In this revealing video, Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan refuse to comment on their approval of a plan announced by Tory Lord Kerslake, and put together by Savills Estate agents and a variety of private business interests (with ‘input’ from housing charities, mind you), to “Solve London’s housing problem” by building 350,000 new homes in the capital.
Sound good? Well, the devil is in the detail! You see all of the homes will be built by private developers. Most of the land will be ‘released’ by councils, who plan to demolish libraries, community facilities – and notably inner city council estates currently housing 400,000 working-class families, which they describe as “past their use-by date.”
So this eminently capitalist ‘housing solution’ will in fact bring an overall decrease in the absolute number of homes, with a massive transfer of wealth from our councils to developers, while maintaining inflated property prices, and socially cleansing our capital city to boot. A royal flush for the developers and financiers!
Last weekend, the CPGB-ML held its 2015 summer celebration of internationalism and BBQ. THe meeting was attended by over 100 of our members and supporters, and was addressed by representatives from the Cuban, DPR Korean and Venezuelan Embassies, who brought greetings from their governments and people, and updated comrades present on the latest developments in their struggles, and the contemporary situation in their countries.
Each of these countries, stands on the front line of the anti-imperialist struggle, and delivers a message of solidarity from their anti-imperialist, progressive and socialist movements, peoples and governments.
British workers have much to learn from the workers of these countries about how to build and maintain a movement for social emancipation.
The End Austerity Now national demonstration in London this Saturday (20 June 2015) attracted over 250,000 people, by far the biggest single showing of public anger against the British regime in over a decade. Unions, political parties, activist groups, and individuals came together under a single clear message – we won’t tolerate capitalist austerity that puts profit before people.
CPGB-ML and Red Youth activists attended and spoke at a demonstration opposing TTIP today at Shepherd’s Bush in West London (see video below).
TTIP is the latest in the legacy of cuts and privatisation ushered in by successive imperialist governments, and has been rearing it’s ugly head with increasing frequency in the media recently – but not without opposition, despite the best attempts of our governments and media to sanitise it, and brush its anti-social effects under the carpet.
The British State Murders with impunity: ‘to Protect and Serve’ the Capitalist Class. Not only the Met, but the whole capitalist system is inherently racist and anti-working class, and needs to be dismantled. This is the core truth that underlies Police Injustice.
For much of Britain’s working class, long shackled by unemployment, debt and neglect, and particularly for black and immigrant workers, who are also subject to ingrained institutional persecution, incessant harassment and arbitrary arrest, the oppressive character of the British state requires no elucidation. A host of recent events make it clear that institutional racism remains rampant in Britain today.
This is but one example of many. We could just as easily look at housing, education, income or unemployment statistics.
When we look at our brothers and sisters across the sea, in the USA, we can see just how deep is the irony that that they call themselves “the land of the free and the home of the Brave.” There have been a host of racist police assaults and murders in the US, from Rodney King to Michael Brown, sparking the Fergusson conflict between the civilian population and a police force so heavily armed they may as well be invading another country.
But the fact that Black and immigrant workers live under a double oppression, is also meant to distract and appease white workers – dividing us from our common interests as workers, and distracting us from the fact that our enemy is the employing class, the capital owning class. White workers are encouraged to see immigration, instead of rich capitalists stealing wealth produced, by the working class as a whole – as ‘the main problem’. We must not be misled by the anti-immigrant, racist ranting of the Daily mail, UKIP, Labour or the Tory party.
THE BRITISH STATE
Institutions of the British state do not serve the people, and practices such as cover-ups and corruption are part of the very logic of their operations, rather than the results of ‘extraordinary’ actions by a few ‘bad apples’.
The violence of the state must be seen in the context of the economic violence of a system that sabotages and destroys the lives of billions world-wide, and millions in Britain, in order to concentrate the entire wealth of humanity in a tiny number of people’s hands. The 65 richest multi-billionaires today, control as much wealth as HALF THE WORLD’S POPULATION! Between 20 and 25 percent of all 16-24 year olds across the UK are unemployed. As an index of discrimination, it merits attention that a staggering 60 percent of young black men are jobless. As a result of endemic unemployment and under- employment, declining and often derisory wages, 3.6 million British children are growing up in poverty (between a quarter and a third of all children in the UK), and that this figure is set to rise. A recent report indicates that 1,000,000 children go hungry in Britain every day. How long will British workers accept this meekly? Our ruling class are already preparing for the violence they think will arise from this unjust and appalling inequality.
They know that they would not stand for it – so why should we?
STEPHEN LAWRENCE – CORRUPTION AND RACISM IN THE MET
On 18 March 2014, it was revealed that the Metropolitan Police in 2003 destroyed a vast cache of documents connected to an ongoing corruption investigation, including documents relating to a detective involved in the investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.
In an interview in the Guardian on 28 January 2012, Doreen Lawrence underlined that the police failed to find her son’s murderers, but stopped his brother 20 times as a criminal suspect! She herself was stopped a year after the murder, ‘suspected of driving a stolen car’.
This disclosure came just weeks after a coroner’s inquest ruled that the murder of Mark Duggan in August 2011 was ‘lawful’, despite the jury agreeing that Duggan was unarmed at the time. The two-and-a-half years following his murder have not only seen the usual attempts at cover-up and the giving of false evidence by the officers involved, but also a sustained media smear campaign against Mr Duggan and his family.
These are just some of the most high-profile cases, which need to be understood in the context of the daily discrimination and harassment suffered by black and Asian communities at the hands of the British police.
STOP AND SEARCH
One of the most striking examples of this is the disproportionate use of ‘stop and search’ powers. These attacks on the black community have been ongoing since the notorious ‘sus’ (Suspicion) powers police used to target them since the 1970s.
Despite black people being around half as likely to be using drugs as other members of the public, in 2009-10 black people in England and Wales were more than six times more likely to be stopped and searched for drugs possession.
In addition to this, they are treated far more harshly by the ‘justice’ system after arrest, and are much more likely to be charged for minor offences (as opposed to being merely cautioned).
[See ‘The numbers in black and white: ethnic disparities in the policing and prosecution of drug offences in England and Wales’, release.org.uk, 2013]
DEATHS IN POLICE CUSTODY
The numbers relating to deaths in custody also display the same disturbing features at a national level. Since 1990, there have been 82 deaths of members of an ethnic minority at the hands of the Metropolitan Police. None of these have to date resulted in a conviction. There have been a further 63 in other forces in the rest of England and Wales.
While many of the black and ethnic-minority deaths have been concentrated in the Metropolitan Police area, the number of deaths in custody generally have been quite consistently higher
for ethnic minorities than for white Britons across the country. (See ‘Datablog: deaths after police contact or in police custody’, guardian.co.uk, 19 July 2012)
KILLING THE VULNERABLE
Particularly shocking is the number of black people suffering from mental-health problems who have died in police custody, often after having suffered disproportionate violence.
Typical of this racially aggravated assault and police murder are the cases of Roger Sylvester (who died after being ‘restrained’ and asphyxiated by 11 police officers in 1999, while trying to gain access to his own home), and Rocky Bennett (who expressed his desire to leave voluntary psychiatric treatment, was promptly sectioned, then ‘restrained’ and asphyxiated by a gang of police who effectively murdered him in 1998).
BRIXTON, BROADWATER FARM, & the 2011 Youth Uprisings
Add this systematic mistreatment and harassment to the wider economic inequalities that exist along ethnic lines and it is quite understandable how even a single incident can spark a drastic reaction; be it the police killings that sparked the Brixton and Broadwater Farm uprisings in 1981 and 1985 or the shooting of Mark Duggan that sparked the youth uprising of 2011.
While all this is deeply troubling, it is unfortunately not surprising. Marxists have long understood that imperialism survives by creating division among workers at home as well as abroad – the partition of the world and exploitation of its masses goes hand in hand with racism and oppression of workers in the centres of imperialism itself
As the old trade-union adage goes, “United we stand, divided we fall”. Or as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels so succinctly put it in the Communist Manifesto, “Workers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!”
POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST PROTESTORS
The police and Army in Britain have a long history of violence against the organized working class movement, from the Llanelli railway strikers in 1911, to the British General Strike of 1926, the battle of Cable Street in 1936, the Miners Strike of 1984 – 1985, or the more recent anti G11 , Anti-NATO, or student demonstrations against sky-rocketing tuition Fees and the abolition of the EMA, that effectively barred access of the working class to further and higher education.
In December 2011, responding to increased public unrest and clearly anticipating more, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published a report highlighting the existing legal power of police to shoot ‘arsonists’ if they are deemed to be ‘endangering life’. Whilst lip-service was paid to this tactic being a ‘last resort’, its inclusion within the report, and its subsequent promotion in the bourgeois press, is a thinly- veiled endorsement of the use of live ammunition by police against protestors who are deemed threatening to the British state.
It is a blueprint that authorises the murder of those who deviate from the usual routine and futile avenues of protest, and it must be made clear to workers that, as seductive as the rhetoric on ‘protection of the public’ is, it is a fig-leaf intended to disarm us.
The police were not concerned about the protection of Mark Duggan as they publicly executed him, or of so many of our loved ones who have died at their hands, or languish unjustly in their jails. Claims that he was armed and dangerous have been shown up as false, since the gun it was said he was carrying about his person had no trace of his DNA on it.
The police shot to kill in order to intimidate that section of the local population who are inclined to rebellion, no longer meekly swallowing the bourgeois propaganda and lies that generally serve to hold the working-class population in check.
The police are equally unconcerned about the dozens of people who have died in their custody or in immigration detention camps.
The British state has a long history of violence, oppression, rape and robbery in its colonial possessions, from India and China, to the Americas and Africa. Ireland is its oldest colony, and it still occupies and polices the northern part of that nation.
The British army had no compunction about freely murdering the participants of national liberation struggles in all its colonies over hundreds of years. Just as little were the British military concerned about the protection of the 14 civil rights potestors civilians they murdered in Derry in 1972, or the many others killed and wounded by them over the years of occupation, in Ireland and in Britain. The briefest of inquiry would reveal that their loyal concern lies with the protection of British capitalists’ interests and above all their private property and the perpetuation of the system of class exploitation itself.
The treatment of Harry Stanley, shot dead by police officers in 1999, for having an ‘Irish accent’ (he was Scottish), and reported carrying a shotgun (in fact a wooden table-leg, which he was carrying home in a plastic bag) is instructive in this regard, as was the police execution of Diarmuid O’Neill in 1996.
As ever, for workers, our only option is to Struggle. But we must realize who are our enemies and who can be won to our cause. British youth need a Marxist-Leninist education that will enable us to adopt leadership positions in our communities, break down the walls of suspicion between workers of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, unite with other communities in common struggle against our oppressors, and advance the struggle against capitalist imperialism.
The CPGB-ML stands in solidarity with all those who are fighting for justice against the tyranny, and murderous oppression of the British State. But also issues a word of caution. The imperialist leopard cannot change his spots. ‘Financial compensation’ is an insult. Police ‘apologies’ are rare, admissions of guilt or reprimand of the officers concerned almost never happen. Why? Because the capitalist’s need the strong arm of the law firmly held to our throats. In the last analysis, the only redress that can be won for the British workers, is the overthrow of the decadent, rotten, corrupt and moribund system of exploitation of one man by another and one nation by another that has landed humanity in this Sorry state of affairs.
Only the working class in power can solve these issues for themselves. We will guarantee that our society is built upon humane and just lines, that allow the development and flourishing of all individuals within our rich and diverse country and usher in an era that is truly peaceful and prosperous.
Our party had a proud contingent on this year’s Mayday Rally in London – and will have another tomorrow in Manchester, for anyone who wishes to join us. The Spectator (a mainstream conservative mouthpiece of British imperialism) have kindly reproduced a beautiful picture of our banner (above) along with the confused headline “I’ve just seen Nazi banners in Trafalgar Square. Well, almost“, followed by a hackneyed, wholly irrelevant, and breathtakingly ignorant rant conflating socialism/communism and fascism. It is a series of arguments that hold little water, and increasingly seen by British workers for the blatant lies they are. Moreover, we have answered these lies time and again – but are not afforded the air-time in this ‘democratic’ society to reach a mass audience.
Stalin remains a figure of controversy in this country – it must be acknowledged. But then so does history in general. For the record of the October Revolution, the Soviet Union, and their profound impact upon the modern world, is a class question – one that threatens the misanthropic interests of our ruling class as no other. And like all class questions, there is no single “national interest”, but the conflicting interests of the great mass of workers on the one hand [and overwhelmingly, the British population remain workers, although they are encouraged to think of themselves as little capitalists], and the currently dominant interests of a tiny handful of city financiers and great industrialists, who control the great mass of British Capital, on the other.
There are some feint-hearts, even among ‘socialist and communist’ groups, who think it ‘tactically unwise’ to openly carry such ‘provocative’ banners on the streets of London. But they miss the point. To advocate socialism, is to ask that power be transferred from the hands of the capitalists to the hands of the workers.
To even hint at such a policy will bring charges of ‘stalinism‘ from the bourgeois class, and their ideological agents in the working class movement. And quite right. Stalin, after all, was a serf who participated in the October Revolution that overturned a feudal and religious empire. He went on to lead the construction of a worker’s state, which liberated 1/6 of the world’s surface from exploitation of man by man, and nation by nation. The Soviet Union and the Red Army went on to defeat the mightiest (Fascist) warmongering armies of capitalist imperialism ever assembled on the face of this earth, ushering in a period of peace and prosperity for a third of humanity, who built a socialist economic system. To give up the example of the Soviet Union from the outset is to give up on socialism altogether.
Whose interests did Stalin serve? That is the question. The answer is ours. British workers, as much as Soviet workers. [Consider, for example, the real reasons behind the provision of the NHS after Soviet Victory in WW2, and its increasing privatisation now the Soviet Union is no more] That is why he remains a colossus, that cannot be removed from the pages of history and the consciousness of the workers, despite all the malign lies, and gnawing criticism of the intellectual and political servants of the imperialist monopoly-capitalist class.
On the role of Britain’s imperialist ruling class supporting fascism, there is no shortage of material, whether we turn to the recent example of the Ukraine, or the older examples from the run up to world war 2, and the Spanish Civil War.
On the legendary role of the Soviet Union in combating fascism, and the part played personally by Stalin in this battle, there is also no shortage of material. Indeed, without understanding the military, economic and political events that lead to the defeat of the German 6th Army, that flower of the NAZI war machine, by the Soviet Red Army at Stalingrad, modern history is simply incomprehensible.
We would particularly ask our readers – friends and critics – to familiarise themselves with this material in order to negotiate the blathering of such confusionists as the Spectator’s Mr Bloodworth, or the Telegraph’s Mr Walters, and all the other heirs of the Hearst Press, stretching back to Gobbles himself, of whom this unfortunate pair are but minor examples.
Millions Killed by Communism?
The origins of the fantastic figures for “alleged deaths attributable” to Stalin and Mao, are shrouded in obscurity, for the methods used to conjure them up are so unscientific as to be laughable, were they not propagated on an industrial scale by the press of the capitalist gangs that seek to continue their domination, without subjecting their assertions to the slightest level of scientific rigour, scrutiny, peer-review, or basic journalistic standards. The wilder the accusation, the more gleefully they are propagated.
Mario Sousa’s excellent pamphlet, Lies concerning the History of the Soviet Union, has been translated into English by Ella Rule, our vice president and international secretary, and should be compulsory reading for anyone who wishes to understand the Soviet Union, the working class movement, socialism, or modern history.
As to the Spectator’s scurrilous assertions regarding China, and Mao’s alleged death toll during the Great leap forward, we would also ask all interested in the truth to read this article reproduced in Lalakar, and simply note the massive increase in life-expectancy (from 35 to 69), health and population in China during the time of Chairman Mao’s leadership of New China when the Chinese people can truly be said, to have stood up!
Given that the Soviet Union is no more, and the UK state spends much of its time justifying its armed incursions abroad, and at home, on the basis of fighting the bogeymen of “islamist extremism” and “religious fundamentalism”, one might ask why we are subjected to this constant stream of invective against the great communist leaders at all – since they have already been dismissed as a historical irrelevance time and again.
We should note in passing the breath-taking hypocrisy of our British imperial masters, who claim to be motivated by deep concern for ‘democratic and peaceful’ aims, but feel ‘morally obliged’ to promote their humanitarian sentiments by funding such agents as the medieval Al-Qaeda nutters in Syria (who, fresh from lynching black Africans in Libya, lop off heads and devour human livers, in order to overturn a secular, progressive, democratically elected and socialist leaning anti-imperialist government – who incidentally won’t allow the US any military bases on their soil, but are one of the chief supporters of all popular democratic forces across the Middle East), and openly fascist pro Nazi Racists in the Ukraine.
British workers must learn to hold our heads up high, reclaim our history and challenge the lies that aim to keep us on our knees!
Long live Mayday! Long Live the glorious memory and example of the USSR! Slava Stalin!
CPGB-ML comrades assembled in Clerkenwell to take part in this years May Day celebrations.
On this day, millions across the world have taken to the streets ever since 1889, when the first congress of the Second International declared 1 May as International Workers’ Day. This day was initially chosen to honour the American workers’ triumphant strike for the eight-hour day on 1 May 1886 and as a homage to those gunned down by the Chicago police as well as their leaders – Albert Parsons, August Spiers, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden and Louis Lingg – who were condemned to death for their leadership of the strike and declared “guilty of murder” (policemen also died when they attacked the assembled protesters in Haymarket Square). One hundred and twenty years later, the echo of Spiers’ words from the gallows must continue to remind us of our strength: “There will be a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.”
The strength and power of the working-class movement has been demonstrated all over the globe ever since. May Day has become an occasion when we celebrate our achievements, express international solidarity and reaffirm that socialism is the way forward for humanity. With the establishment of socialism in the USSR and its historic victory over Nazi fascism, millions of toiling people have been inspired to fight for a better life.
From the storming of the Winter Palace in 1917 to the victorious end of the anti-fascist war, when the red flag was raised on the Reichstag in Berlin in 1945, the flying of the red flag with its hammer and sickle has been indelibly linked to the achievements of our movement and is a symbol of progressive humanity. Whereas internationally, from east to west, from Asia to South America, red flags have dominated May Day, in the imperialist heartlands, far fewer are seen, as our historic day has been hijacked as a ‘spring holiday’ and drained of all revolutionary fervour by the dominance of the social-democratic leadership. It is time that socialists in Britain reclaimed the day, increased our symbolic use of the hammer and sickle, proudly declared our communist ideals and explained that communism is still the only way forward for humanity.
It will be a political and cultural highlight of the year. Speeches, song, live music, food and drink. Free entry. Collection based solely upon your political good will. Come and discuss any issue with us. Join us – Join the Struggle!
A taster: Harpal Brar on the signifigance of October: