The CP, now in its 99th year, is a party for working people in Britain. It has local branches throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Get in touch.
When founded in 1920, Britain's Communist Party brought together militant socialists and trade unionists who understood the need for a revolutionary change in society. They were inspired by the world’s first workers’ state, Soviet Russia, led by V.I. Lenin.
But they were also repelled by the mass slaughter of the 1914-1918 Great War. Britain needed a party that would fight capitalism and imperialism, unlike the labour leaders who preferred collaboration and surrender.
Since then, the Communist Party has been in the frontline fighting for the interests of the working class. Despite its small size and the imprisonment of its leadership, it played an outstanding role in the 1926 General Strike. Throughout the 1930s, it led the unemployed workers movement and the fight against fascism, with hundreds of members losing their lives as volunteers in the International Brigades, which fought in defence of democracy and independence for republican Spain.
During the Second World War, it campaigned tirelessly for the opening of a 'second front' to confront Hitler in the west, with the party achieving its biggest membership, based in mines, factories and farms, driving the war on the home front, with thousands of members enrolled in all branches of the armed forces.
In 1951 the first edition of the Party’s programme, The British Road to Socialism, was published. This stated that Britain must achieve socialism by its own path, using mass struggle to transform Parliament into a democratic instrument of the will of the vast majority of the people.
The importance of democracy was further underlined by revelations, at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in 1956, about the crimes and injustices committed during the Stalin era. The Communist Party recognised that, in popularising the achievements of socialism and in combating anti-Soviet hysteria, it had in some cases tried to defend the indefensible.
In the post-war period, the Communist Party took the lead in opposing the Cold War and nuclear weapons, actively opposing war against Korea and Vietnam and playing a leading role in the creation of CND. Almost alone in the labour movement, it called for parliaments for the peoples of Wales and Scotland. Based in the working class movement, it led the fight against anti-trade union laws. The Liaison Committee for the Defence of Trade Unions united Communist and non-Communist militants in mass one-day stoppages in 1968, 1970 and 1971. The last of these moved the TUC to call a one-day General Strike, thereby defeating the legislation.
Alongside other left-wingers, Communists also gave the lead in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders’ work-in and the 1972 and 1974 miners’ strikes. Powerful Communist and broad left organisations were built in many workplaces and unions.
These very successes of the Communist Party made it a particular target of the capitalist class. Having failed by ‘red scare’ techniques, including large scale bans and sacking of members in civil and public service, the ruling class were unable to isolate the Party from its roots.
But the pressure of the Cold War took its toll and some members and leaders, influenced by the ideas of 'Eurocommunism' succumbed to reformist ideas.
The logic of these reformists was to liquidate the party. In 1988, a large number of comrades expelled by the revisionist leadership came together to re-establish the Party as the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), on the basis of the rules, principles & programme which the previous leadership had abandoned. The revisionist element within the CPGB dissolved their section of the party in 1991. The overwhelming majority of genuine communists in the CPGB at the time of its dissolution have subsequently rejoined the CPB.
Since then, the CPB has worked tirelessly to rebuild membership & organisation in industry, public services and mass movements, carrying on the finest traditions of the Party and is recognised as the sole successor of the communist tradition in Britain by over 100 Communist and Workers parties across the globe.