Communist Party of Britain and Morning Star

Coaxing small capitalists?

Andrew Northall (Letters, 24 March) takes exception to my Antidoto column (10 February) on the Communist Party of Britain’s concept of the “anti-monopoly alliance”. One thing Andrew says is undoubtedly correct: “The ‘anti-monopoly alliance’ is very much written into the DNA of the CPB and its programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism”. Where we disagree is on whether or not this represents (in Andrew’s words) “a cross-class alliance that cannot by definition be anti-capitalist since it includes small capitalists.” Andrew claims that the term monopoly capitalism “simply describes the nature of...

Morning Star goes quiet on 40% more nukes

On 16 March the government set out its plan for a post-Brexit “global Britain” in the so-called “Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy”. One aspect of the review caused consternation even in the Tory press: “Shock plans to increase the country’s nuclear warheads by 40 per cent were met with fury last night... the remarkable move comes more than 50 years after the signing of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty” noted the Daily Mail. Even the Sun asked “And why do we need 80 more nukes... aren’t 180 city-destroying bombs enough?” TheMail also noted that “In...

Letter: Anti-monopoly doesn't mean backing small capitalists

I am struggling to understand what points Jim Denham was trying to make in his article 'Return of the Anti Monopoly Alliance' (Solidarity 581). I am not a spokesperson for the Communist Party of Britain but I am in favour of left and socialist unity and believe this can only happen if we are open and honest with each others’ respective political positions and not construct straw windmills. Jim claims the concept of the Anti Monopoly Alliance is making “more frequent reappearances” in his favourite daily newspaper, theMorning Star. Actually, it never went away. The “anti monopoly” nature of the...

Morning Star applauds UK vaccine nationalism

In the run-up to the EU referendum and throughout the Brexit negotiations that followed, the Morning Star vied with the Telegraph and the Mail to be Britain’s most anti-EU newspaper. Not only did it use many of the same arguments as the right wing press (most shamefully, calling for greater curbs on immigration), it also used the same rhetoric: “Brussels bureaucrats” (of course), and denouncing pro-EU forces as “a ‘fifth column’ in British political, media and business circles”, who would run up the “white flag” in negotiations with the EU (these are all genuine quotes). Happily, this rank...

Genocide denialists at the Morning Star

TheDaily Worker had a shameful record of justifying or denying the Stalinist show trials of the 1930s and the systematic denial of basic human rights in the USSR and Eastern Europe after the war. It had nothing to say against Stalin’s mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars and other peoples during World War 2, or against China’s treatment of the people of Tibet. You could argue, however, that it never sunk so low as to attempt to justify or deny genocide. Its successor, the Morning Star, is doing just that. On Friday 26 February, the Morning Star carried three articles about China. Inevitably...

Kino Eye: The 1970 Leeds clothing workers' strike

The 1971 postal workers’ strike (Solidarity 583) was one of several key strikes in that stormy period. Leeds United!, directed by Roy Battersby, which was broadcast by the BBC in 1974 in their Play for Today series, concerns an unofficial strike by female clothing workers in Leeds and is based on real events in 1970. The militancy of the women, led by the indefatigable Mollie (Lynne Perrie), and their desire to improve their miserable wages, come into conflict with an entrenched, all-male, trade union bureaucracy who eventually negotiate a sell-out deal. A Communist Party member Harry Gridley...

Chinese state still has defender in British media

On February 4, Ofcom, the media watchdog, revoked the UK broadcast licence of China Global Television Network (CGTN), the Chinese state’s English-language television channel. The grounds were that it is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and not the licence-holder, Star China Media Limited. That the licence-holder has editorial oversight of the channel’s output is a legal requirement. Fiona Edwards, of the “No Cold War” international organising committee, responded in the Morning Star (6-7 February) that the decision was “an outrageous act of censorship which reveals that the West’s...

What we owe to Ernie Tate

Ernie Tate, who died from cancer on 5 February at the age of 86, was once well-known among revolutionary socialists across the world as the central figure of “the Tate affair”. He was an active Trotskyist from his early 20s, in Canada. He moved to London in 1965-9, and that was where the “Tate affair” happened, in 1966. Back in Canada, he quit the organised Trotskyist movement about 1980, but remained active on the broader left until his last years. I last met him in 2015, at a conference at the University of East Anglia. An obituary by John Riddell gives more of the story here. The “Tate...

Return of the Anti-Monopoly Alliance

The “Recapitulation Theory” in biology claims that the human embryo in the womb passes through every evolutionary stage from amoeba to fish to invertebrate, etc. etc., up to primitive human form. As a biological theory “recapitulation” is long discredited, but theMorning Star does seem to do something like “recapitulation” of Stalinism. “Third Period” Stalinism of 1928-34 was an ultra-left line that held that social democracy and liberalism were the last obstacles in the way of socialist revolution and that their destruction by fascism might even hasten the revolution. All proportions guarded...

Still lying after 80 years

On 21 January 1941 the British government banned the Daily Worker. Eighty years later that paper’s successor, theMorning Star, commemorated the ban with lengthy articles by editor Ben Chacko and Communist Party of Britain head of communications Phil Katz. Katz describes the ban as the culmination of “a decade-long struggle with censors, libel suits [and] grizzly judges.” The paper, says Katz, “was not banned for anything in particular that it said ... [but] in order to disrupt the labour movement.” Chacko, on the other hand, quotes (before dismissing) the then-home secretary Herbert Morrison’s...

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