Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Communism

Communist Party USA Polemic on “white ‘left’ nationalism.”

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The art and science of building the Communist Party – Communist Party USA

Like most people, the CC of this Blog had not heard of the  Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) for many years. They claim 5,000 members, a figure of which the Communist Party of Britain can only dream. Like a larger number of Cdes I had not heard of Maurice Cornforth (1909 – 1980) for even longer. The British Marxist’s best known book is Materialism and the Dialectical Method. It has the merit of being written by somebody who knew his philosophy inside out, unlike, let us just say, a certain Alan Woods of Socialist Appeal. (1) One can disagree with Cornforth on many things but the CPUSA have found a quote that reflects well on the man.

In Western European countries it used often to be said: “We must have fascism before communism.” First the capitalists will abandon democracy and introduce the fascist dictatorship, and then the workers will overthrow the fascist dictatorship. But the Communists replied, no, we will fight together with all the democratic forces to preserve bourgeois democracy and to defeat the fascists, and that will create the best conditions for going forward to win working-class power and to commence to build socialism.

—Maurice Cornforth, Materialism and the Dialectical Method

Not that I can think of anybody apart from some Third Period Stalinists, and possibly the wilder Bordigist fringe, who ever said versions of “After Hitler our Turn” but the Popular Front did become the Communist Strategy. Or as this article cites, the basis of unity for democracy outlined in “The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class against Fascism.” Georgi Dimitrov. 1935.

This is quite an extraordinary polemic in its own right:

The curious rise of white “left” nationalism. Jamal Rich. December the 23rd 2021.

An ideological trend that might be classified as “white left nationalism” repeats the mistakes of the old Socialist Party on its approach to the national question. These white left nationalist trends shout “class, class, class!” and “left, left, left!” while deploring what they call “identity politics” and narrowly pointing to historical failures of socialist projects and the left in the United States in particular.

It has got to this:

Instead of seeing revolutionary potential in the U.S. working class, these forces promote a newfound fetishization of the “lumpen-proletariat” (that is, declassed strata) as the new revolutionary class, urban peasant guerrilla warfare, and other theories associated with the Frankfurt School for Social Science (like Herbert Marcuse). A seemingly odd combination of national nihilism (downplaying of a country’s traditions) and national chauvinism (an overemphasis of the same) also plays a part.


Often you’ll hear it when folks use the term “working class” or “Trump voters” when what is actually meant is “white workers.” Trumpsters do it all the time when they talk about the GOP as a “workers’ party.” Listen and you’ll hear a subtle switch, replacing in the mind’s eye people of color with workers of the majority nationality. It’s precisely here that the deep chauvinism lies. This applies not only to how people think about it but also in how interests are framed. The alleged interests of the majority of one people in the multiracial U.S. nation are identified with the interests of the entire class.

Sounds a bit like certain British Communists revelling in Brexit voters rejecting the ‘apitalist EU, Brendan O’Neill and his mates in Spiked/RCP on ‘identity’ politics, or Blue Labour types talking about the ‘real’ working class.

Confusion on the left (suggestion, the word these days is confusionism)

Below are some examples of how these issues manifest:

1. “74 million people voted for Trump, which means a lot of workers support fascism in this country. We need to organize these people at their rallies and events,” an anonymous conversation with a new CPUSA member.

2. “January 6 was a good thing! White workers led that uprising! We need to be organizing January 6 people!” (paraphrased from anonymous article by a new CPUSA member and an anonymous email sent to the DC District during the J6 events).

And so it continues…..

The CC can only agree with the broad direction of Jamal Rich’s critique.



Written by Andrew Coates

December 27, 2021 at 11:03 am

Posted in Anti-Fascism, Communism

Tagged with , ,

Morning Star Defends China’s Socialism and ‘New Democracy’.

with 5 comments


It’s a long path and the CPC got lost a long time ago.

A century of the Communist Party of China: Reform and opening up — the great betrayal?

Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms of 1978 were a turning point in the history of the country. CARLOS MARTINEZ …

The Morning Star contains this article. It argues that the development of the productive forces is inherently socialist – regardless of the relations of production and the absence of democratic development, freedom of thought and election not to mention the wealth based on exploitation held by the CPC’s members and allies.

For supporters of capitalism, the idea that China “ascended” to capitalism from 1978 onwards is a validation of their own ideology; China was socialist and poor, and then became capitalist and rich.

This view is near-universal among mainstream economists. Even the well-known Keynesian Jeffrey Sachs, who is both politically progressive and friendly towards China, considers that the key turning point in Chinese history was not 1949 but 1978: “After nearly 140 years of economic and social strife, marked by foreign incursions, domestic rebellions, civil wars, and internal policy blunders of historic dimensions, China settled down after 1978 to stable, open, market-based production and trade.”

On the other hand, for many on the left (particularly in the West), 1978 marked a turning point in the wrong direction — away from socialism, away from the cause of the working class and peasantry.

(Note, the two views on not incompatible, as the judgement that CCP rule on China has never been socialist)

The introduction of private profit, the decollectivisation of agriculture, the appearance of multinational companies and the rise of Western influence: these added up to a historic betrayal and an end to the Chinese Revolution.

The consensus view within the CPC is that socialism with Chinese characteristics is a strategy aimed at strengthening socialism, improving the lives of the Chinese people, and consolidating China’s sovereignty.

Although China had taken incredible steps forward since 1949, China in 1978 remained backward in many ways.

The leadership simply decided to “change the situation and make the PRC wealthy.”

(Note; do not mention politics and the absence of democracy, the Fifth Modernisation hat never came).

Opening up to foreign capital, learning from foreign technology and integrating into the global market would allow for a faster development of the productive forces.

Export manufacturing would allow China to build up sufficient hard currency to acquire technology from rich countries and improve productivity.

Foreign capital would be attracted by China’s virtually limitless pool of literate and diligent workers.

All this was highly unorthodox compared to the experience of the socialist world up to that point (with some partial exceptions, such as Yugoslavia and Hungary).

Deng’s strong belief was that, unless the government delivered on a significant improvement in people’s standard of living, the entire socialist project would lose its legitimacy and therefore be in peril.

Marx wrote in volume 3 of Capital that “the development of the productive forces of social labour is capital’s historic mission and justification. For that very reason, it unwittingly creates the material conditions for a higher form of production.”

The vision of the CPC leadership was to replace “unwittingly” with “purposefully” — using capital, within strict limits and under heavy regulation, to bring China into the modern world.

Reform and opening up is perhaps best not as a capitulation to capitalism but as a return to the policies of the New Democracy period.

The Morning Star writer sees China not in terms of what most people call a democracy but in CCP 1940s lines which is a sociological definition of a democratic’, that is post-feudal and post-colonial society dominated by one party and its phantom allies in other ‘democratic parties (in parts of Eastern Europe where there was bogus ‘parties’ allied to the Communists in national blocs).

This was the line of the period .

New Democracy, or the New Democratic Revolution, is a concept based on Mao Zedong‘s Bloc of Four Social Classes theory in post-revolutionary China which argued originally that democracy in China would take a path that was decisively distinct from that in any other country. 

China may now adopt a system of people’s congresses, from the national people’s congress down to the provincial, county, district and township people’s congresses, with all levels electing their respective governmental bodies. But if there is to be a proper representation for each revolutionary class according to its status in the state, a proper expression of the people’s will, a proper direction for revolutionary struggles and a proper manifestation of the spirit of New Democracy, then a system of really universal and equal suffrage, irrespective of sex, creed, property or education, must be introduced. Such is the system of democratic centralism. Only a government based on democratic centralism can fully express the will of all the revolutionary people and fight the enemies of the revolution most effectively. There must be a spirit of refusal to be “privately owned by the few” in the government and the army; without a genuinely democratic system this cannot be attained and the system of government and the state system will be out of harmony.

This key book puts this history right, The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945–1957 Frank Dikötter.

Dikötter challenges the view that the early years of the People’s Republic of China were constructive and relatively benign, at least as compared with the destruction of the preceding Chinese Civil War, or the subsequent Great Leap Forward. Instead, he describes it as an era of “calculated terror and systematic violence”,[1] characterised by indoctrination, ill-conceived economic policies that stunted growth, the uprooting of traditional social relations, and officially mandated “death quotas” that contributed to the unnatural deaths of 5 million people within the first decade of the establishment of the Republic.

This Blog recommends this, and the other 2 books in Frank Dikötter‘s trilogy on Chinese Communist history.

Helen Davidson in Taipei and agencies analyses the regime in the Guardian.

Xi has cemented his eight-year rule through a personality cult, ending term limits and declining to anoint a successor. He has purged rivals and crushed dissent – from Uyghur Muslims and online critics to pro-democracy protests on Hong Kong’s streets.

The centenary celebrations have been a highly orchestrated affair, with little prior announcement of what was on the cards. Thursday’s event began with dozens of military helicopters and jets, including the J-20 stealth fighters, flying in formation through Beijing’s skies, trailing flags and coloured smoke over Tiananmen Square, where 56 cannon – representing the 56 ethnic groups of China – were fired 100 times.

Last week, surveillance and security measures increased and Reuters reported police officers door-knocking to check household registrations, and tightened censorship directives at Bytedance and Baidu.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 3, 2021 at 2:40 pm

Suffolk Communists in bid for comeback.

with 12 comments


Communists to Build on Suffolk’s CPGB Heritage.

Leiston had an active Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) branch, founded in 1934, which existed for decades, until the end of the CPGB. Communist Paxton Chadwick was the Chair of the Council after the Second World War. There is a pamphlet by John Saville.

Front Cover

At his funeral in 1961, “held at Golders Green crematorium” J Gollan, the General Secretary of the Communist Party gave the oration. “Paxton Chadwick was one of the great British natural history illustrators of the twentieth century.”(Page 27) There was an exhibition of his works in Ipswich Christchurch Mansion in the 1990s.

A good article is on the site of the Country Standard: Leiston- “Suffolk’s Little Moscow”

“As a classic single-industry town the employer/worker relationship consisted of a blend of paternalism and repression. At first there was a fear of activism but as unemployment grew so dependence on the company decreased.

Paxton Chadwick was returned as a Communist Councillor for Leiston in 1938 as the first Communist Councillor in Suffolk (Rural Norfolk also had Communist councillors).

During the war Chadwick was called up into the anti-aircraft arm of the Royal Artillery where he continued to carry out council work and produce a wall newspaper for his unit. Chadwick ended the war as a Captain. As chairman of Leiston council , he introduced a regular “open nights ”where electors could quiz councillors”, secured affordable housing, clean water, fought to abuses in the private rented sector, fought for improved war pensions and led the campaign to save the local Grammar school.

There were links to the famous Summerhill School Paxton had taught in the Art Department and acted as part time sectretary to A.S. Neill. Paxton’s second wife, Lee Chadwick had worked. She became a writer, and the author of one of the best books on the natural history of the Suffolk Sandlings In Search of Heathland (1982) continued the work after Paxton passed away, and was active in the period of the above Leiston Leader copies. At the time my parents were lay officials in the local Labour Party (Chair and Branch Secretary and worked with her and he Communists on issues such as CND led Peace campaigning and Sizewell Nuclear Power station. They made the news in the 1980s when the local Tories forgot to put in their nominations for the Town Council elections and two (the Country Standard says 1, but I had heard that 2 Communists won).

Lee Chadwick was greatly liked by many people, and respected, both for her writing and her open-minded approach to left politics. She was on the Euro side in the disputes which tore apart the CPGB in the 1980s. These points are also of interest.

Leiston had a Communist councillor in the 1980’s and the Leiston Leader continued into the 1990’s.
Paxton Chadwick Close, Leiston is one of the few roads in Britain named after a communist
I understand that Bill Howard a signalman at Saxmunden was the last Communist Councillor in Leiston in the 1980’s (he lived at Waterloo Avenue, Leiston
The Communist Party was involved in both English Folk revival’s and key to this was the Eel’s Foot Public House, Eastbridge, where A.L. “Bert” Lloyd Communist and Workers Music Association founder, recorded a famous BBC radio Folk session on 13th March 193

The present Communist candidates, from the Communist Party of Britain are from the opposing side, often called ‘Tankies’.They are no doubt respected and liked by their own supporters.. Internationalists point to their backing for the hard right Brexit and support for the Chinese Regime which few would consider socialist.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 1, 2021 at 12:46 pm