Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist)

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Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist)
ChairpersonElla Rule
Vice Chairperson(s)
  • Joti Brar
  • Zane Carpenter
Founded3 July 2004; 17 years ago (2004-07-03)
Southall, London, England
Split fromSocialist Labour Party
HeadquartersBirmingham, West Midlands, England
Newspaper
Ideology
Political positionFar-left
International affiliationICS (defunct)
Colours     
Red, yellow and white
Party flag
Flag of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist).svg
Website
thecommunists.org

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist) is a Marxist–Leninist 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-Leninist journal Lalkar (originally associated with the Indian Workers' Association) is also closely allied with the party. The party chair is Ella Rule.

Founding[edit]

The party's origins were in the Association of Communist Workers (ACW), formed by Harpal Brar in 1969 as a breakaway from the Revolutionary Marxist–Leninist League (itself a split from the Communist Party of Great Britain, CPGB). The ACW joined the Socialist Labour Party (SLP), led by former miners' leader Arthur Scargill,[3] but split from it because of Scargill's refusal to accept support for North Korea and other states.[4] As a result, Scargill chose to expel a number of members of the party's central committee and its entire Yorkshire region.[5] Those expelled, along with others who resigned, formed the CPGB-ML.[5][6]

The CPGB(ML) was founded on 3 July 2004 in London.[5] The party also has a few members from the early days of the British Communist movement and the original CPGB.[7][8]

Party ideology[edit]

The CPGB-ML adheres to Marxism-Leninism, the political theory adopted by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The CPGB-ML defends communist leaders such as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin,[9] Mao Zedong,[10] Kim Il-sung,[11] Enver Hoxha[12] and Fidel Castro.[13]

The CPGB-ML 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.[14] 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.[15]

The CPGB-ML opposes Trotskyism, social democracy, democratic socialism and what they term revisionist (including Khruschevite) parties. In 1995 former CPGB-ML chairman Harpal Brar published a book called Social Democracy: The Enemy Within.[16]

At its 8th congress in September 2018, the party adopted a motion opposing "discrimination on grounds of race, sex or sexual proclivity" but condemning "identity politics, including LGBT ideology" as "reactionary and anti-working class", and declaring members promoting identity politics liable to expulsion.[17] The CPGB-ML have described identity politics as a "reactionary nightmare" imposed by the bourgeoisie.[18] This had led to allegations of transphobia by other organisations belonging to the British left.[19]

Party activity[edit]

The CPGB-ML is involved in a number of British political movements such as Palestinian solidarity,[20] anti-austerity,[21] anti-war,[22] anti-Maidan,[23] and opposed to the use of drone strikes by the US and NATO against civilians.

The CPGB-ML holds three annual events:

The party was known for being the only party to carry a banner of Joseph Stalin, including a quote from Stalin, every year, until 2019, on 1 May International Workers' Day march in London.[26] The quote is from The Foundations of Leninism, a book written by Stalin, saying: "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."[26][27]

The first election fought by party members was the 2018 Birmingham city council election. Three member-candidates stood under the registered label/sub-party "Birmingham Worker". Their best result was in the Balsall Heath West ward with 6.1% of the vote and third place, ahead of local Greens and the Tories. In the Brandwood & King's Heath and Stirchley wards the others gained 0.89% and 1.62%, beating the local TUSC candidate in the former.[28][29]

The CPGB-ML welcomed the founding of the Workers Party of Britain (WPB) by former Labour and Respect party MP George Galloway.[30] Many CPGB-ML members are active in the WPB. The vice-chair of the CPGB-ML Joti Brar, is also the deputy leader of the Workers Party of Britain.[31]

International positions[edit]

The CPGB-ML supports governments around the world which it perceives to be socialist or anti-imperialist, such as those of Venezuela,[32] Russia,[33] Cuba,[34] Zimbabwe,[35] Syria,[36] Iran,[37] and the People's Republic of China.[38] Delegations from the Chinese,[39] Cuban,[40] Venezuelan,[41] North Korean,[42] and Laotian[43] embassies have attended meetings of the CPGB-ML and members of the CPGB-ML and Red Youth have visited Libya,[44] Cuba,[45] Venezuela,[46] Ecuador,[47] Russia,[48] North Korea,[49] China[38] and others. The party also supports the militant actions of Palestinians against Israel and for the dissolution of the State of Israel, which it labels as an apartheid state.[50] 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.[51] 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.[44] The CPGB-ML had joined the Stop the War Coalition shortly after the party's formation in 2004, but was ultimately expelled from the coalition. The CPGB-ML said that this was due to its attacks on the STWC leadership's positions on Libya and Syria, which it characterised as "pro-imperialist".[52]

The CPGB-ML's foreign policy stance includes the defence of the legacy of the late ousted President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.[53]

The CPGB-ML also supports the government of North Korea and what it called its anti-imperialist stance in April 2013, as well as its opposition to Western efforts to discourage the state from acquiring nuclear weapons.[54][55]

The party supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum.[56] Continuing its commitment to euroscepticism it urged its members during the 2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom to vote for the Brexit Party.[57]

The CPGB-ML has shown support for the yellow vests movement which it perceives as a grass-roots working-class movement opposed to capitalism and the European Union.[58]

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.[59]

Scotland[edit]

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.[60] 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.[61] In its opposition to Scottish independence, it stands at odds with the Scottish Socialist Party,[62] the Socialist Workers Party[63] and the Socialist Party (England and Wales).[citation needed]

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.[64][65] 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.[66]

For fourteen years, from the party's founding in 2004 until 2018, the party chairman was the retired university law lecturer, writer and businessman Harpal Brar. The party's vice-chairman and international secretary was Ella Rule, while the party's general secretary was Zane Carpenter.[67] At the 8th party congress in Birmingham in 2018 Harpal Brar stepped down as party chair and was replaced by Ella Rule. Zane Carpenter and Joti Brar became the party's vice chairs.[68]

Despite not being a member, the socialist politician, writer and broadcaster George Galloway has delivered multiple speeches to CPGB-ML events and conferences.[69]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Zionism is a racist and antisemitic tool of imperialist policy in the middle east". The Communists. 24 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Why British workers need a Brexit". CPGB-ML. 1 April 2016.
  3. ^ McSmith, Andy (28 November 2013). "Stalin apologists drink to the memory of Uncle Joe". The Independent. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  4. ^ Gavin Haynes (19 October 2016). "I Went to a Stalinist Free-Speech Protest to Defend Russia Today from Natwest". Vice. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Formation of the CPGB-ML". Proletarian. No. 1. August 2004.
  6. ^ "Uncle Joe's hero status survives 'demonising disinformation'". The Irish Times. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  7. ^ "Remembering departed comrades". Proletarian. No. 28. Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). February 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Jack Shapiro lives forever in our hearts!". Proletarian. No. 34. Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). February 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  9. ^ "October Revolution 101: the future belongs to communism". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  10. ^ Proletarian TV (22 December 2013), Mao to Mandela - History for Sale, retrieved 11 November 2018
  11. ^ "Twenty-fifth anniversary of Comrade Kim Il Sung's death". The Communists. 8 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Celebrating the 100th birthday of Enver Hoxha". Proletarian. No. 27. December 2008.
  13. ^ "Workers must continue to stand in solidarity with revolutionary Cuba". The Communists. 15 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Austerity, capitalism and the racist police state". Proletarian. No. 55. August 2013.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ "Book Review: 'Social Democracy, The Enemy Within'". Compass. The Communist League (Britain) (124). May 1996.
  17. ^ "Identity politics are anti-Marxian and a harmful diversion from the class struggle". www.cpgb-ml.org. 7 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  18. ^ "The reactionary nightmare of 'gender fluidity'". The Communists. 23 March 2019.
  19. ^ Hodder, Lewis. "Inside the last days of the CPGB-ML". Ebb Magazine. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  20. ^ "GAZA 2014: Zionist - Imperialist 'Axis of Oppression' " Proletarian TV, 27 July 2014
  21. ^ "Birmingham TUC Hard up festival" Communist Party of Great Britain(Marxist-Leninist), flickr, 28 September 2014
  22. ^ "Defeat the murderous imperialist predatory war against the Syrian people!" statement by the CPGB-ML, 29 August 2013
  23. ^ "CPGB-ML » 'Lest we forget' – the 70th anniversary of the victory over Hitlerite fascism". Blog.cpgb-ml.org. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  24. ^ RT UK (1 May 2018), May Day marked in capitals around the world, retrieved 11 November 2018
  25. ^ "October 1917: the defining event of our epoch". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  26. ^ a b "I’ve just seen Nazi banners in Trafalgar Square. Well, almost" The Spectator, James Bloodworth 2 May 2014
  27. ^ Stalin, Joseph (1953). "1". Foundations of Leninism. Moscow, USSR: Foreign Languages Publishing House. p. 1. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  28. ^ "Birmingham Worker candidates thank local voters". Birmingham Worker. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  29. ^ Shergill, Becky. "Local government election results May 2018". www.birmingham.gov.uk. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  30. ^ "The Brexit election and the birth of the Workers party". The Communists. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  31. ^ "Introducing the Workers Party". Workers Party of Britain. 12 December 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  32. ^ "Our party's internationalist tasks: support for revolutionary Venezuela". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  33. ^ "The Skripal case is blatant war propaganda. Hands off Russia!". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  34. ^ "Farewell Comrade Fidel Castro. Eternal glory to you!". archive.cpgb-ml.org. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Tribute to Comrade Robert Mugabe". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  36. ^ "No to Nato warmongering; stop WW3! Hands off Syria!". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Iranian foreign minister explains why Iran is developing ballistic missiles". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  38. ^ a b "China celebrates Marx's 200th birthday". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  39. ^ "Spirited rally launches Hands off China campaign". Proletarian. No. 25. August 2008.
  40. ^ "Cuba and the October Revolution". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  41. ^ Proletarian TV (14 December 2016), Venezuela - The Struggle continues!, retrieved 11 November 2018
  42. ^ "October 100: DPR Korea pays tribute". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  43. ^ "Laos independence and the October Revolution". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  44. ^ a b Proletarian TV (17 July 2011), Libya Report USA, retrieved 11 November 2018
  45. ^ "Reflections on a first-time visit to Cuba". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  46. ^ "16th World Festival of Youth and Students, Venezuela, August 2005". archive.cpgb-ml.org. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  47. ^ "Red Youth speak at October Revolution Celebration Red Youth members attend the festival of Youth and Students in Quito, Ecuador (December 2013)
  48. ^ "Red Youth represent British Marxist-Leninists at the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students – Red Youth". redyouth.org. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  49. ^ "Eye witness to socialism: report from Korea". archive.cpgb-ml.org. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  50. ^ "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)
  51. ^ "Anti-war work in Britain". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  52. ^ "Stopping the war machine: anti-war work in Britain". Lalkar (July/August 2012).
  53. ^ "Tribute to Comrade Robert Mugabe". The Communists. 1 December 2017.
  54. ^ "Obama to meet South Korea's Park Geun-hye in May". BBC News. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  55. ^ Branigan, Tania (15 April 2013). "North Korea's UK ambassador defends Pyongyang's stance in rare speech". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  56. ^ "Why British workers need a Brexit". CPGB-ML. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  57. ^ "Galloway, Farage and the Brexit party". The Communists. 7 May 2019.
  58. ^ "One year on: the yellow vests and the class struggle in France". The Communists. 19 November 2019.
  59. ^ "End the British occupation of Ireland!" (PDF). CPGB-ML. 15 February 2010.
  60. ^ "Scotland: a part of the British nation" Proletarian issue 51 (December 2012)
  61. ^ "The National Question in Scotland: Contributed by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) as a discussion article". Lalkar. September 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  62. ^ "Scottish Independence". Scottish Socialist Party. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  63. ^ "Down with the union - support Scottish independence". Socialist Worker. 17 September 2013.
  64. ^ "Western witness stays true to the Party line" article by Tan Zongyang in China Daily 22 June 2011
  65. ^ Crook, Isabel (21 June 2011). "My memories of 1949" (Interview). Interviewed by Tan Zongyang. China Daily. Retrieved 12 September 2017 – via YouTube.
  66. ^ Biography of Jack & Marie Shapiro on grahamstevenson.me.uk website of Graham Stevenson, accessed 17 April 2013
  67. ^ "October Revolution: beacon lighting the way forward for all humanity". Proletarian. No. 33. December 2009.
  68. ^ "Comrade Harpal Brar steps down as party chairman after 14 years". CPGB-ML. 24 October 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  69. ^ "George Galloway celebrates the achievements of the Chinese revolution". The Communists. 8 September 2019.

External links[edit]