The decorations are up, the Christmas lights are on and the costumed Santas are ho, ho hoing back in the grottos of departmental stores up and down the country. But the shadow of the plague once again hovers over the land as we don on our masks and queue for booster jabs, waiting for the almost inevitable fourth lockdown in the New Year. They tell us that this is the season of goodwill. Boris Johnson, for one, will certainly hope so now that the knives are out for him as he’s no longer of any further use to the ruling class. The back-stabbers include the grandees he purged in the run-up to the Brexit election of 2019 as well as those who see the scandal-ridden Tory leader as a political liability and the obstacle to restoring the “special relationship” that they believed once existed between British and American imperialism. The Prime Minister, who has always believed in his ability to talk his way out of any embarrassing situation, is clearly in deep trouble. Johnson crawls to the Americans over Assange and nukes to Australia, but he cannot see that unless he honours the agreement with the Irish government and the rest of the European Union that he signed up to in the first place he’s never going to get into Biden’s good books. Johnson may not want to rock the boat with his Ulster Unionist allies but others, including many in his own ranks, are not prepared to accept an endless Ulster veto on British foreign policy – particularly now their votes are no longer needed to maintain the Conservative majority in the House of Commons. We are, supposedly, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. And as usual, the great and the good will make their annual obeisance to the Nazarene, whom they claim to worship, but whose teachings they ignore for the other 364 days of the year. We’ll get more drivel from the clergy, who reserve their most pious platitudes for the supposed birthday of the ‘Prince of Peace’ on 25th December. But like the Pharisees, whom they pretend to scorn, these charlatans ignore the teachings of their Master who drove the money-changers out of the Temple and said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. But the days when people listened to the rich men who told us that the greatest virtue of humanity was the possession of the largest amount of money are over. Nothing demonstrates the superiority of the socialist system over capitalism more than the response to the Covid crisis over the last two years. Democratic Korea has kept COVID‑19 completely out of the country. The people’s governments in China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam have successfully beaten back the plague whilst hundreds of thousands die and many, many more are struck down by the coronavirus plague in the imperialist heartlands of Western Europe and North America. The ruling class maintains that capitalism is the only game in town. And it is – but only for themselves. Capitalism, in the final analysis, is simply a system designed to perpetuate the rule of the landowners, industrialists and capitalists to ensure that a tiny handful of parasites can live the lives of Roman emperors on the backs of the millions upon millions of working people. There is only one solution to the capitalist crisis and that is socialism. Let’s make that our resolution for the New Year. Speed the day!
Joint Statement of World Political Parties, Social Organisations and Think Tanks on making Independent Efforts to Explore the Path Toward Democracy and Working Together to Promote Common Development
The New Communist Party of Britain, together with 355 other political parties as well as social organizations and think tanks from 140 countries endorsed this statement at video conference organised by the Communist Party of China in Beijing this week
I. We are of the view that the world we live in is a diverse and colorful one. Diversity is what defines the fascinating feature of human civilisations, and indeed the source of vitality and dynamism for the development of the world. The ways and means of realising democracy are varied. Since different countries and regions may not necessarily share the same history, culture, social system and development stage, there does not exist any system of democracy or pattern of development that is applicable to all countries. The practice of judging the rich variety of political systems around the world by a single yardstick, or observing the colorful political civilisations of the humanity from a monochromatic sight, is in itself undemocratic. Nor is it conducive to development.
II. We are of the view that the best way to evaluate whether the political system of a country is democratic and efficient is to observe whether the succession of its leading body is orderly and in line with the law, whether all people can manage state affairs and social, economic and cultural affairs in conformity with legal provisions, whether the public can express their requirements without hindrance, whether all sectors can efficiently participate in the country’s political affairs, whether national decisions can be made in a rational, democratic way, whether professionals in all fields can be part of the team of national leadership and administrative systems through fair competition, whether the ruling party can serve as a leader in state affairs in accordance with the Constitution and laws, and whether the exercise of power can be kept under effective restraint and supervision.
III. We are of the view that the judgement on whether a country is democratic hinges on whether the people can become the real masters of the country. While it is necessary to observe whether the people can enjoy the right to vote, it is even more important to observe whether their right of extensive participation is guaranteed. While it is necessary to observe what verbal promises the people get during election campaigns, it is even more important to observe how many of the promises are fulfilled after elections. While it is necessary to observe what political procedures and rules are stipulated in regulations and laws, it is even more important to observe whether these regulations and laws are rigorously enforced. While it is necessary to observe whether the exercise of power follows democratic rules and procedures, it is even more important to observe whether the exercise of power is truly subject to the supervision and restraint by the people.
IV. We are of the view that democracy is the right of all peoples, rather than an exclusive privilege of the few. The judgement on whether a country is democratic or not should be made by their people. We stand opposed to acts that interfere in the internal affairs of others in the name of democracy.
V. We are of the view that the point of departure as well as the goal of the development of human society should be to improve people’s wellbeing and to achieve well-rounded human development. The promotion of democracy should focus on the continuous realisation of people’s aspiration for a better life and the upliftment of their sense of fulfillment, happiness and security. Currently, countries need to especially strengthen cooperation in the fields of poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialisation, digital economy and connectivity, and to accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, so that concentrated efforts are devoted to solve problems of the greatest, most immediate and most practical concern to the people. All countries and all peoples of the world deserve the opportunity and right to development. Efforts need to be made to promote inclusive development and ensure that no country is left behind.
VI. We are of the view that to make international relations more democratic is the trend of the times and the only way to realise this lies in putting true multilateralism into practice. As mankind is faced with various challenges and global issues, the effective response thereto can only be found in more inclusive global governance, more effective multilateral mechanism and more proactive regional cooperation. Better performance in the practice of multilateralism can always lead to better answers to the common problems facing humanity.
VII. We are of the view that efforts to build a human community with a shared future point the right direction to the development and progress of civilisation. The shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom must serve as guidance in the endeavour to build such a community with a strong sense of responsibility for the future of humankind, so that countries with different social systems, ideologies, histories, cultures and levels of development can share interests, rights and responsibilities in international affairs and work together to build a better world. Deeply aware of the joint mission placed on our shoulders to promote democracy and improve people’s livelihood, we undertake to work hand in hand to rise above all kinds of differences, promote exchanges and mutual learning, enhance mutual understanding and build broad consensus, so that we continue to make our due contribution to the people’s wellbeing, national development, world peace and human progress.
Soaring energy prices; fears of a new winter lockdown as the new Omicron Covid variant spreads through Britain and almost daily reports in the mainstream media of the hypocrisy and sleaze that surrounds the Johnson administration. It’s not surprising that the Tory vote crashed at the Old Bexley & Sidcup by-election last week. Though the Tories held this true blue bastion in the commuter belt of south-east London the Conservative majority was slashed from almost 19,000 to just 4,478 votes. Reform UK, the successor to Nigel Farage’s old UKIP party bagged 6.6 per cent of the poll and there was even a 7.4 per cent swing to Labour – though some say this was largely due to the fact that Sir Keir Starmer had not shown his face during the campaign. Now we’re told of a Christmas party at Downing Street last year, despite gatherings being forbidden under Covid rules at the time and that while Afghan servants of British imperialism were left stranded at Kabul airport when the Taliban took over Boris Johnson personally intervened to ensure that dogs and cats of a British-run animal rescue charity were safely evacuated out of the country. All of this is coming from sections of the bourgeois media that, until recently, were praising Johnson to the hilt. And what this shows is while Johnson may well have a plan to deal with another Covid upsurge others clearly have an alternative “Plan B” to push him aside before the next election. It’s not just the Tories Remainers – though they’ve clearly got a lot of old scores to settle with Johnson – its the others in the corridors of power who increasingly see Johnson as anh electoral embarrassment as well as a barrier to restoring the “special relationship” with US imperialism. Labour should be having a field day over this crisis of confidence within the ranks of the ruling class but all Starmer seems interested is in hounding out what’s left of the Corbynistas inside the Labour Party he claims to lead. Anger at his incompetent and useless leadership has now spread throughout the labour movement as a whole. Sharon Graham, the new leader of Unite, has already told Starmer & Co that they can expect no more than the affiliation fees from her union in the future and the demand to cut financial support to Labour is growing in other unions as well.
Grovelling to the White House
In the past crawling to the Americans was almost compulsory for Tory and Labour leaders who would drone on and on about “partnership” and the “special relationship” to justify British imperialism’s slavish support of American power throughout the world. But Johnson has taken it to a new level in a bid to restore his government’s credibility in the White House. Last week British envoys joined the Americans in a diplomatic offensive in Kiev to try and push their Nato allies into supporting more sanctions against Russia to prop up the Ukrainian puppet regime. Now they’ve joined hands with the Americans and Israel to support the continued Zionist occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights, which were captured during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The resolution reaffirmed that settlement construction and any other Israeli activities constitute a change in the demographic nature of the occupied Syrian Golan. It called on Israel to resume peace talks and withdraw from the occupied Syrian Golan in accordance with the border lines of 4th June1967. At the UN General Assembly members overwhelmingly affirmed Syria’s sovereignty at a session last week in vote carried by 94 with 69 abstentions Israel was supported by just seven other states : the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and three tiny Pacific island states – the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau – that are little more than American protectorates.
At least 31 refugees died trying to cross the English Channel from France to England when their dinghy sank off the northern coast of Calais last week. Boris Johnson said he was “was shocked and appalled and deeply sad by the loss of life” and French president French President Emmanuel Macron said his country would not let the Channel become a cemetery. But they only churn out these platitudes to absolve themselves from any responsibility for these needless deaths by pinning the blame on criminal gangs that allegedly run an illicit trade in human trafficking In the past bourgeois politicians and upheld the rights of defectors when they were used as political pawns during the Cold War. Tens of thousands of Poles and Ukrainians opposed to the socialist systems in their own countries were allowed to settle in Britain after the Second World War and the doors remained open for the Vietnamese “boat people” who, we were told, were victims of “communist oppression”. But its a different call when refugees and asylum seekers are no longer of any use to the ruling class. The New Communist Party recognises the need for any sovereign state to set an immigration policy in accordance with its resources. But we firmly oppose any immigration policy that discriminates, either directly or indirectly, on the basis of race, creed, colour or gender. Britain must abide by the principles it claims to uphold in dealing with refugees and asylum seekers. They must be treated humanely while they wait for their settlement claims to ve settled. The procedures must be speeded up and the dismal detention camps must go. The New Communist Party calls for the repeal of the Immigration and Asylum Acts of the 1990s, passed by both Tory and Labour governments, which make it very difficult for many genuine asylum seekers to establish their claims. Asylum seekers must be treated humanely and their claims dealt with swiftly. While this process takes place they must be given decent accommodation and welfare benefits to survive. No asylum seekers should be locked up unless there is good reason, with evidence, to believe they are criminals and no child asylum seeker should ever be locked up.
Not a day goes by, it seems, without someone’s expulsion from the Labour Party. Most people have lost track of the Corbynistas who’ve been suspended these days. It began with trumped-up charges of “anti-Semitism”. Now it been extended to “auto-exclude” anyone associated with Socialist Appeal, the Labour in Exile Network, Labour Against the Witchhunt and Resist. And it’s being applied retrospectively to condemn Labour members for taking part in events with members of banned groups in the past, even though they weren’t banned at the time. Taken to its logical conclusion, the Blairites should now move to expel any dead members they don’t like on the same grounds. Tony Benn would top the list. Sir Keir Starmer QC, the great “forensic” silk, could easily find some sort of legal precedent for posthumous expulsion. He could point to the precedent set by Charles II, who had the remains of Oliver Cromwell and the other dead “regicides” dug up and ceremonially hanged in public when the monarchy was restored in 1660. But Starmer beware. The Pharaohs and Caesars did this sort of thing big time to those they deemed traitors or blasphemers and look what happened to them…
On 23rd November, the Chinese Embassy in London held an online symposium on the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee, where Ambassador Zheng Zeguang delivered a keynote speech. Andy Brooks, General Secretary of the New Communist Party of Britain, Robert Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, Ella Rule, Chair of the CPGB (ML), Martin Jacques, a renowned expert on China, and Stephen Perry, Chair of the 48 Group Club, spoke at the event.
Also present were Professor Martin Albrow, a fellow at the Academy of Social Sciences in London; Sir Martin Davidson, Chair of the Great Britain-China Centre; and representatives of various other political parties, experts, scholars and representatives from the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party. This is Andy Brooks’ contribution to the discussion.
First of all, I would like to thank the organisers for allowing me to say a few words at this seminar focusing on the major achievements and historical experience of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over the last 100 years of its existence. For a communist party to have survived for 100 years is, in itself, something to celebrate. To have led the Chinese people to victory is another. To raise the millions upon millions of the Chinese people out of poverty to build the modern socialist society that we see today is a third. And this is only the beginning of the march of progress in the 21st century. Feudal China was once the workshop of the world. When the people’s government was established in 1949 China had the lowest standard of living in the world. Today China can now not only feed, clothe and educate its people, but also provide consumer goods and living standards for working people unimaginable before liberation. China has a modern expanding economy that has withstood the current global capitalist crisis to once again become the workshop of the world and is sharing its prosperity through the Belt and Road Initiative that spans the globe. One-hundred years have passed since the foundation of the CPC 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. 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, raise the standard of living of everyone in the people’s republic, and help the development of the Third World through genuine fair trade and economic assistance. This is the glorious achievement of the CPC which 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. Discussion is a luxury communists can afford and as we join our Chinese comrades in celebrating their hundred years of victory, we can ask ourselves many questions. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies in eastern Europe led to calls in some communist quarters for a new communist international – calls that are still made from time to time in some parts of the movement. But we cannot restore what has gone before us without first understanding why it failed in the first place. And that understanding cannot come from reading books or simply trying to transpose one experience to another. Chinese communists always stress that socialism with Chinese characteristics cannot be exported and that their revolution is not a model for others to copy 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 upon 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. But it is a socialist process. Any hopes that imperialists held that China was ‘going down the capitalist road’ were dealt a severe blow at the 2019 Congress of the CPC, where Xi Jinping reminded delegates that: “Socialism with Chinese characteristics is socialism, not any other ‘ism’. Both history and our present reality tell us that only socialism can save China – and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China. This is the conclusion of history, the choice of our people.”
That was the warning Julius Caesar foolishly ignored on his way to the forum during the last days of the old Roman republic. Caesar thought he was favoured by the gods. Boris Johnson has no such excuse. Johnson’s shambolic performance at the CBI’s annual conference this week was clearly the last straw for a growing band of Tory MPs who want Johnson out before the next election. The knives are out for Boris and there’s no shortage of those willing to take his place. Jeremy Hunt wants another crack at the Tory leadership and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, does little to mask his ambitions. Even Liz Truss, the newly promoted foreign minister, is said to be interested in entering the race, if and when it happens. And that can could come early in the New Year, with some MPs already calling for the Prime Minister to step down following his failure to put the lid on the sleaze scandals that have rocked the Johnson administration in recent weeks. Around a dozen dissident MPs have submitted letters of no confidence to the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers. This is still well short of the 15 per cent needed to trigger a leadership challenge, but that could easily change if the crisis of confidence in the Johnson government gains momentum amongst the voters in the Tory shires and the heartlands of suburbia that the Tories rely on to keep them in office. The leadership of the Conservative & Unionist Party means nothing to workers who have no say in choosing who should be the parliamentary representative of the dominant section of the British ruling class. The future of the Tory party is matter of complete indifference to us. It’s the future of the labour movement that counts.
High speed derailment
The RMT rail union has denounced the scrapping of the eastern leg of the HS2 high-speed rail line, which the union says essentially tears up the Government’s levelling up agenda and its own climate change commitments. The Johnson government’s U-turn on key rail projects is a “great northern rail betrayal”. It’s a view also shared by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said Labour was committed to the full HS2 proposals and Northern Powerhouse rail. What we really need is a genuinely integrated transport system that can only come through public ownership. The re-nationalisation of British Airways and the bus and rail companies would enable future governments build an eco-friendly, integrated transport system across Britain. But it would require immense investment that can only come from the coffers of the state. “Our climate and communities cannot afford false political choices between different rail projects when what we need is all these projects to go ahead and a historic mass investment in our railways that gets people out of cars and onto trains and public transport. But instead we get more Tory austerity, cut backs and attacks on rail workers’ jobs and rail services,” the RMT says. “Public transport investment pays for itself through the economic benefits it brings and it’s time the government took a proper long-term approach that reflects that fact.”