From the Vaults: The Duties of a Communist, 1952

Bob Darke was a Hackney Borough Councillor and a leading Communist for eighteen years until he resigned from the Communist Party in 1951. Penguin published his book, The Communist Technique in Britain, the following year. It is from this book that I copy an extract (pp.37-38).

When the Party finds a valuable worker, such as it considered me, it is the policy to work the man to his death, literally sometimes, to pile obligations on him and abuse him if he weakens.

What are the duties of a Communist? To start with he  must be a member of a trade union and he must be active in that union.

He must be an active member of the Communist cell within that union. If he can join a local club and form part of a Communist cell within that, then he is under an obligation to do so.

He must:

Pay his fourpence a week subscription.
Support the Daily Worker Fighting Fund.
Collect money for the Daily Worker Fighting Fund.
Sell the Daily Worker.
Buy as much party literature as possible.
Sell as much party literature as possible.
Attend every branch meeting of his union.
Attend every Communist cell meeting within his union.
Turn out for every demonstration in his area.
Turn out for every District demonstration.
Join an Anglo-Iron-Curtain Friendship Society.
Join another Anglo-Iron-Curtain Friendship Society.
Get his wife to join the Party.
Get his father to join.
Get his children to join the Young Communist League.
Do as he’s told.
Hate America.
Love Russia.

Every year a Party member must fill in a form and return it to Central Office. It must give a full report of his activities during the past year. On the basis of these returns the Party is able to assess the strength of its membership and its vitality. That form haunts the average comrade from the end of one year to another.

Where the Party has a member who manages to fulfill all the above obligations and still have time to blow his nose, the Party will pile more work on him until he becomes too ill to carry more. That is not an overstatement. It is not a coincidence that so many Communists sicken with tuberculosis. The names of the comrades whom the Party worked to death make a tragic list. Among them is Bill Rust, editor of the Daily Worker. When the Party claims, as it always does on the anniversary of his death, that he died for Communism, they are not indulging in polite courtesies.

It is ironic that the anniversary of Bill Rust’s death should be used by the Party as an excuse for goading on the eager-beavers within the ranks. Everybody is urged to collect more money, sell more Daily Workers in memory of Bill Rust.

The Party never gives its members a moment for reflective thought…..

For those interested in joining the Communist Party of Great Britain, do write to them at  BCM Box 928, London WC1N 3XX, email them at: weeklyworker@cpgb.org.uk or Tel: 020 8533 6360. I suspect the current subscription fees are substantially greater than fourpence a week.

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