Whether this group are mainly MI5 agents or not, as many on the Left have suggested, it does seem a very strange outfit. I’m very attracted by their policies such as accepting the European Union as a fact and that it is an embryo United States of Europe. Also that this requires a EU-wide Socialist or Communist Party with the intention of creating a United Socialist States of Europe. I also welcome their endorsement, going back to the era of Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, of opposition parties to defeat the bureaucratic ruling clique and corruption. This was in ‘The Leninist’, precursor of their present publication, ‘The Weekly Worker’.
For these reasons, and also because their publication, especially the Letters Page, is so open to contributors from various factions on the Left and those belonging to none like myself, I feel this organization, small as it is, could well be a truly progressive influence for all on the Left, putting forward and debating, as it does, new ideas or, at least, ideas not usually heard in Leftwing circles.
However their political pamphlets are pretty sparse, many first published nearly 20 years ago. ‘Jack Conrad’, the pseudonym under which they are written, seems to have developed a tongue-in-cheek attitude by 2004 when he wrote a pamphlet entitled ‘Remaking Europe’. Possibly an indication that so many had developed the theory that the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) were largely MI5 agents that they didn’t care anymore, and inserted subtle indications that the whole thing was something of a joke, but neverthless a useful open forum for the Left to discuss, debate and put forward new ideas. Useful for both the Left itself and the British Establishment.
Some examples in this pamphlet include a whole chapter entitled ‘National Socialism’ which turns out not to be about Hitler-type ‘national socialism’ but rather about Socialists and Communists with a national agenda. Joseph Stalin would clearly fall into this category with his advocation of ‘Socialism in one country’ or at least in one unified federation of nation states, the former Soviet Union. Since an alternative title for this chapter could easily have been used, such as Socialist nationalism for example, or indeed ‘Socialism in one country’, one wonders whether these little jokey things are intentional.
Then there is a reference to the former International Socialists mixing with other Leftists in organizations like the ‘Campaign against Nuclear Disarmament’. Surely not just a typo? There never was a formal campaign AGAINST nuclear Disarmament, and if there had been, the IS and other Leftists were unlikely to be part of it.
There is also a reference to Stalin’s ‘counter-revolutionary’ first Five Year Plan, which seems a strange expression to use whatever the Plan’s possible deficiencies. The pamphlet also lumps together various left-wing people, including the Socialist democrat Tony Benn, as being potential Kim Il-Sungs or Pol Pots, no justification being given to explain this extraordinary observation. Also some of the sentences are so badly constructed as to be quite unintelligible, almost as if ‘Jack Conrad’ had been instructed to write in some complete gobble-de-gook.
Apart from all this, many of the articles in the Weekly Worker, and the pamphlets, are written in such heavy style about often boring subjects that they are likely to put off any but the most avid Leftist. There is little discussion, for instance, in the paper about the details of how to start forming this ‘Communist Party of the European Union’ which is emblazoned as an objective under the title. Nor do there seem to be any attempts to reach out and link up with Leftist parties/organizations elsewhere in the EU.
The fact that CPGB (PCC) membership appears to have been stagnant for many years, and that they don’t seem to actually want any new members, strongly supports the theory that they are not a genuine Leftist organization at all, but merely a ‘front’ for something else. My membership application was kicked into the long-grass for over six months, and although they said it was accepted in principle, I never received a membership card, a subsequent second meeting with their leading comrade never happened nor did I receive an apology or explanation. When they published a letter from me in the Weekly Worker strongly hinting MI5 was behind the organization (in itself an indication they no longer care who suspects this) and that was why they didn’t seem to want new members but rather a sounding-board for ideas being bandied around on the Left, nobody from the organization contradicted me publicly or even contacted me privately to say I was wrong. Nor have I ever been told why promised meetings never took place or why my membership application was neither followed up nor rejected outright.
I still feel the organization and especially the Weekly Worker is useful in that it is like a breath of fresh air on the Left and provides an open platform for debate and new ideas. This is what is needed more than anything else. The old doctrinaire ideas still bandied about by various Leftwing sects are unhelpful in the 21st Century and risk repeating past mistakes. Also burying heads in the sand and hoping things like the EU will just go away and somehow Socialism will come about in Britain and hopefully spread around the world, rather than having a game plan of using the EU as a springboard for uniting Socialists across the Union, forming an EU-wide political party and aiming eventually to get a majority of MEPs in the EU Parliament to democratize the EU institutions and progress to a United Socialist States of Europe, backed up of course by workers’ solidarity and willingness to use withdrawal of labor and other methods when the parliamentary road is blocked. At least this is a strategy, which is more than most other leftist organizations seem to have.
For this reason, while not pursuing membership of an organization which clearly doesn’t want new members, I will continue to peruse and contribute ideas to the Weekly Worker as, MI5 dominated or not, it is a convenient organ for putting forward and debating ideas on the Left which other organizations can then hopefully take up.