Communist Party of Britain and Morning Star

Teach anti-capitalism, but get it right

Very little happens by accident or oversight at the Morning Star (despite the paper using that excuse whenever their periodic lapses into blatant antisemitism provoke complaints from leading CPers). So it was, I’d submit, no accident that a quite good article by NEU activist Robert Poole (7 October, electronic edition), protesting at government guidelines banning anti-capitalist materials in schools, was accompanied by this picture. The slide that the teacher is showing his pupils contains the following text: “The main difference between Marxism and Leninism is that, while Karl Marx believed...

Nagorno-Karabakh: too complex?

The Morning Star editorial of Monday 5 October was entitled “Nagorno-Karabakh: a complex conflict that must be seen in context”. In fact the editorial gave little factual information and no political steer whatsoever on the dispute. After an initial, inconclusive, section on Nagorno-Karabakh, the rest of the editorial was a rambling discourse on internationalism in general, often virtually indecipherable. However, I suspect that the following gives a significant clue as to the true meaning of the editorial: “ There is a certain narrative on the liberal left that sees each of the present-day...

Brexit shows... no point defending the BBC

The Cummings-Johnson-Gove clique have made no secret of their contempt for the BBC and desire to bring it to heel. They believe the result of the EU referendum and the 2019 election give them an opportunity to mount a “culture war” on the supposedly “liberal” and “metropolitan” BBC. Their approach so far, has been to follow Trump’s “fake news” strategy — in which politicians aim to escape accountability by convincing enough supporters that all criticism is based on the lies of a biased “liberal” media. But now there is clear evidence of a plan to fundamentally undermine the independence of the...

It depends who's saying it

The Morning Star (and the Daily Worker before it) for years survived thanks to a subsidy from the Russian leadership: Moscow paid it £3,000 a month in the 1960s (equivalent of £60,000-plus today), and in the 1970s and 1980s purchased 12,000 copies a day. When the order was cancelled in 1992, the paper was saved by the leaders of several British trade unions pumping money in. Union funding continues to ensure the paper’s survival via bulk orders, generous payments for advertising, and subsidised special editions for union conferences, Tolpuddle, the Durham Miners’ Gala, etc. Paradoxically, this...

Uyghurs suppressed? But the US has racist cops!

During the Cold War the cry "but America lynches blacks" was a favourite Stalinist riposte to any criticism of the USSR's human rights record. This is known as a Tu Quoque — a form of debating trick based upon the perceived hypocrisy of the opponent rather than the merits of their argument. Last weekend's Morning Star (19-20 Sep) carried a classic example of this with an article by Fiona Edwards entitled "The left must oppose the US cold war on China and not sit on the fence". Ms Edwards examines "the reality of the contrasting approaches of the US and China on the major issues facing humanity...

Forward to Comrade Johnson's Five Year Plan!

Let’s be clear: when it comes to Brexit, the Morning Star and its masters, the Communist Party of Britain, essentially support Boris Johnson and wish him well. They even (as we shall see) harbour hopes that he may introduce some sort of planned economy (no, seriously! See below). This has been obvious for a long while: over a year ago (29 Aug 2019), the paper blamed anti-Brexit MPs for Johnson’s illegal prorogation of parliament: “It comes in circumstances that have been created by anti-Brexit MPs and the House of Commons. They have had three years to agree a way to honour the people’s vote to...

Belarus: calculation or confusion?

The Morning Star is usually clear-cut on international issues: for them (and their political masters, the Communist Party of Britain), the world is divided pretty neatly into goodies and baddies. The goodies are the “anti-imperialist” forces (Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.) and regimes like Cuba, Iran and Venezuela. The baddies are the US (with or without Trump), the EU and all liberal democracies. Putin doesn’t quite fit into the Morning Star’s neat division of the world, but it’s pretty obvious that on the whole, they reckon he’s more sinned against than sinning. First and foremost amongst the...

Left politics without the activists

Gabriel Pogrund’s and Patrick Maguire’s book Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn is not really about the politics of the Corbyn Labour Party leadership, but about the “politics” in the sense of corridor chat, text-message exchanges, and WhatsApp groups at the top of the party hierarchy. Tellingly, it doesn’t mention the failure of the Labour Party in that period to promote any real ongoing political campaigns outside the general elections of 2017 and 2019. Either the authors take it as obvious that political parties won’t do political campaigning, or they picked up no argument or...

China and the Uyghurs

The Morning Star has a problem. How does a newspaper claiming to stand for “Peace and Socialism” defend a regime that denies basic democratic rights and has incarcerated an estimated million Muslims in what look very much like concentration camps? An article by one Carlos Martinez (MS July 14) denounced “increasingly hysterical and absurd” criticisms of China, citing “four main lines of attack being pushed on a daily basis by the US and British ruling classes”: That the newly introduced National Security Law is an attack on the basic freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and violates China’s...

Stand with Hong Kong!

Over mid-July, Hong Kong has been in a stand-off. The Chinese regime’s National Security Law (NSL) is now in force in Hong Kong. Its powers far exceed the Extradition Bill that was thrown out last autumn after street protests. Yet radicals in the democratic camp won the unofficial primaries in which over 600,000 Hong Kong people took part. Those who won say they will resist the NSL. So far, despite threats, the democratic candidates have not been arrested, nor have they been barred from standing in September’s elections. That was the background to the online rally of Labour Movement Solidarity...

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