CYM Ard Comhairle, 18/01/21
On the 9th of January, 2021 the Connolly Youth Movement convened an Extraordinary Ard Fheis (EOAF) to determine the nature of our relationship to the Communist Party of Ireland. This EOAF was called as a result of a series of political discussions that had occurred within the CYM in 2020 both regarding historical contradictions and present-day events and realities. It was attended by over 75% of the on-file membership and resulted in a robust expression of democratic centralism that began a new phase in an open and varied discussion on the future direction of our movement.
While as Marxist-Leninists, the party concept is crucial to our approach to political strategy in Ireland, it was determined that the interests of our movement are best served by disaffiliating from the Communist Party of Ireland as it is not able to fulfill this role under its current National Officers. We hold nothing but respect for the 100 year legacy of the Irish communist movement and its advocates, we among them, and we still recognise the excellent work and political character of many individual members of the CPI. However, the current direction of the CPI has created political and organisational problems that have, in the absence of a good faith dialogue for change, proven intractable to our relationship and which require a readjustment to the real conditions we work in.
We cannot in good conscience continue our work in a setting where we do not have recourse to democratic expression, fair procedure, or legitimate co-ordination. The intensifying exploitation by capitalism of both our class and our planet, presents the fact that we cannot expend our time in circular and fruitless processes, but must realise the potential of our movement to change Ireland by the most effective route.
Some of the reasons for our disaffiliation are summarised as follows:
1. The Communist Party of Ireland is dominated by a clique surrounding the main leadership that marginalises people with differing views on a regular basis, through methods that often amount to bullying. Isolation is used as a tool to remove good communists who are deemed inconvenient as individuals, in order to prevent dissent from amassing, and to keep others in line. Some who have left due to this pressure have made long-lasting and significant contributions to the Irish Communist Movement.
2. The CPI Dublin and Cork secretaries introduced bans on CYM members from joining the CPI in 2020, which was overturned by the Cork branch membership but later upheld by the NEC. This was first claimed to be the result of a lack of face-to-face interview possibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however the reasoning behind this changed repeatedly over the course of several months, exposing the clique’s dishonesty and factionalism. It has been made clear that it was a cynical attempt to halt an influx of new members in order to maintain the status quo for factional ends. The CYM was accused of “entryism” into the CPI. It is an absurd claim that there is something abnormal about a youth organisation encouraging their members to go on to play a role in their affiliated party. The regional secretary of the Northern Area encouraged CYM members to join the party in 2020, showing that other elements in the party attempted to distort and poison this request for higher involvement.
3. In 2020, the clique ceased to advise younger CPI recruits to join the CYM.
4. The clique and its leader repeatedly attempted to convince dual members in the CYM to act factionally, and by the end of 2020, had either expelled or planned to refuse to re-register the majority of them in January due to their opposition to this.
5. The CPI constitution does not contain any mention of the Connolly Youth Movement, therefore collaboration could be discontinued by the clique’s leadership at any time, and this was used to local tactical effect as means of pressure. This drew fundamental questions about the inclusion of affiliation in the CYM constitution without any path to redress.
6. The clique suppresses views it deems incorrect without discussing them and hands out suspensions to those who disagree with them, despite lacking consistency in what it deems incorrect. We understand this to be completely contrary to the principles of democratic centralism.
7. The clique puts forward contradictory political positions on such central pillars of our movement as socialist-republicanism and democratic centralism, ultimately interpreting them based on whatever’s convenient at the time through the deference of collective political interest to an arbitrary and top-down factional interest.
8. The clique has spent a significant amount of its time engaged in a whispering campaign against the Connolly Youth Movement and its members, while simultaneously refusing to raise any of these issues with the Connolly Youth Movement in bilateral meetings. This has led to concrete cases of lost opportunities for the CYM in its work.
9. Branch and national structures are being weaponised to disunify the organisation rather than serving their intended purpose of unifying political action through consensus and effective local feedback. A major element has been the internal denunciation of Northern members as either being too republican or not republican enough, seeking to exploit the complexities of partition to suppress a national area outside the immediate control of the clique around the General Secretary. Similar divide-and-conquer tactics have been used against the Cork branch and other branches.
10. In private members of the clique denounce not only their own comrades but also other socialist-republican organisations in a vitriolic manner.
11. A number of CYM members were recently expelled from the CPI as a result of attempting to raise issues with the CPI NEC about bad faith practices in bilaterals on the issues facing the movement after it was discovered a committee of National Officers was conducting these bilaterals without the knowledge of the CPI NEC and with dishonest intentions.
12. The clique has led the Party down a narrow, reformist cul-de-sac. It offers no vision, no strategy for realising the dictatorship of the proletariat.
13. Education sessions organised by the clique are not really education sessions but are ritualistic and circular re-affirmations of loyalty that do not promote critical analysis or dialectical reasoning.
14. The clique has no interest in engaging with the working class and has made this very clear. Ultra-centralisation reinforces the insular nature of the party leadership and their inability to organise, educate and learn from – not to mention lead – the class they claim to represent. This has led to the party having a lower public profile than it could have due to inaction and a failure to grasp the potential of crises.
15. The clique has made it abundantly clear that the sort of youth organisation it desires is one that it has total and unquestioned control over. Over a number of years we have come to recognise an irreconcilable contradiction between our historical independence and the wish of the clique to dominate the movement. The CYM chose its autonomy rather than becoming a useless front group for a moribund party. We chose dynamic action and growth over stasis and stagnation.
16. Individual members from across the country have repeatedly stressed to members of the Connolly Youth Movement that they sympathise with our frustrations but, ultimately, have not been able to resolve them. While we appreciate their efforts and sentiments, we cannot wait indefinitely while the demands facing us as a communist youth organisation are so urgent.
Based primarily on the above reasons we believe that, at the present juncture, the interests of young Irish communists will be best served by an autonomous and independent communist youth organisation. In the transition period ahead, internal debate and organisation around the organisation’s future will continue unabated.
We have no doubt that many members of the Communist Party are earnest and dedicated comrades and have no issue in continuing our political relationship with them, as well as those who have left or been forced out of the CPI. As with other communist and socialist-republican organisations, we will continue to co-operate and work with them on any mutual arenas of struggle.
We will continue to tirelessly struggle for a 32-county socialist republic and to build the Connolly Youth Movement into a radical youth organisation that is present in every county, town and estate.
We have a revolution to build and a world to win and nothing will stop us.