Thursday, June 01, 2006

Communist Voices

Review by Ray Jones

Information Bulletins 1/2005/12 & 2/2005/12, £5 each inc. P&P (cheques to New Worker) from NCP Lit. PO Box 73, London SW11 2PQ.

THESE TWO Information Bulletins are the speeches and statements arising from the recent meeting of communist and workers’ parties held in Athens and hosted by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).
That may sound rather dry and, to be frank, boring. But I didn’t find them so. Naturally styles of writing vary — not everyone has the journalistic skills of Rob Gowland of the Communist Party of Australia or our own Andy Brooks, who spoke for the New Communist Party of Britain — but they give interesting snap-shots of the situation in many countries and the attitude of communists there to the world situation.
Although there is broad agreement on the world situation it’s seen from slightly different perspectives and there are differences on the correct way forward within individual countries — which you might expect given that most countries have more than one communist party.
I found the material from former socialist countries useful as inside views of what happened to socialism there.
Harsev Bains, of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), appears to explain and defend the route to communism chosen by Peoples’ China and Vietnam — although he doesn’t mention them by name. He quotes Lenin on the retreat of the New Economic Policy in the early days of Soviet Russia, using the term “state capitalism” and talking of the necessity of using capitalism.
Lenin points out that “state capitalism” in a society where the state is controlled by the workers is quite different from “state capitalism” where the state is controlled by capitalists. Bains seems to think that a strategy of “stages” is applicable to India as well.
John Foster, Communist Party of Britain, ends his interesting piece by calling for more active cooperation between communist and workers’ parties internationally — which unfortunately sits rather awkwardly with his party’s refusal to do so with the NCP, whose proposal for a communist liaison committee still remains on the table.