The inappropriately named Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and its ‘broad-Left’ daily, the Morning Star, are, in this lead up to a General Election, doing their usual ‘bit’ to support imperialism through trying to portray the class war as a battle between the two main imperialist parties, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. Often giving a fair analysis of the anti-working class doings of the Labour Party in Government (they would say new Labour, drawing an imaginary line between that Party’s policies and practice before and after Blair gained leadership of it) followed by an attempt to square the most obvious and persistent circle by still portraying Labour as the party of the working class and calling on anyone prepared to listen to vote Labour as the only hope of keeping out the Tories and/or the BNP.
The fact that Labour in its Blair/Brown terms of government has launched more imperialist wars than the previous Tory governments of Thatcher/Major is ignored, as are the facts that industry has continued its decline, the attacks on the sick and unemployed have been stepped up, social housing has just about been wound up, privatisation of the remaining national assets has continued, the NHS and the education system are being made un-workable as they are sucked dry by backdoor privatisation while un-employment is set to rocket. All this is topped off with some very nasty anti-immigrant legislation and practices and this is, it is claimed, better than what the Tories would do.
Of course the CPB are not the only ones claiming to be communists in this country who clutch onto the coat tails of the imperialist Labour Party forgiving them any sin in the hope that the Social-Democratic leopard will change its spots and prove the shameful CPB policy of appeasement correct in spite of over 100 years of evidence to the contrary. If the CPB can be portrayed as Tweedle Dum in this pro imperialist farce then the New Communist Party (NCP) can rightly be called Tweedle Dumber when it comes to ignoring facts before the eyes. However, the NCP are rarely seen outside of their own website and we can really forget them for the purposes of this article as any ‘argument’ that they may put forward is only a sad repetition of those put forward by the ruling ultra-Labour Party group within the CPB.
The CPB has within it a minority grouping around the General Secretary, Robert Griffiths, who appears at least, to be marginally embarrassed by the CPB/Morning Star subservience to the Labour Party. Unfortunately, they lack the guts to try and alter that subservience in any meaningful way. Instead of arguing against supporting Labour at elections they suggest that other groupings could be supported also. Which means, one must surmise, that these groups would have to be pro-Labour themselves in order for this not to be a meaningless and contradictory fudge.
They have had limited success (if success is a word that can be used in connection with such a limp goal) with this as the Morning Star article by John Haylett (‘CPB extends a hand to the wider left’) reported on 18 July, in which he tells us that the CPB “announced earlier this week that it is ready to discuss the possibility of joining other left-wing and labour movement organisations in a united front to build the maximum possible unity to defend working people” and further that they had agreed to “build upon the positive experiences of the No2EU initiative, when the CPB, the RMT union The Socialist Party, the Indian Worker’s Association and other left-wing groups intervened in the June 4 EU parliamentary elections” Haylett even asks the very sensible question; “What sense does it make to criticise new Labour’s neglect of manufacturing, a Civil Service jobs cull, ongoing privatisation, failure to build council houses, imperialist wars, scapegoating of refugees and attacks on democratic rights and then say: but, despite that, we urge a vote for every last single sticky-fingered, war-mongering, privatising one of them?” We couldn’t have put that better ourselves except that where we would mean by this, no votes for Labour at all as a vote for any Labour candidate is a vote for the Party and its policies in real terms, comrade Haylett means that votes should only be cast for the vast majority of them and votes denied only to those considered the very worst (and not even denying votes to them if it could mean the election of a Tory candidate or the BNP). So basically, it is business as usual for the CPB, Labour have done bad things and given the chance may do more, but vote Labour because the Tories will do worse! And the other groups that are to have the privilege of being supported electorally by the CPB? Let us look at what Robert Griffiths had to say in a Morning Star article (‘A historic moment for left advance’) 9 July 2009. While lamenting that a Tory election victory will not assist in achieving the aims of explaining to people the need for socialism or help them take democratic control of their lives (and a Labour victory will?) he states:
“Trying to prevent that Tory victory will require a vote for hundreds of Labour candidates.
“Campaigning for those who are socialist and social-democratic, and who oppose new Labour’s imperialist wars and who backed the Trade Union Freedom Bill, should meet with wide-scale agreement on the left.
“In other seats, the Labour candidate may be best placed to keep out the Tories and – except for the worst of new Labour’s privatising war criminals – (s)he could be supported.
“But that still leaves many constituencies where a Labour vote will not prevent a Tory victory.
“The question, then, is whether sections of the left and the labour movement can unite around candidates who will put the case for public ownership, economic planning, progressive taxation, investment in manufacturing and public services, defence of democratic rights and opposition to racism, the fascists, EU neoliberalism, militarism and imperialist war.”
If it needs spelling out, the CPB will support candidates other than Labour only in seats where neither the Labour candidate, nor the candidate from the ‘supported’ group, stands a ghostly chance of winning. How is this different from the blanket support that the CPB have always given Labour? They are just trying to dress it up as something different in an attempt to a) fool the gullible into voting Labour and b) try to keep some of the little credibility they have by trying to give the impression that they are doing other than just electioneering for the imperialist Labour Party.
In another article, again in the Morning Star, (‘The ruling class is alive and well’ 11 August 2009) Griffiths makes the very true comment: “Governments win and lose office, but the ruling class stays in power.” But this is much more than a clever little throw-away line; it goes to the heart of the criminally stupid policy of the CPB of always supporting Labour. Ask yourself comrade Griffiths why do the ruling class retain power regardless of which party is in office? The state is in place to protect the ruling class, the state organises the elections for office, the bourgeois parties and the mass media that champions these nominally different ‘state’ parties all represent the ruling class. The Labour Party, old or new, was always in the pocket of the ruling class and anyone who doubts that can look back through history to every important clash of classes and they will see where the Labour Party stood then.
A vote for any of the bourgeois parties is a vote for racism, the continued oppression of the working class at home and imperialist super exploitation and war abroad. However the CPB, of whatever faction, try to dress it up, they are asking the working class to vote for imperialism when they say vote Labour, for whatever reason.
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