“Communists ... have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole...Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.” K. Marx & F. Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848)
“A party is the vanguard of a class, and its duty is to lead the masses and not merely to reflect the average political level of the masses.” V.I. Lenin, Speech on the Agrarian Question (1917)
While the Communist Party does not have a monopoly on truth and wisdom, we have a particular, unique role to play in the labour movement today and in the ongoing struggle for socialism. The CP aims to provide political, ideological and strategic leadership for the working class on the basis of the Party's programme Britain's Road to Socialism. There we set out the characteristics of our party:
- The Communist Party is based upon the class and internationalist principles of Marxism-Leninism which enables it to analyse the changing nature of capitalist society and develop a strategy that will lead to the working class assuming power and beginning to build a socialist system.
- It is organised for socialist revolution, and therefore constantly seeks to strengthen its roots amongst the working class who will play the leading role in revolutionary social change. On that basis, the CP seeks to weld together all progressive movements at local and national level. In order to develop political class consciousness, we organise both in local communities and in the labour and progressive movement.
- The Communist Party is a democratic party, drawing on the experience, initiative and creativity of its membership to plan and carry out activity, policy and to elect an accountable leadership. Therefore the Party develops and maintains close relationships amongst members regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, nationality, sexual orientation.
- The Party is centralised, so it can intervene collectively in the class struggle as a disciplined and united force. The combination of democracy and centralism, helps make the Party capable of acting in a uniquely effective way.
- The Communist Party maintains close relations with communists in other countries, based on the independence, equality and mutual respect of each CP as part of a global movement fighting for socialism. The unity of the international communist movement, alongside practical solidarity with other movements and peoples fighting for peace, progress and national liberation, is vital not only in the short-term, but in order to achieve and build socialism in Britain.
From its foundation in 1920, the Communist Party has demonstrated these characteristics. They have enabled it to act as the vanguard party of working class and popular struggle, playing a vital role in many of the biggest battles fought by the labour and progressive movements, generating class and socialist consciousness, showing the need to win state power and advance to socialism.
Learning lessons from these struggles is vital for winning victories in the future and achieving socialist revolution. The CP and its members play an essential role by helping to record, formulate and provide a 'collective memory' for the working class, promoting discussion of labour and people's history, and helping to develop class and political consciousness.