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Morning Star Defends China Against Labour “enthusiastically climbing aboard the New Cold War bandwagon”.

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“Labour is enthusiastically climbing aboard the New Cold War bandwagon.” Morning Star.

In 2019 the Morning Star carried this story.

What did British Communists make of ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’ in 2019?

EARLIER this year Communist Party of Britain (CPB) representatives took part in a joint delegation of Communist parties from northern Europe and North America following an invitation from the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

CPB general secretary Rob Griffiths was accompanied by women’s officer Carol Stavris and national election officer and executive committee member Jonathan Havard.

There were also two delegates from the New Communist Party and three from the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist Leninist). There were other Communist Party representatives from Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the US.representatives from Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the US.

The Communist Party of Britain (CPB) delegates took a serious, if broadly sympathetic, approach to the Chinese Communists’ claim to be building socialism. It discussed efforts to deal with environmental and social problems.  The report was not uncritical of Chinese policies on using private enterprise, above all on the lack of fully independent trade  unions.

But in recent weeks the daily, wholly independent of the CPB, has been warning about a New Cold War and anti-Chinese propaganda.

Not just that, it has printed some extraordinary material, attacking Labour’s defence of human rights in China.

A few days ago, as the issue of China has been taken up by the Labour Party, the Morning Star published a strident  article by Carlos Martinez.

What are the politics of the writer?

In 2018 Martinez published on his site Invent the Future this defence of the Chinese regime.

Is China Still Socialist?

The evidence indicates that China continues to be a socialist country.

If the first century of human experience building socialism teaches us anything, it’s that the road from capitalism to socialism is a long and complicated one, and that ‘actually existing socialism’ varies enormously according to time, place and circumstances. China is building a form of socialism that suits its conditions, using the means it has at its disposal, in the extraordinarily challenging circumstances of global imperialist hegemony. No socialist experiment thus far – be it the Paris Commune, the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Mozambique, or indeed Bolivarian Venezuela – can claim to have discovered a magic wand that can be waved such that peace, prosperity, equality and comprehensive human development are achieved overnight. China is forging its own path, and this is worthy of study and support.

In the Star article he gives a hostile account of the Labour Party’s defence of human rights.

Labour should not be parroting Trump’s anti-China cold war rhetoric

In the interests of peace and progress, we need to push for respectful, friendly and mutually beneficial relations with China, says CARLOS MARTINEZ.

After outlining President Trump and US politicians ‘bipartisan’ approach against Chinese “predatory” economic practices” and the

 zany and totally unfounded smear about the forced sterilisation of Uyghur women.

Martinez turns to the UK.

We find that, “Boris Johnson government, instinctively Atlanticist and desperately pursuing a post-Brexit trade agreement with the US at almost any cost, is largely parroting Trump’s line.”

What concerns the writer is that the Labour party has gone along with this “zany” pile of accusations about brutality,  attacks on democracy and  “China Bashing”.

Those of us who stand for peace and for mutually beneficial cooperation between Britain and China might hope that the Labour Party would provide some meaningful opposition to the government’s reckless behaviour. Unfortunately the indications thus far are that Labour is enthusiastically climbing aboard the New Cold War bandwagon.

The reaction at the Party’s highest levels has been deplorable.

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy has been actively promoting anti-China propaganda and pushing the Tories to take a harder stance against China, for example urging that action be taken against British businesses that are “complicit in the repression” in Hong Kong (ie that don’t actively support the riots).

While Nandy’s words might bring disappointment to socialists, progressives and peace activists, they were at least welcome in certain quarters: notorious right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes celebrated the “welcome change in Labour Party policy – standing up to, rather than cosying up to despotic regimes.”

There is worse.

Nandy’s position is however positively nuanced in comparison to that of Stephen Kinnock, Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific, who accuses China of promoting its “model of responsive authoritarian government” worldwide. Kinnock describes the ‘golden era’ of Sino-British relations, inaugurated during the Cameron government, as being an “abject failure” in which Britain had “rolled out the red carpet for China and got very very little in return”.

He asserts that Labour is joining in the “US-led New Cold War on China.

It therefore seems that the Labour leadership in its current incarnation is moving towards unambiguous support for the US-led New Cold War on China. It’s particularly demoralising that, with a few honourable exceptions, most notably Diane Abbott, the Labour left isn’t currently putting up any serious resistance to this dangerous trajectory.

To cap it all,

While very few Labour MPs have spoken of the dangers of a New Cold War, John McDonnell has recorded a histrionic (and hopelessly one-sided) denunciation of the Chinese state’s alleged mistreatment of the Uyghur Muslims. Apsana Begum has repeated these tropes in parliament, claiming that when the Chinese government celebrates its successful suppression of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement’s murderous bombing campaign, its “definition of terrorism is troublingly vague”. The usually-excellent Claudia Webbe has called on the government to “oppose state-sanctioned violence” in Hong Kong, choosing to ignore the United States-sanctioned violence of separatist protesters.

Martinez concludes,

This is all frankly disastrous and worrying.

The Morning Star has continued in this vein.

Anybody might think the Morning Star and the Communist Party of Britain is still in mourning over its loss of  influence over the Labour leadership.

Others will still be reeling at the claim that reports of human rights abuses in China, and the horrific treatment of the Uighurs, are “zany”.


Written by Andrew Coates

July 21, 2020 at 11:17 am

George Galloway, Keith Bennett, China and “Elite Grooming”.

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Keith Bennett | The Marxist-Leninist

Keith Bennett, “political Groomer”? 

In the latest Private Eye there is a piece, “Elite Grooming” about the 48 Group Club.

This is how the Club describes itself.

The motto of the 48 Group Club is ‘Equality and Mutual Benefit’ and it echoes the words of Zhou Enlai, China’s much-respected Premier from 1949 to 1976, who first used that phrase in 1953. Over the ensuing years, this commercial group, funded by its members, grew to be the most respected name in China-Britain trade, a name well known throughout China. The Group provided support and consultancy services to British companies entering China’s markets.

PE leads by saying that one-time members, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson ad Jack Straw have recently sought to distance themselves from this body. It is “accused in a forthcoming book of “grooming Britain’s elites to advance Beijing’s interests”.

This is a story that has recently run in the Mail, (5th of July)  “Blair, Peter Mandelson and Jack Straw have been linked to club which is objecting to book that claims to reveal how China is infiltrating the West.” The Mail (8th of July) has also claimed, “Former chancellor George Osborne ‘is linked to the pro China 48 Group Club’ amid claims the organisation is ‘grooming’ Britain’s elite with Beijing propaganda.”

The PE article concentrates on the deputy of the body, one Keith Bennett.

Bennett, the Eye points out, is a “an old stalwart if the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)” (CPGB, M-L).

The article lists Bennett’s membership of the Stalin Society, “full-on Pyongyang propagandist” who was “also honorary clerk to the all-party parliamentary group on North Korea”. There is also his role in the Hands off China Campaign and attacks on the “imperialist media” who “never tires of attacking China over its so-called ‘human rights violations”.

The piece  does not go into the way that the CPGB (M-L) supplies the cadres of George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain, an organisation no doubt not yet on the radar of the “imperialist media”.

What are the politics of this group?

The ferociously pro-Brexit ‘party’ has this vision of the future,

In tandem with these measures will be the coordinated action of workers and government to ensure that the ever-increasing productivity of labour, arising today from the development of robots and artificial intelligence, is put at the service of lightening the drudgery of work and not replacing the working class. We reject a future of parasitism where the British people, through the operation of the City of London, degenerate into an unemployed feckless rump living off cheap imported food and the plastic-electronic consumables of global capitalist anarchy.

Introducing the Workers Party

Galloway has his own history of co-operation with Bennett.

Here he talks of him as a “comrade and friend”.

Galloway interviewed Bennett 14 months ago.

Keith Bennett of the Hands off China Campaign speaks on George Galloway’s Weekly programme “The Real Deal” on Press TV.

Here is the Deputy Leader of the Workers Party of Britain, a long-time CPGB (M-L) cadre.

Wikipedia states that the CPGB (M-L) faces this allegation

The party receives funding in donations from businesses owned by Central Committee member Keith Bennett, a business magnate and consultant with investments and factories in China. There is suspicion that the funding from business interests in China is the main reason behind the parties refusal to criticize the Beijing regime for abuses of workers.

Former MP Chris Williamson is another person now orbiting in Galloway’s circles.

One has to ask: is there some kind of ‘anti-elite grooming” going on here?


More on China from Jim: 

China, Trump and Huawi: my enemy’s enemy is not always my friend

Hagia Sophia: Target of Erdoğan’s National Populism and Culture Wars.

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Turkish court rules Istanbul's Hagia Sophia can revert to a mosque ...


Religious and National Populist Culture Wars.

The BBC’s Orla Guerin reports,

A change is coming to Hagia Sophia, which has endured since the 6th century, outlasting the Byzantine empire and the Ottoman era. Now, once again, it will be a mosque. But Turkish officials say Christian emblems, including mosaics of the Virgin Mary which adorn its soaring golden dome, will not be removed.

Making changes at Hagia Sophia is profoundly symbolic. It was Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, who decreed that it should be a museum. President Erdogan is now taking one more step to dismantle Ataturk’s secular legacy, and remould Turkey according to his vision. The Turkish leader – who presents himself as a modern day conqueror – is making no apologies for the change. He says anyone who doesn’t like it – and plenty abroad don’t – is attacking Turkey’s sovereignty.

Reclaiming Hagia Sophia plays well with his base – religious conservatives – and with Turkish nationalists. Critics say he’s using the issue to distract attention from the economic damage done here by the Covid19 pandemic.

But many in the international community argue that the monument belongs to humanity – not to Turkey – and should have remained unchanged. They say it was a bridge between two faiths, and a symbol of co-existence.

The progressive  Peoples’ Democratic Party, the HDP,  (Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP),  Partiya Demokratîk a Gelan) [party, (an associate member of the Party of European Socialists ) which holds 58 seats in the Turkish National Assembly, has condemned the move.

THis is already being greeted by religious reactionaries.

Religious prejudice overrides history.

The significance is lost of nobody who knows the history of Turkey, and  for people across the world who care about our common cultural heritage.

Secularists have made their views known.

This is the motive:

Turkey’s ruler  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  and his organisation, the Justice and Development Party (: Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi), illustrate a national populism prepared to go further than culture wars against democrats and religious minorities.

The hounding of dissidents, the imprisonment of political opponents, and his blood-stained interventions in Syria and against Kurds across the region, not to mention his open use of Turkish forces to bolster his preferred side in the Libyan civil conflict (Erdogan Is Libya’s Man Without a Plan.) , are more significant than this move to stake his claim as an international leader of hard right Islamism.

Yet this bigoted and deeply insulting move is noxious in itself.



Written by Andrew Coates

July 11, 2020 at 11:47 am