The YCL is excited to announce our second ever Harry Pollitt School which will be held on the weekend of April 6th and 7th 2024!

Named after the legendary Communist Party leader, our weekend school for communists, trade union militants, students, and workers will be an opportunity to learn, socialise, exchange views, and help build the struggle for socialism in Britain!

Harry Pollitt School is open to anyone interested in Communist politics, so you don’t have to be a member of the YCL or Communist Party to join. The school carries on the Communist dedication to strengthening Britain’s labour movement through the political education we need for real, on-the-ground organising.

Book your place for the biggest Marxist-Leninist educational event in the country!

Tickets now on sale!

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

This year’s Harry Pollitt School will be on the weekend of the 6-7 April9am-6pm at the Irish World Heritage Centre, 1 Irish Town Way, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, M8 0AE.

The full timetable and activities can be found below. The School is set to feature talks, workshops, and panel discussions with communist speakers from Britain and all around the world, as well as leading trade unionists, community organisers, communist thinkers, and more.

The timetable also includes film screenings and a communist walking tour of Manchester. There will also be a social event on Saturday night and plenty of time for meeting other comrades from across Britain.

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Comrades travelling from Scotland, Wales, or further afield are encouraged to make their own transport arrangements as soon as possible, but the venue is easily reachable from the centre of Manchester by car, tram, or bus.

This year’s Harry Pollitt School is looking to be bigger, better, and more militant than ever, so make sure you join us for another great weekend of revolutionary education and action!

Places are limited, so book your tickets now!

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Tickets are now on sale for £10 (unwaged), £20 (waged), or £30 (solidarity).

We have tried to make the School as cheap as possible but please get in contact if the cost looks like an issue.


 

The full timetable and more information can be found below.

To book online, visit the Eventbrite page or contact marxisteducation@ycl.org.uk for more information.


 

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011
Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Day 1 Talks and Workshops

1. Anti-Communist Lies and How to Expose Them
Kenny Coyle, Author of “Lies, Damned Lies, and Anti-Communism”

In this talk, Kenny Coyle addresses some of the biggest lies about communism to equip participants with the tools to explain communist history and ideas to friends, family, or the public. From Stalin and Mao’s “cults of personality” to the “dictators” of north Korea and Cuba, Coyle sets the record straight without avoiding hard questions about socialist mistakes.


2. Introduction to Marxism-Leninism
Eben Williams, YCL Education Officer

Marxism-Leninism is unlike any other theoretical framework in that it is an evolving, scientific theory whose successful application has sparked socialist revolutions all around the world. This beginners’ workshop will tackle the basic ideas of Marx and Lenin, including areas of philosophy, economics, and politics, the nature of the state and the Communist Party, how capitalism works, and how we can move beyond it.


3. Latin America Against the New Cold War

Fiona Edwards, No Cold War

What is the relationship between Latin America and China, and what can the Latin American Left learn from China’s economic miracle? In this talk, Fiona Edwards looks at the position of Latin America in relation to the New Cold War against China.


4. How the EU Fell in Love with the Far Right
David Broder, Historian of Fascism in Europe

Author of “Mussolini’s Grandchildren, Fascism in Contemporary Italy”, David Broder examines the history of European fascism and explores how, despite its liberal pretences, the European Union has always been more than happy to work with fascists for profit.


5. Patriotism and Internationalism: Should British Workers Hate Their Country?
James Crossley, Marxist Historian

Can patriotism play a progressive role in Britain? Can we be both patriots and internationalists in an imperialist country? And how does the far right weaponise patriotism to trick workers to act against their own interests? In this workshop, James Crossley looks at the influence of Lenin on this question and applies his theories to the situation in Britain today.


6. The Nations of Britain: “Independence” and the National Question
John Foster, Communist Historian and Former CPB International Secretary

In the last twenty years, nationalist and independence movements and parties like Plaid Cymru in Wales and the SNP in Scotland have seen an increase in power and influence. John Foster, author of the pamphlet “Nations and Working-Class Unity in Britain”, explores the contributions of Marx and Lenin to the “National Question” and how we can apply them to Britain today.


7. Combat Liberal Feminism: Against Pimps, Porn, and Postmodernism
Robyn Martin, YCL Scotland Women’s Officer

“Women will only become free and equal in a world where labour has been socialised and where communism has been victorious.” Alexandra Kollontai

In this workshop, the YCL Women’s Officer for Scotland looks at the ways in which the modern Left has abandoned women, how liberal feminist trends have worked to normalise or even glorify the commodification of women and girls within the labour movement, and how we can find our way back to a truly revolutionary politics that understands the connections between sex and class.


8. Against the Technophobic Left: Organising for the 21st Century
Danny Scott, Director of Operations at Jarrow Insights Workers’ Cooperative

In this workshop, Danny Scott looks at the historical relationship between communists and cutting-edge technologies in organising, exploring Leninist and Taylorist approaches to technology, and the relationship between scientific management in production and scientific socialism. What are the ideas pushed by Silicon Valley billionaires about technology and how do we
as communists and working-class activists reclaim the best of these principles, while creating new methodologies, workflows, and organisational practices to equip our class against theirs?

Day 1 Panels

1. Towards A Multipolar World: The End of U.S. Hegemony

Berkan Çelebi, YCL International Officer
Carlos Martinez, Author of “The East Is Still Red”
Fiona Edwards, No Cold War
Leninist Komsomol of the Russian Federation (Zoom)
Student Federation of India
Communist Party of China (Zoom)

After World War II, the United States of America displaced the British and European empires as the most powerful imperialist force on the planet. Today, the US is in decline, and a new alliance of current and former socialist states and colonies, led by socialist China, is rising to tip the balance of power. This panel will feature communist speakers from Britain and the BRICS nations to discuss the new world order and the prospects of a socialist future.


2. Fighting for Our Homes: The Class War Against Landlords

Alex Price, ACORN Board
Jordan Phacklea-Cullen, Former ACORN Board and CPB
Ruaraidh Dempster, Living Rent National Committee and CPB
Emily Donnelly, YCL National Organiser

The communist struggle against landlords has a long history, and in the past decade, tenant and community unions have seen a resurgence across Britain. In this workshop, ACORN and Living Rent members teach you how to organise your block and explore the history of communist organising in the housing struggle in Britain right up to the present day.


3. For the Defence of Trade Unions and the Strike: A Communist Strategy

Alex Gordon, RMT President
Helen O’Connor, GMB Organiser
Nick Troy, Unite Hospitality
Stephanie Martin, UNISON Organiser
Gawain Little, Trade Union Activist

While trade unions remain a crucial vehicle of class struggle, the leadership often lets the rank and file down, and reactionary and reformist politics make our work as communists more difficult. What did Marx and Lenin tell us about the nature of trade unions? Why do we engage with them as communists despite considerable challenges? And when faced with state persecution in the form of anti trade union laws and the Minimum Service Levels bill, what should be the communist response?

4. London Recruits: The Secret Fight Against Apartheid

Georgina Andrews, YCL General Secretary
Steve Marsling, London Recruit

In this panel, Steve Marsling discusses his experiences as a young communist travelling to South Africa to fight apartheid. With new apartheid regimes provoking condemnation throughout the world, what is the role of communists in the fight against imperialism and genocide today?

 

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Day 2 Talks and Workshops

1. Marxism vs. the Grindset
Freddie R., YCL Membership Officer

Are communists anti-work? Can we all get rich quick? In this workshop, we explore neoliberalism in the age of TikTok hustlers and Andrew Tate, discuss a new battleground for left-wing ideas, and discover how we can all escape the matrix once and for all. The future of work is at stake!


2. Reform or Revolution? Anti-Communism and the Labour Party
Darren Turner, CPB Suffolk Branch Secretary

“The dominant Labour Party leaders, Attlee, Bevin, and Morrison, like MacDonald, Snowden, and Thomas before them, have nothing in common with Socialism or the interests of the working people. Their outlook and practice reflects that of the Tories and the wealthy ruling class whose interests they serve. They are in reality only a left-wing of the Tories, like the old Liberal Party.” Harry Pollitt, Introduction to Britain’s Road to Socialism (1951).

In this workshop, former Labour councillor Darren Turner will tackle the anti-communist and imperialist history of the Labour Party, Marxist conceptions of social democracy, reformism, and entryism, and, based on personal experience, how communists should relate to the Labour Party today.


3. Communist Party History: Learning From Our Past, Building For Our Future

Robert Griffiths, CPB General Secretary

Once a powerful force in the British labour movement, the late 20th Century saw a decline in the Communist Party of Great Britain, mirroring a decline in the Soviet Union and the international communist movement more generally. As this progressed, an influx of wrong ideas managed to take hold of the CPGB, precipitating its collapse in 1991.

Communist Party leader and author of “The Gleam of Socialism: Britain’s Communist Party, 1920-2020”, Robert Griffiths looks at the legacy of the CPGB, its achievements and mistakes, and how, with hard learned knowledge and experience, we can build a modern and revitalised communist movement for the 21st Century, ensuring that the same mistakes are never repeated.


4. Why the Labour Theory of Value is Right and How to Use it to Run Socialism
Paul Cockshott, Marxist Economist

Renowned Marxist thinker and author of “How the World Works: The Story of Human Labor from Prehistory to the Modern Day”, Paul Cockshott introduces the Labour Theory of Value and explores how, with new technologies, Marxist economics can be the foundation of future socialist societies.


5. Red Journalism: Communist Propaganda in the Digital Age
Kate Woolford, Challenge Editor
Ben Chacko, Morning Star Editor

In this workshop, Challenge and Morning Star editors discuss the importance of Marxist-Leninist publications and the need to support alternatives to the capitalist press. What was the Leninist theory of propaganda and how do we use it to raise the revolutionary consciousness of the people? And what challenges do we face reaching a working-class audience in the 21st century?


6. James Connolly, John McLean, and the Democratic Republic
Grant McDonald, YCL Scotland Education Officer

This workshop will compare the writings of these two socialist leaders during their respective revolutionary situations and present two Marxist positions on the democratic republic. It also compares the two figures as individuals, addresses the pitfalls of nationalism and reformism, and looks at the two-stage revolutionary process and the National Question in Scotland and Ireland.

Day 2 Panels

1. Victory to Palestine! Liberation in Our Lifetimes!

Berkan Çelebi, YCL International Officer
Nader Awaad, Lebanese Communist Party
Dr. Firas Sarhan, Palestinian People’s Party

The last year has seen a horrific upsurge of violence in Israel’s determination to wipe out the nation of Palestine, openly exposing the brutality of US and Israeli imperialism in the Middle East, as well as the cruelty and cowardice of Western political leaders in the imperialist parties. Despite this, the Palestinian people have stood up and showed revolutionary resistance in their courage to save their homeland. This panel will look at how we can support the fight for a free and sovereign Palestinian state within our lifetimes.


2. Capitalism Defeated: Socialist States and the Revolutionary Process

Micaela Tracey-Ramos, YCL Central Committee
Aymee Diaz Negrin, Second Secretary for Political Affairs at the Cuban Embassy
Communist Party of China (Zoom)
Leninist Komsomol of the Russian Federation (Zoom)
Vince Lisztes, Workers Party of Hungary (Zoom)

What is a revolution and what does socialism look like in practice? How did policies like universal employment, housing, healthcare, and education change the lives of people living in socialist countries? And what problems need to be overcome as a country overthrows capitalism and works to socialise production on the road to full communism?

In this panel, comrades from current and former socialist countries across the world discuss their nations’ revolutionary histories and describe society’s potential when workers actually manage to take power from capitalists and landlords and put their economies in the service of the people.

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

Activities

Working-Class History Walking Tour
Jude P, YCL Manchester

A guided walking tour of inner-city Manchester exploring the history of working-class struggle woven into the heritage of the city. Attendees will take a 14-minute tram from the Heritage Centre to Victoria Station. Once arriving, the tour will bring to life the history of housing conditions, mills, sites of protest, as well as connections with struggles internationally in the first industrialised city in Britain.


Saturday Social

At the end of Saturday, comrades from across Britain will have the chance to unwind at a social organised by the YCL’s Manchester branch with food, drinks, and live music.

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011
" It is very significant that it is not the embittered failures, not the careerists and reckless political adventurers, but the flower of the youth who turn to Communism and who make the best Communists. "
Harry Pollitt
Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain