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November 19, 2016

How Can We Maximise The Communist Contribution To The Class Struggle? By Robert Griffiths, general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain



NOV
2016
Saturday Nov 19TH, The People's Daily The Morning Star

By Robert Griffiths, general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain.

THE world is entering its most dangerous phase since imperialism proclaimed eternal victory over the Soviet Union and socialism in the early 1990s.
People everywhere were promised a New World Order of peace, disarmament, democracy and social justice. Instead, capitalism’s general crisis has reasserted itself in two decades of war, genocide, repression, mass migration, economic and financial crisis, global warming and environmental degradation.
Through Nato and the European Union, imperialism has extended its operations across Europe, much of the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
Its three inter-related objectives are to widen and deepen capitalist exploitation in order to maximise profit; to dominate the world’s major energy sources and trade routes; and to combat any potential challenge from capitalist rivals or the forces of anti-imperialism and socialism.
This is the context in which to see the imperialist drive to destabilise, demonise or detach the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and to pressurise or bring down their governments.
It’s why the Communist Party’s congress this weekend will reaffirm its commitment to:
- Oppose further British military intervention in Syria, Afghanistan and Libya as we did previously there and in Iraq and Yugoslavia
- Demand an end to Britain’s support for repressive and despotic regimes which promote sectarianism and terrorism in the Middle East and beyond
- Campaign for sanctions against Israel to achieve a comprehensive two-state settlement with the democratic representatives of the Palestinian people. Imperialist expansion, backed by belligerent rhetoric against Russia and China, is increasing the risk of a military confrontation between the major powers.
It remains to be seen whether incoming US president Donald Trump will disappoint the Nato generals, media pundits and right-wing politicians who are straining at the leash for war.
Certainly, the US workers and families who voted for him in the belief that he will conjure up millions more jobs, higher living standards, safer cities and better welfare services are going to be sorely disappointed.
Even if Trump has the inclination to deliver any of these, the “masters of the universe” on Wall Street will not permit it.
The US labour movement, the US working class and the country’s ethnic minorities are going to need our solidarity in bitter times to come.
Ongoing war dangers underline the importance of the World Peace Council and anti-war movements everywhere if catastrophe is to be avoided.
As well as continuing to support CND and the Stop the War Coalition, the Communist Party has initiated the re-establishment of the British Peace Assembly as an affiliate of the World Peace Council. This body will help deepen anti-imperialist consciousness in the anti-war and anti-Trident movement and among the people at large.
The Communist Party also played a central role in the left-wing, anti-imperialist referendum campaign for Britain to vote to leave the EU.
While both official campaigns, for and against EU membership, deployed reactionary arguments, Communists and their allies emphasised how the EU and its neoliberal, militarist, and racist “Fortress Europe” policies — enshrined in the basic EU treaties — would block advance on every front by a left-led government in Britain.
Our priority now must be to rebuild labour movement unity around the agenda for a progressive exit from the EU — a “People’s Exit” — which rejects submission to EU single market rules or to its pro-Nato common foreign and military policy.
The prospect of winning such a government has come closer with the election — twice — of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. He has a long record of support for socialist and anti-imperialist policies and of involvement in extra-parliamentary campaigning.
But the state and monopoly mass media are determined to destroy him politically, with the support of big business and a significant section of his own party. They are determined to prevent Labour comitting itself to policies of public ownership and the abolition of Trident.
So far, they have also prevented him from maintaining his previous stance against the neoliberal, anti-working class EU.
The Tories and Nigel Farage should thank the pro-EU fanatics in the Parliamentary Labour Party for handing them a free pass to shape and lead mass anti-EU sentiment here.
Another major obstacle to the election of a left-led government at Westminster is the predominance of the SNP in the Scottish Parliament.
The movement for Scottish independence has already taken many votes and seats away from Labour. But separatism divides the fight against British state-monopoly capitalism, offering instead only the mirage of an “independent” Scotland still under the Bank of England, the English Crown, the EU and Nato.
The Communist Party calls instead for a federal Britain of England, Scotland and Wales, combined with a massive redistribution of wealth to the working class of every nation and region.
Above all, to secure the election of a left-led Labour government, we have to step up popular and industrial action against the new Tory government and its policies of public spending cuts, lower taxes for the rich and capitalist monopolies, privatisation and nuclear rearmament.
Again, this Communist Party congress will debate our continuing role in the People’s Assembly Against Austerity. The National Assembly of Women, too, has an important part to play in proposing policies to overcome the disproportionate impact of austerity and privatisation on women at work and in the home.
Unscrupulous politicians and the billionaire gutter press have fanned a resurgence of racism and xenophobia in Britain. Pro and anti-EU ministers in the former Cameron government have stirred a toxic brew.
But one lesson from the Brexit and Trump votes is that the left must not only challenge racism and xenophobia, it must also offer policies on bread-and-butter issues which do not duck questions of immigration and asylum.
The Communist Party calls for as much democratic control as possible under capitalism over the forces of production, distribution and exchange. That’s one of the ways in which, as Lenin put it, state-monopoly capitalism provides the “full material preparation for socialism.”
It means government, state and trade union regulation of the movement of capital and commodities including labour power — not least to combat the super-exploitation of unorganised labour, whether at home or abroad.
It also means a generous welcome for asylum-seekers and an end to discrimination against non-EU immigrants.
Advance on all these fronts requires, above all, the revival of organised workplace militancy and socialist consciousness in the trade union movement.
This was the key to the resurgence of industrial action and the left in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the Communist Party played a leading role in the occupation of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, the mass strikes of miners, dockers, engineers and building workers and in the fight against anti-union laws.
The British economy and the nature of employment has changed substantially since then, in some respects for the worse.
But the basic characteristics — exploitation, discrimination, oppressive management — remain the same.
The issue for Communists is how best we can maximise our party’s contribution to the political class struggle, as the Marxist party of the labour movement and as a section of the international communist movement.
The presence of overseas delegates from the Irish and German communist parties and guests from Ukraine will enrich deliberations at our 54th congress.
The issue for the wider left and labour movement is: do you want a stronger Communist Party in Britain? If your answer is yes — then join it!


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