Our vision: Harpal Brar on the tasks of the party

Workers are gunpowder, knowledge and education are the spark!

Harpal Brar

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As we approach the seventh congress of our party it must frankly be admitted that we have not yet seen revolutionary days.

But as CPGB-ML chair Harpal Brar pointed out on his opening address to our last congress (seen in the video above), it must also be seen that with the present profound crisis of capitalism, intensifying imperialist war abroad and deep attacks on the living standard of the working class of Britain and all nations, all the objective conditions for a vibrant revolutionary movement abound.

What is lacking among Britain’s workers is a clear theoretical understanding of capitalism and of socialism. This is a problem intensified and worsened by the Labour party social democrats, the Trotskyites (SWP, Socialist Party and others) and the CPB revisionists, who cannot even identify the historical successes of our struggle, and point the way – so eloquently and practically demonstrated by the experience of the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union – to our liberation.

Workers must not content themselves with crumbs from the rich man’s table, preparing themselves merely for a life of humiliating servitude in the hope of receiving a little grace and favour from above. The working class is revolutionary, or it is nothing!

As to those who see no substantial sign of any advance towards our goals, they lack the theoretical clarity that gives Marxists the ability to see the tectonic shifts that will undoubtedly result in a great upsurge of revolutionary energy.

And as Karl Marx pointed out, although history in general moves slowly, and it is the fate of many of us to live and work in times where developments proceed at an apparently glacial pace, this can rapidly change when revolutionary situations arise, and class consciousness and struggles develop with an astonishing rapidity.

“Only your small-minded German philistine who measures world history by the ell and by what he happens to think are ‘interesting news items’, could regard 20 years as more than a day where major developments … are concerned, though these may be again succeeded by days into which 20 years are compressed.” (Letter to F Engels, 9 April 1863)

Our current task is to prepare for such days: to agitate and to organise, to grow our party and the revolutionary movement, and to open the eyes of the proletariat – eyes into which the capitalist class incessantly throws the sand of mindless distractions, malicious, divisive and incorrect ideas, and anti-worker theories of every stripe.

As Marx pointed out: theory, when it grips the masses, becomes a force. For this very reason, the ruling class has done everything in its power to instil in the working class a contempt for theory in general, and a distrust of proletarian revolutionary theory – Marxism – in particular.

And yet, “Without a revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement.” (VI Lenin, What is To Be Done? 1902)

In order to achieve our goal of building socialism in Britain, British workers must study the theory of revolution and learn to apply it to the tasks of party and movement building, as well as to the wider class struggle.

We must build a party of worker-theoreticians, willing and able to popularise Marxist knowledge and bring it to ever-wider sections of the working class. For, in the words of VI Lenin: “Workers are gunpowder, knowledge and education are the spark”! (What are our ministers thinking about? 1895)