Communist Party of Britain and Morning Star

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...

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...

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