Five months of discussions and inner-party debate culminated in the eighth congress of the CPGB-ML, which was held in Birmingham in September.
Branches, study circles and regional groups began the preparatory work in June and delegates registered with the party to attend over the summer. Only those with full rights were able to vote on motions, whilst those delegates with candidate status participated fully without voting, in accordance with the party rules.
The congress took place over three days. The first day was taken up with the reports of the various departments of the party, the report of the general secretary, the organising committees and those responsible for publications work. A new rulebook was unanimously adopted by the congress, which will be printed with a revised party programme to take account of the relevant changes adopted by the congress.
Motions were submitted from around the country on housing, education, identity politics, racism, employment rights and a great many other issues that confront the British working class. These motions will be published over the coming period, along with the international positions of the congress and a selection of the reports and speeches. They will also be available to buy from the party online shop in due course.
Our congress was a congress of progress. Progress towards rebuilding a communist organisation, progress towards completing the organisational tasks set down at the seventh congress, and progress made in defeating ideas that run counter to revolutionary Marxism.
In the course of the debate, our party strengthened itself, uniting closer around its developing programme, reaffirming its faith in the leadership and promoting into the ranks of the leadership comrades who have proven themselves over the course of the last four years. Our new rulebook is testament to a party that is conscious of its strengths and weaknesses – the former we shall work hard to consolidate whilst the latter we will do our utmost to overcome.
On the second and third days, young trade unionists spoke of work they were involved in to reach out to workers in the ‘gig economy’ whilst others spoke about the plight of unemployed workers, the struggle to get affordable housing, the pernicious influences of identity politics and the right to education. Members who had been won to Marxism Leninism from the extreme right wing of British politics gave poignant contributions on their salvation from the rot of racist and fascist influence.
Our red youth acquitted themselves ably in the discussions and demonstrated a high degree of willingness to master the science of Marxism Leninism during debates on proletarian culture, identity politics, philosophy and economics.
The congress listened to the closing remarks of outgoing chair Harpal Brar on the third day. Comrade Harpal, having served as the chair of our party since its foundation, stepped down after 14 years at the helm.
New elections promoted Ella Rule to the position of chair, and saw Zane Carpenter and Joti Brar elected as vice-chairs. In addition to these positions, Edward Renyard has become the national organiser of the central committee of our party, having served previously as a local full-time worker and a candidate member of the central committee.
At the close of our congress all delegates rose to applaud the contribution of Harpal Brar to the British labour movement and in laying the groundwork for the creation of the CPGB-ML. Before leaving for their regions delegates sang the Internationale – the song of the international working class – and pledged to build a truly proletarian party in Britain, able and willing to fight for socialism and to finally put an end to the bloodthirsty reign of British imperialism.