Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist)

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Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist)
Chairman Harpal Brar
Vice Chairman Ella Rule
General Secretary Zane Carpenter
Founded 2004
Split from Socialist Labour Party
Headquarters Birmingham, West Midlands, England
Newspaper Proletarian
Youth wing Red Youth
Ideology Communism
Political position Far-left
International affiliation International Communist Seminar
Colours Red, Yellow, White
Party flag
Flag of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist).svg

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist) is a Marxist-Leninist, anti-imperialist political party in the United Kingdom, active in England, Scotland, and Wales. The CPGB-ML was created after a split from the Socialist Labour Party (SLP) in 2004. The CPGB-ML publishes the bimonthly newspaper Proletarian, and the Marxist journal Lalkar (originally associated with the Indian Workers' Association) is also closely allied with the party. Harpal Brar, a retired law professor, writer and businessman, has been the chairman of the party since 2004.

Party ideology[edit]

The CPGB-ML adheres to a political theory known as Marxism-Leninism. This is the same political theory adopted by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The CPGB-ML is known for its defence of Communist leaders such as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong.

The CPGB-ML was one of few parties in the UK which did not condemn the 2011 England riots, but instead characterised them as a rudimentary form of anti-capitalist resistance that lacked adequate leadership and direction.[1] The CPGB-ML is opposed to immigration controls, which it holds are measures to misdirect workers and blame each other for the crisis rather than the bourgeoisie.[2][3]

The CPGB-ML opposes Trotskyism, social democracy and what they term revisionist (including Khruschevite) parties. In 1995 CPGB-ML chairman Harpal Brar published a book called Social Democracy: The Enemy Within.[4]

Party activity[edit]

The CPGB-ML is involved in a number of British political movements such as Palestinian solidarity,[5] anti-austerity,[6] antiwar,[7] anti-Maidan,[8] and opposed to the use of drone strikes by the US and NATO against civilians.[9]

The CPGB-ML holds three annual events. The first is the CPGB-ML May Day contingent which marches to Trafalgar Square every year on the 1st of May. The second is the "international BBQ" when the CPGB-ML invites representatives from countries the CPGB-ML supports and people from parties that the CPGB-ML is friendly with. The third annual event held by the CPGB-ML is an October Revolution celebration, which celebrates the first successful Marxist-Leninist revolution and the creation of the USSR.

The party is known for being the only party to carry a banner of Joseph Stalin, including a quote from Stalin, every year on the 1st of May International Workers' Day march in London.[10] The quote is from a book Stalin wrote called The Foundations of Leninism and it says: "Either place yourself at the mercy of capital, eke out a wretched existence as of old and sink lower and lower, or adopt a new weapon – this is the alternative imperialism puts before the vast masses of the proletariat. Imperialism brings the working class to revolution."[10][11]

International positions[edit]

The CPGB-ML supports governments around the world which it perceives to be socialist or anti-imperialist. Some examples are Venezuela, Russia, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Syria, Iran, and People's Republic of China[citation needed]. Delegations from the Chinese embassy have attended meetings of the CPGB-ML and members of the CPGB-ML and Red Youth (the youth wing of the CPGB-ML) have made visits to Ecuador.[12] The party also supports the struggle of the Palestinian people against Zionism in Israel, which it characterises as an apartheid state.[13] It called for a defeat of British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and a movement of direct action and non-cooperation among British working people in order to exert political influence. It was one of many anti-war parties to oppose NATO actions in Libya and Syria and support the governments of Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad. In 2011, the CPGB-ML party chairman Harpal Brar visited Libya during the war to express solidarity with the Libyan people in their fight against NATO.[14] However, the Stop the War Coalition expelled the CPGB-ML for its defence of the Libyan and Syrian governments.[15][16]

The CPGB-ML made clear its support of North Korea and its "anti-imperialist" stance in April 2013, as well as its opposition to Western efforts to discourage the state from acquiring nuclear weapons.[17][18]

Domestic positions[edit]

Northern Ireland[edit]

The CPGB-ML calls for the withdrawal of British troops from the island of Ireland and for a unified 32-county state to be formed. It supports Sinn Féin's leadership of the Good Friday Agreement, which it believes falls within this framework.


The party accepted a position at its 2012 congress that there are no separate English and Scottish nations, but rather, when those nations were at the point of developing as modern capitalist economies, their ruling classes joined together to form a British nation.[19] Though the CPGB-ML believes in local democracy, it sees the Scottish independence movement as diversionary from building a working class movement across the historic nation of Great Britain and therefore opposes it. It claims that proposals set forward for Scottish independence will not break the Union, the British state, or the British army in any significant manner.[20] In its opposition to Scottish independence, it stands at odds with the Scottish Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party (England and Wales).


The party was founded on 3 July 2004 in London.[21] The party effectively split from the Socialist Labour Party (SLP), because of Arthur Scargill's refusal to accept support for North Korea and other states. As a result, Scargill chose to expel a number of members of the party's central committee and its entire Yorkshire region. Those expelled formed the CPGB-ML. The party also has a small number of members from the early days of the British communist movement and the original Communist Party of Great Britain which was connected to the Third International.

Prominent members[edit]

The current Honorary President is Isabel Crook, wife of David Crook, who celebrated her 100th birthday in 2015. Both were communists who were in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and later went to work for Mao Zedong and the Chinese communists.[22][23] Veteran British communist Jack Shapiro, a veteran of the anti-revisionist movement and lifelong communist, was a member of the CPGB-ML until his death.[24]

The party's chairman is a retired university law lecturer, writer and businessman Harpal Brar. The party's vice-chairman and international secretary is Ella Rule, while the party's general secretary is Zane Carpenter.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rage against capitalism; the working class fights back" blog Red Youth August 9, 2011
  2. ^ "CPGB-ML congress calls for an end to immigration control". Proletarian (25). Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist). August 2008. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Red Youth Statement of Aims". Proletarian (35). Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist). April 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Book Review: 'Social Democracy, The Enemy Within'". Compass. The Communist League (Britain) (124). May 1996. 
  5. ^ "GAZA 2014: Zionist - Imperialist 'Axis of Oppression' " Proletarian TV, 27 Jul 2014
  6. ^ "Birmingham TUC Hard up festival" Communist Party of Great Britain(Marxist-Leninist), flickr, September 28, 2014
  7. ^ "Defeat the murderous imperialist predatory war against the Syrian people!" statement by the CPGB-ML, 29 August 2013
  8. ^ "CPGB-ML » ‘Lest we forget’ – the 70th anniversary of the victory over Hitlerite fascism". Retrieved 2015-09-08. 
  9. ^ "Ground the Drones!" blog Red Youth, 29th April 2013
  10. ^ a b "I’ve just seen Nazi banners in Trafalgar Square. Well, almost" The Spectator, James Bloodworth 2 May 2014
  11. ^ Stalin, Joseph (1953). "1". Foundations of Leninism. Moscow, USSR: Foreign Languages Publishing House. p. 1. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "Red Youth speak at October Revolution Celebration Red Youth members attend the festival of Youth and Students in Quito, Ecuador (December 2013)
  13. ^ "Congress motions 2: our international solidarity tasks The motions below were passed at the CPGB-ML’s congress on 5 June 2010" Proletarian issue 37 (August 2010)
  14. ^ Harpal Brar visits Libya. YouTube. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "The following articles contain the word 'Libya' in the title" search on April 17, 2013 of Proletarian for "Libya" which shows half a dozen articles expressing support for the government of Mummar Gaddafi
  16. ^ "The following articles contain the word 'Syria' in the title" search on April 17, 2013 of Proletarian for "Syria" which shows about a dozen articles expressing support for the government of Bashar Al Assad
  17. ^ "Obama to meet South Korea's Park Geun-hye in May". BBC News. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Branigan, Tania (15 April 2013). "North Korea's UK ambassador defends Pyongyang's stance in rare speech". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Scotland: a part of the British nation" Proletarian issue 51 (December 2012)
  20. ^ "The National Question in Scotland: Contributed by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) as a discussion article". Lalkar. September 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  21. ^ "Formation of the CPGB-ML" Proletarian Issue 1 (August 2004)
  22. ^ "Western witness stays true to the Party line" article by Tan Zongyang in China Daily 2011-06-22
  23. ^ Crook, Isabel (21 June 2011). "My memories of 1949" (Interview). Interview with Tan Zongyang. China Daily. Retrieved 12 September 2017 – via YouTube. 
  24. ^ Biography of Jack & Marie Shapiro on website of Graham Stevenson, accessed April 17, 2013

External links[edit]