[as amended by the 23rd National Congress, November 2006]
1. The Communist Party of Ireland is an organisation of working people extending over all Ireland guided by the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism.
2. The Communist Party of Ireland upholds, carries forward and develops the socialist principles of James Connolly, who in 1896 founded the first working-class political party in the country, and is inspired by the efforts, sacrifices and experiences of the pioneers of the Irish labour and national independence movements.
3. The Communist Party of Ireland is guided in its attitude to all international problems by the principle of working-class internationalism, such as support for all peoples struggling against imperialism and for countries where socialism exists or is being built.
Aims and objectives
4. The Communist Party of Ireland aims to win the support of the majority of the Irish people for the ending of the capitalist system and for building socialism, i.e. a social system in which the means of production, distribution and exchange are publicly owned and utilised for the benefit of the whole people.
5. In a socialist Ireland full use will be made of the country’s natural resources and of the people’s skills and intelligence to ensure full employment, social security, and the constantly expanding material and cultural standards of all the people.
6. Guided by the experience of the Irish working class, the pioneers of the Irish labour movement and the revolutionary traditions of the Irish people and by the international working-class movement, the Communist Party of Ireland, as an integral part of the Irish working-class movement, shall
(a) strive for co-operation with all other sections of the labour movement to win the majority of the people for socialism;
(b) work consistently to achieve unity in action of all sections of the labour movement and of other anti-imperialist and democratic organisations in the struggle against monopoly capitalism in its many forms and on the immediate needs and demands of the people;
(c) take an active part in the everyday struggles to defend and improve the standards of the working people in urban and rural areas;
(d) work for the protection and extension of democracy at all levels, including equal rights and opportunity for women, and work for the removal of all undemocratic legislation;
(e) initiate, encourage and support in every way all activities to safeguard and develop our cultural traditions;
(f) support the struggle of all peoples for world peace, national independence, and socialism;
(g) develop fraternal relations with all political parties in other countries that are likewise guided by the principles of Marxism-Leninism; and
(h) work to establish close, friendly relations with people of all lands.
Organisation and structure
7. The Communist Party of Ireland is a voluntary organisation of the most politically advanced members of the working class and other sections of the people exploited by the capitalist system who are prepared to work for the achievement of a united, independent, socialist Ireland.
8. Its structures and procedures are based on the principle of democratic centralism. Democratic centralism means that decisions, policies and the election of leading committees are made through the maximum involvement of the membership, and that once a final decision is made, all members are obliged to carry it out. By making a commitment to unite around a programme of action, members strengthen the party and help unify the working-class and people’s movements.
9. The highest authority of the Communist Party of Ireland is the national congress, which shall be convened every three years, except when, in the opinion of the National Executive Committee, exceptional circumstances make this impossible, such circumstances to be explained to the membership. The national congress endorses or amends the party programme and constitution, determines policy on key questions, and elects the National Executive Committee by majority vote. All decisions taken by the congress are binding on the whole party. An extraordinary national congress may be convened at any other time by the NEC when, in its judgement, circumstances require it.
10. The national congress shall be composed of delegates elected at specially convened branch meetings, and members of the outgoing NEC. The NEC may permit members not elected as delegates to be present at the national congress in a consultative capacity. Such members may speak but not vote.
11. The draft resolutions and other materials shall be supplied to the membership at least two months before the date of the national congress. Amendments to the party constitution must be submitted in writing to the NEC at least one month before the date of the national congress.
National Executive Committee
12. Between national congresses, the highest political and organisational body of the party is the National Executive Committee. It shall consist of twenty-one members. In the event of a vacancy, the NEC shall have the power of co-option.
13. Members nominated for membership of the NEC must be in good standing and have been members of the party for not less than three years, unless in the opinion of the NEC there are exceptional circumstances.
14. At its first meeting, which must take place within one month of the national congress, the NEC shall elect a National Chairperson, General Secretary, and National Treasurer. The NEC may also elect a Deputy National Chairman and Deputy General Secretary. The NEC may elect such other officers as are deemed necessary.
15. The NEC at its first meeting after the national congress shall create such committees from the party membership as are considered necessary.
16. The Communist Party of Ireland shall be organised into two areas. These shall be (a) the Northern Area, which shall cover Northern Ireland, and (b) the Southern Area, which shall cover the Republic.
17. Each of the two areas shall hold an area congress within one year of the national congress. Each area congress shall discuss a report on the implementation of the policies and decisions of the national congress. Each area congress is empowered to formulate policies and procedures relevant to the area, in accordance with the decisions of the national congress.
18. An extraordinary area congress may be convened at any time by the appropriate area committee when, in its judgement, circumstances require it.
19. Members shall be organised in branches, which are attached to either the Northern Area Committee or the Southern Area Committee. The branch is the basic unit of the party.
20. A minimum of five members is required to form a branch. A chairperson, a secretary and a treasurer shall be elected to direct the work of the branch. Branch meetings shall be held at least once a month. The area committee will name each branch in accordance with the area of residence of the members, their place of work, or their occupation.
21. A branch shall hold an annual general meeting, at which the work of the branch for the year shall be reviewed and a programme of activities for the year ahead decided upon. The AGM shall elect the branch officers by majority vote.
22. The branch officers shall be responsible for the regular convening of meetings of members, for the political and organisational direction of the branch, for the initiation of internal and public activities, for the collection of members’ subscriptions and other fund-raising activities, and for making reports on branch work and problems to the area committee when called on to do so.
23. In areas where no party organisation exists, membership at large may be given by the area committee. These members shall pay membership subscriptions to the area committee.
24. Membership of the Communist Party of Ireland is open to all persons aged eighteen years and over who accept the party’s constitution and work for the implementation of its programme, participate in the work of their branch and any party committees of which they are a member, and pay membership subscriptions regularly. All party members must re-register every year in order to maintain continuity of membership.
25. The duties of membership shall include
(a) reading party publications and assisting in their circulation;
(b) playing an active part in the discussion and formulation of party policy and the promotion of activities;
(c) playing an active part in the working-class movement and being a member of their appropriate trade unions, tenants’ and residents’ associations, professional bodies and other mass organisations of the people;
(d) the obligation to struggle against all manifestations of male chauvinism and discrimination against women and to fight for the full social, political and economic equality of women;
(e) the obligation to struggle against all manifestations of national chauvinism, racism, and religious sectarianism.
26. Each new member is required to undergo a probationary period, the procedure for which will be laid down in each area and endorsed by the National Executive Committee.
27. No member of the party may be a member of another political party.
28. Members shall pay not less than 1 per cent of their weekly net income as their financial contribution to party funds. The financial contribution from those not in receipt of a wage shall be determined by the National Executive Committee.
29. Branch treasurers shall remit, at the end of each quarter of a year, 80 per cent of the total of subscriptions received from members to their respective area treasurers.
30. A party member thirteen weeks in arrears shall cease to be in good standing and shall be so informed. A member who is twenty-six weeks in arrears and so informed shall be removed from the roll of membership after all possible efforts have failed to bring such member to observe the rules.
31. In the case of persons whose membership has lapsed because of non-payment of membership subscriptions and who apply for readmission at any time within one year, the terms of readmission may be decided by the branch, subject to the approval of the area committee.
32. There shall be a card check at all party meetings.
33. The appropriate area committee shall have the power to remove from office in the area or suspend a member for breach of party rules or conduct or action detrimental to the party. In the case of removal from office or suspension, a member may
(a) appeal in writing to the NEC within twenty-one days of being notified of such decision and
(b) make a further appeal in writing to the next national congress.
34. The NEC shall have the power to expel members for any of the above reasons. Members shall be notified of expulsion and the reasons therefor through a circular letter to the branch secretaries or through the party publications. In the event of an appeal to the NEC, the NEC shall establish an ad hoc appeal committee on the basis of nomination from the branches and consisting of one member of the appropriate area committee (with no vote) and four other members, none of whom shall be a member of the area committee concerned or the NEC, which appeals committee will examine all aspects of the case and, if it thinks fit, interview the member concerned, and make an appropriate recommendation to the NEC.
35. All property of the Communist Party of Ireland, of whatever nature the same may be, shall be held by the trustees as shall from time to time be appointed in accordance with the terms of the constitution.
36. The trustees shall have power if authorised so to do by the National Executive Committee to deal with the property, whether by way of a sale, lease, exchange, purchase or otherwise, and all moneys or other liquid assets from time to time held by the trustees shall be invested by them as directed by the National Executive Committee.
37. On the sale, leasing, exchange or other disposition of any property the extract of the relevant minute as certified by the general secretary shall for all purposes be adequate evidence of the decision of the National Executive Committee and the appropriate authorisation to the trustees.
38. The trustees of the party shall be five in number and shall ordinarily hold office for a period of five years from the date of their appointment.
39. On the fifth anniversary of the appointment of any trustee that trustee shall be deemed to have automatically resigned, and at the next meeting thereafter of the National Executive Committee the National Executive Committee shall appoint a new trustee. The trustee whose term of office shall have been automatically terminated prior to such meeting shall be eligible for reappointment.
40. A trustee ceases to be a trustee if he or she ceases to be a member of the Communist Party of Ireland.
41. Where a trustee retires or resigns or is otherwise incapable of acting then the surviving trustees, provided that there should be more than three of them, shall be entitled to act.
42. The members of the organisation shall indemnify the trustees against any losses or expenses they may properly incur in the exercise of their duties.
43. The national offices of the Communist Party of Ireland shall be in Dublin.
44. The emblem of the Communist Party of Ireland shall be a crossed hammer and sickle in red on a yellow sunburst.
45. The National Executive Committee is empowered to interpret these rules and to lay down procedures in all matters.
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