|Organisation:||Communist Organisation in the British Isles|
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This document dates from and is produced by the Communist Organisation in the British Isles. That group was formed on 1 January 1974 in the aftermath of a split from the British and Irish Communist Organisation. This split was due to those who formed COBI believing that BICO was now revisionist.
It argues under the heading ‘Origins” that…
…The COBI, in recognising and working to promote the primacy of theory, is taking up that perspective reneged upon by the BICO and the journal Theoretical Practice. Not only do we agree whole-heartedly with Lenin that ‘without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement’, but we say emphatically with Engels that we will ‘…constantly keep in mind that socialism, since it has become a science, demands that it be pursued as a science, i.e. That it be studied’.
It continues that:
We identify the failure of the BICO to be a degeneration into liberal constitutionalist politics. This has been clearly marked by the adoption of a series of Fabian positions, the latest of which is the policy on Workers’ Control - a policy which, instead of promoting the power of the proletariat over their place of work, promotes power over the proletariat at their place of work. This can only be in the interests of the bourgeoisie and reduces the working class to a plastic object of bourgeois history. The BICO policy on Workers Control is fundamentally anti-Marxist and must be rejected. It is symptomatic of the bourgeois degeneration of the BICO.
Further on it argues that…
…since the formative influence in the development of the BICO to date has been the Irish situation, it was easy for the membership as a whole to be led by a clique of petty-bourgeois ideologies, peddling bourgeois rationality and disguising themselves as Marxists, to permeate with, and commit the organisation to , the line that not merely in the specific Irish situation but in relation to all the classes which it exploits, was the British bourgeoisie the most progressive force.
But it also argues that:
…we shall build upon, and in doing so subsume, such positive advances as the BICO has hitherto made. These are: the analyses of the problems of Ireland and Wales, the economics of revisionism, the Stalin-Trotksy confrontation, and the EEC. We regards the theory of the Irish national question as more than adequately dealt with and therefore settled. The other positions, though substantially correct, have been inadequately dealt with; so these we will develop.
It’s worth briefly noting their statement that:
The COBI will be constituted as a Marxist-Leninist organisation for committed revolutionaries of, and only of, advanced cadres. Its principal task will be the comprehensive development of operational theory for the working class to become sufficiently conscious to seize and maintain power as the ruling class by crushing the bourgeoisie. It will use the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao as bases.
They also regards themselves as ‘a core organisation of communists, not a mass organisation. Neither is it a political movement in the orthodox sense of one that, containing a spread of members of varying levels of consciousness and activism, therefore addresses itself to a fairly diffuse and changing number of tasks. We shall strive for maximum homogeneity in level of consciousness and activism so that negatively, we shall to a large degree avoid the political-philosophical-personal eclecticism which is the dominant feature of advanced bourgeois socket; and positively allow our collective attention to be focussed on a specified range of key tasks.
It also states…
We therefore now put it on record that the COBI recognises the overwhelming necessity for workers, as soon as possessed of the elements of political organisation, to begin to prepare their physical means of defence. But further, they must also prepare the means of attack, for if these are not forthcoming at the moment of upsurge, the initiate and all momentum will be lost and the bourgeoisie will be able to retain their hold.
The rest of the document considers in various short chapters aspects of the issue of Workers Control and issues of Working Class organisation and incorporates documents drafted up by those within BICO which COBI ultimately disagreed with.