Saturday, July 28, 2018

Defend Jeremy Corbyn!

 Even though the May government is clearly on its last legs the Tories can always rely on the fifth column within the Parliamentary Labour Party to spread confusion and undermine the Corbyn leadership whenever Labour takes the lead in the opinion polls.
Last week Margaret Hodge condemned her own leader in the Commons chamber over the Labour's alleged failure to adopt all aspects of the definition of anti-Semitism that was endorsed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Mrs Hodge, who calls herself a secular immigrant Jew, confronted Jeremy Corbyn behind the Speaker's Chair and called him "a fucking anti-Semite and a racist", a claim she repeated, without the expletive, in print. 
This isn’t the first time Mrs Hodge has entered the fray against Corbyn. The Barking MP is a supporter of ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ and was responsible for triggering the failed 2016 coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) movement, said: “They're out to get Jeremy Corbyn, and Margaret Hodge, who is leading this charge, has been an enemy of his before he even became leader. She's been an enemy of his forever and there are plenty of records of her being involved in altercations with him.”
Although Labour intends to take disciplinary action against Hodge, Corbyn’s number two, John McDonnell, seems anxious to play it down. The Shadow Chancellor told the media this week that her outburst was due to her “complete misinterpretation” of the party’s new code of conduct. But it was “out of character” because she was “extremely angry and lost her cool” when she confronted the Labour leader.
Despite some welcome departures most of the Labour bureaucracy remains in the grip of the Blairites. Anyone whose support for Palestinians goes beyond the parameters set by the Zionists and their imperialist mentors is in danger of suspension or expulsion.
Two weeks ago a retired civil service union activist was informed by Labour’s notorious disciplinary body that he may be in breach of the rules for the heinous crime of arguing “in favour of masturbation in workplaces” on Facebook.
The fact that he wasn’t even a member of the Labour Party when this online discussion took place makes it even more absurd. Like tens of thousands of others this former supporter of a minor Trotskyist faction only joined Labour in July 2016, in order to support Jeremy Corbyn in the face of yet another coup attempt. That, of course, is why he was targeted in the first place.
Robust debate may be part and parcel of the traditions of our labour movement but it can only work both ways. If it’s okay for Mrs Hodge to get off with a minor reprimand for abusing the Labour leader in public then the same standards should be applied to Marc Wadsworth, Ken Livingstone and all the other left Labour activists hounded out of the party by the Blairites and the Zionist lobby over the past three years.
Their ‘crime’ was challenging Zionist dogma and standing up for Palestinian rights within the Labour Party. They have the full support of the communist movement.
Lenin exposed the reactionary essence of Zionism, emphasising that its dogmas are reactionary, false and contrary to the interests of the Jewish proletariat. He criticised the Zionists’ theses concerning the unique nature of the Jewish people, the alleged absence of class differences amongst the Jews, and the imaginary communality of their interests, explaining that such assertions aimed to distract Jewish workers from the proletariat’s common class struggle. The Zionists and Blairites have peddled their reactionary nonsense within the Labour party for far too long. We must challenge them head-on throughout the labour movement.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Campaigning for peace in north Wales

By Ray Jones

On 29th June the Conwy Peace Group held a public meeting in Llandudno attended by about 30 people under the title Plan for Peace, Resist Militarism.
David Gannon from, Veterans for Peace UK, told how he left the Army after an injury and how ex-squaddies were left to the NHS and charities to be cared for, with a third of them “not in a functioning condition”,  and many homeless and suicidal.
He also gave an interesting and in places a deep analysis of the roots of militarism in our society, which included the profits from weapons, the drive for private ownership in the Forces and war as a “tool of austerity”.
Veterans for Peace do not call for immediate disarmament by Britain but for Britain to become a permanently neutral country, which would mean: it would protect the territory of the UK; develop an independent defence policy; expel foreign military personnel; withdraw from treaties that would involve it in a future war; and undertake not to attack other countries nor enter into wars between them.
Compared with Britain’s recent imperialist wars this would be a great step forwards of course and may make the basis of immediate demands. But it does not take into account the economic pressures that are rooted in our capitalist society and which David seemed to be aware of elsewhere in his talk.
Communists recognise that coercive force is a factor in any state, and the question is which class controls the force and the state. We are not pacifists, and we see the work against the reactionary and imperialist activities of the British armed forces as part of the fight for socialism. We see the attempt by the Tories to promote and glorify the Armed Forces as part of their efforts to boost support for their imperialist programme and therefore to be resisted.
The second speaker was Rhianna Louise from Armed Forces Watch UK, which she explained was mainly a research and support organisation.
She gave the recent example of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s claim that the Forces are a successful source of social mobility. No doubt you could find individual cases where this was true, said Rhianna, but in actual fact there were not enough statistics available to support the sweeping claims he made.
What we do know however, is that a third of under 18s joining the Army leave or are discharged before even finishing their training. So it can hardly be doing much for their social mobility. We also know that formal education in the Army is generally poor.
Rhianna also congratulated Conwy Peace Group for its forthcoming protests against Armed Forces Day, the arrangements for which were outlined when the speakers had finished.
Campaigners were out the following day to counter Armed Forces Day in Llandudno. This relatively new event, aimed to bolster Britain’s imperialist foreign policy, gave the town the very doubtful honour of a visit from Princess Anne and Prime Minister May.
Prior to the event Conwy county officers took the expected fawning positions, and rubbed their hands with glee at the prospect of the great and the good arriving and all the money that was expected to flow into the towns businesses from the crowds of visitors.
No doubt Llandudno was chosen largely because it’s a small, quiet, conservative (small ‘c’) town without much of a student population. But Conwy does have a thriving peace group that rightly took exception to this blatant promotion of militarism on their doorstep.
Plans were made and on the day there were stalls and leafleters at key points, a vigil of people dressed in black, a 10 foot high CND sign that had the appearance of being made of stone and banners that were carried along the route of the parade.
It was a large area to cover and resources were necessarily stretched, and for an hour or so I was left alone with my home-made placard (Fund the NHS not Bombs!) and a pile of leaflets. I got a couple of nasty comments, but most of the people who spoke were supportive and very many people were obviously just there for a day out with the family.
The impact of the protest was enough that BBC Wales felt it could not ignore the protestors entirely and gave them a few seconds on the main news.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Communists meet in Edinburgh

By New Worker correspondent

The first Saturday in July saw the British ‘Pietro Secchia’ section of the Communist Party (Italy) hosting a meeting in Edinburgh with the New Communist Party (NCP) and the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE), with the three parties making presentations and a useful exchange of views. Both overseas parties and comrades from the Greek Communist Party are developing work with Edinburgh-based migrants from their countries.
Italy has an unemployment rate of 10.9 per cent and Spain’s rate is worse at 16.1 per cent. Many have therefore come to Scotland in search of work. This work is often in the catering and hospitality industries, where long hours and precarious employment are the order of the day. Many fleeing unemployment at home and who have secured jobs are often simply relieved to have them.
Both parties find that many progressives who sympathetic to their parties are reluctant to become active, but both parties are undaunted in their efforts to alter that and expand their important work.
Alain Fissore of the Italian party stressed that the European Union (EU) had nothing to offer the working classes of Italy and said that the break–up of the EU was needed. 
Afterwards comrades headed to the nearby Princes Gardens for a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument to commemorate those volunteers from Edinburgh and the surrounding Lothians who fought against Franco’s fascist army in the Spanish Civil War. A number of passers-by joined in.
Alain also observed that Friedrich Engels, in his early book The Condition of the Working Class in England, noted that Edinburgh had some of the worst houses in Europe. The high-rise houses on the Royal Mile he referred to were formerly inhabited – by the poorest on the ground floor (who often literally shared their rooms with pigs) whilst the rich lived above the smells. When the rich moved to the grander New Town the poor remained before subsequently being shunted off to the council estates around the city.
Today the area is filled with tourist shops selling imported tartan toys and bottles of whisky can be purchased from Sainsbury’s at half-price, but finding a place to buy a pint of milk is difficult.