DELEGATES of the New Communist Party cells and districts, friends, supporters and fraternal delegates from other parties assembled last weekend in the historic Marx House at Clerkenwell Green in central London for the party’s 15th National Congress.
The Congress was opened by NCP president Eric Trevett, who recalled the tremendous things that have happened nationally and internationally since the NCP was founded in July 1977.
He spoke of the marginalisation and even liquidation of some communist parties, victims of the revisionist virus of “Euro-communism”, which paved the way for counter-revolution in the Soviet Union and other European socialist countries.
In Britain in the 1980s the defeat of the heroic miners’ strike – betrayed by the leaderships of the Labour Party and TUC who prevented effective solidarity support – which paved the way for first an onslaught on trade union rights and then on the wages and conditions of the working class.
Those were dark days but now: “Resistance to reactionary policies is growing and among the positive developments we see is China emerging as a world power in politics and in the economic field,” Eric told the Congress.
“In Latin America we see other countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua joining Cuba in opposing US imperialism.
“In the Middle East the patriotic forces of Lebanon fought US-backed Israel to a standstill and Israel has been exposed to an unprecedented extent as an aggressor state and a puppet of US imperialism.
“Here at home resistance is also growing as is evidenced by the massive demonstrations against the war on Iraq and the build up of local agitation in defence of the health service,” he added.
He finished with a call for positive action to build the New Communist Party.
Dozens of delegates made contributions, as amendments to the party’s main resolution and several other resolutions were debated. They brought to the debate personal experience of activity in a wide range of struggles.
The illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were top concerns, along with recognition that the resistance in those countries is succeeding in fighting the imperialist invaders to a standstill, who are now desperately casting about for a feasible “exit strategy”.
Concern over the future of the NHS was among the topics which attracted many speakers. In particular the shameful inadequacy of mental health services produced many passionate contributions from comrades who either worked in the field, were patients or close relatives of patients.
Congress agreed that the stresses of living under advanced and declining capitalism have produced an epidemic of stress and depression, while the traditional community structures of the working class that supported the morale of workers in struggle have been undermined by consumerism, individualism and alienation.
Other big concerns included opposition to the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system and the current attacks on civil liberties.
Fraternal delegates from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Greece, Spain, Denmark, Cyprus, Turkey, Germany, the African Liberation Support Committee and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) spoke to the Congress.
All these comrades emphasised the recent changes in the world balance of power, as the United States has lost some of its power. This follows the strength of the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan and the huge shift towards left-wing governments in Latin America, especially Venezuela, which the US is powerless to stop.
Many mentioned the recent conference of communist and workers’ parties in Lisbon, where the mood among communists now is upbeat and positive. Parties are growing in strength as they successfully defeat the poison of revisionism and class collaboration.
The Turkish comrades told a harrowing tale of violent oppression of their party – along with other parties, especially those who stand up for Kurdish civil rights and liberties. They have suffered raids and arrests and leading members are being held in jail. Their party is forced to work in conditions of illegality. The Congress passed an emergency solidarity motion in support of their struggle and calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Turkey.
And the nuclear test by the DPRK was recognised by Congress as a positive step towards the peaceful stabilisation of that region – a real deterrent to US imperialist interference there.
NCP general secretary Andy Brooks wound up the Congress by congratulating delegates for their hard work in producing a document that will chart the Party’s progress for the next three years. He praised the positive contribution the RCPB (ML) had made towards advancing communist unity through co-operation and dialogue with the NCP over the years.
The one certainty in life, Andy said quoting Marx, was that the only alternative to socialism was barbarism – the barbarism we saw in Nazi Germany and what we see today in Iraq; the barbarism we see in the starvation and poverty of much of the Third World and the exploitation and oppression of working people throughout the world. But this was a Congress of hope and conviction in the supremacy of the communist ideal. The 21st century, he concluded, will certainly be the century of socialism.
A collection raised over £450 and the last act of Congress, in accordance with NCP tradition, was the mass singing of the Internationale.