Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Communist Parliamentary Policy & Electoral Programme, 1922

by Communist Party of Great Britain

image from Red Clydeside collection

After several months of negotiations between the different Marxist groups in Britain the Communist Unity Convention met in London on 31 July and 1 August 1920. This convention was attended by delegates from the British Socialist Party, the Communist Unity Group of the Socialist Labour Party, the South Wales Socialist Society and other groups. The outcome of the convention was the establishment of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

The biggest debate at the convention centred around the questions of whether the new party should participate in elections and what its attitude should be to the Labour Party. Some delegates expressed sectarian attitudes, saying that parliamentary politics were all a fraud and a waste of time and that the party should concentrate solely on industrial action.

The majority disagreed, supporting the views of Lenin in his letter of greetings to the convention, where he advocated 'participation in Parliament, and affiliation to the Labour Party on condition of free and independent Communist activity'. The view amongst many was that parliamentary and electoral participation would provide a valuable means of propaganda and agitation towards the revolution. It was decided to take part in electoral work, to seek affiliation to the Labour Party and to affiliate to the Communist International which had been created in 1919

Source: Bissett Collection, Glasgow University Special Collections