Not Waving, RA Vol 3, Issue 3, Oct/Nov '98

Analysis of Revolutionary Communist Group Strategy

In the last two issues, there have been reports in 'Community Resistance' column of IWCA activities in Islington and the West Midlands. In both cases the activities focused on the battle to reclaim our communities. Though there is a way to go before the IWCA objective: 'working class rule in working class areas' becomes evident, progress in the all important political mainstream is being made. One of the original participants in the IWCA was the Revolutionary Communist Group and it's instructive to look at what they are up to now. Two years ago they wrote enthusiastically of the initiative: 'The strength of the IWCA documents is that it consciously seeks to break with a past that has failed'. In particular they supported the idea of focussing on working class communities. One point that was emphasised at every turn was that the IWCA was conceived as a long term strategy and results could only be expected through long patient work.

Dogmatic left slogans and conceptions have not been a means of approaching the working class, but a substitute for doing so, trumpeted the RCG publication Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Less than a year later they quietly slipped away in the night.
On the face of it the sole basis for discord was when they were disuaded from selling FRFI during an IWCA leafletting on the Isle of Dogs. For an organisation which aimed to break with all previous left tradition, it was curious that paper selling was still considered a priority.

In any case that was the last public activity they appeared on and the last time the IWCA was ever mentioned in their publication.
For some, the timing and nature of their departure was simply proof that their involvement was opportunism. In any case in the June/July issue of FRFI under the heading 'Building a New Movement' all is explained. We are told that: 'The entire capitalist system teeters on the edge of an abyss, because it cannot contain the mounting anger and resistance of the working class and oppressed. After a decade of reaction since the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, we can sense a new optimism'. The justification for the 'new dawn' was the 60,000 strong demo outside the G8 summit in Birmingham. Primarily because of the involvement of people who were '... new to politics, greens, anarchists, christians, many open to anti-imperialist ideas'. Hmmm, wonder what they mean by 'open to anti-imperialist ideas'?

It wouldn't be that 'comrades sold 240 copies of FRFI, and over £100 of other literature....' (Incidentally the SWP were equally euphoric) No need for a systematic approach, a strategy 'for the long haul', if capitalism is on the point of immediate collapse anyway is of course the subliminal message. In the same paper they give a concrete example of a party preparing for social apocalypse. Under the banner headline 'Fight Poverty Pay! Dancing in Defiance - Campaign targets Polygram'. Apparently Polygram had the temerity to sack one of their members Nigel Cook.

On the first anniversary of the sacking a picket was held outside Polygram. Momentous events followed. 'Eventually due to uncompromising demands by our stewards, we walked triumphantly back down the road, past Polygram adorned with our banners and the mounted police, to the rapturous welcome of demonstrators chanting for the immediate release of Nigel Cook who'd been wrestled to the ground by two coppers as we broke through police lines'. Hard to believe that this was description of a picket of a few dozen people. Having ditched the IWCA the RCG have returned to the politics of the past with a vengeance. And no matter how many demonstrations, pickets etc take place none of this is going to effect imperialism, poverty pay or indeed the fortunes of the RCG. Their politics have no basis in reality. They talk of the 'mounting anger of the oppressed' while their own contribution is spiritual rather than practical. Which is probably what Marx meant when he described 'all sects as essentially religious'. More tea vicar?

Colin O'Brien

Reproduced from RA Vol 3, Issue 3, Oct/Nov '98