Friday, 26 January 2007

Keeping it (Un)Real

What constitutes the British left these days? If asked current or ex-lefties are likely to point to the barely-functioning Labour left, the smattering of independent socialist activists, the Socialist Workers' Party, the Socialist Party, and the dozens of smaller groups.

In my opinion, these smaller groups make the British left a wonderful place to be. There's no experience like a good haranguing on the position your organisation took on the 1991 coup in the Soviet Union while you're marching in defence of the NHS. Whatever your proclivities may be there will be a group to suit - anarchist, Trot or Stalinist.

Yep, that's right, Stalinist. There are still hardcore Uncle Joe fans out there, and the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) are the most beautiful example of Stalin-love you're ever likely to come across.

The CPGB-ML website is priceless. Their latest statement, 'Saddam Hussein - Martyr of the Iraqi Resistance' is superb. There's a few points in there you wouldn't find out of place in any left wing publication; about the dubious nature of Hussein's trial, that life under his regime was better than it is at present, and that it should have been Blair and Bush in the dock. But strangely not a word on the despicable crimes of his regime. If the CPGB-ML was your sole news source you'd be forgiven for thinking all was sweetness and light in pre-invasion Iraq.

I'm not even going to mention their October release. It has to be seen to be believed.

Glancing at 'Why the CPGB-ML?', it turns out the organisation gestated in the belly of Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party, an initiative whose promise was cruelly sacrificed at the altar of Scargill's personal vanity. The petty dictatorship Scargill built around his person has been extensively documented elsewhere, but given the politics of their organisation I'm not surprised founder CPGB-ML'ers stayed in the SLP long after Scargill had eradicated any semblance of democracy.

The statement goes on to highlight the absurd lengths Scargill was prepared to go to see off our tankie chums, some of which really beggars belief. But our comrades were left with a dilemma, what do hardcore Stalinists do when they haven't got a political home? Naturally first job was to "dismiss out of hand the counter-revolutionary Trots". No, there's absolutely nothing to learn from revolutionary working class organisations of greater members and influence. Like true sectarians their fealty to Stalin came first and so the Stalin-lite Communist Party of Britain and the Blair-loyal Stalinoids of the New Communist Party were looked at ... and dismissed for their "cretinous support for the imperialist Labour Party". Nice one. Even Galloway and Respect were considered for a moment and rejected because the gorgeous one apparently supported the break up of Yugoslavia. You would have thought Galloway's links to the previous Iraqi regime would have endeared him to them, but apparently not. I bet George felt hurt to learn these comrades had decided not to support Respect.

This is what justifies the CPGB-ML's existence, and not carry around huge portraits of Stalin on marches as I'd previously thought. But despite their distasteful views and downright lunacy the left would be a far gloomier place without them. I do hope the lack of recent activity on their website doesn't mean they've slipped quietly into the night.

Long live the CPGB-ML!


Anonymous said...

I consider myself an orthodox Trotskyist and I found that I would agree with most of the headlines on that site.

To be clear, I haven’t read the detail there nor, I am sure, would I agree with affair bit of it it. But, from the last 5 articles:

1. Hussein was a ‘martyr’ - just statement of fact - and his killing was a blow against the resistance, murderous tyrant that he was.

2. Congratulations to the DPRK on its nuclear test – Yes, I’m pleased the NK Monarchy, deformed workers state, whatever it is, has some means of protection against possible US attack.

3. Nepal, People’s War victorious – Yes, in their own terms, they have success.

4. Iraq, Imperialism is heading for a defeat – I think it probably is.

5. McDonnell’s Leadership Bid (shouldn’t be supported, it builds illusions in Labour, etc.) - Yes.

ejh said...


Incidentally, I'd really like never to see that word "illusions" again. Almost without exception it constitutes an attack on doing something constructive.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the party has any members other than Harpal Brar. I love that links page - Lalkar and the Stalin Society, mmm... anti-revionistastic!

Anonymous said...

If "Southpaw" can consider himself an "orthodox trotskyist" and agree with that load of Maoist/Stalinist crap, then it just shows how far the "Trotskyist" tradition has degenerated since the Old Man's death. I'm *not* an "orthodox Trotskyist", but I have some respect for that tradition, and hate to see it being traduced by someone who is either a Stalinist or an ignoramous.

ejh said...

Gawd forbid that Uncle Jim should see anything traduced, or indeed traduce anyone himself.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame Jim didn't read what I said before posting.

I either said that the headlines were factually correct or that I agree with the headline e.g. don't support McDonnell.

I clearly stated that I was making no comments on the articles and arguments behind their headlines.

If Jim would like to email me I would be more than happy to send him a document certifying that he is indeed not a Trotskyist.

Disillusioned kid said...

I was similarly amused when I first stumbled across the CPGB-ML (at a StWC meeting where an Iranian comrade went on and on about the Labour Party or something).

When I checked out their website, I felt I'd got a grip on their politics when I discovered an article claiming that Saddam was the democratically-elected leader of Iraq.

AN said...

What is interesting is that there are a number of younger people selling their paper(s) on demos.

There would seem to have found a gap in the market. Mainly for a rather uncomplicated view of imperialiam and national liberation, goodies and baddies. Indeed, I don't see any principled reason why they shouldn't merge with the RCG.

BTW - my experience of working occassionaly alongside the CPGB-ML in the anti-war movement is that they are serious comrades, who respect the democractic traditions of the Labour movement, and who accept majority decisions that go against them.

Incidentrly Phil, you haven't scrtached the surface of how weird they are. Last year Harpal Brar atended the confernce of ZANU-PF, represtenting ghr revolutionary briutish proletarat, and then gave a tour of public (more in aspiration than reality one suspects) meetings explaining the way forward as described by Comrade Muagabe.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your take Andy. I found it weird on September's anti-war demo to see a number of youngsters touting the Proletarian. But then there were a few youth hawking the Morning Star too, and I'm sure I even saw the New Worker about!

Theres is indeed a black and white world. You either 100% uncritically back anti-imperialist struggles regardless of character or the remaining "socialist" countries or you're 100% behind imperialism.

Harpal Brar. He's a card isn't he? One of my prized sectarian treasures is his 'Trotskyism or Leninism?'. A true monster of a book filled with wilfull misinterpretations of Trotsky, selective views of historical events, and above all a prose style that apes Stalin at his most turgid.

Needless to say, it comes highly recommended ;)

Tom said...

"Congratulations to the DPRK on its nuclear test – Yes, I’m pleased the NK Monarchy, deformed workers state, whatever it is, has some means of protection against possible US attack."

Absolute monarchy over liberalism. You are a true revolutionary, sir.

Gabriel said...

I like your blog and I feel we share sufficient common ground for a link to each others blogs to be mutually beneficial.If you agree to link then please contact me at 'An Unrepentant Communist'

on the commments page of the current post,and I will immediately link your blog to mine.Looking forward to hearing from you.
Gabriel in County Kerry Ireland

VictorBrown said...

And what are the revolutionary credentials of you, the critics of the CPGB-ML? Physician, heal thy self.

Have a look at this, if you want to see how an anti-imperialist / communist should conduct themselves!


VictorBrown said...