From our founding statement
"14. Last but not least we re-assert our support for the organisation of our tendency on the principles of democratic centralism. However, we reject the idea that democratic centralism is merely a code word for monolithism. The revolutionary organisation, if it is both healthy and based on the working class, will necessarily reflect differences of emphasis, of tactics and of theory even though it remains united around an agreed revolutionary programme. For us the essence of democratic centralism is as simple as the decision to strike - once agreed all accept the decision, any who don't are scabs. It allows for maximum democracy in advance of a decision and maximum unity in carrying through a decision. But this principle is a far cry from the increasing bureaucratic centralism that evolved in our parent organisation and that has scarred so many groupings within the movement over many years. Unity in action does not mean uniformity of thought. And unity in action does not preclude open debates within the ranks of an organisation prior to action. The only provisos are:
the opening out of discussions to a broader public are the decisions of the organisation itself, not of the individuals or groups involved individual members have the right to explain to people, if they so wish, where and why the disagree with the majority line in circumstances where such public disclosure does not threaten the security of the organisation or any of its members or the effectiveness of a particular action. Individual members, therefore, will only go public once this has been agreed between them and the relevant unit of the organisation (branch, union fraction, caucus, national committee, aggregate etc.) "
and from PR7
"For example, many on the left believe that democratic centralism means the stifling of individual thought and the concealment of dissent. Our own experience in the LFI involved just such pointless self-denial. People who disagreed with a particular line were obliged to pretend they didn’t. Or to put it bluntly, obliged to lie about what they believed.
To give one illustration, if you thought it ridiculous to argue in favour of a united front with the Taliban to secure the defence of Afghanistan from imperialism you were not allowed to say so openly. Why on earth not?
This was not a practical action upon which lives, or at the very least the success of the operation, depended. It was an ideological line. And on such issues there are inevitably different shades of opinion, different emphases. Within the broad framework of agreement (in this case standing firmly for the defence of Afghanistan against imperialism) there should be plenty of scope for public debate over different ways of achieving this. "