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


Handbook for Party Members: No.1- Organisation, 1923

by Communist Party of Great Britain

image from Red Clydeside collection

In August 1921, Lenin wrote to Thomas Bell (CPGB representative on the Executive Committee of the Comintern) urging him to consider the complete reorganisation of the British party along Soviet style centralised lines. Lenin, who had taken a great deal of interest in the development of the CPGB seen the task as one of transforming an essentially propagandist group into the foundations of a genuine mass Bolshevik organisation.

The early CPGB branch structures were a continuation of the old pre-war set up and the constitution of the early Communist Party did not markedly differ from the federal character of the old socialist societies. The leadership of the CPGB was federally elected and geographically based and proved incapable of taking advantage of the opportunities that existed in the post war period.

The Battersea Congress of October 1922 adopted the recommendations of a report into the British Party by the Comintern Commission of Investigation. This report recommended new statutes and a new constitution, and established a special committee to reorganise the party. Membership was re-registered, new districts formed and the party headquarters was reorganised. The whole purpose of this national reorganisation was in effect to "Bolshevise" the British section and prepare it politically and organisationally to become a mass party within a relatively short space of time.

Source: Bissett Collection, Glasgow University Special Collections