Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Neverendum

The Supreme Court's verdict that the Scottish Parliament does not have the competency to legislate for a second independence referendum without the consent of the Westminster parliament was hardly surprising – least of all to the Scottish nationalists who tabled it in the first place.
    Three Tory Prime Ministers have turned down previous SNP calls for another referendum. Labour is equally opposed. Only last week, Labour’s Henry McLeish, who served as First Minister from 2000 to 2001, rejected calls for a referendum, telling Sky News: “This is not the time to be taking these big political and constitutional decisions, it is a time for making devolution work and for the independence campaign to be sidelined”.
    Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish government, says she’s now going use the next general election as a de facto referendum on independence and continue to push for Scottish independence. But this has been rejected by the Scottish Labour, Conservative and the Liberal Democrat parties who all say they will not take part in any SNP plan to treat the election as a single-issue vote.
    The SNP won the lion’s share of Scotland’s seats in the House of Commons – 44 out of 59 – at the last general election in 2019. But their overall share of the vote was still only 45 per cent which clearly doesn’t give them a mandate for any unilateral declaration of independence. It was more or less the same for the Scottish devolved government elections last year. Though the Scottish parliament is elected by a mixed system of voting that includes a form of proportional representation the SNP and their Green allies still only took 49 per cent of the vote – though that did give them 70 seats out of a total of 129 in the Scottish parliament.
    The Scottish Parliament was set up by the Labour Government in 1999. It has played an increasing role in the developing Scotland and, under Labour leadership, it used some of its powers to pass modest reforms beneficial to the working class.
    Following the collapse of the Scottish Labour Party in the 2015 general election at the hands of the SNP the nationalists have been successful in deluding many people that they are a left‑wing party.
    The SNP claims to be a social-democratic party but it is essentially a bourgeois liberal platform that in recent years has embraced the NATO alliance. Its neo‑liberal economic policies and their failure to use tax raising powers already devolved to the Scottish parliament reflect the true nature of the SNP.
    Behind the traditional nationalist demand for independence is the call for an independent Scotland within the European Union that simply reflects the demands of a section of the Scottish bourgeoisie who believe their interests are better served through greater integration with Franco-German imperialism
    The degree of local autonomy won by the Scots is, in itself, no guarantee that the national traditions and culture of the Scottish people will be developed, nor will it automatically lead to the strengthening of working class power. But the creation of national institutions in Scotland has been a positive step.
    The New Communist Party has long recognised the rights of the Scottish nation to full national self‑determination. We support Scottish demands for the right to preserve and develop their culture and national identity. We support their right to possess and control all the physical and other resources present on their land and territorial waters. If there is another indy referendum we will, of course, say YES.


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Books, Communists and Talks in Liverpool

by New Worker correspondent


Marxists and communists gathered last Saturday at the 2022 Merseyside Marxist Book Fair to exchange literature and ideas and hold talks and discussions. Around sixty people met at The Casa, in the city’s Georgian Quarter, is a bar and venue that was set up by dockers who were sacked when they refused to cross a picket line in the 1990s. The dockers’ struggle began in September 1995 and ended in a one-sided settlement in February 1998. But some of the dockers, who had been paid £130,000 for writing a drama about the dispute for Channel Four, used the money to buy a building to set up a communal hub, not-for-profit bar and an advice centre.
    The event was the third organised the Red Book Fairs Collective, including members of Red Fightback (RFB) a “revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party”, and it included stalls from the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), Ebb Magazine, an independent online communist publication, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) independent street union, the New Communist Party of Britain, socialist and labour history book specialists Northern Herald Books, Peace, Land, & Bread, the journal of the Center for Communist Studies, rs21 (Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century) and Socialist Classics - Reprints of classical Marxist literature.
    Theo Russell from the New Communist Party gave a talk on the history and current situation in Ukraine which focused on the experiences of the Russian-speaking community in Ukraine since 2014, which was well received and followed by a fraternal discussion. Other talks were given by Alfie Hancox from Red Fightback on ‘The Long Crisis of British Marxism in the Shadow of Thatcher’ and Harry Holmes from rs21 on ‘Transforming the British Workers Movement’.
    Among the publications available was the English version of Alexander Bogdanov’s Art and the Working Class from US-based Iskra books – the publishing house of the Center for Communist Studies, and new editions of works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin from Foreign Languages Press, the publishing house of Redapark, the Indian Maoist website.
    The New Communist Party stall included books by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, party pamphlets and Soviet badges, all of which sold well, as well as up to date leaflets on the conflict in Ukraine.
    Many fruitful discussions and contacts were made, and cooperation on future book fairs was also discussed, in which comrades from the UK and India based Second Wave Publications have already expressed interest. The next Merseyside Marxist Book Fair is scheduled to take place on Saturday 18th November 2023.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

A Day of Shame

Last Saturday Palestinian solidarity campaigners evaded security to gain access to the House of Commons Private Members Lobby in the Palace of Westminster in London. Once inside, they doused the statue of Lord Arthur Balfour in fake blood and unveiled the Palestinian flag, before gluing themselves to the plinth to state their intentions.
    Lord Arthur Balfour was the architect of the declaration that sealed the fate of the Palestinian people in the 20th century.
    On 2nd November 1917 the British government pledged its support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, which was then a province in the Turkish Ottoman empire, Germany’s chief ally in the Middle East.
    Lord Balfour, the foreign secretary in Lloyd George’s war-time government, issued the declaration that authorised Zionist settlement in Palestine when it became part of the British Empire following the defeat of Germany and its allies in the first world war.
    But in 1917 the outcome of the war was still in doubt. The Germans had knocked Russia out and they held the line along the Western Front. British imperialism was looking for new allies in a conflict with Germany that plunged Europe into war in 1914. Locked in a stalemate on the Western front they sought support from the influential Zionist lobby within the Jewish community in Britain and the United States. At the same time British agents had encouraged feudal Arab leaders to rebel against their Turkish masters with false promises of British support for an independent Arab kingdom when victory came.
    What these Arabs didn’t know was that behind their backs Britain had already agreed to partition the Ottoman Empire – Britain would get Palestine and Iraq: the French got Syria and Lebanon and the Russians would get Constantinople. Even Italy and Greece were promised small slices of the take that would leave the Turks with just a rump state in Asia Minor. The Arabs would get nothing.
    And that’s what largely happened after the defeat of Germany and its allies in 1918. Despite the Russian revolution and America’s entry into the war the Ottoman Empire was partitioned along the lines of an Anglo-French plan. A resurgent Turkish nationalist movement thwarted Italian ambitions and threw the Greeks out of Asia Minor but the Arabs were powerless to stop the recolonisation of their lands under Western rulers.
    Britain’s feudal Arab allies became puppet rulers of Iraq and Jordan while France set up bogus sectarian statelets in Syria and Lebanon. Palestine came under direct British colonial rule.
    Balfour promised the Zionists a “national home” in Palestine while stating “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. But Palestine was not Balfour’s to give and the Arabs, the overwhelming majority of the population in the British “mandate” of Palestine, never consented to this and in any case they were never consulted.
    The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 led to the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians from their homes. The war that began in 1948 continues to this day. The Palestinians fight on and they will continue the struggle until their legitimate rights are restored.
    UN resolutions have provided the basis for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. First of all Israel must totally withdraw from all the occupied territories seized in 1967, including Arab East Jerusalem and Syria’s Golan Heights. The Palestinians must be allowed to establish a state of their own on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinian refugees whose homes are now in Israel must be allowed to return or, if they so wish, be paid appropriate compensation in exchange. And all states in the region, including Israel, should have internationally agreed and recognised frontiers guaranteed by all the Great Powers.

Fighting for Freedom

by Ben Soton

Hampshire Heroes: Volunteer Fighters in the Spanish Civil War by Alan Lloyd. Clapton Press, London 2022. Paperback: 170pp, rrp: £11.

Alan Lloyd, a prominent member of the International Brigades Memorial Trust, played a major role the establishing a memorial to the men from Southampton who gave their lives in the Spanish Civil War on the side of freedom. He is also a former Labour councillor, recently expelled from the Labour Party for advocating views at odds with the party’s new hard-right leadership.
    Alan has now turned for his hand to historical writing. His first book, Hampshire Heroes: Volunteer Fighters in the Spanish Civil War, charts the lives of the men and women from Hampshire who volunteered to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War.
    Hampshire is a country of great contrast. It includes the two large cities of Southampton and Portsmouth on its southern coast, whilst it can also count smaller towns such as Gosport, Fareham, Eastleigh and Basingstoke, and like all Shire Counties it contains an array of leafy villages scattered throughout the New Forest, Test and Meon Valleys. Hampshire is a county where you can find deprived housing estates and a few miles away find leafy suburbs with properties worth millions. The county has produced an array of backgrounds from which many of the International Brigaders came.
    This is a very well researched book that charts the lives of those who took up arms as part of the International Brigade, as well as the medical volunteers and those pilots who flew in the Republican air force. There is also a section on the Basque children who arrived in Southampton on the SS Habana. Meanwhile, the book also exposes the British Government’s policy of “Non-Intervention”, which hindered military aid to the Spanish Republic whilst giving Hitler and Mussolini a free rein in assisting Franco. It should be pointed out that the British Government could have assisted the Spanish Republic with little effort, whereas in 1939 this country went to war to assist the reactionary Polish regime whom it had little means of helping.
    Hampshire Heroes is a useful source for anyone wishing to learn about the Spanish Civil War. The chronology of the book covers the mayor battles of the conflict such as Ebro and Jarama, Teruel and the final retreat through Aragon. In charting the lives of the volunteers, the book covers those who gave their lives in the fight against the evil of fascism but also gives an insight into the lives of those who survived the conflict, some of whom lived on into the early 2000s.
    A useful history book and a fitting tribute to the volunteers who gave fought and, in many cases, gave their lives in the fight against fascism. Particular reference should go to the four men from Southampton who gave their lives in that conflict: Raymond Artur Cox, Ivor Hickman, David Haden Guest and Harold Laws.

Talking about communism in Salisbury

Andy Brooks at the school
by New Worker correspondent


Salisbury is best known as the location of a bungled attack on a Russian turncoat spy by alleged agents of Russian intelligence and for a famous cathedral whose spire is the tallest in Britain. But it is also the home of two historic Church of England schools and last week NCP leader Andy Brooks went down to one of them to talk to sixth-form students about the communist cause.
    Making the case for communism kicked off a lively discussion at the meeting of the Politics Society at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in the heart of town.
    This Anglican grammar school lies within the grounds of Salisbury cathedral and next door to the Cathedral School that was founded by St Osmund, the Bishop of Old Sarum, in 1091. The Bishop’s school, however, only goes back to 1889 – an initiative of John Wordsworth, the Bishop of Salisbury or ‘New Sarum’ as it was still officially called until 2009.
    On one of its walls there is a blue plaque dedicated to William Golding, the novelist and Nobel prize winner, who taught at the school from 1945–1962. The ship-wrecked school-boys who descend into savagery in his first book Lord of the Flies are believed to have been based on some of Golding’s pupils!
    Needless to say, the 50 or so sixth-form students who turned up to hear Andy open a discussion on the communist ideal bore no resemblance to the pupils marooned on Golding’s nightmare desert island.
    A forest of hands shot up to question or comment on the role of the communist movement from 1917 onwards. The usual questions about the gulags came up, which sadly reflects the biased orientation of the bourgeois education system that caricatures communism as a failed Soviet system and ignores the outstanding achievements of People’s China and the other people’s democracies in Asia and the Caribbean. But the discussion later broadened to look at the Chinese experience and the role of the world communist movement in the 21st Century.
    Back in the 1960s and ‘70s the spirit of rebellion swept the younger generation. Inspired by the student uprisings in Latin America and Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China, young workers and students took to the streets around the world in the struggle for a better tomorrow. Although those days are long gone, a new generation is once again beginning to question the essentially exploitative values of bourgeois society in the age of conflict and austerity. And the only answer to capitalism in crisis that serves the interests of the working class is socialism.

Our place in an amazing universe

by John Maryon


Looking out into space it is possible to see back in time some 13 billion years and study the pattern of cosmic microwave radiation that resulted from the creation of the universe. Light travels at 186,282 miles per second which makes it almost impossible to grasp the vast size of the universe. We can observe the remnants of cataclysmic explosions, see giant red stars near the end of their life and the birth of new stars forming within vast nursery clouds of dust and gas as they collapse under gravity. Large black holes lurk ominously at the centres of billions of galaxies each containing billions of star systems.
    We must also examine events at other extreme of size. The Greek philosopher Democritus believed that what he called atoms were the smallest parts of matter but he was not in a position to vary his idea. With a typical radius of 0.1 nano metres over 5 million could be placed on a pinhead. Democritus would have been reassured by the work of the Russian chemist Demitri Mendeleev who created the Periodic table in1869. The modern table lists118 naturally occurring elements in order of atomic number related to their make up in terms of electrons, protons and neutrons. Hydrogen being the lightest and uranium the heaviest.
    It is now known that the electron is an elementary particle but protons and neutrons are themselves made up of elementary particles known as quarks. The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva has recently identified a particle called Higgs bosen which had been predicted mathematically and was linked to a field that created matter. It is now believed that all forces, waves and matter, including atoms, are the result of the interaction of various forms of wave energy and fields at a sub atomic level. For example magnetic and electrostatic fields combine to produce light.
    Within the apparent chaos of the universe life has evolved on earth and almost certainly in other places as well. The earliest forms on earth were microscopic organisms whose presence were identified by specific carbon molecules found in rocks 3.8 million years old. Life arose from chemical reactions in non living matter consisting of carbon, water and amino acids that formed in the earth's early atmosphere. Sunshine, hot water and carbohydrates provided the energy to drive the process. In a star system there exists a zone of tolerance where the temperature is just right for life to develop. Also some small cold moons in close proximity to much larger bodies could be heated by gravity stresses in their rocky cores.
    But the big question is why did the process start and continue? Isaac Newton believed that all the conditions for life were created by God. In the early 1970s John Conway, a young mathematician at Cambridge, examined the probability of pattern replication using an infinite grid of squares. By imposing a simple set of rules of contact between identified random squares, Conway and his students, were able to demonstrate that eventually complex patters could be automatically repeated. This revolutionary principle of order from apparent chaos applied to the primeval soup could make life inevitable.
    Today life on Earth has evolved to fill every possible niche for its existence. It is estimated that the total number of species exceeds 8.7 million. The one which I wish to examine in more detail is our own.
    First simple life forms consisted of single cells formed from organic molocules. They processed no consciousness and just survived in a fixed environment. As conditions changed those that had mutated were able to flourish. Variety developed and the natural laws of evolution took over. Cells that combined with others were more successful and more complex organisms emerged that were able to sense their environment and react accordingly. This marked the beginning of a conscious existence for life that would now develop intelligence.
    The ability to observe and respond rewarded those creatures that were to exploit their situation and predators also evolved. Life became more advanced and eventually Homo Sapiens became the dominant species.
    Humans are social creatures that even in their early development existed in small family groups with a life style based upon hunter gathering. Those that formed into larger tribal groupings were more successful in meeting danger and facing competition. For a brief period a form of primitive communism existed for their mutual benefit. Ultimately the 'division of labour' with the emergence of specialist skills and crafts led to the creation of wealth and privilege.
    Human development still continues and I believe can be divided into two phases of progress. Barbarian and Socialist. Today both exist simultaneously and human civilization has reached a major turning point. Capitalism and its extreme nationalistic forms represent the final stages of barbarism. Socialism is the beginning of a new progressive social advance that will change society and human relations for ever. The changes take time to mature, develop and must embrace the experiences of individual nations and peoples.
    Marx and Engels examined the social and production relations of capitalist society and outlined the scientific principles for building a new form of society that would be able to create a beautiful new world. One in which true freedom would exist without explotation and class repression. We live in a physical world within which we may shape our own destiny. On this basis of fraternity and respect we can explore and study the universe and reach a deeper understanding of everything.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Solidarity with the Donbas voters!

Solidarity to the referendum voters in the Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia!

Congratulations to the residents of Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia on your vote on whether to join the Russian Federation. We understand that you are bravely voting literally under fire from the forces of Kiev and their guns and bombs supplied by Western imperialism.
    We stand with you in your right for self-determination and to decide your own future.
We stand with you in your struggle against fascism, a struggle you have waged since the fascist led coup of 2014.
    We stand with you as you fight US/NATO’s proxy forces and the billions of dollars of weapons they are throwing at you.
    You are an inspiration to all anti-fascists and anti-imperialists around the world. Your victory will be our victory.
    We will continue our efforts to organize opposition to the war against you and to break the information blockade .

Solidarity and to victory!


  • Socialist Unity Party (US)
  • Class Conscious
  • Partido Obrero Socialista CR (Costa Rica)
  • Komite Esperansa (East Timor)
  • Anti-War West Sydney
  • KED (Greece)
  • Liaison Committee for the IV International (UK, US, BR, AR)
  • Socialist Fight (UK)
  • Bolshevik Group (South Korea)
  • Socialist Republican Movement (Bangladesh)
  • US Friends of the Soviet People
  • Romanian Communist Party – Satu Mare Branch
  • International Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity (UK)
  • New Communist Party of Britain

Individuals:


Marie Lynam (UK)
Dr. Angelo D’Angelo (US)
Karin Hilpisch (Germany)





joint statement organised through the WORLDONFIRE (Worldwide Organising Network Against Fascism Imperialism and Exploitation).

Support the people of the Donbas!



Joint statement moved by the Russian Communist Workers' Party and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation at the international meeting of communist and workers' parties in Havana

The struggle against US and NATO imperialism which seek world hegemony is the key task of the progressive forces

The peoples of the world are witnessing a rapid sharpening of the general crisis of capitalism. Unable to cope with the growing contradictions, imperialism is becoming ever more dangerous for humankind. It resorts ever more often to provocations and conflicts. Its actions threaten a new world war and the use of nuclear weapons.
    In fact the war, as armed struggle of classes, nations or states, has been waged since 2014 when the Kiev Nazis launched a punitive operation against the population of Donbas. People were being killed for wanting to speak their native Russian tongue, refusing to recognize collaborators with Hitler’s Nazism as heroes, to destroy Soviet monuments and sever their links with Russia.
    Today more than fifty predator-countries, organized and directed by US-led NATO, are using Ukrainian followers of Banderaites, allies of Hitler, to pursue a policy of Fascist expansion vis-à-vis Russia. Combined political, financial, economic and military resources of world capital, including the human resources of mercenaries, have been committed to the suppression and dismemberment of Russia. The objective is characteristic of big capital: eliminating competition and re-dividing spheres of influence. Above all in Europe. The aim is to establish world hegemony of the USA in the 21st century with active and overt use of fascism.
    The Communist and Workers’ Parties support the just anti-fascist struggle of the working people of Donbas backed by the Russian Armed Forces. We come out against US imperialism which is using fascist methods in its foreign policy and, with direct participation of NATO, is in fact waging a war aimed at defeating Russia with the hands of the puppet bourgeois-nationalist Ukrainian regime.
    We declare that we will do all we can to prevent Russia from repeating the fate of Yugoslavia, Iraq or Libya, which is starkly at odds with the interests of the world workers’ movement. Reaction seeks to establish its new order firmly and for long. Russia cannot afford to lose the war against Nazism.
    We voice our categorical protest against the policy of fascism, anti-Sovietism and Russophobia in all the EU and NATO countries. We protest against the aggression unleashed against Russia by the USA and NATO with the hands of Ukraine’s Nazis. We express our resolute solidarity with the communists and all the working people of Ukraine and Russia. We declare our determination to fight the resurgent brown plague firmly and aggressively. The communist position is invariable: it is only by putting an end to capitalism that an end can be put to fascism and the threat of a world nuclear war. We will dedicate our activity and our lives to this struggle.

Proletarians of all lands, unite!


Solidnet Parties signing

• Communist Party of Azerbaijan
• Communist Party of Brazil
• New Communist Party of Britain
• Socialist Workers' Party of Croatia
• German Communist Party
• Communist Party (Italy)
• Hungarian Workers' Party
• Communist Party of Malta
• Socialist Party of Latvia
• Lebanese Communist Party
• Palestinian Communist Party
• Romanian Socialist Party
• Communist Party of the Russian Federation
• Russian Communist Workers' Party
• Party of Communists of Serbia
• Syrian Communist Party (Unified)
• Communist Party of Ukraine


Havana, 28-29 October 2022


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Support the nurses!

NHS nurses have voted to strike over pay for the first time in their union’s 106-year history. The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) says it will take industrial action before Christmas following a ballot of its 300,000 strong members across the country. The Government offered an £1,400 pay rise – which after inflation, now around 12 per cent, would be a significant pay cut in real terms.
    Real earnings amongst all private sector employees have fallen by 3.2 per cent over the last 10 years; but the average weekly pay for nurses has dropped by six per cent in real terms between 2011–2021. Many have been forced to use foodbanks to survive., others are simply jumping ship due to the soaring cost of living.
    The nurses are campaigning for a five per cent above inflation catch-up rise that recognises the crucial role that they play in the health service by paying them a living wage.
    RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen told her members this was a “once in a generation chance to improve your pay and combat staff shortages” that put patients at risk.
    “I want to thank every member who took part in, or supported, this ballot. You can be very proud. The results are strong and clear,” she said.
    “This is a defining moment in our history, and our fight will continue through strike action and beyond for as long as it takes to win justice for the nursing profession and our patients.
    “Anger has become action – our members are saying enough is enough. The voice of nursing in the UK is strong and I will make sure it is heard. Our members will no longer tolerate a financial knife-edge at home and a raw deal at work.
    “Ministers must look in the mirror and ask how long they will put nursing staff through this. While we plan our strike action, next week’s budget is the UK government’s opportunity to signal a new direction with serious investment. Across the country, politicians have the power to stop this now and at any point.
    “This action will be as much for patients as it is for nurses. Standards are falling too low and we have strong public backing for our campaign to raise them. This winter, we are asking the public to show nursing staff you are with us.”
    Support for the nurses is riding high in the opinion polls at the moment. We need to ensure that it becomes a massive solidarity movement in support of the just demands of the nurses and all the other workers who keep the NHS running.

So long Gavin Williamson


So Gavin Williamson is out of the Cabinet again following charges of bullying from fellow Tories that made for his inevitable departure. The man Keir Starmer calls a “pathetic bully” has fallen on his sword following charges of abusive behaviour from fellow Tories, including former premier Theresa May, which go back years. He lasted just under two years as defence minister before he was sacked by Mrs May for allegedly leaking confidential information to the media.
    Williamson returned to high office under Boris Johnson and served as education secretary for just over two years before being dumped during the post-COVID reshuffle in September 2021. And he lasted just two weeks under Rishi Sunak, who says he now regrets appointing Williamson in the first place.
    He now returns to the backbenches for the third time in his parliamentary career. No-one will miss him at the top table; there are plenty more queuing up to take his place.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

The Road to Sharm el Sheikh

So Rishi Sunak is going to Egypt after all for COP27 – or to give it its full name the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. There he’ll meet his master, Jo Biden, as well as the leaders of Franco-German imperialism and the rest of the imperialist pack gathering at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh for the largest annual conference on climate change.
    The woman Sunak kicked out of Downing Street not only shunned the UN jamboree but put the block on the King’s attendance as well. This was not surprising. Liz Truss filled her mercifully short-lived government with climate-change deniers like Jacob Rees-Mogg. She had ties with the anti-climate change lobby and she was also a vocal advocate for the role of gas as a transition fuel.
    Sunak initially followed Liz Truss’ footsteps saying he was far too busy to go to Egypt next week. But mounting pressure from his own camp and fear that his absence would be exploited by Boris Johnson changed his mind.
    Johnson, who is going to grandstand at Sharm el Sheikh, was the host at last year’s conference in Glasgow. There imperialist leaders and their minions trumpeted their self-proclaimed green credentials while the largest delegation came from the fossil fuel industry.
Not surprisingly little came out of the COP26 conference apart from the usual platitudes.
    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says “caving in to criticism is not leadership. Real leadership is seizing your seat at the table”. But by overturning another of dismal Truss diktat the new Tory leader shows that he’s at least prepared to listen to the global demands for international action to cut planet-heating emissions
    All the imperialist leaders, with the obvious exception of Donald Trump, pay lip-service to the environmental protection and climate change lobbies. None of them however are prepared to challenge the super-profits that the banks and corporations get from their fossil fuel investments.
    The wave of record heat-waves, floods and the wild-fires that swept across the world in the summer has added a new sense of urgency to the call for action to tackle the climate emergency. While recognising that climate change was the ultimate cause of all these disasters the imperialists ignore the eco-lobby’s call for sustainable developments and continue to put profits before people
    Last year the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report that said climate change is “widespread, rapid, and intensifying, and some trends are now irreversible, at least during the present time frame”.
    But there is still time to limit climate change. Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could quickly improve air quality, and over the next 20 to 30 years global temperatures could stabilise.
    “There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change,” says Sunak. “There is no energy security without investing in renewables”. But whether his government is prepared to take action to urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deliver on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries remains to be seen.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Building a fairer society

Echoes from the Chinese Communist Congress

A week after the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party drew to a close, the CMG Europe media group assembled experts from different fields to discuss key messages about the direction the world’s most populous country is heading. On this special one-hour show, CMG Europe’s Juliet Mann was joined by China’s Ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, and a host of experts from across the world to consider exactly what that new journey will look like, and how it will impact on relations with the UK and Europe. 

In any discussion about the policies that have steered China’s recent past, the topic of poverty alleviation is impossible to avoid. The numbers are well known - around 100 million rural residents lifted out of poverty in just eight years through 2020; 800 million in the past four decades; a middle class that has swollen to 400 million people. But the achievement goes far beyond incomes, into access to education, clean water, internet and transport connections.
    That is the development strategy of China, one that goes beyond economic growth and puts people first. China cannot develop in isolation from the world and the world needs China for its development. And the message from the country’s leaders in recent weeks has been a firm commitment to that path.
    The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, shared his thoughts on how China and Europe can work together to tackle global problems. He told Juliet Mann: “China will respond to external uncertainties with its own certainty and inject positive energy into world development with its high-quality development and high standard opening up.”
    There are “several key messages that are essential for the future global order: that China vision of a fairer and more inclusive global order; a more cooperative global order; and more importantly about a global order that has a safety net for the left-behind so that everybody can benefit,” said Yin Zhiguang, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University.
    David Ferguson, senior translation editor at the China International Publishing Group, agreed: “A huge amount of emphasis has been placed on shared development, which means that everybody shares the fruits. That was one of the fundamental bases of the whole poverty alleviation programmje. Targeting poverty alleviation was designed to make sure that nobody was left behind. And I think that that fundamental concept of shared development, people-centered development, is something that President Xi places increasing emphasis on.”

Balanced growth

On a panel focusing on China’s economic development, guests discussed how China has ensured that its growth - powering the global economy for the past two decades - has also been sustainable. With a “trilateral, hybrid” structure built around a 60 per cent contribution from domestic private businesses, a 20 percent participation from the state and a further 20 per cent from multinational companies, China has been able to create a modern economy, says Wang Huiyao, founder and President of Centre for China and Globalisation.
    The challenge the country’s leadership is now taking on is about how to adapt governance structures designed for an economy of around $2 trillion for an economy that has now grown to closer to $20 trillion, noted Mark Ostwald, chief economist at AGM Investor Services.
    As it makes those changes, other economies will have the opportunity to learn from them, says Stephen Perry, the Chairman of the 48 Club. “We may find ourselves where we could have been several hundred years ago when we used many of the innovations from China to make our industrial revolution happen,” Perry noted. “It's important, I think, for every country around the world to participate in China in order to learn all these great innovations which are going to be, in many cases, led from China.”
    One advantage China has in the course of its development is the long-term perspectives that its political system affords. The stability offered by the Communist Party means that rather than changing tack every few years, policies can be targeted decades ahead.
    “It's astonishing to see a governance system, a governing party that's able to look forward 27 years and be able to make specific plans for what the country is going to be looking like then,” said China International Publishing’s Ferguson.
    That philosophy is exemplified in the commitments made to education at the Congress. China’s science and education strategy has been in place since 1995 and has evolved to focus on new areas of growth such as artificial intelligence and space technologies.

Environmental leadership

It is in actions, not words, that China’s impact on the global economy is being felt, said Christoph Nedopil, Director of the Green Finance and Development Center at Fanhai International School of Finance, and nowhere is that more obvious, or important, than the battle against climate change.
    “Over the past years, based on its huge size and strategic capabilities in manufacturing and research, China has seized the opportunity to innovate and to develop globally leading bases for green transport and energy, and [become the largest supplier of solar and wind power in the world. And I think this is just the beginning of a great opportunity for China to scale up infrastructure domestically and internationally,” he said.
    China’s message to the world is to take a holistic view - thinking about people first, the panellists agreed, summed up in a message to the corporate world from Fundan University’s Yin: “Business needs to include much more concerns of the society in general, the social responsibility not only in China, but also globally…engaging with stakeholders instead of shareholders.”