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NEWSLETTER OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY IN WALES

Red Alert can now be read online:

Summer 2002 (Volume 6, Issue 2) - Including: Build the collective leadership of the Communist Party in Wales/46th Congress Appeal/Communist Social & Educational Summer Camp/Communist Debate in the Capitalist Press

Winter 2002 (Volume 6, Issue 1) - Including: Welsh Communists Rising to the challenge/Dim Euro/Teach Yourself Marxism-Leninism/Anti War campaign/Celebrating 60 years in the Communist Party/News in Brief

Red November Dinner 2001 - pictures & brief report

December 2000 (Special Edition) - Welsh Congress Report

Spring 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 1) - Including: Communists welcome Wales TASC launch/Peace Advisor report/Bob Jones - A Farewell/Wales Pensioners report/Communist Student Campaign/Welsh Committee News in Brief

Communists in the Capitalist Press

What you can do

Don't leave all the press work up to your branch secretary, every branch member should consider writing letters to the press to get our policies across locally; use the Morning Star or Communist Party leaflets as a basis for a letter, or you could just copy one of the published letters on this site and post it to your local paper.

Don't leave it till tomorrow, do it now!

send us your successful press cuttings to:

Dominic MacAskill,
Welsh secretary,
WCCPB,
CCTUS,
131 Crwys Road,
Cathays,
Cardiff.
CF24 4NH

 

Example Press Cuttings:
Publication Date Subject Author
Wester Mail 5.11.01 Anti - Euro press release
Pontypridd Observer 8.11.01 Britain's Road to Socialism meeting press release
       
       
       
       
       


Red Alert/Rhybudd Coch

Special Edition December2000

WALES CPB CYMRU

WELSH CONGRESS 2000

(25 - 26 NOVEMBER 2000)

REPORT

Main Index

Amended Main Resolution Branch Resolutions Credentials Report

 


AMENDED MAIN RESOLUTION

Introduction Expanding the organisation Deveoping Cadres
Political Education Recruitment Finance
Propoganda Morning Star Campaigning
Campaigning Strategies Rebecca Books  

 

INTRODUCTION

This resolution is a strategy document identifying a number of project areas to be worked on, it contains concrete proposals and goals which can be implemented, measured, monitored and assessed as to the extent of their success or failure.

This resolution will concentrate on how:

  • to develop and advance the work of the Communist Party in Wales
  • to increase its membership
  • to improve and expand its organisation
  • to raise the political knowledge of its members
  • to develop its cadres
  • to set campaigning priorities and strategies
  • to put into practice our Party’s policies and increase our influence in Wales

This resolution is a call to all party members to take an active interest in their organisation and ensure that it transforms itself and realises its potential to be a party organised for socialist revolution.

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EXPANDING THE ORGANISATION

The Welsh Committee will encourage an organising culture in the Party in Wales (members should not ask what is the party doing for their particular cause but ask what can I do in the party to advance that cause).

This will be achieved by:

  • offering practical and material support to inactive branches in order to encourage campaigning and a branch life
  • encouraging active branches to put together action plans which will provide a local and clear focus to push forward the priorities of the party.
  • Branches should submit a two monthly report of activities to the Welsh committee in order for the WC to assess the strengths and weaknesses of individual branches. This enables Party branches to see what happens in other branches and acts to help the development of branches.

The WC will also map where our members are and consider setting up smaller more localised branches where there are the conditions and potential to develop and maintain the party’s work. This may mean splitting existing branches or setting up new branches by transferring members from a larger branch. The WC will endorse joint working of branches within a locality on a monthly basis. To maximise our campaigning capabilities, in addition to branches maintaining their own work. It will be a priority to develop the work of the Young Communist League, with the aim of relaunching a YCL organisation in Wales. Branches will need to encourage younger members to join the YCL and help them build it. National leaflets and campaign material will be utilised in our work with youth and students.

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DEVELOPING CADRES

The WC will initiate a survey of the Welsh membership to identify the strengths and weaknesses of comrades; this will, in some instances, be followed up with individual discussions to explore how best to utilise the skills that members possess and direct them into the most appropriate direction e.g. work in trade unions, work in community campaigns, work in solidarity groups, pensioners movement, or internal party work.

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POLITICAL EDUCATION

Over the last year efforts have been made by the WC to increase the profile of Marxist-Leninist education in Wales with mixed results. The WC will continue to strive to ensure that members increase their knowledge and understanding of the Marxist Leninist principles which should guide all our actions.

  • The membership survey will be used to identify the educational needs of the Welsh membership and provide targeted educational opportunities.
  • Branches will be encouraged to hold at least twice yearly education classes, which would be open to all members and friends; utilising the quality tutors we have in Wales.
  • The ‘Teach yourself Marxism-Leninism’ section of Red Alert will be improved by up dating its material and providing an interesting and relevant guide to home learning. The thoughts, activities and achievements of Marxists during the years 1920-2000 should be considered in the course of the Education procedures. Achievements of women leaders should be given due prominence in these studies.
  • The Welsh Committee should aim to supplement its programme of Marxist-Leninist education by encouraging branches to hold classes on the central issues in contemporary British politics. The objective of these classes should be to clarify the principles underpinning the Party’s approach to such matters as the Alternative Economic Strategy, reform of the welfare state, constitutional reform, civil liberties and the European Union.
  • Activist Day school - the Welsh committee commits itself to the setting up of activist day schools to train Party members in methods of struggle that many are unfamiliar with. Activist day schools could involve the following: How to lobby their MPs, AMs and local councillors effectively; How to use the Internet and how to update the Welsh Party web site; and How to design and make placards.

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RECRUITMENT

The WC will develop a recruitment strategy which can be operated in all our branches. The answer to why people do not join the Communist Party could be as simple as ‘I was never asked’; systematic approaches need to be made to friends and allies on the left to raise the question of party membership. Applications to join the CP need to followed up with visits to, and discussions with, the enquirer. A Welsh recruitment leaflet will be produced which can be used in targeted recruitment drives e.g. amongst students, trade unionist, ..etc.

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FINANCE

Finance is a political question - campaigning, standing in elections, internal communication & transport cost, administration, running a shop and premises all cost money; on top of this we have our commitments to contributing to the financing of the Britain wide Party. In order to meet all these obligations, and develop all of the initiatives outlined in this resolution, the Welsh Committee needs to significantly increase its income. In recognition of this the WC will:

  • approach and encourage all waged comrades to fill out a bank standing order form either to the Welsh Committee or to Rebecca Books.
  • continue to develop our work with the Workers Beer Company and support the volunteer organisers in their valuable work.
  • encourage branches to develop their fund raising activities e.g. socials, sponsored walks, skittle matches..etc. As well as raising much needed finance social events will improve the internal life of the Party and be an environment to relax , enjoy ourselves and develop friendships amongst our members. It is important to remember we are fighting for roses as well as bread.

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PROPOGANDA AND PUBLICITY

The WC will endeavour to develop and improve the communication within the Party organisation, as well as increasing its public profile in Wales.

The WC will achieve this by:

  • producing a quarterly issue of Red Alert
  • encouraging members to contribute articles, letters and suggestions to turn the newsletter into a dynamic, vibrant, informative and readable internal publication.
  • urging comrades to engage in the initiative ‘Communists in the Capitalist press’ by the production of standardised letters and through assisting local branches to develop their relationship with the local press.
  • providing advice on producing press releases and circulating to branches a list of all newspapers and periodicals in Wales.
  • committing itself to the production of a new up dated Communist programme for Wales, to replace the ‘Peoples Parliament for Wales’ pamphlet, with the intention of publishing it in the new year in the run up to the next general election.
  • ensuring that bilingual leaflets are available for any Welsh wide Communist Party campaign initiatives.
  • staging a public launch of the Welsh Party’s web site in the new year. The WC will ensure that this site is kept up to date and that it will be an essential reference point for all Welsh progressives.

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MORNING STAR

As in the rest of Britain the Morning Star is the Communist Party’s, and the wider progressive movement’s, most valuable tool and as such the WC will need to prioritise the work needed to improve its coverage of Welsh issues; increase its accessibility and most important drastically increase its readership.

All branches will need to:

  • elect Morning Star organisers to co-ordinate a local strategy to build sales, increase share holders and 501 membership, encourage collections for the fighting fund and to pass on local news reports to the Morning
  • Star have the Morning Star as an agenda item at every branch meeting.

Morning Star readers and supporters groups are an important tool in developing broad based political initiatives especially within the organised labour and trade union movement; each branch area should ideally have a functioning and independent group.

The Morning Star R & S groups can be the link between the organised trade union movement and the local Communities.

The Welsh Committee should renew its efforts to establish an all-Wales Morning Star Campaign Committee, in liaison with supporters of the paper in the wider Labour and progressive movements. Such a committee could draw up plans to, (1) promote the Morning Star more effectively, particularly in the Labour, peace, pensioners and student’s movements; (2) strengthen the mutually supportive links between these movements and the paper; (3) project the paper as a forum for discussion through convening Morning Star meetings, seminars and Conferences on issues facing these movements in Wales.

The WC will remind comrades of their duty as per party rule (15b), to read the Morning Star and to help in every way the circulation of the paper.

Morning Star Film Society (MSFS) - the setting up of a progressive film society could provide a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere where left wing & progressive films could be shown to an audience of allies, friends and members. The MSFS could show a film once every two months alternating between willing comrades’ houses and the Cardiff Centre for Trade Union Studies (CCTUS).

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CAMPAIGNING

The Communist Party in Wales is not a mass party and so can not expect to be involved in campaigning around all the issues affecting the peoples of Wales.

The WC will therefore prioritise the following areas of work:

  • Campaign against European Monetary Union - with particular focus on defending public services and opposing the neo-liberal agenda.
  • Developing and co-ordinating our work in trade unions with the specific goal of strengthening progressive elements in the Wales TUC.
  • Campaign for increased powers for the National Assembly and develop a protocol for dealing with the Assembly which will maximise our influence.
  • In the light of recent centralising reforms to the structure of local government, especially the introduction of the recent cabinet system, we must campaign for the restoration of accountability and public access.
  • Pensioners - CP pensioners should meet regularly to co-ordinate their work in the Wales pensioners movement. The WC should ensure that all Party branch fully discusses the importance and the urgency of the pensions issues. The discussion should aim at leading to some public action on the issues. Attempts should be made to link the action with awareness of the aims of the Wales Pensioners.
  • Develop our work in Education especially within the students movement in Wales and the campaign against tuition fees.
  • Contesting elections - all branches should be considering and preparing for their next local council elections with a view to standing at least one candidate; the Party will also contest the British general election and will mobilise itself on an all Wales basis for the next National Assembly elections with the aim of qualifying for a TV political broadcast.
  • Anti racism work - racism and fascist ideology is swiftly filling the political vacuum left by the decline of the Communist Party in its traditional heartland, it is imperative that we reclaim the initiative in this fight for the hearts and minds of the working class and especially the youth. It is vital that Communists analyse and project to the broader labour movement the ways in which Capitalism uses racism as an ideological weapon.
  • Anti-imperialism, peace and environmental work - the WC will encourage involvement in CND, Cymru Cuba, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign..etc.
  • Develop our work by and among women, especially in the labour, peace and anti-imperialist movements, through promotion of the National Assembly of Women.
  • Because the issue of personal liberty is now becoming central to British politics, the CPB in Wales should aim to strengthen its contribution to the range of movements which (1) resist state-interference in the personal affairs of the individual, and (2) campaign for the liberalisation of the censorship laws. There is a special need to be more active in support of the gay and lesbian movement, the campaign against censorship of the Internet and the campaign for the legalisation of cannabis.

The Communist Party understands the limitations to developing initiatives in isolation and therefore encourages members to engage in these struggles within existing campaigning organisations or through setting up new broad based campaigns. It is through the Communist Party’s work in the wider movements that people will be won over to our policies and principles and recruits made.

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CAMPAIGNING STRATEGIES

The Communist Party in Wales will develop its strategies for particular campaigns in the light of events, and local conditions, but will be guided as always by our Party’s programme the ‘British Road to Socialism’ and its, soon to be produced, new programme for Wales. In all of its campaigns the Communist Party will endeavour to build and extend our links with other progressive individuals and groups in Wales; with the aim of building left unity through action. In order to maximise our impact in the campaigns we run, the Party will need to use various tactics - handing out leaflets will not be enough.

Tactics such as:

  • using petitions - a way of engaging the general public in discussing the issues
  • direct action - raises the profile of any campaign and, if managed properly, can generate good publicity without casualties
  • lobbying - a co-ordinated lobby of the Welsh Assembly by a campaign would raise the AMs awareness and may generate press interest
  • demonstrations and rallies - if planned for properly the traditional protest is often the most successful
  • letter writing - to the local press, MPs, AMs, Councillors ..etc - an activity that all comrades can engage in without even leaving their homes
  • stunts - use your imagination! e.g. coffins signifying public services, fat cat costumes, burning the EURO .....etc. So long as the press have been briefed and the issue is topical then a photograph in the local paper would be assured. Also it could be fun.

Any of the above tactics could be use in any combination during one of the Communist party’s weeks of action.

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REBECCA BOOKS

The Communist Party can be proud of its record of keeping open the only socialist book shop in Wales, but its potential has not yet been touched on.

The WC will ensure that the recently set up sub committee will work consistently to:

  • promote Rebecca Books
  • increase its use
  • co-ordinate the existing volunteer workers and to increase their numbers

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BRANCH RESOLUTIONS

Pensions Party Advisories Minimum Wage
Inward Investment Lib-Lab Pact Housing
The Labour Party's Future Campaign Against the Single Currency Education and Students

 

Resolution one (Gwent Branch)

Pensions

Pensioners need money owed to them as soon as it can be won. With pensions having been made into one of the main political issues in what is now a pre-General Election period the Party must enter the fray effectively and soon. Branches should assist members to make their own contributions - each in his or her own best way - to the efforts being made by the Wales pensioners organisation’s campaign.

Party pensioners participation is needed. But so are the efforts of trade unionists both to help the fight of present pensioners for their just rights and to make more possible a reasonable pension prospect for themselves.

The Cabinet has had to make small concessions to try to stave off election humiliation. It has made shrewd estimates of how to buy enough votes to secure re-election. They may have made a sad miscalculation.

For the party it is centrally important that the Labour Government is re-elected for if it is not then every other campaign will become harder as a result. So the Cabinet must be made to concede more.

Labour MPs must be brought under the heavy pressure of the logic of the pensioners’ case so as to win further concessions before it is too late. The link between pensions and mean earnings is still the central demand but there are four or five other aims alongside this demand.

CARRIED

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Resolution two (Swansea)

Party Advisories

The Welsh congress calls on the incoming Welsh committee to take steps to try and ensure that Party advisories function effectively and consistently at national level.

REMITTED

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Resolution three (Cardiff)

Minimum Wage

Wales is still the ‘Land of low Pay’ with lower average wages than any other region or nation of Britain. The Communist Party reiterates its demand for the National Minimum wage for all workers irrespective of age to be raised immediately to £5 an hour, in line with half male medium earnings. We urge the Wales TUC to bring trades unions in Wales together to lead a campaign for this policy.

CARRIED

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Resolution four (Cardiff)

Inward Investment

This congress notes that past reliance on bribing Transnational Corporations to come to Wales and provide employment, is now costing thousands of jobs at Panasonic and other companies.

Hundreds of millions of pounds of public money have been diverted into this potentially drastic policy, which should have been invested in indigenous enterprises in the municipal, public and co-operative sectors.

The Communist Party calls for an alternative economic strategy to be drawn up for Wales under the auspices of the National Assembly, mobilising our country’s resources to build stable, technologically advanced and environmentally sustainable economy, with the well paid jobs for all.

The current senior management of the Welsh Development Agency should be replaced by an executive which is committed to such a strategy in place of an over-reliance on big business from overseas.

CARRIED

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Resolution five (Cardiff)

Lib-Lab pact

The Communist Party in Wales condemns the formation of the Lib-Lab pact in the National Assembly, hatched in secret and imposed upon the Welsh people without prior knowledge or consent.

We urge Labour Party members and affiliated trade unions to fight against this pact, which is a betrayal of Labour Party and Labour movement principles, as well as a betrayal of democracy.

The pact raises the need to mount the widest possible campaign against Coalition Labour at the next National Assembly elections, based on Labour movement principles. Therefore the Communist Party will seek to maximise the number of Party candidates and those of the non-sectarian left and progressive allies, and instruct the Welsh Committee to plan the Party’s work accordingly.

The Welsh Committee should also organise and lead a discussion throughout the Party in Wales, on voting strategy at the next National Assembly elections, recognising the need to strengthen the influence of the left and the trades unions within the Labour Party.

CARRIED

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Resolution six (Cardiff)

Housing

The Communist Party believes that every individual has a right to, education, good health and decent housing. Housing should not be seen as a commodity from which to make a profit.

The Communist Party deplores the lack of any coherent housing policy in Wales. Over the past two decades, in particular, the emphasis has been on the encouragement of home ownership, to the exclusion of all else. Socially rented housing is increasingly seen as the last resort, this has marginalised people who are unable to work, or on a low income and with insecure jobs who cannot afford to buy, this combined with draconian benefit policies has led to unprecedented levels of homelessness, a dearth of socially rented accommodation, waiting lists of up to 8 years and rising house prices in some areas of Wales.

The Communist Party will campaign for good quality, affordable socially rented housing for those who cannot afford or do not wish to buy.

CARRIED

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Resolution seven (Deeside)

The Labour Party’s future

This Government seems to have no political direction and is losing the support of the people who elected it.

The Communist party believes the way forward for the Labour party does not lie in a move to the political right, unlike the other Political parties, the Communist Party does not want to see the Labour Party destroy itself, we want to see the New Labour right wing agenda defeated within the Labour Party. The Labour Party should ditch Blair’s New Labour illusions and move on to embrace the socialist values which are still widely held by the people of this country.

The Labour Party’s future lies in adopting a radical alternative programme, this alternative programme which could be easily adopted by the Labour Party would include:

1. A package of aid and intervention in the motor, textile, steel and shipbuilding industries to maintain jobs, such measures could include ordering the Bank of England to cut interest rates and temporary restrictions on imports or the flow of capital.

2. Take Railtrack back into public ownership to plan the expansion of the railways and an integrated transport policy effectively.

3. Raise the top rate of Income Tax and put a windfall tax on bank profits - to finance a public sector house building programme.

4. Restore the link between pensions and earnings.

5. A substantial raise in the national minimum wage to £5.00/hour

6. Scrap the £1050 tuition fee for students, a barrier to higher education for the less well-off and a source of anxiety to all but the richest of parents, and reintroduce maintainance grants.

We also ask that they work with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to effectively tackle slave labour in such places as India, Nepal and Pakistan, where children are used as slaves.

CARRIED

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Resolution eight (Pontypridd)

Campaign against the Single Currency

This congress welcomes the initiative of Wales Cymru UNISON in convening the recent ‘Co-ordinating committee for a campaign against the single currency in Wales’ meeting in Cardiff; and pledges to encourage the maximum support for the planned public launches of: ‘

  • Welsh Trade Unions Against the Single Currency’ on 26th January 2001 and
  • ‘Wales Against the Single Currency’ in March 2001.

The Communist Party recognises these initiatives as a significant step forward in wrestling the anti EMU campaign away from the ‘Little Englander’ conservative tendency and in giving a progressive lead, in Wales, against the monopoly capitalists domination of Europe.

This Congress urges branches to assist in building these campaigns in their areas and instructs trade union members to build for the support of these campaigns at the Wales TUC.

CARRIED

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Resolution nine (Proposed from one of the Congress working parties)

Education & Students

In the light of the recent developments in the National Assembly concerning an Education funding review, a charter has been developed by a number of people in the NUS at Bangor. This document, whilst not produced by the CPB, represents the most progressive moves within the student movement. For this reason Congress agrees to:

  • support the Charter (detailed below)
  • include it in our student propaganda
  • promote it widely

The Glanrafon Charter - a fair deal in education for Wales

1. A “Cubie style” enquiry be set up to analyse student funding and to make recommendations to the National Assembly.

2. The National Assembly should be given control over education in Wales.

3. The total abolition of tuition fees for UK residents studying in the UK.

4. The restoration of a living grant to H.E. students, to be means tested on the basis of the student’s income not parental income.

5. The introduction of a maintenance grant for F.E. students to be means tested on the basis of student income not parental income.

6. The right to Students Union representation for all students both H.E. and F.E.

7. The restoration of full benefit rights to all students.

8. Safe affordable child care facilities available to all students.

9. Safe affordable accommodation made available to all H.E. students.

10. An end to discrimination of age rates in the minimum wage.

11. Equal rights for those wishing to study through the medium of Welsh.

12. Greater provision of Welsh medium study in all subject areas, academic and vocational.

13. Equal representation of both the Welsh and English languages in all official documents and notices in the Universities and Colleges of Wales.

14. The right to Student Union representation at all disciplinary hearings in the Universities and Colleges of Wales.

15. The right to decide to hear disciplinary and official proceedings in either Welsh or English in the Universities and Colleges of Wales.

CARRIED

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WELSH CONGRESS 2000 CREDENTIALS REPORT

MAKE UP OF DELEGATES

14 full delegates, 4 consultative and 2 visitors

GENDER

Male: 10 Female: 8

AGE

Average age: 43

Under 29: 3

30 - 39: 7

40 - 49: 2

50 - 59: 2

Over 60: 4

EMPLYMENT STATUS

Employed: 12

Unemployed: 1

Student: 3

Retired: 3

Peoples Press Printing Society membership: 10

LENGTH OF MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY

Less than 5 years: 4

5 - 10 years: 7

11 - 20 years: 4

21 - 50 years: 2

Over 50 years: 1

TRADE UNION MEMBERSHIP

TGWU: 2 UNISON: 6 NUS: 3 NUT: 2 WGGB: 1 NASUWT: 1 NATFHE: 3

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