Communist Party of Britain and Morning Star

Brutality as beautiful

The Morning Star aspires to being a left-wing alternative to mainstream tabloids. Thus the paper includes sports pages, arts reviews, a crossword, a gardening column, and even a cookery spot (“The Commie Chef”). The paper’s boxing coverage is by one John Wight, a failed Hollywood screenwriter and well-known figure on the Scottish left. The title of his book This Boxing Game: A Journey in Beautiful Brutality gives a strong clue as to how he regards the “sport”. A recent Wight column in the Morning Star (“Boxing as violence”) purports to examine what he calls the “contradiction that many writers...

Storming the Capitol: strange comparisons

Ever since Trump’s election in 2016, there have been some on the left who’ve resisted the idea that he is anything particularly out of the ordinary in terms of US bourgeois democracy. In particular, many of these people deride any suggestion that Trump and the movement behind him can be considered fascist or “proto-fascist.” Some of the people downplaying the Trump threat are, in fact, advocates of variants of third-period Stalinism – i.e. people who think Trump is, objectively, preferable to Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. It’s difficult to work out exactly where the Morning Star stands on this...

Back Tories' Brexit deal? Morning Star says it doesn't matter!

With a characteristic smirk the charlatan Johnson portrayed his Christmas Eve deal with the EU as a personal triumph and proof that Britain can, indeed, eat its cake and have it. The “no- dealers” of the Tory-right ERG cabal were — initially, at least — not so sure, and immediately set up a “star chamber” to check that the deal was sufficiently free from continuing EU influence over the UK’s fishing quotas and other unspecified matters of tremendous importance. They concluded that the deal, while not perfect, was good enough to allow them to support it in Parliament. Over at the Morning Star...

Johnson: not anti-EU enough?

As the time runs out for a post-Brexit trade deal, the Morning Star is worried: Boris Johnson “is not ideologically anti-EU, let alone pro-No Deal” (all quotes from Morning Star editorial, 5-6 December). Yes, that’s the trouble with Johnson — he just can’t be trusted to take a hard line against Johnny Foreigner, even over fishing rights, which he “would sell... to France and Spain in order to ensure the City of London’s continuing unfettered access to Europe’s financial markets.” Meanwhile, the “intransigent” EU claims to have “fears — whether bogus or not — that Britain could engage in unfair...

"Whataboutery" on China and the Uyghurs

“Whataboutery” is an old trick much favoured by Stalinists whenever difficult questions about human rights under “socialist” regimes are raised. Apparently the correct term is “tu quoque” — a debating technique based upon the perceived hypocrisy of the opponent rather than the merits of their argument. Some of the most blatant cases you’ll come across involve the Morning Star and its increasingly desperate efforts to deny or justify the Chinese state’s treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. This began with a number of articles earlier this year, attacking the findings of Adrian Zenz, a...

Morning Star still dismisses antisemitism complaints as right-wing invention

Back in 2018, a writer in Solidarity described Corbyn’s response to allegations of antisemitism in Labour under his leadership: “Corbyn agrees there is a problem. He responds under pressure, moves in the direction his critics are pointing to, but it is as if he cannot understand what the fuss is about ... everything is low-energy, insufficient, ineffectual, can be seen or portrayed as evasive, as lacking conviction ...” That description sprang to mind when reading Corbyn’s response to the EHRC report: instead of an apology for what happened (and didn’t happen) on his watch, there was the claim...

Not a class act

Last week three former shadow ministers, Laura Smith, John Trickett, and former party chair Ian Lavery, launched a report for their No Holding Back (NHB) initiative. It purports to be the result of a “listening exercise” amongst Labour members and trade unionists, with the aim of reconnecting Labour with its lost “red wall” voters, but contains few practical proposals beyond unspecified “strengthening trade union and workers’ rights”, taxing firms like Amazon more, creating a “cronyism watchdog” and adopting “progressive patriotism.” On the issue of redundancies NHB says precisely nothing. On...

Behind the scenes battle over Biden?

It is no secret that there are disagreements amongst supporters of Solidarity and Workers Liberty about the US Presidential election and a Biden vote. It’s no secret because we’ve had the debate out in the open, in this paper and on the Workers’ Liberty website. All the signs are that something similar has been going on at the Morning Star (and presumably, also within the Communist Party of Britain). With one big difference: it’s all behind closed doors, signified only by the dramatically differing tone and content of various articles and editorials in the Morning Star (all dates are from the...

Anti-fascist or Russian imperialist?

On 26 October the Morning Star published an obituary-cum-eulogy on “Ghost Battalion” commander Aleksey Markov. The Ghost Brigade (since 2015: Ghost Battalion) was one of a myriad of “local” military units created in 2014 as a cover for Russian political and military intervention into eastern Ukraine after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Yanukovych. TheMorning Star has long portrayed the Ghost Brigade as a latter-day version of the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War. But this is contradicted by Markov’s own description of the Brigade’s creation: “We formed the Ghost Brigade...

Antisemitism in Labour: as we saw it in 2018

For sure, his opponents in the party and the Tory press are out to get Jeremy Corbyn. One of two things then: either they’re telling the truth on this matter or they aren’t. Either there is a problem of antisemitism in the party or there isn’t. Either his critics are lying or exaggerating, and should then be stood up to and faced down. Or they are telling the truth; in which case Corbyn should energetically set about digging out Labour Party antisemitism by the roots. Corbyn agrees there is a problem. He responds under pressure, moves in the direction his critics are pointing to, but it is as...

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