Ranjeet speaks for the CPGB-ML, about the challenges that face us in the coming year.
2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution – the great Socialist October Revolution of 1917 – and yet the dawning of 2017 sees the majority of humanity still languishing under capitalism in the throes of its worst ever economic crisis. Just the conditions, in fact, that led to the great inter-imperialist world wars of the last century, to the October revolution that overthrew capitalism, and to the subsequent victories of socialism in one country after another.
2017 sees Capitalism in its last stage clinging on to the reigns of power like grim death. The major capitalist corporations, controlling the major imperialist states, have concentrated humanity’s vast collective wealth in an obscenely small number of hands, while spreading the miseries of poverty, homelessness, hunger, unemployment and underemployment, disease, premature death from treatable diseases, hopelessness and crime – not to mention the increasingly ferocious, criminally planned and executed genocidal wars of imperialism – far and wide.
But the crisis is taking its toll. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” 2016 has seen much political upheaval, with Brexit signalling the beginning of the fall of the EU, and Trump’s election victory once more showing that imperialism in crisis is loosing the plot.
Inter imperial rivalry, rather than cooperation between the major capitalists is leading to the collapse of their trade agreements and inter-imperialist blocs. Workers of all countries can only welcome this disarray in the enemy camp.
2016 has seen the beginning of the end, moreover, of the genocidal war orchestrated by US imperialism, but waged by its barbaric medieval proxies against the Syrian people – a war for domination, pure and simple, of the middle east and its crucial mineral and human resources.
With the victory of Assad’s legitimate government in Aleppo, and the expulsion of ISIS jihadi terrorism from the city, there are signs that the USA’s 25 year reign of terror is drawing to a close, and that it can no longer simply topple all sovereign governments that stand in its path. The rise of Russia and China, as forces capable of counter-balancing US and NATO’s global rampage, must be welcomed by all.
The Labour party – so long the loyal lapdog of British imperialism – is itself in crisis. Labour has lost the support of the British workers, who no longer swallow its Blairite platitudes and lies, and have deserted in droves for parties new – only to find that they too are wanting. UKIP will not save the NHS, it will destroy it; the SNP will not bring social justice, and much less socialism, to Scotland. Neither immigration, nor the English, nor ‘Westminster’ are the problem. The problem is capitalism.
2016 has seen Corbyn’s leadership of the labour party flounder, despite winning not one, but two leadership elections by overwhelming majorities. His right wing party does not want a ‘left sounding’ leader. In fact, Corbyn’s project – to offer workers ‘a little more’, while safeguarding the city plutocrats and offering a vision of a ‘fairer capitalism’ is doomed to failure. While it is seemly innocuous and and old Labour formula, the crisis makes offering even a little more to workers anathema to capitalism. Promising to maintain a publicly funded universal NHS would be ‘dangerous radicalism’ indeed!
Labour under Corbyn has campaigned to stay in the EU, voted to renew Trident, determined that China is the cause of British steelworkers problems (not the glut caused by the capitalist crisis – oh no!), maintained its allegiance to the private health lobby, taken lectures from the city on the workings of capitalist economics, and and insisted on the right of its members to vote for war on Syria.
Yet despite Corbyn’s overt loyalty to the capitalist order, Labour’s MPs have stabbed him in the back repeatedly, tolerating his continued presence only because there is no one capable of ousting him amidst their mediocre ranks. Even so, such is the disarray in the Tory camp after Brexit, with Cameron and Osbourne’s fall, that Labour could yet win a general election. We sincerely hope that they do, as perhaps only a ‘left labour’ government in all its impotent disarray, will finally cure British workers of their last vestiges of the illusion that the Labour party offers an easy route to ‘socialism’.
While many mourn the passing of George Michael, or Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman, Prince, or David Bowie, we would ask you to spare a thought for the quiet loss of the struggle to defend the NHS, whose privatisation has taken a sharp upswing in tempo over the last months.
In 2016, the junior doctors committee of the GMC, after briefly flirting with the notion of organised resistance, and trade union struggle, in order to defend the dwindling pay of NHS staff, ignominiously threw in the towel at the first whiff of the government’s powder. Leadership of the junior doctors, it seems, will not come from that GMC, and defence of the NHS, will not be led by the medical profession. Those leaders of the JDC who showed such touching faith in Corbyn’s Labour party as a vehicle for saving the NHS, showed themselves to be completely naive and incapable of leading a sustained and principled campaign.
On 26th November 2016, Fidel Castro, leader and inspiration of the Cuban revolutionary movement, people and nation, breathed his last. It is a great loss not only to the people of Cuba, but to workers and the oppressed world-wide. But even as we lament his passing, we celebrate his life, work, teaching and legacy.
He reminded us always, that through our own struggle against imperialism, despite all the capitalists’ savagery and destruction, a better world is in birth.
Speaking at a meeting to mark the 99th anniversary of the October Revolution, Ranjeet remarks that in fact, through the depth of the capitalist crisis, there are discernible signs that the working masses are casting around for a new political direction capable of solving their pressing problems.
Until the communist movement is able to explain confidently that socialism – the dictatorship of the proletariat; rule of the working people themselves – remains the solution to capitalism, and precisely what went wrong in the USSR and why it collapsed, our movement will not be able to gain the confidence of the working class in Britain or world-wide.
Workers must have a political understanding that exposes the ruthless dictatorship of capitalist imperialism, its crisis and war, and the tools it has used to spread disarray in the ranks of the working class – social democracy, the labour party, trotskyism, anarchism, Khrushchevite revisionist communism, and their many gradations and deviations.
Our party has these answers and consequently, while others decay, we are growing. We appeal to all conscious and thinking workers to join us to build a real political movement dedicated to the liberation of mankind from capitalist slavery.
See other speeches from the meeting here:
Cuban ambassador: https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=l2Lt97HdAks
Laos’ ambassador: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mStxK9gnD9A&t=12s
Venezuela ambassador: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIkBMFIJ_ww&t=30s
Harpal Brar of the CPGB-ML: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPmLKuGNUkY&t=5s
The meeting to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the October Revolution was chaired by Comrade Harpal Brar, and messages of solidarity were given by Comrade Teresita Vicente, the Cuban Ambassador to the UK, Comrade Sayakane Sisouvong, Laos’ Ambassador to the UK, Comrade Kim Song Gi, Minister of the Korean Embassy, Comrade Marcus Garcia of the Venezuelan Embassy, and Comrade Dr Indunil Wijenaiaka, a prominent member of Sri-Lanka’s JVP.
Comrade Gerry MacLochlainn, prominent Irish Republican soldier and politician, addressed the meeting in a personal capacity, focussing on the relationship between the October Revolution, the international workers’ liberation movement and the Easter Uprising of 1916, which was to herald the coming of an independent Ireland.
Don’t forget, you can buy tickets to the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, scheduled for Saturday 4th November 2017, which will be held at Southall, but in the larger venue (400 capacity) of the Dominion centre [https://goo.gl/maps/dCb6LEH8W8F2], from party activists, or from the online shop.
Guarantee your place for just £10. http://www.proletarianonline.org/