stock the paper if it is not sold, or wholesalers will withdraw the paper from its distribution round. Place a daily order with your newsagent rather than making a casual purchase. If you do not have a local newsagent, subscribe to the online e-edition. Print circulation and paid sales are essential to the paper's survival and expansion.
Encourage your local trade union branch or Trades Council and their members to order the Morning Star every day. They can also become newspaper proprietors by taking out shares in the PPPS. Explain to friends, colleagues and allies why they should become regular readers. Hand them your copy when you are done with it. This is a good way of breaking the ice and overcoming preconceptions. Acknowledge that the paper is not always perfect and that readers are not expected to agree with every article (where else would they do so?). Point out that its loss would remove the one daily national newspaper in Britain not owned by multimillionaires and big business corporations. Order 'special drops' of the Morning Star for local events. Bulk orders can be placed in advance with the paper's circulation department for delivery to any address, including personal ones. Help the paper's Fighting Fund reach its monthly target of ÂŁ16,000. This is crucial to the paperâ€™s existence in the absence of big advertising accounts. Hold regular collections at Party and labour movement meetings and conferences. Organise special fund-raising events such as a sponsored walk or a quiz night. Regular standing orders and online Paypal donations can also be made to the Fund. Conduct town centre and street sales. These can introduce the Morning Star to a new readership. But it should not be presumed that buyers want to join the Communist Party or receive CP literature. Paper sellers should not sell or distribute Party publications at the same time and these should never be inserted inside the paper itself. This does not prevent other comrades from using Party materials nearby, and it should be remembered that promoting the Morning Star also promotes the policies of the CP and the broad left. Establish or join Readers & Supporters Groups. These carry out a range of functions on behalf of the paper, promoting sales, raising money, supplying reports and providing a forum for discussion on the left. They should be broad, not confined to CP members or supporters. Some who attend may be unaware of the Party's history and role in political struggle. They may even be under the influence of anti-communism. Such prejudice and misunderstanding is best overcome through debate, discussion and working together to support Britain's only daily paper of the left. More information about Readers & Supporters groups is available from: email@example.com Supply information and reports to the paper. Phone or send in stories about events in localities and their labour and progressive movements. (See the Media and Communications section of this Handbook for tips). Use any subsequent coverage to introduce and promote the paper among local people. The Morning Star needs local and regional reports as well as national and international items in order to broaden its appeal. Local efforts to provide these help compensate for the paper's slender news-gathering resources. However, it should be noted that not every report sent into the paper will be published. Giving notice of a newsworthy event will help the paper's journalists decide how best to cover
the story, whether that is to carry a preview item, arrange a phone conversation or email report on the day, publish a full-blown feature or despatch a reporter to the event itself. The paper receives thousands of emails a day, so a follow-up phone call is always useful to draw attention to any particular one. Write a letter. The letters pages are a sign of a lively, interesting paper and an important forum for information and discussion on the left. Letters should be short and deal with the kind of issues covered in the paper. They can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Letters Editor, Morning Star, 52 Beachy Road, London E3 2NS. Advertise! Adverts from CP, labour and progressive movement bodies are an important source of revenue for the Morning Star. They also inform and inspire the paper's readers, helping them to organise and coordinate their activities.
Recruitment & Cadre Development Recruitment is an essential task for Party members and organisations, especially branches. The labour movement needs a bigger, dynamic Communist Party. At times of acute crisis â€“ when it's clearer than ever that capitalism is a system of exploitation, chaos and crisis â€“ it should be possible to increase the size, activity and influence of the Party substantially. Turning outwards New members can be won and retained if Party organisations are engaged in local campaigning, involved in the labour and progressive movement, expanding Morning Star circulation and maintaining a high public profile through activity. Political discussion, Marxist-Leninist education and dealing with organisational matters are vital. But they should guide and improve public, campaigning activity â€“ not act as a substitute for it. Rather than devoting most of their time and energy to internal discussions between Party members, communists should be working in the public domain. Planning recruitment But this will not happen without planned and conscious effort at all levels of the CP. Every member should be encouraged to identify at least one person to recruit over a year, engaging them in discussion and activity, introducing them to the Morning Star and Party publications and inviting them to political events where they can meet other comrades etc. Progress should be planned and reviewed at branch or branch committee meetings. Party centre receives a large number of membership enquiries every year, many of which will need to be followed up rigorously at local level as well as centrally. But the most effective and durable avenue of recruitment is the localised, targeted and pro-active one. Whom to target Sympathetic friends and family members can sometimes be relied upon to help out with Party work, but communists also come across many more activists in the local labour and progressive movements. Some of them may already be members of the Labour or other left or progressive parties. If so, the CP approach is not to jeopardise good working relationships by striking a confrontational pose about political affiliations. This does not preclude reasonable discussion in which such matters may be aired. Nor is it part of the CP approach to 'poach' members from other left organisations, unless the individual concerned is reconsidering their membership. Far more important is to win many more people to left, socialist and communist ideas, who are in no party at all. Some friends, allies and contacts may already be sympathetic to the CP for a variety of different reasons: our party's distinctive history, internationalism and broad non-dogmatic approach set it apart from most left forces in Britain. The power of Marxist ideas and analysis, or the role and prestige of communist parties overseas, may also attract people towards us. How to recruit When on good terms with activists who appear inclined towards left or progressive views, there is usually no problem with simply asking: 'have you ever thought about joining the Communist Party?' The answer may come as a pleasant surprise, or at least lead to an interesting discussion. Some people have not joined because nobody has ever asked them! Others may have objections or reservations based on a misunderstanding, or perceive obstacles at work or in their private life
that can, in reality, be overcome. Friendly discussion will help bring these problems into the open. Joining the Communist Party is seen by many people as a big step to take, especially in one of the world's centres of imperialism, where anti-communism has been an essential part of ruling class and state ideology. Numerous discussions may be needed to explain how strengthening the CP is in the interests of the working class and humanity at home and internationally. Attending Party events and meeting other communists will give potential recruits a wider picture of what Party membership might entail. What is important is that people join the Communist Party because they understand and broadly support our work, analysis and strategy for socialist revolution in Britain. That is why prospective recruits should be introduced to such publications as What We Stand For and Britain's Road to Socialism. It may also be necessary to make clear that Party members are not expected to agree with every dot and comma of CP policy. However, once a policy has been decided in democratic debate, all comrades are expected to unite in action in order to carry it out. Our commitment to inner-party democracy includes procedures to ensure that decisions are regularly reviewed and subject to change. It is unfair both to individuals and to the CP for people to join the Party without understanding what they are joining and why. Thus recruitment should be seen as a process, which may involve set-backs or refusals as well as success – and sometimes in an individual case, all three! Wherever possible, every new recruit should be assigned a ‘mentor’ – a more experienced comrade in the same locality or area of political work. Through discussion and recommended reading, the mentor will assist the new member to develop their understanding of Party policy and Marxism-Leninism, and to expand their political activity in the Party and broader movements. Cadre development A party ‘cadre’ is a committed, active member who takes a conscientious approach to their responsibilities. These latter include attending CP and Morning Star events whenever possible, taking part in activities on behalf of the Party, seeking to play a part in the labour and progressive movements, reading the Morning Star and party publications and extending their political knowledge and understanding. Wherever possible, Party cadres fight for the political strategy and policies of the Party while abiding by the constraints of office within broader movement organisations. On the basis of correct tactics and strategy, they aim to fulfil their duties and give leadership in ways which unite, educate and mobilise those around them. While Communist cadres make no superior claims for themselves as individuals, they endeavour to carry out their political work conscientiously, in a spirit of comradeship and modesty, with consideration for others and a willingness to accept advice and criticism. Clearly, it is a major responsibility of the Communist Party at all levels to help its members to develop as cadres by providing education, training and guidance in political and organisational matters. At the local level, this requires identifying and developing comrades, assessing their strengths and weaknesses and providing them with opportunities to develop their skills and experience. There should be a planned discussion with every active or potentially active member about their areas of experience and knowledge, any relevant interests or enthusiasms that they might have,
and about their present and future work to assist the Party and the broader movement. There may be members whose skills could help set up a website or make a banner. Another comrade could be allocated to play an active role in the local CND or peace group, or in the Palestine or Cuba solidarity campaigns. Members at work should be advised to join a trade union or, where possible, become more active in it. Perhaps they could represent their branch on the local trades council, while retired members might be able to play a role in the pensioners movement locally. Expanding the number of comrades engaged in activity, utilising their skills and developing new cadres, benefits the CP not only locally but at district and national levels as well. Members active in particular areas of trade union and campaigning work should be encouraged to collaborate in Party collectives, especially advisories and commissions, in order to maximise their effectiveness. Setting up a new local branch As the Party has grown recently through activity and recruitment, we have had to face the welcome challenge of establishing new branches. This ensures that new and existing members can have a more local branch, enabling them to be more involved in Party life and activities and so develop politically. Moreover, new branches expand the possibilities for increasing CP influence and membership still further. However, it is important to ensure that the groundwork has been done before a new branch is set up. Rushing into it can lead to failure and demoralisation, perhaps even blighting future efforts. The existing branch (and the district or nation committee which will have to authorise the establishment of any new branch) should therefore consider taking the following steps towards success: Identify the likely geographical or occupational area to be covered by the proposed new branch (the best focus is usually a single village, town, city or part of a city). Approach at least three Party members in that area who would be able and willing to give some time each month to Party work. Seek help, advice and funding from the Party regionally, nationally or centrally. Make contact with potential recruits for the new branch by asking Party centre about ex -members and past applicants, subscribers to Communist News & Views and Communist Review and any other contacts that the Party may have in the area. Conduct a series of informal bilateral and group meetings with existing and prospective members of the proposed new branch, involving branch and district/ nation officers as and when necessary. Place a notice in the Morning Star and on Party websites announcing the intention to form a new branch, with contact details for those who might be interested. Send a lively press release to the local media and the Morning Star telling them why a branch is being formed (see the Media & Communications section of this Handbook for tips). Set the date for a public meeting on a local or national issue that would maximise the attendance of local left and progressive people. Advertise the meeting in the local media and Morning Star and through local publicity work (eg. a town centre stall; notices in local community premises; a leaflet distribution in streets, shopping areas and colleges; careful flyposting).
Invite local trade union and progressive movement activists to come to the meeting and
take part in discussion. Hold a brief launch meeting (just for members) either just before or immediately after the public meeting, to elect officers, decide the immediate priorities for political work and set the date and (if possible) venue for the next branch meeting.
Young Communist League
As communists we are fighting for the future – not just for ourselves, but for younger generations and those to come. Young people need our Party if they are to have a future, but the Party also needs the dynamism, enthusiasm and freshness of youth if it is to campaign effectively and give leadership. Within our ranks, we have a tremendous record of experience. Past and present battles fought by our comrades are both an inspiration and an example of effective communist campaigning. However, each new generation needs to experience the class struggle for itself, in its own circumstances. Inside the Party, the enthusiasm of young people can easily be stymied by conservative habits and attitudes. For that reason the Party has its own youth organisation, the Young Communist League. Membership is open to all young people aged between 12 and 28 who accept the League’s aims and objectives. Any comrade under the age of 28 who joins the Party is automatically given YCL membership. Nonetheless, the YCL is also an independent organisation which decides its own constitution and policies and elects its own leadership. By providing opportunities for young people to develop their political and organisational skills, it is a training ground for the communists of the future, as well as a campaigning organisation among the youth of today. However, the YCL is spread very thinly and needs the support of the Party if it is to grow. Comrades can help by buying the YCL magazine Challenge, contributing to YCL finances, identifying and following up on potential recruits, providing a venue for YCL meetings and supplying assistance to the YCL in developing its political and educational work. A special effort should be made to involve local YCL members in Party work and branch meetings, including those who are not already in the CP. The minimum age for Party membership is 16. This means that, where there is no local YCL organisation, young people can still join the Party and so be part of the communist movement. However, an organised and active YCL in the area would be the most effective way of attracting, recruiting and retaining young people. Therefore, as part of their programme of work, local CP organisations should help to build the YCL through Party and joint work among students and young people.
Marxist-Leninist Education Why is it necessary? The programme and policies of the Communist Party are based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism. This scientific world outlook guides the political work of communists to overthrow capitalism and build socialism, as the lower stage of communist society. Therefore, the philosophical basis of Marxism – dialectical and historical materialism – must be both studied and applied in real-life conditions. The nature of capitalist exploitation and imperialism must be understood in order to combat it most effectively. Understanding the nature of state power, its class content and the need to replace capitalist rule by working class state power is also essential for devising revolutionary strategy. But it's not enough for there to be a small circle of Marxist intellectuals who have studied and understood such questions. For socialist revolution, workers and their allies must acquire political understanding on a mass scale. This transformation of consciousness can be achieved through the combination of struggle, experience and Marxist education. Marxist ideas, analysis and politics of Marxism must therefore be projected beyond the ranks of the CP and into the labour movement, especially to activists who are beginning to question past assumptions and seek an alternative understanding. A top priority. While many communists are already busy with other commitments, this should be seen as a vital reason in favour of organising and attending Marxist education sessions. Practice should be guided by theory which, in turn, is enriched through practice. Our objective is not only to build organisations or even to win battles, but to ensure that such work contributes to building the popular, democratic anti-monopoly alliance that is needed for socialist revolution. Therefore, all communists need a deeper understanding of Marxist theory in order to: Link day-to-day and local struggles with the wider struggle against capitalist exploitation and injustice. Increase the effectiveness of mass campaigning so that it feeds into a growing struggle for socialism. Understand and be able to respond to changes in the conditions which shape the class struggle and the balance of forces within it. Engage in the battle of ideas, especially against the reactionary, reformist and ultra-leftist ideas that can be found in the labour movement. A collective approach. Individuals can learn from reading classic works by Marx, Engels and Lenin together with CP pamphlets, articles in the Communist Review, etc. However on its own this could lead to a sterile and stagnant understanding of Marxist theory. Experience shows that most people, especially when new to Marxist concepts, learn more thoroughly when reading is combined with collective, structured discussion. This enables them to share and learn from a wider range of experiences, thoughts, insights and misconceptions in a critical but constructive atmosphere. Marxist-Leninist education must be a collective effort and experience.
Organise locally. Centrally organised events such as 21st Century Marxism and the Trade Union and Political Cadre School, together with Communist Universities and Party Building Schools in the districts and nations, provide valuable opportunities for Marxist education and debate. But only a minority of members and supporters can attend such occasions and a couple of weekends a year is insufficient. That is why local Party organisations should make time and resources available for political education. While the Party branch can often form the best basis for conducting a series of classes or a one-day school, programmes can be organised on a smaller or larger scale. In any event, the initiative should first be discussed and agreed at the Party branch or branch, district or nation committee. The subsequent programme can then be organised under any of a range of titles: CP Marxist education classes, a Marxist study or discussion group, a Marxist or socialist forum, a Communist University, etc. Some branches have even established educational societies named after a prominent local historical figure (usually a communist). The choice may be influenced by the kind of cohort being targeted for participation. Depending upon local conditions, it may be appropriate to organise political education events jointly or with the sponsorship of labour movement, educational or historical bodies and societies. Who needs it? All Party members benefit from Marxist education, whatever their age, experience or levels of knowledge and understanding. Whilst it might be useful to start by organising a series of introductory sessions aimed at newer members, having a wide variety of participants with different backgrounds and depth of knowledge can benefit everyone. The less politically experienced comrades will raise searching questions from their own experience, while the more seasoned ones will sharpen their understanding by striving to answer such questions. Also, involving friends and allies from outside the Party will benefit the movement and bring people closer to our ideas and policies. When and where? Adding a political education session to the agenda of regular branch meetings is unlikely to be effective. It will either be too brief, or curtail the time needed for other important business, or make the meeting too long. Marxist-Leninist education should be conducted separately in order to: Give it the time and importance that it requires. Encourage participants to read and think about the topic in advance of the session. Facilitate a focused discussion, helping participants raise and resolve any concerns, misunderstandings or disagreements. Attract non-members (especially key activists in the local labour movement) who want to learn about Marxism. How? A series of three to six sessions, at fortnightly or monthly intervals and linked to a particular theme, has proved to be more attractive and effective than occasional one-off sessions. This encourage participants to attend on a regular basis (since the discussion are serialised) and helps nurture a dialectical understanding of Marxist-Leninist concepts and analysis. Sessions should last from one and a half to two hours. It may sometimes be convenient to hold
two sessions on the same day, separated of course by a lunch or tea break. While there is a place for informative lectures on specific topics, followed by questions and answers, Marxist-Leninist education seeks to draw all those present into discussion and debate. This is best done within a framework and with guidance. A designated comrade acts as the facilitator for a session in order to structure and guide the proceedings. A pre-selected volunteer should make a brief (10-15 minutes) introduction to the topic. This is usually based on a particular chapter of a book, pamphlet, article or other source that has been circulated and read by all participants in advance of the meeting. If the text does not already pose questions for group discussion, the presenter or the facilitator should do so after the introduction. These should be challenging, drawing out the most important points to be considered and learned. Participants should be encouraged to make connections between Marxist-Leninist theory and their own experience. It isn't always necessary to reach a firm conclusion on every issue by the end of the session â€“ this can sometimes provide the stimulus for further study and debate. An innovative approach. Party members with a substantial knowledge of Marxist theory may develop novel ways of approaching political education. For instance, one comrade recently led two discussions on 'The language of Marxism'. The group was asked what they understood by basic terms such 'surplus value' and 'class struggle'. The answers and subsequent discussion clarified and deepened their understanding of basic Marxist concepts. The group also considered how Marxism gives a specific meaning to words such as 'exploitation' and 'imperialism' which is different to popular usage. As more local groups develop, their experiences and resources should be reported to Party centre where they can be made available to the Party as a whole. Size of groups. Small groups are often best, because they allow more time for discussion and clarification, while also providing a less intimidating environment for participation. Guided discussion works best with about half-a-dozen participants and, preferably, no more than ten. Even if only the facilitator and one or two other comrades turn up, they can still have a useful, in -depth discussion. Indeed, dedicated one-to-one sessions around a recent article or a classic text may be especially helpful to new or prospective CP members. Who can be a facilitator? Few if any comrades in a particular locality may have practical experience of conducting Marxist education. This should be seen as an opportunity, not a deterrent. Any active member with some knowledge of Marxist concepts is capable of leading discussions. Their performance will improve through practice. In particular, maximum use should be made of comrades in the teaching profession not only to act as facilitators, initially, but to assist others in developing the necessary skills. The Party centrally or its district and nation committees may be able to provide facilitators for a local group, but the objective should be self-reliance. The facilitator's role is to: encourage all comrades to express a view; stimulate real discussion (and prevent it degenerating into a series of mini-speeches); ask questions or comment on others' contributions, always constructively, in order to stimulate reflection and analysis; make connections between the specific and the general, the local and the national or international, the prevailing conditions and the dynamics of change, and between theory and practice. Crucially, the facilitator must guide discussion towards what is relevant and significant, and prevent it being
Marxist-Leninist Education Resources
Page CP 42 educational resources The Party
centrally is in the process of producing a syllabus for local Party organisations to use. It will be an ongoing and growing resource over the next couple of years, with new and revised guides being made available. Existing resources generated by local Party groups are available online. It is also planned, over the longer term, to develop an Open University style site, allowing people in geographically remote areas or with significant constraints on their mobility or time to engage in Marxist-Leninist education. Britain's Road to Socialism Theoretical issues leap out from every page of the BRS, including the nature of the capitalist state, the phases of imperialism, the role of the revolutionary party, building alliances and the revolutionary process. Studying classic works by Lenin, such as The State and Revolution, Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism and Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, together with CP pamphlets, will deepen understanding of the Party's revolutionary programme. Women and Class This pamphlet by Mary Davis can form the basis for a series of discussions or a day school. It is especially relevant at a time when women are disproportionately affected by ruling class attacks and when the CP needs to attract more women members. All members and supporters – and not just women – should be encouraged to discuss this pamphlet. Introducing Marxism This pamphlet by Robert Griffiths provides material and discussion questions for a series of three sessions, one based on each chapter. These lead naturally into the need to study Marxist concepts in more depth. 'Classics of Communism' This series of pamphlets published by the CP features reprints – with updated introductions, notes and study guides – of classic texts by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Dimtrov and others on Marxist theory, revolution, the wages struggle, fascism and the Labour Party. 'Our History' The new series of pamphlets from the CP History Group recount and analyse important episodes in working class and popular struggle. They raise important practical and theoretical questions for
'Ninety Years of Struggle' This film and pamphlet on CP history, 1920-2000, could form an attractive basis for a political education programme. Showing clips or a whole film offers an attractive respite from the usual format. Again, the book and pamphlet raise vital theoretical, strategic and political issues for discussion. Other CP pamphlets The Party produces a wide range of pamphlets on current issues that can be utilised for collective Marxist-Leninist study and discussion. Most of the authors are willing to assist local Party organisations by speaking at political education and other events. Communist Review Published four times a year, the journal is important reading for all Party activists. It contains numerous articles that would provide a stimulating basis for political education sessions. Indeed, the role of a CP theoretical and discussion journal is itself a topic for analysis and debate. Morning Star editorials The paper's editorial policy is based on Britain's Road to Socialism and the daily editorial column provides an object lesson in how to apply strategic Marxist analysis to contemporary questions. Together with many feature articles, the editorials provide useful material for study and discussion. The Marxist Internet Archive The MIA online hosts a huge number of Marxists texts, including a growing section of materials relating to the CP in Britain. However, caution is necessary, as some items contain transcription errors or have been subject to political interference. In utilising the Marxist-Leninists classics, it should always be borne in mind that they were formulated in specific times and conditions. The context today may, in significant respects, be very different. Therefore, careful thought and planning should be exercised when selecting and presenting classic texts. Simply regurgitating quotations from, say, Marx or Lenin does not necessarily illuminate a contemporary issue or clinch an argument. These are not holy texts! Treating them as such is indicative of a dogmatic and undialectical approach that contradicts the Marxist method.
monopolised by just one or two participants (including themselves). Training for facilitators is available at certain central events. Reading. While comrades may be encouraged to read selected texts before taking part in discussions, this should be done with great care because those who haven't had the time or confidence to do the reading may be deterred from attending. Studying a text beforehand should be regarded as a useful platform for discussion, not a pre-condition for attendance and participation in the session itself. In fact, the facilitator can often use the discussion to highlight the value of further independent study, recommending reading matter that addresses or clarifies specific issues and problems. Planning for the future Every Party organisation should have "Marxist-Leninist education" as an item on their AGM agenda or in the annual plan of work. It may initially only be two or three introductory sessions facilitated by an experienced member. The result will almost certainly be an increase in comrades' appetite for theoretical discussion, and it may even inspire others to develop their own local groups. The important thing is to make a start, however modest.
Build the CP - build the future!
Negative attitudes have never inspired anyone. It’s no good just being 'anti-capitalist' and angry, or simply attacking those in the movement with whom we have political disagreements. Communists promote policies for a future that is bright for the working class and the people generally. We should always be positive, looking to what can be done to change things for the better. Workers, campaigners and allies should see communists as relaible, forward-looking, strategic, unifying – and at the forefront of their battles. Communists should also support each other, especially in times of adversity, despondency or despair. Within the Party, a climate of comradeship, understanding and solidarity should be fostered, encouraging and supporting our members who sacrifice much in order to help the Communist Party play a leading role in the political class struggle. Armed with our Marxist analysis, our programme Britain’s Road To Socialism, the Morning Star and a party whose capacity is growing, we can confidently assert not only that socialism is necessary in Britain – it is achievable. From protest to resistance. From resistance to a strategy for winning. For a broad popular anti-monopoly alliance. For working class power and socialism!
Books Page 44 available from Manifesto Press
The education revolution Cuba's alternative to neoliberalism by Théodore H. MacDonald £14.95 (£2 p&p) 265pp Illustrated. ISBN 978-1-907464-02-7 Published in co-operation with the National Union of Teachers with a foreword by Christine Blower, Bill Greenshields and Martin Rees. The singular successes of the Cuban education system are treated to a deep, comprehensive and fraternal analysis by Dr MacDonald, the world authority on human rights and a sharp critic of contemporary imperialism. The book covers with great authority Cuba’s innovative education system, from pre school and primary education, through the secondary and tertiary sectors, the experiences of the pioneering literacy programmes and the comprehensive nature of adult education. He locates the children’s Pioneer movement, the day care system, school and community relations and specialist, technical and vocational education in the framework of Cuba’s distinctive pedagogy. Granite and Honey The story of Phil Piratin, Communist MP by Kevin Marsh and Robert Griffiths £14.95 (+£1.50 p&p), 256pp illustrated. ISBN 978-1-907464-09-6 This pioneering new biography tells the story of Phil Piratin, elected Communist MP for Stepney Mile End in the post-war General Election that swept Labour to office on a radical manifesto. The book reprises the commanding role that Piratin played in the 1936 Battle of Cable Street against the fascist Blackshirts. For the first time in print, it shows how he sent a mole into the British Union of Fascists on that day who provided Piratin with invaluable information. This book also recounts Piratin's tenacity as the MP who helped expose numerous colonial massacres, including the infamous Batang Kali case in Malaya. Piratin also tabled a Private Member's Bill in Parliament which prefigured the vital health and safety at work legislation of future decades. Building an economy for the people An alternative economic and political strategy for 21st Century Britain Edited by Jonathan White. Contributions from: Mark Baimbridge; Brian Burkitt; Mary Davis; John Foster; Marjorie Mayo; Jonathan Michie; Seumas Milne; Andrew Murray; Roger Seifert; Prem Sikka; Jonathan White and Philip Whyman £6.95 (+£1 p&p) ISBN 978-1-907464-08-9 Based on the policy agenda of Britain's trade union movement it analyses what is wrong with the British economy, arguing that the country's productive base is too small, that the economy has become too financialised and that power has become concentrated on a narrow economic fraction based in the City. It insists on the importance of a strategy that can boost spending power among the British people, begin to narrow the widening inequalities in British society and raise the standard of living and build a new, democratised public realm that insulates people from dependence on volatile financial markets.
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The EU - For the Monopolies, Against the People Asia: Imperialism & Resistance Cuba’s Socialist Revolution - Fifty years of popular struggle Lies, damned lies and anti-communism The CP 1920-2010: 90 years of struggle Classics of Communism 6: Lenin: Communists & the Labour Party Neo-liberalism is bad for your health Introducing Marxism (New Edition) Africa & British imperialism today Women & Class (Third Edition) Was Gramsci a Eurocommunist? Broadening the battle lines: The pensions struggle—a fight for public services & trade union organisation £ Total payable to CPB (each pamphlet £2 + 50p p&p) name address phone
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incorporating the Daily Worker - for peace and socialism
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Printed & published by the Communist Party. ISBN 978-1-908315-10-6