Friday, November 17, 2017

Communists celebrate 1917 in the homeland of the revolution

By New Worker correspondent
Opening of the first session of the conference

Communists and progressive forces marked the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution with two major conferences and a series of events in Russia that paid tribute to the 10 days that shook the world in 1917. It all began when the Bolsheviks led the revolution that overthrew the Kerensky regime in St Petersburg to build the world’s first workers’ and peasants’ state. And in the hallowed hall of the Tavrichesky Palace, where the Czarist parliament met and where Lenin spoke when it was briefly home to the Provisional Government and the Petersburg Soviet, hundreds of communists gathered for the 19th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties of the World.
The conference was opened on 2nd November by Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). He reminded delegates that a new stage in history was heralded 100 years ago with the words of Lenin, the genius of the Revolution, from Red Petrograd to the whole world and added that now is the time for the third Russian revolution, which will ensure the ultimate victory of socialism.
Referring to the symbolic meaning of the salvo from the cruiser Aurora that sparked off the uprising and the unforgettable days of October in the capital of the Russian Empire, Zyuganov recalled the historical stages the city hosted from the struggle for Soviet power to the heroic resistance against the Nazis.
Zyuganov also commented on the development of the meetings of the communist and workers’ parties, starting with the initiative of the Communist Party of Greece 20 years ago. He recalled that the main tasks of the meetings were the restoration of inter-party ties that had been interrupted after 1991 and exchange of information on their activities. Zyuganov stated that over the years, valuable experience in preparing and holding such meetings has been accumulated and the number of parties participating in them has been constantly growing.
Delegations from 103 parties, including the New Communist Party of Britain (NCP), took part in the conference. NCP leader Andy Brooks and Peter Hendy from the Central Committee joined 188 other comrades from all over the world, which included 60 Party leaders amongst the 188 delegates that filled the hall.
Andy Brooks joking with Rob Griffiths of the CPB
Conference agreed to add the Communist Party of China, the Workers Party of Korea and the Hungarian Workers Party to the Working Group, the steering committee of the international movement. Conference also unanimously adopted a statement calling upon all communist and workers’ parties to intensify coordination and to take up joint actions. It was also decided to organise scientific research and exchange of opinions on the causes that led to the counter-revolution in the USSR and the dissolution of the socialist camp. It was decided that the 100th anniversary of the seminal work of Lenin, The State and Revolution, would be observed in a systematic manner. The communiqué noted that 2018 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx and there needs to be appropriate efforts to discuss the contributions of Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto. It was agreed to build joint efforts to protect the rights and democratic freedoms of working people and to fight racism and fascism. The communiqué also called for focused activity targeting the youth because they are being misled by reactionary forces in every country, and expressed solidarity with the peoples of Cuba, Palestine, Syria, Venezuela and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
 The two-day conference closed with solemn singing of the {Internationale}. The delegations then proceeded to join 4,000 Russian communists at the vast October Concert Hall for a rapturous concert dedicated to the spirit of the revolution. The following day international delegations were taken to the historic Smolny Institute, the home of the Soviet government before it moved to Moscow, and to the Aurora and a 1917 exhibition in the Hermitage museum.
The delegations then travelled by high-speed train to Moscow to take part in the even bigger Left Forum, which also included delegations from the Syrian Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath) and other progressive forces from the Third World.
Delegates paid tribute to Lenin at Lenin Mausoleum, and the ashes of Joseph Stalin and other leaders of the revolution, including the hundreds of unknown soldiers and martyrs honoured along the Kremlin wall.
With numerous events, rallies and parades, thousands of people of every age celebrated the 100 years since the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia and other countries of the former USSR.
The centenary celebrations of the Great October Socialist Revolution concluded in Moscow with a rally on 7th November. It was attended by not only comrades from Moscow, but also leaders of over 100 communist and workers’ parties from across the world.
Delegates joined demonstrators led by the CPRF leaders in a march from Pushkin Square to Revolution Square, waving the flags of the Lenin Komsomol, portraits of Lenin and Stalin, and chanting communist slogans. A rally was then held in front of statue of Karl Marx in Revolution Square. 
Large rallies, organised by the CPRF and the Russian Communist Workers Party (RCWP), took place in Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Omsk and other smaller cities. The celebrations took place despite a deliberate effort by the Putin government to distract public opinion away from the great anniversary. Major communist concerts in Moscow and St Petersburg were ignored by the Russian media, which chose instead to mark the centenary with the start of an eight-part series on Leon Trotsky!
Although President Vladimir Putin did send greetings to the international communist conference, the Russian government refused to hold any events in honour of the October Revolution, apart from a pageant in Red Square that was partly dedicated to the 1941 Red Army parade before leaving to the front against the Nazis. But this simply reflects the reactionary and anti-communist orientation of the Putin government that serves the interests the national bourgeoisie.
But as Gennady Zyuganov said: “7th November will always remain a celebration for us. Today’s Russia is a different place but they can’t take away our whole lives from us.”

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Solidarity with the People of Cyprus

AKEL, within the framework of the annual 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, circulated a “Joint Solidarity Statement with the people of Cyprus”. The Joint Statement, as well as the sixty one Parties that have signed it, are listed below.

Solidarity Statement with the people of Cyprus
 “The freedom and reunification of Cyprus is a milestone against imperialist aggression”
  • We assert that the Cyprus problem is the result of foreign intervention and imperialist aggression; in July 1974, the Greek junta and the fascist organization EOKA B staged a coup d’état against the elected President of the Republic of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios.
  • We recall that Turkey exploited the coup d’état to materialise its expansionist plans in Cyprus, invading illegally the island which remains occupied to this day in flagrant violation of international law.
  • We recall that the double crime of the coup d’état and invasion was planned by the US and NATO aiming to divide Cyprus and impose union of one part to Greece and the other to Turkey, as both countries  were NATO members.
  • We emphasize that the persisting violation of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, the continuing violation of the human rights and freedoms of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the perpetuation of the division of the people of Cyprus and the illegal mass settlement of the occupied territory to alter the demographic character of the island, form another expression of the imperialist aggression in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the world.
  • We reiterate that the Cyprus problem is in essence an international problem of invasion and illegal occupation, in violation of the fundamental principles of international law and the Charter of the UN, but also has an internal aspect, of restoring relations between the two communities of Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot.
  • We underline the negative prospects for the future of the negotiations following the recent failure of the peace process in Switzerland.
  • We stress that the recent failure cannot be the end of all efforts to liberate and reunify Cyprus but that the leaders of the two communities, echoing the calls of the UN Secretary-General, should return to the table of the negotiations with the political will to reach a solution within the agreed framework of bicommunal, bizonal federation and in accordance with international law.
  • We reiterate that Turkey’s departure from its long- standing intransigence that has hindered any concrete progress in the last 42 years remains a prerequisite for the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem; for the termination of the occupation, the demilitarisation of the Republic of Cyprus, the annulment of the anachronistic Treaty of Guarantee and the exclusion of any right of foreign intervention.
  • We underline that the status quo entrenches the long- term aspirations and objectives of Turkey against Cyprus and is not counter-productive for the strategic goals of NATO to maintain the geostrategic and military control of our region. On the contrary, we emphasise that the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem within the agreed framework is the only way to reunite our people and country, thus providing the impetus for common class struggles and a future socialist transformation.
The Communist and Workers’ Parties signing the present Statement:
  1. Demand the immediate withdrawal of Turkish army, the demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus and the abolishment of foreign guarantees and of any rights for foreign intervention; it is within this context that permanent peace can be pursued, that would allow indeed the reunification, independence and freedom of the Cypriot people as a whole.
  2. Demand the solution of the Cyprus problem the soonest possible, on the basis of international law and the UN Security Council resolutions. The solution must restore the human rights and freedoms, provide for the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus from a unitary state to a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single and indivisible sovereignty, a single international personality and single citizenship with due respect to the principle of political equality, as this is prescribed in the relevant UN resolutions.
  3. Call for an immediate verification of the fate of the remaining missing persons of the Cypriot tragedy.
  4. Deplore the policies of Turkey in the occupied part of Cyprus aiming to the consolidation on the ground of the divisionist faits accomplis; including the enforced economic and cultural assimilation of the Turkish Cypriots, as well as the recent imposition of “charges” for medicines and basic supplies transferred to Greek Cypriots enclaved in the occupied part of the island.
  5. Express their strong support for the resumption of the direct negotiations as soon as possible and call on Turkey to commit itself in abandoning its long-standing intransigent stance against Cyprus.
  6. Call on the international community to stop tolerating the continuing illegality that is taking place in Cyprus, and exert its influence on Turkey in order to terminate its divisive policies on the ground and take concrete steps for the solution of the Cyprus problem within the agreed framework.
  7. Express their solidarity with and support to the struggle of the Cypriot people for the liberation and reunification of its country.


Parties undersigning

  1. Argentina – Communist Party of Argentina
  2. Australia – Communist Party of Australia
  3. Bahrain – Democratic Progressive Tribune
  4. Bangladesh – Communist Party of Bangladesh
  5. Bangladesh – Workers’ Party of Bangladesh
  6. Belgium – Communist Party of Wallonia-Brussels
  7. Brazil – Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB)
  8. Britain – Communist Party of Britain
  9. Britain – New Communist Party of Britain
  10. Bulgaria – Communist Party of Bulgaria
  11. Bulgaria – Party of the Bulgarian Communists
  12. Canada – Communist Party Of Canada
  13. Chile – Communist Party of Chile
  14. Colombia – Colombian Communist Party
  15. Croatia – Socialist Workers’ Party of Croatia
  16. Cuba – Communist Party of Cuba
  17. Czech Republic – Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (CPBM)
  18. Denmark – Communist Party in Denmark (KPiD)
  19. Ecuador – Communist Party of Ecuador
  20. Egypt – Egyptian Communist Party
  21. Finland – Communist Party of Finland
  22. France – French Communist Party
  23. Germany – German Communist Party (DKP)
  24. Georgia – Unified Communist Party of Georgia
  25. Ireland – Communist Party of Ireland
  26. Ireland – The Workers’ Party of Ireland
  27. Hungary – Hungarian Workers’ Party
  28. India – Communist Party of India
  29. India – Communist Party of India (M)
  30. Iran – Tudeh Party of Iran
  31. Iraq – Iraqi Communist Party
  32. Israel – Communist Party of Israel
  33. Italy – Party of the Communist Refoundation
  34. Jordan –Communist Party of Jordan
  35. Lebanon – Lebanese Communist Party
  36. Luxembourg – Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL)
  37. Madagascar – Party of the Congress for Independence of Madagascar (AKFM)
  38. Malta – Communist Party of Malta
  39. Pakistan – Communist Party of Pakistan
  40. Palestine – Palestinian People’s Party
  41. Palestine – Palestinian Communist Party
  42. Panama – Party of the People
  43. Peru – Communist Party of Peru (Patria Roja)
  44. Portugal – Portuguese Communist Party
  45. Romania – Romanian Socialist Party
  46. Russia – Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF)
  47. Russia – Russian Communist Workers’ Party
  48. Russia – Union of Communist Parties-CPSU
  49. Serbia – Communists of Serbia
  50. Serbia – New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
  51. South Africa – South African Communist Party (SACP)
  52. Spain – Communist Party of Spain (PCE)
  53. Spain – Communists of Catalonia
  54. Syria – Syrian Communist Party
  55. Syria – Syrian Communist Party (Unified)
  56. Sudan – Sudanese Communist Party
  57. Turkey – Communist Party of Turkey (TKP)
  58. Ukraine – Communist Party Of Ukraine
  59. Uruguay – Communist Party of Uruguay
  60. Venezuela – Communist Party of Venezuela
  61. Vietnam – Communist Party of Vietnam

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pages of Irish History


By Dermot Hudson

Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican by Seán Byers (2015). Irish Academic Press:Ireland; 228pp. ISBN paperback: 9780716532972 amd ISBN hardback: 9780716532965. €24.99–€44.99.

Irish communist history is a painfully neglected subject with very few books on the subject and the Communist Party of Ireland itself has not produced much historical material. The publication of this political biography by Seán Byers therefore fulfils a need. Whether it does this adequately is for the reader to decide.
Seán Murray was the general secretary of the second Communist Party of Ireland (CPI). There have been three parties that took that name, the first being the one led by Roddy Connolly in the early 1920s, then the party founded in 1933, which Seán Murray led, and the third and present party formed in 1970 by a merger of the Irish Workers Party and Communist Party of Northern Ireland.
The question always arises as to why communism is so weak in Ireland, the land of James Connolly, Red Jim Larkin and the great Seán O’Casey. Part of the answer is in the book. Reading between the lines, it becomes very apparent that the CPI functioned a long time as a de facto branch of the British CPGB (Communist Party of Great Britain) and took its cue from them. There were clumsy attempts by CPGB functionaries to apply a crude version 'class against class' line in Ireland, a line that was undoubtedly correct in many European countries where social democracy had held back the revolution and sided with fascism. But it did not really fit in with the realities of Ireland and the CPGB imposed a line of attacking the Irish Republican movement and Fianna Fáil, thereby cutting off the Revolutionary Workers’ Groups (as the CPI was called before its formal foundation in 1933) from a potential  base of support.
Murray himself was from a nationalist background. Born in the north of Ireland he had been an IRA commander during the 1930s, thus providing a link between revolutionary Irish communism and Irish republicanism. Murray tried to work within the Irish Republican Congress, a left-leaning Irish Republican body, but this split in the 1930s. Byers speculates on whether there was CPGB animosity towards Murray and a finger is pointed at the renowned CPGB leader Harry Pollitt.
Apart from unwanted interference from the British CPGB, Irish communists faced other problems. There was repression of communists on both sides of the Irish border. Seán Murray for a long time was prevented by the British authorities from returning to his native north of Ireland. In the Irish Free State, as the Republic of Ireland was called in those days, communists had to face the insane and pathological hostility of the Catholic Church as well as an attempt to create a fascist party in the form of the dreaded Blueshirts.
Sadly the CPI liquidated itself in the early 1940s. One of the numerous weaknesses of this work is that this is never really explained, although it is hinted that the CPGB might have had something to do with it.
Communists in the north of Ireland formed the Communist Party of Northern Ireland (CPNI). Seán Murray was allowed to return to the occupied north of Ireland and became one of the leaders of the CPNI, a party with an extremely dubious stance on the Irish national question.
Later Michael O'Riordan was able to reform the party in the south as the Irish Workers League. The CPNI basically supported the Northern Ireland Labour Party and adopted its own version of the infamous British Road to Socialism. Byers does not explain the apparent about-face of Murray, a former IRA officer who ended up condemning the 1950s IRA border campaign.
Basically, it is probably not an exaggeration to say that the CPNI had an anti-Republican position. The CPNI/CPI’s “peaceful road” theories and insistence on non-violence cost them dearly as they became marginalised during the more recent Troubles. They never had their own paramilitary organisation and were seen as irrelevant by the masses of people in Ireland.
The book is  full of dodgy references to "Stalinism". Byers is very approving of Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin and airbrushes out any mention of Irish communist and anti-revisionist Hamilton Neil Goold-Verschoyle who defended Stalin.
Generally the book has a depressing and negative tone, with several references to Murray’s apparent alcohol issues and a portrayal of both Seán Murray and Irish communism as failures.
Despite its weaknesses and negativity, if read critically this book can offer a fascinating insight into the  history of Irish communism from the 1920s up to the early 1960s and has a wealth of material.