Further comments on Bert Ramelson and CND
Peter Waterman’s memory is playing tricks. Contrary to the views he expresses in his recent blog even a rudimentary exploration of contemporary (1958-1960) Daily Worker coverage and CP statements plus articles in World News shows that both the paper and the Party gave extensive and supportive coverage to the activities of CND. A few examples will suffice to illustrate this reality.
On the weekend of the first Aldermaston March the Daily Worker (2nd April, 1958) front page mobilised support under the banner headline “All set for Aldermaston”. On 3rd April, again on the front page, the Daily Worker gave extensive details of the march with its route, meeting points etc. and that day’s editorial stated “The next step in the people’s struggle is to support the Aldermaston March this weekend”. The editorial a week later said this “After the brilliant success of the Aldermaston March in which the British Peace Committee were proud to play their part...”
And so it was each year with growing reports of support from rank and file and official trade union bodies for the activities of CND, many from CP strongholds such as Heathrow Airport, Hoovers in West London, Slough and Southall AEU District Commiittees. And in Golland’s speech to the 1959 CP Congress (selectively quoted from by Birchall in previous blogs) he said “...utmost support to be given by the whole progressive movement to the Aldermaston March to London at Easter.
On the broader issue of whether the CP’s strategy was labourist rather than socialist (in the three decades Ramelson was in the leadership) our book (Revolutionary Communist at Work) gives several examples of Ramelson’s insistence that militant trade unionism was a necessary but not sufficient requirement if advances were to be made, consolidated and then transformed into real social change leading to Socialism. The Party’s approach to revolutionary strategy is outlined in the section of our book headed “the Revolutionary Road” (between pages 85-91. Several references are made to Ramelson’s approach and opposition to economism and sectionalism. Internationally, during the “Ramelson years” the CPGB gave support to the initial Prague Spring and to Charter 77.
21st October 2012
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