Category: Communist Party Britain
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.

Socialists should aspire beyond Labour’s post-war consensus

 


Aug 24th 2016
Wednesday
posted by Morning Star in Features
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-7453-Socialists-should-aspire-beyond-Labours-post-war-consensus#.V8I1Q-T6taR

Attlee’s government provided many benefits for Britain’s working class, but they were by no means true socialists writes MATT WIDOWSON


EVERY time I go on social media I see Clement Attlee. The old Labour prime minister seems to be a common choice of avatar for socialist Twitter users.

You could do a lot worse I suppose — I don’t seem many Twitter accounts represented by the smiling faces of Harold Wilson or Gordon Brown. It must be because the Attlee government of 1945 is such an inspiration to many of today’s activists. But does Labour’s first post-war government deserve this new-found adoration?

Ken Loach’s film The Spirit Of ’45 was certainly well timed. This evocative documentary, released in 2013, perfectly reflected the aspirations of 21st-century austerity Britain and was a welcome contribution towards the current debate about what kind of country we want to live in.

Yet we cannot understand the present without understanding the past. We cannot understand how precious an institution our NHS is without listening to the words of those who lived without it and those that helped create it.

The Attlee government of 1945 had limitations. While this Labour government was perhaps the most radically left-wing British government in our history, it was only radical within the political parameters of the time — parameters defined by capitalism.

It also has the appearance of radicalism in light of what has come since 1979.

Let’s not get too misty-eyed about the past.

We need to examine the achievements of the 1945 government in context.

Britain had just fought a war against fascism in Europe — Loach is quite right in suggesting that the mood of the nation was one of building a society fit for heroes.

In order to achieve the continued “buy-in” of the British people, concessions were needed to be offered to the powerful and demanding working class.

There was also the fact that the Soviet Union had been a decisive player in the war and, although suffering huge casualties, had demonstrated that a socialist country could demonstrate great strength, both militarily and in the power of its ideas.

If British working class did not receive the concessions that they deserved, then perhaps they may begin to look for real alternatives — remember that the Communist Party of Great Britain received its highest ever vote in the 1945 general election and had a membership of around 60,000.

The Labour Party therefore offered the electorate a progressive programme.

Many great gains were made by the working class, particularly in the areas of health, social welfare, housing and public ownership.

These gains should be rightly celebrated and defended, but let’s not confuse these concessions with the final victory of socialism.

The post-war economic consensus founded by the Labour Party was, in reality, the new consensus of capitalism. Its aim was to attempt to manage the economy in the long-term interests of capital, even if that meant tolerating a mixed economy and high levels of taxation and welfare spending.

The new Keynesian order was always due to fail as it was just another phase of capitalism — finally giving way to the neoliberal phase in the late 1970s. We must fairly and realistically assess the Labour Party. Throughout the party’s history it has mostly been dominated by a pro-capital social democratic element — a leadership reconciled with the Establishment and strongly opposed to anything other than reformism.

That said, there has always been a strong socialist strand within the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is arguably a reversal of the usual balance of power within the Labour Party. We must therefore place the Attlee government within this context — the government that gave us the NHS also led us into Nato militarism; the government that gave us social housing was also a keen supporter of Western imperialism; the government of public ownership was also vehemently anti-communist.
This may have been the government of Nye Bevan but it was also the government of Ernest Bevin.

The post-war period should not be seen as a golden age. While this historical period is informative, it is certainly not something to aspire to.

For starters, Britain’s economic and social conditions were vastly different then and it would be unrealistic to attempt to return to this point in the past.

While socialists helped build post-war Britain, the post-war consensus itself was not “socialism” in the full and true sense. The 1945 government made great gains, but let’s be realistic about the limited aims of Attlee and his cabinet. This was no revolution and the reforms of the Labour government were happily accepted by Churchill’s 1951 Conservative government.

In many ways, Corbyn’s Labour has rejected many of the norms founded by the Attlee government — particularly in his opposition to nuclear weapons and his stance towards Nato. Owen Smith’s supporters were quite right to point out that, by refusing to commit to unconditional Nato action, Corbyn was making a break with Labour’s position since World War II — where the Smithites are wrong though is to uncritically accept this tradition of militarism and imperialism.

By all means, look to the past. Learn and be inspired, but do not try to turn the clock back. The ultimate aim of socialism should be the abolition of capitalism — anything less than this is reformism in the service of capital. Socialists may disagree about the pace of transition, or the means of enacting revolutionary change — but their ultimate aim must be the end of capitalism. The Labour Party has not yet seriously challenged capitalism — although it has certainly always had the potential to do so, but that’s a different subject.

It is up to activists both within the Labour Party and other left parties, as well as within organised labour to work together to build a new future, based on our current conditions and with no illusions about the past.

A VICTORY FOR POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY – a defeat for the EU-IMF-NATO axis

Communist Party statement 24 June 2016

The referendum result represents a huge and potentially disorientating blow to the ruling capitalist class in Britain, its hired politicians and its imperialist allies in the EU, the USA, IMF and NATO.
The people have spoken and popular sovereignty now demands that the Westminster Parliament accepts and implements their decision. The left must now redouble its efforts to turn this referendum result into a defeat for the whole EU-IMF-NATO axis.
But it is clear that the Cameron-Osborne government has lost the confidence of the electorate and cannot be trusted with the responsibility of negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union. It should resign forthwith.
The Communist Party also has no confidence that a Tory government led by other pro-big business, pro-imperialist and pro-neoliberal MPs such as Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and Iain Duncan Smith would withstand the pressures from the City of London, big business, the US and NATO to prevent Britain’s exit from the EU.
If no alternative government can command a majority in the House of Commons, a General Election must therefore be called without delay.
This makes it all the more important that the Labour Party leadership immediately pledges to respect and implement fully the referendum decision. Moreover, it should make clear its determination to negotiate exit terms and future treaties with the EU and other countries on the basis of new arrangements that put the interests of working people here and internationally before those of big business and the capitalist ‘free market’.
In any event, it will also be vital to counteract the upsurge of xenophobia and racism unleashed by leading forces on both sides of the referendum campaign.
The unity and mobilisation of progressive and labour movement forces is essential in order to explain the benefits of immigration and counter the divisive and anti-working class appeal of UKIP and other right-wing and far-right parties.
We now need to fight to ensure that a Britain outside ‘Fortress Europe’ uses its freedom to welcome people to work, study and live here from around the world and leads Europe in providing a safe haven for asylum seekers and refugees.

Scottish Communism & Red Clydeside

Parasites everywhere


Mar
2016
Thursday 24th
posted by Morning Star in Editorial
https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-14d5-Parasites-everywhere#.VvNBkuTmpaQ

US ATTEMPTS to extradite Navinder Singh Sarao for his alleged role in causing the 2010 “flash crash” are welcome, as is the Serious Fraud Office’s clawing back of ill-gotten gains from a banker for rigging the Libor interest rate.

There has been no shortage of financial wrongdoing in the past 10 years and yet, for all the ire directed at bankers after fleecing society time and again, few have ever got their comeuppance.

While the actions against the two may not mean much by themselves, their cases throw some light on the mess we’re in. They differ a lot but have a common root.

Tom Hayes, the jailed Libor-rigging banker, was part of a gang of traders at different firms who set the widely used rate at whatever level would profit them.

This took money out of the pockets of anyone who used the rate even indirectly — homeowners paying mortgages to councils investing for the future.

Pure parasitism. Pure speculation. Harmful to the real productive economy.

In Sarao’s case, the “flash crash,” super-fast computer programs got in a tangle and wiped 600 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market in just minutes.

These programs — as a practice called high-frequency trading — take advantage of tiny changes, hoping to beat other, more meaningful trades to the punch and rake in the dosh.

Again, pure parasitism. Pure speculation. Harmful to the real productive economy.

That these two were the subject of legal action is really the oddity here.

You only have to cast your mind back to 2008 to find a bunch of bankers who — acting in the exact same parasitic, speculative way, harming society — were not only able to get away with it, but get away with over £1 trillion of our money in the form of bank bailouts.

Not only that, but they were propped up by the then New Labour government with deals that let them conduct business as usual.

Which brings us to today — with a banking system that top economists warn could explode at any time, soaring levels of personal debt as people struggle to keep their heads above water, and a band of brutal bullies in government determined to rob pennies from the poorest and most vulnerable among us to hand out to their rich mates.

Their programme is a fraud and their claims to “fiscal rectitude” were yet again exposed by George Osborne’s Budget that slashed lifeline payments for the disabled while packing in tax cuts for the wealthiest.

Strong action against this hypocrisy has blown a hole in Osborne’s plans and he has no answer.

For six years he tried has peddled ideological fiction as economic fact, blaming Labour for spending too much on nurses and teachers and welfare to create a smokescreen to hide his bungs to the very people who blew up the economy in 2008.

For years he has set borrowing targets and blown past them, each time using his own failure as an excuse to cut more government spending — draining the life out of vital services and the real economy while fuelling his favourite zombie capitalism.

He talks a good game, pretending to be Mr Serious who will make tough decisions and get Britain back on track.

But you can’t seriously argue the economics because it’s not serious economics. It’s cobblers — and it is storing up serious problems for the future for all of us.