The Weekly Worker is the paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Just like the Socialist Workers Party publishes Socialist Worker and the Socialist Party in England and Wales publishes The Socialist?

Actually, no. Both the SWP and SPEW consider themselves to be the already existing proto-party. Most of the other groups think of themselves in the same way. Because, they believe, they will provide the core of the future mass party, their task is to outpace their rivals and make them irrelevant. Sooner or later, the masses will be won to the one true line and accept the SWP, SPEW (or whatever) as the working class party.

Naturally their papers reflect this sectarianism. Pick up a copy of Socialist Worker or The Socialist and you will only very rarely find even a mention of their main rival. You will never find recognition of papers like the Weekly Worker. All the other groups are, by and large, regarded as distractions - better to pretend they do not really exist than give them undeserved publicity.

We take the diametrically opposite point of view. There is no proto-party, and the main task facing the working class movement is to construct one in the here and now. Week in, week out, the Weekly Worker hammers home this message - in order for our class to make any kind of advance, let alone become the ruling class, it needs a single, united Marxist party.

But such a formation will not come about through recruiting to one of the existing sects at the expense of the others. It will only come about through overcoming our debilitating divisions on a principled basis. There is no objective reason why comrades across the left cannot come together to forge the beginnings of the party we need.

Because the Weekly Worker sees it as its role to encourage and facilitate such unity, our main focus is on the existing left. Our paper is aimed at its membership and periphery and constantly criticises its failings and inadequacies. Does that make us sectarian? Not at all. The aim is not to do down the others for its own sake, but to point to what ought to be.

To that end the Weekly Worker is a champion of open polemic. We regularly and willingly open up our pages to those with whom we strongly disagree - not just in our extensive letters columns, but in the main body of the paper. Only through rigorous, no-holds-barred debate can ideas be tested and if necessary amended, qualified or corrected.

That is what makes the Weekly Worker different from the rest.

Peter Manson, Editor