Basics of Political Economy – A talk by Harpal Brar, Birmingham 1996

Red Youth reproduce on Proletarian Radio this short but informative talk given by comrade Harpal Brar at a meeting of British workers and communists in 1996 on the topic of political economy. We do so to aid the study of political economy which is ongoing around the country in red youth and CPGB-ML study groups at the moment.

The crises of 1997 and 2001 brought untold misery to millions of people who suffer in the ‘real’ capitalist economy – the economy of factory closures, foreclosed mortgages and pension fund losses. There is no doubt that the present crisis is the most acute and destructive in the history of capitalism.

One need but consider the fate of young working-class couples who have just scrambled onto the bottom rung of the housing ladder, only to have their feet kicked out from under them by negative equity. Or consider those workers who have seen their final salary pensions melt before their eyes, after the two previous outbreaks of market turmoil convinced the bourgeoisie that this was yet another aspect of ‘welfare capitalism’ that needed ditching in the battle to protect their profits.

If capitalism cannot resurrect demand through building the debt mountain higher, it must instead try to tackle the other end of the overproduction crisis: it must trash the very productive forces it has brought into being in the first place, thus revealing itself as the real enemy of all social progress.

However, making people homeless, stealing their jobs, robbing their pensions and imposing below-inflation wage deals, whilst perhaps saving the bourgeois hide for a while, can in the long run only stoke up yet worse crises of overproduction, as effective demand is further undermined by the further impoverishment of the masses.

Whether the lords of high finance can postpone for a few more years the decisive crash of the world financial system is beyond scientific prediction. What is clear however is that every ‘smart’ move capitalism makes to save itself from its own insoluble contradictions only succeeds in further tightening the noose of history around its throat.

Even in the midst of the miseries such crises inflict, let the proletariat rejoice in this knowledge and organise to overthrow this decadent, parasitic system once and for all!

Successful pickets of RBS and NatWest

#BankXitComrades from Red Youth helped to organise CPGB-ML pickets in London and Birmingham yesterday in protest of attempts by NatWest bank to shut the account of broadcaster Russia Today. Such a move is not only a serious infringement on the limited press freedoms which exist in bourgeois society, it is also part and parcel of the propaganda war being waged against Russia in preparation of further armed conflict.

The wars that have been waged around the world by British and US imperialism are not justifable wars – they are wars for domination, for profit, and for oil. The growing popularity of RT poses a threat to the continued campaign to paint Russia as a threat to peace. The BBC and the corporate media are constantly attempting to prepare British people for a military confrontation with Russia, which would be catastrophic for British workers. We must not allow such blatant bias and propaganda to go unchallenged, and we must fight the interference of NatWest in the affairs of Russia Today which operates legally and fairly in the UK.

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Who Created the Refugee Crisis?

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.

Aylan Kurdi
The image of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi that sparked fiercer support for refugees trying to find safety in Europe

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.

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Labour’s leadership election – #JezWeCan – Voting Corbyn without illusions? Nothing can make Labour a party of the working class.

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.

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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?

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Korea: no game! Tensions escalate as USA and South Korea threaten war with the North

USA-ROK joint exercises
The USA and South Korea stage regular military exercises on the DPRK’s border

In the wake of joint military exercises (Foal Eagle and Ulchi Freedom-Guardian) staged by the United States of America and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) on the border of the DPR Korea (North Korea), clearly designed to threaten and sabotage any peace talks, the South has resumed broadcasting propaganda across the demilitarised zone.

Park Geun-hye
South Korean President Park Geun-hye (daughter of Park Chung-hee, who seized power in a military coup)

Understandably this bizarre approach to “building trust” between the Koreas by President Park Geun-hye has not been taken lightly in the North.

South Korean demands that the DPRK disarm, anti-DPRK propaganda, and ‘defensive’ military drills with the USA (whose nearest border is some 7400km away) mirrors common tactics of provocation and psychological military operations that prelude the invasion of sovereign nations – and show who is really the aggressor in the current ‘stand-off’.

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