A comrade [http://www.youtube.com/user/NHSinformation, an anaonymous, but avowed anti-cuts and pro-nhs campaigner] sent our party, via its YouTube channel, the following comment / question:
“The £20 BILLION in cuts the NHS plan to make were demanded by NHS chief exec and former CPGB member Sir David Nicholson, and you people still have the cheek to fly Hammer and Sickle flags on pro-NHS rallies”
We reproduce our response below, as there is more than a little of this kind of thinking in such campaigns and movements, and it would be useful for others to explore the arguments:
First, thanks for your interest. Your comment was an interesting one.
I and my party (“we people”) are against the cuts in the NHS, and the social wage more generally. I therefore do not feel at all hypocritical in attending a march to oppose the cuts. I acknowledge the limitation of this form of action, however.
I should point out that I am not and nor have many members of my party – the CPGB-ML – ever been members, or in any way involved with the CPB or NCP (which are the modern day descendants of the revisionist CPGB of which you speak). These parties ‘degenerated’ by becoming entirely synonymous and merging all their aims and ambitions with the Labour party, which I also oppose, although again, I get the sense that you are a Labour Party supporter from your website (I may be wrong here, in which case, apologies.) The video attached deals with our differences (CPB and CPGB-ML) on this point in a useful and accessible way:
This is not to say that there are not good people within these politically rotten parties (CPB et al). There are. We would be happy to accept them into membership if they gave up their unrequited love for the imperialist labour party, and have no doubt that in time we will attract their best elements and the best elements of the working class in general to our cause.
If individuals – such as ‘sir David Nicholson’ – were formerly members of the CPGB, there are a few things to say about this:
1 – He is a renegade from communism, if he ever was a communist. I do not know him. Renegades do not show the just cause of communism wrong. They demonstrate that renegacy itself is wrong. It is a strange feat of logic to reproach loyal communists with the sins of capitalism on this score. [A bit like saying “Harold shipman, former doctor, turned murderer, killed tens and possibly hundreds of patients, yet you doctors have the cheek to carry on practicing your ‘medicine’ on patients in the NHS”]
2 – David Nicholson’s position is entirely consistent with having joined bourgeois politics, which is the weakness of revisionism (post-war CPGB, CPB/NCP) and highlights our criticism of them: the incompatibility of support for capitalism (the Labour Party) and support for the social wage, or wider social justice. In the last analysis, the capitalist always claims to be a capitalist “for the good of the workers.” Therefore, whatever benefits him, he claims, will ultimately generate jobs/wealth and IN THIS WAY, ‘benefit’ workers. The NHS is no longer ‘economically realistic’ he will state.
3 – this also shows the different needs of capitalism at different stages of its development: the NHS and other benefits were given to win workers away from the real pull of revolutionary socialism after WW2, when the example of the USSR was a clarion call to all workers, even in Britain. Capitalism does not feel threatened by this prospect now.
4 – It is not revolutionary socialism (communism) that is the problem, therefore, “with their hammer and sickle flags on marches”. Rather, it is our weakness and the domination of bourgeois social democracy, (the Labour Party and their supporting grouplets), and the disorganisation and ideological weakness of the working class – which your comment highlights – that allows us to be so cheaply robbed of past generations’ gains.
If you are interested to really know about our party (“we people”), you can read about our history here. We are proud of our record as a growing party that really champions the interests of working people, and are quite open about our origins:
The cuts are a direct result, in our opinion, of the policy of successive capitalist governments (labour, liberal, tory) that cannot find any answer for the endemic crisis of capitalist slump. They openly facilitate maximising profitability – i.e. exploitation of workers – and will always and inevitably seek to put all the burden of cyclic downturns, recessions and indeed full-blown economic crises onto the working class. Hence £850bn for banks, matched by progressive cuts in public expenditure to match this amount. Twenty percent of the NHS budget will be cut per annum eventually, although the current £20 billion is to be spread over three years, so “only a modest” 7% per annum.
This is the only ‘rational’ choice as long as you accept that ‘capitalism is the only rational economic model.’ We do not, and are therefore consistent. We advocate an alternate economic system, which places working people in power and the satisfaction of their needs as the central pillar of economic policy.
This is quite clearly NOT the position of the Labour party, who really should be ashamed to jump on the ‘save the NHS from Landsley / the Con-Dems / Coalition cuts’ bandwagon, which they use as a cynical ploy for petty election politicking only (UNISON rap songs et al). They have bought into the capitalist market system to the nth degree, “lock, stock and barrel”, and therefore fully support privatisation of the NHS in their actual policy as carried out in government.
I and my comrades (“we people”) have been absolutely consistent on this point and you can read our position here, if you are genuinely interested in learning of our views and motivation, although I understand from your comment that you feel strongly, although incorrectly, that you ‘already know what we’re about’ and it’s ‘bad’ / negative / puts people off / etc.
June 2011 (opposing cuts in general): http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=730&from=results
July 2010 (‘NHS up for grabs’ – on Landsley’s Bill, currently in the Lords)
Oct 2010 (‘liberating the nhs’): http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=660
June 2010 (£20 bn in cuts agreed by ALL parties): http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=623&from=results
Aug 2008 (Labour sharpens privatisation knife): http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=432
April 2008 (privatisation and fragmentation of the NHS): http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=390
Aug 2006 (End in sight for the NHS – also produced as a pamphlet): http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=215&from=results
Last, the hammer and sickle, which draws forth your cynicism and vitriol, symbolises the union of the working classes (workers and peasants) to become the rulers of society. I don’t know your economic position but your antipathy towards this idea is almost certainly a conditioned reflex that goes against your own interests.
Around 250 men are the real emperors of world-wide finance capital (imperialism) today. They have between them a controlling stake in the world economy and dominate its politics. Their vast capital allows them to exercise effective control over the most wide-ranging ‘governmental’ decisions, and subvert all ‘democracy’ that they hypocritically claim to uphold. Unless workers or anti-imperialist forces organise to prevent them, they decide when our nations go to war, who shall form governments and what their policies will be – down to whether or not you and I deserve health care.
Video – capitalism can’t save the planet:
We live in a country who’s workers have enjoyed relative prosperity, granted from super-profits derived from our ruling class’ exploitation of the whole world; but even for us, nothing is more precious than independence and freedom; for what is ‘given’ can be taken away when the political and economic climate changes.
These are lessons we all need to learn, if we are to campaign effectively and change the course of our lives and history for the better.