Britain: Revolution Festival 2023 – the communists are coming!

This year’s Revolution Festival in Britain was an event like none other. One thousand communists from across the world gathered for an inspiring, historic event, energised by the momentous next step: launching the Revolutionary Communist Party. If you're in Britain, join our comrades in this venture!


Capitalism is dying on its feet. In Palestine, in Ukraine, and all over the world, millions have been plunged into horror by a wretched system that offers no way forward.

After an unrelenting series of shocks to the world economy, the ruling class is terrified. The tired old ‘lefts’, meanwhile, are mired in pessimism. 

In contrast, the mood at this year’s Revolution Festival was electric. The International Marxist Tendency has never been stronger. We are marching forward all across the planet.

Fresh layers of workers and youth are moving into struggle. Ever-larger numbers can see that capitalism is at a dead end, and are turning to the banner of communism.

Revolutionary upheavals are being prepared everywhere. Britain, once considered a paragon of conservatism and stability, has today become one of the most unstable and volatile countries.

It is against this backdrop that one thousand communists from all over Europe – and beyond – gathered in London last weekend, from 10-12 November, to arm themselves with the ideas necessary to lead the working class to power.

The festival was a show of strength, both numerically and politically. The International Marxist Tendency (IMT) – in Britain and internationally – has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few months, with our open appeal to communist youth. And this year’s event demonstrated clearly not only the incredible success of our drive to recruit for revolution, but also the solid rock of theory upon which we are building our organisation.

But the ‘are you a communist campaign?’ was only the beginning, revealing the thirst for genuine revolutionary ideas, and the giant political vacuum that exists in Britain.

For this reason, Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, announced to a packed hall on Saturday night – and to ecstatic cheers – that we will soon be discarding our current name, and instead opening a new chapter in our organisation’s development: renaming our paper to ‘The Communist’, and hoisting a new bright red banner as the Revolutionary Communist Party.

Why we are communists

Alan Woods – Marxist author and political editor of the In Defence of Marxism magazine – kicked off the weekend by asking a plenary rally: “Are YOU a Communist.” The resounding answer was ‘YES!’

But, as Alan explained, our revolutionary optimism as Marxists stands like an island amidst a sea of despair.

Without an understanding of the causes behind all the chaos around us, many only mourn the terrible symptoms of the system in its death agony, believing that the world has gone mad. Even worse, jaded old ‘lefts’ run around like headless chickens, squealing about the rise of fascism, just as the working class is awakening and beginning to flex its muscles. 

Marxists, however, are armed with theory, allowing us to look beneath the surface of this turbulence. 

“Capitalism is horror without end,” Alan noted, quoting Lenin. But this has given rise to a process of radicalisation, opening up the possibility for a huge growth in the forces of Marxism and genuine communism.

Young people in particular, Alan explained, are leaping over the wreckage of reformist ‘socialists’ like Corbyn and Sanders, and are instead looking towards Marx and Lenin.

It is these fresh class fighters with whom our recruitment campaign has struck a chord. And this was clear from the festival itself, with a thousand – mostly young – communists gathered from all across Britain, joined by delegations from 20 other countries.

Following Alan’s introduction, contributions from IMT comrades on the Friday evening underlined this internationalism, with inspiring speeches by visitors from Canada, Switzerland, Brazil, Italy, and more about the success of the ‘are you a communist?’ campaign in these respective countries.

But the most highly-anticipated success story and announcement awaited attendees on Saturday evening…

Revolutionary Communist Party

In a rousing speech to the Saturday plenary, Rob Sewell outlined the tasks facing communists in Britain by quoting Leon Trotsky:

“The contradictions undermining British society will inevitably intensify. We do not intend to predict the exact tempo of this process, but it will be measurable in terms of years, or in terms of five years at the most; certainly not in decades. This general prospect requires us to ask above all the question: will a communist party be built in Britain in time with the strength and the links with the masses to be able to thaw out at the right moment all the necessary practical conclusions from the sharpening crisis?”

Rob showed that we are building such a party at pace.

To a standing ovation, Rob announced that we had reached 1,101 members – vaulting over our target of 1,000 by the end of the year.

We now have our sights set on doubling to 2,000 members as quickly as possible, in time for the next general election and the turbulent events that will follow. This will mark an important milestone along the road of becoming a mass communist force in Britain.

These conquests have come from enthusiasm and audacity, Rob explained. But even more boldness will be required in the coming period, in order to reach and attract the growing layer of revolutionary workers and youth to our banner.

In the words of Marx: “The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims.” We must be a red beacon for all those looking to fight against capitalism. 

For this reason, the well-worn clothes of Socialist Appeal are to be replaced by a new uniform, fit for the forward march that we are undertaking. 

Next year, in May, Rob therefore proclaimed, will mark the founding congress of the Revolutionary Communist Party. And as a stepping stone towards this, from January, our comrades will be armed with a brand new paper: The Communist

Both of these announcements caused the crowd to jump to its feet, with spontaneous renditions of the Internationale and Bandiera Rossa, and a sea of red flags waved in applause.

Comrades are clearly excited and eager to begin building this new party and its press straight away. We appeal to all those reading to join us in these efforts.

School of communism

We are determined to construct a powerful, genuine communist organisation, in Britain and internationally. And the foundation to all this is revolutionary theory. In order to change the world, we must first understand it. And this means equipping ourselves with the scientific method of Marxism. 

Throughout the festival, this point was underlined. The only justification for our existence as an organisation, distinct from the rest of the movement, is our ideas. The revolutionary party is the collective memory of the working class. Marxist theory is the distilled experience of history and the class struggle. 

To that end, the whole weekend was billed as the ‘school of communism’. And throughout 36 talks, comrades covered everything from Pinochet’s 1973 coup in Chile, to the Palestinian struggle; from ‘Black Marxism’ and racism, to the lessons of Soviet economy.

In all sessions, there was a tremendous appetite for theory. Rooms were full to capacity. Audiences listened attentively to the speakers, whilst furiously taking notes. And discussions were crammed with comrades – experienced and new – providing excellent contributions.

Unfortunately time was limited, however. The weekend could only give comrades a taste of the immense riches of Marxism. Nevertheless, with £7600 in sales from the Wellred Books stall, attendees clearly went home with ample supplies for mastering these revolutionary ideas for themselves.

Revolutionary sacrifice

Ideas, however, need an organisation to transmit them. In the words of Marx, theory must become a “material force”. And under capitalism, this requires finances – the ‘sinews of war’.

The collection on Saturday evening reflected the spirit of revolutionary sacrifice amongst comrades; the dedication and desire to build such a vessel for carrying and spreading Marxist ideas far and wide.

Comrades and branches from all across the country stood up and shouted out their impressive pledges.

This, in turn, revealed the growth of the organisation, including in areas and towns where previously we have had little-to-no presence, with national organiser Ben Gliniecki reporting on the development of each branch and cell as they announced the results of their fundraising efforts. 

In total, over £210,000 was raised – shattering our annual target of £160,000 by £50,000, and providing the material resources necessary for launching the Revolutionary Communist Party in the months ahead.

If you want to help raise this figure even further, then donate to our fighting fund today!

Preparing for power

One thousand members (1101, to be precise) is clearly an incredible achievement – one that all comrades who have helped to get us here should be extremely proud of.

By fighting on the frontlines of every struggle and mass movement, we are becoming a point of reference for workers and youth searching for revolutionary solutions. And we are certainly punching well above our weight.

Truth be told, however, our size is still modest – and clearly insufficient for the tasks that impend, as Alan emphasised in his closing remarks on Sunday afternoon.

The message coming out of #RevFest2023 was therefore clear. We must urgently build, in order to be able to make an impact on the titanic events that lie ahead.

There is no time to waste! As Rob Sewell stated, quoting the IMT’s founding member and Marxist theoretician Ted Grant:

“Revolutionary audacity can achieve everything. The organisation must consciously pose itself and see itself as the decisive factor in the situation. There will be no lack of possibilities for transforming ourselves into a mass organisation on the wave of the revolution.”

So if you are a communist, and are not yet organised, then what are you waiting for?! Join us – the communists of the IMT – today!

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