Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Still Looking Good

by Ben Soton

 If you are a fan of EastEnders, you may be wondering what Adam Woodyatt (aka Ian Beale) has been up to then head to the theatre. He has been starring in the stage adaptation of the Peter James novel Looking Good Dead. In the play Woodyatt plays Tom Bryce, a fifty something business man with financial problems; not a million miles from his usual role of Ian Beale. Although many actors are typecast Woodyatt doesn’t do a bad job in either role. Looking Good Dead also features James’ creation Roy Grace, played by Harry Long. Many of James’ novels contain the back story of the search for Grace’s missing wife; although this does not feature in this stage play. In fact, in this stage adaptation the villain takes a more central role.
    Another recurring theme of James’ novels is the anxiety faced by those people referred to as middle-class. In Looking Good Dead Bryce owns a company that in his words provides bespoke services to the wealthy. In other words, he runs errands for rich people they can’t be bothered to do themselves; in a world where rich people can usually employ underlings to do things for them. I almost laughed out loud when a mysterious wealthy American turns up at Bryce’s home asking him to buy a dozen Rolex watches for some of his employees; something that would normally be done by a personal assistant. Meanwhile Bryce has an alcoholic wife, Kelly (played by Gaynor Faye) whose best friend is his credit card. Bryce’ world is caving in upon him until one fateful day when he finds a memory stick on a train.
    The play’s opening scene includes a prostitute in sado-masochistic attire; a reference to the sex industry in Peter James’ home town of Brighton where most of his novels are set. It later transpires that the young woman was in fact a student struggling to pay tuition fees. Meanwhile the play includes imaginative use of stage scenery where the set incorporates a dungeon, Bryce’s living room and a police control room which slides in and out when needed.
    An enjoyable production which manages to combine crime with an element of social commentary. Between now and October Looking Good Dead will be playing at Salford, Nottingham, Glasgow, Dartford, Milton Keynes, Sheffield, Malvern, Leeds, Woking, Swindon, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Brighton and Norwich.

1921 – A vivid panorama of revolution

  by Keith Bennett

The 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China has been the occasion for many grand and impressive events throughout July. 1921, which has also been playing in selected cinemas in Britain and Ireland, and doubtless elsewhere, is the film for the centenary.
    A feature film, with special effects worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster, it also features some documentary footage, skilfully heightening the sense of both drama and realism.
    Whilst 1921 is focused on that momentous year, it deploys flashbacks as far as the 1850s, showing China’s degradation to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruined nation and then at its conclusion a potted but vivid historical reconstruction of subsequent years, which culminates in Chairman Mao proclaiming the founding of the People’s Republic on October 1st 1949, as well as Young Pioneers visiting the restored site of the first party congress 100 years later.
    A similar historical technique is deployed to depict aspects of some of the key characters, including such pioneering Chinese communists as Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, Li Da and, of course, Mao Zedong. Particularly moving is the depiction of the tragic and heroic fates of some of the key early martyrs of Chinese communism, including Yang Kaihui, Mao’s first wife and great love. This provides a raw and poignant contrast to the youthful idealism, frenetic activity and infectious optimism of many of the key characters as they throw themselves into the preparations for the founding of the party whilst simultaneously immersing themselves in the surging movement of the young but extremely militant Chinese working class along with the youth and students. Shanghai, in particular, where the party was founded, is accurately depicted as a playground for wealthy Chinese and above all for foreign overlords, but as a living hell for the masses of Chinese people.
    Whilst the leading characters are presented in a more all-round, nuanced and ‘human’ way than was typical of an earlier period of Chinese revolutionary cinema, the film successfully combines action and romance with skilful expositions of key political questions. Quite lengthy readings from the Communist Manifesto highlight the young revolutionaries’ wholehearted embrace of the need for class struggle leading to the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and their rejection of the reformism of the Second International, whilst the question of whether communists should hold office in a progressive bourgeois government, such as that of Dr Sun Yat Sen, is touched on in the case of Chen Duxiu. And in one short but highly significant scene Mao Zedong raises the importance of the peasant question, to the initial scepticism of his comrades. It was, of course, Chairman Mao’s grasp of the peasant question, and of the role that the peasants could play in the revolution in a country such as China, that created the conditions for victory and secured his eternal place as one of the greatest and most original leaders and theoreticians of the global communist movement.
     Also central to the political thrust of the film is the role played by the Communist International (Comintern). The two representatives from the Comintern who attended the CPC’s founding congress are rightly portrayed as heroic and selfless individuals, with some nail-biting scenes worthy of any genre of action movie. And the need to follow the path of the Russians, of the victorious October Revolution, is consistently highlighted. But there are also some pretty heavy hints of future tensions between the CPC and the Comintern, focused on the Chinese communists’ determination to forge an independent path as something intrinsic to their nation-building project.
    The role of the Comintern representatives in liaising with the fledgling Japanese Communist Party in Shanghai is also featured.
    The panoramic sweep of this film also takes us beyond China – to the Kremlin in Moscow, where we see Lenin addressing a congress of the Communist International, and to Paris, where we see the struggles of the Chinese workers and students to get organised under the banner of Marxism and to build support for China’s struggle among the French public. Here we are introduced to a 17-year-old Deng Xiaoping, with the affectionate name his comrades gave him at the time, Doctor of the Mimeograph, for his skill and diligence in producing revolutionary literature under difficult conditions.
    1921 is a touching, exciting and profound film – both great entertainment and a great education. It needs to be widely viewed, whether in China or around the world: for young Chinese people so that they might better know the struggles and sacrifices of their forebears that have made possible today’s increasingly strong and prosperous socialist China; and for those of us in the non-socialist world, who may sometimes feel daunted by the enormity of attempting to transcend the outmoded system of capitalism, to be reminded that a better world is indeed possible and that even a small number of people, with no resources to speak of, can really help to make it happen, so long as they have the spirit, in Marx’s words, to “storm heaven”.
    Or as Chairman Mao put it in his poem Chingkangshan Revisited: “Nothing is hard in this world if you dare to scale the heights”.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


We, the 10,000-plus delegates representing more than 500 political parties and organisations from over 160 countries, attended on 6 July 2021 the CPC and World Political Parties Summit hosted by the Communist Party of China (CPC) via video link. Focusing on the theme of “For the People’s Wellbeing: The Responsibility of Political Parties”, we had in-depth exchange of views at the Summit. As a result, the Summit has been brought to a successful conclusion with broad consensus.

We note that the world today is undergoing complex and profound changes, as the trend of economic globalisation continues to surge ahead, science and technology develop at an amazing speed, and interactions among civilisations become increasingly frequent. The pursuit of wellbeing of people of all countries is getting closely intertwined as never before, coupled with both historic opportunities and risks and challenges. The onslaught of COVID-19 has once again taught us that humanity lives in one and the same global village which is evolving into an inter-linked community with a shared future. The difficulties and challenges confronting humanity can only be resolved through solidarity and cooperation. Political parties, as the fountainhead of national policies and proponent of people’s interests, play an important role in the political life of countries. Under the new historic circumstances, it is the shared responsibility and common objective for political parties to ensure the wellbeing of their own people in a true sense and enable the attainment of wellbeing of all people towards the harmonious vision of prosperity for all.

I. We propose that political parties of all countries be committed to building consensus on values. Efforts must be devoted to promoting values shared by all mankind, i.e., peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom. The historical trend towards greater democracy in international relations must be followed and multilateralism must be upheld so that relations are based on common ground, mutual respect and mutual learning. The principle of mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation must be adhered to as a guidance to interactions between and among countries. A common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable approach to security must be pursued. There must be concerted efforts to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. Hence the international community will move forward in the endeavour to build a shared future and stronger political strength will gather for human development and progress.

II. We propose that political parties of all countries be committed to promoting common development. Proactive measures must be taken to implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to dovetail development strategies, coordinate macroeconomic policies, and strengthen global cooperation on technological innovation, and to promote the sharing of knowledge and technologies. The multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation playing a central role must be safeguarded to promote liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment. Infrastructural and industrial cooperation must be deepened to ensure the stability and smooth functioning of industrial chains, supply chains and financing environment, toward higher level of inter-connectivity. Hence economic globalisation will become more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all and global development will be fairer, more efficient and coordinated.

III. We propose that political parties of all countries be committed to building our Mother Earth into a hospitable homeland. Political parties must take the realisation of “intergenerational equity” as the aim and mission in achieving the vision of harmony between man and Nature. The principles of prioritising resource conservation, and environmental protection, and letting nature restore itself must be observed. Green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable ways of life and production must be pursued to create an eco-system where all elements coexist in harmony. Active support must be provided to developing countries in the form of, among others, capital, technology and capacity building so that combined strength can be built up to address climate change, marine pollution, biological conservation and other global environmental issues. Hence a global environmental governance system featuring fairness, equity and win-win cooperation will take shape together with a human-Nature community of lives with a shared future.

IV. We propose that political parties of all countries be committed to safeguarding people’s life and health. The philosophy of putting the people and their lives first must be applied by placing people’s life and health on top of the development agenda and ensuring full consideration of health factors in policy making. With the objective of life-cycle health services for all, people’s growing need for safe, effective, convenient and affordable health services must be satisfied. Science and cooperation must be identified as the reliable means to defeat the virus and extricate ourselves from diseases. Politicisation of the pandemic and stigmatisation of the virus must be opposed. Developing countries with vulnerable public health systems must get necessary assistance to enhance their response capacity. Hence, the global governance system of public health will get improved together with progress in building a community of health for all.

V. We propose that political parties of all countries be committed to facilitating exchanges and mutual learning among civilisations. The principles of equality, respect, openness and inclusiveness must be observed to rise above differences among civilisations and ideologies for the protection of diversity of world civilisations. All civilisations must and can find their rightful place in humanity’s intellectual treasure-house. Inter-civilisational dialogues and exchanges must be promoted through intensive people-to-people interactions and cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, culture and art, sports, tourism and among think tanks. Interactions among various social groups of all countries must be encouraged to enhance better understanding and appreciation among various civilisations and to draw insight and inspiration. Hence, different civilisations will co-exist in harmony together with innovative development of individual civilisations.

VI. We propose that political parties of all countries be committed to improving the wellbeing of their own people. Issues of immediate concern to the people must be responded to effectively by promoting the establishment of institutions and the rule of law in the society, improving social policies and public services, and promoting judicial justice and equality in income distribution. Redoubled efforts must be taken to combat corruption, enhance international anti-corruption cooperation and promote the building of clean and competent governments. Various measures must be adopted to improve conditions for the development of the poor, including fiscal and financial policies, education and training and industry-specific support. Hence, poverty alleviation will become more self-driven, well-targeted and results-oriented. In the meantime, greater attention and input must be devoted to international cooperation on poverty alleviation. More emphasis and support must be directed towards poverty reduction and alleviation in all countries, particularly developing countries.

VII. We propose that political parties of all countries be committed to raising their level of governance. Adequate attention must be paid to address challenges for party-building brought about by the wave of digitisation and IT application by enhancing experience sharing and cooperation on governance and constantly exploring effective ways to improve party-building under the new circumstances. The efficacy of social governance must be uplifted to ensure holistic and coordinated performance thereof. Hence, the governance ability from participation, deliberation and delivery perspectives for the wellbeing of the people will improve. A greater contribution will be made to the resolution of development conundrums facing mankind.

VIII. We propose that political parties of all countries be committed to devising better rules for global governance. The philosophy of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits must be upheld. Joint efforts are needed to safeguard the UN-centred international system, preserve the international order underpinned by international law, and to uphold the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The status and role of international law in the global governance system must be elevated. International rules must be effectively observed and practiced so that the rule of law is exercised in the international domain. Joint efforts must be devoted to exploring the establishment of policy and institution systems that are tailored to the new technological revolution and industrial transformation so that technological innovations can be accessible to, shared and utilised by more countries and their people. Hence, the reform process for the global governance system will become more equitable, open, transparent and inclusive and the sovereignty and people's interests of all countries will be fully guaranteed.

We wish to thank the Communist Party of China for what it has done to make this Summit possible. We undertake to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the CPC and contribute our wisdom and strength to enhancing mutual understanding and common development among people of all countrie


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Cuba will win!


Joint Statement of Communist & Workers Parties

The Communist and Workers’ Parties denounce the orchestrated provocations and undermining acts of counterrevolutionary groups in Cuba and abroad, which attempt to create an image of destabilization to justify the imperialist intervention against Cuba and its people, utilizing the problems caused by the tightening of the criminal US blockade, worsened in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We denounce the policy of the USA and its allies, which for more than 60 years have intensified the unacceptable and criminal blockade in defiance of the UN General Assembly resolutions, included Cuba in the list of “state sponsors of terrorism” in an arbitrary and unilateral way, and instigate all adventuristic mercenary groups against Cuba and its people. 

We reiterate our full solidarity with the people, the Communist Party, and the government of Cuba, against all imperialist attacks on Cuba’s sovereignty and its people’s rights.

Hands off Cuba! 

Lift immediately the US blockade and stop all forms of imperialist intervention right now! 


The Communist and Workers’ Parties


  1. Communist Party of Albania
  2. Communist Party of Armenia
  3. Communist Party of Australia
  4. Party of Labour of Austria
  5. DPT Bahrain
  6. Communist Party of Bangladesh
  7. Communist Party of Belgium
  8. Brazilian Communist Party
  9. Communist Party of Brazil
  10. New Communist Party of Britain
  11. Communist Party of Britain
  12. Communist Party of Canada
  13. AKEL, Cyprus
  14. Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
  15. Socialist Workers' Party of Croatia
  16. Communist Party of Cuba
  17. Communist Party in Denmark
  18. Communist party of Finland
  19. French Communist Party
  20. German Communist Party
  21. Communist Party of Greece
  22. Hungarian Workers' Party
  23. Communist Party of India (Marxist)
  24. Communist Party of India
  25. Iraqi Communist Party
  26. Tudeh Party of Iran
  27. Workers Party of Ireland
  28. Communist Party of Ireland
  29. Communist Party of Israel
  30. Communist Party (Italy)
  31. Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan
  32. The Communist Party of Luxembourg
  33. AKFM, Madagascar
  34. Communist Party of Mexico
  35. Popular Socialist Party of Mexico
  36. New Communist Party of the Netherlands
  37. Communist Party of Norway
  38. Communist Party of Pakistan
  39. Palestinian Communist Party
  40. Palestinian People’s Party
  41. Paraguayan Communist Party
  42. Philippines Communist Party [PKP 1930]
  43. Communist Party of Poland
  44. Portuguese Communist Party
  45. Romanian Socialist Party
  46. Russian Communist Workers Party
  47. Communist Party of the Russian Federation
  48. Communist Party Soviet Union
  49. UCP-CPSU
  50. New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
  51. Communist of Serbia
  52.  South African Communist Party
  53. Communist Party of Spain
  54.  Communist Party of the Workers of Spain
  55. Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain
  56.  Communists of Catalonia
  57. Communist Party of Sri Lanka
  58. Communist Party of Swaziland
  59. Communist Party of Sweden
  60. Syrian Communist Party
  61. Syrian Communist Party - Unified
  62. Communist Party of Turkey
  63. Communist Party of Ukraine
  64. Union of Communists of Ukraine
  65. Communist Party USA
  66. Communist Party of Venezuela

Other Parties

  1. Communist Revolutionary Party of France
  2. Pole of Communist Revival in France
  3. Communist Front (Italy)
  4. JVP Sri Lanka
  5. Galizan People’s Union-UPG
  6. Swiss Communist Party
  7. Communist Party (Switzerland)
  8. Party of Communists USA



Wednesday, July 14, 2021

ECI Solidarity Statement with Cuba

The European Communist Initiative condemns and denounces the developing imperialist intervention of the USA in Cuba. It is a cynical and criminal manipulation to intervene in the internal affairs of Cuba, at a time when its people is confronting the pandemic. This dangerous development rebuts and exposes all those that have been cultivating false expectations for the Biden administration. The USA that are to blame for thousands of deaths and millions of Covid 19 cases hypocritically pretend to be preoccupied for the Cuban people, while they are the ones that for many decades have imposed the criminal embargo against the Cuban people. In a provocative manner, they even denied lifting the blockade during the pandemic, a fact that did not prevent Cuba to develop 5 vaccines and to contribute with missions medical staff in many countries around the globe to tackle the pandemic, giving lessons of humanity and internationalist solidarity. The responsibilities of the EU are also grave since in tandem with the USA and for their own interests continue the false propaganda regarding “human rights in Cuba”.

We express our unwaivering solidarity to the CP of Cuba and the Cuban people, which is the only one responsible to define its future.

The imperialist intervention cannot erase the achievements of the Cuban Revolution.

We intensify our activities and raise our voices: Hands off Cuba and its People!


Monday, July 12, 2021

Another Tory bites the dust

New Worker Banner

 Health Secretary Matt Hancock has fallen on his sword after an angry backlash over his breach of COVID‑19 rules hit the headlines last week.
    When the media front-paged the footage of him kissing his mistress Gina Coladangelo at the Department of Health’s HQ in blatant breach of the COVID‑19 rules no-one could save him – not even Boris Johnson who, according to Dominic Cummings, had privately said that Hancock’s handling of the coronavirus crisis was “totally fucking hopeless”.
    Johnson’s bitter former guru now says that Hancock lied about COVID‑19-testing people before they returned to care homes in the early part of the pandemic. Some 40,000 elderly people subsequently died in care homes from coronavirus-related illnesses according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
    The mysteriously leaked footage, taken from a CCTV camera in Hancock’s own office, was reportedly taken on 6th May – when England's law banned indoor social gatherings of people from different households, and guidance urged people to stay two metres apart and avoid “face to face contact”.
    We may never know who was behind the leak that sealed Matt Hancock’s fate although his departure will certain please Cummings, who said Hancock was a “guaranteed disaster. It is urgent for public safety that he is removed”.
    No-one will miss Hancock. He should have gone long ago.

Poking the Bear

IN DAYS OF OLD, bear baiting was a sure way of drawing the crowds to watch the spectacle of a chained bear battle it out against ferocious dogs and betting on the outcome in pits that rivalled theatres in popularity in Shakespeare’s day. Spectators sometimes got hurt when the stands collapsed, but most of the suffering was endured by the hapless bears and dogs.
     Happily, we’ve moved on from those days with bear baiting banned, along with most other blood sports, in 1835. But it seems that the imperialists have discovered another new game to divert the masses – and this time the consequences could go far beyond an accident in the arena.
     Last week’s clash between a Royal Navy vessel and Russian coastal defences along the Black Sea fortunately didn’t go beyond the warning shots that fended off HMS Defender.
     But it could easily have escalated into a shooting match that could have sparked off a wider conflict in the region.
     If one is to believe the “secret documents” apparently dumped at a bus stop in Kent, the provocation was intended to underline NATO’s support for their puppet regime in Ukraine and its claim over the autonomous Crimean republic that seceded in 2014 and is now part of the Russian Federation.
     Although the documents, marked “FOR UK EYES ONLY” imply that this was an entirely British initiative, it is inconceivable that it could have taken place without the approval of the White House. In fact, it is more than likely that the operation was entirely conceived by the Americans, who have started to use the “freedom of navigation” to provoke incidents at sea with Russia and People’s China.
     The USA claims to be enforcing the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea – but it’s never actually ratified the document itself.
     Poking the bear is a dangerous game and Britain should keep well out of it. The stakes are high and the outcome is entirely unpredictable.

Saturday, July 10, 2021



 The Communist and Worker’s Parties of the NATO member states wish to say in a loud and clear voice that we condemn the aggressive anti-communist rhetoric coming out of the latest meeting of NATO leadership. The US, the de-facto leader of the NATO alliance has made it clear that its interests lie in igniting a “new Cold War” centered around anti-Chinese and anti-communist propaganda. This is a threat to all workers around the world.  

Since the infamous “Pivot to Asia” under President BarackObama, it has been clear that the US capitalist elite has seen the rising successes and power of the People’s Republic of China as a threat to itsunipolar, neoliberal world order. During the administration of Donald Trump, the US government became increasingly aggressive in its anti-China and anti-socialist policies and many began to talk about a “new Cold War”. 

Some might have hoped that with the election of a new president, the US might become less hostile towards The People’s Republic of China (PRC), but they would now be greatly disappointed. In many ways, the foreign policy of the Biden presidency has amped up the hostility towards China and its largest strategic ally, Russia. 

At the most recent meeting of the leaders of NATO alliance - an alliance’s that owes its whole existence to policies of anti-communist aggression – “new Cold War” rhetoric was abundant. NATO’s general secretary Jan Stoltenberg even said that “the rise of China” presents a security threat to NATO. Why does the world’s largest country lifting itself out of poverty constitute a security threat to the NATO powers? The answer is that it doesn’t. It does however constitute a threat to US hegemony and capitalist’s profits. 

Both China and its strategic ally Russia, find themselves surrounded on all sides by hundreds of US and NATO military bases. Despite promises to not expand in to Eastern Europe, NATO has continuously expanded closer and closer to Russia’s borders and is aiding anti-Russian, fascist forces in Ukraine while using economic sanctions to punish the people of Russia. 

The world cannot be allowed to descend into another anti-communist Cold War. Despite the name, the Cold War of the 20th Century was more often than not a hot war and cost the lives of millions of people around the globe. From South East Asia to Africa and Latin America, millions of workers, those seeking freedom and a better world for themselves and their families were slaughtered in the name of global capitalism.These wars did not spare the youth of the U.S. and its military allies 

History cannot be allowed to repeat itself in an even more dangerous form. 

No new Cold War!



Solidnet Parties Signing 

  1. Communist Party of Albania
  2. Communist Party of Australia
  3. Democratic Progressive Tribune-Bahrain
  4. Communist Party of Bangladesh
  5. Brazilian Communist Party
  6. Communist Party of Brazil
  7. New Communist Party of Britain
  8. Columbian Communist Party
  9. Socialist Workers’ Party of Croatia
  10. Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
  11. Communist Party of Denmark
  12. Communist Party of Finland
  13. French Communist Party
  14. German Communist Party
  15. Hungarian Workers’ Party
  16. Tudeh Party of Iran
  17. Communist Party of Kurdistan-Iraq
  18. Communist Party of Ireland
  19. Workers’ Party of Ireland
  20. Party of the Communist Refoundation
  21. Socialist Party of Lithuania
  22. Communist Party of Norway
  23. Philippine Communist Party (PKP-1930)
  24. Communist Party of Spain
  25. Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain
  26. Communist Party of Ukraine
  27. Communist Party USA


Other Parties Signing

  1. Communist Party of Aotearoa
  2. Galizan People's Union-UPG
  3. Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic
  4. Proletariat Schweiz

Sunday, July 04, 2021

China: 100 fighting years

 By Andy Brooks

Speech given by NCP leader Andy Brooks at the online} Symposium on the Centenary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China and China's Future Development {on 22nd June 2021, organised by the Chinese embassy in London

One hundred years have passed since the foundation of the Communist Party of China on 23rd July 1921. China has risen from being a weak semi-feudal, semi-colonial country to become a force for peace in the global arena with the second largest economy in the world.
    It is a mixed economy – but any hopes that the imperialists held that China was going down the capitalist road were dealt a severe blow at the recent Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) where Xi Jinping reminded delegates that “what we are building is Socialism with Chinese characteristics, not some other -ism”.
    China has now regained its rightful place in the world. In the 13th Century China was ahead of Europe in per capita income terms. China was still the workshop of the world in 1820 when it accounted for one-third of the world’s GDP. It was a global economic power during 18 of the last 20 centuries, and it is now regaining the ground it lost because of imperialist intervention in the 19th Century.
    Of course, in the past China’s wealth was the preserve of a ruthless feudal ruling class. These days China’s wealth is being used to finally eradicate the last vestiges of poverty, to raise the standard of living of everyone in the people’s republic, and to help the development of the Third World through genuine fair trade and economic assistance.
    This is the glorious achievement of the CPC that led the resistance that defeated the Japanese imperialists and the reactionary Chinese warlords and politicians in the pay of American imperialism, to establish the people’s government on 1st October 1949.
    This year communists are commemorating a century of struggle. But the focus for Chinese communists and, indeed, for communists all over the world is fixed firmly on the future of Marxism, the future development of People’s China and its role within the global communist movement.
    Chinese communists always stress that socialism with Chinese characteristics cannot be exported and that their revolution is not a model for others to emulate slavishly. But we very rarely, at least in Western Europe, ask ourselves why?
    The answer in part is based on the struggle of the Chinese communists to overcome dogmatism and sectarianism to eventually build a people’s democracy in their own way, to serve the needs of the working people of China.
    Commenting on the rise of the bourgeoisie in France, Marx famously said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. Communists too can make mistakes, but unlike the bourgeoisie we consciously try to learn from past mistakes in order to avoid future ones.
    In Europe, the mistake was clearly to elevate slavishly what was believed to be the ‘Soviet model’ even though few Western communists even really understood what the Soviet Union actually was. The Soviet Union wasn’t a ‘people’s democracy’ in the sense we understand it now. It was a unique state based on Soviet power, and whilst its economic structures could be imitated – as they were after a fashion in eastern Europe – the Soviet political system could not.
    Following the Soviet victory in the Second World War, the revolutionary upsurge that followed led to the establishment of people’s democracies throughout Eastern Europe on the same basis as the people’s democratic dictatorship was established in China in 1949. The question was how long would this transition take?
    In the beginning people’s democracy was seen as a lengthy process. Initially it was believed that the length of the road to socialism would depend on the development of social and economic factors in each individual country. But Cold War tensions led to the rapid incorporation of most of the European people’s democracies into a Soviet economic and military bloc, which later proved incapable of withstanding the counter-revolutionary pressures of the 1980s.
    The Chinese communists clearly believe that the transitional period, at least as far as their immense country is concerned, will be a lengthy process.
    In China, the people’s government initially followed the Soviet-led example of Eastern Europe but that failed to take into account the concrete conditions in the country – the poorest in the world in 1949. Subsequent attempts to use exhortation to boost production during the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution also failed in the long-term, so the decision of the CPC to adopt a policy of reform and opening up was perhaps the only alternative left in the late 1970s. Forty years later we can assess what has been achieved.
    The reform process has accelerated industrial growth, technical innovation and scientific knowledge whilst improving the social and cultural conditions of the people.
    China has made poverty eradication a key task in achieving its first centenary goal. Millions upon millions of people have been lifted out of poverty, whilst the opening up has given China access to the high technology needed to develop their electronics and computer industries as well as the broader manufacturing base that has enabled China to provide concrete assistance to the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America. In this spirit, China sent help to COVID-19-affected countries throughout the world, including Britain and other parts of Western Europe.
    The CPC has becoming a rallying point for the world communist movement. We welcome it. Although calls for the re‑establishment of a formal Communist International are premature, a co-ordinated international communist response is needed to rally working people against the imperialists and oppressors.
    We must work to restore the momentum for revolutionary change; strengthen co-operation and united action with communist and workers parties around the world; build solidarity with the global anti-war movement and forces for liberation in the Third World to unite the class and march towards a new tomorrow – the world Marx and Engels predicted and a world that will surely come. We see it in China today. We will all surely see it tomorrow.


Saturday, July 03, 2021

Oliver Law and the Lincoln Brigaders

 by David Horsley

On 21st November 1987, the then mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington, declared that day Oliver Law Day. This was a most important recognition of the achievements of both Oliver Law and the members of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. This belated acknowledgement of one of the 2,800 American who fought in Spain between 1936 and 1938 was also a tribute to the 90 of those volunteers who were African Americans.
    Oliver Law was born in Texas in 1899. As a young man, he enlisted in the segregated American army, served in France towards the end of the First World War and then reenlisted, possibly due to lack of work. In all, he was in the army for six years, but as a Black man could not rise above the rank of Private First Class. After he left the army, he moved to Chicago and did a number of jobs, until like millions of others he became unemployed because of the great depression. The Communist Party of the USA. from 1930 onwards was laying special emphasis on the role of the Black working class who were the most deprived, suffering the most from the mass unemployment as well as the vicious Jim Crow segregation of the Southern states and the racism in the rest of the country. The Party played the leading role in the labour movement in the fight for justice, workers’ rights and anti-racism.
    Chicago had a most vigorous and thriving local Party and Law attended classes and meetings and soon became one of the most active members. In March 1930, 700 unemployed Chicago workers led by communists held a meeting calling for unemployment insurance and relief . They had to pass through a double line of police who promptly arrested 113 who were handed over to the notorious "Red Squad" whose speciality was dealing with communists . After several hours, most were released but 14, including Oliver Law were now held for “special” questioning. This resulted in multiple injuries for the 14 with Oliver Law being hospitalised for a week because of the severe beating he received as Black and a Communist.
     Once he was fit again, he resumed his Party duties and organising the unemployed in Chicago. He also was a leading member of the Hands Off Ethiopia campaign led by the Communist Party after Mussolini's invasion of that country in 1935.
    In 1936, General Franco, with the massive military aid of Mussolini and Hitler, rebelled against the democratically elected government of Spain. With Britain, France and the USA. joining the Non Intervention Committee, thus not allowing military aid to the Spanish republic, only two countries sent help. One was the government of Mexico which did as much as it could but the bulk of aid came from the Soviet Union, with tanks, planes, armaments and a number of experts. The Communist International called for volunteers to go to Spain to fight for the Republic and tens of thousands answered the call. Among these was Oliver Law, who arrived in Spain in January 1937.
    He was especially valued by the Abraham Lincoln Battalion due to his previous military experience. Many of the American volunteers were younger and less experienced in war than their European counterparts so he was made group leader of a machine gun company. He and his men took part in the bloody battle of Jarama in February 1937 and another volunteer Mel Anderson vividly remembered spending most of a day in the trenches next to the “courageous Oliver Law”. Many died in the battle and American losses were great, After the battle, he was promoted to commander of the machine gun company and Battalion Commander Martin Hourihan recommended him for officer training school .
    When Hourihan fell ill soon after this, Law temporarily took his place as Commander and once Hourihan was fit he was promoted to regimental staff. Steve Nelson, Commissar of the Lincoln Battalion, along with Allan Johnson, a high ranking officer, and Harry Haywood, a leading Black Communist. chose Oliver Law as commander of the American volunteers. Nelson later stated " Law was the natural choice. A great asset, the guy who had the most experience, the most acquainted with military procedures on the staff at the moment”
    Oliver Law led the Lincoln Battalion for the next three months. Here was a man who because of his race. could climb no higher than private in his segregated national army in six years, but in Spain, with the International Brigades, was commanding a battalion with a large majority of White Americans after six months. This after all was the spirit of all who had come to Spain to fight for the Republic, for freedom for all.
     At the next major battle at Brunete, on 9th July 1937, Oliver Law led his troops in an attack on Mosquito Ridge. Harry Fisher, a battalion runner/messenger witnessed Law advancing ahead of his men, pistol in hand, urging them forward. On 29th July 1937 Fisher wrote a letter to his family which is reproduced in his book Legacy published in 2011. Fisher wrote the following in that letter “Once again Law was up in front urging us on. Then the fascists started running back. They were retreating. Law would not drop for cover. True he was exhausted as we all were. We had no food or water that day and it was hot. He wanted to keep the fascists on the run and take the high hill. “Come on Comrades, they are running” he shouted.”Let's keep them running”.
    All the time he was under machine gun fire. Finally he was hit. Two comrades brought him in , in spite of the machine guns. His wound was dressed. As he was carried on a stretcher to the ambulance, he clenched his fist and said "Carry on boys" Then he died ".
    Fisher adds “I remember that morning (the morning of the battle) at headquarters. As we were heading out Steve Nelson approached Oliver. I heard Steve say that there was no need for Oliver to lead the attack, that we couldn't take the chance of losing any more commanders. But Oliver brushed Steve off and went out with the rest of us. And that day he led the attack that would be his last. As we went over the top that morning he was shot in the stomach and fell about 30 feet in front of me. Jerry Weinberg, Oliver's runner and Dave Smith, a first aid man dragged him out of no man's land, but Oliver did not survive. He was buried under a rustic sign that read “Here lies Oliver Law, the first Negro to lead White Americans in battle”.
    I have spent some time on the nature of his death because a communist turncoat, William Herrick, who was a Communist and Brigader until 1939 and then turned renegade, later suggested in a racist way that Law was unfit to be an officer and moreover was a coward. In his books and articles Herrick perpetuated these lies which have been taken up by anti-communists both on the left and the right.
     A so called biography of Law by Anthony Sparrowhawk, another fervent anti-communist who declares George Orwell as “my hero” has further stoked the fire of lies and hate Herrick began and his bitterness against communists stains his book . He doubts the testimony of Steve Nelson and others who knew Law and even suggests people confused Law with another Black Brigader Harry Haywood. Sparrowhawk totally ignores Harry Fisher's two books, Comrades and Legacy, that mention Law's death even though they were published years before his own. . The hatred of these anti-communists knows no limits.
    I feel this brief outline of the life of an outstanding freedom fighter can be a small contribution to the knowledge of a Black American who became a Communist and gave his life in Spain in the fight against fascism and racism.
     Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's declaration of Oliver Law Day in 1987 recognised Law as “a leader of movements for the relief of the poor and for political rights for Blacks and working people in Chicago in the early 1930s. The first Black American to lead an integrated force in the history of the United States “.
     Steve Nelson, Law's comrade returned to Spain with surviving Brigaders in 1986 and at a ceremony in Villanueva Pardillo in honour of Oliver Law, said these words: “The world hardly took notice at the time that among this group of people who came from the US to fight to preserve democracy in Spain there were Black people and they were treated as equals and advanced on the basis of their ability. Oliver Law was selected by myself and others to command because he was the best man for the job we didn't say much at the time, but it is important that we recognise now that it was an historic moment- a Black man was placed in charge of a largely White unit for the first time in U.S. history. We want the world to share in the pride that we feel”.