communists and non-communists

June 6 2011 at 2:48 PM
Francis King 

Response to Liquidationist assets


Joao and ngb1066 are almost certainly right that had the CP leadership won at the PPPS, the Star would not be around today. The party leadership fought an ill-conceived campaign around the issue of party discipline in a way which was guaranteed to ensure that all the paper's non-CP supporters, who even then were vital for its survival, would support the Management Committee. In retrospect, it might have made far more sense for the party to accept the independence of the PPPS and to have pushed for a broader paper as PPPS members. The Star today is in some ways a far cry from the Star of 1983: today it can justifiably claim to be the daily paper of the left, whereas it couldn't have done so then. This is probably a positive effect of the CPB being so small - if the Star couldn't appeal to people way beyond its ranks, it wouldn't stand a chance of surviving.

There's a danger in projecting the politics of the late 1980s too far backwards. The "liquidationism" and disorientation among much of the party leadership supporters was very much a panicky response to the events of 1988-89, when it became clear that the Gorbachev reforms (the last roll of the dice for Eurocommunism) were not going to lead to democratic socialism but to the collapse of the whole edifice. This was a time when party membership was plummeting and people were casting around for something, anything, to latch onto. But the fact that someone became a "liquidationist" in 1990 does not necessarily mean that he or she was one in 1984.

Of course, you can't replay history, but I wonder what might have been if the CCG had been less determined to split from the main party and had instead adopted the Straight Left tactic of remaining inside and working constructively with other currents. Would the combined forces of the pro-party currents, including the left Eurocommunists Joao mentions, have been enough to conserve the party amd its assets?

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