Following the general election defeat in December and Corbyn’s announcement of his resignation, the right has become reinvigorated. It could be that the surge of new Labour Party members since then is, as some have claimed, a symptom of the right’s revival and ability to recruit a new, more ‘moderate’ membership.
How else do we explain the fact that Corbyn’s own CLP, Islington North, where he has been the MP since 1983, has just come out in favour of Keir Starmer to succeed him as Labour leader? We can be sure that, whoever becomes the new party leader, the drive to turn Labour into a safe, reliable party, serving the interests of capital at home and abroad, will continue. As will the campaign to drive out all those such as NEC candidate Jo Bird who have a trace of principle.
In reply to Jim Cook (Letters, January 31), I never argued that Marx was unaware of the origin of the term, ‘dictatorship’. What I suggested was that he misused the term. The result is that Marxists, like Jim, confuse dictatorship with state coercion. The state is an instrument of coercion, which can be controlled by those who want democratic accountability, or those who want to impose a dictatorship, like the fascists.
In the Marxist narrative, the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ leads to socialism and Lenin - not the most tolerant of individuals - correctly pointed out that dictatorship is rule untrammelled by any law. This must also include socialist law, because a dictatorship accountable to the law and public opinion is not a true dictatorship.
Rather than leading to socialism, Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat leads to the rule of a stratum of privileged officials, as anarchists predicted it would (although the latter wanted to dispense with the state altogether) and as Trotsky found out, but never related it to Marxism. His book The revolution betrayed, published in 1936, pointed out where bureaucracy would lead to. Stalin read this book and it was, no doubt, one of the catalysts for his anti-bureaucratic campaign, what Lars Lih calls “Stalin’s anti-bureaucratic scenario” - the only option open to him in the absence of a democratic approach.
Jim seems to confuse democracy under capitalism with democracy under socialism. The examples he gives for why a proletarian dictatorship is necessary, like helping the homeless, doesn’t prove the necessity of dictatorship, but rather the need for socialism and, where necessary, state coercion. It is not dictatorship which leads to socialism, but rather the democratic rule of the working people.
Dictatorship leads to the rule of a bureaucratic elite. Marx was 100% right to side with those struggling for socialism, but his theory that dictatorship is necessary to bring in socialism needs to be rejected by the socialist intelligentsia for a more enlightened view.
Good old Stalin
I have been reading about the history of the CPGB on Wikipedia and it’s fascinating. Your views on Stalin and Stalinism are despicable, disloyal and an affront to human nature. I saw amongst the founding principles of the Campaign for a Marxist Party, which you founded in November 2006: “... no party which has as its aim the liberation of humanity can do other than condemn the Stalinist current and seek to undo the damage done to Marxism by it”. (Note you don’t say ‘Marxism-Leninism’. Makes you think why. But I already know the answer.)
I see Jack Conrad is in there. He’s never given up his path. It seems you came out of the dear New Communist Party, which itself was formed out of a split from the original CPGB in 1977. And youth leader Jack Conrad under the influence of the Communist Party of Turkey (wow) attempted to lead “a handful” back into the CPGB.
Then you began to publish The Leninist. I quite liked that publication - it appeared to be Stalinist to some people, but over time mutated into something very different. That dog, Trotsky, has done more criminal damage to the furtherance of socialist parties’ aims than any man that ever existed. The constant break-up of parties, and new splinter groups emerging all over the place making declarations such as yours, have destroyed the chances of those socialist parties. They can’t cohere, because Trotsky wouldn’t let them. His thinking could not maintain a cohesive party organisation. He didn’t inspire faith, devotion and loyalty. He was quite frankly a madman. (Oh, he had the charm all right - he bewitched millions through his journalism.)
The proof of my assertion is the sorry state of socialist parties in Britain today - people hold their noses, because such parties do not offer a convincing explanation. By contrast, the Communist Party of Britain has performed extraordinarily well in past decades and it will perform well again. The CPB is a Marxist-Leninist party - that is their heading, not ‘Stalinist Party’. Stalin was a servant of Soviet power, a world statesman. Stalinist parties don’t exist and never did - only in the feverish mind of that devil, Trotsky.
It doesn’t matter that you are not a formal party of Trotsky. What matters is your hate feelings towards Stalin and the effect this is having on your organisation and paper. You have joined with many parties over the decades. Every marriage has ended in divorce. And your past alliance with the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty is shocking. We know what they’ve become - a cult. An obsessive friend of Israel. A demented organisation.
Christ, you supported the Kosovo Liberation Army - you referred to the province of Serbia by its Ottoman Turkish name. Shameful.
“... the CPGB does not formally endorse any particular theoretical analysis of the Soviet Union.” This is true. You want to have your cake and eat it. I believe your hateful view of Stalin is tactically based and not in any way honest. This tactic, you believe, can win you support amongst the people who have been brainwashed by the imperialist bourgeoisie. But western hatred of the Soviet Union is well documented and known by everyone. You can’t appease the beast.
I have seen positive writings about the USSR in the Weekly Worker, where you didn’t dwell on Stalin. There are acres of writing in your paper, in which you examine many of its issues in an understanding light. Of course, originally you were in the CPGB and have even stolen its name. But the issue of Trotsky and Stalin has to be resolved.
Comrade Peter McLaren is damning in his criticism of universal credit (Letters February 2).
UC is the creation of the UK’s civil service and thus designed to simplify benefits provision from the perspective of the provider - her majesty’s government - through that agency. It takes no account of the individuality of claimants - their needs, means, difficulties, special circumstances never enter into the equation of the universal system.
It is appalling, but not surprising, that the illiteracy of one of comrade McLaren’s cited claimants is not identified and acted upon. A ‘one size fits all’ system will always fail when forms have to be filled (online only); ‘t’s crossed and ‘i’s dotted; medical certificates provided; tenancy agreements disclosed; bank, building society and post office savings accounts laid open; shareholdings; life assurances; pension pots; what you might get from great-auntie Madge when she goes ...
There is a simpler way - basic universal income. Everyone gets it as a right - like child benefit, as was, but on stilts. Every adult receives £100 a week courtesy of HMG ... if they need more they apply for it. The simplified system should ensure that those who need that bit extra get it.
This smacks of socialism, comrades, so don’t it expect it any time soon!
The financial market is a special market, in which so-called financial commerce or exchange takes place. This market is usually considered as two different ones: Capital market and money market. The capital market is a place where securities are speculated on and in this way the middle and long-term investments of more than one year are performed by the persons buying the stocks or debentures. The money market contains banking facilities: namely the monies which banks and other financial institutes grant in the form of various kinds of loans, which are invested in production or commerce.
The money invested through the financial market is normally considered as finance capital. The financial market plays a major role in the system and in its growth and evolution through the accumulation of the capital and the evolution of bourgeois technique. The other means of financing the capitalist economy consists of investment to establish new enterprises.
The capital market in different countries is normally much more extensive than the money market. Depositing money in banks and other financial institutions and receiving interest are considered a special part of the financial market. The gathering of so-called stagnant money from ordinary people by banks and other financial institutions helps to fulfil two bourgeois aims: earning more profit by the capitalists; and as far as possible transforming the mass of the working class and middle class into so-called petty capitalists, who will then tend to go along with the bourgeois system. The second aim is that of the bourgeois state: to make these people neutral in the struggle against the capitalist system.
Variations in the value of money are influenced by various factors, including: the overall political and economical situation of bourgeois society and whether the future seems clear or not; increasing or reducing production and investment and consequently the reduction or increase in prices; the reduction or augmentation of foreign exchange payments and consequently the value of foreign currencies ; the inflation rate resulting from printing more paper money without increasing production; external factors, such as economic sanctions, drought and so forth.
In any country in a given period maybe one or a few of these factors become pertinent in variations in the value of money.
Communists must continuously explain to the proletariat the workings of the financial market in order to win over the masses of the working class within bourgeois society.
No licence fee
The cost of the annual television licence fee will increase from £154.50 to £157.50 from April 1. The licence fee is a modern-day poll tax on working class people. Each year hundreds of poor people - mostly women - attend magistrates courts for not being able to afford the licence fee. It should be abolished immediately.
The licence fee is used to finance the BBC, which is the propaganda organisation of the British state. This was clearly shown by its coverage of the lead-up to the US/UK-led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Similarly, it promoted the ‘remain’ position of the three main parties in the 2016 EU referendum. More recently, it did a hatchet job on Jeremy Corbyn by repeating the lie put out by the Israeli ministry of information that the Labour Party is riddled with anti-Semites.
The BBC should be financed from advertising revenue, just like Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.