Recently there have been discussions in an around The Commune about how communists should work together. At our recent conference we passed this motion on principles of communist recomposition.
“Recomposition” is a term used within The Commune to denote an organisational regroupment of existing communists in which we would participate. Various conceptions have been suggested. However, we should agree a few basic principles which will guide us as an
• Politically, openness to recomposition recognises that we are not the group the left — or the class — has been waiting for. We are not sufficient, nor can we expect to grow by accretion to the point where we are. We don’t know it all. There are comrades in other organisations and none with experience and ideas that need to be shared. At present we “represent” nothing significant in the left, or the workers’ movement. In short, openness, in general, to recomposition is just a rejection of organisational self-importance, and the improbability of growing by ones and twos to become a serious organisation.
• The traditional left practice of “offering oneself as a pole of attraction” is unlikely to inspire confidence in a milieu burned out by sectarianism and failure. Whilst in some ways we really can claim that we are more open, less sectarian, and are perceived as such — for example in terms of the opportunities for real discussion that we provide in our forums — of itself, this is not likely to be enough.
• Therefore, recomposition, insofar as it occurs, will necessarily be both a political and an organisational process. It involves a willingness to open, challenging dialogue on our basic politics. It cannot, however, commit us to altering our basic politics with anyone with whom we so discuss. Recomposition will be something that happens above and beyond us.
• Recomposition must not take place on the basis of diluting our politics, or even on the basis that our official politics – in the sense of what is expressed in our platform – is enough.
• Recomposition must not be seen as a one-off event, or even a process with a definite end. Were some sort of foreseeable regroupment to occur, involving The Commune as it is now, it results in organisational terms would nonetheless be totally inadequate to the task at hand, and qualitatively similar to our current situation. At best it would be a moment in an ongoing process of recruitment and recomposition. We should reject the small group mentality, whereby leftists seek to feel safe in groups of 50, 100, 200, and so on.
• The recent contribution by the Permanent Revolution group raised the necessity to build trust as part of a recomposition process, along with intentional attempt to focus political debate on areas of possible or actual disagreement, the development of joint work, and ongoing communication. We need these things within our group as well. So for example, in future, the whole group should be made aware of initiatives related to recomposition by members — such as roundtable discussions. Similarly, the whole group should be involved in discussions about the content of such initiatives, including topics of discussion, who is invited and how, etc. We should work on the basis of a commonly agreed plan, relating to a commonly agreed list of groups and individuals.
• As a priority, we should also take time to understand how others see recomposition or regroupment, and what political ideas or practices, or processes, they consider important to it.
• Recomposition is no substitute for developing our own concrete practice in relation to the class struggle; and must not detract from this. Serious efforts relating to recomposition may take a long time to do properly.