The World Congress is a unique opportunity to discuss and clarify our ideas and perspectives. This week we have had excellent Congress sessions. They have shown an outstanding political level. Now we must turn to the party building work that flows from these discussions. In other words, we have to examine the nuts and bolts of building the CWI, an international socialist organisation.
Eighth CWI World Congress
Increased membership | Australia Austria | Belgium Brazil | Canada CIS Czech Republic | England Wales Finland Germany | Greece India Ireland Israel | France Kashmir Netherlands Nigeria | South Africa Sri Lanka Sweden | United States | Building the CWI
Building the socialist alternative around the world
Building the CWI
Report on building the CWI. This is an edited version of the introductory report presented by Niall Mulholland to the Eighth World Congress of the CWI, held in Belgium from 23-30 November. Reports from CWI sections presented to the Congress as a compliment to the Building the CWI discussion have been posted previously.
CWI Online, 28 December 2002
Building the CWI
This important discussion on party building is greatly aided by the excellent written reports we have received from most sections. In all cases, the reports provide in an honest and sober fashion a balance sheet of party building efforts.
Growth of the CWI
Since our last world congress, in 1998, the CWI sections have not only maintained most of their forces but also gained new active members. The majority of sections have recorded an increase in membership and we have also started work in parts of the world where we had nothing in 1998. We should acknowledge that this is a great achievement considering the complex and often difficult objective situation faced by many sections.
We have achieved some outstanding results. The CIS has expanded, and there now exists the basis for separate sections in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia. The creation of a section in Israel, against the background of war, is a crowning achievement for the entire International, as is the establishment of the CWI in Kashmir.
In some cases, comrades have had to overcome previous problems. The comrades in South Africa, for instance, have leaped in membership only two years after a small group gave up on socialist struggle and split. The Scottish comrades have also quickly made gains since the long and intense dispute with a group that departed the CWI and who have since abandoned Trotskyism’. The French section has also grown since a group left us and got lost in the LCR. Our French comrades maintained a principled position during the recent presidential elections – clearly opposing Le Pen and Chirac and calling for a new mass workers’ party – when most of the rest of the French Left were found wanting. The comrades in Chile, after years of contending with a difficult objective situation, have doubled their forces as the situation as improved.
Some long established sections have recorded very impressive membership increases. The SP in Australian section, which has played a key role in the anti-racist movement, has broken through previous high membership figures. Our Greek section recently mobilised 150 comrades on a demonstration commemorating a mass struggle against the old military dictatorship.
The Nigerian, German, Swedish, Irish and other sections experienced periods of rapid growth.
Other sections, such as the England and Wales section, have recorded growth at a steady rate. They have scored electoral successes and extended the influence of the CWI in many areas of work.
At the same time, many sections have had to contend with the issue of making sure the new members are fully integrated and consolidated. Undoubtedly the objective situation, although improving in many countries, has made party building more complex. This is primarily a legacy of the 1990s, when socialist consciousness in general was thrown back, as was even the idea, in many cases, of mass militant struggle.
I believe, therefore, that this session has to mainly concentrate on recruitment, consolidation and cadre building, and allied to that, youth work. An energetic approach to these aspects of party building will undoubtedly bring many more successes in every area of party work and indeed to all the sections.
The anti-capitalist movement
A discussion on recruitment has to start from the fact that we have witnessed an extremely important change in consciousness since the last world congress, especially amongst sections of youth.
The world economic recession and the gathering war clouds in the Middle East are having an enormous effect on mass consciousness, radicalising many. The essential and central role of the urban working class, and more specifically the proletariat, is being reasserted in many countries, including in Europe. The recent fire service strike in Britain and Northern Ireland is an example of the beginnings of this new militancy. This follows several years of mass protests against neo-liberal policies in the West and the neo-colonial world.
CWI sections have recognised the profound importance of the anti-capitalist movement and played an active part in all the major protests and events, from London to Melbourne.
Comrades from the US and Europe joined our Canadian section during the Quebec City anti-WTO demonstrations last year. Several sections travelled to Seville for the big protests earlier this year, complimenting the work of local comrades.
Comrades from Europe travelled all the way to join Brazilian comrades at Port Allegro for the Social Forums. Several European sections organised contingents to protests in Gothenburg, Genoa, Brussels and Florence. This co-ordinated international action marks a new stage in the development of the CWI, and indeed proves very attractive to many radical youth. By these actions we can also win people in countries where we previously had nothing.
The anti-capitalist movement marks the emergence of a new generation of politically thinking youth. Of course there are many different ideas in such a diffuse movement. We have put forward our socialist ideas and tactics to develop the movement and especially to argue for it to link up with the organised working class. On occasion, comrades have also had to respond to reformist ideas and illusions, and always in a skillfull and sensitive manner. This calls for new and imaginative ways to express socialist ideas, while not in any way diluting their content.
The publication this year of the book ’Socialism in the Twenty First Century’ by the comrade Hannah Sell from England and Wales, along with the CWI publication, ’Under Siege – global capitalist crisis and the socialist alternative’, are examples of how we can put forward our ideas today.
The comrades in Germany, who are a dynamic part of the Attac organisation, have produced pamphlets taking up historical issues that come up in the anti-globalisation movement, as well as the ideas of anti-capitalist theoreticians and aspects of the programme and demands found in the movement.
It is correct to be prepared to work in broader formations, like Attac, as well as presenting our own independent banner. In the case of the CIS, the comrades actually played a key part in establishing Attac. This brought us a new audience of youth in many areas. The CIS comrades have had to spend time discussing how to deal with these various trends which inevitably arise within such a heterogeneous movement. This has helped comrades to learn how to sharpen our ideas and how to improve their dialogue with radical youth.
The exact future of the anti-capitalist movement is an unknown. We could even spend some time discussing on what ’anti-capitalist’ means. Whatever its precise character, this radical movement against the effects of neo-liberalism certainly survived the aftermath of S11, despite the predictions of many capitalist commentators. Moreover, the movement has to a great degree become part of the mass anti-war movement. This has meant many issues important to anti-globalisation, anti-capitalist and environmental activists have linked into the widespread mood against war and militarism.
The anti-capitalist movement is large and diffuse, with many varying levels of organisation. Sometimes just the mere sentiments it creates can radicalise youth. That has been the experience of our comrades in Ireland where there have not been big anti-globalisation and anti-capitalist demonstrations and protests. Despite the lack of EU, NATO or WTO summits to protest against, radical youth in Ireland have instinctively looked to the anti-capitalist protests around the world.
As well as the anti-capitalist movement, we now also see a new qualitative development in a number of countries: the re-emergence of the working class in struggle. In Spain, Italy, Portugal and Britain there have been important industrial struggles in 2001 and 2002. To some degree these workers’ movements are effected by and linked to the anti-capitalist movement.
This provides the CWI with a brilliant opportunity. As recent experience has shown, many youth and workers involved in mass actions are prepared to join a socialist organisation straight away. Party events like the ’socialism weekends’ many sections have held over the last few years have proved attractive to these layers.
To the Youth
Many other radical youth however, while sympathetic to socialist ideas, will not join a socialist party in the first instance. It was in recognition of this fact, of this level of consciousness, that we initiated the launch of the International Socialist Resistance (ISR) last year.
Even these early stages indicate that there are tremendous possibilities for an international fighting youth organisation that is clearly socialist. The ISR is set to become to be seen as the socialist wing or current in the anti-globalisation and anti-war movement.
The ISR Day of Action on education last March was a great success not just in a number of European countries but also in South Africa under the auspices of the Socialist Student’s Movement. The Brazilian section has established the very successful Movement for Education campaign and a socialist students’ organisation.
Consistent work amongst students is of course a vital part of our youth work. Faced with student poverty and politicised by global events, students are increasingly radical. Year after year, the comrades in England and Wales have signed up record numbers of students to Socialist Students. In the US, comrades have conducted excellent college work, including initiating anti-war campaigns, and the very successful speaking tour by comrade Segun from Nigeria. He spoke at twenty three public meetings in September/October which drew 1,200 people and led to a 25% increase in the membership of the US section.
In the colleges comrades have to be the best fighters for students’ rights and also, in an atmosphere conducive to the discussion of ideas, the best exponents of socialist ideas. In Voronezh, in Russia, a university lecturer asked the local comrades to take a series of classes on Marxism because, he said, there was no teaching staff able or willing to do the job!
The Greek section decided to take a decisive turn to youth. This was largely carried out under the YRE banner. The membership of the Greek section has dramatically grown because of huge emphasis on youth.
In a similar fashion, the situation facing the comrades in Ireland has also vastly improved following the launch of the section’s youth wing, Socialist Youth. Now just under half of the comrades in Belfast are between 13-18 years. New SY branches and SP comrades have been established in towns where we have not had a presence for many years. Around a third of those attending the recent national conference of the Irish conference were under 22 years. Furthermore, the majority of speakers in the conference session on the world situation were youth, underlining the fact that the new generation is a more politically conscious generation.
In all our youth work we have to prioritise recruitment of working class youth. We have to turn to young activists in the unions. This does not mean erecting a false Chinese Wall between different youth. In many countries today many young people are both workers and students. Our student comrades have always turned towards the organised working class. The Seattle comrades, mainly students, did consistent work in support of the UPS workers in dispute recently. This led to the one UPS worker joining Socialist Alternative in Seattle, so far.
As we have stated often, the anti-capitalist movement is a harbinger of big class battles to come. Indeed, we have witnessed a sharp rise in industrial militancy in some countries, like Britain and Portugal, although, in general, there are still generally low levels of class struggle. Nevertheless, the trade unions remain a fundamental and ultimately decisive aspect of our work. Most sections have reported important gains in extending the influence of Marxism in unions and also by winning important positions. We are building a presence in many of the public sector and service sector unions internationally.
The deepening crisis of the system pits workers against bosses and speeds up the process of radicalisation of unions. Nevertheless, there are no shortcuts to building a viable base in unions – it always requires consistent work, showing by deeds and arguments that our comrades have an alternative to the bureaucrats and right wing or patiently showing our ideas and tactics are superior to those leaders on the soft Left.
The recent NIPSA general secretary election result in Northern Ireland, which saw our comrade win nearly 40% of the vote, was a brilliant breakthrough for the SP. NIPSA is by far the largest public sector union in Northern Ireland. On top of that great election success, the Time To Change opposition we initiated won a small majority on NIPSA’s leading body earlier this year. These successes of course came after decades of painstaking party work in NIPSA, including the victory of the school classroom assistants for higher wages, a struggle led by our comrades.
In England and Wales the comrades have established a position in several unions that is the envy of the rest of the Left. We have eleven comrades on seven national executives. Comrades in the fire service have played an indispensable role during the present dispute. In Australia, the comrades have developed important points of support in some of the most militant industrial unions, such as the construction and forestry union, the CFMEU. A comrade in Portugal, which will soon have a second national 24-hour general strike this year, sits on key bodies representing thousands of Lisbon council workers.
As the class struggle deepens the trade unions will be shaken from top to bottom. Our role is to fight for democratic, fighting unions that can take on the bosses. In parts of the neo-colonial world and ex-Stalinist states this can entail comrades establishing unions or broader workers’ formations, such as the Workers’ Movement Solidarity in Kazakhstan.
Often we will initiate and lead the struggle against the union bureaucracy. More and more our union comrades will also have to contend with variants of reformist ideas in the unions. We must be skillful in our approach. We avoid an ultra left or sectarian approach, so common amongst the Ultra Left sects. At the same time, we make sure we do not fall behind the radical consciousness of the rank and file.
During the last decade, in a period of setbacks, union structures in many countries stagnated or elements of the structures even disappeared. Activists became thin on the ground and often much of their time was spent on individual casework. The situation opening up for the unions will be very different, albeit the process of radicalisation will be uneven. In the explosive period we are entering our union comrades have to strive to be the best militant organisers and to put forward a fighting programme. Sometimes this will entail an explicitly political campaign. Recently, our union comrades in Chicago were able to get a resolution calling for support for independent labour candidates accepted at a public sector union national conference.
Whatever particular aspect of union work sections conduct, it is vital that all efforts are made to win over new members, especially the youth. This may also means looking at special arrangements to bring these workers fully into party activity, including workplace discussion groups or branches.
The CWI has often stated in recent years that young women tend to be the most militant section in society today. Many sections have conducted important work around women’s rights and on a wide range of class, economic and social issues. In England and Wales the comrades have held regular women’s discussion meetings and produced campaigning pacts. The Swedish comrades have run campaigns against the pornography issue and the abuse of women. The comrades in the CIS have produced a women’s bulletin. There have been good levels of recruitment through these initiatives. Furthermore, comrades in the neo-colonial world have been able to win and consolidate female comrades, in Nigeria, India and Sri Lanka, where women’s oppression is particularly severe.
Ethnic, national and religious minorities and immigrants are another important section of the class we have to pay special attention towards. The barbarism of capitalism displaces millions of people from the neo-colonial world and Eastern Europe. In a number of the European sections comrades have conducted important work with these layers, often in campaigns against racism and to stop deportations. This usually involves detailed work for quite long periods. It establishes the authority of the CWI amongst wide sections of the most downtrodden in society, and also leads to new people joining the CWI. The Greek section, for example, has won significant numbers of immigrants.
The issue of racism and the far right in Europe means that the Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE), which the CWI initiated in the early 1990s, still has an important role to play. Sections should be prepared to launch anti-racist campaigns at short notice. In England and Wales, the YRE was central in organising protests this year against the neo-Nazi BNP and NF. In Seattle and New York comrades helped organise protests over police brutality against the African-American community.
In some sections the rise of the populist right and far right has sharply posed complicated issues before comrades. In the Netherlands, following the electoral successes of the List Pim Fortyn earlier this year the comrades have had to take up the reactionary crusade of the capitalist politicians over so called ’law and order’ issues and immigrants. This will continue to be the case because even though the List Pim Fortyn has broken apart and faces oblivion in the upcoming national elections the main capitalist parties have adopted much of the List’s language and policies.
Even in difficult situations, where comrades may temporarily have to swim against the dominant mood in society, it is still possible to build and recruit. In fact, a clear socialist banner will attract those youth and workers repelled by racism and reactionary ideas. The Austrian section was immediately involved in the mass protests against the inclusion of the Haider’s Freedom Party in the coalition government a couple of years ago and won great respect for this position. The Socialist Party in Australia has taken a lead in the struggle against Howard’s racist immigrant policy. In turn, this has brought many new youth to the section, bolstering existing branches and creating new branches.
In Northern Ireland, Socialist Youth has been able to grow because it is clearly seen as a campaigning anti-sectarian force. Although society has become more polarised along sectarian lines, a section of youth are repelled by this and are looking for a radical alternative. So too, the CWI in India has bravely campaigned against the religious, gender and national divisions amongst the working class and poor, including against the caste system.
In areas of the world with intense national or tribal disputes, such as Sri Lanka, it has been the correct analysis and programme of the CWI sections that has marked out our comrades from all other forces on the Left. The principled position of the United Socialist Party in Sri Lanka on the national question – standing for the right of self-determination of the Tamil areas and for workers’ unity in the struggle against capitalism across the island – has meant that over a third of the section’s membership are from a Tamil background. This is unique position for a party of the Sri Lankan Left.
As part of their campaigning for workers’ unity and socialism, the Sri Lanka the comrades have regularly contested elections and scored important poll gains. Many other sections have also run election campaigns since the last world congress, either under their own banner or as part of a wider list. For example, several comrades in Scotland stood under the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) title in the last general elections, and some of their votes were amongst the highest recorded by the SSP.
We have scored some spectacular results. Joe Higgins was of course re-elected to the Dail in Dublin, and Clare Daly only narrowly missed taking a seat. In England and Wales we are the only left organisation with elected public representatives, with councillors in London and Coventry. The Swedish section now has five councillors, including two new ones in a town in the far north. In the Netherlands we have several comrades who are councillors for the SP, although some of these comrades have yet to be fully integrated. The Australian comrades have run energetic election campaigns, winning high votes at local, state and national level.
As well as winning votes, a goal that should never be taken lightly, the main focus of elections for us is how they help to spread our ideas, influence and develop our membership. The Austrian comrades had first to collect the required five hundred signatures in order to stand in coming elections. They had to arrange for people to register at special government offices during a few hours in the day time. But even these hurdles were used by the comrades as a way to promote their election campaign and socialist ideas and to recruit.
It is important to get the right balance between fighting for votes and party building. As the comrades in the South of Ireland explain to do this successfully requires able party cadres to carry out party building before, during and after elections. To aid this task, the Irish section makes a conscious turn to consolidation and cadre building.
Consolidation of new members
Unfortunately, there is no easy route plan or simple solution to developing a new generation of cadres. Cadres are basically party comrades capable of building and giving a political lead. Given this, it is no surprise that it generally takes time for cadres to mature. Many factors are involved in the process of cadre development, including the experience of struggle and Marxist education. Having said that, we can put in practice measures to greatly aid the process.
In the first place, every section needs to have the structures in place to give every new member a role and responsibilities and to provide them with education. This means at the most fundamental level that branches, even those with a handful of members, have a secretary, a treasurer, a press officer, a education officer and so on. Larger branches require branch committees to cover all this work.
Branches should encourage new comrades to lead off at meetings, to speak in public, to write for our journals and to draft leaflets or press statements. The actual practice of these tasks can rapidly develop new members. We should always attempt to encourage and guide the talents of comrades and allow for initiatives.
Branches need to carefully consider the balance of their political programme of discussion in order to satisfy the needs of the newest member and the most experienced. As well as this, individual political discussions and Marxist discussion groups and so on, play an important role in aiding the development of new members.
The branch also has to be relevant to the needs of the new members, including in their particular sphere of work.
Promising new comrades should be ’fast tracked’ into the organisation’s structures where appropriate. We should never underestimate the ability and enthusiasm of youth. Or there willingness and seriousness. New young comrades from Omagh, in Northern Ireland, for example, recently returned to their home town fired up by the excellent Irish national conference. They took it upon themselves to draw up a branch resolution outlining the main tasks each member had to try to carry out and put the decisions in no uncertain terms! This resolution was then duly emailed to the Belfast offices of the party.
None of this is to indicate that we should ignore the members who may have become tired in the last difficult period and somewhat less active. In the CWI, all comrades have a role to play and big efforts should be made to reactivate long-standing comrades. Nevertheless, we should recognise that we are in a new world situation that will most directly impact on young people. Our main energy and resources must go to winning the youth. In this way, the sections can be greatly improved, even transformed. The best of the older members will respond to the new atmosphere in the sections and play a key role in developing the new generation.
The task of recruitment and consolidation became more difficult in the 1990s. As we have explained before, this was mainly due to objective circumstances. Many sections found that the people who did join were often much more raw politically than in previous periods. But, as the objective situation has improved, all the sections have reported a marked change in the type of people now joining us. In the new situation, as our ranks fill up with much more politicised comrades, it is essential that these vital aspects of party building are once more scrupulously attended to.
All the building blocks of party work, such as the paper, finances, publications, have to be regularly reviewed. Of course, while stating this, we must recognise that even basic party work can prove very difficult to carry out in the neo-colonial world and the more impoverished ex-Stalinist states. Communications and infrastructure in these countries is usually very poor and this hugely hampers our work. There can also be the problems of religious, national and ethnic divisions amongst the class. In Kashmir, for example, the comrades have to not only deal with national oppression but also daily problems of language, dialects and tribal differences. It is a testament to the courage and resilience of sections like the Kashmir that they have been able to overcome these huge obstacles and have built the CWI.
The party press and websites
The paper remains an agitator, educator and organiser, as well as the public face of the sections. The impact and influence of our journals should not be underestimated. The CIS paper is widely distributed and read throughout the former Soviet Union. One group of youth in the city of Seratov found our paper through a local communist party branch and the leading youth, aged seventeen, asked to join us. We had nothing in Seratov at the start of the year. Today we have an active youth branch that has already organised a demonstration against the local authorities poor services.
Two sections produce a weekly paper. Many sections produce monthly or bi-monthly journals. The larger sections compliment their papers with theoretical journals.
The journals have to fulfill very definite roles. A weekly should not be weighed down by too many in-depth articles; a journal that comes out just two or three times a year cannot aspire to be provide agitation in the same manner as a weekly.
Whatever the frequency of the journals they should at all times strive to use language accessible to working people. And they must present our programme in a transitional manner.
A very important compliment to the journals and publications is the website. Unlike some on the Left we do not believe that the site can somehow replace traditional means of mass communication. Rather it is a very useful addition to them, and in some ways the web can play a unique role.
The CWI site has been revamped in the last year. It is updated very regularly. Many comrades have complimented the new look site and the role it plays as provider of news and analysis and as a vital resource of socialist history, theory and so on.
Our site has brought the CWI new members in a number of sections and also in countries where we have not had comrades previously. The new CWI group in New Zealand was initially built after a youth comrade had read much of the material on our site and contacted us to join.
Many of the European and North American sections now have impressive web pages, which is a vital addition to their apparatus.
Another key aspect of party building concerns fund raising, which will always be absolutely crucial to the development of a socialist organisation. Without the regular finances how can we carry out campaigning activities and other work?
The CWI has a record second to none when it comes to going to the class for financial donations. We have many comrades that carry out sterling fund raising work, week in, week out. Fund raising has become more ’politicised’ in recent years. Many sections report excellent fund raising around specific campaigns. Comrades in Northern Ireland have raised large amounts on anti-low pay street stalls and the Australian section has raised big amounts on the immigrant issue. But we should not take this for granted. Fund raising is an art that needs to be passed on to the new members.
’What is to be done?’
Great attention to all details of party life was always the method of Lenin, who one hundred years ago this year set fourth his concept of the revolutionary party in the book ’What is to be Done?’
The book of course contained a serious mistake, the incorrect idea, which Lenin had borrowed from Kautsky, that workers on their own could not go beyond trade union consciousness. Lenin later corrected this polemical exaggeration. For the purposes of our discussion today on party building, I would like to stress the central theme of Lenin’s key work, the concept of the revolutionary party, which was proved valid by the victory of 1917. Lenin correctly pointed out that the diverse character of the working class meant a trained and steeled revolutionary party was essential to bring mass revolutionary movements to a successful conclusion.
Ever since 1917 class enemies and sceptics and cynics have attacked the idea of the revolutionary party and the practice of democratic centralism. In the last ten years we have seen a new wave of attacks. But who can seriously question the need for a disciplined revolutionary force today? We only have to examine the extremely diverse anti-capitalist movement and the anti-war movement or the explosive events in Indonesia, Turkey or Argentina over the last few years to see that working class needs its own party if it is to fully take advantage of events and take power.
In defending this position the CWI has been accused of being rigid, dogmatic and sectarian. This criticism of course comes from the cynics and the ex-revolutionaries. The truth is we have stubbornly defended the priceless heritage of Marxist theory and organisation, and striven to deepen those ideas.
While implacably defending Marxist ideas and organisation, we also adopt the greatest flexibility and tactical flair. We do not adopt a sectarian approach. We stand for revolutionary re-groupment on a genuine and principled basis. Unfortunately our experiences with other tendencies in the last few years has not been good, although we are always prepared to respond to genuine initiatives.
We turned our back on the false ’socialist alliances’ dominated by the sectarian Left. This was the case even in England and Wales, once the SWP hijacked the Alliance we had first established on an inclusive, federal and democratic basis.
Nevertheless, we are always prepared to be part of genuine, democratic Left formations.
The CWI has shown it is prepared to work with other tendencies, in electoral pacts, in union work, anti-racist campaigns and so on.
In Brazil, the Netherlands, Scotland and Portugal we work inside larger Left and reformist parties. The situation opening up in the PT (workers’ party) following the huge election victory for Lula provides comrades with new possibilities. In a similar way, the Dutch comrades will be able to bear fruit from years of work inside the Socialist Party (a broad Left party), which is tipped to at least double its number of MPs in the coming elections and is being flooded with new working class members. Our section are widely viewed as the Left opposition inside the SP.
The Scottish comrades have conducted excellent work inside the SSP, clearly differentiating the CWI from the various opportunist and reformist tendencies.
The Nigerian comrades have stepped up their activity inside the National Conscience Party (NCP) as the objective situation has changed and given this radical pro-democracy formation a higher profile.
The comrades in Portugal, who are in the Left Bloc formation, are also orientating towards a new opposition force in the communist party, which although a shadow of its former self, still does carry authority with important sections of the working class.
This type of work requires patience and tactical skill, of taking initiatives in good season.
It is vital that the CWI has a clear presence in these formations and that we integrate recruitment to the organisation in all activities. But most of our work will continue to be outside these formations, under our own independent banner.
Comrades, as the written reports indicate, cadre building is a fundamental and urgent task in every section. The cadre is the backbone of the party in periods of contraction and in periods of expansion. The vitality of the party is recognised by its capacity to extend and replenish cadres and to reproduce leaders from one generation to another.
For the smaller sections this primarily means building an initial cadre. Comrades will be trained and tempered around a programme. We are not indifferent to the size and influence of the sections, of course. Ultimately they will be decisive factors. But quantity is not decisive in determining the real nature of the sections, which are fundamentally characterised by their programme and their relation to the class.
The larger sections often have to combine elements of mass work and campaigning with cadre building. It is necessary to continue mass work – and in most cases we are the only people capable of leading it – but emphasis also has to go on recruitment, consolidation and creating a new generation of cadres.
Every member has to be instilled with the party loyalty and party pride. Every new member has to be given a sense of the importance of our international outlook. International solidarity campaigns, for example, are extremely important in building across the world and often under very hazardous circumstances. When comrades in Nigeria and Kashmir were faced with physical attacks from our reactionary enemies over the last two years the international protest campaigns the CWI organised were vital in defending them.
Every member has to understand that carrying out the colossal tasks we set requires the organisation is built continuously and consistently.
Comrades, in closing my remarks I would like to very briefly outline the times ahead of us. The CWI faces stern tests in the coming period. There will be big opportunities and also moods of reaction and despondency we will have to contend with. The threat of another imperialist war brings home to many millions of working people throughout the globe, that ranged against them are the most highly organised concentration of economic, political, military and cultural power in history. These mighty forces of reaction will not be overthrown without a movement of the masses, led by the working class. In turn, the working class requires a disciplined, principled and experienced socialist and Marxist leadership at its head. More and more workers will come to this unavoidable conclusion.
The discussion today, comrades, is all part of the urgent struggle to build a mass Marxist international. This remains our central strategic task.