Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Hammers, Sickles, Stars and Doves

Following last Saturday's AGM (thanks to everyone who came by the way) I've been slowly putting together a report of what went on. Not that I've got stuck on page one - call it more of a distraction - but I don't know what to put on the front cover.

That might sound silly. It's the Communist Party stupid. I suppose I need to explain.

The Communist Party of Britain is the communist party of the UK. Yes there are innumerable parties who are called the . . . (insert Revolutionary, New, etc etc) communist party of . . . (various forms of Britain, Great Britain) and then random assortments of Marxist, Leninist, Provisional Central Committee . . . it's like some bizarre game of Scrabble. But the Communist Party of Britain is the only party in the country allowed to call itself "The Communist Party". It is also the only one of the modern parties able to proudly (through its links to the Morning Star and directly through its membership) trace its roots back to the original Communist Party of Great Britain founded in 1920. What's more (sorry if I've got this wrong) it is the only party to stand election candidates independently from broader alliances.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

General Secretary's address to the new Executive Committee

Communist Party general secretary delivers the Political report to the first meeting of the new Executive Committee this weekend

Comrades, It's not my intention to deliver a state of the universe address - that was attempted in my General Secretary's address to our 51st congress. But I do want to highlight some economic and political developments and trends that, I believe, should provide a context for our decisions today and our work over the coming two years.
Firstly, I think it can be said that barely a day passes which does not confirm - and sometimes dramatically - the analysis made at our congress of the domestic and international situation.

The NATO summit in Lisbon, for instance, underlines the extent to which United States imperialism is seeking to re-orientate its military perspectives while rebuilding its hegemony over the other main imperialist powers - notably France and Germany - and over emerging or re-emerging economic and political powers such as Russia and India. China and Brazil present particular problems because of their own political orientations.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Liberal Democracy - The greatest oxymoron of them all

The first section of this article is based upon part of the final chapter of "Hegemony and Socialist Strategy - Towards a Radical Democratic Politics" by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe.

Liberal Democracy has managed to successfully brand itself as the most "democratic" of political systems. Any system calling itself socialist, never mind communist, is tainted with undertones of totalitarianism or authoritarianism. The Liberal Democratic model, with a multi-party system based upon "free and fair" elections is the model exported around the globe by the giants of capital and their militarised political wings. And why not? Surely being "liberal" (in the social sense) is what every educated person would want to be described as. And "democratic", well don't we all want to be that. . .

In the 1940s the economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek attacked state intervention in economics and criticised the creation of welfare states. His belief was that a state would move towards totalitarianism when the law, which he viewed as a means of controlling the state, was instead used by the state to give new powers to itself. This addition of legal powers to an administration would lead to collectivisation and an increased bureaucracy.

This version of liberalism entangles liberty and democracy and reduces political objectives to one goal: individual liberty. "Democracy is a means, a utilitarian device, for safeguarding peace and individual freedom" - Hayek, The Road to Serfdom.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A Conscript Army of Cheap labour

The Communist Party of Britain's Economic Committee has issued the following statement in response to the plans announced today (November 11, 2010) by the Con-Dem government's Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith

The unemployed have joined the lengthening list of 'the enemy within', alongside striking workers, housing and incapacity benefit claimants and students.
They and their dependants—including children—are to be punished if they don't rush to do unpaid menial work, or jobs once done by properly paid council employees with a pension scheme.
The Con-Dems are raising a new conscript army of cheap labour, as part of their drive to boost big business profits by dragging down wage levels.
The new scheme unveiled by Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has to be seen as the latest in a barrage of attacks on the unemployed, the sick and the incapacitated.
It follows on from the programme of 'social cleansing' which will drive housing benefit claimants from middle class and inner-city areas. Its architect is the arch-Thatcherite who tells the unemployed to 'get on the bus' to spend three hours a day travelling to and from an eight hours a day job.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Plymouth Students (and graduate from nearby Uni [that'd be me]) Protest at Fees

I was going to write my own report on Saturday's protest, but then thought it'd be much easier to pinch the one from the Herald:

Students March Against Fees

I do have original photos courtesy of the other half:

Thursday, 14 October 2010

90th Celebrations

In September the Exeter  and South Devon branch of the CPB hosted a celebration of 90 years of the party, 80 years of the Morning Star/Daily Worker, and comrade Ron Champion's 90th birthday.

To see the all the pictures, visit our facebook album.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Media, hegemony and the control of society

In the past, society had its villains. On the one side was the working class – the cotton mill worker, the miner, the small boy sweeping chimneys. On the other was the top hat wearing, cigar smoking, port drinking capitalist. This jaded view of the past, with sharp class distinctions, not only serves as a means of simplifying class based politics, but is used by the modern ruling class to pretend that society is now “classless” and more equal.

However, while the ruling elite is not seen to be directly oppressing the people by locking them up in workhouses, their influence and control is now more subtle, and through this subtlety, much more powerful.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

2nd Most Right-wing Candidate Wins Labour Leadership!

It's started already. "Red Ed" the union's whipping boy is steering the Labour Party (LP) into the left-wing wilderness. If only. The viscous, uneducated, simplistic morons who write for the oligarchical press barons really don't get it. One wonders if they have any idea about the foundation of the LP or just how left wing it used to be.

First we need to tackle the misconception that will be used by the oiks who read the Daily Mail. It is true that David Miliband won a higher proportion of MP and LP member votes, and Ed won overwhelming trade union support. If it wasn't for the unions, Ed would have lost. But what is wrong with that? The LP was founded by the trade union movement. The unions fund the LP. If it wasn't for the unions this country wouldn't have a LP. The LP should be influenced more by the unions, not less. The LP should be the voice of the unions in Parliament.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

1950 Election Campaign

Feeling fed up of this awful coalition? Need a bit of a distraction? Well how about a pamphlet from the 1950s analysing the Devon and Cornwall district's election campaign!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Forging the Argument

In a recent BBC poll (5th Sept), 60% of those surveyed supported the government’s cuts agenda. The ConDem coalition has used the media to create a storm of deficit fetishism. This will pave the way for cuts that are driven by an ideology that is anti-benefits, anti-union and fundamentally anti-worker. How are we to respond to this?

Origin of the Crisis – Why was the UK vulnerable?

This was not a crisis caused by the public sector. Crises are inherent in our economic system - this one was just delayed by the financial trickery of global capital. The UK, at the heart of global financial markets, was hit hard because the government came to rely so heavily on the revenues of the banking and financial sectors.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Plymouth Right to Work Campaign. What can Exeter Anti-Cuts learn?

On Wednesday evening around fifty trade unionists, political activists, community group leaders and rag tag left-wingers assembled for the launch of the Plymouth Fight-back Against the Cuts. The public meeting was called by Plymouth Trades Council to officially set up a group affiliated to the national Right to Work Campaign.

And it was good. I shan't go into the facts of what was said, because you can read that here: http://www.plymouth-tuc.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44:sucessful-meeting-launches-plymouth-right-to-work&catid=3:news.

I'd much rather let you know my own thoughts about the meeting, and what can be learnt from the campaign that Plymouth is launching.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance

A new grouping is to be formed in Exeter to offer an alternative to the current hegemonic control of the media. This movement will form a base for the discussion of alternative policies and resistance to the ideological programme of the Con-Dem coalition:
Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The USSR, part 1

I am fed up with people bashing communists because of Stalin. So last century, get over it. No one is going to impose a red terror in Britain, none of us are arguing for British gulags.

So, to shut the morons up, I'm going to write a very brief summary of what I've learnt about the USSR and the Russian Communists. Here goes:

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

New website under construction

I'm building a proper website for the branch! Eventually it will be hosted by LeftSpace and be called something like www.southdevoncommunists.org.uk. For now I'm using the free space that Google is kind enough to give me.

You can see the work in progress here.

Common Sense? The Ideology of the Con-Dem Coalition

The economic situation has given the ruling class the perfect alibi to inflict their ideology upon the country. The Tories are able to bring about their pro-business, anti-state (which, as we all know, means anti-democratic and anti-worker) policies. These policies are dressed up in liberal ideals of individuality, freedom, choice, aspiration and the “local”. What makes the situation worse is that the “pain” of the cuts is being blamed on the previous Labour government. The public are being told that the recession was not the systemic failure of capitalism, but the fault of a bloated public sector.

But who would not agree with the following: more choice; less bureaucracy; more local decision-making; efficient public services? Unfortunately the way the Con-Dems seek to bring about this “revolution” is by selling the country to the lowest bidder. This can be seen in the two key policy areas announced so far – schools and the NHS.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Tolpuddle Martyrs 2010

What started off as a clod grey day, ended in glorious sunshine. The sunburn is killing.

Here are the photos of the CPB banners from this years Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival: CPB Banners Tolpuddle 2010

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Exotically Coloured Cocktail Anyone?

OK, so I've seen Kylie live - twice. And my boyfriend does own every CD she has ever released and we have been known to spend Saturday night in with several bottles of wine and a collection of Kylie DVD's. But that's  not the point.

While everyone with any sense should welcome the Supreme Court's decision to grant asylum to gay men and lesbians who could be executed if deported, the words of Lord Rodger are slightly worrying. Or are they? Here is the quote in full:

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Gerry Sables to stand in Barnstaple by-election

Gerrard Sables explains why North Devon branch of the Communist Party is standing in a by-election

When I stood this year in the general election for the North Devon constituency I believed myself to be the very first communist to stand in the South West peninsula. I was wrong. Edwin "Tappy" Tapscott stood in February 1950 for the Totnes constituency. Involved in that campaign were two comrades I had the privilege of meeting in their later years, Ernie Benson author of To Struggle is to Live and the Pensioners leader and author of No Thanks to Lloyd George Dave Goodman. Suffice it to say I was probably the second communist to stand in the South West peninsula.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A Party of the Unemployed?

The Left has a problem. If one more "socialist" appears on TV complaining about the plight of people on benefits, I might do something silly.

Now before I get torn to pieces and denounced as a "reformist, revisionist, anti worker, naive, patronising, never been there, doesn't understand the problem class traitor" let me explain.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Campaign against the 2010 budget

The CPB has launched a campaign against a budget so see-through it may as well be signed by big business, city speculators and the bond markets. Download the campaign leaflet here:

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Not So Independent "Office for Budget Responsibility"

First the Bank of England was taken out of democratic control. Now the government's budget has followed.

If it were not bad enough that the "independent" (listen to how many times the Tories say it) OBR is full of ex-treasury staff and political advisors; they are all appointed by the government anyway. That's almost as stupid as if Israel were to carry out the investigation into the boarding of . . . What? They are?

Perhaps the most disturbing element of the creation if this department, no matter how it s staffed, is the removal of governmental control over its own affairs. This office is the ultimate form of monopoly capital having undue influence over democratic institutions. Big business now not only decides what interest rates it wants to pay, it can now force (and lets be honest, the Tories will go along with whatever big business tells them) the democratically elected government of this country, to cut whatever it deems best for business.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Palestinian Solidarity in Plymouth

About a hundred people marched through Plymouth today (twice actually) to show support for the people of Gaza and to demonstrate against both the blockade and recent boarding of the aid convoy. Despite the usual heckles from the masses - shouts of "just bomb them" were heard - the rally was well received. To get involved visit: www.plymouthpsc.org.uk

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

One Man's Freedom Fighter. . . (part one)

It often takes a crisis to focus the mind. Until now I had paid little attention to the Israel - Palestine question, dismissing it as a religious struggle, a humanitarian crisis, and something unlikely to be solved while people still believe in god, or that they have a god given right to anything. Perhaps I haven't changed my mind, but I thought it was worthwhile trying to understand the history of the problem.

I am not going to start with scripture, there is little point. Things only start to become relevant after the Great War. Between 1917-1948 the territory was administered by the British Mandate for Palestine. The mandate declared:

Friday, 21 May 2010

Why the EU Flag is Oh So Blue

Forget the English Civil War, the Chartist Movement, the Paris Commune, the French Revolution, the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, the defeat of Nazi Germany by Soviet forces; Europe is the home of right wing, big business capitalism.

As the European debt crisis continues and once-sovereign governments now bend over backwards to appease the increasingly despotic Market, the working people of Europe are again held to ransom and forced to pay for a disastrous project that none of us actually wanted.

Sure, our economies have grown, some of us have had jobs, there has been increased tax revenue and government spending - I'm not about to argue that in the short term the European Capitalist Project hasn't been good for a few. In the short term. For a few.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Annual Karl Marx Oration

Jean Turner is honorary secretary of the Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies. This is an edited version of her speech at the Annual Karl Marx Oration at Highgate cemetery.

Marxist Thought

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Homosexuality is not a “lifestyle choice” – Christianity is

Christians feel that they are being discriminated against and that their values are being ignored. But what people of all faiths need to realise is the difference between practicing a faith, and imposing those views on others.

Perhaps the best recent example of this supposed “discrimination” is the case of a nurse prevented from openly wearing a crucifix at work: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1263985/Shirley-Chaplin-Crucifix-row-nurse-loses-discrimination-case.html. I wouldn’t bother reading the whole article, but this is probably the best bit:

“She sees herself as the victim of politically correct persecution, particularly as other hospital staff have been allowed to carry on wearing the Muslim hijab or headscarf. 'I feel personally discriminated against, and I am very angry,' said the nurse.”

Monday, 26 April 2010

North Devon General Election News

I was at the campaign launch, now here's an interview with the candidate.

northdevonelection.blogspot.com: interview with the communist candidate

Who wouldn't vote for a communist in tweed with a pencil behind his ear?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Aspiration and choice – the two great phantoms of the neoliberal agenda

Aspiration and choice – the two great phantoms of the neo-liberal agenda. Everyone aspires to do better for themselves and their children; everyone wants the freedom to choose how they live their lives. These two pillars form the basis of Western political thought, and anyone who dares question their validity is either an oppressive totalitarian or a patronising do-gooder with no experience of the real world.

In the 2010 election campaign the three main parties will all be pushing the choice and aspiration mantra. More choice over schools – to the extent that parents are able to set up one of their own, the right to chose which hospital you go to, choosing your police chief, helping people become home owners, raising the aspirations of old industrial working class areas to the giddy heights of the service sector – the list is endless. Each policy is, in its own right, a worthwhile cause, yet not a single one addresses the fundamental iniquities of our current economic and political system. People are encouraged to engage with these small issues as long as they don’t challenge the hegemony of the monopoly class.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

And they’re off – So that’s what the bad smell is

So the election has been officially announced and the campaigns are underway. Apart from the Conservative “Voluntary National Service” (and who is that going to help? The people who volunteer will be the nice boys and girls who don’t need help. And if it’s compulsory, well that doesn’t even bare thinking about – Hitler youth anyone. Besides, has anyone asked the over 65s if they want smelly teenagers picking up leaves for them. . .) it’s all about National Insurance.

The Conservatives are planning to cut a tax that hasn’t even come into effect yet: hardly the most daring electoral pledge. And to pay for it, lets hear it for the ever-present panacea, efficiency savings. Efficiency savings. You can really feel the slimy smile of Big Dave as he looks you up and down, axe in one hand, latest CBI report in the other, “It’s for your own good. No one likes the state anyway, so we’ll go about abolishing it, bit by bit, starting with all the services that people actually use”.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Lock 'em up and throw away the key!

I love starting blogs with quotes. The award for the best from this week goes to Eric Carlin:

“Our decision was unduly based on media and political pressure.” “As well as being extremely unhappy with how the ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) operates, I am not prepared to continue to be part of a body which, as its main activity, works to facilitate the potential criminalisation of increasing numbers of young people.”

The mephedrone decision “was seen as a quick fix so that the home secretary could be seen to be acting tough on drugs before an election.”

Sunday, 28 March 2010

What Democracy? Whose Democracy? When choice is no choice.

“Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same”

Much of this article may rehearse well-known lines of thought. But it is important, in a time of elections, to reflect on the nature of the “choice” we are given. My inspiration for writing came when standing on a party stall; a member of the public criticised me for being a Communist and therefore not believing in democracy.

The quote at the top of the page comes from Orwell’s 1984. Many people read this as a direct criticism of communist systems. It actually forms part of Emmanuel Goldstein’s The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism – Ignorance is Strength. This fictional work is not a diatribe against communism, but a scathing attack on any system that keeps the same elite in power. Sound familiar?

Saturday, 27 March 2010

No No NO!

Blogging has always seemed a bit odd to me. Why on earth should I spend my time writing about the world, and why (more to the point) would anyone want to read it? After all, I'm already getting bored of facebook, and that has pictures and games.

Over the coming months the country is going to be engulfed with media speculation, propaganda, soundbites, promises, lies, and an ever increasing race to the bottom. With Alistair Darling's recent BBC interview (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2010/03/chancellor.html), we now know that even the Labour Party is going to get over the current crisis in the Capitalist system by taking it out on the Public Sector and ordinary workers of this country. The ruling class are either too scared too consider the socialist alternative, too deep in the pockets of the business world, or too stupid to acknowledge the truth.

I'll try not to make it too bombastic, but I often can't help myself!