Scottish Communists - website of the Communist Party
Sunday 1st March 2015 11am - 3:30pm
@ STUC Building (above Stand Comedy Club), 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow G3 6NG
(£5/£2 unwaged with lunch & free tea/ coffee). More information about the work of the Morning Star & further meetings in Scotland here: http://www.morningstarscotland.org
The Conservatives are demanding another four years of drastic cuts – one and a half times those already inflicted. By 2019-20 they intend to sack a million public sector workers and to slash government spending back to the level last seen in the 1930s.
The Labour Party is also committed to a ‘balanced budget’ – though it says it will cut less and raise more through taxes.
The conference will focus on two key questions:
- how far the Scottish parliament’s existing powers and the additional ones from the Smith Commission can defend Scotland from austerity – if there is a political will to tax the rich, strengthen the public sector and reverse privatisations
- How, across Britain as well as Scotland, a mass movement can be developed to defeat these policies and, no less important, the anti-working class and anti-trade union ideology that lies behind them
The Morning Star is the world’s only English-language socialist daily. It has been published since 1930. It can be ordered at any newsagent and subscribed to online at http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/
Stephen Boyd Assistant Secretary, Economic Policy, STUC
Jane Carolan Unison Chair of Policy; member of TUC General Council
Jackson Cullinane Political Officer, Unite Scotland
Neil Findlay MSP for Lothians, Labour
Roz Foyer Senior Organiser, Unite Scotland
Tom Kirby People’s Assembly, National Committee
Richard Leonard Political Officer, GMB Scotland
Jennifer McCarey Chair, Glasgow Trades Union Council
Phil McGarry RMT Scotland Political Officer
Eddie McGuire Chair Scotland & NI Committee Musicians' Union
Angela Sabino Democratic Women’s Movement of Portugal
Prem Sikka Professor of Accountancy, Essex University
Chris Stephens SNP Trade Union Group
PDF of HOW TO DEFEAT AUSTERITY? Conference Program: http://morningstarscotland.org/attachments/article/69/2015_march_MStar_program.pdf
Thursday 19 February 7pm
A CPB Scotland Marxist Discussion meeting
Tutor: John Foster
Questions for discussion
1. What is capitalist state power and how is it exercised over the peoples of Britain today ?
2. How far would the proposals in the SNP’s 2014 White Paper on Independence have made it easier to challenge capitalist state power ?
3. What kind of constitution can today best strengthen the power of working people in Scotland against that of big business ?
Some Quotations from Marxist classics by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Connolly etc are included in this handout (download the PDF Questions & Quotes handout here: http://www.scottishcommunists.org.uk/attachments/article/446/2015_Feb_MarxEd_National_Qs_class.pdf) to help inform discussion.
Unity Offices, 72 Waterloo Street, Glasgow
Beside the Admiral Bar, 2 minutes walk from Central Station
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You Are More Crucial Than Ever
Circulation manager BERNADETTE KEAVENEY explains how our loyal readers can use their local knowledge to help us find new supporters and secure this paper’s future.
O ALL the doomsayers out there who proclaim that printed newspapers are dead and buried, let me reassure you that this is not the truth.
The average daily sales figure for national newspapers is 7.1 million. This does not include the avid consumption of over a million daily free newspapers given out to commuters the length and breadth of Britain.
What we do have though is a changed pattern of sales. Not all our readers buy the paper daily from Monday through to Saturday.
They buy it from random shops when they see it and not through a preferred regular retailer.
There is a move towards new readers buying a mixture of the e-edition during the week and print edition at the weekend. These different buying habits are something that we in the sales team are working to address.
We are investigating combined subscription packages for print and the app and these will be rolled out as soon as they are finalised.
Meanwhile it is important that the print edition is placed in areas where it is most likely to sell, taking into account the restrictions that are imposed on us by a shrinking independent retail market and the demands of multiple retailers who charge for including us.
In a retail world of “stack them high, sell them cheap,” all niche titles suffer and the Morning Star is no exception.
However within the industry the Morning Star is handled professionally by our main partners, Trinity Mirror — who print anddistribute us — and the wholesalers John Menzies and Smiths News.
I know that I have the staunch support of my colleagues and our readers as we embark on our new 1,000 Readers Campaign.
If you who would like to help me increase sales in your area, please do get in touch.
There are a variety of initiatives I wish to implement to boost sales.
These range from mapping targeted sales drives, sales pitches — particularly outside places of travel — and leafleting local areas in conjunction with increased availability in shops.
Most importantly, we want to use your local knowledge to help us reach our key audience within the labour, peace, green and trade union movement.
You can place an order at any retailer selling newspapers. It is also available from all branches of RS MCColls/ Martin McColls (www.martinmccoll.co.uk) and One Stop (www.onestop.co.uk/store_locator.php) and many branches of the Co-Op.
Original article: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2e85-You-are-more-crucial-than-ever
On this day in 1945 the Red Army of the Soviet Union liberated Auschwitz. Ever since then this day has been commemorated as International Holocaust Memorial Day.
Professor Mary Davis from the Communist Party's Political Committee and National Executive Committee, gives some reflections on the lessons of the Holocaust 70 years on.
From the Young Communist League's Anti-Fascism Anti-Racism Committee 27/01/2015
Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by soldiers of the Soviet Red Army.
As a result, today is commemorated as International Holocaust Memorial day, a day we remember those who died in the Nazi death camps in their deliberate ploy to wipe out all Jews and non-German “sub-humans”.
It’s worth noting that while we should always remember the most horrendous crimes committed in human history, we should guard against sleep-walking into another holocaust and oppose all racist and fascist elements wherever they rise. Particularly in this time of austerity and financial crisis in which capitalism has once more plunged us into, where migrants and the vulnerable are used as scapegoats for capital’s inability to provide for everyone.
... shows why communists, and those who position themselves on the left, should deepen their resolve and unite against the resurgence of fascism in the 21st century.
The recent rise of fascism in Ukraine, with disciples of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera taking positions in the government with the help of the EU-USA-NATO, is testament to this point. The reelection of neo-Nazis in Greece and Hungary, and the rise of the far-right here in Britain and in France shows why communists, and those who position themselves on the left, should deepen their resolve and unite against the resurgence of fascism in the 21st century
In doing so, we should take heed of famous German, communist, Bertolt Brecht’s famous words: “For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch who bore him is in heat again”
Morning Star journalist PETER FROST recalls a unique meeting of minds and cultures during one Burns Night event decades ago
SUNDAY January 25 is Burns Night, for Scotland’s greatest poet Robert Burns was born on that day in 1759.
All over the world, particularly where Scottish emigres are gathered, the peculiar and very special event that is a traditional Burns Night will be celebrated.
From the backwoods of Canada to the far corners of New Zealand, in Africa, South America and the US, the standard format of the night will be played out. The skirl of the pipes will be heard, the haggis will be addressed and then stabbed and much whisky will be consumed.
Every town, village and hamlet in Scotland will have its Burns Night. Many will be held in England too. Morning Star supporters in Manchester will celebrate in fine style, raise some useful money and a smile on Ivan Beavis’s face.
I’ve celebrated a good few Burns Nights in my time, but there is no doubt which is the most memorable.
Some three or more decades ago I was working for a short while in Moscow. Soviet journalist comrades invited me to the International Friendship Club for a special event.
“Oh yes,” they asked, “and could you could buy a bottle of whisky from the hard-currency shop in the tourist hotel where you’re staying?”
I found a bottle, although from the label and the brand name I guessed it may have been brewed beside the Volga rather than the Spey.
The event that night turned out to be a very traditional Burns Night. I hadn’t realised just how popular Burns and his poems — inspired by internationalism and a love and respect for the common man — were among the Soviet people. They recognised the poet as a republican and a revolutionary — a kindred spirit indeed.
We started, despite any official atheism, with the Selkirk Grace:
Some have meat and cannot eat,
Some cannot eat that want it,
but we have meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
As always Burns’s humanity and his principled egalitarianism was much stronger than any of his religious sentiments.
The night took the usual form, but sometimes with a distinctly Soviet twist. The chefs in the club had made a remarkable job of recreating the haggis — a dish they had read about but never seen or tasted. Neeps and tatties however totally defeated them — my explanation came much too late.
The address to the haggis was bilingual. A Soviet literature professor proclaimed it in stentorious Russian and yours truly did the job in as near to the original Scots as a London boy could get.
Poems too came in a variety of languages, including French and Vietnamese from the assembled international Burns fans.
Most of the toasts — and there were many — were taken in good vodka but my bottle of the “water of life” gave many a Russian their first experience of what all the fuss was about.
And from the Moscow conservatoire came a brave young man with a set of ancient bagpipes.
Regular readers will be pleased to know that I only disgraced myself once. I was chatting on the top table with two top Burns experts from Moscow University. Which was my favourite among the poet’s works, they asked.
I explained that I had always had a soft spot for some of Robbie’s ruder works. They looked puzzled, so I gave the assembled poetry lovers my party piece. It was one of his works unknown in Russia — and indeed not too well known in Scotland — his notorious Twa Wives.
If you don’t know the work here’s a fragment:
She farted by the byre-en’
She farted by the stable;?
And thick and nimble were her steps
As fast as she was able.
In retrospect I’m not too proud of my contribution to Anglo-Soviet cultural understanding that night.
Perhaps I can put it down to the whisky. What I do know is that I’ll never forget that amazing Soviet Burns Night in Moscow all those years ago.
Acting editor BEN CHACKO unveils our campaign to find 1,000 new readers and spread the struggle far and wide
THIS will be a huge campaigning year for us as we count down to May’s general election. The Morning Star is 85. It was founded in 1930, in a country mired in the Great Depression that followed the Wall Street Crash, to act as the voice of working people resisting a ruling class determined to make them pay for its crisis.
The parallels with today are obvious, and the need for our paper — the voice of the organised labour movement, the only daily paper committed to peace and socialism — is more acute than ever as we approach the general election.
"the need for our paper — the voice of the organised labour movement, the only daily paper committed to peace and socialism — is more acute than ever!"
Austerity is not an accident. It is not, as it is sometimes portrayed even on the left, a daft economic policy
aimed at reducing debt and fostering an economic recovery which happens to be counterproductive.
Austerity is a logical — and so far successful — strategy by Britain’s ruling class to increase its share of
our country’s wealth by taking it away from working people.
"Austerity is a logical — and so far successful — strategy by Britain’s ruling class to increase its share of our country’s wealth by taking it away from working people."
In the process, the gains won by workers over the past century have to be reversed.
That means attacks on our pensions, our wages and our workplace rights, as well as on public services such as the NHS, locally accountable schools, free higher and further education and many more things which previous generations fought for in order that people could live, work and retire in dignity.
"That means attacks on .. things which previous generations fought for"
So austerity is logical. But that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Working people have fought and won before, which is why we have these services in the first place.
And every day workers are resisting the ruling-class onslaught, most effectively through their trade unions.
Only the Star reports these struggles. But we must reach more readers if that story is to be heard loud and
clear — and May 2015 is to become the election the labour movement won.
And every day workers are resisting the ruling-class onslaught, most effectively through their trade unions.
Only the Star reports these struggles.
What’s the 1,000 New Readers campaign?
We’re launching the 1,000 New Readers campaign to reverse the gradual decline in sales that has affected the Morning Star alongside the rest of print media.
We’re looking at everything. Meetings have begun with trade unions to discuss how we can co-operate to maximum effect — what they need from our paper and how we can reach the members who aren’t yet daily readers. The support we’ve received has been phenomenal and humbling, with a wide range of excellent ideas coming in, including offering union members subsidised access to our e-edition and app, using the paper in union education programmes and ensuring members know that this is the newspaper that tells their story.
It’s not just unions we’re approaching — we’ll be meeting with activists for political parties including Labour,
the Greens and the Communist Party to see how we can campaign most effectively for the left policies we need to turn this country around. Our paper has a great relationship already with anti-austerity movement the People’s Assembly as well as a wide range of solidarity and progressive campaigning organisations, but we’ll be looking to improve our links and cross-promotion with all of them.
The Star is privileged to have the best and most committed readers of any newspaper
The Star is privileged to have the best and most committed readers of any newspaper, and many of them run readers and supporters groups up and down the country. We’ll be looking to help these groups grow, found new ones and make the most of this unique asset. All this is combined with a proactive new approach to promoting our stories and those of our labour movement allies on social media, spreading the word far and wide to workers in struggle: we are your paper.
How will we measure success?
Last year we ran the Summer of Heroes fundraising campaign and were bowled over by the colossal £154,000+ you raised for the paper.
It’s easy to report on how much money comes in, but the 1,000 New Readers campaign will be trickier.
Sales fluctuate day by day, week by week, town by town. But we’ll be setting regional targets and analysing
what strategies are paying dividends in each area. Success would, obviously, mean a rise in sales by 1,000 a
day on average, but we wouldn’t stop there. The daily paper of the left should be a mass circulation weapon
in the hands of the labour movement.
We hope too that by revitalising our relationships with the trade unions, organisations and campaigns of the left we will give new life to the paper itself, improving the range and depth of our content and strengthening our campaigning punch.
Our first editor William Rust quoted Lenin on the role of a workers’ paper:
“An economic and political tool of the masses in struggle.”
That’s the future we see for our Morning Star.
Be sure not to miss out on the Free Morning Star e-Edition subscription for a week! 1000READERSOFFER and let all your friends, family & colleagues - and share this great offer on social media as much as you can!
Thursday 22 January
Instead of devolving real powers to Scotland to enhance public services and intervene in the economy in the interests of workers and their families, the Tory-LibDem coalition intends to devolve the responsibility for enforcing austerity.
The draconian fiscal framework set out in today's legislative proposals will drastically limit the capacity of the Scottish parliament and government to borrow to fund public services or invest in the economy. Raising taxes to spend and invest will in many cases automatically lead to a reduction in Scotland's annual block grant from London, making some of the new tax-raising powers meaningless.
Most importantly, there is no element of redistribution in today's proposals that would transfer wealth from the richest section of Britain's population concentrated in south-east England to Scotland, Wales and the English regions.
At the same time, the block grant's Barnett Formula is not to be amended to reflect levels of deprivation and need, perpetuating the unfair treatment of Wales and the English regions.
Between them, London's fiscal straightjacket and EU basic treaties would make it all but impossible for a future Scottish government to take vital industries and services into public ownership.
It is also significant that the financing of political parties has been specifically excluded from Edinburgh's proposed new powers over the electoral process, enabling Scottish Tories to continue enjoying massive outside subsidies from big business and the City.
While the SNP and Plaid Cymru seek to cut Scotland and Wales off from a united political class struggle to redistribute wealth across Britain, and the Labour leadership has largely opted out so far, the Communist Party will continue to campaign for a Wealth Tax, a financial transaction levy on the City of London, higher corporation tax on big business profits and a major reduction in VAT.
Instead of the SNP policy to devolve and cut corporation tax in a race to the bottom with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Britain's communists call for a system of 'progressive federalism', giving guaranteed financial and law-making powers to Scottish and Welsh parliaments and English regions, redistributing wealth and planning economic development for the benefit of all.
Fantastic speech by YCLs General Secretary Zoe Hennessy at 47th Congress. Worth a read going into struggles of 2015!
The speech reproduced here was delivered by YCL General Secretary Zoe Hennessy on 13th of December at the Marx Memorial Library to open the YCL’s 47th Congress: https://yclbritain.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/ycl-general-secretarys-address-to-the-47th-congress/
"We are still relevant because the Marxist Leninist doctrine is true."
"Our role as young communists is to make socialism relevant to young people. We are not here just to try and stem the tide, we also need to be building a future movement which can fight back.
Our generation is at the sharp end of attacks on working people, there is plenty of potential."
Read more from Britain's Young Communists who organise as dynamic activists & Marxists in the Young Communist League (YCL). If you are 12-29 years of age & want to join the fightback against crisis-ridden Capitalist's austerity - then apply to join here!
Read General Secretary Zoe Hennesy's address to Britain' young Marxist-Leninists here: https://yclbritain.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/ycl-general-secretarys-address-to-the-47th-congress/
After much discussion during the Scottish Referendum in 2014 on the national question the eventual "No" result was not a call for the status quo - we need to move towards a progressive, democratic, federal system for all the nations of Britain that will benefit working people!
A public event was held in Glasgow's Partick community around the need for bringing class politics back into focus, with Simon Steel from the Scottish Committee of the Communist Party speaking on why we need to unite together in campaigning & fighting for Socialism for all the nations of Britain.
Although the people of Scotland have voted against independence, many did so on the promise of more devolved powers for the Scottish parliament. The substantial minority of electors who voted for full independence reflected the even more widespread hostility that exists towards corrupt, capitalist, establishment politics with its careerist politicians and remote institutions.
Among the majority of voters on both sides there was the clearest rejection of the politics of neo-liberalism, austerity and privatisation in favour of the NHS, the welfare state and progressive taxation.
Organised by Glasgow West branch of the Communist Party, which meets monthly and hold regular public activities in the Partick area.
The Scottish Committee of the Communist Party strongly condemns the murder of twelve people working for the Paris based satirical magazine; 'Charlie Hebdo' on 7th January 2015 and the subsequent murders of innocent people in France following this.
The perpetrators; extremists linked to terror organisations Islamic State or Al-Qaeda, sought revenge on the magazine for articles and cartoons it carried over a number years, allegedly insulting the prophet Mohammed and also Islamic State.
Such actions can never be justified and it is important to emphasise that the religion of Islam cannot be held responsible for a extremist minority such as those who carried out the attack in the name of Islam. This incident has outraged the vast majority of Muslims worldwide, who in no way identify such cowardly acts as representative of their religion. These attacks have been carried out not in the name of religion but in the name of extreme, fundamentalist organisations; Al-Qaueda and Islamic State. Organisations, who use murder and violence to spread fear and terror to people of all faiths and none, who do not obey their extreme and skewed interpretation of Islam.
The West's decades of Imperialism in Muslim country's has undoubtedly been a contributing factor to the creation of Al-Quaeda and Islamic State and therefore, Imperialist country's must take responsibility for the current situation regarding Islamic extremism and attacks.
All over Europe, anti-Islamic rhetoric is being promoted by right-wing media establishments, populist anti-immigration party's and far-right groups. Islam has become, in many ways, a convenient scapegoat to regularly blame for the severe austerity measures imposed across the Euro Zone since the global downturn of 2008.
We must be aware and challenge those who seek to use the Paris killings for their own skewed agenda, wither that be the far-right and populist, anti-immigration party's such as the Le Front Nationale, BNP, UKIP or extremist fundamentalist Islamic organisations such as Al-Muhajiroun
It is the Scottish Committees view that fascism in all its forms must be challenged.
Tam Kirby: musician, People's Assembly Scottish Executive member & member of the National Executive Committee of the British Communist Party, comes to Glasgow to present his talk on the Imperialist nature of the "Great War" or World War 1 - claimed to be "the war to end all wars".
Multiple millions of young working class lives were destroyed - either killed, mutilated physically or severely affected mentally, or simply "missing" with no recorded remains left. So the natural question would seem to be - what was it all about? And whose war was it anyway?
Claims that the assassination of a minor royal figure sparked off a conflict on this scale make no sense - Imperial ambitions were at play, and these same forces which still to this day demand that young working men and women are called upon by the rich and powerful to risk and lay down their lives for less than noble reasons.
This talk really helps to put pay to the current attempts by the Establishment of portraying World War 1 as a "fight for freedom", by bringing out the actual context of events and the forces at play. It is full of useful historical facts & fascinating educational material that help inform us about many of the endless conflicts and political maneuverings "in our National interests" today!
Communist Party of Britain leader ROB GRIFFITHS on the tasks for 2015
BRITAIN is a society disfigured by poverty, foodbanks, mass unemployment, enormous social injustice and chronic corruption.
Our top priority must be to help sweep away the unelected Tory-Lib Dem regime at the general election on May 7. The only realistic alternative is a Labour government.
But we also realise that Labour’s manifesto will not provide the radical alternative needed to challenge state-monopoly capitalism in Britain.
That’s why we must redouble our efforts to strengthen the trade unions and trades councils and build the People’s Assembly and the National Assembly of Women as broad popular movements against austerity, privatisation and inequality.
After putting a Labour government in office, the workers and peoples of Britain will have to put the maximum pressure on it to put the interests of the millions before those of the millionaires.
Before, during and after May 7, renationalisation and public ownership must be pushed towards the top of the political agenda.
This perspective would provide the best conditions in which to resolve the crisis of political representation in the labour movement.
Communists also have to win urgent support for our policy of progressive federalism, placing real powers and resources in the Scottish and Welsh parliaments and in English regional assemblies to implement left and progressive policies.
Attempts by Ukip, the Tory right and other reactionary forces to divide people along national, racial or religious lines must be met by the case for unity against big business and imperialism.
In particular, the advance of Ukip can be rebuffed by pointing to its pro-austerity, pro-privatisation and pro-City agenda — however reactionary opposition to the EU will not be defeated by reactionary pro-EU arguments, but by opposing the EU from the left and winning more people to that position.
The next government wil also decide whether the Trident nuclear weapons system is renewed or replaced — we must strengthen determination in the peace, labour and other progressive movements to scrap Britain’s weapons of mass destruction altogether.
On the international front, too, intensifying momentum behind the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign and for recognition of Palestinian statehood should be a top priority.
In all this work, a stronger Communist Party and bigger readerships for the Morning Star and Britain’s Road to Socialism can play a key role.
We must therefore turn decisively outwards, projecting the party at every level, taking our own initiatives alongside even greater engagement in broad campaigning movements, drawing new members into public activity, political education and cadre development.
Building Britain’s party of working-class and people’s power is the single biggest contribution we can make to the struggle for social justice, peace and socialism in 2015.