Launching the Revolutionary Communist Party: forward to the British revolution!

The British section of the International Marxist Tendency is celebrating this year’s May Day, International Workers’ Day, by launching the Revolutionary Communist Party. Explosive events, upheavals, and class battles are coming in Britain. We must prepare by building the forces of genuine communism.

[Originally published at]

Over the May Day bank holiday, hundreds of delegates and visitors from all parts of the country are gathering for the founding congress of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP).

The launch of the RCP comes at a time of collapsing living standards and complete disenchantment with the old order. British capitalism is in terminal decline. All the gains of the past are being systematically destroyed. The working class is facing an existential crisis.

The rich are getting richer, while working people are being driven into the ground, burdened with rising debts, rents, and bills.

But the only thing on offer from the main political parties – both the Tories and Labour, and the SNP in Scotland too – is more of the same. No wonder there is a profound disillusionment with all the establishment politicians and parties.

It is time for a radical break. We must stand up to the onslaught facing us. A revolutionary party is needed to fundamentally transform society, and put an end to this relentless barrage by the capitalists and their representatives.

The aim of this landmark congress is to found a party in Britain on the lines of Lenin’s Bolshevik Party, which led the Russian working class to power in 1917.

The RCP will be the British section of the new Revolutionary Communist International, which is being launched at a world conference in June.

The establishment of such a party is necessary preparation for the titanic events that impend.

Bankrupt Britain

The founding congress is due to discuss the draft theses on the coming British revolution, which was circulated to branches nearly two months ago, and published in The Communist.

This document outlines the world crisis that forms the background to events in Britain. We live in an epoch of unparalleled upheaval and turbulence. The long-term decay and demise of British capitalism has dramatically accelerated.

British imperialism has been relegated to a third-rate power, of little global importance. The ruling class has demonstrated its complete senility and bankruptcy. Britain has become one of the weakest links in the global chain of capitalism.

The economic collapse of 2008 ushered in a period of plummeting living standards and austerity for the working class. The corona-crash of 2020 intensified the crisis, which will sharpen even further in the years to come.

Already, local councils are going bankrupt. Essential services are being scrapped, especially hitting the most vulnerable.

The Tory Party has been completely discredited. Labour under Starmer, meanwhile, has shifted sharply to the right, and has become the willing lackey of capitalism.

Given the hatred towards the Tories, Starmer – this admirer of Thatcher – will be thrust into power. In Number 10, however, the Labour leader will be even more enthusiastic than his predecessors in carrying out the diktats of big business.

Explosive events

The growing turmoil internationally, combined with the collapse of British capitalism, is preparing an era of storm and stress.

“This is the worst combination of problems at home and abroad that any government will have taken on since the Second World War,” remarked Lord Ken Clarke, a former Tory chancellor.

This is the backdrop to a massive attack on the working class. The Starmer government will become one of the most hated governments of all time, as it attempts to place the burden of the crisis on the backs of workers.

But the working class has had enough. It will not lightly tolerate further impositions.

The situation has dynamite built into its foundations. Yet all the accumulated anger and discontent finds no outlet.

The scene is therefore being set for a massive explosion of the class struggle. Even the strike wave of the past couple of years will pale in comparison, compared to the fierce battles that loom.

Under these conditions, the Tory Party will pass rapidly over to the side of extreme reaction. The ruling class will be forced to lean on the likes of Starmer. In turn, the attacks meted out by a right-wing Labour government will serve to burn away any lingering illusions in reformism.

Crisis of leadership

Without doubt, a pre-revolutionary period is being prepared in Britain.

Rather than mobilise workers to radically change society, however, the trade union bureaucracy acts as a huge brake on the workers’ movement.

Even the supposed ‘lefts’ offer no real alternative. They believe in trying to make capitalism more humane. But this is utopian. Lacking any confidence in the working class, they too will attempt to keep the struggle within the confines of the system.

This is why we are launching a new party – a revolutionary party. It is necessary to break the logjam. Our task is to resolve this crisis of leadership.

Reformism vs revolution

RCI launch 1

We are not sectarians. We do not stand on the sidelines, but boldly turn towards militant workers and the youth, who are looking for a way out.

Why have we adopted the name Revolutionary Communist Party?

We have done this to raise the genuine banner of socialist revolution; to differentiate ourselves from the so-called ‘Communist’ Party of Britain, which has nothing in common with communism or revolutionary change.

They are reformist and nationalist to the core. They very much cling to their Stalinist heritage. Their paper, the Morning Star, is simply the mouthpiece for the trade union bureaucracy and left reformists.

These ‘lefts’ only seek to reform capitalism, as seen in the Corbyn movement.

The collapse of Corbynism was a reflection of this political weakness. They defended Labour as a ‘broad church’. When it came to the fight to drive out the Blairites, the ‘lefts’ simply capitulated, crumbling to the pressure of the Labour right wing.

Likewise, other politically similar formations, such as the People’s Assembly, seek to divert the energy of the working class into harmless reformist channels. They produce a lot of hot air, but little else. Like the Grand Old Duke of York, they march activists up to the top of the hill and then back down again.

It is a time for a fundamental break with such weak, woolly politics; to present a clear revolutionary programme, capable of pointing the way forward.

Youth and communism

The RCP poses sharply the need for revolutionary change, in Britain and internationally.

The reformist leaders have provided nothing but betrayals. In fact, there is a colossal vacuum on the left.

Hundreds of thousands of workers and youth are questioning the entire system, and are wide open to the ideas of genuine communism.

The latest wave of inspiring student protests – breaking out in one country after another – is an indication of the radical mood amongst young people, and across society more widely.

Our task is to find those who are turning towards communism, and to win over as many of these as possible – as quickly as possible.

There are no shortcuts to revolution. But the stormy events that lie on the horizon will radically transform consciousness, making even broader layers receptive to revolutionary ideas.

Heritage and ideas

Our young and determined forces are gathering at this founding congress to declare that genuine communism is back!

Our pre-history – of assembling the ones and twos, and developing a national presence – is over. A new stage is opening up.

We recognise that we are still a small party. The delegates and visitors to the founding congress of the RCP, however, are looking to the future with confidence.

A new chapter is being turned in the history of the British working class. We are entering into uncharted waters.

The tasks are great. But we have an important advantage over those in the past. We have accumulated an enormous theoretical heritage, in the form of the ideas of revolutionary Marxism, supplemented with the lessons passed down by those who have fought before us.

This equips us with the understanding, strategy, and methods needed to change society.

Join the RCP!

The system is at an impasse. Capitalism is undergoing a prolonged death agony. We base ourselves on such a perspective.

History will provide us with ample opportunities to build; to prepare the working class for the conquest of power.

Our task is to patiently explain to workers and youth the nature of the epoch – and the tasks required. Our objective is the building of a revolutionary party in Britain, before the revolutionary wave breaks.

We know this will not be easy. On the contrary, there are huge obstacles we need to overcome. On the basis of the hammer blow of events, combined with clear ideas and flexible tactics, this will be entirely possible.

All experience has shown that only the building of a mass revolutionary party can resolve the crisis of capitalism, and put an end to the nightmare facing the working class.

Never in the history of the workers’ movement has so much depended upon this endeavour. We do not have all the time in the world. We must make haste! So join us, and help build the RCP!

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