Sunday, December 18, 2022

In the bleak mid-winter…

And it certainly will be for the millions struggling to cope in freezing temperatures with astronomical heating bills grossly inflated by the imperialist sanctions on the Russians who were one of the main suppliers of liquified natural gas to Europe before the war in Ukraine erupted this year. It won’t, however, be so bad for the rich who’ll still be rocking around the Christmas tree snorting coke and drinking themselves silly over the festive season while the rest of us are told to make the best of it, accept “the price of liberty” and blame it all on the unions, and of course, Vladimir Putin.
    Celebrating the winter solstice is a tradition that goes back thousands of years – from the Stone Age hunter-gatherers whose lives revolved around the seasons to the Roman Saturnalia when masters served their slaves in orgies of feasting and drinking in a festival in which all the rules of society could be temporarily broken.
    Though some of these traditions linger on in today’s orgy of consumer delight we are still supposedly celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the man who told his followers that it was “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. But do any of the rich believe it?
    The great and the good will make their annual obeisance to the Prince of Peace, whom they claim to worship, on his supposed birthday while ignoring his teachings for the rest of the year. The Pharisees in the Established Church will churn out the usual platitudes about the “poor and needy” while ignoring the words of their Master who drove the money-changers out of the Temple and told his followers to “go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”. And hundreds of thousands of people across England, Scotland and Wales will remain homeless – stuck in B&Bs, sleeping in cars and sheds or tents in the street. The festive clichés of the politicians and the princes of the church are meaningless to them.
    These people tell us this is the “season of goodwill”, but little of it will be shown to the poor and down-trodden – let alone the unions locked in bitter pay struggles over the Christmas period. A wave of strikes is sweeping the country. That’s why the Tories are squealing and bleating on about new laws to ban strikes to force people to accept pittance pay.
    The miserable efforts of the bourgeois media to demonise union leaders as “wreckers” who are “holding the nation to ransom” and “trying to destroy Christmas” have not worked this time round. Public support for the nurses, posties, teachers and railway workers is growing. On the street the craven Starmer leadership faces renewed demands to stand with the striking workers while some media gurus have broken ranks to argue for a realistic response to the unions’ demands to end this new winter of discontent and give the Tories a fighting chance at the next general election.
    Communists must naturally support all efforts to strengthen working-class organisations and bring them together and build support for all the strikes over the festive season. Now the workers are talking in the only language the employers understand. We must do all that we can to speed the day to victory.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Odessa Solidarity Campaign Joint Statement

An anti-imperialist position on the crisis in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is raging on with no end in sight. People are suffering, and fears are rising that the conflict could widen and even involve nuclear weapons. Many well-meaning people are calling for a ceasefire and negotiations.
    We all want peace, but it does no good to promote solutions that don’t take into account what led up to the war in the first place. 
    Back in 1991, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, the U.S. government promised that NATO would not expand “one inch” eastward. But since then, all 14 new NATO members have been former Soviet states or allies. Sweden and Finland are expected to join soon. Both Georgia and Ukraine, which border Russia, have asked to join. That would complete the encirclement of Russia’s western flank. It would be as if Russia were building an anti-U.S. military alliance of all South and Central American countries and was about to admit Mexico. Obviously, the U.S. would see that as an existential threat.
    When Ukraine first became an independent state in 1991, Ukraine and Russia were at peace. But in 2014, the U.S. backed a violent, right-wing coup that brought to power an anti-Russian government that openly embraced neo-Nazi, paramilitary militias hostile to Ukraine’s Russian minority.
    This new situation, which included the massacre on May 2, 2014, of at least 42 anti-coup protesters in Odessa by a fascist-led mob, was seen as gravely threatening by the heavily ethnic-Russian areas of eastern and southern Ukraine. The result was Crimea voting to rejoin Russia, which it had been part of until 1954, and Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbass region declaring themselves independent.
    Then Ukraine, Russia, Donetsk and Luhansk agreed to allow those two entities to become autonomous areas within a united Ukraine. But Ukraine never implemented the terms of those Minsk Agreements, and instead carried out a military campaign to retake the separatitst region, with the loss of some 15,000 lives.
    Meanwhile, since at least 2014, the U.S. and other NATO countries have carried out regular, massive joint military exercises with Ukraine – land, sea and air – right up to Russia’s borders.
In late 2021 and early 2022, President Putin of the Russian Federation offered to hold negotiations with the U.S. and NATO to discuss Russia’s security concerns, but the offer was ignored. This was before Russia recognized the independent republics in the Donbass. Subsequent Russian offers to negotiate also were rejected.
    By February 2022, Ukraine was intensifying its war in the Donbass, leading Russia to intervene, with the stated purpose of defending the people of the Donbass and “demilitarizing” and “de-Nazifying” Ukraine. Whether people agree with that action or not, it was anything but “unprovoked.”
    Since then, as of Sept. 18, the U.S. Department of Defense admits to providing $16.1 billion in military aid to Ukraine. Other estimates have it as high as $40 billion – not counting aid the U.S. says is coming from 50 other allied countries – ensuring that the war will continue indefinitely. What began as a conflict between Russia and Ukraine has become a proxy war by the U.S. and NATO against Russia, with Ukrainians as cannon fodder.
    It isn’t necessary to endorse the Russian intervention in order to see that the real provocations for the war were the relentless eastward expansion of NATO; the U.S. support for the right-wing, anti-Russian coup of 2014; and the continuing and expanding war by Ukraine to retake the Donbass.

This being the case, we call on all peace and antiwar activists around the world to demand:

No to all U.S./NATO support for Ukraine!
No to all U.S./NATO military actions in Ukraine!
No to all U.S./NATO sanctions against Russia!
No to NATO and all U.S. wars and occupations everywhere in the world!

  • Eduardo Artés – First Secretary & former presidential candidate, Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action), Santiago de Chile, Chile
  • Bahman Azad – President, U.S. Peace Council, USA
  • Ajamu Baraka – National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace, USA
  • Sinia Benigassan – Bureau d’information Alba Granada North Africa, Tunis, Tunisia
  • Matyas Benyik – President, ATTAC Hungary Association, Budapest, Hungary
  • Prof. Dr. Horst Bischoff – Deputy Chairman, ISOR e.V., Berlin, Germany
  • Carl Boggs – Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Joachim Bonatz – Deputy Chairman, ISOR e.V.; Vice President, OKV e.V., Berlin, Germany
  • Heinrich Buecker – Coop Anti-War Cafe; Member, German Peace Council & World Beyond War, Berlin, Germany
  • Melinda Butterfield – Co-Editor, Struggle-La Lucha newspaper, USA
  • Jose Capitan – Opcion Obrera (Workers Option), Venezuela
  • Dr. Dieter Dehm – Ex-Member, German Parliament; Former Member, German Bundestag; DIE LINKE, Germany
  • Rudolf Denner – Spokesman, Presidium, OKV e.V., Berlin, Germany
  • Communist Party of Australia
  • Georg Ehmke – Lt. Colonel aD, Werder, Germany
  • Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos – Maine House of Representatives, Friendship, Maine, USA
  • Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice, Canada
  • Sara Flounders – Co-Director, International Action Center, USA
  • Frente Unido América Latina – Berlin, Germany
  • Leo Gabriel – Anthropologist, Journalist & Filmmaker, Austria
  • Bruce Gagnon – Anti-imperialist Activist, Maine, USA
  • Leonid Ilderkin – Coordinating Council, Union of Political Emigrants & Political Prisoners of Ukraine, Russia
  • International Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity – UK
  • Major General Manfred Jonischkies, Retired – Member, Board of ISOR e.V., Berlin, Germany
  • Dr. Sabine Kebir – Publicist, Lecturer, Berlin, Germany
  • Ulla Klötzer & Lea Launokari – Coordinators, Women for Peace, Finland
  • Gregory Laxer – Author, “Take This War and Shove It! A most unwilling soldier 1967-1971,” Connecticut, USA
  • League of Young Communists USA
  • Jeff Mackler – National Secretary, Socialist Action, USA
  • Stephen Martin – Author at Counterpunch, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Savvas Matsas – Ergatiko Epanastatiko Komma (EEK – Workers Revolutionary Party), Greece
  • Dimitris Mizaras – Chairman, Marxist Workers’ League of Finland
  • Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO), Canada
  • New Communist Party of Britain
  • Agneta Norberg – Former Chair, Swedish Peace Council; Women for Peace, Sweden
  • Helmut Ortgies – Member, Association of Those Persecuted by the Nazi Regime, VVN/BDA, Gß Zimmern, Germany
  • Manuel Pardo – Frente Antiimperialista Internacionalista (Internationalist Anti-Imperialist Front), Madrid, Spain
  • Party of Communists USA
  • Stephen Phiri – Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute, Zimbabwe/South Africa
  • Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza – Editor, Orinoco Tribune, Caracas, Venezuela
  • Sungur Savran – Devrimci İşçi Partisi, (DIP – Revolutionist Workers’ Party), TurkeyJochen Scholz – Lt. Col, Ret., GEAF, Berlin, Germany
  • SOS Ukraine Resistent, Italy
  • SOS Donbass, Italy
  • Prof. Nako Stefanov – Chairman, Bulgarian National Peace Council, Bulgaria
  • John Steinbach – Coordinator, Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area, USA
  • United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) – USA
  • U.S. Friends of the Soviet People
  • Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, USA
  • Phil Wilayto – Editor, The Virginia Defender
  • Workers Voice Socialist Movement – Louisiana, USA

plus 420 individual endorsements from peace campaigners from all over the world

An angry winter

A wave of strikes is sweeping the country. Rising inflation and soaring heating bills have fired the resistance to austerity and now not a week passes without industrial action of one form or another over pay.
    On the left the routine calls for a “general strike” or a “united front” of workers are beginning to have more relevance as more and more working people vote to confront the employers in the fight for a living wage.
    The key to victory is unity at all levels from the rank-and-file to the union leaderships but that unity is not easy to achieve. Some years ago a number of public sector unions did combine to co-ordinate their campaigns on pensions but it broke down when one key player unilaterally reached a settlement with their employers.
    There is, of course, the TUC. But its role has been partially eroded by giant unions like Unite and Unison who have also done their best to take away what little authority the trades councils still have in a union world dominated by the mega-unions of today.
    Communists must naturally support all initiatives efforts to strengthen working class organisations and bring them together in times of struggle to build support for all strikes and to maintain solidarity to speed the day to victory.

Like a Cheshire cat

In Victorian days the grinning Cheshire cat slowly disappears until only thing left is his inane grin. These days, with Labour streets ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls, the Blairites are now strutting around bragging that they’ll soon be back in power and that it’s all down to getting rid of the Corbynistas. But this could also be illusionary.
    Labour’s victory in last week’s by-election was, therefore, hardly unexpected. With Labour 25 points ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls Labour could hardly fail to hold the City of Chester seat and that’s what they did last week when they trounced the Tories with a 13,8 per cent swing – one of the largest since the Second World War.
    But turn-out was low and the swing was well below Labour’s lead in the opinion polls. The election gurus tell us that it will still give Labour a 30 plus majority in the House of Commons at the next election. But Rishi Sunak still has plenty of time to close the gap.
    Starmer and the Blairites clearly believe that they’re going to win over a significant number of Tory voters at the next election – and indeed they may well do so in the northern “Red Wall” seats Labour lost in 2019. But Labour needs more than that to win an overall majority in parliament and to do so it needs a programme that can actually inspire people to campaign for and vote Labour when the time comes.
    There’s not much sign of that at the moment. Labour’s leaders have little to offer workers apart from meaningless platitudes about health, education and welfare and nothing at all to rally the youth, the young workers and the millions who turned to Jeremy Corbyn in the hope of change only a few years ago.
    All Sunak needs to do is get the existing Tory vote out on the day. Labour has to insopire the millions of workers sick of austerity, poor housing, and bread-line wages. Shunning the nurses and ambulance crews, the civil servants, teachers and transport and postal workers, all locked in struggle with employers over pay is a bad start. Starmer ignores them at his peril.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Useless and Dangerous

In a desperate attempt at sounding radical Sir Keir Starmer has made reform of the House of Lords his latest project. He says he wants to replace it with an elected second chamber, telling Labour peers that the public’s faith in politics had been undermined by successive Tory leaders handing out peerages to “lackeys and donors” and that this is all going to end when he’s in charge.
    We have, of course, heard this all before. In opposition Labour leaders talk about the reform or abolition of the House of Lords. They’ve done this for years. But once in power they find that they cannot afford to give up the Prime Minister’s patronage of the Upper House – that does indeed enable them to reward the “lackeys and donors” Starmer claims to despise.
    During the Blair era New Labour promised to remove all the hereditary peers from the House of Lords and replace it with some sort of elected Senate. But in the end all the happened was another minor reform that abolished the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords but allowed 92 of their number to remain to uphold the hereditary principle along with the 26 bishops who sit as “Lords Spiritual” as representatives of the Church of England.
    While rewarding your followers is an essential part and parcel of bourgeois politics the House of Lords isn’t. Bourgeois republics like the United States and France manage quite well without an appointed Upper House. Others operate without any Second House to oversee the actions of their parliaments.
    Some think the Lords exists to uphold the rights of inheritance. But these “rights” are actually upheld by the bourgeois “right to private property” which goes far beyond the old feudal concepts of inheritance by claiming that people must be allowed to use what they own as they see fit, and leave it to whom they see fit.
    The real purpose of the House of Lords is, essentially, to justify and maintain the hereditary principle which justifies the Monarchy and the Anglican church that the King heads. It’s abolition would mean that the only hereditary post left would be that of the Monarch which would inevitably then face demands for reform that could easily evolve into the sort of republicanism the bourgeoisie turned their backs on when they got rid of the Stuarts and put William of Orange on the throne during the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688.
    Just a generation before these momentous events the House of Lords had been abolished by the ‘Rump’ parliament of the fledgling Republic of England that had already abolished the monarchy and the Church of England with the deposition, trial and execution of Charles 1 in 1649. The House of Lords that was said to be “useless and dangerous to the people of England” remained closed until the Stuart restoration in 1660 and we’ve been lumbered with the Lords ever since. But it’s still useless and the sooner it goes the better.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Neverendum

The Supreme Court's verdict that the Scottish Parliament does not have the competency to legislate for a second independence referendum without the consent of the Westminster parliament was hardly surprising – least of all to the Scottish nationalists who tabled it in the first place.
    Three Tory Prime Ministers have turned down previous SNP calls for another referendum. Labour is equally opposed. Only last week, Labour’s Henry McLeish, who served as First Minister from 2000 to 2001, rejected calls for a referendum, telling Sky News: “This is not the time to be taking these big political and constitutional decisions, it is a time for making devolution work and for the independence campaign to be sidelined”.
    Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish government, says she’s now going use the next general election as a de facto referendum on independence and continue to push for Scottish independence. But this has been rejected by the Scottish Labour, Conservative and the Liberal Democrat parties who all say they will not take part in any SNP plan to treat the election as a single-issue vote.
    The SNP won the lion’s share of Scotland’s seats in the House of Commons – 44 out of 59 – at the last general election in 2019. But their overall share of the vote was still only 45 per cent which clearly doesn’t give them a mandate for any unilateral declaration of independence. It was more or less the same for the Scottish devolved government elections last year. Though the Scottish parliament is elected by a mixed system of voting that includes a form of proportional representation the SNP and their Green allies still only took 49 per cent of the vote – though that did give them 70 seats out of a total of 129 in the Scottish parliament.
    The Scottish Parliament was set up by the Labour Government in 1999. It has played an increasing role in the developing Scotland and, under Labour leadership, it used some of its powers to pass modest reforms beneficial to the working class.
    Following the collapse of the Scottish Labour Party in the 2015 general election at the hands of the SNP the nationalists have been successful in deluding many people that they are a left‑wing party.
    The SNP claims to be a social-democratic party but it is essentially a bourgeois liberal platform that in recent years has embraced the NATO alliance. Its neo‑liberal economic policies and their failure to use tax raising powers already devolved to the Scottish parliament reflect the true nature of the SNP.
    Behind the traditional nationalist demand for independence is the call for an independent Scotland within the European Union that simply reflects the demands of a section of the Scottish bourgeoisie who believe their interests are better served through greater integration with Franco-German imperialism
    The degree of local autonomy won by the Scots is, in itself, no guarantee that the national traditions and culture of the Scottish people will be developed, nor will it automatically lead to the strengthening of working class power. But the creation of national institutions in Scotland has been a positive step.
    The New Communist Party has long recognised the rights of the Scottish nation to full national self‑determination. We support Scottish demands for the right to preserve and develop their culture and national identity. We support their right to possess and control all the physical and other resources present on their land and territorial waters. If there is another indy referendum we will, of course, say YES.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Books, Communists and Talks in Liverpool

by New Worker correspondent

Marxists and communists gathered last Saturday at the 2022 Merseyside Marxist Book Fair to exchange literature and ideas and hold talks and discussions. Around sixty people met at The Casa, in the city’s Georgian Quarter, is a bar and venue that was set up by dockers who were sacked when they refused to cross a picket line in the 1990s. The dockers’ struggle began in September 1995 and ended in a one-sided settlement in February 1998. But some of the dockers, who had been paid £130,000 for writing a drama about the dispute for Channel Four, used the money to buy a building to set up a communal hub, not-for-profit bar and an advice centre.
    The event was the third organised the Red Book Fairs Collective, including members of Red Fightback (RFB) a “revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party”, and it included stalls from the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), Ebb Magazine, an independent online communist publication, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) independent street union, the New Communist Party of Britain, socialist and labour history book specialists Northern Herald Books, Peace, Land, & Bread, the journal of the Center for Communist Studies, rs21 (Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century) and Socialist Classics - Reprints of classical Marxist literature.
    Theo Russell from the New Communist Party gave a talk on the history and current situation in Ukraine which focused on the experiences of the Russian-speaking community in Ukraine since 2014, which was well received and followed by a fraternal discussion. Other talks were given by Alfie Hancox from Red Fightback on ‘The Long Crisis of British Marxism in the Shadow of Thatcher’ and Harry Holmes from rs21 on ‘Transforming the British Workers Movement’.
    Among the publications available was the English version of Alexander Bogdanov’s Art and the Working Class from US-based Iskra books – the publishing house of the Center for Communist Studies, and new editions of works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin from Foreign Languages Press, the publishing house of Redapark, the Indian Maoist website.
    The New Communist Party stall included books by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, party pamphlets and Soviet badges, all of which sold well, as well as up to date leaflets on the conflict in Ukraine.
    Many fruitful discussions and contacts were made, and cooperation on future book fairs was also discussed, in which comrades from the UK and India based Second Wave Publications have already expressed interest. The next Merseyside Marxist Book Fair is scheduled to take place on Saturday 18th November 2023.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

A Day of Shame

Last Saturday Palestinian solidarity campaigners evaded security to gain access to the House of Commons Private Members Lobby in the Palace of Westminster in London. Once inside, they doused the statue of Lord Arthur Balfour in fake blood and unveiled the Palestinian flag, before gluing themselves to the plinth to state their intentions.
    Lord Arthur Balfour was the architect of the declaration that sealed the fate of the Palestinian people in the 20th century.
    On 2nd November 1917 the British government pledged its support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, which was then a province in the Turkish Ottoman empire, Germany’s chief ally in the Middle East.
    Lord Balfour, the foreign secretary in Lloyd George’s war-time government, issued the declaration that authorised Zionist settlement in Palestine when it became part of the British Empire following the defeat of Germany and its allies in the first world war.
    But in 1917 the outcome of the war was still in doubt. The Germans had knocked Russia out and they held the line along the Western Front. British imperialism was looking for new allies in a conflict with Germany that plunged Europe into war in 1914. Locked in a stalemate on the Western front they sought support from the influential Zionist lobby within the Jewish community in Britain and the United States. At the same time British agents had encouraged feudal Arab leaders to rebel against their Turkish masters with false promises of British support for an independent Arab kingdom when victory came.
    What these Arabs didn’t know was that behind their backs Britain had already agreed to partition the Ottoman Empire – Britain would get Palestine and Iraq: the French got Syria and Lebanon and the Russians would get Constantinople. Even Italy and Greece were promised small slices of the take that would leave the Turks with just a rump state in Asia Minor. The Arabs would get nothing.
    And that’s what largely happened after the defeat of Germany and its allies in 1918. Despite the Russian revolution and America’s entry into the war the Ottoman Empire was partitioned along the lines of an Anglo-French plan. A resurgent Turkish nationalist movement thwarted Italian ambitions and threw the Greeks out of Asia Minor but the Arabs were powerless to stop the recolonisation of their lands under Western rulers.
    Britain’s feudal Arab allies became puppet rulers of Iraq and Jordan while France set up bogus sectarian statelets in Syria and Lebanon. Palestine came under direct British colonial rule.
    Balfour promised the Zionists a “national home” in Palestine while stating “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. But Palestine was not Balfour’s to give and the Arabs, the overwhelming majority of the population in the British “mandate” of Palestine, never consented to this and in any case they were never consulted.
    The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 led to the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians from their homes. The war that began in 1948 continues to this day. The Palestinians fight on and they will continue the struggle until their legitimate rights are restored.
    UN resolutions have provided the basis for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. First of all Israel must totally withdraw from all the occupied territories seized in 1967, including Arab East Jerusalem and Syria’s Golan Heights. The Palestinians must be allowed to establish a state of their own on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinian refugees whose homes are now in Israel must be allowed to return or, if they so wish, be paid appropriate compensation in exchange. And all states in the region, including Israel, should have internationally agreed and recognised frontiers guaranteed by all the Great Powers.

Fighting for Freedom

by Ben Soton

Hampshire Heroes: Volunteer Fighters in the Spanish Civil War by Alan Lloyd. Clapton Press, London 2022. Paperback: 170pp, rrp: £11.

Alan Lloyd, a prominent member of the International Brigades Memorial Trust, played a major role the establishing a memorial to the men from Southampton who gave their lives in the Spanish Civil War on the side of freedom. He is also a former Labour councillor, recently expelled from the Labour Party for advocating views at odds with the party’s new hard-right leadership.
    Alan has now turned for his hand to historical writing. His first book, Hampshire Heroes: Volunteer Fighters in the Spanish Civil War, charts the lives of the men and women from Hampshire who volunteered to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War.
    Hampshire is a country of great contrast. It includes the two large cities of Southampton and Portsmouth on its southern coast, whilst it can also count smaller towns such as Gosport, Fareham, Eastleigh and Basingstoke, and like all Shire Counties it contains an array of leafy villages scattered throughout the New Forest, Test and Meon Valleys. Hampshire is a county where you can find deprived housing estates and a few miles away find leafy suburbs with properties worth millions. The county has produced an array of backgrounds from which many of the International Brigaders came.
    This is a very well researched book that charts the lives of those who took up arms as part of the International Brigade, as well as the medical volunteers and those pilots who flew in the Republican air force. There is also a section on the Basque children who arrived in Southampton on the SS Habana. Meanwhile, the book also exposes the British Government’s policy of “Non-Intervention”, which hindered military aid to the Spanish Republic whilst giving Hitler and Mussolini a free rein in assisting Franco. It should be pointed out that the British Government could have assisted the Spanish Republic with little effort, whereas in 1939 this country went to war to assist the reactionary Polish regime whom it had little means of helping.
    Hampshire Heroes is a useful source for anyone wishing to learn about the Spanish Civil War. The chronology of the book covers the mayor battles of the conflict such as Ebro and Jarama, Teruel and the final retreat through Aragon. In charting the lives of the volunteers, the book covers those who gave their lives in the fight against the evil of fascism but also gives an insight into the lives of those who survived the conflict, some of whom lived on into the early 2000s.
    A useful history book and a fitting tribute to the volunteers who gave fought and, in many cases, gave their lives in the fight against fascism. Particular reference should go to the four men from Southampton who gave their lives in that conflict: Raymond Artur Cox, Ivor Hickman, David Haden Guest and Harold Laws.

Talking about communism in Salisbury

Andy Brooks at the school
by New Worker correspondent

Salisbury is best known as the location of a bungled attack on a Russian turncoat spy by alleged agents of Russian intelligence and for a famous cathedral whose spire is the tallest in Britain. But it is also the home of two historic Church of England schools and last week NCP leader Andy Brooks went down to one of them to talk to sixth-form students about the communist cause.
    Making the case for communism kicked off a lively discussion at the meeting of the Politics Society at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in the heart of town.
    This Anglican grammar school lies within the grounds of Salisbury cathedral and next door to the Cathedral School that was founded by St Osmund, the Bishop of Old Sarum, in 1091. The Bishop’s school, however, only goes back to 1889 – an initiative of John Wordsworth, the Bishop of Salisbury or ‘New Sarum’ as it was still officially called until 2009.
    On one of its walls there is a blue plaque dedicated to William Golding, the novelist and Nobel prize winner, who taught at the school from 1945–1962. The ship-wrecked school-boys who descend into savagery in his first book Lord of the Flies are believed to have been based on some of Golding’s pupils!
    Needless to say, the 50 or so sixth-form students who turned up to hear Andy open a discussion on the communist ideal bore no resemblance to the pupils marooned on Golding’s nightmare desert island.
    A forest of hands shot up to question or comment on the role of the communist movement from 1917 onwards. The usual questions about the gulags came up, which sadly reflects the biased orientation of the bourgeois education system that caricatures communism as a failed Soviet system and ignores the outstanding achievements of People’s China and the other people’s democracies in Asia and the Caribbean. But the discussion later broadened to look at the Chinese experience and the role of the world communist movement in the 21st Century.
    Back in the 1960s and ‘70s the spirit of rebellion swept the younger generation. Inspired by the student uprisings in Latin America and Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China, young workers and students took to the streets around the world in the struggle for a better tomorrow. Although those days are long gone, a new generation is once again beginning to question the essentially exploitative values of bourgeois society in the age of conflict and austerity. And the only answer to capitalism in crisis that serves the interests of the working class is socialism.

Our place in an amazing universe

by John Maryon

Looking out into space it is possible to see back in time some 13 billion years and study the pattern of cosmic microwave radiation that resulted from the creation of the universe. Light travels at 186,282 miles per second which makes it almost impossible to grasp the vast size of the universe. We can observe the remnants of cataclysmic explosions, see giant red stars near the end of their life and the birth of new stars forming within vast nursery clouds of dust and gas as they collapse under gravity. Large black holes lurk ominously at the centres of billions of galaxies each containing billions of star systems.
    We must also examine events at other extreme of size. The Greek philosopher Democritus believed that what he called atoms were the smallest parts of matter but he was not in a position to vary his idea. With a typical radius of 0.1 nano metres over 5 million could be placed on a pinhead. Democritus would have been reassured by the work of the Russian chemist Demitri Mendeleev who created the Periodic table in1869. The modern table lists118 naturally occurring elements in order of atomic number related to their make up in terms of electrons, protons and neutrons. Hydrogen being the lightest and uranium the heaviest.
    It is now known that the electron is an elementary particle but protons and neutrons are themselves made up of elementary particles known as quarks. The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva has recently identified a particle called Higgs bosen which had been predicted mathematically and was linked to a field that created matter. It is now believed that all forces, waves and matter, including atoms, are the result of the interaction of various forms of wave energy and fields at a sub atomic level. For example magnetic and electrostatic fields combine to produce light.
    Within the apparent chaos of the universe life has evolved on earth and almost certainly in other places as well. The earliest forms on earth were microscopic organisms whose presence were identified by specific carbon molecules found in rocks 3.8 million years old. Life arose from chemical reactions in non living matter consisting of carbon, water and amino acids that formed in the earth's early atmosphere. Sunshine, hot water and carbohydrates provided the energy to drive the process. In a star system there exists a zone of tolerance where the temperature is just right for life to develop. Also some small cold moons in close proximity to much larger bodies could be heated by gravity stresses in their rocky cores.
    But the big question is why did the process start and continue? Isaac Newton believed that all the conditions for life were created by God. In the early 1970s John Conway, a young mathematician at Cambridge, examined the probability of pattern replication using an infinite grid of squares. By imposing a simple set of rules of contact between identified random squares, Conway and his students, were able to demonstrate that eventually complex patters could be automatically repeated. This revolutionary principle of order from apparent chaos applied to the primeval soup could make life inevitable.
    Today life on Earth has evolved to fill every possible niche for its existence. It is estimated that the total number of species exceeds 8.7 million. The one which I wish to examine in more detail is our own.
    First simple life forms consisted of single cells formed from organic molocules. They processed no consciousness and just survived in a fixed environment. As conditions changed those that had mutated were able to flourish. Variety developed and the natural laws of evolution took over. Cells that combined with others were more successful and more complex organisms emerged that were able to sense their environment and react accordingly. This marked the beginning of a conscious existence for life that would now develop intelligence.
    The ability to observe and respond rewarded those creatures that were to exploit their situation and predators also evolved. Life became more advanced and eventually Homo Sapiens became the dominant species.
    Humans are social creatures that even in their early development existed in small family groups with a life style based upon hunter gathering. Those that formed into larger tribal groupings were more successful in meeting danger and facing competition. For a brief period a form of primitive communism existed for their mutual benefit. Ultimately the 'division of labour' with the emergence of specialist skills and crafts led to the creation of wealth and privilege.
    Human development still continues and I believe can be divided into two phases of progress. Barbarian and Socialist. Today both exist simultaneously and human civilization has reached a major turning point. Capitalism and its extreme nationalistic forms represent the final stages of barbarism. Socialism is the beginning of a new progressive social advance that will change society and human relations for ever. The changes take time to mature, develop and must embrace the experiences of individual nations and peoples.
    Marx and Engels examined the social and production relations of capitalist society and outlined the scientific principles for building a new form of society that would be able to create a beautiful new world. One in which true freedom would exist without explotation and class repression. We live in a physical world within which we may shape our own destiny. On this basis of fraternity and respect we can explore and study the universe and reach a deeper understanding of everything.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Solidarity with the Donbas voters!

Solidarity to the referendum voters in the Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia!

Congratulations to the residents of Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia on your vote on whether to join the Russian Federation. We understand that you are bravely voting literally under fire from the forces of Kiev and their guns and bombs supplied by Western imperialism.
    We stand with you in your right for self-determination and to decide your own future.
We stand with you in your struggle against fascism, a struggle you have waged since the fascist led coup of 2014.
    We stand with you as you fight US/NATO’s proxy forces and the billions of dollars of weapons they are throwing at you.
    You are an inspiration to all anti-fascists and anti-imperialists around the world. Your victory will be our victory.
    We will continue our efforts to organize opposition to the war against you and to break the information blockade .

Solidarity and to victory!

  • Socialist Unity Party (US)
  • Class Conscious
  • Partido Obrero Socialista CR (Costa Rica)
  • Komite Esperansa (East Timor)
  • Anti-War West Sydney
  • KED (Greece)
  • Liaison Committee for the IV International (UK, US, BR, AR)
  • Socialist Fight (UK)
  • Bolshevik Group (South Korea)
  • Socialist Republican Movement (Bangladesh)
  • US Friends of the Soviet People
  • Romanian Communist Party – Satu Mare Branch
  • International Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity (UK)
  • New Communist Party of Britain


Marie Lynam (UK)
Dr. Angelo D’Angelo (US)
Karin Hilpisch (Germany)

joint statement organised through the WORLDONFIRE (Worldwide Organising Network Against Fascism Imperialism and Exploitation).

Support the people of the Donbas!

Joint statement moved by the Russian Communist Workers' Party and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation at the international meeting of communist and workers' parties in Havana

The struggle against US and NATO imperialism which seek world hegemony is the key task of the progressive forces

The peoples of the world are witnessing a rapid sharpening of the general crisis of capitalism. Unable to cope with the growing contradictions, imperialism is becoming ever more dangerous for humankind. It resorts ever more often to provocations and conflicts. Its actions threaten a new world war and the use of nuclear weapons.
    In fact the war, as armed struggle of classes, nations or states, has been waged since 2014 when the Kiev Nazis launched a punitive operation against the population of Donbas. People were being killed for wanting to speak their native Russian tongue, refusing to recognize collaborators with Hitler’s Nazism as heroes, to destroy Soviet monuments and sever their links with Russia.
    Today more than fifty predator-countries, organized and directed by US-led NATO, are using Ukrainian followers of Banderaites, allies of Hitler, to pursue a policy of Fascist expansion vis-à-vis Russia. Combined political, financial, economic and military resources of world capital, including the human resources of mercenaries, have been committed to the suppression and dismemberment of Russia. The objective is characteristic of big capital: eliminating competition and re-dividing spheres of influence. Above all in Europe. The aim is to establish world hegemony of the USA in the 21st century with active and overt use of fascism.
    The Communist and Workers’ Parties support the just anti-fascist struggle of the working people of Donbas backed by the Russian Armed Forces. We come out against US imperialism which is using fascist methods in its foreign policy and, with direct participation of NATO, is in fact waging a war aimed at defeating Russia with the hands of the puppet bourgeois-nationalist Ukrainian regime.
    We declare that we will do all we can to prevent Russia from repeating the fate of Yugoslavia, Iraq or Libya, which is starkly at odds with the interests of the world workers’ movement. Reaction seeks to establish its new order firmly and for long. Russia cannot afford to lose the war against Nazism.
    We voice our categorical protest against the policy of fascism, anti-Sovietism and Russophobia in all the EU and NATO countries. We protest against the aggression unleashed against Russia by the USA and NATO with the hands of Ukraine’s Nazis. We express our resolute solidarity with the communists and all the working people of Ukraine and Russia. We declare our determination to fight the resurgent brown plague firmly and aggressively. The communist position is invariable: it is only by putting an end to capitalism that an end can be put to fascism and the threat of a world nuclear war. We will dedicate our activity and our lives to this struggle.

Proletarians of all lands, unite!

Solidnet Parties signing

• Communist Party of Azerbaijan
• Communist Party of Brazil
• New Communist Party of Britain
• Socialist Workers' Party of Croatia
• German Communist Party
• Communist Party (Italy)
• Hungarian Workers' Party
• Communist Party of Malta
• Socialist Party of Latvia
• Lebanese Communist Party
• Palestinian Communist Party
• Romanian Socialist Party
• Communist Party of the Russian Federation
• Russian Communist Workers' Party
• Party of Communists of Serbia
• Syrian Communist Party (Unified)
• Communist Party of Ukraine

Havana, 28-29 October 2022

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Support the nurses!

NHS nurses have voted to strike over pay for the first time in their union’s 106-year history. The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) says it will take industrial action before Christmas following a ballot of its 300,000 strong members across the country. The Government offered an £1,400 pay rise – which after inflation, now around 12 per cent, would be a significant pay cut in real terms.
    Real earnings amongst all private sector employees have fallen by 3.2 per cent over the last 10 years; but the average weekly pay for nurses has dropped by six per cent in real terms between 2011–2021. Many have been forced to use foodbanks to survive., others are simply jumping ship due to the soaring cost of living.
    The nurses are campaigning for a five per cent above inflation catch-up rise that recognises the crucial role that they play in the health service by paying them a living wage.
    RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen told her members this was a “once in a generation chance to improve your pay and combat staff shortages” that put patients at risk.
    “I want to thank every member who took part in, or supported, this ballot. You can be very proud. The results are strong and clear,” she said.
    “This is a defining moment in our history, and our fight will continue through strike action and beyond for as long as it takes to win justice for the nursing profession and our patients.
    “Anger has become action – our members are saying enough is enough. The voice of nursing in the UK is strong and I will make sure it is heard. Our members will no longer tolerate a financial knife-edge at home and a raw deal at work.
    “Ministers must look in the mirror and ask how long they will put nursing staff through this. While we plan our strike action, next week’s budget is the UK government’s opportunity to signal a new direction with serious investment. Across the country, politicians have the power to stop this now and at any point.
    “This action will be as much for patients as it is for nurses. Standards are falling too low and we have strong public backing for our campaign to raise them. This winter, we are asking the public to show nursing staff you are with us.”
    Support for the nurses is riding high in the opinion polls at the moment. We need to ensure that it becomes a massive solidarity movement in support of the just demands of the nurses and all the other workers who keep the NHS running.

So long Gavin Williamson

So Gavin Williamson is out of the Cabinet again following charges of bullying from fellow Tories that made for his inevitable departure. The man Keir Starmer calls a “pathetic bully” has fallen on his sword following charges of abusive behaviour from fellow Tories, including former premier Theresa May, which go back years. He lasted just under two years as defence minister before he was sacked by Mrs May for allegedly leaking confidential information to the media.
    Williamson returned to high office under Boris Johnson and served as education secretary for just over two years before being dumped during the post-COVID reshuffle in September 2021. And he lasted just two weeks under Rishi Sunak, who says he now regrets appointing Williamson in the first place.
    He now returns to the backbenches for the third time in his parliamentary career. No-one will miss him at the top table; there are plenty more queuing up to take his place.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

The Road to Sharm el Sheikh

So Rishi Sunak is going to Egypt after all for COP27 – or to give it its full name the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. There he’ll meet his master, Jo Biden, as well as the leaders of Franco-German imperialism and the rest of the imperialist pack gathering at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh for the largest annual conference on climate change.
    The woman Sunak kicked out of Downing Street not only shunned the UN jamboree but put the block on the King’s attendance as well. This was not surprising. Liz Truss filled her mercifully short-lived government with climate-change deniers like Jacob Rees-Mogg. She had ties with the anti-climate change lobby and she was also a vocal advocate for the role of gas as a transition fuel.
    Sunak initially followed Liz Truss’ footsteps saying he was far too busy to go to Egypt next week. But mounting pressure from his own camp and fear that his absence would be exploited by Boris Johnson changed his mind.
    Johnson, who is going to grandstand at Sharm el Sheikh, was the host at last year’s conference in Glasgow. There imperialist leaders and their minions trumpeted their self-proclaimed green credentials while the largest delegation came from the fossil fuel industry.
Not surprisingly little came out of the COP26 conference apart from the usual platitudes.
    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says “caving in to criticism is not leadership. Real leadership is seizing your seat at the table”. But by overturning another of dismal Truss diktat the new Tory leader shows that he’s at least prepared to listen to the global demands for international action to cut planet-heating emissions
    All the imperialist leaders, with the obvious exception of Donald Trump, pay lip-service to the environmental protection and climate change lobbies. None of them however are prepared to challenge the super-profits that the banks and corporations get from their fossil fuel investments.
    The wave of record heat-waves, floods and the wild-fires that swept across the world in the summer has added a new sense of urgency to the call for action to tackle the climate emergency. While recognising that climate change was the ultimate cause of all these disasters the imperialists ignore the eco-lobby’s call for sustainable developments and continue to put profits before people
    Last year the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report that said climate change is “widespread, rapid, and intensifying, and some trends are now irreversible, at least during the present time frame”.
    But there is still time to limit climate change. Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could quickly improve air quality, and over the next 20 to 30 years global temperatures could stabilise.
    “There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change,” says Sunak. “There is no energy security without investing in renewables”. But whether his government is prepared to take action to urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deliver on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries remains to be seen.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Building a fairer society

Echoes from the Chinese Communist Congress

A week after the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party drew to a close, the CMG Europe media group assembled experts from different fields to discuss key messages about the direction the world’s most populous country is heading. On this special one-hour show, CMG Europe’s Juliet Mann was joined by China’s Ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, and a host of experts from across the world to consider exactly what that new journey will look like, and how it will impact on relations with the UK and Europe. 

In any discussion about the policies that have steered China’s recent past, the topic of poverty alleviation is impossible to avoid. The numbers are well known - around 100 million rural residents lifted out of poverty in just eight years through 2020; 800 million in the past four decades; a middle class that has swollen to 400 million people. But the achievement goes far beyond incomes, into access to education, clean water, internet and transport connections.
    That is the development strategy of China, one that goes beyond economic growth and puts people first. China cannot develop in isolation from the world and the world needs China for its development. And the message from the country’s leaders in recent weeks has been a firm commitment to that path.
    The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, shared his thoughts on how China and Europe can work together to tackle global problems. He told Juliet Mann: “China will respond to external uncertainties with its own certainty and inject positive energy into world development with its high-quality development and high standard opening up.”
    There are “several key messages that are essential for the future global order: that China vision of a fairer and more inclusive global order; a more cooperative global order; and more importantly about a global order that has a safety net for the left-behind so that everybody can benefit,” said Yin Zhiguang, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University.
    David Ferguson, senior translation editor at the China International Publishing Group, agreed: “A huge amount of emphasis has been placed on shared development, which means that everybody shares the fruits. That was one of the fundamental bases of the whole poverty alleviation programmje. Targeting poverty alleviation was designed to make sure that nobody was left behind. And I think that that fundamental concept of shared development, people-centered development, is something that President Xi places increasing emphasis on.”

Balanced growth

On a panel focusing on China’s economic development, guests discussed how China has ensured that its growth - powering the global economy for the past two decades - has also been sustainable. With a “trilateral, hybrid” structure built around a 60 per cent contribution from domestic private businesses, a 20 percent participation from the state and a further 20 per cent from multinational companies, China has been able to create a modern economy, says Wang Huiyao, founder and President of Centre for China and Globalisation.
    The challenge the country’s leadership is now taking on is about how to adapt governance structures designed for an economy of around $2 trillion for an economy that has now grown to closer to $20 trillion, noted Mark Ostwald, chief economist at AGM Investor Services.
    As it makes those changes, other economies will have the opportunity to learn from them, says Stephen Perry, the Chairman of the 48 Club. “We may find ourselves where we could have been several hundred years ago when we used many of the innovations from China to make our industrial revolution happen,” Perry noted. “It's important, I think, for every country around the world to participate in China in order to learn all these great innovations which are going to be, in many cases, led from China.”
    One advantage China has in the course of its development is the long-term perspectives that its political system affords. The stability offered by the Communist Party means that rather than changing tack every few years, policies can be targeted decades ahead.
    “It's astonishing to see a governance system, a governing party that's able to look forward 27 years and be able to make specific plans for what the country is going to be looking like then,” said China International Publishing’s Ferguson.
    That philosophy is exemplified in the commitments made to education at the Congress. China’s science and education strategy has been in place since 1995 and has evolved to focus on new areas of growth such as artificial intelligence and space technologies.

Environmental leadership

It is in actions, not words, that China’s impact on the global economy is being felt, said Christoph Nedopil, Director of the Green Finance and Development Center at Fanhai International School of Finance, and nowhere is that more obvious, or important, than the battle against climate change.
    “Over the past years, based on its huge size and strategic capabilities in manufacturing and research, China has seized the opportunity to innovate and to develop globally leading bases for green transport and energy, and [become the largest supplier of solar and wind power in the world. And I think this is just the beginning of a great opportunity for China to scale up infrastructure domestically and internationally,” he said.
    China’s message to the world is to take a holistic view - thinking about people first, the panellists agreed, summed up in a message to the corporate world from Fundan University’s Yin: “Business needs to include much more concerns of the society in general, the social responsibility not only in China, but also globally…engaging with stakeholders instead of shareholders.”

Saturday, October 29, 2022

A pivot for peace

The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China is over. A new leadership with Xi Jinping at the helm will lead the 96 million-strong Party as China continues down the road of modernisation and Chinese-style socialism.
    Under Xi's leadership, People’s China has made remarkable achievements in the areas including poverty eradication, scientific and technological innovation and the fight against the Covid pandemic, which has greatly improved the living standards of the Chinese people. Now communists all over the world are looking to see how the Chinese communists and the people’s government that they lead will face the challenges of the next five years.
    China has become a beacon of hope for all the peoples of the world struggling to build their own independent economies without imperialist interference. While Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism use their military and economic might to impose their neo-colonial rule throughout the Third World the Chinese people can, and do, provide the Third World with an alternative source of high technology and economic assistance without the odious strings attached that always go with deals with the West.
    China, whose economy is now second only to the United States, has become a pivot for peace in a world torn apart by imperialist greed and aggression. China is strong but it threatens no one. China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. It stays true to the principle of equality of all countries big or small, strong or weak, and rich or poor, and it respects the development paths and social systems independently chosen by all the world’s peoples. The people’s government is dedicated to promoting a human community with a shared future.
    This was a congress of victors and we are certain that there’ll be plenty more victories to come as the Chinese people march forward to build a modern, socialist China.

A focus for war

The greedy eye of American imperialism has long focused on Ukraine. In 2014 the Americans used the craven Ukrainian oligarchs and the fascist gangs that they finance to overthrow the elected government in Kiev. Determined to join NATO and tear up all the social gains made by the Ukrainian workers in Soviet days the American pawns could only rely on the rabidly anti-communist neo-nazi gangs for support whose pogroms against the Russian-speaking community led to the anti-fascist uprisings in Crimea and the Donbas.
    Eight years later the Russians were forced to intervene after repeated Kremlin efforts to end the fighting in the Donbas were spurned by the puppets in Kiev and their masters in Washington.
    The Americans armed Ukraine to the teeth. They sent in mercenaries and imposed punitive sanctions on the Russian Federation. They expected Russia to come crawling on its knees begging for mercy. But Putin is still there. The Russians are stepping up their war effort in the conflict that has brought devastation to Ukraine in its wake.
    Now under a hail of Russian missile and drone attacks the Ukrainians, and their shadowy American intelligence controllers, are believed to be planning a false flag “dirty bomb” provocation to justify direct imperialist intervention. They tried and failed in Syria. They must not be allowed to get away with it in Ukraine.
    Communists must lead the call for an end to the fighting and a just and lasting peace in eastern Europe. This can only come with a neutral and de-Nazified Ukraine that recognises the right of Crimea and the Donbas republics to join the Russian Federation and equal rights for all the people of the regions of the Ukraine.

The ones that got away

by Ben Soton

Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris. Hardback: Penguin, London,2022; 480pp; rrp £22. Also available as an audiobook.

As we enter the reign of Charles III it might be worth taking a brief look at his two previous namesakes. Charles II was a playboy King, restored after the brief English Republic. Converting to Catholicism on his deathbed he paved the way for the end of the worthless Stuart dynasty.
    His father Charles I was the first monarch to be executed for crimes against his own people. But what of those who sentenced him to death – the men the Royalists called the “regicides”?
    Some died before the Stuart restoration. Others were arrested for high treason and brutally executed by the Restoration government. And some fled to Europe or New England to escape the wrath of the vengeful Stuarts. Their fate is the subject of Robert Harris’ recent novel Act of Oblivion.
    The title is a reference to the Act of Free and General Pardon, Indemnity, and Oblivion of 1660. Technically the Act pardoned those who had rebelled against Charles I. This was essential considering many of those who invited Charles II to return had fought for Parliament during the Civil War. But those who had signed Charles I’s death warrant were exempt from the Act. Some, most notably Oliver Cromwell and his son-in-law Henry Ireton, had already died. A few including John Milton, known for his seminal work Paradise Lost, were pardoned. Many of those remaining such as Colonel Thomas Harrison and the Puritan preacher Hugh Peter were hanged, drawn and quartered.
    But some got away. Some, like the maverick general Edmond Ludlow, sought sanctuary in Calvinist Switzerland while this book focuses on the fate of Colonel Edward Whalley and his son-in-law Colonel William Goffe, who fled to the English colonies in North America.
    The novel charts their continual shifting from hiding place to hiding place with numerous Puritan settlers taking considerable risks to ensure they avoided capture. The pair are portrayed as defeated revolutionary exiles separated from their families and home unlikely to return. Although this is not the fate of all revolutionaries it has been sadly repeated time and time again.
    There’s a price on their heads and the book also charts the story of their tormentor Richard Nayler who is entrusted with the role of hunting down the regicides. Nayler, a creation of the author, has a personal grudge against Whalley and Gough whom he holds responsible for the death of his wife.
    The novel, which is well researched, gives the reader an insight into the mindset of the major characters. The younger of the two men, William Goffe is ardently committed to the return of the English Republic and believes the year 1666 will see the Second Coming of Christ. The more cynical Whalley becomes more disillusioned in exile and turns to writing memoirs about his time close to the corridors of power under Cromwell’s “Protectorate” pointing out some of its shortcomings. And the sections of the book where Nayler appears delve into the politics of the Restoration Court.
    With considerable hindsight Act of Oblivion predicts the American colonies eventual independence from Britain. But rhe sympathy for the regicides may have been a contributing factor in the colonists’ desire to become independent a century later. Although the book could be regarded as slow moving in places and has a somewhat odd ending, it does give an insight into the period, the story being largely based on fact.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Looking to Beijing

Communists all over the world are looking to Beijing this week. There thousands of delegates and observers have gathered for the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China.
    A Party congress is the most important event in the life of any communist party. The 20th National Congress will chart the course of the People’s Republic of China as it faces the challenges and responsibilities of a world divided by imperialist greed while struggling to deal with catastrophic environmental changes.
    In the Great Hall of the People Chinese communists are laying down their party’s programme for the next five years. A plan that will steer the people’s government as it strives to build a modern China. An economy that is now second only to that of the United States in size and an agenda for peace and socialism that will strengthen all forces for progress throughout the planet.
    China is the pivot for the millions upon millions of working people across the world struggling for peace and socialism.
    China is a major force for peace. It has become a beacon of hope for all oppressed people. It offers economic assistance and medical aid to poor countries. The Belt and Road Initiative has brought real and tangible benefits to millions of people all over the world.
    Cities have been modernised beyond recognition. Absolute poverty has been abolished Vast investments have created new industries to face the challenge of the 21st century and China is, once again, the work-shop of the world.
    The immense wealth of the Western world remains in the hands of a tiny minority of capitalists and feudal lords. Millions upon millions live in poverty in the Third World while their resources are plundered by the big Western corporations.
    In the West millions of people scrabble to earn a living just to keep a roof over their heads, while a tiny elite live lives beyond the reach and often beyond the imagination of most workers.
    We, on the other hand, see a different picture in China. China’s wealth is being used to 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.
    In China we see vast cities with modern offices and factories and equally modern housing for the workers who live there.
    Chinese astronauts circle the globe. A high-speed rail network spans the country. Container trains travel to Europe packed with the goods that fill our shops and markets. International airports link China to the four corners of the world. A growing network of domestic airline services and modern ports serve the seaborne trade that fires the global economy. And a state run education system and a dedicated health service that battled to contain the Covid plague is available to all.
    Some Western communists like to dwell on the mistakes of the past to try to explain why the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies of Eastern Europe collapsed in the late 1980s. But we have to move on – to look to the continuing successes of the people’s democracies still marching along the road to socialism – and above all the immense achievements of the People’s Republic of China.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Energy for Life

by John Maryon

All life forms depend upon energy. Humans have used rapidly increasing quantities since our early ancestors discovered fire. Today modern civilizations would collapse without an abundant supply of usable energy. Its misuse, however, can create dangers and threaten to destroy the ecosystems upon which life, including our own, depend.
    Our main source of energy is the Sun. A giant fiery furnace, 93 million miles away, in which nuclei of hydrogen under tremendous pressure and temperature fuse together, in a process known as fusion, to form a deuterium nucleus. This is the start of a sequence of events in which protons then collide with the new isotope to produce helium. In accordance with Einstein 's famous equation, mass is converted into energy in the form of intense heat. This chain of events can continue for some seven-billion years until all hydrogen is converted into helium and our star becomes a red giant.
    All existing commercial nuclear power stations on earth operate on the Fission process. Heat energy is created when a critical mass of heavy radioactive elements is brought together, in a controlled manner, to sustain a nuclear chain reaction. The atoms are split apart, which results in the conversion of mass into energy. One major problem is what to do with the highly radioactive fuel rods. Fusion, on the other hand, produces no long-life radioactive waste. For this reason, and the fact that hydrogen is plentiful, nuclear fusion remains the ‘holy grail’ to meet future energy needs.
    The key to successful nuclear fusion lies in the ability to sustain and contain plasma at temperatures of up to 50-million °C. The Soviet Union played a pioneering role in the late 1960s by developing an experimental 'Tokamak' Reactor in which the plasma was contained by a powerful magnetic field. This approach has been adopted as a basis for further research in a number of countries.
    Refined energy in the form of electricity is clean, convenient and efficient at the point of use. Traditionally fossil fuels, particularly coal, have been burned to produce steam to drive turbines for electricity generation. When transmission and thermodynamic losses are added into the equation the overall efficiency is less impressive. The big danger comes from the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere; carbon that has remained locked in the ground for millions of years is transferred into the environment. Coal has played a major role in providing our essential energy needs for centuries, and we should never forget the skill and courage of those mining heroes who faced danger every day at the coalface.
    Serious situations can arise if energy is used as an economic or military weapon. Nuclear power stations can pose a risk to the environment even under normal conditions – but the unthinkable could result from terrorism or military attack. Currently the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is being targeted with Western-supplied missiles by Ukraine armed forces.
    Each day conveys of tankers leave eastern-occupied Syria loaded with stolen oil plundered by US imperialism, oil which should have been used to finance the rebuilding of that war-torn country. The greed and bare-faced robbery of imperialism knows no bounds as it continues to plunder the world.
    Both Nord Stream 1 (NS1) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) natural gas pipelines were severely damaged by a terrorist attack that is widely held to have been carried out in a special US–NATO operation on 26th September 2022. The action was intended to be the successful culmination of a long-running campaign to stop the supply of cheap Russian gas. Due to a failure however, NS2 could be restored quickly if required. As the supply of cheap reliable Russian gas is reduced to a trickle, large demonstrations are taking place calling for the lifting of sanctions against Russia.
    Despite of massive anti-Russian propaganda by the bourgeois media an amazing event has occurred. At the Oktoberfest in Munich the crowd sang the Russian folk song {Kalinka}. An increasing number, apart from the German Greens, are no longer fooled as they face the prospect of a cold winter and dependence on limited supplies of very expensive US shale gas.
    For decades the USA has been able to dominate the international oil market by controlling price, output and supply. things are starting to change, however. At the recent meeting of OPEC 2, which followed appeals from President Biden to increase oil output and support a selective price cap, the decision was taken to reduce output by two-million barrels per day.
    The days are fortunately numbered for the notorious petrodollar that has supported US domination of world trade and finance. Russia now trades oil not only in roubles but also other currencies such as Chinese yuan and Indian rupees. The replacement of the US dollar will represent the removal of another link in the chains that enslaves the world.
    Until fusion is able to provide an abundance of cheap, clean energy a number of serious problems will remain. Conservation of energy is necessary by avoiding waste and unnecessary use and by improving thermal insulation standards. Importantly, the use of renewable energy is vital to help protect our beautiful blue planet. Such projects can be costly and have a long payback period. This undoubtedly deters capitalist investors who looking for a quick profit would prefer to finance a drive-in junk food outlet. An expanded, fully financed public transport system would cut CO2 emissions dramatically compared with private cars.
    All types of renewable energy have their benefits and drawbacks. Solar power is fine on a nice sunny day but has no output during the hours of darkness. Wind energy has a major role to play but cannot function when the air is still. Hydro-electric power is making an important contribution and can provide great benefit but cannot be applied in flat, drought-ridden terrain. Tidal and wave energy projects can make a contribution, but as with all civil projects great care should be taken to protect nature. The effectiveness of all these measures can often be improved when incorporating pumped storage schemes. The expansion of renewable energy is not helped by the insane, totally unjustified and disruptive attitude of the USA when it attempts to sanction Chinese solar panels on bogus human-rights grounds. It is important to avoid the potential disasters that can arise from fracking projects that can pollute the water table, increase the risk of earth tremors and emit more CO2.
    The most cost effective measures in many cases may come from simple improvements to basic home insulation standards. Amendments to building regulations to improve U-values have improved greatly but further improvements are justified by increasing energy costs. Light-emitting diode (LED) lamps have an efficacy far greater than that of an incandescent alternative. We must not forget that many poor people, the victims of capitalism, just cannot afford the high energy costs of today. To avoid shivering in the gloom this winter we must unite and fight to remove the Tories and redistribute the wealth of the idle rich that they represent.
    Common sense and reality are factors far removed from the collective stupidity and blinkered obsession of most European leaders today. They are apparently still unaware that they have fallen into a trap, set by the USA to destroy their industries and economies, by imposing sanctions against Russia that have backfired. Energy prices would fall by at least 70 per cent overnight if the full potential of Nord Stream 2 could be realised and negotiations are started to end the Ukraine tragedy.
    Hydrogen as a fuel has a number of attractions. It is the most abundant element on earth and when burned as a fuel produces water as a by-product. An alternative to burning the fuel is to convert its energy into electricity directly in a fuel cell. Electricity is generated through an electrochemical reaction. Cars are becoming available in which a fuel cell replaces the drive battery. The infrastructure, however, is not in place to store and dispense hydrogen. Whilst the emissions of such a vehicle would be almost zero, the same cannot be said for hydrogen production itself. The usual commercial method is to extract it from natural gas, which is costly and produces CO2. Another method is to use electrolysis but that requires electricity.
    I have attempted to outline the chief physical considerations for a wide range of fuels used to meet our energy needs. Long-term security without pollution requires far more than relying on technological advances and leaving it up to the 'market' to decide. It requires political policies based upon a scientific, fair and objective analysis of the challenge. It requires a Marxist approach to apply the socialist planning, public ownership of natural resources and democratic control of the mechanisms of distribution to ensure a clean, secure, safe and affordable provision.

The New Communist Party campaigns for the following measures:

• Full Public Ownership of all natural resources and energy companies.

• A total ban on fracking.

• Restore rural bus services.

• Investment to expand the rail network and replace all diesel services with electric.

• Full Public Ownership of train and bus services.

• Greater investment into land and off-shore windfarms, solar power and tidal power.

• Planting trees and creating more green spaces.

• Make all products and packaging recyclable.

• Opposition to the evil intrigues, exploitation and naked aggression of imperialism.