Programmes to cure political illiteracy fall short in Scottish YCL

A throwaway attack piece on the Young Communist League’s (YCL) Challenge magazine website reveals the critical flaws in the thinking and tactics of communists who ultimately remain wedded to the Labour Party.

Unfamiliar with the concept of tactical voting, Tom Flanagan criticises George Galloway for following through on what he set out to do by founding the All for Unity political alliance, i.e. tactically voting for whichever candidate in his constituency is most likely to defeat the Scottish National Party (SNP).

To clarify, for anyone else unfamiliar with Scottish politics, All for Unity is a cross-party formation expressly formed for the purpose of defeating separatist parties such as the SNP. All for Unity itself is not fielding candidates in constituencies, only being an option on regional lists. Continue reading “Programmes to cure political illiteracy fall short in Scottish YCL”

Tatar Club, Arabic and Latin script, Moscow, 1935

“Soviet Union-Style” Decolonisation Means True Historical Emancipation

The Universities minister and conservative MP for Chippenham, Michelle Donelan, compared recent widespread campaigns by universities to ‘decolonise’ their curricula to “Soviet Union style censorship.” (Universities minister compares ‘decolonisation’ of history to ‘Soviet Union-style’ censorship, The Independent, 28/02/2021)

Speaking to a Daily Telegraph podcast, Ms Donelan said: “It just doesn’t work when governments try to remove elements of history. Look at the Soviet Union, look at China. There are multiple examples where it’s been tried. It doesn’t work.”

The Minister’s words come in response to calls by some of the more vocal IDPOL students scattered across the country to remove certain study materials from the curriculum that are considered “triggering” to ethnic minorities for their glorification of the empire and white-washing of Britain’s blood-soaked history.

Continue reading ““Soviet Union-Style” Decolonisation Means True Historical Emancipation”

Under capitalism, ‘individual liberty’ is an illusion for all but the super-rich

“Extra! Extra! Socialist dystopia to follow Covid 19, in a new world order great reset!”… “Stasi State to usher in the dawn of Covid Crisis”
Or so run the bourgeois ‘free press’ or free market run press, as it should be labelled.

From the Telegraph, to the Mail, to the Guardian, all media fingers have been pointing to socialist countries such as Cuba and China as to what Britain should not become in the aftermath of this crisis, despite their superb management of Covid 19 and low death rate compared to capitalist countries such as the U.S.A and Britain.
The lies, the slander, the typical spiel of hypocritical finger pointing is nothing new in Britain. As a matter of fact, as far back as 1915 socialist hero Robert Tressell was pointing out the effectiveness of capitalist media on the working class in his novel ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”. Continue reading “Under capitalism, ‘individual liberty’ is an illusion for all but the super-rich”

Agent Sonya

The spy who baked scones

Ursula Kuczynski, better and more infamously known as Ruth Werner, led a truly remarkable life. Born into a Jewish family in Berlin in 1907 to a well to do middle class household, during the 1920’s she pursued an education first in book dealing then as librarian. In 1924 she joined the youth wing of the German communist party before joining the party itself in 1926 at the age of nineteen.

In 1930 with her first husband and fellow communist Rudolf Hamburger the pair moved to Shanghai Continue reading “The spy who baked scones”

When it comes to dissidents, the West deals in double standards

The West has developed the habit of putting on a pedestal anyone who opposes a political government perceived as threatening. Thus, throughout the 20th century and until the forced dismantling of the USSR, any citizen of the Eastern bloc or of a communist country who criticized his government was immediately elevated to the rank of absolute defender of human rights and infallible representative of individual liberties. Continue reading “When it comes to dissidents, the West deals in double standards”

Anti-Soviet Lies: Did Stalin Pluck A Live Chicken To ‘Prove How Easy It Is To Rule People’?

The absurd lie that Stalin plucked a live chicken to an audience to demonstrate his supposed dictatorial power has been doing the rounds on many platforms of social media lately. It has taken the form of a poorly executed meme. This sloppy piece of propaganda has been resurrected and is supposed to teach us something about the ‘lockdown’.

Of course the story is a complete fabrication, even in the words of its author, but that hasn’t stopped it being passed off as truth.

For many sites, and publications would like to propel this story into the stratosphere for all the world to see. They would use it as an example of a megalomaniac, crazed tyrant intent on showing his power of control, the extent of his evil. Therefore, we take a moment to deal with this crazed, ludicrous rumour, scraped truly from the bottom of the barrel. 

What is it that Stalin supposedly did?

The tale follows as thus:

“Stalin once ripped all the feathers off a live chicken as a lesson to his followers. He then set the chicken on the floor a short distance away. The chicken was bloodied and suffering immensely, yet, when Stalin began to toss bits of wheat toward the chicken it followed him around. He said to his followers “This is how you govern stupid people, they will follow you no matter how much pain you cause them, as long as you throw them a little worthless treat once in a while”. 

Where does this story come from?

The tale can be traced back to the pen of anti-Stalin, revisionist scribbler Chingiz Aitmatov. Aitmatov is well remembered for his literary works, as well his role in helping Mikhail Gorbachev in the passing of ‘Perestroika’. Aitmatov was known for his particular “style” of writing that combined fact with fiction and in the preface to his most famous work wrote:  

“As in previous works, here I also draw on legends and myths [Ed: unsubstantiated slander] handed down to us from former generations; together with these, for the first time in my writing career I also use fantasy to form part of the story. But, for me, neither is an end in itself, simply a method of expressing thoughts, a means of identifying and interpreting realities.”

The Truth

From such a literary “style” comes this tale of Stalin plucking a chicken alive is exactly an example of Aitmatov’s writing that blends very little fact with a heap of fiction, indeed in this case there is no fact to be found!  The tale is part of the tradition of anti-Stalin slander that was brought in under Khrushchev in the Soviet Union, as part of the ‘de-Stalinization’ [asnti-communist] process. Apart from Aitmatov’s confession to passing off fantasy as fact, this fable has no further evidence or source for being true and if we are bearing into mind that this type of tale was typical of Aitmatov, and there are no other original sources for the tale other than Aitmatov, then we discover that the tale can be categorically ruled out as false, a cheap flight of fancy paid for by the Gorbachev era press. All other sources for this tale come from bourgeois and Christian newspapers, repeating with minor variations this ludicrous garbage. All in all, the tale reeks of falsity and is found from time to time, to be found bobbing along in the sewage of the revisionists and bourgeois press. 

Conclusion 

Usually, debunking myths around Stalin can be a more serious affair. However, this tale is so laughable and so easily uncovered as a categorical lie that it merely requires a scratch and the obvious falsity is revealed. Here we have a tale from a revisionist writer adding to the canon of anti-Stalin propaganda no more, no less. 

Sheffield’s Twin City Uses Former Soviet Name.

Denis Pushilin, The Leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has signed a decree issued by the authorities in the region to use Donetsk’s former Soviet name: Stalino.

“I hereby decide to provide the name “the city of Stalino” with a status of Donetsk symbol. It is to be used in Republican and city events to commemorate important dates of Donetsk and WWII history.” — Denis Pushilin

The name Stalino will be used on May 9, the day of the victory in World War II, on June 22, the day of Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union and on September 8, which is the day of the liberation of the city from the Nazis.

Donetsk was named Stalin in March 1924, two months after the death of Soviet leader Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin). “The [local] Executive Committee believes the symbol characterizing our great leader, comrade Lenin will be ‘steel’ [or ‘stal’ in Russian] and decided that the city of Yuzovka should be renamed the city of Stalin, and the district and the factory — Stalinsky,” say documents of a plenary meeting of Yuzovka’s District Executive Committee on March 8, 1924, protocol №7. In 1929, its name was modified and became Stalino.

In 1961, Nikita Krushchev, as part of his ‘de-Stalinisation’ attempts to discredit and revise the reputation of former general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and the Bolsheviks, he gave the city a new name — Donetsk. The city was originally named Yuzovka in recognition of Welsh businessman John Hughes who in 1869 founded a steel plant and several coal mines in the region. The city today remains a center for coal mining and for the steel industry.

Why does this matter to the people of Sheffield? During the 1980s the city of Sheffield had a municipal council administration nicknamed People’s Republic of South Yorkshire or the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire. The council pursued a social policy radically different from that of Margaret Thatcher’s national government, following more closely along the lines of the Trotskyist Militant tendency dominated Liverpool City Council and the Greater London Council led by Ken Livingstone. Sheffield City Council constructed large council estates with large numbers of communal blocks of flats based on the streets in the sky philosophy, including the Park Hill complex, and the borough councils of South Yorkshire set up an extensive network of subsidised transport under the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

The councils also took more confrontational steps against the Conservative Westminster government. Sheffield refused to set a budget in the rate-capping rebellion, while South Yorkshire declared itself a nuclear-free zone and a demilitarized zone. Even flying the red flag from the council buildings on May Day. During this period of government, the city signed a peace treaty with the city of Donetsk in the Ukrainian SSR and made Donetsk a twin city of Sheffield because of each city’s shared history in the Coal & Steel industry, And to send a message to the government in Westminster: Sheffield Stands with the USSR!

The National Union of Mineworkers moved to headquarters in Sheffield in 1983 in the run-up to the decisive 1984–85 miners’ strike and the area subsequently became one of the main centers of the strike.

Donetsk adopting its former soviet name, even if just for a few days a year shows just how important the legacy of the USSR, Lenin & Stalin is to worker’s liberation and self-determination. We support the DPR in its fight against Fascism, Nato, and Western Imperialism — Much like the Peoples Republic and city of Sheffield did in the 1980s. We are committed to real socialist politics in Britain!

RED SALUTE!

Education: demand better!

Below Red Youth reproduce a speech from Zeno Casella, coordinator of the Swiss Independent Union of Students and Apprentices, made on behalf of the Communist Party (Switzerland). In the speech, made at the Cambiare il mondo conference in Italy, he reveals the common issues in education across Europe, namely that it is becoming ever more narrow and limited for the working class, not to mention the degredation brought by privatisation.

See the communists’ latest resolution on education for more.

Dear camarades,

I would like to thank the comrades of Fronte Popolare on behalf of the Swiss Communist Party for their invitation to this important conference.

The bicentenary of the birth of Karl Marx is not an opportunity to exhume a thought two centuries old, but to account for its validity and relevance. Scientific socialism as enunciated by Marx and Engels is not an old-fashioned and shabby intellectual tool, but a theory apt to guide a practice of social action. This is what binds us together here today: to grasp from the past the lessons and the method necessary to understand and act in the present.

My speech will therefore focus on a theme that is not very explored but extremely relevant for guiding some important struggles over the years. My role as coordinator of the Independent Union of Students and Apprentices (SISA) in Canton Ticino gives me the opportunity to find, in Marx’s texts, some valuable information on school and education in general.

1.

All the excerpts that I will quote are taken from the 1st book of Capital. The root of the educational problem is to be found for Marx in the division of labor typical of the capitalist mode of production:

“Manufacturing generates in every trade that seizes a class of so-called workers without skills, which was strictly excluded from the conduction as artisan type. (…) The relative devaluation of the labor force, which derives from the disappearance or the reduction of training expenses, immediately implies a higher valorisation of capital”

The devaluation of the workforce has extremely important consequences on the capabilities that a man must possess in order to perform his function in the productive apparatus. Marx writes:

“While simple cooperation leaves the individual working mode unchanged on the whole, manufacturing revolutionizes this way of working from top to bottom, and takes the individual workforce at its root. It cripples the worker and makes a monstrosity by favoring, as in a greenhouse, the ability to detail, by suppressing a whole world of impulses and productive dispositions.”

However, the very development of the productive forces creates a crucial contradiction in the formative needs of capital. With the words of Marx:

“For the big industry it becomes a matter of life or death to replace that monstrosity that is a miserable working population available, kept in reserve for the variable need for exploitation of capital, the absolute availability of man to vary the demands of labor; substituting the partial individual, the mere vehicle of a social function of detail, the totally developed individual, for whom different social functions are modes of activity that change one another”.

On the other hand, however, instructing the masses poses the problem of social control to the bourgeoisie: Marx reports in this regard the revealing words of Mr. Geddes, an English glassmaker:

“In my opinion, the greatest amount of education that has been used by the working class in recent years is harmful and dangerous, because it makes it too independent.”

Capital is therefore prey to a contradictory dilemma: is it necessary to instruct the masses to have available to the skilled labor force, or rather to keep them in ignorance so that they are more docile?

2.

The words of Mr. Geddes unfortunately correspond to those of the current ruling classes of the entire continent. After the massification of the studies of the second post-war period, dictated by the productive needs and by the more favorable relations of force to the workers’ movement, the neoliberal revolution began to dismantle the social progress achieved in the educational field. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and with it the need to support a “social” confrontation with respect to the socialist bloc, public education has been severely attacked, from the school network to scholarships, while education itself becomes a commodity on the market .

The student union in Ticino did not fail to relaunch the fight against education cuts, especially as regards scholarships: on Wednesday itself, as part of a national day of mobilization, SISA organized protest actions in seven high schools of the canton. Now we continue to demand from Parliament the examination of our petition delivered last April, which calls for a policy to strengthen aid, in contrast to the cuts of recent years.

On the other hand, the new conditions of the global economy, constantly revolutionized by an impetuous and uncontrollable technological development, need a flexible and easily relocated labor from one sector to another.

What to do then? Assure complete training, at 360° on human knowledge, to every worker to ensure that he can be “reallocated” in the event of delocalization or automation of production functions?

Well, no: capital has succeeded in formulating and imposing new pedagogical paradigms that are strictly functional to its objectives: the famous “teaching by skills” allows to “equip” students (that are future workers) with a set of attitudes and skills practices through which they can be easily and quickly adapted to each new production task.

In this perspective, the so-called “knowledge” is no longer strictly necessary and should be omitted, as easily perishable in a context that is constantly changing and just as easily recoverable in a computerized society like ours.

At the end of the day, both to be a rider, an Amazon storekeeper or a McDonalds cashier, you need to be able to manage an electronic interface, to work in a group, to speak verbally in one or two languages, but you certainly do not need to know when America was discovered, what is the chemical composition of water, or what the basics of computer programming are.

The new curricula, drawn up on the guidelines of centers of global capitalism such as the OECD or the EU, are therefore increasingly focused on the “skills” to be developed during schooling and put aside the teaching contents, which however constitute the main knowledge that the popular classes can take in their lives (as they are almost never intended to do higher studies).

The struggle for an emancipatory education thus also passes through the resistance to these new pedagogical trends: SISA has had to face the introduction of a new Study Plan focused precisely on teaching for skills. A pedagogical revolution challenged by a few, including some deserving magisterial associations of social democratic tendency but with some Marxist reminiscences or the Communist Party itself. In this regard, our deputy Massimiliano Ay sent a question to the cantonal government, which pointed out the various critical aspects of this approach to teaching (whose disastrous consequences have already been observed in the United States, where it is a reality from beginning of the 2000s). We are still waiting for an answer.

3.

In conclusion, I would like to draw your attention to some reflections developed by Marx in his work and to draw some “features” for a socialist education.

From the Marxian observation of the contradictory development of modern industry, an extremely interesting perspective for the student movement and more generally the scholastic movement was born. Marx writes:

“From the factory system was born the germ of education of the future, which will connect for all children over a certain age, productive work with education and gymnastics, not only as a method to increase social production, but also as the only method to produce men of full and harmonious development. ”

The author of the Capital states here what in the Communist Party Manifesto is defined as “the unification of education and material production”. A polytechnic education that reconnects education to productive work, to train fully developed men.

This perspective is however far from the forms of exploitation of young people such as those introduced in recent years: neither the Italian school-work alternation (often without any educational value) nor the Swiss apprenticeship (in which cultural education is completely left out, and in which the poor wages often do not correspond in the least to the production made).

We must fight against these forms of juvenile exploitation, against the deformities they have assumed, but without repudiating the educational value of productive labor, which must be combined with theoretical formation for a complete education of man. This is the perspective to be recovered and on which to work to found a popular, emancipatory, democratic school, in the wake of the socialist experience of the last century.

Red Youth at CPGB-ML congress

Red Youth play a central role in the 8th Congress of the CPGB-ML

Over a period of five months preparations were made for the 8th Congress of the CPGB-ML. Branches, study circles and regional groups began to undertake the official preparatory work in June and delegates who were entitled to full rights were registered in accordance with the party rules. It was with pride that Red Youth had a number of voting delegates at the Congress, full party members in their own right as well as a number of qualifying candidates who were permitted to attend without vote.

Our red youth were in the forefront in many of the debates on issues directly affecting British youth; housing, education, identity politics, racism and employment rights. Young trade unionists spoke of work they were involved in to reach out to workers in the ‘gig economy’ whilst others spoke about the plight of young unemployed workers, the struggle to get affordable housing, the pernicious influences of identity politics, and the right to education. Motions which were passed will be published alongside select speeches and contributions in the party press in due course. Our red youth acquitted themselves ably in the discussions and demonstrated a high degree of willingness to master the science of Marxism-Leninism during debates on proletarian culture, identity politics, philosophy and economics.

At the close of our Congress many delegates were returning to their regions with plans for improving their local work especially amongst young workers. One delegate has left his employment voluntarily to take up an opportunity organised by the party to undertake significant solidarity work with Korean workers. Our comrade caught a flight to Seoul where he spends this month in solidarity work jointly with the PDP, struggling against imperialism and for the reunification of Korea in meaningful solidarity work, speaking at meetings of workers and taking part in demonstrations against the US military presence in south Korea. A full report of his trip will be found on this site soon.

Birmingham Worker candidates

Birmingham Worker candidate speaks out on behalf of working-class youth

The following is the statement of Reuben Lawrence, made to a hustings meeting organised by Stirchley Forum. As Reuben was at work, he was not able to attend, and no-one was allowed to speak on his behalf. He was able to submit a brief opening statement and concluding remark, which are reproduced below.

 

Continue reading “Birmingham Worker candidate speaks out on behalf of working-class youth”