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November 13 2010 at 9:08 PM
Mervyn Drage 

Out of decency to the memory of Mary Rosser, ex Chief Exec of the PPPS, there should be an obituary in the Star and so should the MML honour her.

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Pete Davies

Mary's important role

November 14 2010, 5:42 AM 

Yes, comrades may have had their differences, but she did help lead the Star through one of the greatest challenges to its existence with the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and the resulting loss of the massive Soviet order for the paper, also not forgetting her refusal to heed the Eurocommunists' diktats in the 1980s and the assertion of the paper's independence.

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Perry Striker

Re: Mary's important role

November 14 2010, 6:18 PM 

Should this include her absolutely disgraceful and despicable role in the late 1990s when she sacked the Stars Editor on completely false and trumped up charges and in reality because her husband the deeply dim, sectarian and incresaingly paranoid Mike Hicks had just been ousted as CPB General Secretary?

The consequent and ultimately successful industrial action at the Star nearly resulted in the Star itself going down the pan, for which the Hicks-Rosser-Bellamy faction would have been 100% to blame.

Im all for showing respect for the departed, but great woman and communist, she certainly was not.

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Mary Rosser Tribune tribute

November 19 2010, 12:45 PM 

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Perry Striker

Good bye, badly

November 19 2010, 10:27 PM 

Very bitter and twisted. To utilise your wifes death as an opportunity to assault the Communist Party of Britain is cheap, sad and rather disgusting. That is no way to salute your partner. I wish Mike peace, but I suspect not in this life.

Mike and Mary played an absolutely magnificent and sterling role in defending and fighting like absolutely bloody hell the old CPGB and the Morning Star against the appalling onslaught and corruption of the so-called eurocommunists. (Anyone who follows this site will know I do not regard the homosexual leaning, right wing revisionist, liberal/SDP faction who took over the CPGB in the 1980s as genuine eurocommunists).

Mike, Mary and many other comrades played an absolutely outstanding role in re-establishing the Communist Party in Britain. They steered and led it through the traumatic times of the collapse of the USSR and the socialist countries. Unfortunately, they agreed a wrong assessment of that collapse, but they deserve the credit for ensuring the survival and continuity of the Communist Party in Britain, through that period.

Sadly, Mike and Marys increasing feeling that as a result of their own acknowledged contribution to the struggle that the CPB and the Morning Star were as of right their own personal property to do as they will and, frankly, dictate over others, to become increasingly paranoid over the consequences of the party attracting and recruiting into membership new and talented forces, to abuse and denigrate the decision of comrades like Ken Gill and Mick Costello to (re)join the CPB as surrender, meant it was ultimately right to dismiss Mike Hicks and replace him as General Secretary by Robert Griffiths.

I am sorry, but building communist unity and the developing of a clear and progressive perspective within the real labour movement took precedence over the disintegrating personalities of people around Mike and Mary.

Mike was removed as General Secretary by an EC elected at a Congress which he had no cause or reason to claim was factional. He tried that on from the previous Congress which elected an EC which did try and throw him out and that was investigated and dealt with appropriately. He raised no issue whatsoever with the Congress which elected the EC which finally did throw him out.

Wouldnt it have been impressive if Mike, Mary and their factional comrades had accepted their dismissal with dignity and discipline, and as we other mortals would have done, got on with the business of developing and contributing the politics and organisation of a Communist party?

No, they chose to use the Morning Star as a platform to re-project their dismissed leadership roles, sacking the editor John Haylett, resulting in a massive strike which the Hicks-Rosser family faction lost, but which could easily have resulted in the end of the Star itself.

And for their role in triggering that violent attack on the Morning Star, a paper owned and managed by the Peoples Press Printing Society, bringing it to the point of destruction, they were disciplined. Correctly and appropriately.

If Mike and Mary were real communist men and women, they would have been disciplined and correct to simply accept they were no longer in leadership positions, but would have continued to contribute to the building of the communist Party in Britain. They have not. Their loss. Not ours.

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Eye witness

What is Mike Hicks smoking?

November 21 2010, 10:14 PM 

Mike Hicks writes in Tribune that 'Nearly half the EC, including Mary [Rosser], were forced out of the party in 1999 by sectarian and other elements'.

No disciplinary action was taken against Mike Hicks or Mary Rosser by the CPB. Nor was any being planned. Hicks had been voted out of the General Secretary's position (by 17 votes to 13, if memory serves) in January 1998. He was offered the Chair and a seat on the Political Committee, but refused them before stamping out of the Executive meeting in a fit of pique.

In retaliation, Mary Rosser engineered the sacking of John Haylett as editor of the Morning Star. After the journalists went on strike and Haylett was reinstated following a tribunal of inquiry, the Rosser-Hicks faction suffered a massive defeat at the PPPS AGM meetings, which drew big turnouts of Morning Star shareholders.

The only members of the Rosser-Hicks faction to be expelled from the CPB were George Wake, not a member of the CPB Executive, for writing a scurrilous letter to trade union leaders attacking the CPB leadership, and then Pete Ritman (also not an Executive member) for using a CPB membership list to circulate a factional journal attacking the CPB leadership.

No member of the CPB Executive was expelled at any time. Nobody was 'forced out of the party' except Wake and Ritman. If Hicks can name one ('nearly half the EC'!!!) I'll apologise for calling him a shoddy liar.

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Captain Winters

Traditional factionalism

November 22 2010, 3:27 PM 

I really want the party to grow beyond the lasting effects of the destruction of the old party. The key point is it needs to recruit beyond the current 'market' of potential and existing members. It needs to concentrate on ordinary people rather than family members, self-interested big wigs and strange 'alternative' types-I.E lonely losers.

The trouble with the CPB is many of its members do not put in hours of work to build the organisation, they use it to further themselves as an individual.There are many problems with having a large section of your membership as nothing less than egotists.

We need the communist party of britian to grow, people need to stop taking things like votes for positions personally and stop damaging the organisation with petty vendettas. The party almost died in the 90s and it was only sustained partly by heroic amounts of effort and partly by people 'encouraging' their sons and daughters to get involved. The party suffered and is suffering from some people treating it as a family business that exists only to boost their own profile.

Lets not let anybody get in the way of building the party. Too many strange people in the party want to turn it into some cult-like social club. We could start to marginalise these idiots by concentrating recruitment on ordinary working class folk.

Less family members who see the party as their property, less big heads who only want to further their own agendas, less social outcasts who see communism as a little niche subculture that makes them different from everyone else,

Lets recruit ordinary men and women who have friends and families, who are part of their communities, who enjoy football over the elitist activities of some CPB members. The party cannot become a proper party if it continues to build itself on certain families, career minded opportunists, or weird vegetarian individualists who live on their own.

Lets re-engage with ordinary working class communities

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Ilya Ehrenburg

Re: Traditional factionalism

December 23 2010, 10:32 PM 

Here here! A message talking sense! Unfortunately too many parties are made up of cliques and generall speaking the working class is viewed as something that will come to support communism after the revolution. It's nice to have the best Marxist analysis out there but the trick lies in making that analysis relevant and aplicable to working people who have been blinded by years of propaganda. And the way to do that is not to ask them to support the Taliban for example..

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Teresa Petrie (nee Hicks)


December 31 2010, 11:01 AM 

My father and all the family are grieving for a wonderful woman who has seen us through very hard times, (I lost my son Adam at the beginning of the year. She was not a well woman in the last couple of years and to slander her like this you should all be ashamed of yourselves as she can no longer defend herself, and my father is grieving for the woman he adored.
How would your loved ones feel if you were slandered like this on your death.
Think before you speak out. No I am not a communist, and if this is how you treat people then I would never want to be one.
My father is a very good person, you are not.

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Eye witness

A pity

January 2 2011, 2:58 AM 

I'm sorry for your loss. But Mike Hicks has tarnished an otherwise decent obituary to Mary Rosser in the Guardian and Tribune by telling lies. He didn't have to do so. Now he is being corrected.

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Mervyn Drage

Lack of respect for Mary Rosser by CPB members.

January 2 2011, 3:59 AM 

I too feel that the treatment by various CPB members of the now deceased Mary Rosser, ex Chief Executive, Morning Star, shows a complete lack of compassion to the comrade concerned and her family who are currently in mourning.

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Perry Striker


January 2 2011, 11:24 PM 

It was inappropriate and unacceptable for me to have made negative comments about Cde Mary Rosser at this time.

I apologise unreservedly for the hurt and offence I have caused members of the family.

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Roy (not real)

been quiet for too long

March 25 2012, 6:02 AM 

Disgusting behavior by certain members of the so-called British Communist Party - reading these comments on here, I feel sick & the need to vomit is extreme.

Having known Mike Hicks, Marry Rosser & Robert Griffths for a number of years joining the party in 1990. I feel I'm more than qualified to comment. For to long I have kept quiet, in the best interest of party unity - but the way you have handled this whole fiasco is disgusting to say the least.

You seem to demonise Marry Rosser & Mike Hicks all to easily, I'm still a member of the CPB but I wonder why ? You dont allow any opposing views whatsoever - there is very little comradely attitude about today's CPB.

Looking back at those years in turmoil - you set in motion the events to destroy both Hicks & Mary, this is nothing new because the party still does this to members - you isolate & send them to Coventry!

Robert Griffiths is weak & useless & a power hungry "Stevenson" family control the party like its own property - the Morning Star is rudderless - unable to keep cost down & overpriced.

John Haylett, Ben Stevenson, Graham Stevenson & Rob Griffths all cling onto power & block others who they disagree with from getting anywhere with the party structure.

The enemy within - I fear my party the CPB as a cancer within.

(Name kept hidden on purpose)

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C MacA

Re: been quiet for too long

March 28 2012, 1:05 AM 

[From facebook]
(Roy hijacked a post about the Scottish YCL & Party performing well in protesting against the Tories in Troon, to bring up his bile)

Britishcommie Roy, you say you keep quite for so long for loyalty/ peace, but then want to rake up now all sorts and try to harm the CPB?
(Obviously the encouraging story of new recruits in the YCL performing brilliantly above in Troon is of no interest to you, as you're just wanting to have a go. Can you really be a healthy CPB member with such an attitude? Personally i don't think so)

Are you one of these people who do nothing in the real world to help build up the movement, the paper or the party, but sit on the end of a keyboard sniping thinking that is being a "Communist"?

I Hope not. Rather I hope you can be drawn in or initiate concrete activity on the ground, to absorb your negative energy into positive & useful action. Express yourself through the proper democratic channels of the Party through your branch, see if you can win the argument there. I have issues with aspects of the party, but I'll be damned if I'll give its enemies cannon fodder like you are! Its against basic party rules and against basic common decency.

The paper is overpriced? Then help win more readers! Organise a Morning Star sale/ CP stall in your local highstreet though your branch. Start off monthly, see if you can build up to fortnightly or even weekly at the weekend?

Stop bitching and do something useful - as Lenin or Wullie Gallacher might have once said!

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critical communit

cpb leadership

March 28 2012, 8:40 PM 

the cpb is growing. Noone can argue this fact. New branches are being refounded all over the place. As capitalism crumbles around them, people are questioning the central tenants of our society.

However, the concerns raised about griffiths and the stevenson family are valid. They are power mad and concerned only with distorting party policy to suit their own careers. None of them have ever done a hard days work and, as a result, they think that supporting the green party in brighton or an elected head of a petty bourgious nationalist party...etc is some way forward.

The party is unfortunately ran by a largely opportunist and factional leadership. However, new recruits are pouring in. They aint all middle class weirdos who have been used by the leadership for years, they are solid working class trade unionists.

Hopefully it wont be long untill this rotten leadership are drowned by the rising tide of ordinary, working class recruits

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hard-working communist

all very strange ...

March 29 2012, 11:47 PM 

Mmm ... all very strange that these kind of vicious, personal attacks on the CPB leadership suddenly appear now, out of nowhere. I suspect that Griffiths and co. are not saints - but never done a hard day's work in their life? Really? Griffiths' previous employment as a voluntary sector worker, TUC tutor etc. is a matter of public record, as is Graham Stevenson's as a trade union official.
Perhaps they will be swept out of the CPB leadership at this year's party congress, but I don't see or hear any evidence that CPB members regard Griffiths, Haylett, Stevenson, Halpin etc. as power-mad careerists and opportunists. I suspect some of the above correspondents are bogus, so they have no intention of getting on with the class struggle instead of spreading their poison.

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bobby johnes


November 26 2010, 12:18 AM 

It is sad that you can say nothing good. When none of you ever put yourselves out there for the fire. Very easy to sit back there and burn a witch!!!

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!
Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 7882

True believe is what she had

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Jeremy Hawthorn

Mike Hicks's Guardian obit of MR

December 23 2010, 7:04 PM 

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Perry Striker

CPB EC members forced out?

December 24 2010, 2:15 PM 

Where on earth has this figure of "nearly 50% of the CPB EC forced out" come from? The Weekly Worker article 11.6.98 indicated four EC members were first suspended - Mary Rosser, George Wake, Francis Wilcox and Peter Ritman. It also indicated Barney Crockett as a Rosser loyalist.

So, were there a load more EC members who were Rosser-Hicks loyalists and subsequently forced out of the CPB? I assume Mike is counting in Paul Corry, Joan Bellamy, and himself? But does this add up to "nearly 50%"?

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Eye witness

Forced out?

December 28 2010, 11:01 AM 

Without going back through my EC minutes, wherever they are, I can say for certain that nowhere near 50% of Executive Committee members were forced out with the election of a new General Secretary in place of Mike Hicks.
Certainly, only two Party members were expelled - George Wake (not an EC member) who wrote a letter to trade union leaders announcing that a faction (Straight Left I think - !!!???) had taken over the CPB, and Peter Ritman who had used a national membership list for factional purposes (ie. for the Hicks-Rosser faction).
I'm pretty sure no disciplinary action was taken against Bellamy, Wilcox, Tish Newland, Crockett etc.
And far from taking action against Mike Hicks - he was offered the Chair after losing the General Secretary vote, but declined in a sulk, before stamping out of the meeting.
Nor was any action being taken against Rosser, before she and the faction members simply stopped attending the EC, stopped paying dues and left the CPB, having begun publishing a factional journal in the meantime.
Of course, action could have been taken about the falsification of minutes, the plotting with Socialist Action to change the composition of the Morning Star management committee, the unauthorised transfer of around £103,000 (never to be seen again) from the Party's reserves to the Star, the subsequent falsification of Party accounts at the congress etc. etc.
But it wasn't, because the new Party leadership wanted to get on with the job of rebuilding the party. And those chiefly responsible had, in any event, walked away.
That Hicks should use Rosser's death to try to rewrite histiry is a bit squalid.

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