RESOLUTION OF THE SIXTH ECCI PLENUM

ON THE ENGLISH QUESTION


EXTRACTS


4 March 1926

Thesen und Resolutionen, VI Plenum, p. 104



I. THE SITUATION IN GREAT BRITAIN


The most outstanding feature of the British situation is the continued decline of British imperialism. British finance-capital has been unable to maintain the position it held before the war. It has had to yield its place as the predominant imperialist Power to the United States of America.

This fact is reflected in the unfavourable trade balance, in chronic unemployment, in the decline of production in the basic industries below the pre-war level while the cost of living remains high—at least 75 per cent higher than it was before the war.

Although the new policy of British imperialism towards its colonies... economic concessions to certain strata of the indigenous bourgeoisie and capital export, accompanied though they are by more severe political oppression—may for a time bring greater profits to some strata of British capitalists, this policy is bound in time to expose industry in the motherland to more acute competition and thus to weaken still further the British industrial system.

In the period of British imperial predominance British capitalists were in a position to secure the active support of the upper strata of the British working class for their imperialist policy by making concessions out of the super-profits squeezed out of the colonial peoples. Now British capitalists have lost their dominant position, they are trying to shift the burden of their losses, and of their losses in the war, on to the workers by reducing wages and lowering the standard of living.



2.

THE REVOLUTIONIZING OF THE BRITISH WORKING CLASS


The methods used by the British capitalists to recapture their former position ... are gradually making the British working class more revolutionary. The attempts to reduce wages and chronic unemployment are driving the workers to united resistance and to struggle against the capitalist system.

Another circumstance pushing the British workers to the left is the experience of the Labour Government. On the one hand it aroused broad masses of workers who

had never before taken an active part in political life to political consciousness; while on the other the fiasco of the Mac-Donald Government, which brought no help to the working masses while openly supporting British imperialism, created among the active minority of the labour movement extreme disappointment with the reformist leadership. . . .



3.

SYMPTOMS OF THE MOVEMENT TO THE LEFT


The movement among British workers to a more revolutionary position can be seen in:


1. The growth of a socialist ideology among the workers.

2. The development of a strong tendency to form a left wing in the British trade unions, most marked in the formation of the Minority Movement.

3. The resolutions passed at the Scarborough trade union congress (against imperialism, against the Dawes plan, and for factory committees).

4. The movement for trade union unity, as seen in the Anglo-Russian unity committee.

5. The support for the communist party's struggle against the decisions of the Liverpool conference of the Labour Party.

6. The beginnings of a left-wing organization within the Labour Party.

7. The mass movement of the unemployed.

8. The workers' campaign for the release of the twelve members of the CC of the CPGB (the petition was signed by 300,000 workers).

9. The mobilization of the workers to support the miners on 'Red Friday' (formation of action committees and the industrial alliance).

10. The pressure exercised by the rank and file of the Independent Labour Party on their leaders for a united front with the communists.



4.

THE SUCCESSES OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY

. . .


The success of the CPGB in extending its influence and in capturing the leadership of the working masses is of significance for all sections of the Comintern.

The strength of the CP in this work is based on the following circumstances:

1. Since 1924 there has been no fractionalism in the British party.

. . .

2. Experience has taught the British party the need to get a firm foothold in the unions. It insists on all its members being active members of the unions.

. . .

3. The party realized that it was necessary to build bridges to the masses. It promoted the development of the Minority Movement in the unions, and is now engaged in giving shape to the left wing in the Labour Party. The systematic organization of fractions in the unions and the Labour Party was an important factor in this work.

. . .



5.

THE TASKS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY


1. The party must continue to give the greatest attention to work in the unions and to support the Minority Movement to the utmost.

. . .

2. The job, already begun, of giving form to the left wing in the Labour Party, is of great importance for the development of the British movement.

. . .

3. The British party must continue its active support for international trade union

unity. . . .


4. The British party must take an active part in the struggle of the oppressed colonial peoples and mobilize the British working masses to support every movement of revolt against British imperialism.

. . .

7. Broad masses of the British working class still cherish illusions about parliamentarism and the traditions of liberalism. The party must wage an energetic struggle against the illusion that the British working class can win its freedom through a bourgeois parliament.

. . .

8. Although the party has extended its ideological influence over the British working masses, it has not managed to translate this influence into new membership.

...

If the party sets about this job resolutely, it should be able to double its membership in 1926.


 

Comintern

III. International