Weithwyr a Phobloedd Gorthrymedig
o Bob Gwlad, Unwch!
Workers and Oppressed Peoples
of All Lands, Unite!
We Stand For
Communism did not start with Karl Marx, or with the Russian Revolution
of 1917. In Britain, a rich historical seam of communist ideas dates
back to the Middle Ages and beyond. The desire for a future based
on peace, co-operation, community and common wealth has long inspired
the peoples of England, Scotland and Wales.
At times of great crisis, such as the Peasants' Revolt (1381),
the English Revolution (1640), and the Chartist uprisings of the
1830s and 1840s, communist ideas have come to the fore, voicing
the hopes of working people.
The Communist Party continues that living, revolutionary tradition.
It is a product, first and foremost, of the British labour movement.
Its roots lie deep in Britain's trade unions, socialist societies
and in other working class organisations.
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When founded in 1920, the Party brought together militant socialists
and trade unionists who understood the need for a revolutionary
change in society. They were inspired by the world's first workers'
state, Soviet Russia, led by VILenin. But they were also repelled
by the mass slaughter of the 1914-1918 Great War. Britain needed
a party that would fight capitalism and imperialism, unlike the
labour leaders who preferred collaboration and surrender.
Since then, the Communist Party has been in the frontline fighting
for the interests of the working class. Despite its small size and
the imprisonment of its leadership, it played an outstanding role
in the 1926 General Strike. Throughout the 1930s, it led the unemployed
workers movement and the fight against fascism. During the Second
World War, it campaigned tirelessly for the opening of a 'second
front' to confront Hitler in the west.
In 1951 the first edition of the Party's programme, The British
Road to Socialism, was published. This stated that Britain must
achieve socialism by its own path, using mass struggle to transform
Parliament into a democratic instrument of the will of the vast
majority of the people.
The importance of democracy was further underlined by the revelation,
at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in 1956, of many
crimes and injustices committed during the Stalin era. The Communist
Party recognised that, in popularising the achievements of socialism
and in combating anti-Soviet hysteria, it had in some cases tried
to defend the indefensible.
In the post-war period, the Communist Party took the lead in opposing
the Cold War and nuclear weapons. Almost alone in the labour movement,
it called for parliaments for the people of Wales and Scotland.
Based in the working class movement, it led the fight against anti-trade
union laws. The Liaison Committee for the Defence of Trade Unions,
united communist and non-communist militants in mass one-day stoppages
in 1968, 1970 and 1971. The last of these moved the TUC to call
a one-day General Strike, defeating the legislation. Alongside other
left-wingers, communists also gave the lead in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders'
work-in, and in the 1972 and 1974 miners' strikes.
These very successes of the Communist Party made it a particular
target of the capitalist class. Having failed by 'red scare' techniques
to isolate the Party from its roots, the ruling class worked to
undermine it from within. Their strategy was clear: destroy the
Communist Party, and the working class movement will be rudderless
Unfortunately, the old Communist Party leadership failed to recognise
and withstand this attack. It succumbed to reformist ideas, drifting
away from its class basis, even attacking the leadership of the
1984-85 miners' strike and even expelling many of the Party's finest
Before this final tragedy could run its full course, the communist
core of the Party had recognised the danger. In 1988, these comrades
came together to re-establish the Party as the Communist Party of
Britain (CPB), on the basis of the rules, principles and programme
which the previous leadership had abandoned. Since then, the CPB
has worked tirelessly to rebuild membership and industrial organisation,
carrying on the finest traditions of the Party.
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A Living Theory
According to its rules, the Communist Party is 'guided by the theory
and practice of Marxism-Leninism'. But this is far from being a
fossilised set of ideas. Marxism-Leninism is a science, starting
from the understanding that: 'The history of all hitherto existing
society is the history of class struggles.' In their Manifesto
of the Communist Party (1848), Marx and Engels analysed the
development of capitalist society. They showed that the dominant
structures and ideas of society reflect the ownership, by a minority
class, of the means of production (the machines, tools, materials,
plant etc) and that social revolutions take place when that system
of property ownership prevents the full development of society's
Such a situation exists today with the contradiction between the
narrow private ownership of industry and commerce by the capitalist
class, and the vast and inter-related social process of production
carried out by the working class.
In competition with each other, the capitalists squeeze as much
surplus value (the source of profit) out of the workforce as they
can, raising productivity, holding down wages and therefore worker's
purchasing power, investing in ever greater capacity - and producing
commodities which periodically cannot be sold above their cost i.e.
at a profit. The result is over-production, cut backs, redundancies
and the destruction of productive forces.
This contradiction between capitalist profit and greed on one side,
and public consumption and need on the other, ensures that capitalism
is a system built on insecurity, poverty, misery and crisis. It
is a contradiction which can only be resolved by abolishing capitalism,
and building a socialist society based on social ownership and planned
Lenin creatively applied Marxism to the conditions of his time,
when he analysed imperialism as the parasitic and moribund 'highest
stage of capitalism', with economic and political power in the hands
of enormous monopolies and cartels, whose struggle for the re-division
of the world led to conflict and war. He emphasised the need for
the working class and its allies to take political power, guided
by a revolutionary party and creating their own form of popular
working class rule.
As the world has developed, so also has the science of Marxism-Leninism.
And, as with other sciences, its theory is put to the test every
day. Life continually throws up new issues to be addressed, and
new questions to be answered. Such a relationship between theory
and practice ensures that obsolete ideas are discarded and new insights
and approaches developed.
At the end of the 20th century, the capitalist world is dominated
by transnational corporations (TNCs or multi-national companies),
whose interests are promoted by their respective states. The rich
get richer as billions of people go without adequate food, shelter,
clean water or health and education services. The capitalist monopolies
and their political representatives put profit before people and
before the earth's environment. Capitalist exploitation and imperialism
intensify inequalities of race and gender.
The need for popular resistance and class struggle, for the working
class to take state power in fact, is as great as ever.
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Policies of the
Alternative Economic and Political Strategy:
- Redistribute wealth from the rich and big business to the working
class with a wealth tax, higher corporation tax, cuts in VAT and
higher social benefits.
- Set the national minimum wage at half median male earnings
(£4.61 an hour in July 1998) rising to two-thirds, with no exemptions.
- Boost jobs and sustainable development by investing in health,
social services, education, housing, public transport and the
- Protect and develop manufacturing industry with controls on
imports, and on the export of capital.
- Take the public utilities and services, along with banking
and key industries, into democratic public ownership.
- Cut military spending to average European levels, abolish Trident
and withdraw from Nato.
- Stay out of the Single European Currency and a European capitalist
- Repeal all anti-trade union, anti-democratic and racist immigration
laws, close Campsfield concentration camp.
- Strengthen the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, restore
powers and resources to local government.
- Abolish the House of Lords, break up the media monopolies and
bring the police and intelligence services under democratic control.
- Cancel Third World debt and promote trade-and-aid policies.
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Our Road to Socialism
The Communist Party's recently updated programme, Britain's
Road to Socialism, applies a Marxist-Leninist analysis to conditions
as they have developed in Britain. The latest, revised sixth edition
calls for mass activity and campaigning in favour of policies which
challenge the capitalist monopolies and which extend democratic
In the course of struggle, a democratic anti-monopoly alliance
can be built up which draws together a wide range of social forces
(including pensioners, students, the unemployed, ethnic minorities,
women, peace and environmental campaigners) around the organised
Such a militant mass movement can help produce and sustain a new
type of Labour government, committed to the policies of the Alternative
Economic and Political Strategy (AEPS) developed by communists and
socialists. At local, national and all-Britain levels, this combination
of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggle can put Britain
on the road to socialist revolution. This would have to be a democratic
and popular transfer of political powers transforming the state
apparatus, utilising the strength and creativity of the working
class and its allies.
read Britain's Road to Socialism click
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When the Communist Manifesto stated "Workers of all
lands, unite!", it recognised two important principles: firstly,
that working people have different national identities, languages
and traditions; and, secondly, that they have a common interest
in supporting each other against exploitation and oppression. A
victory for one section of the international working class movement
is a victory for all.
This internationalism characterises the communist outlook. From
its foundation, the Communist Party campaigned against British imperialism
in Ireland, India and elsewhere, demanding the liberation of all
oppressed colonial peoples. In the 1930s, it rallied to the cause
of the Spanish Republican government, recruiting volunteers to fight
in the International Brigades against Franco's fascists. At the
height of the Cold War, it stood out against the US-led invasion
of People's Korea. It campaigned against apartheid and the US war
The CPB supports the right of self-determination of the Irish people
and campaigns for Britain to renounce all claims on Ireland.
Despite all the efforts of hostile US administrations, the Cuban
Communist Party still commands the support of its people. The CPB
declares its solidarity with Cuba, and campaigns against the illegal
US imposed blockade.
In 1998, Communist Parties have been in government in India, France
and South Africa. Communists enjoy the support of millions more
people in Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Japan, Cyprus and elsewhere.
Despite the efforts of US imperialism, Communist and workers parties
are still in power in Vietnam and Korea. China's economy, most of
which is still planned and in public ownership. has been the fastest
growing in the world throughout the 1990s.
Socialism as it existed in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe
has certainly suffered a dramatic setback. But it will return, reinvigorated
and without the 'bureaucratic command' distortions of the previous
period. The people of Russia and eastern Europe are already learning
that capitalism creates more problems than it solves. That is why
tens of millions of people vote Communist in Russia, the Czech Republic
and eastern Europe today.
The Communist Party of Britain enjoys comradely relations with
communist and workers' parties, and national liberation movements,
in many countries throughout the world.
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and Democratic Organisation
Membership of the Communist Party is open to all people aged 16
and above, who accept the aims, rules and policy of the Party, pay
their dues regularly and work in a Party organisation.
The basic organisation of the Party is the branch. All members
are allocated to the most appropriate branch for them. They are
encouraged to participate fully in the branch's work, in order to
pool experience, to deepen their own understanding of political
affairs and of Marxist theory, and to develop to their full potential
as communists. Branch meetings are generally open to interested
Through collective discussion and activity in branches, the Party
intervenes in the political life of the workplace and community,
projecting its Alternative Economic and Political Strategy, giving
support in day-to-day struggles, and working to build a broad democratic
anti-monopoly alliance in order to secure fundamental political
and economic change.
Each branch holds an annual general meeting at which a branch committee
is elected, to give leadership to activities for the forthcoming
year. Branches are grouped within Nations and Districts, established
on the basis of coherent geographical areas. Workplace branches
also exist. In each district/nation, a congress is held every two
years, composed of delegates elected from the various Branches.
The district congress decides the broad perspectives for Party activity
within the district for the next two years, and elects a District
Committee to carry that work forward. The Welsh and Scottish Congresses
elect their own leading committees and formulate policies for their
respective countries in accordance with the general lines of the
Party's programme and approach.
The all-Britain National Congress, composed of delegates from branches
and national and district committees, is held every two years. This
decides policy for the Party as a whole, and elects an Executive
Committee to carry that policy forward and direct the Party's work
between national congresses. In turn, the EC elects a Political
Committee to provide leadership in between EC meetings. A number
of advisory committees, incorporating delegates from nations and
districts, also exist to help develop policy and assist the Party's
work in particular industries or areas of activity (for example
among women, pensioners, the unemployed and in education and international
Democracy underpins the decision-making process throughout the
Party. But, without discipline, that democracy would be completely
undermined. Decisions of higher organisations are therefore binding
on lower bodies - although this is not a simple one-way process.
The EC and national and district committees have a duty to explain
their decisions to lower Party organisations, who in turn have the
right to make their views known to the higher committees. These
procedures are set out and explained in more detail in the latest
edition (1997) of the document Inner Party Democracy.
An essential element of Party discipline is that members commit
themselves to pay their dues regularly. Membership dues are currently
£5 per month waged, 60p unwaged, and in addition members may pay
a regular voluntary contribution.
The Party's programme, Britain's Road to Socialism, is
available in pamphlet form. This document sets out, from a Marxist-Leninist
perspective, the essential steps for achieving socialism in Britain.
All members are encouraged to read and understand the BRS, and to
apply it creatively to the changing political situation.
The theoretical and discussion journal of the Party is the Communist
Review. This normally appears three times a year, and carries
articles from Party members, fraternal overseas parties and invited
non-Party contributors, as well as publishing letters and book reviews.
Articles from the Communist Review often provide the
basis for branch discussions.
Key reports from Executive Committee meetings are disseminated
via the bimonthly Communist News. Branches, districts and
nations are encouraged to send in reports of their activities for
inclusion in this bulletin.
The EC, national and district committees and many individual branches
produce pamphlets and leaflets on topical issues. Some Party organisations
produce their own bulletins for local distribution. A complete list
of current publications is available.
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The Young Communist
The Communist Party's youth organisation is the Young Communist
League (YCL). Its age limits are 12 to 28. Although the YCL supports
the Party's programme, Britain's Road to Socialism, it is
organisationally independent, deciding its own policy and activities,
controlling its own finances and electing its own leadership. The
YCL's journal, Challenge, appears quarterly.
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The Morning Star
The capitalist press barons produce 10 million newspaper copies
every day. The Morning Star alone provides an alternative
The Morning Star is not the property of the Communist Party.
The People's Press Printing Society (PPPS), the co-operative which
owns the paper, was established by the Communist Party in 1945 to
enable the Daily Worker (as the paper was then known) to
broaden its base of ownership and support. Today, thousands of supporters
- individuals and labour movement organisations - own shares.
However, a special relationship remains between the Party and the
Morning Star, based not only on history, but also on the
fact that successive Annual General Meetings of the PPPS have agreed
that the editorial policy of the paper is guided by Britain's
Road to Socialism.
Party Rule 15(b) states that members have the duty "to read
the Morning Star and to help in every way the circulation
of the paper." This is our number one priority, as increased
circulation is crucial in the battle of ideas and in organising
resistance to attacks on living standards, jobs and democratic rights.
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