Comrades from Red Youth gave a presentation to the Stalin Society on Sunday, discussing what the vital lessons of the Russian revolution, Stalin’s role in building socialism, and what it means to us today.
The presentation from comrade Dan is reproduced below.
Demonstrations have taken place across Britain this weekend in opposition to the hated “Bedroom Tax”.
Blaming the poor for poverty
When the Bedroom Tax comes into force on 1 April, 14 percent will be cut from housing benefit for households with one ‘spare’ bedroom and 25 percent from those with two or more.
An estimated 660,000 working-age social tenants across the country will be hit, losing an average of £14-16 per week, and facing the stark choice of moving home or being forced into even deeper poverty. Evictions and debt levels will skyrocket.
In order to justify this move, politicians and journalists have been spinning a fairy tale of housing ‘shortages’, but it is actually one- and two-bed flats that are in short supply, so where are people supposed to ‘downsize’ to?
If our rulers really want to do something about the affordable housing shortage, why not set rent controls in the private sector, build lots of new social homes and requisition all those empty ‘deluxe’ flats?
It’s a classic privatisation strategy – first reduce the amount and quality of a service, then blame the service users for the problem and use it to justify the next privatisation move! How many times have we been told that our NHS is under threat because poor people are suffering from diet- or smoking-related ailments, or that burdensome pensioners are ‘bed-blocking’?
The answer? Instead of creating new hospital wards and putting more nurses and doctors into them, more outsourcing to dodgy profiteers and more cuts in bed and frontline staff numbers to pay more PFI debts!
In reality, this tax has nothing to do with ‘freeing up social housing’; it is a callous scapegoating of Britain’s poorest people – after all, only those who are claiming benefits will have to pay, even though many of them are already impoverished to the point of malnutrition.
Disabled people, single parents who are not designated as the ‘main carer’ for their children, couples sleeping apart owing to medical conditions … all will be hit. Children of the same sex will be required to share a room until they reach 16, and of the opposite sex until the age of 10.
Labour party hypocrisy
Grassroots campaigns to oppose the tax have been launched by workers all over Britain. But a dangerous pattern is emerging as these campaigns take shape – their hijacking by Labour’s so-called ‘left’ wing and the exclusion and silencing of all non-Labour-affiliated organisations and individuals.
Many supposedly ‘non-aligned’ events have been seized and monopolised by a ‘committee’ that has censored anyone who tries to tell the truth about Labour’s support for and implementation of the capitalists’ cuts. Non-Labour people have been systematically blocked from Facebook event and campaign pages all over the country.
The hypocrisy is staggering. Labour, far from building new homes, recently oversaw 13 years of sell-offs and privatisation that massively accelerated the ghettoisation of Britain’s remaining social tenants, while ‘Red Ed’ Miliband, in whom we are asked to put our hopes of a ‘worker-friendly’ capitalist government next time around, has actually endorsed the bedroom tax.
When it comes to cuts, privatisation, and all other attacks on working people’s living standards, the Tories, Labour and LibDems are all as bad as each other, because they all serve the same capitalist interests. The ‘debate’ that they distract us with is only about how soon or how fast to make the cuts that capitalists demand – or who to blame, and where to wield the knife first.
What they are all agreed on is that British imperialism must at all costs be saved from the current crisis, which is the deepest ever seen – even worse than the fabled Great Depression of the 1930s, which led to WW2 and the deaths of millions of poor people all over the world.
Let us recall that the $20bn cuts ‘required’ to be made to our health service were first announced by the Labour government – and that all the parties agreed with them. They also all agreed that £1bn on bombing Libya’s hard-won infrastructure – health, education, housing, industry, electricity and water – into the dust was money well spent.
Desperate to stop workers drawing the obvious conclusion that no capitalist party can serve their interests, Labour has been working hard to rebrand itself as the ‘anti-cuts’ opposition. Glossy leaflets and online campaigns abound, but the concerted effort to remove all other voices from the bedroom tax campaign is proof that the party is not interested in uniting the opposition and defeating the tax, but only in getting a bit of free advertising. Labour’s fake ‘opposition’ to cuts is just a cynical PR exercise.
If more proof is still needed of this, let us look at the case of Newcastle’s Michael McDonald. As an anti-cuts organiser, he must be a thorn in the side of the Labour-led council that is busy implementing drastic cuts in the city.
Following an anti-cuts demo in February, where Mr McDonald told council-leader Nick Forbes what he thought about these attacks on Newcastle’s poorest, this Labour scoundrel sent police to drag McDonald out of his bed and charge him with a ‘public order’ offence!
The Labour party’s true role as policeman of the workers’ movement could not have been more clearly illustrated!
To injure one is to injure us all
We need to understand that no representative of a capitalist party is on the side of the workers, however much (s)he may pretend to be. Nor is anyone who tries to incite us to blame each other for the poverty in which we find ourselves.
It is not immigrants, fat people, poor people, smokers, benefit claimers, council-house tenants, hoodies or pensioners who are ‘bleeding the country dry’ but the free-market-fundamentalist gangsters who rampage all over the globe in search of profit, profit and more profit.
Today, our forces are divided, not only by the racism and scapegoating that we are encouraged to indulge in, but by the pigeon-holing of struggles as ‘separate’ issues, each one of which is presented as being relevant only to a small minority of people.
We have lost sight of the fact that ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’, and so our forces are dispersed and our attention is diverted by every new media-created distraction.
If we unite, however, we can use our collective power to sabotage all attempts to make us pay for the capitalists’ crisis. A real tenants’ movement, instead of Almo-led eviction organisations, is needed to defend our homes.
If we join together we can refuse to be resettled or moved. We can patrol our estates and stop bailiffs from evicting our fellow tenants. We must defend ourselves – and our neighbours – from the thugs and hired servants of the rich.
And we must refuse to let our campaign groups be hijacked by Labour politicians who do nothing to defend the working class from the assaults of capitalist bloodsuckers. They are helping the state to rob the poor to pay the rich – kick them out of our communities!
A Red Youth and cpgb-ml candidate from Stafford gave his teacher a shock with this appraisal of Marxism which the class was asked to complete as an assignment!
Defending communism and the question of communism in the 21st Century
It is a popular trend amongst British society to slander and regurgitate various statements and “arguments” against Communism and its history. Undoubtedly, one of the most popular arguments that is regurgitate by the people, from the bourgeois press, is the argument: “Communism is outdated”. Little do they know, this is completely wrong and you can see it for yourself with just a little bit of Marxist-Leninist analysis.
The fundamental of Marxism-Leninism is class struggle. Class struggle is more than a belief though; it is a direct result of Capitalism and the massive inequality it breeds in every corner. The concept of class struggle is still totally relevant to 21st Century Britain. There is still workers and bosses, rich and poor, exploiters and exploited. The working classes and the upper classes still fight one another for their specific interests, although it may seem less physical right now, it is still represented through various political and social struggles on an almost monthly basis. Since all this is happening, the concept of Class struggle is still relevant to 21st Century Britain.
We have witnessed constant examples of class struggle throughout our lives living in the 21st Century. We have witnessed the public spending cuts, leaving thousands, if not millions of working class people unemployed and left on the brink of poverty. We have witnessed their struggle to protect what little wealth they own. While this was and still is happening, the capitalists were sitting in their luxury houses, with their firm control over 90% of Britain’s wealth, earned through the blood of imperialism and the exploitation of the working classes of Britain.
People will also argue that Marxism-Leninism has lost it’s relevance because of the improvement of living standards in the past 100 years. They say because public services such as education have been made free, opportunity of success has risen and now anyone can go from “rags to riches”. But this simply isn’t true. Statistics have shown that only 4% of Britain’s upper classes have gone from “rags to riches”. Meaning the other 96% of the upper class have basically had some form of help in order to attain their wealthy status. Meaning the poor working classes have little chance of ever becoming wealthy millionaires. Not to mention that further education still requires us to pay ludicrous amounts of money just to gain a qualification. So services like education technically are still not fully provided for. Meaning Marxism-Leninism is still needed to provide our working classes with much needed opportunity.
Another fundamental teaching of Marxism-Leninism concerns imperialism. Imperialism is just as relevant now as it was 100 years ago. We see the constant effects of NATO backed invasions, specifically in the middle-east, in which nations are invaded and plundered by the multi-national capitalist monopolies. Iraq and Afghanistan have both fell victims of imperialism. Invaded and then plundered by various monopolies, expanding their empire of capital even further. Imperialism for profit, at the expense of potentially millions of innocent lives.
We have also witnessed many examples of imperialism across the globe and the destruction and suffering it creates. We have seen the invasion of Iraq, supposedly in the name of “freedom” and finding “weapons of mass-destruction”. The invasion has brought nothing to the Iraqi people but suffering, extreme poverty, violence and death. Thousands of Iraqis have died and millions of Iraqis lives have been destroyed, all because of the NATO invasion. While this has happened, conveniently, many monopolies have shown up not long after in Iraq. Companies like KBR, making $8 billion from both oil and private security. Or Dyncorp, making $50 million from providing “law enforcement” for the Iraqi people.
It’s time for the people of Britain to face the truth, Capitalism must go! It has exploited and caused enough pain, suffering, war and death! We must not fall for the bourgeoisie’s lies, instead we must develop class consciousness once more! We must use Marxism-Leninism, still as relevant as 100 years ago, as our weapon for liberation!
Harpal Brar delivers a 45-minute presentation on the theory and practice of Trotsky and ‘Trotskyites’, followed by Q&A at the CPGB-ML’s Party Study School, November 2011.
One of the myths perpetrated by the Trotskyites, with not inconsiderable help from the imperialist bourgeoisie, is that Leninism and Trotskyism are synonymous, that Trotsky was, after Lenin, the most brilliant and greatest Bolshevik (some even implying that Lenin was a great Trotskyist); that Trotsky was the true inheritor of Leninism and a worthy successor to Lenin, but was, alas, deprived of his rightful place by the cunning manoeuvres of a third-class mediocrity and oriental despot to boot, ie, Joseph Stalin.
This anti-communist myth, repeated ad nauseam decade after decade in truly Goebbelsian fashion, has acquired the force of a public prejudice. Anyone with the least knowledge of the subject cannot but be aware of the total falsity of this myth.
It is the aim of this video presentation, (like the book – see link below) to expose this myth and lay bare the truly reactionary, counter-revolutionary, essence of the petty-bourgeois ideology of Trotskyism, which is as irreconcilably hostile to Marxism Leninism as is the bourgeoisie to the proletariat – notwithstanding its pseudo-Marxist, ultra-‘left’ and ultra-‘revolutionary’ terminology.
Trotskyism met with dismal failure both during Lenin’s time and after his death, and it failed “because”, to use Stalin’s words, “the leading group of the opposition proved to be a group of petty-bourgeois intellectuals divorced from life, divorced from the revolution, divorced from the party, from the working class”.
This, and not any personal factor, explains the total rout of the Trotskyite opposition by the Bolshevik Party.
A CPGB-ML Party School production