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).
Comrades 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.
On Mayday 2016 the CPGB-ML is proud to send a message of international solidarity to workers of all countries struggling against capitalist imperialism, and to stand with Palestine!
Meanwhile Corbyn, and the isolated leadership of Labour find themselves in fierce ideological combat, both inside of their party and with the wider media and political establishment. The Labour Party leadership is being bullied by the Zionist Lobby and the imperialist establishment into expressly giving up any support of Palestine and mouthing support for Israel.
The Indian Workers Association (Great Britain), has played a significant role in the British working class movement over the last 60 years. The Grenwich & Bexley Heath branch of the Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) held this meeting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of their branch. (1:34)
Harpal Brar, National organiser of the IWA (GB), and chairman of the CPGB-ML gives a landmark speech reflecting on the history of the IWA (GB). The organisation was able, in its time, to organise demonstrations of tens and hundreds of thousands of workers, and regularly held meetings of 4-5,00 members and supporters, throughout the country.
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?
An editorial by one of our younger Red Youth members. As the following shows, with Marxism to enlighten them, even school students are capable of understanding those basic truths about the present economic system that somehow seem to elude whole battalions of erudite professors.
Are you tired of the same old lies and bound-to-be-broken promises we are being subjected to during this showcase of ‘western democracy’? Are you sick of the pitiful facade that the mainstream parties are kindly putting on for us in order to try and convince the country they are the best party to do the job of hiding the real cause of the financial crisis: capitalism? You’re not the only one.
However, as the general election approaches in Britain, more and more people seem to be falling for the Labour party’s patronising ‘For the people’ rhetoric. It seems that an awful lot of people have been hoodwinked into thinking that a vote for Labour is a progressive vote, while a vote for the Tories is a vote for more austerity and privatisation. That idea is partially correct, of course – the Tories will bring more austerity and privatisation.
But the key point for us to understand is that so will a vote for any of the main capitalist parties, Labour included, because they all serve the same class and follow the same one-point programme: to preserve the profits of the capitalists and the system of capitalist exploitation at all costs! The only real way the parties differ is in the extent to which they hide their true intentions and how they present themselves to the people.
Red Youth is proud to stand with the socialist countries and is happy to reproduce below a solidarity message received from the Kim il Sung Socialist Youth League on the occasion of our 5th birthday! Red Youth maintains good international relations with a number of communist, socialist and revolutionary organisations.
Red Youth is still a very young organisation and we know that we have many weaknesses. But compared with the rump which try to pass themselves off in this country as communist youth, we can be very proud that in five years we’ve set a solid foundation and recruited the best revolutionary youth this country has produced. Since the youth riots of 2011 its become increasingly obvious to young socialists, that only the cpgb-ml and red youth offer a meaningful political experience, a vehicle for challenging capitalism.
The central committee of Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League sends the congratulatory greetings to Red Youth on the occasion of its 5th founding anniversary.
The Red Youth have achieved great successes in the work to hold the socialism-communism and to rally more young people behind its banner while defending their rights and interests.
We are very pleased about your achievements and also express our thanks that the Red Youth have supported the Korean people and youth who are in the struggle for thriving nation under the leadership of the dear leader comrade Kim Jong Un.
We believe that the bilateral relationship will be further strengthened and the greater successes in your work.
Tuesday’s policy announcements by the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition mark the entrance proper of both the question of youth and the question of labour into the election dog fight. In this tit-for-tat battle between the all-out reactionary welfare reforms of the Tories and the left-social democratic rhetoric of Labour, we may be fooled into believing that the object of contention is the future employability, prosperity and flourishing of young workers. A closer examination of both sets of benefit reforms, however, reveals only two strategies of ensuring the immediate term increased exploitation of young workers; strategies which differ only in their subtlety and intensity.
Here we will briefly outline a critique of the economic, social and political implications of both policies; implications which, we believe, have already been obfuscated by the rhetorical niceties of politicians and the press, and by inaccurate analyses of data provided by pilot schemes for the Tory policy.
The Conservative policy is best understood as an extension and consolidation of the principles of workfare. After six months of unsuccessful job-seeking, young people would be denied their standard JSA (dependent only on evidence that the jobseeker is, indeed, looking for work), and instead be offered a ‘youth allowance’ – paid at the same pitiful rate and dependent upon the claimant fulfilling 30 hours of community based work alongside 10 hours of job-seeking. Mr Cameron justifies this policy on the basis that it would provide badly needed work experience to young people and, ultimately, lead to a decline in youth unemployment. Speaking in Hove, East Sussex, Mr Cameron announced that:
“What these young people need is work experience and the order and discipline of turning up for work each day (…) That well-worn path – from the school gate, down to the jobcentre, and on to a life on benefits – has got to be rubbed away.”
It has apparently not occurred to the Prime Minister that there is a distinction between the individual difficulties a young person faces when applying for employment (in which a comparative lack of skills compared to other applicants may well prove an obstacle) and the overall underrepresentation of youth in the labour market. To claim that the latter is caused by a diminished skill set among young people would be to say that young people have gotten stupider, lazier and less competent in comparison to periods of low youth unemployment. Such a position is not only an outrageous insult, but is fundamentally disproved by even a cursory glance at school and college qualification rates over the last thirty years.
Contrary to this ridiculous position, we hold that the current rate of youth unemployment has nothing to do with an unprecedented slump in the qualities of young people, and everything to do with a structural crisis of capitalism which forces both private and public sector employers to seek efficiencies by avoiding recruitment, merging entry level jobs and, as far as possible, employing those who need less training and development opportunities than the majority of young people. This has created an all-out assault on the pay and conditions of those young people in work who, forced to compete for jobs and with no competition amongst potential employers, are compelled to pick up the scraps of the labour market in the form of precarious and low paid work – work which often returns them to the jobcentre with alarming speed.
The very best which we could say about any policy which refuses to address the conditions of the crisis, the want of jobs themselves and the appalling treatment of young workers, is that it simply will not work. The Tory policy, however, does not even merit this compliment; as opposed to being merely ineffective, the ‘youth allowance’ scheme threatens to take a bad situation for young workers and extend it into a recurring cycle of unemployment, poverty and exploitation
The crux of this policy’s failure lies both in the type of work which claimants will be forced into and the effect which a mass pool of unpaid labour will have on job creation. In the first instance, Mr Cameron proposes that claimants can ‘play their part’ by ‘making meals for older people, cleaning up litter and graffiti, or working for local charities’. Perhaps these workshy urchins will be expected to spend a weekend mucking out Mr Cameron’s stables!?
In effect, forced labour taken from the unemployed would be indistinguishable from the forced labour already extracted from those members of the working class unfortunate enough to be held within our prison system. The next step for Cameron is surely the establishment of an English equivalent of the Deutsche Arbeiterfront, were the current labour lieutenants of the bourgeoisie not already ably fulfilling this task!
The Tory scheme promises employers a continual stream of free labour to undertake jobs which would otherwise be waged and available to young people. What employer in their right mind would pay for a job to be done when they can get it done for free indefinitely?
In light of this, we assert that the entire debate about the efficacy of pilot schemes for this policy is meaningless. If youth unemployment can be demonstrated to have gone down in areas where this policy has been implemented, this is entirely dependent on the fact that the policy was implemented in isolation. It may be that cleaning graffiti for free in one borough may make you an attractive applicant for a cleaning job in an adjacent council, but if all areas and all comparative employers are guaranteed free labour then such jobs will begin disappear. Any analysis which ignores this fact is doomed to be merely an exercise in rhetoric, rather than a concrete appraisal of young people’s future.
Against the Tories’ shambolic, back of a fag packet proposal, Labour have sensibly seized the opportunity to indulge in some populist ‘left’ posturing. Mr Miliband has promised a guaranteed six-month employment contract to every young person out of work, and guaranteed apprenticeships to all school leavers with relevant grades. With a political foresight with which he can rarely be credited, ‘Red Ed’ even had the sense to combine social-democratic nostalgia with a pretence of class war leadership – proclaiming that this miraculous policy would be funded by a tax on bankers’ bonuses and, thus, striking a blow at the bogeymen of the reformist anti-austerity movement.
While openly left in rhetoric, the Labour proposal constitutes a brutal attack on the employment rights of young workers. While it may be a distinction more theoretical than real in the present age, the initial justification of capitalism’s existence is that – in opposition to feudalism – the labourer’s relation to his employer is that of a free person entering into a contract. In this free contract, the worker has the right to demand certain conditions of his employer and, if these are not forthcoming, may freely refuse to enter into a given employment; losing only the wages that this employ would have secured him in future. Even this basic right of a worker is violated by Labour’s proposal. In an attempt to look ‘tough’ on those claiming benefits, Mr Miliband has followed the Tory example and promised to refuse benefits to any young people who turn down the job offered them. This position denies young workers the same basic rights held by everyone else and cannot conceivably be justified, even within the rules of the capitalist labour market.
We believe that the solution to youth unemployment is not to be found in the harassment of working class youth, but in the creation of a society which can offer young people meaningful work. We have no illusions that a one-off tax on one part of the capitalist class can pay for a wonder policy to solve the various difficulties facing young workers; capital is global and able to avoid national taxation with relative ease. We believe that only through creating a society where the working class controls what it produces and how it is distributed can we ensure long term, fulfilling and meaningful employment for all. We refuse to accept that young workers are to blame for youth unemployment, and we refuse to accept that we must beg employers for the ‘charity’ of hiring us. The only future which will work for us is socialism, and socialism is the only future we fight for.
Since its very first time in office 90 years ago (bombing Iraq, selling out the unions), the Labour party has consistently proved itself to be a loyal servant of the British imperialist ruling class (both in and out of office) and an entirely false ‘friend’ to the British working people.
If we want a dignified, secure and peaceful future for British workers, free from poverty, insecurity, discrimination, war and preventable diseases, we need to understand who are our friends and who are our enemies in the struggle against capitalism and for socialism.
Come along and join the discussion, and be part of building a future that’s fit for human beings.
Saturday 24 January 2015 (12.00-2.00pm)
Beechbank Community Centre, Wester Mavisbank Avenue, Airdrie, ML6 0HE
Here we are at a grassroots demo,
but here come Labour, they got the memo!
Rousing us all with their ‘working class’ chanting,
another blast of their Anti-Tory ranting.
The Tories ARE scum but have we forgotten,
that Labour and its policies have always been rotten?
No, you cry – Labour gave us NHS!
They did. This is true. Yes, oh yes!
The Soviet Union had free healthcare,
the Commies in Britain knew this to be fair.
Labour were sweating at the Communists strength,
they pondered and plotted and worried at length.
They gave us our healthcare, our fabulous concession,
we were pacified – they sold it! – this should be our lesson.
Labour brought Atos, PFI, higher tuition fees,
it brought OUR NHS down to its knees,
and my favourite – the policy it backed to the max,
then a U-turn for votes… its own pet – Bedroom Tax!
A vote for Labour results in as much action,
as an Olympic runner with both legs in traction.
Thatcher is dead but what do we gain,
by voting for Imperialists again and again?
Red Ed? Really? Enough of this crap.
There’s less Socialism in Labour than MPs with the Clap!
This Parliamentary system is a complete farce,
Us masses need a massive kick up the arse.
These MPs are getting fatter and fatter,
on the spoils of our labour and what do we matter?
But we can draw strength through our collective might,
for our emancipation we ALL have to fight!
So fists in the air, one and all,
Let us always remember there is only ONE war.
It’s going to take time, won’t happen over night,
but if we’re committed and organised our future’s in sight.
UKIP and the far right are a sickening joke,
and what use the Greens under reactionary yoke?
For Reformists and Revisionists sound the death knell,
Our ONLY alternative is the CPGB-ML!