Tuesday, October 14, 2014

For a strong European communist movement!



by New Worker correspondent

  
 EUROPEAN communists met in Belgium last week to co-ordinate their campaigns against Nato and the European Union in the struggle for peace and socialism across the continent. Nineteen parties including the New Communist Party of Britain took part in the meeting of the Communist and Workers Parties of Europe Initiative at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Giorgos Marinos, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), made the introductory speech to the plenum of the European Communist Initiative, opening a debate that concluded with the formation of an action plan for the strengthening of the people’s struggle against the EU and Nato and countering the bourgeois offensive against the working class throughout Europe.
 The Communist Initiative conference was, he said, a serious step forward for the regrouping of the communist movement in Europe, which is a precondition for the strengthening of the people’s struggle against capitalism and the imperialist wars and for the strengthening of the struggle for socialism in Europe.
The Communist Initiative is supported by most, but not all of Europe’s communist and workers parties.  But virtually all of them took part in the annual European communist conference that was held at the same venue on the previous day. Opened by Greek communist leader Dimitrios Koutsoumpas, delegates from 31 parties reported on their work over the past year and their stand on the problems facing the world communist movement today.
On the first day NCP leader Andy Brooks delivered a report which included an analysis of the Scottish independence referendum. At the Communist Initiative meeting he intervened during the discussion on Ukraine to call for greater solidarity with the anti-fascist struggle and for full support to the people’s republics of Novorossiya in the east of the country.
The NCP is a founder member of the Communist Initiative (CI) which was established last year to co-ordinate workers’ opposition to the European Union and to counter the European Left Party, a left social-democrat and revisionist bloc that included the French Communist Party and Syriza in Greece.
The CI has 29 member parties from 26 countries who elected a Secretariat last year. The Communist Initiative is not a unified political party, nor is it a “European Party”, such as those established by the European Union.  All the member parties have the same rights and obligations, while political decisions are taken according to the principle of unanimity.



EUROPEAN COMMUNIST MEETING OCTOBER 2014
JOINT STATEMENT OF COMMUNIST AND WORKERS PARTIES

The Communist and Workers’ parties of Europe, which met at the European Communist Meeting 2014, held in Brussels on the 2nd October, examined the developments in Europe, international developments and exchanged views and experiences from their activity.

Today, the workers and the other popular strata of Europe are coming face to face with the deadlock of the capitalist development path, such as unemployment which afflicts millions of workers and in particular strikes against young people and women. The flexible forms of employment are becoming widespread, collective labour agreements as well as social and social-security rights are being abolished, poverty is increasing.

The inter-imperialist contradictions, the aggressiveness of the imperialist unions, above all of the EU and NATO, lead to new breeding grounds for wars, which break out in Africa, the Middle East and the wider region, as well as in Europe, as the developments in Ukraine demonstrate. Nationalist, racist, and even openly fascist forces are being strengthened, with the support of the bourgeois class, in many European countries.

Our common assessment is that in these conditions the working class, the popular strata and youth must strengthen their mass struggle against the EU and NATO, against capitalism which gives rise to economic crises and war.

Capitalism is a rotten exploitative system that cannot be repaired, it cannot provide solutions for the people’s problems, it has reached its historical limits. The struggle of the working class, the peoples, will become more effective to the extent that it is directed against it. Workers must decisively denounce imperialist wars, the policy of repression, anti-communism and the criminal activity of the fascist organizations.

Our parties devote, and will devote, their energies in the future in order to reinforce the people’s struggle, to develop working class solidarity. They will continue the work of organizing the working class, in constructing the social, people’s alliance to render more effective the struggle for the overthrow of capitalist exploitation so that workers can enjoy the wealth they produce.
Socialism is timely and necessary

SolidNet List
Communist Party of Albania
New Communist Party of Britain
Party of the Bulgarian Communists
Communist Party in Denmark
Communist Party of Denmark
German Communist Party
Unified Communist Party of Georgia
Communist Party of Greece
Hungarian Workers' Party
Workers' Party of Ireland
Socialist Party of Latvia
Socialist People's Front, Lithuania
Communist Party of Luxembourg
Communist Party of Norway
New Communist Party of the Netherlands
Communist Party of Poland
Romanian Communist Party
Communist Workers' Party of Russia
Communist Party of Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
Communist Party of Peoples of Spain
Communist Party of Sweden
Communist Party, Turkey
Union of Communists of Ukraine

Other Parties
The Pole of Communist Revival in France (PRCF)
Union of Revolutionary Communists of France
Communist Party, Italy




Tuesday, September 09, 2014

OLIVER CROMWELL


Oliver Cromwell  


OLIVER CROMWELL, the leader of the bourgeois English Revolution, died on 3rd September 1658. Cromwell, the MP for Huntingdon, was the leading Parliamentary commander during the English Civil War, which began in 1642 and ended in 1649 with the trial and execution of Charles Stuart and the abolition of the monarchy. The Republic of England, or Commonwealth as it was styled in English, was proclaimed soon after.          
In 1653 Oliver became head of state, the Lord Protector. By then the republic Cromwell led included England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland as well as colonies in New England and the Caribbean. During its brief life the Commonwealth became a force in Europe. Culturally it inspired the great poetry of Milton and Marvell and other radical and pacifist religious movements like the Quakers who are still with us today.
Oliver Cromwell was succeeded by his son, Richard, who was neither a politician nor a soldier. Unable to reconcile republican generals with the demands of the rich merchants and landowners to curb the influence of the New Model Army, Richard Cromwell resigned the following year. The government collapsed. The monarchy was restored in 1660 and the New Model Army was dissolved.
Monarchists see Cromwell as an upstart general who made himself dictator through the might of his New Model Army. For some Protestants Cromwell is still a religious reformer who fought for freedom of conscience for all faiths apart from Catholicism. Many in the Jewish community still remember Cromwell as the leader who allowed Jews to live, worship and work in England for the first time since the pogroms of 1290. But for the bourgeoisie Oliver is best forgotten, even though their ascendancy began when their ancestors took up the gun in the 1640s.
The ruling class abhor revolutionary change today because it threatens their own domination so they naturally deny that their class ever came to power through it in the first place. For them the English republic is an aberration, a temporary blip in the steady advance of bourgeois progress which is the myth they teach us in school. If they elevate anything at all it is the “glorious revolution” of 1688 when the last of the Stuarts was deposed and replaced by a king of their own choosing. Though not as bloodless as they claimed – plenty was shed in Ireland – the establishment of a monarchy that was the gift of Parliament was achieved without the involvement of the masses, which was precisely what was intended.
Engels said that Cromwell was the “Robespierre and Napoleon rolled into one” of the English bourgeois revolution. This is what the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia had to say in its day:

Cromwell was born into a middle gentry family and began his political activity in 1628, when he was first elected to the House of Commons. Nevertheless, within the ranks of the Parliamentary opposition to Stuart absolutism Cromwell became well known only with the convocation in 1640 of the “Long Parliament,” in which he spoke out as an advocate of the interests of the bourgeoisie and the new gentry.
With the beginning of the first civil war against the king (1642 – 46), Cromwell with the rank of captain became head (in September 1642) of a volunteer cavalry detachment. Cromwell strongly advocated the democratisation of the Parliamentary army, and he wanted to attract to it those who would fight against the king out of conviction rather than as mercenaries. In seeking out such “soldiers of God,” Cromwell turned to the yeomanry of eastern England, who were devout Puritans and hostile to outmoded feudal orders.
Cromwell’s peasant cavalry (he commanded a cavalry regiment from the beginning of 1643) soon merited its nickname of “Ironsides” because of its tenacity and discipline. It became the nucleus of the Parliamentary army, which was reorganised upon Cromwell’s initiative at the beginning of 1645 (the “New Model Army”) and in which Cromwell was deputy commander in chief with the rank of lieutenant general. Cromwell’s skill as a general was most clearly manifested in the decisive battles of the first civil war — at Marston Moor (2nd July 1644) and at Naseby (14th June 1645), where it was Cromwell’s cavalry that decided the success of these battles.
Although during the first civil war Cromwell reflected to a considerable degree the mood of the revolutionary democracy in the Parliamentary camp, after the victory over the king and the latter’s imprisonment, he retarded and restrained the movement of the popular masses.
This led to a fierce struggle between Cromwell and the Levellers (1647). Caught between three political forces in 1647 — the Presbyterian majority in Parliament, the army, and the imprisoned king — Cromwell showed himself to be a resourceful and evasive politician. Using the army as his principal support, he carried on secret negotiations with the king at the same time, and he dealt harshly with disturbances among the soldiers.
When at the beginning of the second civil war (1648) Cromwell again needed the support of the masses, he made a temporary alliance with the Levellers. In 1648 he captured London, and with the aid of his soldiers he purged the House of Commons of the openly outspoken royalists (”Pride’s Purge” of 6th December 1648). Under pressure from the lower classes, Cromwell was compelled to agree to the trial and execution of the king, the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords, and the proclamation of England as a republic. However the republic that was declared in May 1649 was in fact a dictatorship by the so-called Meek Independents, headed by Cromwell.
The smashing of the Levellers’ uprising and the Diggers’ movement in England itself, the extremely harsh military expedition against rebellious Ireland (1649–50), Cromwell’s Scottish campaign (1650–51), and the plundering of Irish lands all testified to Cromwell’s transformation into the Napoleon of the English Revolution. By his growing conservatism and his hostility to the democratic aspirations of the masses Cromwell merited the trust of the bourgeoisie and the new gentry.
Officially appointed by Parliament in May 1650 as lord general and commander in chief of all the republic’s armed forces, Cromwell proceeded to establish his own personal dictatorship. On 20th April 1653 he dissolved “the Rump” of the Long Parliament; in December 1653 he was proclaimed lord protector of England, Ireland, and Scotland. This protectorate regime transformed Cromwell into the de facto sovereign ruler of the country, the military might of which, forged during the course of the Revolution, was now placed at the service of the bourgeoisie’s trade and colonial expansion.
Cromwell’s outward grandeur, which reached its apex during these years, could not, however, conceal the weakness of the protectorate system. The class allies who had come to power strove to erect a more tenable barrier against the claims of the popular masses. Famed for his reputation as a regicide, Cromwell was in their eyes an insufficient guarantee against the common people. Cromwell’s right-wing enemies prepared secretly for a restoration of the Stuarts. By his own open anti-democratism Cromwell himself facilitated and expedited this restoration, which was carried out in 1660, shortly after Cromwell’s death.


Monday, September 08, 2014

In Memoriam






ERIC TREVETT

1931 - 2014
Eric Trevett, the President of the New Communist Party of Britain, passed away on Saturday 6th September. A life-long communist, internationalist and peace campaigner, Eric worked with Sid French for many years in the struggle against revisionism within the old Communist Party of Great Britain. Eric was a founder member of the NCPB in 1977 and he was elected general secretary of the Party following the death of Sid French in 1979. He held that post until his retirement from full-time party work in 1995.
He was subsequently elected president of the NCPB, a post he held until his death last weekend. Eric suffered from Parkinson's Disease, which increasingly limited his mobility. But only this year he helped to set up a new pensioners' association in his locality while encouraging the workers to join a union at his residential care-home. He will be sadly missed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Faults of Baroness Warsi





By Adrian Chan-Wyles

Baroness Warsi is to be applauded for her resignation from the ConDem government over the prime minister’s unquestioning support for the ongoing Israeli policy of terrorism and genocide carried-out against the innocent people of Gaza. 
The right-wing media is to be condemned over its racially motivated attacks aimed at Baroness Warsi for her principled stance against David Cameroon, and the courage she has shown in face of her own Conservative Party’s indifference to the plight of Palestinian children, and the general air of pro-Israeli warmongering that exists amongst its upper echelons, at exactly the same time that the proletariat is being brainwashed by the state to eulogise the 1914-1918 holocaust perpetuated against it – otherwise affectionately known by the bourgeoisie as ‘World War I’.
 Baroness Warsi, due to her ethnicity and complexion, is being accused by the odious Daily Mail of ‘betraying’ the prime minister essentially because she is not ‘white’.  This is the default position of the right-wing when it policies of prejudice and discrimination suffer the embarrassment of being exposed for what they really are.  It is something of an anathema that Baroness Warsi – and others of distinct ethnicity – would hold conservative views, and pursue right-wing values, when such attitudes are obviously designed to be detrimental to minorities of all kinds.
Lady Warsi possesses many faults, but these are not the product of either her ethnic background, or her.  The Baroness, for instance, has continuously used her success as a prominent right-wing politician, to give expression to vicious homophobic sentiment, and ruthlessly attack the gay community through the popular media.  In this regard, the Baroness had no qualms in attacking a British and worldwide minority that has suffered discrimination, hatred, physical attack, and in certain cases – murder – simply for expressing a preferred sexual orientation.
 The Baroness, although presented by certain sections of the media, as being ‘working class’, has nevertheless fully supported the prime minister’s policies of attacking the poor, the destitute, migrants, the homeless, the disabled, and the unemployed.
  The Baroness has set about the task of dismantling the British welfare state and the National Health Service, with a distinct sense of relish.  As Black, White, and Asian British people suffer hardship under these cuts, the Baroness has remained silent at their plight and made no move whatsoever to assist these victims of Tory bigotry.
It would appear that Baroness Warsi has no problem ignoring the suffering of multicultural Britain.  This expert manipulator of the media whilst she was in a position of governmental power, never once questioned the morality, logic, or ideological validity of current Tory policy toward the ordinary and often vulnerable people of Britain.  Workers toiling for an ever decreasing wage, disabled people dying of starvation because many have not understood the benefit cuts enacted against them, and workers and unemployed queuing together at poorly supplied food-banks in the hope that they can make ends meet for another day.  The cutting of unemployment benefit to such a low level that virtually no one can survive whilst living on it, coupled with the abolishment of Council Tax Benefit for most people, and drastic reductions in Housing Benefit, has had disastrous effects upon the poor and vulnerable, and the British working class in general. 
All this has been applied to the working class at a time when the middle and upper classes have received pointless and extensive tax-cuts that serve no purpose other than to deprive the poor of essential services, and secure votes for the Tories.  These are the extensive and profound faults of Baroness Warsi that form the foundation for the ridicule and criticism she so readily deserves from the  left, which must stand clearly for anti-racism, and defend the rights of Baroness Warsi as an individual, even if she does not, as a right-wing politician, feel she should defend the rights of the British working class. 
It is the ‘red flag’ of Socialism, and not the ‘blue water’ of Conservatism that clearly leads the way in this matter.  The people of Gaza – and the working class - will be freed through historical forces and not in spite of them!        

Friday, August 08, 2014

Communists in Britain and the fight against fascism in 2014



By Daphne Liddle

The most significant fascist and racist groups active in Britain at the moment are the British National Party, the English Defence League, Britain First, the English Volunteer Force, Traditional Britain and a number of regional Infidel and alliance groups – and of course the United Kingdom Independence Party.
The British National Party is now just a shadow of its former self after its election wipe-out in 2010 and the collapse of its electoral strategy. But it still exists. It has enormous debts and financial problems and has lost its main former financier, Ulster businessman Jim Dowson, but it is still getting money from somewhere and cannot be totally written off.
Jim Dowson himself recently told a [Channel Four News] documentary on Britain First, who are Dowson’s new protégés, that although he had broken with the BNP he had previously given them a total of around £4 million and he considered this well spent because BNP public activity during elections had “moved the whole British political spectrum several degrees to the right”.
And we should note a coincidence that the National Front’s dramatic collapse and splintering into umpteen warring factions in 1979 also coincided with a general election that swept Labour from power and brought in a very hard-line anti-working class, anti state-welfare Tory regime.
 The NF at the time had also just lost one of its main sources of income – money from the US-based World Anti-Communist League (which was funded from US, Saudi and Brunei sources and initiated by former Ukrainian Nazis) that was channelled via Lady Jane Birdwood. WACL’s new director, John Singlaub redirected the money from Birdwood to extreme right-wing Tory fringe groups. These groups included the notorious Federation of Conservative Students, which ran a campaign to hang Nelson Mandela.
In 1979 The NF was also wracked with internal strife after Special Branch leaked to anti-fascists the information that Martin Webster, second in command of the NF, had regularly supplied them with information on the NF in return for money. He considered himself seriously underpaid by the NF.
But like the BNP in 2010, the NF had done its job of diverting and dividing the working class to allow for the election of a right-wing Tory government with a strong anti-working class agenda and was no longer needed by those who had been financing it.
The English Defence League is also now just a shadow of its former self. A few years ago it could attract thousands of assorted football hooligans, former squaddies, neo-Nazis and general thugs looking for something to fight about on the streets. Its declared anti-Islamicist policies were a thin cover for its general racism and demonization of immigrants. They would bring terror to the streets of the towns targeted for their marches and they deliberately picked areas with a large Muslim community.
The tide of success for the EDL turned with massive anti-fascist mobilisations in Tower Hamlets, Brighton, Walthamstow and other places where large numbers of local residents took part in blocking the paths of the intended EDL march routes, sheer numbers and mobility making it impossible for police to control. When this happens police can, with difficulty, clear a stretch of road but it fills up again immediately with more anti-fascists.
            Anti-fascist photographers, being close to the EDL ranks, witnessed the intense anger and frustration of EDL members when their marches were blocked in this way. They were most furious to see the numbers of white working class people among the anti-fascist ranks because they have a delusion that the majority of white working class people share their racist outlook. “You’re not English anymore!” is the chant they hurl at such people.
When their marches were blocked repeatedly EDL supporters drained away. Their commitment to the cause is weak and their political understanding very shallow. Many have just come along for the opportunity of a fight. If they cannot fight immigrant communities or anti-fascists they will fight the police. And if they cannot fight the police they will fight each other.
In May 2013 the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich by two Muslims caused a new wave of anti-Muslim hysteria that revived the fortunes of the EDL briefly. They organised dozens of marches and rallies but found, as before, they were still being blocked by anti-fascists and no one wanted them and the numbers began to fall away again.
This was when their leader, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon commonly known as Tommy Robinson, decided to quit. He claimed to have suddenly realised that people of different faiths can and should live in harmony and mutual respect and from now on this was going to be his mission – as though no one had ever thought of it before. There was no word of apology to the many multi-faith groups whose influence he and the EDL had tried to smash.
Nor was there any word of apology to his former followers who had dutifully trudged up and down the high streets of England on what he now realised was a mistaken cause.  He also claimed to have only just realised that the organisation he built attracted thugs, racists and neo-Nazis. He teamed up with a dubious state-funded think-tank known as Quilliam, which claimed to specialise in the redemption of Muslim extremist would-be terrorists.
The EDL had already begun to splinter into various more extreme “Infidel” groups – some of whom spent more time attacking Catholics than Muslims – and regional alliances. Paul Pitt from Essex emerged as the leader of the South East Alliance and is also a leading member of the English Volunteer Force. Last year he was seen outside the Lord Moon pub in Whitehall chatting with Jim Dowson.
Another small group of unashamed Nazis arising from the splintering of the BNP and the EDL is Britain First, led by Paul Golding. They charge around in an armoured Land Rover trying to intimidate Muslims, invading mosques with bibles and bottles of alcohol reminding the Muslims of what they probably most despise about traditional English manners.
But Britain First does seem to have won some funding from Jim Dowson. And from the behaviour of those vying for Dowson’s money it would seem they are competing to “kick their way into the headlines” – the tactics that Martin Webster of the old National Front boasted about. The old National Front is still around, just, and has benefitted a little from the fall-out from the shrinking BNP and EDL. In spite of its small size the NF is currently divided into three warring factions.
The Traditional Britain Group is evolving to take the place of the old Monday Club – an amorphous meeting and mingling place between fascist and racist “intellectuals” and the right-wing of the Tory party.
The EDL has shrunk but, like the BNP, is still there with a small core of hard-liners. It is still putting on marches in towns around the country: Slough, Peterborough, Rotherham, Newcastle, Stevenage and Middlesbrough.
There is a pattern to these events. The EDL turnout is low – usually fewer than 150 but the local police put on a huge and expensive show to guard against clashes with the local communities and with organised anti-fascists.
The police order the EDL to assemble outside the town so that they can enter the town accompanied by a lot of police, either by train or in special coaches laid on by the police. They allow the EDL to march noisily through the centre of town offending local residents, to a prepared pen where they make speeches. These invariably focus on the theme of Muslims and paedophilia and the grooming of young girls. There is no rationality to this – such activity is just as abhorrent to most Muslims as it is to anyone else and the paedophilia practised by various celebrities, politicians and some Catholic priests is never mentioned. It just plays to tabloid sensationalism and is the modern equivalent of the Victorian “white slave trade” scaremongering.
The EDL also boast about how much their marches are going to cost local council tax payers for policing.
There is invariably an anti-fascist counter demonstration, usually organised by the local trades council. These counter demonstrations are usually much bigger than the EDL effort but police route them around the outskirts of town so only those who participate really know they have happened. This is sad because it allows the EDL to feel they have triumphed over anti-fascist opposition and gives them a little boost. Their numbers have started to grow again a little.
There is no substitute for blocking their path with massive numbers, even if the police do not like this.
So it goes without saying that on the streets and facing the fascists there must be maximum unity between anti-fascists of all political shades. We must remember that the biggest and most successful anti-fascist alliance of all time comprised Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt and they managed to work together in spite of having very little else in common, until the threat of Nazism was smashed. If they can work with each other then we can too – communists, socialists, anarchists, Tories, Liberals, Labour supporters, young, old, male, female and every gender nuance in between, atheists, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists and every other world view and every ethnic shade possible.
            AS COMMUNISTS, working with other anti-fascists of all kinds also gives opportunities for friendly dialogue as we stand shoulder to shoulder against fascism and it in no way implies our support for the political views on other matters of the people we are standing next to. Those are matters for peaceful argument during the lulls in fighting the fascists. This is the only way to achieve the mass turn-outs necessary to stop the fascists. And it happens naturally on the streets. Anti-fascists of all shades will defend one another regardless where there is a threat of attack by fascists or by police.
The traditional tactics of Unite Against Fascism and the more anarchic tactics of the energetic young people of Antifa are both needed and should be co-ordinated for maximum effect. Some trade unions do a good job of mobilising their members for anti-fascist work from the workplace – but we must find a way to mobilise workers in places that are not unionised (yet). We need to knock on doors and talk to working people in their communities, countering the lies that the fascists and racists promote. This is what was most effective in wiping out the BNP vote.
And this is the best way to defeat Ukip. Ukip has undoubtedly had an enormous amount of free publicity from the media and the state. It is performing a function for one section of a ruling class that is divided over Europe. That function is not to win a majority in Parliament but, again, to shift the whole political spectrum even further to the right and to persuade the working class to accept even further draconian anti-working class measures – the total dismemberment of state welfare, the trade union movement and all working class rights that have been won over the last 200 years by diverting attention into racism and xenophobia and an obsession with immigration.
The media never disclose any other aspects of Ukip policy so few people are aware that Ukip wants to abolish the NHS and privatise all medical care and all free education; ultimately they would like to abolish all taxes. It is the task of the anti-fascist and anti-racist movement to make up for this deficit in general awareness and it is the task of communists to give a lead in prioritising this work. And we do not give a lead from the rear, telling others what to do. We do it by being in the front line of activity.
We communists are great ones for meetings, conferences, debates and committees – theoretical work that is usually done sitting down. This is all essential work but it is only half the struggle. If all those great resolutions and clarifications of the line are just left hanging we might as well not bother. We must stand up, get out and about and be at the forefront of implementation – on the streets, in the workplaces, in the communities, on the housing estates putting our line into practice and communicating directly with workers and raising levels of political awareness and class consciousness. And we must do this most of all among the masses who are currently disillusioned, politically unaware and sceptical of the value of left political activity.
We must ensure that the hardship and suffering caused by the austerity measures and attacks on working class living standards turn into anger and not into despair and resignation. To do that we need some successes in struggle, we need to set at first modest, achievable goals to build morale and awareness. And defeating fascist and racist activity is one area where we can do this.
Historically the poll tax was defeated by mass non-compliance that made it impossible to implement. The Save Lewisham Hospital campaign won because, through an enormous effort, it achieved a truly massive level of active involvement and support. It can be done. Some say in both cases there have been subsequent reversals – the council tax system is also unjust and the Government changed the law so that in future cases like Lewisham hospital will not be able to succeed. But both campaigns did succeed in their main immediate goals and set a powerful example for others. Under capitalism there is no such thing as a permanent victory that does not have to be defended again and again but with good morale and mass involvement that is achievable.
And on the anti-racist anti-fascist front there have been a steady level of successes in anti-discrimination laws and the Stephen Lawrence family campaign led to big changes in policing. There is still a long way to go in achieving policing that is really free from racism and the progress achieved is always under threat. But that is the fluid nature of political struggle; we can never let up but we know we can win.
It is down to a critical mass of involvement but to achieve that we have to make a public political stand that people can and will rally to. Three times this year different fascist groups – Britain First and then the ex-EDL’s South East Alliance – have tried to stage events in Cricklewood, north London.
 In the first instance in February the anti-fascist picket line was quite modest – the local trades council, members of the Labour Representation Committee and a few others – seemed quite modest in number. But when the fascists turned up it was heartening to see the anti-fascists numbers quadruple at least as local passers-by joined in and it turned into a major success. But it would not have happened if the trades council comrades had not bothered to make a stand in the first place.
In the second instance in June it was the young, mobile and daring comrades of the Antifa movement who totally blocked the street – and also won a lot of support from local passers-by. The fascists were unable to do anything and their leader Paul Pitt exploded with rage and frustration. No violence was involved – just a critical mass of people able to block and road and with the courage to do so.
In the third instance, Paul Pitt’s South East Alliance again tried to march in Cricklewood but the effect of their previous defeat was that Pitt could muster only 17 supporters – and three of them were so embarrassed by the low turnout they did not march with the others but hung about on the sidelines. Pitt protested to the police again – but this time it was very half hearted. Meanwhile the number of anti-fascists had multiplied again and, with a line of big banners right across the street, they barred the way again. 
Back in the 70s and 80s the presence of Anti-Nazi-League pickets, however small, at every fascist and racist public activity had a true mass impact on the fascists’ and racists’ morale. It led them more or less to give up street activity. And it was always a very welcome sight to an anti-fascist photographer to know they were not alone. Now Unite Against Fascism and other anti-fascist groups are keeping up that tradition.
In Europe there is a much more serious situation developing with new Nazi parties blatantly displaying fascist and Nazi symbols, calling for pogroms against immigrants, Jews and Roma people.
And in the Ukraine, with the backing of US finance they have seized power from the weak democratic government of Yanukovich as part of a western strategy to bring Ukraine under the political and economic control of Nato and the European Union.
Once again the fascists are being used to divert and divide the working class while the most draconian cuts in wages, pensions and services are being imposed on them as the giant western companies try to seize Ukraine’s agricultural and mineral wealth.
The West had tried before to destabilise Ukraine and supported pro-western and anti-Russian puppets but the people soon saw through them and threw them out. This time they used the pro-EU Maidan Square protesters as a cover to seize power.
Ukrainians are a people who can remember living under socialism and they are putting up a mighty resistance and in the east are attempting to set up breakaway republics. Crimea broke away altogether and reverted to becoming part of Russia, denying the important Russian Naval base at Sevastopol to the Kiev Nazis.
But a full scale war is being fought by Kiev against the peoples of eastern Ukraine.
There is also strong resistance to the Nazi putsch in western Ukraine but it is being dealt with very brutally. Outspoken opponents of the junta are being murdered, communist party offices have been looted and burned, Russian language books are being burned and the language is being outlawed. All to divert attention from the huge drop in living standards being imposed on all the people by western imperialism.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a right-wing nationalist and pro-capitalist but opposed to western imperialism, was quick to accept Crimea back into Russia but is avoiding further Russian involvement. He can clearly see the hand of Washington behind the Kiev junta and he has no desire to escalate the conflict into a third world war. He knows there are hawks in Washington who would like to do that.
Meanwhile he is securing economic agreements with China and other Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries to reduce the power of the US dollar globally and to defuse the American threat that way.
There are also strong Nazi movements in Greece, Hungary, Poland and in Russia itself. But they tend to be divided from each other by their extremist nationalism. Polish, Hungarian, Ukrainian and Russian fascists all lay claim to parts of each other’s territories and despise each other as lesser breeds of human.
And there are also strong anti-fascist movements growing up. The memory of the Red Army is growing stronger and communism is remembered once more as the force that succeeded in smashing fascism. It is our strength that we can unite internationally and work together with mutual respect.
 We have every reason to get ourselves into the front line of this struggle and show the world that communists still know how to organise, how to recover from initial defeats and setbacks and how to win the war and destroy fascism.