Harpal Brar

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Harpal Brar
Brar speaking at the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in Birmingham, 2015.
Born (1939-10-05) 5 October 1939 (age 84)
EducationUniversity of Westminster
Occupation(s)Former chairman of the CPGB-ML, businessman, university lecturer
Known forAnti-imperialist activism, CPGB-ML founder, support of Irish republicanism and Palestinian solidarity
Notable workInquilab Zindabad: India's Liberation Struggle (2014)
Political partyCommunist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
ChildrenJoti Brar (daughter)
Ranjeet Brar (son)

Harpal Brar (born 5 October 1939) is an Indian communist politician, writer and businessman, based in the United Kingdom. He is the founder and former chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist), a role from which he stood down in 2018.

Born in Muktsar, Punjab, British India, Brar has lived and worked in Britain since 1962, first as a student, then as a lecturer in law at Harrow College of Higher Education (later merged into the renamed University of Westminster), and later in the textile business. Brar owns buildings in West London which he uses for CPGB-ML party activity, and he part-owns an online shop called "Madeleine Trehearne and Harpal Brar" which sells shawls.

Brar is the editor of a left-wing political newspaper Lalkar, the former journal of the Indian Workers' Association. Brar has written multiple books on subjects such as communism, Indian republicanism, imperialism, anti-Zionism, anti-colonialism, and the British General Strike. He is also a co-founder of the Hands off China Campaign.

Political activities[edit]

Brar joined the Maoist Revolutionary Marxist-Leninist League but soon left to become a founder member of a small group, the Association of Communist Workers,[1] as well as being a member of the Association of Indian Communists.[citation needed]

He and his comrades officially dissolved the ACW in 1997 to join Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party, a breakaway from the Labour Party after its abandonment of the original version of Clause IV. Brar was the parliamentary candidate in Ealing Southall in 2001,[2] coming eighth with 921 votes.[3] Brar and his comrades worked to bring what they described as an Anti-Revisionist Marxist-Leninist programme to the SLP, but were eventually expelled seven years later.[4]

Scargill expelled the entire Yorkshire Regional Committee and five members of the National Executive Committee. From this, in July 2004, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was formed,[5] and Brar was its chairman.[1]

Adopting positions maintained by Brar and his comrades since the 1960s, the CPGB-ML has been vigorously opposed to all those who work with or in any way endorse the Labour Party since its inception. Its stated aim on formation was to oppose opportunism in the working-class movement, revive the "class against class" programme embodied by the Communist Party of Great Britain during the 1920s, and to work for the establishment of socialism in Britain.[6][7]

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist) was registered with the Electoral Commission in 2008 under the name Proletarian, which is the title of the bi-monthly newspaper of the CPBG-ML. The party was registered "to prepare for standing in elections".[8]

At the eighth congress of the CPGB-ML in September 2018, Brar announced that he would step down as chairman of the party, to be replaced by Ella Rule.[9]

Views on China[edit]

On 19 July 2008, Harpal Brar was one of the people who founded the Hands off China campaign, dedicated to defending the People's Republic of China and to defending "China's sovereignty and territorial integrity" and "the country's just stance on issues of its vital national interest such as Taiwan and Tibet."[10]

Views on India[edit]

Brar strongly disagrees with the popular belief that the Indian independence movement was peaceful and pacifist, and was led entirely by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. In his book Inquilab Zindabad: India's Liberation Struggle he argues that a violent and bloody class struggle involving the masses took place. He accuses Gandhi and Congress of supporting British imperialism, describing the latter as "the most compromising, cowardly and obscurantist representatives of the India bourgeoisie".[11]

Views on the Soviet Union[edit]

Brar defends the governments and leaders of the USSR until the appearance of Khrushchevite revisionism during the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956.[12] Lalkar, the newspaper edited by Brar, criticises The British Road to Socialism (the programme of the original Communist Party of Great Britain) from its earliest version in 1951 as "un-Marxist"[13] and regards the claim that Joseph Stalin approved it as a "fiction".[14] Brar is seen as an admirer of Stalin and has been attacked as an "anachronism" in the Weekly Worker publication of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), which Brar in turn regards as Trotskyite propaganda.[15]

He has chaired and is an active member of the Stalin Society,[2][1] along with his daughter Joti Brar (deputy leader of the Workers Party of Britain). The Society denies Soviet wrongdoing in the Katyn massacre which they blame on the Nazis,[16][1] the Soviet famine of 1932–33[1] which they blame on foreign sanctions, kulak sabotage and weather patterns,[17] and the Moscow Trials which they describe as fair process.[18]


For many years, he was on the executive of the Indian Workers Association (GB) and was the editor of that organisation's journal Lalkar. He continues to publish the journal, but the IWA cut its ties with the paper in 1992, when members of the executive committee with affiliations to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) objected to Brar's publishing of an article that was mildly critical of the adoption of market socialism in China.[19]

Since 1992, Brar has self-published fourteen books on various aspects of Marxism, imperialism and revisionism. These works are a combination of original material and articles previously published in Lalkar and have been translated and distributed internationally by a number of sympathetic communist parties around the world.


  • Inquilab Zindabad, India's Liberation Struggle (2014)
  • Revisionism and the Demise of the USSR
  • The 1926 British General Strike
  • Nato's Predatory War Against Yugoslavia
  • Imperialism and War
  • Imperialism – the Eve of the Social Revolution of the Proletariat
  • Chimurenga! The Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe
  • Imperialism – Decadent, Parasitic, Moribund Capitalism
  • Bourgeois Nationalism or Proletarian Internationalism?
  • Perestroika: The Complete Collapse of Revisionism (1992)
  • Trotskyism or Leninism? (1993)
  • Social Democracy: The Enemy Within (1995)

Elections contested[edit]

UK Parliament elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes %
1997 Ealing Southall SLP 2,107 3.9
2001 Ealing Southall SLP 921 2.0

European Parliament elections

Year Region Party Votes % Result Notes
1999 London SLP 19,632 1.7 Not-elected Multi-member constituency; party list

London Assembly elections (Entire London city)

Date of election Party Votes % Results Notes
2000 SLP 17,401[20] 1.0 Not elected Multi-members party list[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Uncle Joe's hero status survives 'demonising disinformation'". The Irish Times. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  2. ^ a b McSmith, Andy (28 November 2013). "Stalin apologists drink to the memory of Uncle Joe". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 May 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Ealing Southall 2001 - Parliamentary election results". Ealing Council. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  4. ^ "Scargill expels Brar". Weekly Worker. No. 530. 26 May 2004. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)". cpgb-ml.org. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  6. ^ Formation of the CPGB-ML, Proletarian, August 2004
  7. ^ Celebrating October, Proletarian, November 2011
  8. ^ "Index to Statements of Accounts" (PDF). Electoral commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  9. ^ "Comrade Harpal Brar steps down as party chairman after 14 years". Proletarian. 24 October 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Britain's Communist Party launches "Hand-Off-China" campaign". Xinhua News Agency. 20 July 2008. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  11. ^ Brar, Harpal (2014). Inquilab Zindabad: India's Liberation Struggle. Great Britain. ISBN 978-1-874613-22-0.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  12. ^ Brar, Harpal (2011). "Revisionism and the Demise of the USSR" (PDF). Perestroika. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  13. ^ "The British Road to Revisionism". Lalkar. November 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  14. ^ "The revolutionary programmes of British Communism". Lalkar. January 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Stalin Society v CPGB". weeklyworker.co.uk. 20 June 2001. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  16. ^ Ella Rule (17 February 2016). "The Katyn Massacre". Stalin Society. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  17. ^ John Puntis (17 February 2016). "Ukrainian famine-genocide myth". Stalin Society. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  18. ^ Mario Sousa trans. Ella Rule (14 January 2017). "Lies concerning the history of the Soviet Union". Stalin Society. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" Archived 15 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Lalkar
  20. ^ "Greater London Authority Election Results". election.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  21. ^ "Greater London Authority Candidates". election.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 7 September 2015.

External links[edit]