“We have faced almost a century of all-out ideological war from the bourgeois camp and their petty-bourgeois agents. they are determined to neuter the revolutionary potential of the working-class, to erase the achievements of the people struggling and working for the benefit of the majority, and to obfuscate the path to socialism.” Continue reading “Stalin and the USSR – myth and reality”→
Another contribution of one of our newer members, explaining why they joined. This time from a comrade from the South East.
On the 26th of July, 2014, at the annual anti-imperialist barbecue, I joined the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).
I inhabit a conservative town in a reactionary corner of south-eastern England, and know of no other communists nearby. I might easily have grown to maturity as another reactionary – why then did I come to the CPGB-ML?
I first encountered Marxism at the age of eleven years, shortly after entering secondary school, when, quite by chance, I encountered Friedrich Engels’ profound work The Principles of Communism on the internet. Gripped by that work, I have educated myself ever since that day on the workings and relations of society and have become firmly convinced that Marxism-Leninism is the only correct and scientific expression of the accumulated experience and class interests of the exploited working class, the proletariat. I have, therefore, long recognised the practical need for a sincere Communist Party armed with the advanced theory of Marxism-Leninism. However, there is in Great Britain today a plethora of different groups and ‘parties’ calling themselves communist, and therefore there was a large amount of material to sift through. While researching communist organisations in this country, I encountered, to name but a few, the Communist Party of Britain, the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the odious Socialist Workers’ Party. What I found greatly disturbed me, for it seemed that all the parties and organisations I came across, particularly the Communist Party of Britain which advocates the absurd and revisionist notion of a parliamentary road to Socialism, were completely divorced from the real nature of society in this country, and thus could not know the genuine interests and tasks of the working class and its movement.
I was greatly relieved and inspired when I discovered that there was one organisation, one party, which cut through the thick layers of pseudo-socialist and revisionist rubbish, which was unrelenting in its fight against opportunism, and which was clearly and obviously acquainted with the objective reality of modern Britain and the true interests of the working class – this was, of course, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).
Over time, I studied the material of this Party, reading Lalkar, Proletarian, the books of Comrade Chairman Harpal Brar et al, etc. and became convinced that the theory and general line of the CPGB-ML were correct. However, one question remained: an advanced theory is all well and good, but as Stalin said, revolutionary theory “becomes sterile if not accompanied by revolutionary practice.” Indeed, all Marxist-Leninists, unlike the revisionists, Trotskyites, social democrats and the like, know that correct theory comes and can only come from practice, from accumulated historical experience and practice as it is now. So then, was this Party an active one?
Clearly, the communists are up against the odds in their work of attempting to build a genuinely revolutionary Marxist organisation in the United Kingdom. The super-profits plundered from the oppressed countries through merciless imperialist exploitation make it possible for the ruling class of this country to bribe significant sections of the working class, to bind them materially to capitalism. This phenomena of the embourgeoisification of workers was first observed by Marx and Engels in England towards the end of the nineteenth century, and the theory and practice regarding it was formulated and systematised by Comrade Lenin in such works as Imperialism and the Split in Socialism, in which he noted that it was basically this embourgeoisified section of the working class which provided the social and economic basis of opportunism and revisionism. Indeed, since Lenin’s day, as imperialism has become ever more decadent and moribund, this labour aristocracy, as it was called, has only grown, its influence has only increased and become more pervasive, and it is aided in its deception of the working class and its movement by decades of relentless and shameless social democracy and Khrushchevite revisionism. We see, then, that to build a sincerely and thoroughly anti-revisionist, anti-imperialist, revolutionary Communist Party in the conditions which exist in the United Kingdom is no easy task, and the Communists attempting it are faced with an enormous task.
With the above taken into account, the CPGB-ML is indeed incredibly active in its work. Day by day the party is growing in number, and having attended party meetings and talked to party comrades myself I can testify for the fact that it is the only communist party in the country which is really attracting active support from real British workers and a not insignificant number of young people. Increasingly, sincere Comrades from other organisations, realising that their own groupings have been castrated and robbed of their revolutionary heart by social democracy, Trotskyism and revisionism and opportunism of various kinds, are defecting to the CPGB-ML, which is the only party consciously striving to create and develop conscious links with the masses, which it does by selling its newspapers and journals, attending protests and demonstrations, issuing leaflets, conducting workers’ educational programmes, and, simply but effectively, talking to the masses, actually learning from them, as well as through various other activities.
Surely, the party can only intensify its work and spread its influence, and surely as the crisis of capitalism develops, as the British working class its jolted from hardship to hardship by its despotic imperialist rulers, the Marxist movement can only develop, grow, and spread, so that we may reasonably speak of having active cells and cadre in all corners of the country, ready to make their contributions with all their zeal and effort to the cause of the proletarian revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and communism.
So then, we may say, backed by the experience of the struggle of the proletariat and the truth of Marxism-Leninism, that this Party is the only thoroughly and consistently anti-imperialist, anti-revisionist and politically active communist organisation existing in Great Britain, it is the party of British socialism, and it is for all these reasons that I have joined the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).
Long Live the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)!
Stopping the war means stopping the imperial war machine: Join the Axis of Resistance!
Another February, another Stop the War ‘coalition’ conference.
British imperialist politicians, industrialists, mineral extraction conglomerates, weapons manufacturers and city financiers are no doubt quaking in their (custom-made John Lobb) shoes, all a-quiver in anticipation to see what militant challenges to their holocaust industry will emanate from this great anti-war gathering.
Except that a year after curtailing debate, unconstitutionally ‘disaffiliating’ anti-imperialists and ensuring Labour party control, unhindered by electoral consultation with the membership, StW ‘leaders’ have taken the step of scrapping the AGM format altogether, and substituting instead a ‘conference’ of an altogether less threatening type: there will be no motions, no debate, no ‘democracy in action’, no ‘grass-roots participation’. This year, “ten years on”, the platform will deliver their sterile lectures uninterrupted by activists’ disquieting notions of actually resisting imperialism. A kind of Marxism 13 for the Counterfire group.
“Ten years of banging on and on – in increasing obscurity, with ever fewer people paying attention, while the British imperialist war machine grinds inexorably on.” Would be more accurate.
What obstacles will ‘leaders’ like John Rees, Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Benn, Lindsay German – not to forget crowd-pulling Trotskyite linguistic guru Noam Chomsky – throw before the City of London’s ‘god-given’ right to exploit, rape pillage and plunder the globe?
There can be no doubt that this conference will be used as a platform for cosy reminiscences on the ‘great success’ of our ‘million-man march’ through London, on that wintery Saturday afternoon of 15 February 2003. Indeed, all our party comrades were there – although our party was not yet born. It is inspiring to be with the masses, no doubt. We could almost sense our strength, the slumbering power of the working masses. But what was the programme? Where the real disciplined unity? How were we to implement our goal? Were we simply a pressure group, begging the imperialist armies and their Labour party quartermasters to show mercy?
For even as we were marching, the Labour government – content that the official anti-war movement was in safe hands – was laying invasion plans, and was quick to talk down the significance of 4 percent of the British population marching through the capital. We failed to strike while the iron was hot! One month later, the troops were on Iraqi soil. For those who have taken the trouble to count, studies show that the real death toll stands at 4 million in Iraq alone, with 6 million displaced internally and externally. What kind of sorry ‘success’ story is that? And what is the conclusion that the average worker drew? That marching was useless, that the movement was over – that it had failed. On balance, their analysis is better than StW’s.
Renting a crowd?
Let’s not deceive ourselves. It was not the SWP or CPB, and certainly not the Labour party, who turned British workers onto the streets, but a section of British and European capitalists (manufacturing capital, as opposed to the oil and armaments giants) who were less desperate, more risk-averse, and opposed the Anglo-American militarist agenda and impending catastrophe in Iraq and the Middle East. It was the Daily Mail, that enlightened bastion of radical ideas, which advertised the march and called in its editorials for Britons to participate. The day before the march, it was the Daily Mirror that led with the article “A war won’t save Britain from terror” and ran its printing press all night to make placards for the demo!
What’s the point?
Since that initial high, with StW fortuitously finding itself at the head of this groundswell of real and popular anger (polls quoted 93 percent opposed to the Iraq war – while 98 percent of ‘balanced’ BBC propaganda was pro-war), where have we led British workers? How has our relationship matured?
It has been one long downward spiral. The StW office has collected money for distribution to a crop of Trotskyite and revisionist careerist staffers, and the ‘leadership’ thus generated issued call after call to “March, protest, act!” But to what purpose, and with what effect? Resolutions passed at national congress calling for active non-cooperation have been quietly shelved, and the most banal, unimaginative and ineffectual ‘action’ has been StW’s mantra. If the tactics were aimed at losing the support of the masses, they have been pitch perfect!
The grand old 2nd Viscount Stansgate marched us up to the top of the hill, handed us over to his successor, the honourable MP for Islington North, who pinned a Labour party purple campaign ribbon to our breast and marched us firmly down again. All aided and abetted by their adulating left-sectarian groupies, who go to the length of publishing articles – apparently without shame – about their ‘special relationship’ and admiration for Labour party ‘elder statesman’ Benn: “He’s got to this age and he’s still at demonstrations with a flask and cheese sandwich.” Amazing! Would that he were not.
The mountain brought fourth a mouse! The very same party that waged genocidal imperialist war, the Labour party of ‘Bomber Bliar’, leads the anti-war movement, and has delivered it safely into the enemy’s hands. What a farce! When the Nazi party ran trade unions in Germany, did this also demonstrate Hitler’s special relationship with the working class?
Yet few seem able to comprehend that the emperor is wearing no clothes: that the Labour party is a true-blue, union-jack-waving, immigration-scaremongering, gun-boat-toting, cruise-missile-dropping party of imperialism – and that support for and membership of such a party is totally incompatible either with serving the working class, or with stopping any imperialist war.
After seven years of crisis, capitalism remains caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of its own making; between the abundant cheap goods it can produce by reducing wages, and its inability to sell this produce to the unemployed and impoverished masses; between the worker as object of his exploitation, and the worker as the consumer of his produce.
This worldwide crisis, more profound than the Wall Street crash of the 1930s, has been decades in the making, and is ruining the lives of unprecedented millions, who find their abilities, talents, and creative labour-power squandered; consigned to the scrap-heap of unemployment. A million British children go hungry each day, over a million youth and probably in excess of 8 million people of working age are unemployed.
The capitalist ‘solution’? Enormous hand-outs to (too-big-to-be) failing capitalists (no prizes for guessing who’s idea that was!), bankrupting the national treasuries, increasing taxes (for workers, while reducing tax on the mega-rich ‘economic motors’!) and reducing ‘unwarranted’ expenditure on health and education: sensible policies, for a happier Britain!
Currently the ConDem fad is more austerity on the one hand, and militarisation on the other; but let us note that decades of (Labour and Tory) Keynesianism have also failed. There is no solution under capitalism, but that will not stop them from attempting to dig their way out by increasing reliance on export of capital, backed by military adventurism to cement super-exploitation of cheap ‘third-world’ labour and looting other peoples’ resources. Britain and the US are becoming, if you can imagine it, ever more parasitic.
That is why the last ten years have seen such a relentless drive toward regional and world war. Our ‘masters’ are drowning the world in blood in order to avert the final demise of their system of production for (their) profit at our expense.
The fact is that the super rich-capitalists are totally out of their depth, and totally out of control. Our domestic woes and British imperialism’s bloody rampages abroad are two sides of the same coin; both are symptoms of the impending downfall of a senile ruling class. But they must be pushed over the precipice. Should our hand tremble? Is that not our job? Is that not the mission of our movement?
‘Unity’ with imperialism: the quaker test
Well, if by ‘movement’ we mean StW, then the answer is actually ‘No’. John Rees (SW/Counterfire Trotskyist) has at previous conferences assured the floor during debate (debate look you!) that he personally embraces these aims (of course!), but that, in order to remain ‘broad’ and quaker-friendly, he opposed StW calling for the victory of anti-imperialist forces.
Much easier (don’t you see?) to implicitly allow the victory of US and British imperialism – in the name of unity – while bemoaning the fate of their victims, calling for a better deal for our boys, fewer atrocities, etc. As for ‘bringing the troops home’, our imperialist masters plan on doing so anyway – once their missions of subjection are complete, compliant regimes are installed, stable occupations enforced and their reign of terror assured. It’s a military necessity to free up troops for the next intervention!
Rees’s infamous ‘quaker test’ is every bit as insidiously and divisively pro-imperialist as Norman Tebbit’s ‘cricket test’ is obviously and offensively so. If Rees wishes to support British imperialism, let him have the courage to say so openly, and remove his pernicious influence from the anti-war movement. No such honesty is forthcoming. Instead, it is more of the same: denunciation of the forces of resistance (they’re not socialists, they have poor ‘human rights’ records, they’re not democratic, are dictatorial …), pacifist platitudes, and simultaneous lionisation of Labour party social-imperialist saboteurs.
And it is just this opportunist leadership of StW that led to its shameful support of Nato’s bombing of Libya. A little retrospective wailing and gnashing of teeth over the 50,000 deaths and wholesale destruction of Libya’s hard-won independence and freedom will not wipe out the stain of collaboration. For at the crucial moment, Stop the War organised demonstrations in support of Nato’s war, and against the Libyan people’s resistance – on the shabby pretext of ‘opposing Gaddafi’. We shall not forgive or forget this shameful fraud and betrayal, which was the beginning of the end for StW. Libya’s enlightened society and modern industrial infrastructure yielded exemplary living standards – the highest in Africa, before the head-banging CIA and MI6-backed jihadists were forcibly installed.
No sooner had Libya fallen under Nato’s jackboot, than the same fundamentalist CIA army were transferred to their new task of causing murderous and brutal chaos in Syria – in order to generate the pretext for another intervention, removing the next obstacle on the road to total US/British hegemony over the oil and labour of the Middle East. One step closer to recolonising Iran (how we thirst for Persian oil!)
And, right on cue, in waded StW, with Rees and company’s heartfelt denunciations of ‘brutal dictator’ Assad and strident support for this ‘popular revolution’! Once more, there is not a hair’s breadth between the imperialists’ pro-war propaganda and that of the allegedly anti-war Trotskyites. Rees didn’t seem to notice that Nato’s aggression is a criminal, barbaric assault on an independent and sovereign nation. His only worry was that open Nato bombing (as opposed to the covert, proxy war via local proxies) would be “a threat to the continued progressive nature of the uprising”.
So no need to oppose the aim of Nato’s terrorists’ atrocities – forcing terrified captives to act as human bombs, massacring unarmed civilians while filming it all for the greater glory of YouTube, etc – because we all want Assad out, right? In fact, Rees and co would much rather forget all about Nato’s current war, and concentrate on denouncing the prospect of a future war with Iran – ignoring the fact that the war against Syria is an essential preliminary to that campaign!
History repeats itself – the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce! Lenin was a thousand times right when he said that “the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism”.
If we are ever to be crowned by success, we must jettison this bunch of charlatans who parade as ‘friends of the people’ while binding our movement to the war chariot of imperialism.
Stop the wars! Fight imperialism! Join the axis of resistance!
Red Youth and cpgb-ml comrades attended an anti-cuts demo outside the Labour Party Conference on Sunday. Comrades were there to highlight the role played by all the main parties who’re in service to big business, and to argue that a simple changing of the guard is not going to get us out of the mess we’re in.
In June, a 48-year-old man tied himself to the railings of a Jobcentre, doused himself in flammable liquid and set himself ablaze. (See Guardian, 29 June 2012)
This desperate act reveals, in the most brutal of terms, that poverty in Britain is not only material deprivation, in which sky scrapers are erected and social housing bulldozed, but a multi-dimensional assault – physical and psychological – on working-class people.
Indeed, research published last month by the Centre for the Modern Family showed that one in five British families are ‘living on the edge’. (See Independent, 26 June 2012)
As retail food prices have increased by 25 percent since 2008, and the price of child care and average household bills have sky-rocketed, so too have levels of stress and mental ill health. (See Economist, 23 June 2012)
This reality is worse still in the north of England, Wales and Scotland. And, throughout the country, young people are bearing the brunt of British austerity.
Since last year’s youth uprisings, dubbed criminal rioting by bourgeois commentators, no serious attempt to tackle youth poverty has occurred. In fact, changes to benefit entitlement have pushed thousands more into deprivation; implanting feelings of failure, shame and psychological distress upon an entire generation of young people. (See BBC News Online, 11 October 2011)
It is only logical, therefore, that – with a diminutive job market, an education system that is being progressively commodified, and a vanishing NHS – class antagonisms will intensify and uprisings may become as much a part of the British summertime as corporate-sponsored sporting events.
From the student activist to the unemployed youth, in the classroom and in the street, young people are awakening to discover that our political and economic system is not designed to help realise their potential but only to exploit the labour of some and utterly discard the rest.
They are also discovering that our system is designed to enrich a tiny handful of financiers. It was revealed this month that the super-rich have between $21tr and $32tr stashed away in tax havens. (Seecnn.com, 25 July 2012)
This is not a charge from radical opponents of capitalism, but the findings of bourgeois investigation. Nor are these the dealings of shadowy businesses but the recognised and admitted practice of the world’s largest financial institutions. It is an astonishing figure, greater than the GDP of any imperialist nation, and it is the kind of wealth that could eradicate poverty for vast swathes of humanity.
There could not be a clearer example of how income disparity and material and psychological deprivation is becoming more acute in modern Britain. As welfare safety nets disappear, and government oppression increases, we should not only expect greater incidence of civil unrest but prepare to inject it with ideological direction.
Communists must seek to build and lead popular mass movements for real change; for a mere change of government will not suffice. Only an entirely new system can offer our youth a positive future.
The following is a brief report written by a Red Youth activist of the recent TUSC demonstration organised in Leeds. Pictures courtesy of Leeds CPGB-ML.
On 25 February there was a rally/march held in Leeds city centre starting at Woodhouse Moore (outside of Leeds university) and ending at Leeds city square outside of the Queen’s Hotel.
The march was called because a local government meeting was being held by the Conservative party on “the next round of savage cuts”. Eric Pickles, MP for Bradford City Central and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was chairing the meeting at the Queen’s Hotel. The march/rally was organised by the Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition who have organised and are organising protests around the country. Speeches were made by various trade-union leaders, social democrats and, of course, Trotskyites – who, despite revolutionary rhetoric, mentioned no tangible alternative to the capitalist system but instead talked at length about utopian ways of trying to make capitalism more pleasant and fixable!
As a Red Youth and CPGB-ML member carrying a USSR flag I was asked questions from various Trots such as “Why am I so deluded into supporting the brutal, ‘Stalinist’, ‘murderous’ regime of the DPRK?” Me and a few comrades explained how north Korea is a great sovereign and independent state, which is proudly socialist and upholds the work of Stalin for his leadership of the Soviet Union, especially during socialist construction and the fight against Nazism.
After about 15 minutes of talking to this young, misguided Trot, and nothing left for him to argue his pro-bourgeois propaganda position, he ran off crying. Typical. This was probably the best thing that happened all day, but also the saddest – some young people have been trained by Trotskyists to treat socialism as a religion; they are incapable of debating and it’s nearly impossible for them to alter their positions.
My dad summed the argument up to a ‘t’ by saying to the Trot, “You thought you could come over here, rip us apart with your reactionary lies and think we will be a soft touch and won’t be able to argue.” Of course though, we argued and defended the heroic efforts of millions of communists to build independent, prosperous and strong socialist nations!
As we marched through Leeds we leafleted thosepedestrians who weren’t marching but stood and watched the demonstration go by. The party must have handed out about 500 leaflets and we sold a few papers too.
Overall, the day was a good experience for me as a young party member, seeing the working class being infiltrated by tonnes of Trotskyist parties and the strangling of the working-class resistance by them and their social-democratic mates in the Labour party. But we stood our ground and we were untouchable – just like a strong revolutionary vanguard party should be.
The Yorkshire Branch is growing, comrades, and soon we hope to lead the workers in a proper direction – towards socialism!
Harpal Brar delivers a 45-minute presentation on the theory and practice of Trotsky and ‘Trotskyites’, followed by Q&A at the CPGB-ML’s Party Study School, November 2011.
One of the myths perpetrated by the Trotskyites, with not inconsiderable help from the imperialist bourgeoisie, is that Leninism and Trotskyism are synonymous, that Trotsky was, after Lenin, the most brilliant and greatest Bolshevik (some even implying that Lenin was a great Trotskyist); that Trotsky was the true inheritor of Leninism and a worthy successor to Lenin, but was, alas, deprived of his rightful place by the cunning manoeuvres of a third-class mediocrity and oriental despot to boot, ie, Joseph Stalin.
This anti-communist myth, repeated ad nauseam decade after decade in truly Goebbelsian fashion, has acquired the force of a public prejudice. Anyone with the least knowledge of the subject cannot but be aware of the total falsity of this myth.
It is the aim of this video presentation, (like the book – see link below) to expose this myth and lay bare the truly reactionary, counter-revolutionary, essence of the petty-bourgeois ideology of Trotskyism, which is as irreconcilably hostile to Marxism Leninism as is the bourgeoisie to the proletariat – notwithstanding its pseudo-Marxist, ultra-‘left’ and ultra-‘revolutionary’ terminology.
Trotskyism met with dismal failure both during Lenin’s time and after his death, and it failed “because”, to use Stalin’s words, “the leading group of the opposition proved to be a group of petty-bourgeois intellectuals divorced from life, divorced from the revolution, divorced from the party, from the working class”.
This, and not any personal factor, explains the total rout of the Trotskyite opposition by the Bolshevik Party.
A CPGB-ML Party School production