Charles Woolfson, Professor of Labour Studies in Sweden, looks carefully at Brexit and the EU with key facts and figures. Rightwing and liberal narratives have sought to dominate public debate for their own ends, so here is a clear socialist analysis, showing the reality facing many ordinary workers.
Recorded at a packed Communist Party public meeting 7th November 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland
ROBERT GRIFFITHS reviews the recent international meeting of communist and workers’ parties in Russia.
Since 1999, communist and workers’ parties from across the world have met every year to exchange news and views, hold bilateral discussions with one another and endorse statements setting out common positions on particular issues.
A working group meets in between meetings to prepare the agenda and issue the appeals and declarations agreed by all present at the event. It also recommends acceptance or rejection of applications by more parties every year to join the proceedings.
The host party is responsible for providing all necessary facilities for the hundreds of representatives who arrive from all corners of the world — some of them in defiance of their illegal status at home, where communist parties are persecuted and banned.
Past venues for the annual gathering have included Athens, New Delhi, Lisbon, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Minsk and Beirut.
On November 2-3 this year, fittingly enough, representatives from 103 parties in 78 countries converged on Leningrad (now known by its pre-1914 name of St Petersburg), which as the Russian capital Petrograd was the epicentre of the 1917 Socialist Revolution.
Ahead of the Communist Party's Scottish Conference next week TOM MORRISON writes on the challenges ahead. SCOTTISH Communists prepare for their congress next week in good heart with the party’s cadre force growing in numbers and experience.
Our party in Scotland, along with an active and expanding Young Communist League, has sought to keep the focus of the labour movement on class politics during a difficult and challenging period.
The siren voices of those who call for “partnership working,” for classless nationalism and for securing a benevolent EU protector have diverted energies at a time when our movement most needs strength and unity to stop the pillage of our country.
Mergers, rationalisation and a big business investment strike have left Scotland’s economy more vulnerable than at any time since the 1930s.
For Communists the national question is not about “identity” but what class owns and controls a nation’s resources and how these can be liberated for the benefit of its people.
ROBERT GRIFFITHS IN RUSSIA - Communist Party general secretary speech to the international meeting in St Petersburg (Leningrad), 2 November 2017.
When we Communists urge people to overthrow capitalism because it is unfair, unstable, wasteful, belligerent, exploitative and oppressive, many agree with us that capitalism is indeed most—if not all—of these things.
But what do we propose to put in its place?
Before the Great October Socialist Revolution, we could only offer people a set of values—liberty, equality, cooperation, comradeship, freedom—and the hope that a new type of society could be created in which these would be the ruling values.
Marx did not provide any model for the future communist society, although he pointed to the Paris Commune as an example of how power can be exercised by the mass of people through a system of direct democracy.
But he was reluctant to provide a blueprint because, as the very first rule of the International Working Men's Association put it, the emancipation of the working classes must be achieved by the working classes themselves'.
After 1917, Communists could point to the achievements of the Soviet Union in the teeth of civil war, imperialist intervention, sabotage and fascist invasion. It transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of workers and their families for the better. It played the leading role in rescuing Europe from Nazi-fascist barbarism. It proclaimed the equality of women, all races and nationalities and assisted the struggle for peace, progress, socialism and national liberation across the world.
Yet there were weaknesses, failures and severe violations of socialist democracy that eroded popular support for the Soviet Union, outside and within.
This does not mean that Communists should cease defending and promoting all that was liberating and transformational about the October Revolution and its outcome.
But how can we inspire workers and the mass of people today with the ideals of socialism and communism?
How the Russian Revolution Influenced the Left in Britain & Scotland
with Professor John Foster
This video lays out how the Left across Britain (and Scotland) organised together in the time when the Russian Revolution rocked the world. This led ultimately to the formation of the Communist Party in Britain, a Party which brought together working class activists armed with experiences of struggle which were fully expressed by the emerging Marxism-Leninism in theory and practice.
The Russian Revolution, which began with the downfall of the tsar in February and climaxed with the overthrow of the Provisional Government in October, is a historic event that cannot be confined to the past. Reverberations from October 1917, a political earthquake that gave rise to the world’s first socialist state, are still felt around the globe today.
Recorded as part of the 2017 Novemeber Scottish Labour History Society Conference on the Centenary of the Russian Revolution, which Prof Foster couldn't attend in person as he was in attendence at the national official Russian Revolution Centenary commemoration in London, looking after international comrades from across the world as part of his role as the International Secretary of the British Communist Party .
William Steele reviews In Place of Austerity: A Programme for the People (The People’s Assembly)
Click the cover to get a free download of this new essential pamphlet!
“It is essential that we, together with the trade unions, continue to build the mass movement further to force the Tories out of office, and to help elect and sustain a future anti-austerity progressive government — which, of course, would be under fierce attack by the bankers, big business monopoly corporations and their pet politicians and media. This is the clear aim of the People’s Assembly.”
In its strongest-ever policy statement and plan of action, the recently published pamphlet, In Place of Austerity: A Programme for the People, the People’s Assembly reasserts its position right at the front of the very widespread view that the Tories are not fit to continue in office, and the fast-growing awareness that our movement — the People’s Assembly and our trade unions — needs to go beyond protest to organising to bring them down.
Tracing the origins of austerity to the policies of government following the 2008 financial and economic crisis, which ministers claimed to be aimed at “deficit reduction,” the policy statement says: “Many people now say that austerity policies have failed — and indeed deficit targets are routinely ‘missed,’ and there has been no debt reduction … in fact it has steadily grown from under 40 per cent of GDP in 2008 to just under 90 per cent in 2017.
“But the real aim of austerity was to stabilise the post-crisis economy in favour of the bankers and big business billionaires, raising the rate of profit at the expense of the working class. In that they have succeeded, and will continue to do so, if we let them.”
The opening section of the pamphlet pulls together very useful evidence and statistics
The opening section of the pamphlet pulls together very useful evidence and statistics — from pay and pensions to jobs and working conditions, from privatisation of services to community infrastructure, from benefit cuts to taxation policy, from NHS and state education to the growth of bogus or enforced “self-employment,” from the wealth gap and poverty to housing and transport, and much more.
MARX MEMORIAL LIBRARY ponders whether workers really get a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work?
AS WITH so many apparently simple questions, the answer to this week’s question is both Yes and No.
It’s easiest to start by considering what is blatantly unfair pay. Top executives, especially in the private sector, but also in the public services (such as university chancellors and academy heads) may be paid 10, 20 or (in the case of company CEOs) several hundred times as much as their lower-paid employees.
Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya (1869– 1939) has been overshadowed as a revolutionary and essayist in the popular perception by the figure of Lenin and unfortunately became known by many simply as ‘Lenin’s wife’.
The Woman Worker, Krupskaya’s first pamphlet, was written in Siberian exile where she had joined Lenin, following their arrest in 1896 and sentencing to three years internal exile in Shushenskoye. Krupskaya and Lenin married in July 1898. Krupskaya wrote The Woman Worker in 1899 under the pseudonym ‘Sablina’, one of several she used before the Bolshevik revolution. Other pseudonyms she employed included; Lenina, Artamonova, Onegina, Ryba, Rybkina, Katya, Frey and Gallilei.
Women are usually paid less than men.
The Woman Worker was originally published and circulated in 1901 before being banned following suppression of the 1905 revolution. It was republished in 1925 with a new preface by the author (included in this translation). Its significance stems from being the first Marxist work on the situation of women in Russia. The author analyses in some depth the causes of women’s lack of rights under tsarism. She calls on women to join the ranks of fighters for a better life, as equals and alongside men workers. “The woman worker is a member of the working class” she writes “and all her interests are closely tied to the interests of that class.” Krupskaya vividly describes the plight of peasant women in the family, their powerlessness and wholesale dependence on the husband. “The woman is ‘brought into the house’” she writes. “That is why the person of the woman is rated so low, and why according to peasant custom the woman is seen as property, which is valued in the main only for her capacity for work.” The Woman Worker continued to be published in Soviet times, in the first volume of Krupskaya’s complete works published in 1957 by the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (available to download at https://tinyurl.com/ycgylbzx) and republished in 1964
Taken from the introduction by Dmitriy Kolesnik, a Ukrainian journalist and former editor of online journal Liva and Ukrainian communist newspaper, New Wave (now suppressed) whose editor was recently arrested by Ukraine’s security service and accused of treason. Dmitriy Kolesnik contributes to German newspaper, Junge Welt and Melodie und Rhytmus magazine and coordinates antifascist and communist activists in his homeland. Taken from the website https://21centurymanifesto.wordpress.com/