I have made no secret of the fact that I used to be a member of The Communist Party in Britain. I started as a teenager, in the Young Communist League, then transferred to adult membership when I was 18 years old. I wasn’t a very good local member. I rarely attended meetings, and never sold the Morning Star newspaper on the streets. But I did actively support the cause in other ways. I became a trade union ‘agitator’, with a Communist intent to try to make the unions more militant. Much later, I was part of a large group that infiltrated the Labour Party, by joining it, and then signed up as a member of an offshoot group, ‘Militant Tendency’, with an agenda to change the Labour Party into a radical Hard-Left organisation.
That ‘plot’ was discovered, and I was formally expelled as a member of the Labour Party. As that was at the time of Neil Kinnock’s leadership, I saw that almost as a relief. Soon after, I split from the Communist Party, because it took an anti-Soviet stance, and I felt that they were becoming too ‘soft’. The last time I was able to vote for a Communist candidate was in 1987, when I still lived in South-East London. He lost his deposit, and received so few votes that they never stood a candidate there again.
During the EU referendum, The Communist Party took a very anti-EU position, and that attracted me. This is what they had to say about the EU.
Nevertheless, the CP will continue to oppose Britain’s membership of the European Union, recognising that the treaties, rules, directives and policies of the EU are designed to protect big business interests and their capitalist markets against any advance towards socialism in any EU member state.
Like most Communist and workers’ parties across Europe, the Communist Party of Britain understands that the EU has also been designed to be unreformable as a construction to defend and promote capitalism and is now developing a military dimension in order to promote the common interests of Europe’s main imperialist powers.
This was exactly how I had always felt about the EU, and why I voted against joining, in 1975.
Since moving to Norfolk in 2012, I have not had many opportunities to vote. But when they have arisen, I have voted for The Labour Party. This is generally perceived to be a nominal protest vote in this region, which is firmly and traditionally Conservative, and on the right-wing of that party too.
So with last Thursday’s election giving an emphatic win for the Conservatives throughout much of the UK, I wondered what The Communist Party had been up to, and why they had never put up a candidate in Norfolk for me to vote for. I found this, online.
The Communist Party reaffirms its commitment to working for the election of a left-led Labour government on a left and progressive manifesto at an early general election.
Once again, we will call upon all socialists, progressives, trade unionists, Greens and Scottish and Welsh nationalists to vote for such a government led by a socialist who has a long and proven record of defending the interests of working people and their families and of opposing militarism and imperialist wars.
In order to demonstrate its commitment to unity around this perspective, the CP will not be standing candidates of its own in the next general election, providing Labour retains its left leadership and fights the election on a left and progressive manifesto.
It appears that they have so little faith in their own policies, that they urged their members to vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, as the ‘best option’ for some kind of Socialist government in this country. Further research told me that it also did this in 2017, and in 2018, it announced that it would no longer stand any candiudates against Labour, as long as the current leadership was in place. Looking into it a little more. I discovered that the current Communist Party in Britain has less than 900 members.
I conclude that they have ‘given up’.
Yesterday, I watched the numerous candidates for the Labour Party leadership election being interviewed on TV. It was a specially set up forum, designed to allow each candidate to get across their vision of a Labour government led by them. After the resignation of Ed Miliband, we might have hoped to see some passion, some bold rhetoric, even, dare I suggest, a return to some Socialist principles. But no, of course not, that was never going to happen.
Instead we got the two front runners talking about ‘engaging’ with Business and Industry, when they should have been talking about nationalising them instead. They all spoke about ‘connecting’ with the aspirations of all voters, and having to address the main doorstep issues of Immigration, and EU membership. They were quick to add that whilst Immigration might have to be dealt with in some sort of acceptable way, EU membership was a non-negotiable issue for Labour.
The female candidates were the most interesting. They talked of having children, understanding mothers, and of their natural empathy and compassion. We haven’t forgotten Margaret Thatcher yet. She was a mother. Enough said. One young woman looked as if she was about to say something good about equality and Socialism, so the chairman reigned her in. She won’t win, that’s for sure. A well-spoken, charismatic man at the end of the table talked with confidence about staying in the EU, appealing to the middle-ground in politics, and forging links with big business. He will go far.
It was depressing stuff. The potential leaders of a party that had already moved too far to the Right, all sitting there talking about moving even further in that direction, the wrong direction, to ‘appeal to the voters’. The new generation of voters, presumably. Those who worry about their mortgages, want bigger and better houses, bigger and faster cars. The same people who want to stop all Immigration, blame everything that is wrong with this country on foreigners, and stop paying any benefits to the elderly and disabled in our population.
They should have given each of them a hammer,and a large nail. Then they could have finished the job, by hammering the last nails into the Labour Party’s coffin. They will change the name again soon. Just watch.