Over the finishing line

Summer Offensive

I think that from many comrades’ point of view, this year’s Summer Offensive - the CPGB’s annual fundraising drive - was very encouraging. Not vintage, but a definite move forward from recent years. There are several reasons for this.

First, there was the simple fact that we hit and went beyond our target of £30,000 over the two-month period of the campaign. When all the last-minute shrapnel and notes had been totted up, we had powered through to an impressive £31,257 (well over £6,000 more than the SO of 2018).

Second, this successful campaign was noticeable for a rather more rigorous approach to contacting comrades in our immediate periphery, plus the more distant friends our organisation has. One recurrent weakness of our culture that this year’s SO has reminded us of is our amateurism, when it comes to keeping active links with the relatively large numbers of comrades who have sympathy with the programmatic and political project championed by the CPGB. So it was a step forward for us that the SO 2019 had nearly seven times more non-members contributing than our actual membership (although the relative size of what was raised is tilted heavily in favour of our members, of course).

The biggest amount raised this year - through political activity, selling badges, working extra hours as well as digging deep into bank accounts - was comrade SK who collected a magnificent £7,385 and the runner-up, YM, came up with a sturdy £3,580. Seven other members come up with over a £1,000 each. Of course, these comrades are mostly seasoned hands of many SOs, so it was extremely encouraging that the young comrade, OP, managed £590. Ditto our cohort of comrades from the Netherlands (who attended the CPGB’s Communist University and took a lively and engaged part both in the formal sessions and in the informal, boisterous discussions that - occasionally fuelled by a small sherry or two - stretched on into the night). Our Dutch comrades contributed £1,200 to the SO and - reflecting the affection the comrades were held in by CPGBers - were given a boisterous round of applause at our celebration meal to mark the ending of the fundraising campaign.

A small flurry of donations from supporters and sympathisers was also very useful in getting us over the finishing line and beyond - many thanks for the last-minute donations by TDB and JC (£200 each) and the others who rushed cash to us, as the finishing line loomed.

Most Summer Offensives tell us something about where our organisation is, politically and organisationally. It is clear that this year’s shows that - perhaps because of the highly volatile and unpredictable nature of this period - the CPGB continues to grow its audience in the workers’ movement in this country and beyond. Moreover, there are some small, but encouraging, signs that our programmatic project is gaining traction in other parts of the world - as was illustrated by the hundreds of comrades internationally (eg, the United States, Iran, India, etc) who watched sessions via livestream.

We send our congratulations to all participants in this year’s Summer Offensive.

William Sarsfield.