On 26 July, at Saklatvala Hall in Southall, members and supporters of the CPGB-ML gathered to celebrate the ending of the Great Fatherland War in Korea and the storming of the Moncada Barracks in Cuba. Joining the festivities were representatives of the embassies of the DPRK, Cuba and China along with several members of the JVP (People’s Liberation Front) of Sri Lanka and the CPI(M) as well as from the People’s Daily. This annual event has historically been used to support and promote international solidarity with progressive movements and events all over the world but this year we were also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) in that same hall on 3 July 2004.
The afternoon started with comrades relaxing and chatting in the summer sunshine eating barbecued meats and vegetables served with various salads and washed down with a wide variety of beverages. Curries from the finest Indian cooks in Southall were also served to the assembled comrades and the combined aromas, tastes and accents added to the strong international flavour of this warm, fraternal gathering.
Following the festivities comrades packed the hall for the overtly political part of the day. Chairing the meeting, comrade Harpal Brar gave an outline of the two international events mentioned above highly praising both the Cuban and Korean peoples and also the solidarity given to them both by the Soviet Union and China, especially the 1 million Chinese volunteers who swelled the ranks of Kim Il Sung’s army in Korea who included Mao’s son who made the ultimate sacrifice for Korean freedom.
Cde Brar briefly touched on most of the current struggles in the world in his opening welcome to the meeting and reminded people of Lenin’s words regarding the fight against imperialism, ie, that it would be a sham without also seriously taking up the fight against opportunism within the working class. He also spent some time explaining that “Israel was not a Jewish project, it was an imperialist project!” He told of the slaughter in Gaza by the Zionist puppets and called for full support for the Palestinian resistance pledging the CPGB-ML, small though it is, to do all in its power to spread that message and call on the Trades Unions to stop their members handling goods to or from Israel. To refuse movement of arms and ammunition to the Zionists, to ensure that as far as British workers are concerned Israel becomes a pariah state in reality and not just in our wishes.
Red greetings were brought to the meeting from the JVP (British Committee) who saluted the people’s of the DPRK and Cuba and made a special point of praising the CPGB-ML for its strong ideological positions and pledged on behalf of his organisation to work in unison with it within the struggles in Britain.
Another guest speaker was the American rapper Marcel Cartier who had just finished a spell of reporting for Russia Today. He had travelled around the DPRK and spoke of his time there. However, he concentrated a highly interesting speech, punctuated with much applause, on the happenings in the Ukraine where he had reported for RT. He had seen the fascist power-snatch aided and abetted by the US, UK and EU. He reported the phoney election of a puppet/fascist government and the anger and extreme murderous violence of that regime aimed at the anti-fascist forces that have refused to recognise them and created independent states rather than bow to fascism. In thanking him for his contribution the Chairman expressed the wish that he come and speak again at future meeting, a wish that was noisily shared by the assembled comrades.
Next comrade Han Wei from the Communist Party of China brought greetings to the meeting from his embassy and party and stated his wish for friendly relations between our two parties.
Comrade Jorge Luís García from the Cuban Embassy greeted everyone on what was a very special celebration for the Cuban people. He spoke of the struggles of the Cubans to achieve their revolution and to maintain it. He also spoke of the unity and struggles of other countries within the Latin American region and the problems that were faced daily by them all. His message was one of internationalist friendship, of hope and of the certainty that socialism was the only viable future for mankind.
Comrade Keith Bennett spoke of the significance of the Korean and Cuban revolutions and their contribution to the struggle against US imperialism.
Speaking on behalf of the DPRK, Ambassador Hyon Hak Bong brought greetings to the CPGB-ML from his Embassy and from the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on the 10th anniversary of the founding of the CPGB-ML and stated the commitment of the CC of the WPK to build the bonds of comradeship and fraternal assistance between the two parties even stronger than they already were. He also spoke of the Korean War and acknowledged the debt that was owed to the Soviet pilots and advisors and the Chinese volunteer army by the revolutionary Korean state and its people. He also turned to present events and in a very forceful speech made the argument for the right of the DPRK to have nuclear, or any other, weapons to protect themselves from imperialist aggression and the right to launch satellites without criticism from anybody! These points were loudly cheered and applauded by the meeting.
Comrade Joti Brar made an impassioned speech condemning the genocidal bombing that was currently going on in Gaza, having just returned with other party comrades from another large London protest demonstration. She gave details of the horrors being rained on the people of Gaza, the murderous racism of the Zionists, and she urged the working class to remember that it had the power to stop these atrocities by refusing to do any work that facilitated imperialist war crimes in any way – from manufacturing and transporting weaponry, to broadcasting imperialist propaganda and lies.
There was a jovial, almost holiday, atmosphere throughout the day but this was a very serious political meeting with very important messages. This was not lost on anyone who attended and comrades left the hall feeling good but also with a sense of the need to work harder and faster to create the conditions in Britain whereby our imperialist rulers would have to take their greedy eyes off of the rest of the world a bit to cope with problems that we will create for them.