More than 120 people packed Saklatvala Hall in Southall on Saturday 30 July for the CPGB-ML’s annual anti-imperialist summer barbecue, organised to celebrate the 58th anniversary of the victory of the Korean and Chinese peoples in the Korean war and of the raid on the Moncada Barracks that heralded the start of the Cuban revolution.
Guests of honour at the event were Comrade He Rulong, Counsellor and Deputy Head of the Political Section of the Chinese Embassy, his colleague and fellow Political Counsellor, Comrade Ma Xin, and Comrade Jang Song Chol, Third Secretary of the Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Following a delicious lunch, speakers included He Rulong and Jang Song Chol, Mohammad Hassan from the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB), and Harpal Brar (who also chaired the proceedings), Keith Bennett and Ranjeet Brar for the CPGB-ML.
Comrade Jang Song Chol’s speech reflected on his years in Britain, as his diplomatic posting was coming to an end in August. He said that the Korean people “could not imagine this great victory (in the Fatherland Liberation War) without the help of the Chinese comrades and the international communist movement”, referring also to the contributions of the late Comrades Michael and Jack Shapiro.
Saying that this was the first ever defeat suffered by US imperialism, a very powerful enemy, Comrade Jang emphasised, “this was not a solo effort. We could not have done it without help from other comrades and other peoples.”
Comrade Jang also noted that the month had seen the 50th anniversary of the signing of the treaty of friendship and cooperation between the DPRK and China by Comrades Kim Il Sung and Zhou Enlai, and that this important occasion had been widely celebrated by the people of both countries.
Finally, he declared that over his more than three years in Britain, he had personally witnessed the growth of the CPGB-ML into a strong political organisation. “I will leave some part of my heart here in Southall. The three-years-and-eight-months I have spent living, working and struggling with communists here in Britain will be one of the most memorable and important parts of my life forever,” he concluded.
Comrade He Rulong spoke from a different perspective, having just arrived in London to take up his post. He extended greetings from the Chinese people to the Korean and Cuban peoples and also said how delighted he was to meet so many comrades at this function who were so friendly to China and so committed to the cause of socialism and communism. Referring to the July 1st 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, he outlined some of its main historical experiences. (For some background, see ‘China’s communists celebrate 90 years’, Proletarian, August 2011)
The speeches from both the Korean and Chinese comrades were greeted with standing ovations.
Following the speeches, there was a lively and varied cultural programme, with the folk and revolutionary songs from Comrades Dave and Doreen East, especially the timeless working-class favourite, ‘The Blackleg Miner’, proving a special hit.
Videos from the meeting may be viewed at: http://www.cpgb-ml.org/