In the early to mid 1980s there were two publications going under the name of Communist Bulletin. The first, reasonably well known, was Left-Communist, produced by former members of the International Communist Current and based in Scotland.
A lesser known publication was produced by a pair of Trotskyist comrades working in Nottingham. A chance encounter with one of them, John Richardson, means we can now bring you copies of their Bulletin.
John Richardson and Mike Rooke take up the story…
IT USED TO GO LIKE THAT…
It may be helpful to the reader to place this selection of documents into context.
With the exception of the first leaflet, they were written and circulated largely around Nottingham after we had resigned from Workers Power (WP) in November 1982.
We left WP as we had become increasingly critical of their attempts to carry out ‘mass work’, an agitational approach which we thought entirely at odds with the tasks of communists given the nature of the period and one which seriously undervalued the importance of a propaganda orientation, both towards the centrists and the class struggle generally. It also seemed to us that WP had never fully shaken off the economism from their IS days (for the record, we should add that we were both members of IS, but only one of us was a member of the Left Faction, the forerunner to WP).
Having left WP we decided to embark on a process of theoretical clarification, to attempt to exert what influence we could to rebuild an authentic communist tradition. Central to this was an understanding of centrism (and here our reference was Trotsky’s writings from the 1930s) and an unremitting struggle against Labourism – a term which we considered more apt that ‘reformist’ to describe the Labour Party.
We continued to produce the Bulletins and, indeed, won a small group of militants in the Nottingham area to its ideas. Toward the end of the 1980s our practical, joint activity reached an end, although we were both members of an energetic and serious Marxist discussion group in the city which emerged after the crises in the WRP and largely spent its time confronting questions around the Party, Stalinism and philosophy.
We have all five issues of the Communist Bulletin plus two leaflets and a stand-alone article on the founding of the Fourth international.
COMMUNIST BULLETIN Archive
It is this kind of material, which might otherwise be lost to the ravages of time, that is the raison d’etre of Splits&Fusions.
If you know of any other local or small-group publications we have so far not featured, please let us know.