… and CPB lackeys stay loyal

Despite a noticeable presence of younger members at the so-called Communist Party of Britain’s ‘44th Congress’ on the weekend of November 22-23, the only point of controversy reflected in the Morning Star was pressure from below on the part of militant old-age pensioners, imposing on a reluctant executive their call for “direct action” to win justice for the aged. The executive committee withdrew its objections after “clarification” that this only meant obstructing traffic to obtain publicity.

The six personnel changes on the group’s 30-strong executive committee appears to have left the Morning Star/Peoples Press Printing Society clique around Mike Hicks and Mary Rosser firmly in control. This does not mean the Morning Star is the paper of the CPB. On the contrary, from its (re)foundation, the CPB has been the ‘party’ of the paper. After all, it was born out of a factional struggle in support of the paper’s liquidationist unilateral declaration of independence from CPGB control in the early 80s.

The brief challenge to the Star clique at the 1995 congress seems to have subsided. When the 1995 executive elections did not go according to plan, the clique attempted to have its way through a special congress to re-run the elections. This was rejected by the new executive, which nevertheless succumbed to the setting up of a commission to investigate factionalism.

A challenge to the incumbent general secretary, bureaucratic dealer Mike Hicks, from the scrupulously clean Richard Maybin failed by only one vote at the first EC meeting, after which the clique secured its position by co-opting ‘official’ Marxist economist Ron Bellamy - guru of the ‘alternative economic and political strategy’, so central to the ‘revolutionary’ reformist British road to socialism. It was his defeat in the 1995 congress elections which caused the clique to cry foul. This time round he was safely re-elected.

So, with the BRS and AEPS entrenched, the organisation is programmatically tied to the coat-tails of Blair’s New Labour government. Consequently, those comrades who remain loyal to the CPB and the Star under these conditions - despite the best of intentions, despite all their complaints against Blair’s government - are destined to follow the Labour Party to their grave.

Far from striving to replace Labour, Hicks tries pathetically to save it from itself: “The Communist Party believes it is possible … to re-awaken the progressive spirit … of previous Labour governments”; and  “to ensure that this Labour government does not end up failing the working class as so many have in the past” (Morning Star November 22).

The logic of the national socialism of the BRS programme, relying as it does on the British parliament to deliver human liberation, was reflected in the congress policy for “total withdrawal” from the European Union. But while Hicks seeks to “prevent” New Labour from “leading a cross-party coalition to drag us [sic] into the institutionalised monetarism of the single European currency”, Star journalist Brian Denny does not mind cross-party alliances, so long as they are British national chauvinist. “He argued against painting Tory MPs as the ‘nationalistic right’, urging “the broadest possible alliance of those opposed to European Union” (Morning Star November 22 and 24).

With politics like these, why call yourselves a communist party? The future is liquidation - but the money has not yet run out, and party wages may sustain this Labourite clique for quite a few more years beyond its use-by date.

Ian Farrell