For some time now, the present writer has increasingly felt that the Communist Party’s strategy for achieving socialism in Britain, as embodied in its programme, The British Road To Socialism,footnote1 is characterized by grave theoretical ambiguities and unresearched but crucial formulations. What follows is an attempt to articulate these feelings in an organized fashion in the hope that the discussion will be taken up by others. The elaboration of an alternative strategy is not the aim of this paper but such an elaboration can usefully begin from a critique of the most clearly worked-out existing strategy. From such a critique it does seem possible to identify at least some crucial elements of an alternative strategy.

At the risk of over-simplification we may summarize the Communist Party’s strategy as follows:footnote2

1. Existing democratic rights and traditional means of struggle must and can be used to achieve a parliamentary majority pledged to socialism. Such a majority will then enact legislation to destroy capitalist power and build a socialist state;footnote3

2. Such a parliamentary majority can only be achieved as the climax of mass struggle;footnote4

3. Mass struggle capable of achieving such a victory must be based on the experience gained by the creation of a broad popular alliance of all the sections of society whose interests are threatened by the big monopolies, i.e. the vast majority of the population;footnote5

4. The core of the broad popular alliance (or anti-monopoly alliance) is to be constituted by a united working class and a united labour movement, the latter being defined as the Labour Party, the Communist Party, the Trade Unions and the Co-operative Societies;footnote6

5. The indispensable basis for success in establishing the broad popular alliance is communist-labour unity, with the left having won leadership and a majority in the Labour Partyfootnote7;