CPB general secretary Robert Griffiths last week made what should, but do not, read as surprising words. This self-proclaimed ‘communist’ took to Facebook to praise former deputy prime minister John Prescott, or as he is known these days ‘Baron Prescott, of Kingston upon Hull in the County of East Yorkshire‘. The reason: Prescott referred to Israeli atrocities in Gaza as “a war crime”.
So for Griffiths the crimes committed against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are either forgiven or forgotten. And that Prescott was a faithful lackey of the arch-Zionist Tony Blair is also either forgiven or forgotten.
He may be condemning Israeli war crimes today, but while in government Blair, Prescott & co were nothing but one of Israel’s most faithful friends. For example, following the second Intifada, Blair praised the “restraint” shown by the butcher Sharon. Similarly when Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006, Prescott while still deputy PM was presented with another opportunity to oppose Israeli war crimes. At no point did he stand up to Blair and Labour’s Zionist policy, instead he helped implement it.
Let us be clear: even if Prescott has found a conscience over the crimes of Zionism, one war criminal’s condemnation of another war criminal is a hollow condemnation. He may well mourn the blood on the hands of the Zionist entity, but he never once so much as moved his own hands to prevent the spilling of the blood of the children of Iraq and Afghanistan.
When Iraq was the issue of the day it was in Griffiths and co’s interest to ‘oppose’ the war, while in practice supporting the architects of the war – the Labour Party. Today there is no political gain to be had for speaking out for the people of Iraq but seemingly it is politically safe for Griffiths to praise a criminal in that imperialist war. It is much more important to be seen as supporting Palestine, while again in practice supporting imperialism, in the shape of the Labour Party. But this “support” of Palestine, is also to use Palestine.
For Griffith’s comment is two pronged: firstly a poor attempt to find some nominally left figures in the Labour Party, to give some shred of credence to his party’s policy of attempting to push one capitalist party to end capitalism.
Secondly, he does criticise the silence of the current shadow cabinet. With the CPB congress around the corner the issue of “re-establishing a mass party of labour” is on the cards. Here ‘communists’ will debate whether to continue supporting the imperialist Labour Party or create a new social democratic party, or in other words yet another capitalist party tasked with ending capitalism. Griffiths is in the camp of the latter and his comment further alludes to this fact. And in all this Palestine is merely an issue used to further his new-party agenda.
Finally, for the CPB leadership John Prescott may represent a good working class old Labour man. To us he represents the very worst of our class: a class traitor and instrument of imperialism with the blood of the men, women and children of Iraq and Afghanistan on his hands.