Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Guardian of Socialism
by Andy Brooks
COMRADE KIM Jong Il was born on 16th February 1942 at a revolutionary base in the thick forests of Mount Paekdu. His father was great leader Kim Il Sung who had started the anti-Japanese guerrilla struggle from nothing in the 1920s and his mother was the dedicated communist Kim Jong Suk, who fought side by side with the partisans in the liberation struggle.
Kim Jong Il’s early days were of hardship and struggle in the battle that ended in victory in 1945 and the liberation of Pyongyang. Five years later the country was plunged into new horrors when the US imperialists and their lackeys attempted to crush the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and plunged the peninsula into war.
Kim Jong Il’s boyhood was spent in the thick of battle amid great national convulsions and ordeals. Like millions of Koreans of his generation Kim Jong Il dedicated his life to the Workers Party of Korea and the socialist system they were determined to build to create a better life for the Korean people.
The American imperialists and their lackeys were fought to a standstill and the guns fell silent in 1953. Kim Jong Il went to university where he developed his ideas in the political, economic and cultural fields. But like all Korean students Kim Jong Il took his turn at manual labour with the people in the fields and on the construction sites.
After graduation in 1964 Kim Jong Il worked for the Workers Party of Korea particularly in the field of literature and art. He saw that popular culture was a major key in renovating the Party’s ideological work as a whole and he wrote many articles on this theme.
Kim Jong Il devoted much time to developing the reborn DPRK film industry, particularly in the adaptions of classic plays written by his father during the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle such as The Sea of Blood and The Fate of a Self-Defence Corps Man. Screen versions of these works won critical acclaim and not just in Asia. One film produced under the guidance of Kim Jong Il was awarded the special prize and medal at the 18th International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia, in 1972, and it enjoyed unprecedented success in Japan.
Kim Jong Il gave on-the-spot creative guidance to DPRK filmmakers but he never took a direct credit although he drew on his own experience when he wrote On the Art of the Cinema in 1973 and The Cinema and Directing in 1987.
Kim Jong Il developed the Juché idea, applying it to all spheres of economic construction and for the promotion of north-south dialogue for the independent peaceful reunification of Korea. His modesty, faithful service, tireless work, total loyalty to Kim Il Sung and the Korean revolution and undoubted ability meant that when the Workers Party of Korea considered the question of the succession – and this was decided long before Kim Il Sung’s death – Kim Jong Il was the unchallenged candidate to be the successor to great leader Kim Il Sung.
Kim Jong Il made powerful contributions to the development of the Juché idea including Abuses of Socialism are Intolerable and Socialism is a Science, published in the early 1990s, when whole sections of the international communist movement were wavering following the counter-revolutions in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe.
The Juché philosophy has rarely been properly understood in the western communist movement, which only embraced the economic ideas of Marx and Engels and ignored the philosophical content of their works. It is often simply described as “self-reliance” but it is much more than that. Juché, Korean-style socialism, takes its roots from Marx and Engels but stresses the importance of every individual and it is centred on every individual worker, who can only be truly free as part of the collective effort.
Juché opposes flunkeyism and dogmatism – the slavish adoption of models from other socialist systems and the sterile repetition of Marxist tenets. Socialism is a science for the emancipation of working people that must be applied to the concrete conditions of any particular country and it must be understood by the broad mass of the people to successfully carry out a revolutionary programme.
It is not an abstract or idealistic philosophy but an ideology that liberates the individual and the class. Kim Il Sung always stressed the need for ideological advance and material benefits for the masses – what he called the “twin towers”. When one tower advanced the other must follow. In the 1980s the DPRK made phenomenal economic advances that transformed the cities and countryside of north Korea. In the 1990s the ideological tower was advanced following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Korean communists always welcome discussion about Juché as long it comes from people who have studied it in the first place rather than taking impressions from second hand sources or from the enemies of socialism. Juché is the essence of Kim Il Sung’s thinking – for independence for all countries, anti-imperialism, south-south co-operation, peace and socialism – policies that the DPRK put in to practice with its material support to the struggling people of Africa and Asia over the decades.
Comrade Kim Jong Il took to the helm of state as the Korean masses north, south and overseas grieved at the passing of Kim Il Sung, the veteran leader who had defeated Japanese and American imperialism and led the Workers’ Party of Korea to victory after victory in the battle to build a modern socialist democracy in north Korea.
In the midst of sorrow the people were hit by wave after wave of natural disasters. Floods and storms ravaged Democratic Korea while the American imperialists stepped up their economic and diplomatic blockade against the DPRK to again try force the Korean people to beg for terms on their knees. But Kim Jong Il made it clear from the very beginning that they could “expect no change from me,” dashing wild imperialist hopes that the Korean communist movement would waver in times of loss and hardship.
The Workers Party of Korea, with Kim Jong Il at the helm, mobilised the masses to overcome the damage caused by the natural disasters that had swept their land. The mass of the Korean people closed ranks behind the Workers Party of Korea led by Kim Jong Il, to defy US imperialism, repair the damage to the economy, smash the diplomatic blockade and develop the people’s armed forces that defend the immense gains of the Korean revolution.
Democratic Korea opened the door to talks with the south Korean regime and showed it readiness to negotiate over its own nuclear research programme and only when those talks failed, due entirely to the intransigence of US imperialism, the DPRK amazed the world by testing its own nuclear device in October 2006. What other country could have achieved so much in so short a time?
The answer lies in the fighting spirit of the Workers Party of Korea and the Jucheé philosophy, Korean-style socialism that applies the tenets of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions of the Korean people and the needs of the modern world we live in.
Kim Jong Il developed the Juché idea based on the revolutionary experience of the Korean masses.
Kim Jong Il led the economic recovery in the DPRK.
Kim Jong Il led the drive for defence against the threats of US imperialism.
Kim Jong Il rallied the Korean people throughout the Korean peninsula behind the demand to end the occupation and partition of south Korea and for peaceful re-unification based on a confederal “one country – two systems” .
Kim Jong Il stood by the world communist movement and the national liberation movements of the world in their struggle against imperialism.
Kim Jong Il followed in the footsteps of Kim Il Sung and led the Workers Party of Korea to greater victories in the 21st century.
Now progressives and communists are now holding events in honour of Comrade Kim Jong Il, who died at his post on 17th December 2011. But Kim Jong Il lives on in the hearts of communists and everyone struggling for a better tomorrow and Kim Jong Il will be found at all times among the millions upon millions of Koreans advancing onwards full of confidence under the leadership of the dear respected Kim Jong Un.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Socialism or your money back, articles from the Socialist
Standard published by the Socialist Party 2004, ISBN
0-9544733-1-0, soft back, 300 pages.
by Eric Trevett
This review was published in the New Worker
on 20th August 2004
THE SOCIALIST Party of Great Britain has celebrated the
centenary of its foundation (June 1904) and the production
of its monthly paper with a special edition of selected
articles in a single volume. On an occasion such as this it
would be churlish not to congratulate the SPGB on its
achievement, especially as it purports to be supporting
workers' struggle to end their exploitation and achieve a
Indeed some of the articles, such as the one about the
attack on the Tonypandy miners, are very good in exposing
the ruthlessness of the capitalist class and the betrayal
of right-wing Labour leaders. But the SPGB is based on an
ideological position that is fundamentally wrong and leads
it into a position of condemning any and all attempts
hitherto to establish a socialist society.
Not only that, but the national liberation movements are
also condemned and the valid fight for reforms within
capitalist society also tend to be denigrated. To prove the
point, let us quote a full passage from the foreword of the
collected articles. It is a long quotation but it must be
made in full in order to do justice to the SPGB argument:
"The Socialist Party is particularly proud of the fact
that one of the things we have succeeded in doing over the
past 100 years has been to keep alive the original idea of
what a socialist society was supposed to be a classless,
stateless, frontier less, wage less, moneyless society, to
define it somewhat negatively. Or more positively a World
community in which the natural and industrial resources of
the planet will have become a common heritage of all
humanity, a democratic society in which free and equal men
and women co-operate to produce the things they need to
live and enjoy life, and to which they have free access
with the principle from each according to their ability, to
each according to their needs." Accepted
For many years it has been accepted that socialist
revolution ushers in a long period of transition before a
communist society is established and in the initial period
of socialism, the principle is not from each according to
their ability, to each according to their need. But it is
in fact from each according to their ability, to each
according to the work they do.
The seed of socialist society germinates in the womb of
the capitalist system and when through struggle economic
and political it breaks free of the body of its parent, it
inherits many of he faults, inadequacies and shortcomings
of the previous society. To overcome these, as well as
developing the necessary production to eliminate poverty,
and achieve a situation where co-operation is an even
greater force than competition, will certainly take
decades, perhaps centuries.
When judged by such standards as the SPGB puts forward, it
is not surprising that any attempt to break with the
fetters of capitalism is condemned by the SPGB as being
In addition the SPGB adopts a position of hostility
towards such countries. For instance, during the vicious
war launched by the United States against Vietnam, the SPGB
declared that they did not support either side and said:
"Of course defeat in Vietnam and the whole of South East
Asia would have serious consequences for American
capitalism. That is why they are fighting. It would deprive
them of access to many raw materials, but more important it
would shift the balance of power around the Pacific in
favour of Chinese state capitalism.
"It is not true that the Vietcong and workers are fighting
the same enemy. The Vietcong are fighting American
capitalism. The interests of workers are opposed not only
to American capitalism but also to capitalism everywhere
including Russia and China.
"Victory for the Vietcong, as we have already explained,
would shift the World balance of power from American to
other capitalist powers. This is not something that is in
the interests of workers, or something they should support.
There is not an issue at stake in Vietnam worth a single
Lest there be any doubt we can include another quote:
"Politically the socialist party nailed its colours to the
mast on the nation or class issue at the outset and the
article here on the rise of Sinn Fein in Ireland is a
stinging attack on the idea that national liberation
movements against established imperialist powers are in
some way progressive and worthy of working class support."
Another crucial issue ignored in this volume is the
question of state power and the concept of the dictatorship
of the proletariat in particular. Without the working class
establishing its authority on society, having command of
its oppressive and persuasive organs of power, socialism
cannot be developed. This goes far beyond the social
democrat idea that socialism can be achieved comfortably by
parliamentary legislation. For socialism to be developed
there has to be mass involvement of the working class,
which takes political power to itself and can effectively
defend itself against the national and international
efforts to destroy it whilst at the same time taking
measures to consolidate and develop conditions for a new
The extent to which the revolution will be bloody or
bloodless depends on the unity and determination of the
working class to champion the interests of the bulk of the
people. This is essential to win firm allies in support of
the revolutionary process. It will also depend on the
degree to which there is disaffection among the personnel
of the coercive forces of capitalism. This will determine
the extent to which the capitalist class, which is being
displaced, can command the loyalty of its state apparatus.
From the standpoint of the SPGB, such an authoritarian
interpretation of socialism would be invalid. But in the
world we live in the working class needs to be aware that
it is dealing with a ruthless adversary, which as we have
seen in innumerable wars does not blink an eyelid at
consigning millions of men, women and children to their
The SPGB's general negative approach to people in struggle
is often reflected in the articles published in this book.
This includes the efforts of the suffragettes and extends
to people active in the peace movement. This is a book that
has to be read very critically. It would be nice to think
that, on its centenary, the SPGB would reflect
self-critically on its ideologically flawed position. Only
in this way can it correct its practice and really play a
positive role in the fight or socialism.
Currently it is in effect opposing and impeding all real
efforts in the direction of socialism because they cannot
achieve full, perfect communism in the blink of an eye. And
this position helps to sustain capitalism.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
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
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
The Pole of Communist Revival in France (PRCF)
Union of Revolutionary Communists of France
Communist Party, Italy
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
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.