Scottish Communists - website of the Communist Party
Sunday 4th October 11am
The Tory government has launched a frontal attack on the welfare state and the labour movement. A million more public sector jobs are to be eliminated, the right to strike further restricted and benefits again cut.
The Tory justification is free market economics – the neoliberal smokescreen behind which the super-rich are creating a new political order that seeks the permanent subordination of labour.
The conference will focus on how the politics of working class unity can be re-developed – drawing on the lessons of the past but within the horizons of the present.
The Tories seek to use fear and division. The class they represent is strengthening its own international alliances through TTIP and an increasingly predatory EU.
Our class has to re-establish its unity in the broadest sense of all working people and their communities.
The conference will assess the potential of the People’s Assembly in building this new unity and the role of the trade union movement in providing the power of collective organisation.
Venue: STUC, 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow G3
£4/ 2 (concession) includes tea, coffee & lunch.
Download the conference program here: http://morningstarscotland.org/attachments/article/89/2015_autumn_morning_star-conference.pdf or click on the image below.
GLASGOW Conference: Redeveloping Class Politics
JEREMY CORBYN remembers his friend and fellow peace activist Alan Mackinnon
(from the Morning Star daily newspaper of the Left)
LABOUR Party conference opens tomorrow in Brighton. The issue of Trident and nuclear weapons is one of intense discussion, both on the conference floor and around the conference hall.
Last week all of us heard the tragic news of the death of Alan Mackinnon who had been a friend to many of us.
I don’t recall our first meeting but I was always impressed by his presence, knowledge, politeness and contribution to CND meetings in London and at our annual conferences and in Scotland.
Alan combined an enormous knowledge of peace and disarmament issues with his work as a doctor, and was committed to good-quality healthcare free for all as a human right.
I last met Alan in Glasgow when we held the last of our Scottish rallies as part of my election campaign.
It was a huge affair with over 200 people present and concluded with the singing of Bandiera Rossa.
I was proud to start my speech by recognising Alan and his wife Karin’s presence on the front row.
I was able to thank him and Karin for all the work they’d done for the peace movement over many years. Alan seemed embarrassed by this attention. That was exactly my intention.
After the rally I took the opportunity of going to a bar with our supporters and later went to Alan’s house in order to have some supper with him and talk about issues facing the peace movement.
It was clear he was very ill but was coping well after the amputation of his left leg. The following morning he drove me to the station, wished us well on the journey and assured me that we were going to win the election because of the support of so many young people and so many coming back to Labour politics after having been driven away by New Labour and the war in Iraq.
He assured me that he would give me any help I needed and I took up this offer with alacrity.
A couple of days later I phoned him and asked if he would be good enough to draft me an outline for the establishment of a defence diversification agency to cope with the job security problems of those who work on the Trident nuclear missile system and the submarines designed to carry them.
His document was timely, excellent and very valuable and in all the work I am putting forward for this agency I will always think of Alan’s crucial contribution.
His life was one of principle, decency and success because he inspired many more to think differently about the way we look at the world, to think of the human consequences of war, and the inequality of disease and healthcare around the world.
Apart from working in Glasgow as an iconic GP, he also volunteered to work in west Africa to help with the training of doctors and medical staff.
Cancer took Alan far too soon and far too young but we are all the richer for having known him and many thanks to him.
The world is the better for having had him in it. Deepest sympathies to Karin, Maeve and Ian and all his wider family and friends.
Jeremy Corbyn is Labour MP for Islington North and leader of the Labour Party.
From the Morning Star http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-c390-A-life-of-principle-and-decency
Remembering the life of CND activist, Communist Party Scottish Committee member, Morning Star supporter and columnist Alan Mackinnon
ALAN MACKINNON was born in Glasgow on August 4 1946. His father Duncan was a pharmacist, originally from Hussabost on Skye, with whose Gaelic culture the family retained close links.
Alan attended Hillhead High School and then Glasgow University as a medical student from 1965, graduated in 1971 with a MBChB and worked for 35 years as a family doctor in a practice in Baillieston.
At university he became a member of the Communist Party and was deeply influenced by its commitment to anti-imperialism and to peaceful coexistence for the rest of his life.
In 1973 he married Karin, an artist and teacher. The same year they moved to Tanzania, where Alan worked as a doctor and Karin taught. Back in Glasgow from 1974, Alan took up his work as a general practitioner and became an active campaigner for better health services for Glasgow’s East End.
Alan played a key role in the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) over several decades. He was chair of the organisation between 1989 and 1992. During this period he worked with a wide range of groups to co-ordinate vigils and protests against the Gulf war.
He resumed the position of chair of Scottish CND in 2000 and continued in the post until 2011.
Shortly after the attack on the twin towers in New York in September 2001, Alan established the Scottish Coalition for Justice not War.
Through the coalition, he brought together representatives of political parties, trade unions, religious organisations and peace groups to mobilise public opposition to military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He played an important role in the campaign against Trident and Trident renewal in Scotland and across Britain. He co-ordinated protests, emphasising the breadth of opposition to nuclear weapons, and he presented powerful arguments against Trident through his writing.
He represented CND at international conferences including at the United Nations in New York in 2012.
As well as being an effective political organiser, Alan was always willing to quietly help fellow peace activists whenever they were in need of support.
He assumed a central role in analysing the consequences of Trident cancellation for employment in Scotland and in producing the authoritative report, co-sponsored by the STUC in 2007, which demonstrated that very few, if any, jobs would be lost and that an active policy of arms conversion would open major opportunities for new areas of employment and industry.
With backing from leading figures in the SNP and the Labour Party, this became the basis for policy discussion at Scottish government level. In subsequent years he co-authored further studies on Trident and arms diversification for British CND.
At the same time as bringing up a family — daughter Maeve and son Ian — Alan found time for involvement in the many political campaigns of the 1980s and ’90s, from support for the miners’ strike to refusal to pay the poll tax, and maintained a weekly delivery of the Morning Star across Partick where the family lived.
He served for two terms on the executive of the Communist Party of Britain and helped lead its work on peace and disarmament.
In the difficult years of the ’80s he was among those who defended the Morning Star and was a central figure in the re-establishment of the party in Scotland in ’88.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2009 he retired as a GP but trained in tropical medicine at Liverpool University and then worked as a doctor in Sierra Leone with Medicins Sans Frontiers.
This experience stimulated him to begin writing features and pamphlets for the Morning Star, the Communist Party and CND, on modern imperialism and the links to the arms race and the expanded remit of Nato across Asia and Africa.
He contributed to the Red Paper on Scotland in 2005 and again in 2014 and was a leading figure in bringing together a left-wing alliance during the referendum to campaign for a federal Britain that would maintain the principles of solidarity and redistribution together with a Scottish parliament with real powers of economic democracy and public ownership.
He freely contributed his skills as graphic designer to many causes and campaigns — including, most recently, to the People’s Assembly against Austerity.
Karin taught him all she knew about graphic design, which she had studied at Glasgow School of Art. He then went on to surpass her — especially when the age of the computer arrived.
A talented musician, Alan played the drums in the House of Lords band in the early 1970s. His daughter Maeve went on to become a celebrated Gaelic singer.
In his final years, despite the ravages of cancer and the amputation of a leg, Alan maintained his output of articles and his production of Scottish CND’s Nuclear-Free Scotland.
During this year’s election campaign he played an active role in CND’s “Vote out Trident” roadshow and continued to help at street stalls over the summer.
He lived to welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s election to the leadership of the Labour Party, a family friend and co-campaigner equally committed to the end of Trident and nuclear weapons.
“ If you want the strongest, clearest position on any issue of peace or war – from Trident and jobs, to Nato and global politics, Western intervention and illegal war – just ask Alan Mackinnon ”
– CND general secretary KATE HUDSON
Saturday 3rd October
March in Dunfermline @12pm
Rally in Pittencrieff Park @1pm
For all who are opposed to the ongoing cuts ideology & the poverty it is creating.
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/440664472789612/
Redeveloping working class organisation & politics
Communist Party Scottish Secretary Tam Morrison writes:
Alex Salmond’s recent call for a new referendum on Scottish independence as an ‘inevitable’ demand of the Scottish people underlines some of the problems facing the Left in Scotland. It also highlights the need to address the issue of populist nationalism.
To a large extent the Yes vote in 2014 was indeed motivated by anger at austerity - with Scotland’s poorest areas voting most heavily for independence. Today big sections of the population, desperate to escape from the politics of Cameron and Osborne, still see an “independent” Scotland as the only way forward.
But, as was pointed out in 2014, the independence put forward by the SNP would have delivered Scotland straight into the hands of the EU Troika. Scotland’s deficit, on the basis of oil at 2014 prices, would have been twice that permitted under the obligatory EU Fiscal Compact – and monetary policy would still have been controlled from London. Since then oil prices have collapsed and the size of the independence deficit doubled.
The SNP leadership has yet never squared up to these basic contradictions – of populist promises to end austerity combined with post-independence commitments that combine EU membership, sterling as a currency and economic growth still based on cutting taxes on business.
It is to be hoped that the broadening of the SNP’s membership base and the increased activity of the SNP’s Trade Union Group will bring forward such a debate.
Even on the Left of the SNP there is little recognition of the role of the EU as a major driver of privatisation. Progressives in the SNP have to address these contradictions in policy and develop a clear position against the EU, neo-liberal economics TTIP, and NATO.
Meantime, it has to be recognised that populist nationalism is having a deadening effect on class politics in Scotland – at a time when the Tory government’s double attack on the Welfare State and the organisation of the trade union movement makes the redevelopment of class politics urgent.
Anti-austerity demonstrations in Scotland have been smaller than elsewhere in Britain. Nationalist banners have been prominent combined with a significant amount of verbal attack directed at those who voted NO: ‘you voted for austerity, you are to blame.’
The Labour Party is presented as the big enemy – not the Tories, with the sarcastic taunt of “Red Tory” ever present.
The work of rebuilding class organisation on the ground, of linking unions and communities in resistance to the cuts, is always difficult and challenging .
But it is doubly challenging in face of the belief that all that is needed to end austerity is independence. Talk of a second referendum from Alex Salmond will stir even greater disunity in the trade union movement and working class communities - still to recover from the fall out of the last one.
In these circumstances the response of the Labour Party in Scotland will be crucial. It has to speak clearly against the cuts agenda and against neo-liberalism. Labour’s election manifesto was actually somewhat more anti-austerity than the SNP– yet this was not how it was projected. Labour’s election campaign failed to make a clear break with neo liberal politics and didn’t challenge the Tories on the deficit.
Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature has now shifted the whole Labour Party leadership debate to the left and shaken the Blairites to the core. For the first time in many years the debate in the mass media has revolved around class politics.
In Scotland this need to redevelop class politics is even more urgent if all those genuinely against austerity, Labour, SNP and neither, are to rebuild the class organisations needed if Corbyn was indeed to win.
Under his leadership the Labour Party would need a mass movement outside Parliament, on the streets, in the unions and in the communities, to counter the vicious right wing backlash that he will face. Hence the importance of building the People’s Assembly on the ground projecting class politics and building unity between the trade unions and working class communities. Communists will work hard to build this movement.
These are the politics that are needed to defeat the Tories. Calling for a Yes vote in another referendum simply take us down the road to classless politics. Drawing a line on a map will not defeat capitalist state power, based on finance capital and transnational corporations.
We do indeed need new constitutional arrangements that can strengthen the democratic rights now under such fierce attack. That is why Communists call for a federal republic based on national parliaments with powers to advance economic democracy and public ownership against the power of big business.
But only the redevelopment of working class politics led by an organised, combatant, militant, and political trade union movement will do that.
Paul Dobson, Communist Party member from Edinburgh, lives and writes in Venezuela
Paul recently visited Scotland and spoke on Western interference in Venezuela - video of that event can be found here.
The issue of human rights are frequently used in attempts to delegitimize the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela.This month, Caracas tackled the issue, speaking atthe UN and inviting the entire country to contribute ideas to strengthening ongoing efforts at protecting human rights.
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz affirmed “in Venezuela the right to life is inviolable, it’s sacred”.
“There is very real freedom of expression, access to information, the right to peaceful protest, and the continual holding of elections”, she added.
Following last year’s violent uprising which looked to overthrow the democratically- elected government, Diaz explained that “it’s very serious that in the international arena people say that the 43 deaths from the violent deeds of 2014 were due to police actions. Only 6 of these 43 are due to this and there are 14 policemen behind bars for them”, she explained.
Diaz also explained that “the right to protest and meet is sacred in the judicial ordering of the country as long as it is pacific and unarmed… if these conditions are absent then, simply, it is no longer a right”. In relation to prisons, Diaz assured the UN Council that Venezuela has “eradicated torture” and has “special legislation which prohibits it”.
“If there were a policeman or military who incurred in this practice, we would process them immediately” she reassured. The state is also making advances in “attending to prisoners whilst guaranteeing their rights” such as recreation and education.
Finally, Diaz reiterated the political rights and freedom of expression in the country. “Since 1999, the people have participated in 19 electoral processes, demonstrating their democratic vocation and the reaffirmation of sovereignty and self-determination through secret, free, and universal voting”.
“This”, she explained, contrasts sharply with “our cruel past”, which the state is investigating “with the objective of sanctioning the human rights violations which happened between 1958 and 1998”. Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez summarized that Venezuela is “writing a new history in human rights. The Bolivarian Revolution gave a constitutional dimension to them, guaranteeing, promoting and protecting them”.
Venezuelan Executive Vice President, Jorge Arreaza, presented a National Plan for Human Rights 2015-2019 to the nation this month, inviting civil society and social movements to participate in a consultative process to enrich it.
The proposed plan addresses five areas: the construction of a liberating culture; institutional strengthening; the leading participation of the people; relationships with international human rights organisms; and human rights focus in legislation, politics, and state actions.
The proposals include a series of measures in the commune movement, including creating “areas which promote human rights to the rest of the community”, and in the international arena they look to “take steps forward in the understanding, respect, and guaranteeing of Venezuela’s human rights which are often misunderstood”.
Also, the proposal suggests “the promoting of a human rights system within the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)”
"The Greek crisis is a crisis of monopoly Capitalism"
Comrade Ioli Gkouma representing the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) addressed Scottish communists in a public meeting held in the Party offices in Glasgow, Monday, 4 May 2015.
In it she detailed the Greek situation under EU Capitalist austerity, the analysis of the KKE & why SYRIZA (the current governing Party) was offering false slogans & solutions.
Chaired by Prof John Foster, International Secretary of the British Communist Party.
Dr Alan MacKinnon & Paul Dobson from Venezuela led a meeting on Imperialism in Ukraine and Venezuela, showing the far reach of those seeking control & influence in these and other regions.
Recorded April 2015 in Glasgow.
Speaker: Dr Alan MacKinnon
Filmed in March 2012 - at a time when Western NATO nations & media were focusing on challenging certain countries, whilst West hypocritically turned blind eyes to protect the region's most corrupt & dictatorial governments which were cracking down on Arab Spring local movements - simply because they were deemed to be pro-NATO already. Dr MacKinnon focuses his attention on Egypt - where many of his 2012 predictions have seemingly come to pass.
What are the forces at large in the region? What does this mean for the near future of people in the Middle east, and are we seeing an era of our Western nations engaging in yet more protracted war & bloodshed?
The Communist Party Manifesto for the General Election on May 7th 2015 in Scotland.
Download a PDF version here: http://www.scottishcommunists.org.uk/attachments/article/455/Communist_Party_Election_Manifesto_2015_Scotland.pdf
THE Communist Party of Britain has unveiled its election strategy to challenge the country’s dire economic and political crisis.
Southern England district secretary Nick Wright told the executive committee at the weekend that the interests of the working-class majority were almost completely excluded from parliamentary and public life.
Recent public opinion polls (see today’s front page) confirmed that most people favour public ownership of services.
Opposition to privatisation of schools and the NHS is almost universal, Mr Wright said.
He outlined a “modest but vital” role for Britain’s communists in the unfolding election campaign.
The party’s candidates in Birmingham Hodge Hill, Croydon North, Devon North, Glasgow North West, Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney, Newcastle East, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Sheffield Central and Torfaen will be presenting the “stark truth” that Britain’s economic and political crisis is inherently capitalist.
As head of the party’s publicity team, Mr Wright revealed that the Communist election campaign would include giant billboards in all contested constituencies, featuring Tax the Rich! as their main slogan.
The Communist Party leadership reiterated its call for the defeat and removal of the Tory-led coalition, which it argued would mean having to vote for Labour candidates in most seats — especially marginal ones.
REVOLUTIONARIES mustered by Karl Marx’s tomb in Highgate cemetery on Sunday to mark the 132nd anniversary of his death.
This year’s gathering takes place 70 years since victory over nazi Germany in World War II and leading Russian communist Yuri Emelianov recalled the heroism and sacrifice of those who gave their lives to defeat Hitler.
With ruling classes across Europe rewriting the history of the war to paint the Soviet Union out of the picture, Mr Emelianov highlighted the part played by communists in winning it.
The conflict was begun by fascist leaders who made no secret of their “virulent anti-Marxism,” he said.
And he noted that the fascist states that arose in the 1920s and ’30s defined themselves as “the anti-Comintern pact,” revealing the central position of anti-communism in nazi ideology.
“The second world war showed that the communists were also the staunchest fighters against these attempts to return mankind to barbarism and the mass extermination of human beings.”
The Red Army was responsible for 73 per cent of German combat casualties during the war, while the 27 million Soviet dead outnumbered those of any other country, Mr Emelianov recalled.
And in other countries from France to China communists led the resistance to fascism.
Britain’s Communist Party speaker Jean Turner warned that 70 years on “the same forces of racism and fascism are stalking Europe.”
Ms Turner pointed to the civil war in Ukraine, where Nato and the European Union are backing a regime whose Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk claims Russia invaded Germany in World War II and which openly deploys neonazi paramilitaries such as the Azov Battalion against its own people.
“We know that the Russian Communist Party is at the forefront of the fight against the neofascists. We salute you,” she told Mr Emelianov.
And the far-right threat was not confined to Europe, Venezuelan embassy first secretary Marcos Garcia warned — noting that the United States’ absurd claim to see Caracas as a “security threat” — could be a prelude to a violent bid to overthrow the Bolivarian revolution.
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.