Party Briefings

Various party committees publish briefing papers on national and international issues. A selection of these can be found to download and read below.

 

Dear comrades,

At its meeting on 23 July, the District Committee agreed the following arrangements for our District Congress.

The 4th District Congress will take place on the afternoon of Sunday 19 November 2017 in Exeter. The venue (opposite Exeter Central station) is:

The Burlington Suite

The Mercure Exeter Rougemont Hotel

Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3SP

This has been booked from 14.00 to 18.00, with the Congress taking place from 14.30 to 17.30. A short meeting of the newly- elected District Committee will take place at 17.30 to elect officers of the Committee and decide on the date of its next meeting. We urge branches to bring their branch banners to display around the room.

All delegates and visitors will be asked to ‘check in’ at a registration desk inside the Congress meeting room on arrival. A Congress pack (with a voting slip) will be available to each delegate at the desk. There will be a credentials check; the comrade responsible for this will be based at the registration desk.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available from 14.00 and throughout the Congress from a refreshments table immediately outside the Burlington Suite. The hotel charges £5 to park for the day but parking places cannot be reserved in advance. Free Wi-Fi is provided.

All CPB members of the District may attend the congress and are encouraged to do so.

Each branch may send a delegate for every three paid-up members. An extra delegate may be elected if, after dividing the branch membership by three, there is a remainder of two. In order to qualify as a delegate, a member must be fully paid-up to 30 September 2017.

CPB branch members who are not delegates may attend as consultative delegates. A consultative delegate may serve on Congress preparation committees, if any (none is currently planned), and speak at the Congress but they are not able to vote. Members of the outgoing District Committee who are not delegates may attend as consultative delegates.

Branches are asked to notify the District Secretary by no later than Saturday 4 November of the names of their full and consultative delegates. This is important for the confirmation of final arrangements with the hotel, preparation of documents, etc.

The General Secretary, Comrade Rob Griffiths, has agreed to attend and address the Congress. Other guests and visitors may be invited.

Resolutions and Amendments

The District Committee intends to submit a District resolution. In addition, each branch is invited to submit up to two resolutions of no more than 400 words each. Resolutions must be sent to the District Secretary in writing (by email if possible) no later than 22.00 on Saturday 7 October 2017. These branch and DC resolutions will then be circulated to branches to amend should they wish. Branches may submit up to two amendments of no more than 200 words. ‘Delete all’ amendments are not permitted. Branches may not amend their own resolutions. Amendments should be submitted to the District Secretary by Saturday 11 November.

Emergency resolutions of not more than 400 words, relating to circumstances that have substantially arisen after Saturday 7 October, may be submitted in writing to the District Secretary by 22.00 on Thursday 16 November. The text of any such resolution submitted will be distributed at Congress. Congress will decide whether or not to place the resolution on the agenda. Emergency resolutions may not be amended.

All resolutions must:

  • Conform to the Party’s programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism and its National Congress resolutions including the resolution of the 54th Congress, Block the Ruling Class Offensive and Win a Left-led Government

  • Conform to Party rules

  • Fall within the remit of the South-West England and Cornwall District of the CPB

  • Not risk placing the Party in legal jeopardy

  • Be competent and internally consistent.

The District Committee will be responsible for ensuring that submitted resolutions conform with the above.

The Agenda and Conduct of the Congress

The outgoing Chair of the District will chair the Congress, with the exception of the election of the incoming District Committee.

The agenda will be as follows:

  1. Welcome and opening remarks by the Chair. The Chair will also announce arrangements for photography during the Congress and for a group photograph.

  2. Apologies.

  3. Congress will stand in memory of comrades who have died since the last congress.

(Branches should notify the District Secretary by Friday 10 November of comrades to be mentioned by name and whether or not a comrade from the branch will say a few words in tribute. Any late notification can be given to the District Chair before the start of the congress.)

 

  1. Election of two tellers.

 

  1. Address by the General Secretary, Comrade Rob Griffiths.

 

  1. To approve the minutes of the Third District Congress of 18 October 2015.

 

  1. Matters arising from the minutes that do not appear elsewhere on the agenda.

 

  1. To receive a District Report of Work prepared by the retiring District Committee. (It is suggested that the District Chair collates contributions to cover all areas of Party work in the District since the third Congress. The Chair will suggest a timetable for receipt of contributions. The completed draft will be circulated by the District Secretary to members of the District Committee for approval and will then be circulated to branches/delegates no later than Sunday 4 November). Branch Secretaries are invited to submit branch reports, but this is optional.

 

  1. To receive the District Committee’s financial report.

 

  1. Resolutions

 

  1. Election of District Committee

11.1 To receive nominations

11.2 To determine the size of the District Committee

11.3 To elect the District Committee

  1. Collection for the Morning Star

 

  1. The Internationale (The words will be available).

5. Finance/Budget

Our Treasurer, Angela Hopkinson, has allocated £200 as a District contribution to the cost of Congress. In addition, a fee per full delegate of £10 will be charged. This will cover the central costs of the Congress (room hire, refreshments, and General Secretary’s expenses).

There will be no fee for consultative delegates, visitors and guests.

A pooled fare system will not operate and the travel costs of delegates and consultative delegates should be met by branches. The District Secretary should be informed as soon as possible if there are any difficulties concerning financial support.

Summary of dates:

Deadline for sending the DC’s report of work to branches: 4 November.

Deadline for submission of resolutions: 7 October, 22.00.

Deadline for notification of delegates; 4 November.

Deadline for amendments: 11 November.

Deadline for emergency resolutions: 16 November, 22.00.

Date of congress: 19 November.

 

 

NO TO THE SINGLE MARKET

 

There is a determined cross-party drive among MPs, backed by big business, to enmesh Britain and any future Labour government in the rules of the Single European Market after leaving the EU. This could be done in a number of ways:

  • Through membership of European Economic Area via the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (which negotiated its own agreement with the EU). This would mean continuing free movement of capital, goods services and people. In the EEA, Britain would have to adopt EU company law and social, consumer and environmental policy (but not the agricultural or fisheries regimes). Some financial obligations to the EU would continue, while others would be voluntary. EEA rules are enforced by the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court.
  • Through membership of the European Customs Union like Monaco, the Channel Isles and Isle of Man and - by their own agreements with the EU - Turkey, Andorra and San Marino. Unlike the EEA, this would mean accepting the EU external tariff wall and EU representation in all international trade negotiations (including representation at the WTO).
  • Through a separate bilateral treaty with the EU which would almost certainly mean accepting free movement (possible with transitional limits on immigration from the EU), most if not all Single Market rules, full or partial or joint jurisdiction for the EU Court of Justice and continuing financial contributions to the EU.

Jonathan White and Alex Gordon have set out the left and progressive case against membership of the European Single Market here.

 

On August 3, the CP Political Committee issued the following statement:

Beware Tory EU exit trap, Communists warn

The Tory government is preparing to bind workers and a future Labour government with EU market and competition rules after Britain leaves the EU, according to the Communist Party.

 

'Big business is putting huge pressure on Prime Minister May and her negotiating team to reach a settlement with the EU that would prevent any form of democratic intervention in the economy through an alternative economic and political strategy', International Secretary John Foster told the party's Political Committee on Wednesdayevening (August 2).

 

He warned that any transitional or post-exit treaty with the EU that accepted existing single market or customs union rules and institutions would outlaw policies to support industry, control capital, regulate trade or use public procurement contracts to promote local employment, trade unionism, upskilling and R&D investment.

 

Mr Foster pointed to the European Free Trade Association court judgement in the Holship case as an example of how EU competition and 'right of establishment' law is used to undermine trade unionism and workers' terms and conditions. Last year, the EFTA Court ruled that a collective agreement protecting the pay of Norwegian dockworkers was invalid under EU treaty law, despite the views of Norway's own supreme court.

 

'More trade union leaders need to speak out about the dangers that the single European market and its super-exploitation of "posted" workers pose to jobs, living standards, local communities and strategic industries', the CP international secretary suggested. He welcomed, therefore, the recent decision of Britain's third biggest union, the GMB, to oppose continued membership of the European single market.

 

Britain's communists said it was now urgent to bring down the minority Tory government before it could commit Britain to rejoining EFTA and its European Economic Area with the EU, or accepting any further jurisdiction here of the 'anti-trade union' EU Court of Justice.

 

The Communist Party also warned that the Tories and their big business paymasters are seeking trade and investment deals with the USA, Canada and other countries that would enshrine capitalist free market principles, putting corporate profit before the interests of workers and consumers.

 

On the controversial issue of the so-called free movement of people, Mr Foster accused the EU of hypocrisy and racism.

 

'The main concern of the EU has always been to ensure that businesses can employ desperate workers from one part of Europe on terms that undermine pay, conditions and trade unionism in another', he declared, 'Free movement has never been extended to people outside "Fortress Europe", most of them non-white, who have been kept out by ever rising barriers'.

 

The CP political committee called on the British government unilaterally to grant residency rights to foreign nationals living here and to repeal all discriminatory immigration and nationality legislation passed since 1980.

 

SOLIDARITY WITH VENEZUELA!

 

Reactionary forces and the right-wing media are doing their utmost to misrepresent the struggle in Venezuela and use it against Jeremy Corbyn's left leadership of the Labour Party. CP General Secretary Rob Griffiths has appeared twice on Talk Radio in recent days to challenge the lies and distortions and on August 3 the Political Committee issued this statement:

Back democracy against violent subversion in Venezuela

The Communist Party of Britain has welcomed the results of last Sunday's referendum in Venezuela to create a Constituent Assembly under article 347 of that country's democratically adopted constitution.

 

The support from more than eight million electors indicates the continuing scale of popular backing for the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.

 

Despite the boycott of the referendum by some opposition parties and the orchestrated campaign of street violence, bombings and the assassination of election candidates and supporters, independent observers have verified that 41 per cent of all eligible electors went out to vote.

 

Britain's communists condemn the refusal of President Trump and the US administration to recognise the referendum result. Their decision to impose yet more sanctions will inflict further hardship on the people of Venezuela, who are already suffering the grave impact of domestic and external economic sabotage and the collapse of world oil prices.

 

The Communist Party also condemns the announcements from the president of the EU Parliament, Antonio Tajani, that the parliament would follow the US in refusing to recognise the results and that 'it is the will of the people of Venezuela to change the regime'.

 

CP general secretary Robert Griffiths urged people in Britain to lobby their MEPs to repudiate these statements.

'Mr Tajani, a member of disgraced ex-President Berlusconi's right-wing Forza Italia outfit, cannot be allowed to pass himself off as a representative of the peoples of Europe to back Donald Trump's programme of violent regime change in Caracas', Mr Griffiths declared.

 

'The elected government of Venezuela has made great strides in giving voice to the hitherto excluded and unrepresented, redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor - and it is our duty to defend it'.

 

ALL OUT FOR MANCHESTER!

 

The Communist Party is urging all members and supporters to come to Manchester on Sunday, October 1. A march and rally called by the People's Assembly and trades unions will mark the opening day of the Tory Party conference there. It will be important to be there in numbers not only to distribute the Morning Star and Unity! on a mass scale, but also to have an attractive and substantial Party contingent on the march, to show the extent of the demand for alternative policies and to marginalise the LibDem-backed 'pro-EU' protest planned for the same day.

 

The CP Executive Committee will be meeting in the city over that weekend, when members look forward to meeting local comrades at the International Brigades commemoration on Saturday afternoon and at the demonstration on Sunday.

 

Party members are urged to help organise and fill transport, making sure to order copies of the Morning Star for distribution at departure points (contact Morning Star circulation manager Bernadette McKeaveney on 0778 022-0391).

 

CELEBRATE THE CENTENARY OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION!

 

Communists and socialists should make a note in their diary of an exciting event to celebrate the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917.

 

On Saturday, November 4, the Russian Revolution Centenary Committee is holding a day of discussions and exhibitions featuring speakers such as Aleida Guevara (daughter of Che), Indian communist MP Brinda Karat, German Left Party MP Johanna Scheringer-Wright, historian Mary Davis, Richard Leonard MSP, leading Russian communist Vyacheslav Tetekin (known by African liberation movements as 'Comrade Slava') and other guests from Cuba, the USA and elsewhere.

 

Sessions will look at the history of the Russian Revolution, its impact on Britain and the labour movement and the international relevance of the revolution today.

 

The event will take place at TUC Congress House, Great Russell St., London WC1B 3LS and tickets are available online and from the Marx Memorial Library.

 

Firstly, I want to remind DC members, and all members, of our next District Committee meeting, to which all members are invited. It is on Sunday 23 July2.45-5.40pm in the meeting room at the Great Western Hotel, Exeter (near Exeter St David's station). I will send out an agenda nearer the date, but an important item will be the report on the current political situation by Liz Payne, our District Chair and Chair of the party. The times they are a-changing, as the song says, and we have a lot to discuss and to celebrate, as current developments, in my view, vindicate out party programme Britain's Road to Socialism. We will also begin preparations for our District Congress, to be held on Sunday 19 November.

 This year's Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival is going to be a historic one, as Jeremy Corbyn will be speaking from the platform at the Sunday afternoon rally, for the first time as Labour Party Leader. I think we can safely expect a big turnout to greet him. As usual, we will have a party stall and there will be a Morning Star stall (both usually placed near the entrance to the main marquee). As usual, Bernadette Keaveney, the Morning Star's Circulation Manager, will be there with a large number of free copies for us, and other helpers, to give out, sponsored by various trade unions.

See the festival programme at http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/festival/programme. On the Saturday, there will be a discussion on the effect of the Russian Revolution on British workers. Liz Payne will speak for the party and comrade Simon Callow will also be among the speakers.

 I will have to miss the festival this year. The South African Communist Party has decided to honour the London Recruits with its Special Recognition Award and the other Recruits have nominated me to receive the award on behalf of them all. The ceremony will be at the SACP congress which is on 10-15 July. This is a great honour of course, but it means that I will have to miss Tolpuddle this year. My old friend Bob Newland, from YCL days, will accompany me.