Welcome to Scottish Communists
On May Day CP general secretary Robert Griffiths warns of the dangers ahead for the people of Britain and makes a rallying call to the labour movement.
Unions and activists in Scotland, Wales and the north of England swapped messages of solidarity today as they marked International Workers Day.
In Scotland trade union leaders mingled with MSPs at a reception in Holyrood today evening, while organisers prepared marches and demonstrations for the weekend in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Irvine.
STUC's general secretary Grahame Smith said it was clear across Europe that opposition was uniting against their governments' broad austerity agenda.
He said the crises in Greece and Spain have spared protests on an "unprecedented scale" with communities working together to reject austerity measures that are ripping them apart.
"Increasingly people are coming together to say enough is enough and there is every possibility that protest will intensify in the months to come," Mr Smith said.
In Wales the Cardiff Trades Union Council's general secretary Ramo Corria said "it is vital the public see that trade unions are there for them and are still able to give real opposition to this government of heartless millionaires," he said.
But Mr Corria said the "hundreds" expected for Saturday's march should still remain hopeful for the future.
Welsh workers had helped build the welfare state for a post-war Britain, and would rebuild it again, he said.
Meanwhile Tyne and Wear May Day committee's Martin Levy said: "Once again we shall be marching to express our anger and disgust with government policies, and our solidarity with all those struggling against them and for a better world."
A rally in Newcastle's Exhibition Park will be held on Saturday and feature Iranian trade unionist Jamshid Ahmadi.
Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths has issued the following statement in response to the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher:
3000 Young men from across Britain, many who were Communists or sympathetic to their cause, left relative safety at home to go and fight for the Republican Government of Spain who were being attacked by Franco's Fascist forces.
They formed International Brigades (Brigadas Internacionales) and fought heroically, aided by material support by the Soviet Union, who stepped in once it was clear that Fascist Germany and Italy were arming and enabling Franco. 600 were from Scotland.
But today there are those who wish to distort this memory and muddy the waters. Now that all the International Brigaders have passed on, today many people's first encounter with tales of the Civil War could be via Ken Loach's very controversal film "Land and Freedom" or through anti-Communist George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia". The message of these revisionist works do not tally with the experience or "ordinary" heros of the International Brigades, it is a rewriting of history. We hope this small video can go some way to readdressing the historical balance & understanding that we have through the International Brigaders and their legendary voluntary heroism.
You can also find out more via the The International Brigade Memorial Trust http://www.international-brigades.org.uk/
Kath Campbell, grand daughter of George Drever, one of the Scottish International Brigaders who left Britain to go and fight for freedom for the democratic Republican Spanish government against General Franco's Fascism.
Speaker: Dr Alan MacKinnon recently returned from the region. This scramble for Africa has nothing to do with Islam or terrorism, but everything to do with seeking resources such as oil and minerals, and the West's growing rivalry with China.
Filmed on Thursday 28 February 2013 in Glasgow.
SUNDAY, 10 MARCH 11 a.m
Scotland’s global challenges
Speakers Jeremy Corbyn MP, Sandra White MSP, Saeed Amireh,
Cathy Jamieson MP, Alex Gordon, Richard Leonard,
Alan Mackinnon, Arthur West. Chair Marlyn Glen
STUC, 333 WOODLANDS ROAD, GLASGOW
The Morning Star’s Spring conference will highlight the current and growing threats to peace – the renewed Israeli aggression on the West Bank, the military interventions spreading across the Middle East and NATO and EU backed militarisation in Africa.
The conference will seek to relate these threats to peace to issues of economic power and control within Scotland and Britain – in particular the quite disproportionate influence of the giant oil monopolies and financial institutions whose wider interests largely fuel the current foreign policy priorities of US and British governments and their allies in NATO and the EU. It will consider how this challenge to Scotland’s traditional internationalism can be exposed and opposed.
The conference will hear first-hand reports from Saeed Amireh on the situation in Palestine and from Alan Mackinnon on NATO and EU military activity in Africa. Jeremy Corbyn will assess the current threats to peace. Alex Gordon will examine the monopoly dominated policies of the EU both internally and externally and its increasingly direct interface with NATO.
Dr Alan MacKinnon (former Chair of Scottish CND) & Johnnie Hunter (Scottish Organiser of the Young Communist League) explore whats on offer in the Independence Referendum in 2014 set out by the SNP government.
The meeting lauched a CPB pamphlet of the same name, which can be bought for £1 at http://unitybooks.co.uk/index.php/component/virtuemart/brand-new-books/the-debate-on-scotland-s-future-a-communist-view-detail?Itemid=109
A marxist and class analysis is needed and is largely lacking in the general discourse even on the Left. As communists, we bring that analysis to the table and insist that we look at reality, rather than any flowery sentiment or wishful thinking. That is what we need to make the correct decision as a nation moving forward.
Free study classes at Unity Office, 72 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 (2 minutes walk from Central Station, beside Admiral Bar).
All start at 7pm and last around an hour.
Thursday 10 January 2013 19.00PM
State & Revolution Part 1
Thursday 24 January 2013 19.00PM
State & Revolution Part 2
Thursday 07 February 2013 19.00PM
Strategy & Tactics Part 1 (What is to be Done?)
Thursday 21 February 2013 19.00PM
Strategy & Tactics Part 2 (Left Wing Communism)
"What, then, in the last analysis, is Leninism?
Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution. To be more exact, Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution in general, the theory and tactics of the dictatorship of the proletariat in particular. Marx and Engels pursued their activities in the pre-revolutionary period (we have the proletarian revolution in mind), when developed imperialism did not yet exist, in the period of the proletarians' preparation for revolution, in the period when the proletarian revolution was not yet an immediate practical inevitability. But Lenin, the disciple of Marx and Engels, pursued his activities in the period of developed imperialism, in the period of the unfolding proletarian revolution, when the proletarian revolution had already triumphed in one country, had smashed bourgeois democracy and had ushered in the era of proletarian democracy, the era of the Soviets.
That is why Leninism is the further development of Marxism.
It is usual to point to the exceptionally militant and exceptionally revolutionary character of Leninism. This is quite correct. But this specific feature of Leninism is due to two causes: firstly, to the fact that Leninism emerged from the proletarian revolution, the imprint of which it cannot but bear; secondly, to the fact that it grew and became strong in clashes with the opportunism of the Second International, the fight against which was and remains an essential preliminary condition for a successful fight against capitalism. It must not be forgotten that between Marx and Engels, on the one hand, and Lenin, on the other, there lies a whole period of undivided domination of the opportunism of the Second International, and the ruthless struggle against this opportunism could not but constitute one of the most important tasks of Leninism."
Bliadhna Mhath Ùr - Let 2013 go down in history as the year the fightback against this capitalist offensive began in earnest.
This is class war in its most brazen form.
David Cameron declares in his new year message that "we are on the right track."
Conjuring up images of a toffee-nosed public school boy with a crumpled exam cheat sheet in his back pocket, the Prime Minister boasts: "On all the big issues that matter to Britain, we are heading in the right direction and I have the evidence to prove it."
It is here that reality flies off into fantasy.
But only if you are one of the millions of ordinary people being punished on the orders of the Tories and their banker friends.
For Cameron and co, things are going just swimmingly.
Surely never before in British political history has so much been wrecked for so many, by so few, in so short a time.
The capitalist classes globally, and their prominent local representatives of various hues within and outside Parliament in Britain, have been first off the blocks since their early wobble during the 2008 financial plunge.
Then, they temporarily had stripped from them the fig leaf of certainty with which the ideologues of the right, consumerism and greed dressed up their crazy system of financial speculation and dismissed all alternatives as outdated or unworkable.
They soon ensured it was put back in place.
But a systemic crisis in the capitalist system remains barely concealed behind this withered leaf.
Annual global economic output stands at around £40 trillion. At the same time just a few thousand people around the world are estimated to be evading tax on a secret accumulated wealth of upwards of £13 trillion, let alone their known riches.
Globally hundreds of trillions of debt in the form of derivatives is passed around like a deadly parcel between a complex web of capitalist institutions. It is the result of unfettered capitalist speculation - gambling not even based on the real fruits of people's labour - and is so large that it is near impossible to repay.
But the greedy few want to ensure that they do not lose their investments. In fact, in another example of the true nature of capitalism, despite the crisis they are accumulating more wealth even as you read this.
Since 2008 the fig leaf has been repositioned, loosely sellotaped over the failed system's private parts via a continued stream of public cash - our cash.
The seemingly successful bid to hoodwink ordinary people into accepting the financial burden of a crisis not of their making is what Cameron refers to when he tells us "we are heading in the right direction."
His government is one of many in the developed world now pursuing lower tax for big business and massive spending cuts in the public sector. Both represent a wholesale transfer of wealth from us to a tiny, greedy minority.
The road Cameron is taking us down represents a return to the brutal past for millions of people.
The few embellishments to people's lives, in national insurance payouts to help us when we hit hard times, in decent retirement incomes, a free health service, and reasonable wages are being systematically rolled back.
This is class war in its most brazen form.
As we head into a new year it falls to us to rally the defence and turn it into the required assault on the system that enslaves us.
The People's Charter represents a set of simple demands around which we can rally.
We must educate, agitate and organise.
And through militant industrial action and civil disobedience we have in our hands the ability to shake the all too comfortable corridors of power.
Let 2013 go down in history as the year the fightback against this capitalist offensive began in earnest.
Public-sector union Unison Scottish secretary Mike Kirby warned today that government-imposed cuts will continue to demolish services next year (2013).
In a new year message Mr Kirby said next year will be "just as challenging" for public services after a "tough" 2012.
"We will continue fighting to protect jobs and services in specific sectors - including our long-running campaign on police staff jobs and in the further education sector - where fierce cutbacks are being imposed," he said.
"We know the whole issue of pay is bound to feature strongly on our campaigning agenda in the coming year and the TUC and STUC will consider co-ordinated action to defend and improve the position of our members and the important services we deliver.
"We have been winning the argument for the living wage and will continue to fight to have this extended not just to directly employed public service staff but to those working in the private and third sectors."
Rob Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party
When I placed a series of adverts in the South Wales Echo during the Cardiff South & Penarth by-election the paper's editor demanded changes in presentation and political content.
He was not happy with the statement "Britain is ruled by an arrogant, wealthy and corrupt elite."
Readers might take the statement as one of fact rather than opinion, even though it was in quotation marks and alongside a photograph of me as the Communist Party candidate.
He insisted that my remarks be modified to read: "In my view, Britain is ruled by an arrogant, wealthy and corrupt elite."
Nor could I refer to "another careerist politician," because it implied criticism of the retiring MP (a former Labour minister).
Would such changes would have been demanded of other candidates?
For example, would a Tory advert saying "the City of London plays a vital part in the British economy and we must protect it
" have been required to include the preface "in the Conservative Party's view"?
We don't know because the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem campaigns contented themselves with pumping out hundreds of thousands of full-colour brochures and tabloids.
These featured their candidates in various poses, grinning, pointing to holes in the road and greeting party supporters as though they were unknown local residents.
The idea that all working people should fund such an avalanche of vacuous drivel at every election is grotesque.
State funding of political parties would mean that the electors should pay for the dubious privilege of being flattered and deceived.
Which brings me to one of the most significant features of the past year.
I cannot recall another one in which so much has come to light to confirm the dishonest, corrupt and greedy character of the British ruling class.
Of course, it will come as no surprise to communists, socialists and other Morning Star readers that the British state operated death squads in northern Ireland, fitted up the miners at Orgreave and held working-class Liverpool football fans responsible for the deaths at Hillsborough.
Now, despite out-of-court hush money paid to at least 17 victims so far, more is coming to light about British complicity in the kidnapping, transportation, torture and incarceration of British and other citizens as part of the bogus "war on terror."
However, the British government refuses to admit liability. No names of guilty British officials and agents are exposed. Nobody is put on trial or even demoted - nor were they in the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four and countless other cases.
Just as those who organised and prosecuted the illegal Iraq war have escaped justice.
Indeed, they have either advanced higher up the career ladder or gone to work for merchant banks and armaments companies.
Two High Court cases this year have highlighted the use of internment, torture and summary execution in the former British empire.
But the British politicians, intelligence agents, military officers and colonial administrators responsible in Malaya and Kenya have long since retired with full honours and sumptuous pensions.
Of course, we have long known that many of those who run Britain's big business corporations are venal, greedy liars with psychopathic personality disorders.
Even so, it still comes as a mild surprise that some bankers went that extra mile to help Mexican drug barons - most of them mass murderers - to launder their proceeds on a vast industrial scale.
That hundreds of City dealers also habitually fiddled interest rates to enrich themselves and their employers is hardly earth-shattering.
Far more astonishing is the claim that that their superiors were innocently unaware of what their little elves were up to in the dealing rooms.
Recent revelations confirm the scale of tax-dodging undertaken by the rich and big business in what they like to call "Great Britain plc."
For many of them, aided and abetted by a score of statelets under British jurisdiction from the Isle of Man to the British Virgin Islands, paying tax on their British-made profits is voluntary.
While a host of public bodies pretend to do something about corporate tax avoidance, bribery and fraud, our Cabinet of millionaires has decided to reward the culprits with cuts in top-rate income and corporation taxes.
Then there are the lying, prying, tax-dodging misanthropes who own so many of Britain's national newspapers.
Here's an Xmas quiz. Which press proprietors initially made their fortune from (a) peddling pornography, (b) inheriting daddy's media empire, (c) dealing in stolen state property and (d) inheriting banks founded on slavery and the slave trade?
Don't send the answers on a postcard to Lord Leveson - he's not interested.
These are the glorious guardians of Britain's free press, who daily preach the virtues of private enterprise and family values.
Naturally, they hate trade unionism, but take a little more kindly to Labour politicians who bend the knee and take the shilling.
Their papers report and help shape a political spectrum which begins in the centre and ends on the far right.
The BBC happily participates in this intellectual trickery, referring to the Guardian and the Independent as the "left-wing" press while systematically excluding the Morning Star from all coverage.
One wonders how much longer the BBC Radio Four Any Questions discussion programme can get away with such blatant bias in its choice of panellists.
All sections of Britain's state and monopoly mass media are united in presenting the same world view.
Capitalism equals freedom and democracy. Socialist ideas no longer exist to be reported. Profits are good and play no part in price rises. Trade unions can only be too strong, never too weak. Nato and the monarchy are beyond serious criticism. Other countries are beset by corruption, which barely exists here in Britain. Our institutions are basically sound and popular, but occasionally lapse from their normal state of grace. And any alternative would be worse, especially for the lower orders.
And yet many people know that Britain is ruled by an arrogant, corrupt and wealthy elite - although not the full extent of that arrogance, corruption and greed.
But they do not believe that much can be done to change things for the better.
At the same time, majority public opinion is in favour of progressive taxation and public ownership of the railways, water, gas and electricity.
It is against Britain's military role in Afghanistan and can be won against benefit cuts and huge new spending on nuclear weapons.
This shows the potential to unite masses of people and the labour movement in favour of the People's Charter in 2013.
Saturday December 1st 2012 in the STUC
A St Andrew's weekend celebration for the launch of the Scottish edition of the Morning Star - daily newspaper of the Left http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk .
Music with the Whistlebinkies
Performance Poetry with Marc Livingstone
Song with Arthur Johnstone and Friends
A great night was had by all!
Plenty of people still remember the slums of Gorbals, Cowcaddens and other inner-city areas of Glasgow.
Each floor of a four-storey tenement would be endlessly subdivided, with five, six or seven front doors.
Repairs would be minimal, sanitation rudimentary and the stench sometimes overpowering.
These houses were owned by private landlords. Subdivision increased income and limited the impact of rent control.
Most of these slums were demolished between the 1950s and 1970s. They were replaced by brand-new council houses, fulfilling the Beveridge pledge to end the squalor of pre-war Britain.
Rents were directly subsidised. Homelessness, while present, was massively reduced.
Today the private landlords are back. In 1991 they controlled about 10,000 of Glasgow's properties. Now they own over 35,000. And houses are being subdivided.
The reasons are not hard to find. Glasgow's council houses were either sold off or demolished and those remaining made over to Housing Associations.
The direct rent subsidy was ended long ago and rents pushed higher and higher as a proportion of wages.
Increasingly only those on housing benefit could afford to live in "social housing."
And now the coalition government is cutting housing benefit.
Last April they drastically increased the contribution demanded of non-dependents and offspring aged over 18 and still living at home - forcing many to leave.
This April coming we have the cynical sequel.
Tenants "under-occupying" face massive cuts in housing benefit. One unoccupied bedroom will mean a 14 per cent cut. Two, 25 per cent.
Tenants are being told they either have to find the difference - up to £80 a month for those with two spare bedrooms - or move to a smaller house.
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations estimates that there are up to 95,000 such tenants.
Such "downsizing" might be reasonable if there were plenty of empty smaller houses in the socially rented sector.
But there are hardly any - and the government knows it.
It and its predecessors are the ones who stopped the money for building new socially rented homes.
The implications of this for tenants were brought home at a packed public meeting in Govan recently.
One middle-aged woman told her story. Her children had left home and her husband was dead. She was employed part-time on a minimal wage and depended on housing benefit.
She had phoned up her "social" landlord, the biggest in Glasgow. What would happen if she could not pay the full rent?
The answer came back - she would be evicted. From the house where she had lived all her life and the garden she loved.
And she would probably lose not only her house but her friends and her community. The likely option would be a room in the private rented sector somewhere else in the city.
The Govan meeting was remarkable in two ways.
The first was its unity. The independence issue has made Scottish politics increasingly tribal.
Yet the local Govan MSP, Johann Lamont, leader of the Labour Party, sat beside Humza Yousaf, the SNP Glasgow list MSP and Scottish Minister for External Relations, and jointly discussed ways in which the Scottish Parliament could intervene.
Their unity reflected growing revulsion and anger on the ground. Also present on the platform were representatives of the small local community-based housing associations whose very existence is threatened by the cuts. At least one has now pledged that no tenant will be evicted for "bedroom tax" arrears.
The meeting was remarkable in a second sense as well. This was the return of a practical radicalism, the conviction that some kind of action was possible.
Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Congress, reminded the meeting that it was Govan in 1915 that led the first great rent strike against profiteering landlords - ultimately forcing the government to introduce rent controls.
And he also reminded the meeting, as did a local Labour councillor, that the Scottish Parliament has legislative power over housing - even if it did not control housing benefit.
It could impose rent controls on private landlords just as in 1915 and change the whole dynamic of the housing market.
Govan Law Centre solicitor Mike Dailly took this practical radicalism a step further. Housing law could be amended to make evictions for bedroom tax arrears illegal - and substitute other forms of debt recovery. He has since drafted the required amendment.
By chance, the meeting was held in the Mary Barbour room of Govan's Pearce Institute. Mary Barbour was the Govan housewife and socialist who led the 1915 rent strike and later became Glasgow's first woman Labour councillor.
In 1915 it was the unity between tenants and trade unionists that forced the government to act and also created the beginnings of a new positive sense of working-class identity and power.
Rent regulation was not socialist revolution.
But it bred a whole new confidence. Today also there are the makings of such an advance if the necessary organisation and pressure can be created - and on this Scotland can lead a fightback for the rest of Britain. Scotland possesses a parliament with at least some of the necessary powers.
Taken from the Morning Star http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/127094
Kevin Halpin was once described by the Tabloid press as "the most dangerous man in Britain" due to his tireless work as a Trade Unionist and as a Communist. He is best known as the legendary organiser of the Liaison Committee for
The facinating acount of his life dedicated ot the working class, "Memoirs of a militant", had it's Scottish book launch with Kevin and Anita Halpin on 2 November 2012 with a packed-out audience.
Here are some video clips from the evening.
Pat Stuart and Kevin Halpin
Pat is on the Unite Executive, member TUC General Council and chair of TUC Women’s Committee
Music with ARTHUR JOHNSTONE
Memoirs of a militant Kevin Halpin.
One of Britain's leading communists, Kevin Halpin has been a fighter all his life.
This is a book which casts new light on the development of left politics in Britain and beyond throughout the past 70 years. It is an unassuming account by a remarkable man, whose contribution to political and industrial life offers lessons for today.
Monday 19th November
Thousands of campaigners took part in mass demonstrations across the country over the weekend against Western powers which have refused to condemn the Israeli onslaught against Gaza.
Upwards of a thousand campaigners took part in an emergency protest outside the Israeli embassy in west London on Saturday while thousands more demonstrated in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester and Wrexham.
The demonstration was called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition (STWC) and CND in response to the escalating crisis, which by Sunday had seen the death toll rise to 66 as thousands of Israeli troops massed on the border.
CND general secretary Kate Hudson read out the names of people who had died and led the crowd in a moment's silence.
STWC national officer John Rees told the crowd: "We are very clear in our message to the Israeli government. There is no equivalence between Israel, the fourth-largest military power in the world with its F16s, tanks and missiles and the Palestinian resistance.
Israel is "on the side of the oppressors," he said.
"We will never stand silent while Palestinians are being murdered day after day by the Israeli state."
He also had a stark message for Foreign Secretary William Hague, who has claimed that Hamas bears responsibility for the crisis.
"We will be at war with this government until it stops supporting the oppressors," he declared.
Palestinian ambassador to London Manuel Hassassian stated: "Crimes against the Palestinian people go unpunished due to the hypocrisy of the international community. This is a badge of dishonour.
"The West is putting victim and victimiser on the same footing. What is our crime? Our crime is to want freedom and justice."
He also hit out at the Western media, and the BBC in particular, accusing them of blatant bias in their coverage of the situation.
Glyn Secker of Jews for Justice for Palestinians accused the Israeli government of "a cynical escalation of violence" and Benjamin Netanyahu of "cold blooded, lethal electioneering."
"Who has the power? Who started this cycle of violence? End the occupation, end the demolitions and settlements. Establish civil rights and justice for Palestinians."
A further demonstration has been called for this coming Saturday with a march planned from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington.
Scottish Morning Star Conference October 2012.
The coming year will see the debate on Scotland's constitutional future intensify. There is every danger that this debate will be conducted on terms that assume a continuity of neo-liberal, free market policies whether or not Scotland chooses independence.
Morning Star - Daily Paper of the Left
WINNING DEMOCRACY FOR SCOTLAND
Jackson Cullinane Political Officer, Unite Scotland
Bill Kidd MSP Glasgow Anniesland SNP
Neil Findlay MSP Lothians, Labour
Jane Carolan Chair Unison National Policy Committee
SCOTLAND - POWER TO OWN, CONTROL, DEVELOP
Richard Leonard, GMB Political Offer
Jane Carolan Chair Unison National Policy Committee
Cllr Gordon Munro Edinburgh City Council
Dave Moxham Deputy General Secretary STUC
The annual Scottish Morning Star Christmas Bazaar made £1,021 on the day, Saturday 10 November in Denniston, Glasgow. It was oraganised by the Scottish Morning Star Readers and Supporters committee. Big thanks to Jim Whiston our treasurer for all his hard work in organising this fundraiser, and also all the comrades and friends who rallied round to offer their help in material terms or being there to help out.
The money has been sent down to the Morning Star Fighting Fund. The fighting fund for the Morning Star has a target of £16,000 each month to keep the people's paper going. If you would like to donate to the cause
1. Standing order
Simply print out the Donation Form PDF and fill it out and post it to:
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The Co-operative Bank PLC ( Islington Branch)
Sort Code: 089033
Account No: 50505115
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Photos Copyright (C) Malcolm Burns
- HUNTER ON SCOTLAND: independence and the workers' interests - a class analysis
- Statement of the Communist and Workers’ Parties On the 95th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
- October 20 Scots turn out in their thousands in Glasgow
- STUC’s October 20th 'A Future that Works' Demo in Glasgow