RESOLUTION OF THE SEVENTH ECCI PLENUM ON THE SITUATION IN BRITAIN


EXTRACTS


December 1926

Inprekorr, vii, 16, p. 326, 5 February 1927



The membership of the CPGB had risen from 6,000 to 12,000 in the course of the year.

Of the 304 reports issued by the information department, 39 had been about Britain; the agitprop department had issued 13 bulletins and a great many articles about the

progress of the Russian relief campaign for the British miners on strike. All CI sections had been given directives on their duty to help the miners.




I.

INTRODUCTION



1. The seven-months' struggle of the English miners which followed the general strike dealt heavy blows to English capitalism. In itself a reflection of the progressive decline of English capitalism, it substantially accelerated the rate of that decline.


2. England's position in the world economy is undermined, and its political position in the world has been weakened. England's foreign policy has suffered a number of setbacks; the Locarno plan for a bloc against the United States was frustrated at Geneva, and in addition there was the blow suffered in China by the Canton army's defeat of Wu Pei-fu and Sun Chuan-fang, England's agents. Its desperate attempt to construct an anti-Soviet bloc ended with such successes for Soviet policy as the Soviet agreement with Lithuania, etc.

. . .


5. Within the country the miners' fight gave class contradictions an acuteness unknown in England before the general strike, and revealed to the working class the true character and beastliness of the capitalist dictatorship more clearly than years of propaganda could have done.

. . .


8. The theses on the general strike adopted by the ECCI in June, and now confirmed by the seventh enlarged plenum, not only gave a correct analysis of the course of events but correctly indicated the general lines of development of the class struggle in England in the near future.


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III.

THE POLITICAL SITUATION AFTER THE GENERAL STRIKE



14. The growing political and economic difficulties created by the prolongation of the miners' struggle forced the capitalist class to come out more and more openly and resolutely against the miners and the entire working class; it completely abandoned democratic externals and revealed all its institutions—government, monarchy, parliament, church, army, police, and press—as instruments of capitalist dictatorship.

. . .


15. On the other hand the workers' class consciousness was intensified after the general strike.

...

This is shown in the marked growth of influence of the National Minority Movement in the trade unions.

. . .


16. This growing class consciousness has also driven the trade union bureaucracy, from the General Council downwards, to close their ranks; having made up their minds to bring about the defeat of the miners, theyare now driven to further treacheries to the working class. Most of these bureaucrats, right wing and former left, are working for an open alliance with the capitalists; only a part of the lower ranks of the bureaucracy turned left with the workers.

. . .


17. The complete and shameful surrender of the former 'left wing' in the General Council (Hicks, Purcell, Tillett, Bromley, etc.) during the general strike, their participation in the seven months' struggle of the General Council to defeat the miners . . . demonstrated the consolidation of the reformist ranks in face of the growing class consciousness of the workers.


18. The reformist Labour Party leaders were also forced by the sharpening of the class struggle to reveal their true features as agents of capitalism in the labour movement.

. . .


21. Throughout the miners' struggle the Minority Movement issued clear and correct directives and conducted an energetic campaign to mobilize the masses in support of the miners.

.. .

The Minority Movement leaders showed some hesitation about criticizing the 'left' in the General Council, and made one or two mistakes which were later corrected.

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22. The miners' struggle aroused among the mineworkers a tremendous wave of sympathy for the communist party.

. . .

This can be seen in the doubling of the party's membership over the last six months and in the expansion of the party press, as well as in the applause which greeted party leaders when they spoke at miners' meetings.


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IV.

THE COMMUNIST PARTY'S TACTICS


24.

...

The CPGB acted correctly when it did not shrink from telling the workers that the greatest responsibility for the miners' difficult position rested on the General Council and the Labour Party leaders.

. ..

Throughout the course of the miners' struggle the communist party correctly explained to the workers that the issue was not merely the miners' fight against the mine owners, but a struggle of the entire working class against the entire capitalist class, including its executive committee, the Conservative Government.

. . .


26. Since the general strike ended the communist party has unceasingly continued its campaign to expose the General Council.. . and emphasized the necessity of replacing the reformist leaders by revolutionaries who are true to the working class.

...

In this connexion it must be admitted that the party press was not always successful in placing responsibility for the betrayal of the miners where it belonged, as clearly as was required. A similar mistake was made by the party fraction in the Minority Movement executive; the CC immediately put this right.

. . .


28. The communist party lost no opportunity of exposing and fighting the opportunist leadership of the political labour movement.

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30. Throughout the general strike and the miners' lock-out the CPGB on the whole pursued a correct political line; nevertheless a number of mistakes were made, most of which were subsequently put right. In correcting these errors the party was supported by the comradely criticism and proposals of the

ECCI.

. . .

Because of this help the CPGB was able to conduct a correct policy, despite all the difficulties arising from the present vigorous struggle of the workers against the attempts of the English bourgeoisie to stabilize their position at the expense of the workers.



V.

SOME FUNDAMENTAL LESSONS OF THE STRUGGLE



31. The miners' struggle has given the working class of the world, and particularly of England, a number of important lessons which if studied will enable the workers to withstand the still more severe struggles that lie ahead.

. . .


(c) For the English workers the most important lesson is that the separation of the class struggle into 'industrial' and 'political' is a misleading and dangerous swindle if applied to any big strike in England in the present period of capitalist decline.

. . .


(d) The unconcealed capitulation of the right as well as of the left reformist leadership of the labour movement and their refusal to fight for the emancipation of the workers, or even to support the workers' demands to maintain their present living standard, are a practical demonstration of the complete bankruptcy of reformism.

. . .


(f) The continued participation of the Soviet Russian unions, under CPSU leadership, in the Anglo-Russian unity committee, notwithstanding the criticism and exposure of the treachery and sabotage of the General Council and its delegates to the unity committee, the partially successful campaign for preventing the export of coal to England, the twenty-four-hour solidarity strike organized by the CGTU, and the local successes gained by the British party together with the ILP in the campaign to stop the transport of coal were a practical lesson to the communists in England and throughout the world of the importance of united front tactics in rallying the workers for the fight against capitalism and in forcing the reformist leaders to reveal their true features.



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VII.

THE TASKS OF THE BRITISH PARTY


39. The enlarged Executive endorses the tasks of the CPGB as laid down by its eighth congress.

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Political Tasks


(i) The campaign to explain to the workers the political significance of the present period of capitalist decline, of the struggles which will culminate in the seizure of power by the working class . . . which must also demonstrate the necessity of making the maximum revolutionary use of parliament and of local-government bodies, while making clear the utter uselessness of these institutions for achieving working-class emancipation.

(ii) The campaign to mobilize the entire working class for the struggle for the dissolution of parliament, the overthrow of the Baldwin Government, and the formation of a real workers' government as a reply to the present and impending Conservative attacks on the living standards, the rights, and the liberties of the working class.

. . .

(iv) The campaign to build a united trade union International as a guarantee against international economic and political reaction and the danger of a new world war; in particular the campaign to convene a world-unity congress by the RILU in association with the IFTU and to expose reformist sabotage of the Anglo-Russian unity committee.

. . .

(v) The campaign for solidarity with the workers and peasants of the colonies . . . who, both in their struggle for complete independence and secession from the British Empire and in their fight against capitalist exploitation, are the most reliable allies of the British workers.

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Organizational Tasks


(i) The utmost organizational consolidation of the communist party, particularly recruiting, reconstruction on the basis of factory cells, fraction work, improvement of local and district organization, development of political training and the party press.

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(ii) Organizational consolidation and expansion of the Minority Movement as the cardinal prerequisite for reorganizing the trade union movement on industrial-union lines and replacing the reformist leaders by revolutionary workers.

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(iv) Organizational consolidation and expansion of the left-wing movement in the Labour Party as the most important prerequisite for a proletarian leadership of the Labour Party and the affiliation to it of the communist party.

(v) Preparing the workers for self-defence against fascism by building workers' defence corps under the supervision of the workers' mass organizations.

(vi) Organized fraction work in the co-operatives and co-operative guilds in order to lead their proletarian members in the fight against the middle-class influences

prevailing in these bodies and give them a revolutionary proletarian policy.



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[VIII.]

THE LESSONS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING CLASS



(1) The miners' strike shows that the attempt of the bourgeoisie to stabilize capitalism must lead to tremendous mass struggles, and that these struggles in their turn endanger capitalist stabilization.

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(5) The miners' strike has proved that under the old reformist leadership the working class cannot win any really big fight. Not only the right and left wing reformists in England, but international reformism as a whole, the Second International and Amsterdam and the Miners' International, failed shamefully. The workers can arrive at this truth only by their own experience, and the British miners' strike was the most important experience of the international proletariat in recent years. The necessity of revolutionary communist leadership not only in the final struggle of the proletariat, but also in its daily struggles to maintain living standards is the most fundamental and important lesson and achievement of the miners' fight.



 

Comintern

III. International