Harpal swipes at NCP & CPBJanuary 10 2008 at 9:18 AM
|John Peet (Former Reutes correspondent) |
Response to Re: To Bluebottle - Urgent
I have been keeping out of this thread, but I just had to post this excerpt from Harpal Brar's article on Respect in Lalkar - when I could stop laughing. -JP
The same cannot be said, however, for the chronic and incurable revisionists of the New Communist Party (NCP), whose slavish, yet totally unrequited, love for the Labour Party is driving them inexorably towards their political grave.
In the November 16th 2007 edition of their paper the New Worker, the NCP devotes its editorial to the events in Respect, stating in the second paragraph:
“The reasons for the split are of little concern to communists.”
Leaving aside the somewhat obvious question as to why the NCP should then devote the whole of its editorial column to a matter of such apparently little concern, it is well known that no corner of the political spectrum was too obscure as not to attract the careful attention of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin in their day, and their writings are positively replete with their dissections of all trends in the working class movement, in particular. More specifically, if the few remaining members of the NCP could somehow manage to stir themselves to get off their backsides occasionally and actually engage with the mass movement, to which they profess such verbal attachment, they would know that, for better or worse, it has been the alliance between Galloway and the SWP that has largely provided the leadership core of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC), notwithstanding all its weaknesses, especially its pandering to the left wing of social democracy, the never-ceasing attempts to cater to the interests of the labour aristocracy, and its inability to carry to logical conclusion its opposition to the war – all of which we have criticised in the past. However, apart from a token effort on the main national marches, the presence of the NCP at StWC activities is about as likely as a snowstorm in the Sahara.
In fact, what happens in Respect is of great “concern” to the NCP, as this miserable apology for a communist party has set itself the task of keeping the working class movement tied to the imperialist Labour Party. Let these revisionist dolts speak for themselves:
“The alternative to Labour in Parliament is not fringe groups but the massed ranks of the Tories and Liberal Democrats who, given half a chance, would launch a massive attack on the working class if they returned to power.”
We can but presume that, in the considered view of the NCP, the Labour governments of Blair and Brown have not been launching a “massive attack” on the working class!
Faced with the uphill, not to say impossible, task of attempting to reconcile its communist pretensions with its squalid and servile support for the Labour Party, the NCP concocts a mechanical, not to say absurd, “theory”, whereby the proletariat apparently needs two parties, a social democratic one to fight for reforms and a communist one to fight for revolution! Explain the revisionist cretins of the NCP:
“The NCP’s support for Labour is based on the principle of strengthening the power of the organised working class. Reforms are best carried out by reformist parties and that is what the Labour Party is and will always be as long as it retains the link with the union movement.”
Leaving aside the fact that the Labour Party (unlike, for example, Respect) is not a reformist party, but a viciously reactionary party whose hands are dripping with the blood of over two million Iraqis and Afghans today, and of Irish, Malays, Greeks, Koreans, and countless others throughout the blood soaked history of “Labour” governments, this wooden, mechanical, not to say idiotic “theory” turns the very ABC of communism and communist organisation on its head. To quote again from Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto:
“The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.
“The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the lines of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement…
“The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement.” (Our emphasis – LALKAR)
Nothing could be clearer - nor could it be further from the painful intellectual contortions in which the NCP is forced to indulge out of its determination to defend the indefensible.
Unfortunately, we have not yet heard the worst. Continues the NCP’s editorial:
“The Labour Party is not the enemy of the working class nor is it a barrier to communist advance.”
One could surely be forgiven for not knowing where to start in replying to such brazen, such shamefaced, revisionism and such out and out class treachery. Fortunately, help is to hand in no less a form than the New Worker itself! With the wit and wisdom of its thoughts on Respect to be found on page 2, it only takes the kind of minimal physical effort that even an NCP cadre might be able to muster once in a while to turn back to the front page, where you can find the headline, “Brown leads on the road to fascism”!
Dear, long suffering readers, we promise you that we are not making this up! So, ladies and gentlemen of the NCP, we would like to ask, as the working class needs to know:
· Is fascism a reform beneficial to working class interests or is it not?
· Does the introduction of fascism make you an enemy of the working class or not?
· Does fascism represent a barrier to communist advance or not?
Truly, the NCP’s tortured logic brings to mind the sage observation of William Shakespeare that: “Those whom the gods seek to destroy they first make mad.”
The NCP’s comments on Respect did however serve the purpose of initiating a debate in the letters page of the New Worker, which commenced with a letter from Comrade Dermot Hudson that made a number of correct points. Responding to Hudson, one NCP apologist, Edwin Bentley, referred to the “supremely eloquent but limitless opportunism of George Galloway”. Whilst we would query neither Galloway’s eloquence nor his opportunism, one cannot but contrast this description with the fawning sycophancy that the NCP, with monotonous regularity, reserves for such charlatans as John McDonnell, Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn, who all take great care to keep their strictly limited opposition to imperialism within the safest of bounds and whose main political task is actually to try to retain the support of the working class and progressive people for the imperialist and warmongering Labour Party. Indeed, it is in marked contrast to the fawning attitude that the NCP once displayed towards Galloway himself, just so long as he remained inside their precious Labour Party.
No, for the revisionists of the NCP, the problem with Galloway’s opportunism is not that it is limitless, but precisely that it, unlike theirs, has been shown to have its limits.
In contrast to the NCP, their fellow revisionists in the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) do at least appear to retain a certain grip on reality. Andrew Murray, a prominent CPB member, who, as Chair of the StWC has worked closely with both sides of the now split Respect, recognised that the matter was of some real concern to communists, even if, writing in the Morning Star of November 19th 2007, all he could manage was a somewhat vacuous plea for unity:
“The big lesson from the last few years is that we can only advance in unity…
“It is important that everybody involved on all sides of the dispute in Respect says that the present controversies should not affect the anti-war movement.”
As if they could fail to do so!
In fact, the split in Respect can but hasten the looming split in the CPB itself. At the time of Respect’s foundation, a group in the CPB leadership, headed by General Secretary Robert Griffiths and Morning Star editor John Haylett, advocated that their party drop its long standing and unthinking support for the Labour Party and throw in its lot with Respect. However, at a Special Congress, they were narrowly defeated by a Labour loyalist faction (whose antipathy to Galloway was exacerbated by their support for the traitors of the pro-occupation “Iraqi Communist Party”) around International Secretary John Foster. For his part, it was always an open secret that Galloway would have been happier to partner with the CPB than the SWP, and this is a matter now being revisited by both parties following the split in Respect.
It is against this background that Griffiths is once again gingerly lifting his head above the parapet.
In his article, ‘Shades of Nuremberg’, published in the Morning Star on 24 September 2007, to coincide with the opening of Labour Party Conference, the CPB General Secretary wrote:
“Nevertheless, a large section of the working class has stayed loyal to Labour. The Communist Party has long recognised this reality, working in alliance with others on the left to improve Labour’s policies rather than try to replace it as the mass party of the labour movement.
“But the ‘tectonic plates’ have been shifting in ways which the trade union movement and the left can not ignore…
“We can no longer ignore the elephant in the room, which is that the Labour Party is in the grip of new Labour.
“Some unions have already disaffiliated and more may regrettably follow as their members have enough of attacks on their jobs, pensions and living standards.
“Individual membership has more than halved - from 407,000 in 1997 to 182,000 today - and millions of former Labour voters have deserted the Labour Party at the ballot box.
“The trade unions and the people of Britain need a mass party of labour. If, as in the US, we all agreed that we do not have one, we would be united in trying to create one. Opting out of the struggle to reclaim or re-establish a mass political party of the labour movement offers no solution.
“From this Labour Party conference, every trade union, whether affiliated or not, and every socialist organisation has a responsibility to outline its proposals for reclaiming or re-establishing Britain's mass party of labour.”
This is hardly radical stuff, but even to raise the questions in such a tentative and half-hearted way shows greater political insight than can be mustered by the blockheads of the NCP, who would still have us believe that Labour remains a mass party, supported by the majority of the working class, and financed not by dubious millionaires and billionaires, but by the workers’ pennies, happily contributed through the trades unions’ political levies.
More significantly, by openly questioning the most sacred political dogma of the half century old revisionist British Road to Socialism, that Labour is somehow the “mass party of the British working class”, articles such as that by Griffiths cited above will serve to open a Pandora’s box of political discussion and debate that may well see the CPB crumble like a house of cards, built as it is on such shoddy political foundations.
In the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (CPGB-ML), this country now has a genuine and serious communist party. Comrades in the CPB and elsewhere who really want to break with revisionism and fight for communism should read the CPGB-ML’s literature, seek out its comrades for discussion, and actively consider applying to join its ranks.