Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Communist Party of Britain

Morning Star Hails “much-needed intervention” as Communist Party of Britain Stands Against Labour in Local Elections.

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Candidates Against Labour, “for a sovereign, united and internationalist working class.

The Morning Star, independent of the Communist Party of Britain, and owned by the co-op, leads with this Editorial Britain’s communists and the May elections: a much-needed intervention.

For many years British Communists have stood ‘witness candidates’ in elections. This year the Communist Party of Britain is running in local elections.

They are engaged in a battle across the country. Who are our enemies, who are our friends? They ask.

TOMORROW sees the launch of the Communist manifesto — the Communist Party (CP) of Britain’s manifesto for the Scottish, Welsh and English local elections, that is.

Revolutionary Left.

The party is standing its biggest slate of candidates since the 1980s after six years in which it didn’t stand — calling, as did much of the revolutionary left, for maximum support for Labour during the Jeremy Corbyn years.

Much of the labour movement remains sceptical of voting left of Labour. Despite the party’s lurch right under Keir Starmer, there is a widespread belief that a non-Labour vote only helps the Tories in England and Wales, and the SNP in Scotland.

Here is the Communist Party of Britain standing up to the right:

Labour Movement Welcome.

Labour’s poor projections nationally — with polls placing it about 10 points behind the Conservatives — can encourage this caution. Yet there are good reasons the renewal of communist election campaigning should be welcomed across the movement.

The British government’s handling of coronavirus has been catastrophic. We have one of the highest death tolls anywhere in the world and the deepest recession in Europe. Tens of thousands of lives could have been saved, hundreds of thousands would not have lost their jobs, had Britain adopted the zero-Covid strategies implemented by countries as diverse as China and New Zealand.

Follow the successful models of Cuba and Venezuela!

As countries which have successfully kept deaths and disruption to a minimum have proved, Covid-19 did not need to provoke a prolonged crisis. The worst-affected countries have been the heartlands of neoliberal capitalism — western Europe and the United States in particular. In Latin America, the contrast between the performance of socialist-led countries such as Cuba (40 deaths per million) and Venezuela (62) and neoliberal ones like Ecuador (995), Colombia (1,308) and Brazil (1,673) has been especially dramatic (figures from statista.com).

Covid has put the status quo to the test and found it wanting. There are plenty of people who recognise that. The point is regularly made from trade-union platforms and at online meetings.

But the pandemic struck Britain just as Labour was transitioning from a socialist leadership to a restorationist (??? Note to Subs, translate) one that has rowed back on the Corbyn movement’s searing critique of economic inequality and social injustice while stressing its support for (fawning on) “business as usual.”

With a handful of honourable exceptions, this has deprived institutional politics of voices drawing out the lessons of the pandemic to challenge the capitalist system itself.

Public Debate.

Yet we sorely need a public debate on an alternative economic and political strategy: one that understands the role of the market in creating the jobs crisis, the housing crisis, the climate crisis — and outlines real solutions to these, which must involve a big expansion of public ownership and economic planning.

Labour is not raising these issues. In a campaign in which it seems determined to compete with Priti Patel’s increasingly authoritarian Tories for the “law and order” vote, and in which it has even been caught distributing race-baiting anti-Gypsy and Traveller leaflets, the importance of an intervention from the left is paramount.

Learn from China’s Example of Racial and Political Tolerance!

Standing Against Labour Will Help Left Unity.

Far from undermining left unity, the left within Labour will be strengthened by the promotion of socialist solutions to the crisis and by leftward pressure on Labour candidates across Britain.

But besides that, we know that Labour’s long assumption that working-class voters have nowhere to go has been exploded by events — for years now in Scotland, more recently elsewhere. Refusing to challenge Labour from the left has not upheld its vote: it has simply meant disillusionment and anger at a party that no longer seems to represent ordinary people has been expressed by not voting at all or by voting for parties to its right.

The left has lost a lot of ground across Britain over the past year. We cannot sit out the first significant Britain-wide platform for political debate since the pandemic struck. The Communist Party’s election campaign will be a significant contribution to the revival of a militant and combative socialist movement.

What serious spotters want to know is if there are any contests between Communist candidates and the Socialist and Trade Union Coalition (TUSC), and the Monster Raving Loony Party.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 13, 2021 at 11:07 am

Communist Party of Britain Calls for Unity Behind Anti-Monopoly Alliance.

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Communists to Promote Unity Candidates Against Labour.

As the class struggle intensifies and working people are uniting in a struggle for popular sovereignty against state monopoly capitalism in the EU and Britain the British Communist Party has launched an appeal for an anti-Monopoly People’s Convention for all those against monopolies and for People. 

COMMUNISTS CALL FOR UNITY AGAINST MONOPOLY POWER

 

 

Britain’s Communists renewed their call for large-scale public ownership in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that research, development and manufacturing addressed people’s health needs at home and internationally, instead of seeking market share and maximum profits from the NHS and private treatment for the rich.  Mr Greenshields, a former trade union president, welcomed the growing readiness of workers and their trade unions to resist attacks on jobs, employment contracts, pay and pensions, urging greater unity between them in each sector of the economy.

The CP executive endorsed his call for an alliance of labour movement bodies, the People’s Assembly and other campaigning organisations to oppose monopoly domination of government policies and the economy.  ‘We need an Anti-Monopoly People’s Convention to highlight the negative role played by big business in our society – and to highlight an alternative strategy’, Mr Greenshields proposed.

Cdes frantically searching for old books on State Monopoly capitalism, the theory that a fusion of the state and big business has led to this stage of capitalism, will recall that, “The strategic political implication of the theory for Marxist-Leninists, towards the end of the Stalin era and afterwards, was that the labour movement should form a people’s democratic alliance under the leadership of the Communist Party with the progressive middle classes and small business, against the state and big business (called “monopoly” for short). Sometimes this alliance was also called the “anti-monopoly alliance”.”

Ally of the Morning Star, ‘Tribune’, has also been unearthing the theory.

The Era of State-Monopoly Capitalism

Grace Blakeley

The challenge we face is not, then, primarily arguing for more state intervention. Instead, we must concern ourselves with how state power is being used — and who is wielding it. By the end of this crisis, a tiny oligarchy of politicians, central bankers, financiers, and corporate executives will have further expanded their power in the global economy. The challenge for the Left will be to hold them to account.

The only way to do so will be making the case for radically democratising our economies and our states. Publicly owned corporations must be governed by workers, consumers, and representatives of the general public. Our economic institutions — most notably the central bank and the Treasury — must engage ordinary people in their decision-making processes.

When this crisis is over, our collective capacity to expand, manage, and plan economic activity will no longer be up for debate. The question we will face is who is undertaking that economic management, and in whose interests.

Few would dispute the important role of the state, acting with business, has played a central role in governing large areas of the economy during the Coronavirus crisis. Whether it is has reversed decades of globalisation, and the internationalisation of finance, trade and production flows to recreate a state monopoly capitalism is another matter. Brexit, which the CPB enthusiastically  backed, was not just a national neo-liberal project but an international free trade strategy. Those who supported ‘Lexit’ ended up paving the way for trade deals that will reinforce this internationalisation. The  ‘tiny oligarchy’  has bases beyond any one state. Amazon and Microsoft only some of the most visible indications of the depth of the process of globalisation. They show no signs of disappearing..

The political problem is equally,  what is the social force behind an anti-monopoly alliance? The CPB casts its net wide, out to ‘labour movement bodies’, though they are not as all-embracing as the kind of ‘democratic alliance’ which seems to be behind Blackley’s call to “ordinary people”.

Or to put it simply: how does standing candidates against Labour help build ‘unity’ for the CPB  alliance?

In another unity move the Socialist Party and the RMT are holding this conference soon.

Come to the TUSC local elections conference – 7 February

Fighting back against Starmer’s new, ‘New Labour’ – including at the ballot box!

Starmer’s Labour cannot be trusted to stand up for ordinary people. That is why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is preparing to stand across the UK this May in the many elections taking place.

Howie reports on the latest:

Spelthorne Labour Councillors quit and may link up with far-left TUSC

 

Another unity campaigner Chris Williamson, who seemed to back TUSC, appearing on George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain (Communist Party of Great Britain – Marxist-Leninist, pro North Korean):

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 2, 2021 at 12:50 pm

Morning Star Goes Lenin, forerunner of the “broad progressive anti-capitalist alliance.”

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Communist Party #CP100 (@CPBritain) | Twitter

“Recognition of the need for a “vanguard” party.”

A couple of days ago the Morning Star, a paper independent of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and owned by the co-op hailed Jeremy Corbyn’s Go-fund-me appeal.

Corbyn’s GoFundMe success is great – what can it mean for the movement?

Starmer is rolling back the socialist policies won over five years in the party at quite a pace, but socialists should recognise both that there are more of us than there were five years ago and that the policies Labour stood for in two manifestos retain significant popular appeal.

In view of the attacks on the popular appeal behind Labour’s General Election result resistance is needed.

That should inform a fightback — one which certainly involves resisting Labour’s lurch to the right, but one which also looks to the areas where the Corbyn project was weak, where it failed to cut through. Labour figures like Ian Lavery, Laura Smith and Jon Trickett are addressing important questions on rebuilding in communities long neglected by the party.

Leaving in the air exactly what “party political form” this should take to the furrows of the labour movement, whether this ahs any friends in Parliament whatsoever.

But whether it takes party political form or not, the priority should be to organise, as workers and as members of communities, to resist the gathering storm of job losses, pay cuts and renewed austerity — and in the process build a labour movement with far stronger roots in the people, that can win for workers whether or not it has friends in Parliament.

One party political form interests the Morning Star – Leninism and the claims of the Communist Party of Britain to his legacy.

This week is the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the British Communist Party. It is being marked every evening this week, by Pandemonium, a programme of online lectures and on Saturday August 1 by Red Wedge — a centenary online gala. For more details visit www.communistparty.org.uk.

Readers on Sunday could be instructed on Lenin in the pages of the daily.

What is ‘Leninism’?

MOST of the “Full Marx” answers to date have been to do with the significance of Marxism in relation to history, philosophy, economics and the environment.

But often you’ll come across the term “Marxism-Leninism.” What’s that “Leninism” bit about?

Sometimes it’s explained as “theory” (Marx) and “revolutionary practice” (Lenin).

But that would be far too simple. Marx and Engels did initiate the theoretical analysis of class society — particularly capitalism — and its dynamics.

Not being a Leninist but a First International Marxist I may have a few points of disagreement in the following.

Lenin emphasises the need for determination in implementing Marx’s “dictatorship of the proletariat” during the initial phases of socialism if the ultimate object of the revolution — a classless society characterised by “to each according to their needs” can be achieved.

The intermediate phase, argues Lenin, must be characterised by a genuine, participative, democracy at the level of the workplace and communities, which will replace the need for a coercive state.

Following the revolution and the establishment of Soviet power Lenin’s “Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder (1920) also focuses on issues (and individuals) of the day and again emphasises the difference between (short-term) tactics and (long-term) strategy.

Within the new post-war context of “existing socialism” (still threatened by counter-revolution and Allied and Japanese wars of intervention) and the defeat of socialist movements elsewhere, Lenin emphasises the need to work with other progressive forces in a broad progressive anti-capitalist alliance.

Not many people would say that Lenin worked during the first years of the Soviet government towards a “genuine, participative democracy”. Perhaps a historian will unearth for us as well to the 1920s use of the latest CPB term “broad progressive anti-capitalist alliance” in the ‘actuality of the revolution’ following the Great War.-

Down to the message: there is a library of critiques of Leninism, the invention of ‘Marxism-Leninism’ and Lenin’s own political practice from the left by Marxists, Democratic Socialists, Social Democrats and Anarchists. This specious account of ‘Leninism’ is a disgrace.

To begin with what was ‘”post-war” “existing socialism” from 1918 onwards (many would add that many Leninists talk of this time not as socialism but as part of the ‘transition’ to socialism)?

Whatever the causes, civil war or party messianic intolerant structure, including Lenin’s belief that he was able to read the runes of HIstory, it was about as far from democratic socialism as you could possibly get.

In Soviet Russia the Spring and Summer of 1918 began with the “arrests and harassment of non-Bolshevik activists”. They and the Socialist revolutionaries, were removed from the Soviet CEC. Yet they continued political activity. They focused on the defence of “the rights of labour” and the “defence of trade unions, with as a backdrop plans to make unions agents of “labour discipline” and “compulsory labour service” or the “militarisation of labour” exalted by Trotsky in Terrorism and Communism (1920). With their position set out in What is to be done: The Menshevik Programme July 1919 they had had a wider echo, Marcel Liebman and others record, within the official bodies .

For Trotsky the Mensheviks had in 1917, “together with the bourgeoisie, declared civil war against the Soviets”. In the Winter of 1920-1 the Mensheviks were systematically suppressed.

Two Years of Wandering is shot through with insights into those years of upheaval, the gaoling and exile of “thousands of socialists and non-party workers who (had) been so bold as to doubt the divine infallibility of the Bolshevik authorities, with all their fantasies, scandals, petty tyranny and occasional 180-degree turns. “(Page 53) From the famous 1920 visit of the British delegation to a meeting addressed by Printers’ leaders and Mensheviks, which criticised the “terrorist dictatorship of the minority”, the last Congress of Soviets at which the opposition was reluctantly tolerated, to the crackdown after the Kronstadt (1921) which marked the beginning of systematic elimination of dissent, the Mensheviks were disorganised. (3) A party that “had adapted all its tactics to the struggle for an open existence despite the Bolshevik terror.” was unable to mount any effective challenge (Page 98).

Dan was in prison during the Kronstadt revolt, which, when the news of this, following a strike wave, reached them, convinced those arrested that they were about to be shot. There were indeed mass killings. A gaoler, ‘S’ regaled Dan with tales of massacring whites. He also had this anecdote, “some Jewish trader they had arrested on suspicion that the leather he was carrying in his cart had concealed weapons under it. There were no weapons, but before letting the trader go, he wanted to have his ‘little joke’ at the expense of the ‘bourgeois’ so he stood him against a wall and ordered that he be shot – but they fired blanks. They did this three times – just to they could bring a little happiness to their prisoner when they told him he was free to go – although he could easily have died of heart failure.”(Page 121)

Sent to Remand gaol, Dan observed waves of new arrivals. Protests and demonstration were followed “on each occasion, a few intellectuals and party workers, together with hundreds of grey, non-party workers, would pass through the prison. There were tramway workers, workers from the Skorokhod, Obukhov, Putilov and Rechkin factories – all of working class Petersburg.”(Page 138) Conditions deteriorated, but perhaps what was most striking is that “once entering a Soviet prison, nobody can know even approximately how long he will be in there and how the imprisonment will end.” (Page 142)

Two Years of Wandering. A Menshevik Leader in Lenin’s Russia. Fedor Il’ich Dan. Francis King. Tendance Coatesy. Review.

But this may be to wander into the actually existed history of the Soviet Union.

What really matters for the writer of the Morning Star article is Britain,

Lenin argues that British communists should unite into a single Communist Party, that they should participate in elections as part of the process of replacing Parliament with truly democratic system of soviets, that Pankhurst’s insistence that “the Communist Party must keep its doctrine pure” was mistaken, and that while he could not deal with the question of affiliation or non-affiliation to the Labour Party, a new Communist Party should work closely with the Labour Party while retaining ““complete freedom of agitation, propaganda and political activity.”

Translation for today: the British Communist Party should continue to “work closely” with the Labour Party, and be treated with respect for condescending to do so,  while being as unpleasant as it likes about Keir Starmer and any other rapscallion renegades leading the party.

The article concludes.

So, what is “Leninism” today? Lenin’s great contribution was the development of both theory and practice in the very specific circumstances of the period either side of the Russian Revolution.

As Jonathan White argues in an online lecture for the Marx Memorial Library and Workers’ School, we can learn an immense amount from the study of that period.

(Note, indeed, see above book from Francis King)

For those who claim the term, Leninism is practical revolutionary action based on a strong theoretical understanding in the context of specific existing circumstances — an antidote to those for whom Marxism is something purely theoretical.

But in this it is also, arguably, an unnecessary “ism.” Both Marx and Engels always argued for the unity of theory and practice.

Changing the world at the same time as interpreting it are inseparable goals. And their recognition of the need for a “vanguard” party (the subject of another answer in this series) is explicit in Marxist theory and practice.

In their Communist Manifesto, communists, organised into a revolutionary party, represent “the most advanced and resolute section of the working class parties of every country; that section which pushes forward all others” to establish a society “for the many” as a key stage in the transition to a classless society.

There is another famous quote, from the 1864 First Clause of the Rules of the First International,

That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves; …

The Principle of Self-Emancipation in Marx and Engels .Hal Draper.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 27, 2020 at 5:04 pm