Comrades from the CPGB-ML and Red Youth attended the Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM 2016 on Saturday 23 January, joining hundreds of members from branches, affiliated trade unions, and other organisations.
The annual report largely focused on the acheivements of the wider Palestine movement, including the impact of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement and lobbying MPs & Parliament. There was frustration that the British government is not seriously tackling the issue, but excitement that it had been raised frequently by members of the public and the PSC at hustings, and contacting MPs and candidates directly, and that they had been able to organise fringe meetings at the Labour, Conservative, and SNP conferences.
On 19 September the National Front held a demonstration in Wigan against immigration and the recent refugee crisis. Prior to this demonstration their local organiser, Daniel Lewis, called for homosexuals to be gassed in response to the Manchester gay pride festival.
The National Front was met by counter-protesters from parties such as the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), Left Unity, SWP, and other organisations were present such as Hope Not Hate.
This Saturday a huge demonstration swept through the streets of London, with around 300,000 people marching from Marble Arch to Parliament Square to show solidarity with refugees, and to demand better treatment for asylum seekers in Britain and across the EU. The protesters were addressed at Parliament Square by Jeremy Corbyn, as his first official act as the newly elected Labour Party leader, proclaiming his support for the plight of the refugees.
The conscience of the British people has been moved by the picture of the tragically drowned 3 year old Syrian child, Aylan Kurdi, lying on a Turkish beach, along with his mother and brother, while the family was fleeing from the horrors being inflicted in Kobane by the terrorist ISIS organisation – spawned by Anglo-American imperialism in its attempts to overthrow Syria’s legitimate elected government headed by President Assad.
As the British people came to realise that these deaths were only the tip of an iceberg of death and suffering visited upon fleeing refugees, they petitioned the government in huge numbers to welcome refugees, and the British government has responded by promising to take in some 5,000 a year, though it was soon made clear that this grudging minimalist concession is to be curtailed in every way possible, with those admitted under the age of 18 to be deported as soon as they reach that age.
Ballots for the Labour Party leadership election were sent out on 14 August by post and voting ends on 10 September. An estimated 120,000 people have paid £3 in order to become ‘affiliated members’, and vote in the election, substantially increasing the party’s membership figures, which had been steadily eroding over the preceding years.
Trade unions have been running concerted campaigns to register their members as voters, and to campaign among their membership for the election of Jeremy Corbyn, who announced his leadership bid after Milliband’s electoral rout, in the run-up to the substantial anti-austerity demonstrations held in London and across the country in June 2015.
All of which begs the question: if Jeremy Corbyn is elected to the leadership of the Labour Party, can he make it a party of the working class? If he becomes Prime minister, can his Labour Party lead Britain towards socialism and a fairer, more just and equitable society for British workers and help to shape a fairer and more peaceful world?