Category: Communist Party Britain
Communist Party: “People’s Brexit: Youth Deserve a Decent start in Life”

London Calling: Britain’s Communist Parties react on the outcome of the General Elections

Saturday, June 10, 2017

London Calling: Britain’s Communist Parties react on the outcome of the General Elections

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/06/london-calling-britains-communist.html

Note: In this blog we are highly critical about Jeremy Corbyn, who we regard as a political representative of social democracy. Mr. Corbyn and his politics have nothing to do with marxism-leninism; on the contrary, we view Corbyn’s leadership and the Labour Party in general as a bourgeois political power which, like the Tories, aims to manage the capitalist system. However, despite any disagreements and with full respect to their choice, we present the reactions of the British Communist Parties on the outcome of the recent elections. 
COMMUNIST PARTY OF BRITAIN.

Communist Party General Secretary Robert Griffiths issued the following statement at 7.50 am, June 9th:

“Twelve million people have voted for a left-wing Labour manifesto and a majority of electors have rejected austerity policies. The Tories have no mandate for five months of public spending cuts, never mind another five years. In raising Labour’s share of the poll by 10 percentage points to almost match the Tories, enthusing huge numbers of young people, Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership have been vindicated. So, too, has the emphasis placed by the Communist Party on the role of mass struggle and class politics in raising people’s class consciousness, confidence and political understanding. This will help bring further advances for Labour in the new election that will be necessary in the very near future, once Theresa May resigns”.

*  *  *

NEW COMMUNIST PARTY OF BRITAIN.

The following article, under the title “Get Ready For The Next Election” appears in the front page of the New Worker.

By Daphne Liddle.

THE ELECTION results are in; we have a hung parliament and Theresa May’s big gamble has turned into a fiasco for the Tories. The Tories remain the largest party in Parliament but they no longer have an overall majority.

May has refused to resign but has cobbled together an instant coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and is going to attempt to govern on. But this government will be anything but ‘strong and stable’ — it will be very weak and its potential to do more damage through more cuts and privatisations is now severely curtailed. The DUP is very much opposed to the Tories’ austerity policies.

The right-wing press is savaging May’s reckless gamble with the electorate and her poor performance during the campaign. They have been particularly scathing about her cuts to police and security services during her term as Home Secretary, in the light of the recent terror attacks.

Senior Tories know their government is weak and vulnerable, and there will almost certainly have to be another election before the end of the year. And given her poor performance they will not want her leading them into that election campaign.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have both said that Labour is prepared to form a minority government immediately without any formal coalition but just by presenting items from their manifesto and let the other parties support or not on a case by case basis — a principled position. And they are ready and willing to take up the Brexit negotiations.

Corbyn and McDonnell are prepared to talk to European leaders — an advance on the ‘poke-‘em-in-the-eye-and-run’ stance of the Tory negotiators. The Labour leaders may seem audacious right now because they have fewer seats than the Tories, but with the Tories at war with each other and the Brexit negotiations due to begin in just 10 days Labour’s offer may become a lifeline. Audacity is good.

Corbyn has called on May to resign now, he said: “The Prime Minister called this election because she wanted a mandate. Well the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. “I would have thought that’s enough to go, actually, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all of the people of this country.”

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said: “Obviously we’re disappointed if we’re not able to form a majority government.” But she added: “For us to have come from such a long way back, supposedly, to be in a position where we could form the next government is an extraordinary performance on behalf of the Labour Party and shows what we can do when we unite.”

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said: “Any Green MPs elected tonight will do all they can to keep the Tories from Number 10, and back a Labour-led government on a case by case basis.”

Labour now is more united than it has been for a long time. Corbyn has proved he is very electable and far more in touch with the values of ordinary working class people in Britain than the careerist right-wing New Labourites who were so desperately trying to bring him down a year ago. Some of them are now acknowledging their mistakes. This does not mean that in a new general election campaign Corbyn would not come under renewed slander and misrepresentation.

It has been strange to see the usual TV pundits, including Alistair Campbell and Piers Morgan expressing, their astonishment — and, for the moment, respect — at Corbyn’s success. It just shows how out of touch they are with the public mood.They have been convinced the only issue at the general election has been Brexit. But for the majority of the working class, saving the NHS, low wages, ending austerity, the housing crisis, benefit sanctions — especially on the long-term sick and disabled — these are the issues that count and would be the same in or out of Europe.

These are the issues and concerns that unite workers, old and young, male and female, black and white, in our day-to-day struggle for survival. If Brexit had been a big issue for the voters then the Liberal Democrat vote would have been a lot bigger because that was the only party standing against Brexit.

Our class has won an advance — the Tories are in retreat but they are not yet defeated. But there is little doubt that the opportunity to complete that defeat will arise soon and we must be ready. But morale is high now so it will be easier.

*  *  *

COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN (MARXIST-LENINIST).

[To be added soon] IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNISM ©.

Αναρτήθηκε από In Defense of Communism

British Elections: Dear comrades, be aware of social democracy bearing gifts

Sunday, June 4, 2017

British Elections: Dear comrades, be aware of social democracy bearing gifts

 https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/06/british-elections-dear-comrades-be.html

EDITORIAL

 
On Saturday 8th June, the working people of Britain will be called to choose between two versions of bourgeois management: The Conservative Party of Prime Minister Theresa May or the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn? Despite their existing individual differences regarding the mix of policies, both parties serve the capitalist system. They are both thoroughly bourgeois parties, fully committed to the goal of promoting the profits of the capitalists.
What is at stake for Britain’s bourgeois class on the June 8th elections is the following: The terms upon which Brexit will take place, so that the interests of the British monopolies will be served in the best possible way. In any case, either with the Conservatives or the Labour Party in the government, the country’s bourgeoisie will manage to safeguard her own interests.
The working class of Britain have tasted both the two bitter choices of the bourgeois political system. The communists of Britain- the real communists, not the various opportunist charlatans- have enough experience of the role that the Labour Party has played in the country’s political history. They certainly know how social democracy disguises herself behind radical rhetoric and empty promises in order to get the votes of the workers and the popular strata. The new leadership of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is no exception.

Mr. Corbyn, who poses as a “radical” and a “socialist”, is nothing but a political representative of social democracy. Like Tsipras in Greece, he uses radical left rhetoric (including socialist slogans) in order to foster illusions within the working class that another, supposedly “humane”, capitalism is possible. This is a very well known strategy of social democracy that always leads to the weakening of the class-based labor movement and the disillusionment of the working class.
Like SYRIZA in Greece, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party consists the left “reserve force” of capitalism. Despite their different backgrounds, SYRIZA and the Labour Party foster illusions among the people that there can be a better form of management of the exploitative capitalist system, despite the dominance of the monopolies. This is what social democracy does: exploits the pain and agony of the people by offering an illusionary “radicalism” within the “walls” of the system, inside the imperialist alliance of the European Union.
 
Britain’s working class can draw valuable lessons and conclusions from the case of SYRIZA in Greece. The experience of the 2 years of SYRIZA’s governance demonstrates that it did not want to nor was it able to prepare the people for a confrontation against the austerity memorandums and the monopolies precisely because it had no orientation for resistance and conflict. On the contrary, SYRIZA deceived the people that it could pave the way for pro-people changes inside the predatory alliance of the EU. The developments consist a very clear expression of the failure of the so-called “governmental left” and of the theory that the EU can change its monopolist and anti-people character.
 
The communists, the marxists-leninists in Britain must not entrap themselves in the thought that says “let’s support Corbyn in order to oust the Tories from the government”. The major problem is not the manager of the system, but the system itself. Neither May nor Corbyn- or any other bourgeois political leader- can offer actual solutions to the problems of the working class, because these problems are rooted in the capitalist way of production.
 
The only solution for the working people of Britain lies in the creation of a strong, class-based labor movement which will fight for the real alternative to capitalist barbarity- for the socialist perspective and people’s power. The communist parties which are committed to the principles of Marxism-Leninism have the duty to contribute to the creation of a revolutionary strategy, far from trotskyite and opportunist illusions.
 
With all due respect to our comrades in Britain who ceaselessly fight for a better future, we must say that: Be aware of social democracy bearing gifts. No “left government” will ever satisfy the actual contemporary needs of the working class.
The only change lies towards the creation of a social alliance in a direction that strengthens the antimonopoly-anticapitalist struggle for workers’ power, the construction of a society that does not have profit as its criterion but the satisfaction of the expanding social needs, the socialist society.
 
Final report on the 2017 West Midlands Mayoral Election campaign

Now it’s all over, what can be said?  Basically, we fought an intense and positive campaign, widely admired and respected across the parties, the media, and politically conscious parts of the electorate – and we gained a respectable result right across the West Midlands, after gaining a huge humber of sympathetic contacts. Arguably, the real work now begins! 

VOTES:

At just short of 6,000 first preference votes, or 1.2% of valid votes cast, the Communist take across the 28 constituencies in seven boroughs in the West Midlands Mayoral contest was three to four times the rate recorded by our Party’s contests in the 2015 general election and almost five times the total national take then of 1,229.  As so many of you have told us, in these circumstances, it was a REAL achievement and inspiring stuff. Many thanks to our superb candidate, Graham Stevenson, for spearheading the whole thing. 

FINANCES:

We managed to raise our initial funding target, £10,000, which went on the deposit for standing our candidate (£5,000) and the election booklet (£5,000), which reached 2 million households – the largest distribution of Communist material anywhere, ever. But there is an additional £2,000 cost for leaflets and Morning Star adverts, which was incurred in the final part of the campaign, which we are still trying to clear.

 

We were overwhelmed by the response to our campaign, and money still continues to come in.  So please don’t stop – we are almost there! We have up to 35 days after the declaration of the result before we declare our Mayoral election expenses. So we can continue to accept Graham4Mayor donations for another couple of weeks, if you’d like to be part of that historic event. Beyond that, we will need to refill the coffers to continue electoral work when we widely contest borough elections next year – work around which will start almost immediately after the General Election (after some of us take a well-earned break!).  

 

We promised voters we would challenge council leaders who uncritically implement cuts, or who especially collaborate with the elected Tory Mayor, who will be held to account over the three years of his term in office. To that end, we have set up a 2018 Midlands Elections Fund. So, all late cheques will always find a home!

 

Thank you to all those who have already helped and those who will now help us to achieve what we were told was the impossible.  Thank you, to all those who campaigned, pounded the streets, knocked on doors, leafleted, worked on social media, attended meetings, collected signatures, signed the nomination form and kept us all going with support, tea and encouragement. Thank you also for the incredibly generous donations:

 

  • Over £1,700 from 10 individuals in Birmingham, Worcestershire, Herefordshire
  • £2,000 from 12 people in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, and Oxfordshire & Berkshire. 
  • £500 from a very generous comrade in Nottinghamshire
  • Nearly £500 from around half a dozen people in Coventry and Warwickshire 
  • £485 from London – although you were small in number, your donations warmed our hearts
  • £350 – many very welcome contributions from Northern England
  • Over £250 from Shropshire, workers’ cash that was all hard fought for
  • £230 from generous donors from all over the South-West
  • £155 from the wonderful people of Dudley, Wolves and Sandwell who dug deep into the sofa
  • £200 a very welcome solidarity donation from the CPB in Scotland
  • Generous support from the Association of Indian Communists of £200 and the IWA of £100.
  • £125 raised from Yorkshire Communist Party branches, enthused at our campaign.
  • £100 contributed by a very generous former Party memebr in Norwich.

 

Also, not to be forgotten are the numerous donations (sometimes twice!) from all over, including Staffordshire, Runcorn, Wales, and from Southern England.  Keep sending cheques, with your address, Payable to Midlands CP, to Graham4Mayor, 22 Brecon Road, B20 3RN. Queries: email Graham4Mayor@communist-party.org.uk  

 

For other details of how to pay:

http://communist-party.org.uk/britain/cp-in-your-area/england/west-midlands-mayor/2310-graham4mayor.html

 

 

CAMPAIGN DIARY

The following endeavours to capture the breadth of the campaign, and the many hours and days spent by comrades on street activity, stalls, leafleting and campaigning. We were joined by comrades and supporters from all over the wider Greater Midlands, with an especial mention to Shrewsbury comrades, who `twinned’ with Wolverhampton, and also Oxford comrades, who did the same with Coventry. Every weekend of the campaign (and a fair number of weekdays and evenings) was designated a specific area to work in, testing the temperature sub-regionally for receptive voters.

Alongside this, our candidate followed an extensive (some may say punishing) schedule of hustings, public meetings, interviews and appearances.

 

   February    
4 Midlands CPB District Committee and Aggregate meeting of Midlands comrades    Decision to stand candidate in WMCA Mayoral Election endorsed
7 Campaign Strategy agreed and 9-person Graham4Mayor team put in place    Comrades stand by to be separated from loved-ones for the duration!
9 VOICE OF ISLAM Radio

 

LISTEN   Graham does an initial 10 minute interview, calling on Muslim youth to organise in a      union. 
15

 

Agent and Candidate spend all week obtaining 7 sets of electronic electoral registers with 1.95 million voters, to check nominations and support.     Administrative nightmare overcome as we scour the data for contacts and leads
20

 

 GLOBAL RADIO INC

 

LISTEN

 

Graham had interviews all day for Global Radio, Britain’s largest commercial radio company.  He had separate interviews for multiple stations, which included:  Capital Coventry; Classic FM; LBC; Radio X; Heart; Smooth.  Some of these were broadcast nationwide, others just locally.
21

 

 BBC Radio 4 News   Comments by the canddiate on Today programme and PM
WEST MIDLANDS

PENSIONERS CONVENTION

Hustings

 

West Bromwich Central Library  

 

 

 G.S. refused a place on the platform, only allowed to speak from floor. Journalist mediator attempted to limit to only one contribution as not a “proper” candidate but the meeting rebelled and forced him to allow G.S.to speak on every point, (but still only from floor).
24 EXPRESS & STAR

 

READ

 

The main Black Country newspaper & online news source feature a report on the pensioners Hustings  
  March    
6 EXPRESS & STAR

 

  Interview
14 BBC Radio WM

 

Adrian Goldberg   Half hour interview –  Breakfast show

 

15 BBC TV

 

Midlands Today Interview

 

16 BBC TV

 

Daily Politics Show Interview

 

Birmingham Mail & Post-Trinity Mirror Group   Photos & written interview available for use for regional titles

 

19 BBC TV

 

 BBC Sunday Politics Show Interview

 

29 Citizens UK West Midlands Mayoral Assembly University of Birmingham

 

G.S was not invited as candidate and, with Unison involved, his personal audience ticket for the event was cancelled!

 

30 Combined Authority Returning Officer confirmed candidature for the West Midlands Mayor successful.   All 100 signed nominations from seven boroughs were declared valid

 

  April    
4 WEST MIDS DEBATES Hustings (Urban Communications)

 

 

 

 

 

Birmingham Hippodrome

 

 

 

COMMUNIST CANDIDATE not invited, CPB protest and leafleting outside
6 WEST MIDS RAIL FUTURE (Rail bosses’ organisation) and FRIENDS OF THE EARTH Hustings

 

Birmingham Council House

 

 COMMUNIST CANDIDATE not invited, but “could sit in audience” – refused and leafleted outside
“Where’s Graham?”

 

TWITTER

 

Twitter campaign of ridicule, “Where’s Graham?” begun, pinpointing the banning organisations, which now began to fade.
BIRMINGHAM TRADES COUNCIL MEETING   Leafleting

 

7 WILDLIFE TRUST (and other environmental groups) Hustings

 

Birmingham City University

 

All candidates invited.  COMMUNIST CANDIDATE spoke

 

8 UAF DEMO against EDL

 

Victoria Square, Birmingham

 

All candidates invited, only COMMUNIST CANDIDATE attended and spoke

 

11 FACEBOOK LIVE

 

WATCH 30 min interview with Graham. He has the highest number of people viewing of all the candidates, the next highest being Labour.
Free Radio (ITN national franchise) 

 

LISTEN

 

Interview
12 BBC Coventry & Warwickshire radio

 

 

 

Half hour interview with Trish Adudu Breakfast Show
WEST MIDS TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE Hustings Birmingham City University All candidates including Graham invited. 
WIKIPEDIA   Agreed to add our candidate to the WM Mayoral page.
13 ITV Central News

 

WATCH

 

News report
13 PRESS RELEASE   95 outlets supplied with comment on new education paper calling for radical rethink to local education systems
15

 

BLACK COUNTRY RADIO

 

Ian Marrey breakfast slot

 

One hour with leader of Tory council and local Tory MP (Labour and the Church of England refused to appear), followed by one hour one to one wide-ranging interview with Graham
NEW UNION ENTERPRISE RADIO WATCH

 

Half hour radio (with video) interview with New Union (multimedia youth project):   youth media training initiative linked to local youth parliament.

 

18

 

BBC Coventry & Warks Radio

 

LISTEN Evening political debate all 6 candidate 1hr with audience participation (Ends 18.5.170
19

 

BBC WM radio

 

Danny Kelly – the hot seat interview

 

Listener participation, which was supportive!

 

20

 

  BBC Midlands

 

WATCH

 

Televised debate – broadcast at 10.45pm.  (Available until 20th May)

 

21

 

BBC Radio 4

 

PM programme

 

Interview

 

“I Am Birmingham”

 

WATCH

 

30 minute interview

 

25

 

MOSELEY FORUM, allied to other South Side Neighbourhood Forums, Hustings

 

Kings Heath New Baptist Church

 

250 attended – all candidates including Graham invited.

 

Made In Birmingham (cable channel)

 

WATCH

 

 
26

 

Warwick University student radio

 

LISTEN 30-minute recording
27

 

BBC WM RADIO Hustings

 

LISTEN

 

All candidates including Graham invited. 7pm – 6 way debate hosted by Paul Franks

 

28

 

WRITERS GUILD & EQUITY Hustings

 

WATCH Birmingham Rep – all candidates invited; part of Graham’s introduction speech available on social media; enthusiastic audience reception.
28 PRESS RELEASE   97 media outlets emailed with statement on the Bus Services Act, which received Royal Assent, after the ‘English votes for English laws’ procedure was applied.
29

 

Sky News interview

 

   
30

 

WALSALL SHREE RAM MANDIR Hindu Temple Hustings   All candidates including Graham invited.

 

  May    
1

 

WOLVERHAMPTON TUC MAY DAY event   Graham was guest speaker

Also spoke on The Daily Politics Show

 

BBC Radio 4

 

LISTEN Today programme; 4-way debate -minor parties (ends 31.5.17); go to 2 hours 45 minutes.

 

2

 

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM GUILD OF STUDENTS   Graham was the guest speaker

 

WEST MIDLANDS RADIO INTERVIEW WATCH

 

video on social media

 

BBC2 NEWSNIGHT   Interview recorded
New Style Radio

 

  Half hour interview with Rev Desmond Jaddoo
ITN

 

  Interview
3

 

Sky News

 

  Interview broadcast

 

Newsnight

 

  Interview broadcast

 

 

Around 250 emails were received during the campaign, covering a range of issues. Some of these were part of a campaign, while others were specific queries from voters, who had our mail address from the posted brochure.  Every single one of these queries were answered in full by the campaign team, and recorded as key information on some of the issues which concern the local electorate. The candidate [ersonally rangor emailed some voters with complicated queries. Many told us how impressed they were that, unlike other parties, we took the time to respond.

 

 

NOMINATION

 

Once the formal deadline opened, the campaign was fully occupied during March tackling the big task of obtaining 100 nominations.

 

1. Making contact with all the election offices in the seven boroughs to gain access to the electoral rolls. This was completed by the close of business on 17th March. We were hindered by the fact that the Party’s National Elections Officer details had not been changed with the Electoral Commission. Even when we thought it had been dealt with, some election offices were still difficult to communicate with, but we thank Martin Levy, who was a great help.

 

2. From Wednesday 15th March, we began getting signatures on the actual nomination paper, contacting key comrades in each borough to assist us in the collection of these. We needed a minimum of ten nominations in each of the 7 boroughs but a total of 100 valid names, effectively by March 30th. Many car miles were clocked up as teams criss-crossed the West Midlands. One thousand contacts and friends, not members of the Party, were emailed by the campaign, whilst almost 50 long-standing former members of the Party and current veteran members received a personalised appeal from the candidate by post.

 

We mapped all comrades and contacts we could think of. We were constrained by not being able to call on Labour Party members, as they were at risk of being expelled by their CLP if seen to endorse our candidate. Even in Dudley, where we only had one current party member, by finding non-Labour sympathisers and former members of the old CPGB, we got the full ten nominations needed. In Coventry, Wolverhampton, Sandwell our contacts were extensive and supportive. In Birmingham, many contacts had joined the Labour Party in the last leadership election and we were clearly short in Walsall and Solihull. In these two boroughs, comrades took to knocking on doors to seek the assistance of members of the public. With two days to go, our local contacts in the Birmingham Asian community came up trumps by winning the last nominations needed to clinch the full one hundred.

 

The system required everything to be on one set of forms, which made things a little awkward!  The main political parties and various groups on the Left were clearly astonished that such a feat was achieved by us. But official endorsement that we were to be on the ballot changed everything. 

 

MEDIA SCOOP – Communists exist!   

 

Despite an attempt by the right-wing media to freeze us out of the public eye, we have been overwhelmed by the attention we have received during the campaign.  After contacting national and local media organisations, it was community and specialist radio that responded at first in a fair and impartial manner, even before we were on the ballot paper. Then mainstream regional radio, starting in Coventry, began running pieces with Graham, prompting regional radio and then regional television to treat us equally. In the last week, National TV began filming our candidate and broadcasting interviews. 

 

Our short version manifesto of two A5 pages went out to just short of 2 million individual voters by post.  You can read it here:

 

Election booklet

 

A larger pamphlet-style manifesto came out in mid-April and is available here:

 

Manifesto

 

Much local material has appeared. Birmingham Post and Mail, have done several features that have been available to be franchised to all Trinity Mirror titles:

Communist West Midlands Mayor candidate Graham Stevenson: All you need to know

Communists join the West Midlands Mayor race

Communist Party’s West Midlands Mayor policies

Can you name these West Midlands mayor candidates?

The BBC has run multiple pieces both written, radio and television on Graham, just a few of which can still be seen or heard: 

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire: Why you should love our city

BBC News: Metro Mayor – what is it all about?

Six candidates to bid to be West Midlands metro mayor

Election 2017: English mayoral candidates

West Midlands: Three things you wanted to know

Knife-edge battle for West Midlands metro mayor?

A mayor for the Midlands: Updates from TV debate

A media database of around one hundred contact names was researched by the team and used to issue regular press releases on key issues: for example, when it was confirmed that we were on the ballot paper, issuing our manifesto, comment on a new production line in Coventry for electric taxis, the Tory Bus Services Act, etc.  It is impossible to collect individual instances of the use of the releases, given their extensive reach, but the candidate was inundated with calls for further detail and recordings as a result.

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU TUBE, INTERNET

 

The social media work, carried out by a co-ordinated team, proved to be critical and was a key factor in prompting the mainstream media break through.

 

FACEBOOK:

@ Communist Party of Britain: Midlands Communists page increased followers by over 25% during the campaign, and increased post engagement significantly. There were several contributions from comrades of design graphics for the campaign and the direct links with Communist Party of Britain Page were very successful

@ Andy Chaffer page first set up for the 2015 General Election enabled a continued Party presence online, connected with elections, circulating and sharing campaign messages

@ Graham Stevenson – a much increased traffic to timeline can be noted and this was an important reference point to the candidate in the media

 

TWITTER:  

@MidlandsCPB – new account set up at start of campaign – started #graham4mayor trending, 142 followers. Direct dialogue with media, lobby groups, individuals, including use of Direct Messaging

@GrahamStevenso1 –direct contact point for candidate and campaign

@WheresGraham – light-hearted campaign to highlight attempts to ban CPB from corporate-led Hustings and media.

 

The MIDLANDS CPTV channel on YouTube is also working well, with five high quality interviews and promotions already uploaded and others we ran out of time to complete. This exercise in producing our own videos has stimulated interest in developing more regularity to the channel in the future, perhaps with a focus on podcasts disseminated via social media.

 

The page on the Party’s national website was key in attracting views to the site, and directly receiving donations to the campaign through a range of methods:

Graham4Mayor

 

THE OPINION POLL AND THE COUNT

 

Before the general election was announced, we were predicted to get over 5% of the vote of first preferences in this Supplementary Voting system by a Trinity Mirror poll. This would have allowed us to retain our deposit, a feat not accomplished since 1950. Disappointingly, this wasn’t to be.

 

Of course, the general election being called part way through the campaign shouldn’t have affected anything, but there is no doubt that it played into current mainstream media narratives about June 8th.  Voting patterns across the two votes permitted by the supplementary vote system were inconsistent.   Some voters used the ability to first preference us and then gave their second preference vote to Labour, as we had suggested, but many more others showed they simply did not understand the voting system.

 

At the Birmingham count (separate ones were held for the other six boroughs) we observed a high rate of second preferences for us, indeed there were individuals who proudly told us they had given their 2nd vote to us, but second preferences were not counted for eliminated candidates. The elimination round was generally not understood by an electorate so used to first past the post. Obvious confusion existed, with many voters from a range of other parties offering us their second preference, and indeed being encouraged to do so by ill-informed advice from their party machines.

 

Looking at votes as they were being counted, it was also evident that, in inner city wards, the Labour machine had set the panic button alight (“Vote Labour and ONLY Labour”, they were told) and that voters were scared of an even tighter grip by the Tories. (Things like first AND second preference votes for Labour seen here!) It was especially evident that Labour had focused heavily on the wards in the constituency we had stood Andy Chaffer in during the 2015 general election. Despite having attained 0.4%, the highest CPB vote then, we gained only around a quarter of the votes that we won in other quite comparable inner city wards.    

 

Yet, not only did we record votes of around 2% in inner city wards with mixed ethnic profiles, our vote surpisingly also went up significantly in outer Birmingham wards, where the CP 30 or 40 years ago had a base in prosperous working class wards (when the class was doing well!).

 

In Coventry, we were at 1.5% across the whole city (no ward counting there). But there were a lot of spoilt votes and abstentions in a conurbation hostile to the very idea of a Mayor, resulting in an overall turnout of 26.8%.  

 

It’s clear that fear of the Tories on one side, and a high turnout in Tory areas such as Solihull, Dudley and Walsall (where we did badly) on the other, were key factors inhibiting the Communist vote, albeit it being very much stronger than in recent times and more like what we were getting in the late 1970s. The Green candidate also lost his deposit (despite having a big local base in Solihull, where we are very weak). Most UKIP voters decamped to Tory, massively diminishing their share-take. (UKIP’s only real base is Dudley.)

 

THE OUTCOME AND FUTURE CAMPAIGNS

 

The actual votes won were never really the key point. Our intervention genuinely informed the drift of public debate and we reached out to many thousands of people we had never before connected with. We also turned the mood more left. Issues such as public ownership of bus services would not otherwise have been aired – and, to some extent, all candidates were genuinely following our agenda by the end, instad of ignoring us as they should have been (!) from their point of view. Our social media presence was formidable and the level and quality of positive local mainstream media coverage astonishing. Despite some of the public debates and hustings refusing to engage with our candidate, we even got national coverage in the final days of the campaign.  

 

The next step is to translate this campaign into some substance, in association with the many contacts, friends, and potential allies we have acquired. We will be reviewing the whole campaign and starting to plan for the 2018 local elections in the light of that, as soon as we have exhausted ourselves in getting out there campaigning for Labour in the general election! 

 

Let no-one say that our intervention damaged Labour. Rather, our observation was that we saw more people engaged because they liked what we were saying. After the second round Andy Street (Con) secured 238,628 votes and Sion Simon (Lab) 234,862, a majority of only 3,766. 

 

We asked our voters (5,696) to second preference Sion Simon. Our figures suggest 85% followed that advice, which trnaslates as a theoretical figure of 4,842. Without our support, Mr Simon would have lost by even more – almost 9,000 votes. If Labour had been less focused on what we were doing, less marked by old-fashioned `fix-it politics, they could have won. All they had to do was say, however you vote in the firtst round, make sure you vote for Sion Simon as the only chance to beat the Tories in the second. They couldn’t even bring themselves to do that. 

 

Our analysis of this detailed poll shows that our vote is highest amongst 30 to 45 year olds to the level of some five or six times the rate recorded for over 60-year olds!  Clearly, this is a challenge to our branches in the seven boroughs, and interactions with younger voters clearly show we need to find new ways of connecting and organising, which to some extent we pioneered first in 2015 and now even more vigourously in 2017.

 

We have publicly promised that Communist candidates will stand in local election next year across the Midlands.  In the meantime, we intend to hold the Mayor and his council leaders to account and target those who implement cuts using what funds remain and those which can be garnered next year to aid many more contests than we have previously done. In this, the second stage of our local Renewal Campaign we were able to arrange the purchase of a high-quality car-roof mounted loud-speaking system. A very generous donor offered to provide for this if it is used in election and public campaigns and is available on loan to other Party groups.

 

In the meantime, in accordance with the national CPB statement on the general election, we have been offering our services to Labour in the 28 constituencies in the West Midlands.

 

Any councillor who speaks for the people and is honest probably has nothing to fear. But Communists will continue to speak up and act fearlessly as we did during this campaign, one of our best for decades. In the years to come local campaigning activity will hopefully be as creative and powerful as some of our interventions in the past three months in the West Midlands.

 

Thanks to all those who helped and donated. Most of all, thanks to all who voted for us. 

 

The Graham4Mayor Team

PS: Donations still gratefully received!

 

 

 

 

Ruskin House
23 Coombe Rd
Croydon
London
CR0 1BD
UK

Communist Party Hammer & Dove

Communist Party of Britain Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, Croydon CR0 1BD
0208 686 1659 office@communist-party.org.uk www.communist-party.org.uk

Communist Party champions Corbyn’s Labour, says it won’t stand election candidates

https://www.rt.com/uk/385969-communists-champion-corbyn-labour/

Communist Party champions Corbyn’s Labour, says it won’t stand election candidates
The Communist Party of Britain (CP) has confirmed it will not stand its own candidates in the general election, telling its supporters to get behind Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign.

The Marxist-Leninist group also called on “all leftwingers” to vote for Labour on June 8.

“In every general election since the formation of the CP in 1920, we have stood our own candidates, not least in 2015 when we fielded nine,” said the party’s general secretary, Robert Griffiths, in an open letter published in the Morning Star.

“Now, on this occasion, we will not contest any seats, although this does not signal any withdrawal from the electoral arena in the future.”

Speaking to RT, Griffiths highlighted that these were “extra-ordinary conditions.”

“The Labour Party has its most left-wing leadership in modern history and is under attack from all sides for putting forward policies that are in the interest of working class people,” he added.

While the far-left group is backing a potential Labour government, Griffiths and his fellow members were not so keen on the much-discussed ‘progressive alliance’ between Corbyn and the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Greens.

“This is why a clear and unambiguous call for a Labour vote everywhere is so essential, rather than muddying the water with frivolous chatter about a ‘progressive alliance’ with the pro-EU, free-market fundamentalists of the Green, Liberal Democrats, SNP and Plaid Cymru parties,” Griffiths told RT.

The conservative press took interest in the story, including former UK Independence Party (UKIP) sponsor Arron Banks’ website, Westmonster. The journalists at the “anti-Establishment news” outlet might have to brush up on their politics knowledge, however, after branding CP members “hard-left trots.” The Communist Party of Britain is a Marxist-Leninist organization, its politics lying closer to those of Joseph Stalin than Leon Trotsky.

Graham4Mayor

 

Graham4Mayor

Geoff Ferres, District Secretary of the Midlands Communist Party, reports that West Midlands Communists have enthusiastically endorsed the candidature of Graham Stevenson, the CPB’s National Trade Union Organiser for the Mayoralty of the new Combined Authority in the election due to be held on May 4th.

 

“A crowded aggregate membership meeting in Birmingham followed by a meeting of the Midlands District Committee of the CPB, unanimously endorsed a recommendation from the members and called for donations to a fund to facilitate this,” Mr Ferres announced. “The CPB Executive Committee has advised me that it previously declared itself to back whatever decision was taken by Midlands members, so the game is now on.”

 

CANDIDATES

 

Labour candidate, is Sion Simon, former MP for Erdington. Candidates from the Tories, Lib Dems, UKIP and the Greens have already declared. The Combined Authority brings together seven “constituent” boroughs: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull. Walsall, and Wolverhampton, where the electorate can choose a Mayor. Voters in the non-constituent authorities of Cannock, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Redditch, Tamworth, and Telford and Wrekin councils will not vote but their councils will be economically linked to the main county conurbation. Another seven such authorities are awaiting membership applications.

 

The Communist candidate, Mr Stevenson, who has lived in the Midlands all his life, principally in Birmingham and Coventry, where he was born and lived in his youth, declared: “This is a chance for people in the seven boroughs to start the ball rolling on an entirely new project. We don’t want Blairite Labour here, it’s done enough damage and still does so. Mr Simon stood down as an MP to campaign for election as Birmingham Mayor but the voters rejected the very idea of such a mayoralty. Now, after back room deals with George Osborne, local politicians have excluded responsibility for policing from the Mayor, partly to prevent infighting. Many of the conditions relating to the election keep changing or are not yet properly revealed. This election looks rigged before it even starts. Rigged by the political elite to keep things the same. It’s time things changed to call time on this system of property, privilege, and private profit. But they’ve stitched it up. From start to end.”
COMBINED AUTHORITY

 

The Combined Authority will have significant powers over public transport, including buses and trams. Mr Stevenson, a former head of transport in Unite the Union and President of the European Transport Workers Federation, says that he wants to campaign as Mayor for an input into regional railway and aviation policy as well. “I’m for complete public ownership of public transport. Anyway, isn’t private ownership a contradiction in terms? Nationalise the M6 Toll Road to be sure but whilst we are at it, how about the combined boroughs looking to bring National Express, which dominates travel in the conurbation, into line? Road re-instatement and tougher control of parking and on-street emissions should ease our clogged up back streets”

 

A £5,000 deposit and a similar sum to pay for an information booklet including mini-manifestos from the Mayoral candidates and further detail on the election will go to the homes of all those registered to vote. Mr Stevenson remarks: “I will not be backed by any major funding operation but by a mass of multiple donations via Crowd Sourcing. Facebook and Twitter pages are already being prepared. And you can bet that no businesses will be filtering funds into my back pocket!”

 

Planning of housing and brown field site use linked to economic regeneration will be a key part of the new authority’s remit. “I hear this week-end that lettuces have soared in price due to rainy weather in Spain and they are virtually unattainable in lower price supermarkets. Could we not develop urban poly-tunnel farms, providing training and jobs for young people in the heart of the conurbation? The sooner we adopt the Living Wage as the only acceptable wage, and look for a shift to a People’s Britain as the terms for negotiation after Article 50, then fears about migration can be eased.”

 

BREXIT?

 

As a member of the European Parliament for the past three years, Mr Simon has produced material implying support for “Brexit”, with the England flag dominating. Mr Stevenson remarked: “Comments that `politicians in London have learnt nothing’ brings disrepute on Labour since Mr Simon backed Remain in the referendum and has been a career Westminster Europhile. His first job was working as an adviser to the Shadow Europe minister, he then ran the Europe desk at Labour HQ.”

 

Responding to the fact that a final part of responsibility for the Mayor and the assembly will be co-ordination of mental health provision, Mr Stevenson points out that, whilst hard pressed service workers need to be fully backed, “CBT therapy as the mainstream answer, first promoted by the Blair government, may be cheap and simple, but it does not reach many underlying conditions that can be hidden by such therapy. Bringing all sections of the community, including those with disabilities and mental health issues is the way forward. Not preparing our communities to receive US-style provisions that blame people for pre-existing conditions or putting the blame on sufferers for not having a positive view of themselves.”
HOW CAN YOU HELP? – DONATE

 

An appeal for an initial £10,000 to cover the deposit and to pay for a candidate’s manifesto to go in the booklet being distributed post free to two million households has been launched. It has already received £1,255. You may contribute to the Fund by the preferred route of transferring money electronically to the following account. Please add “Mayor” to your transfer details and email your full name and full address to confirm you have made a payment to: graham4mayor@communist-party.org.uk

 

Bank: Unity Trust Bank
Account Name: Communist Party of Britain – West Midlands
Sort Code: 60-83-01
Account Number: 50726499

 

You may send a physical cheque, payable to “Midlands CP” by post to 22 Brecon Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, West Midlands, B20 3RN. But please supply your full name and address, as due to regulations we cannot accept anonymous donations.

 

Or you may donate by paying via PayPal click here

 

​A Crowdfunding page will shortly be operable.

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP? CAMPAIGN

 

One hundred signatures will be needed from across the seven boroughs. This may require campaign teams to be sent into communities knocking on doors to put the case for nominations to enable the democratic right to stand. To volunteer, email the campaign team at: graham4mayor@communist-party.org.uk

 

There will also be street meetings and stalls to cover; car-driven loudspeaker teams from other areas will be very welcome but check with us first.

 

To follow the campaign, check these out:
facebook    Twitter    Grahams facebook page

 

Communist Party  ▪  fighting for peace and socialism since 1920 ▪  Britain’s Party of working class and people’s power

Central Office: Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Rd, London CR0 1BD

www.communist-party.org.uk +44 (0)20 86861659  office@communist-party.org.uk

Apple’s slap on the wrist

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-55a3-Apples-slap-on-the-wrist#.V8uC6OT6taQ


Sep
2016
Thursday 1st
posted by Morning Star in Editorial

THE European Commission’s ruling that Apple must pay €13 billion in back taxes to the Republic of Ireland should mislead no-one into believing that the EU is now the defender of working people against rapacious transnational corporations.
Far from it. The first of the “four pillars” of the EU single market guarantees the “free movement of goods, persons, services and capital between member states” — ie corporations and banks can move money around anywhere they like, to maximise their profits.
The “race to the bottom” by EU member states over corporation tax rates causes no problem for the European Commission.
Nor is it concerned that Ireland has, with Cyprus, the second-lowest such rate — 12.5 per cent, behind Bulgaria’s 10 per cent.
What really annoys the Commission is that Apple seems to have had some sort of preferential treatment, which amounted to a form of state aid — a violation of the “third pillar” of the single market.
Ireland’s arrangements with Apple between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to split profits from sales in Europe, India, Africa and the Middle East between an Irish branch company and a so-called international headquarters, which existed only on paper.
The Irish branch was subject to the 12.5 per cent corporation tax, while the headquarters paid nothing.
By 2014, Apple was paying only €50 on each €1 million of profit, a rate of 0.005 per cent.
Apple is not the only transnational corporation in the EU to avoid taxes by such “sweetheart deals.”
The Commission has ruled that Fiat was involved in a wheeze with Luxembourg, and Starbucks with the Netherlands, while Amazon is under investigation too.
However, Apple’s arrangement has been the most lucrative by far, so the Commission had to be seen to be acting, if only to prevent the anarchy of other EU member states adopting the same approach as Ireland.
Of course, so far this is only a ruling and both Apple and the Irish government intend to appeal — ironically in the latter case, given the enormous price in austerity measures that the Irish people had to pay to bail out their banks after the 2007-9 crisis.
It was Ireland’s accession to the euro which fuelled property speculation, as European Central Bank interest rates were lower than domestic rates would have been; and it was the free movement of capital under EU rules which allowed the Irish banks to borrow so heavily abroad to sustain that property bubble.
Apple can easily afford to pay, as it is sitting on assets in cash and securities equivalent to more than €200bn.
But by imposing this €13bn tax payment, the Commission is allowing Apple to avoid the higher corporation tax rates where it makes the sales — ie it is a slap on the wrist, warning the company that it risks upsetting the whole (apple) cart if it doesn’t play by the rules.
Meanwhile, rumours circulating about Theresa May’s “brainstorm” session on Brexit at Chequers yesterday suggest that the Tories are set to cut Britain’s corporation tax from the current level of 20 per cent, and indeed this could start as early as Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement.
The lesson for Britain’s labour movement is that there has to be a different way forward.
Staying in the EU means austerity, privatisation and a ban on state aid for industry, but freedom for transnational corporations — providing they stick within the rules.
Brexit on the Tories’ terms will mean much the same. We should not be dependent on the largesse of trans­national corporations seeking a cheap place to invest.
We need EU exit on working-class terms, including democratic control of our economy, so that it can be run in the interests of people, not private profit.