Reject exclusion of Communist Students

Ben Lewis takes Owen Jones (Socialist Youth Network) to task over his enthusiastic support for the undemocratic exclusion of Hopi and Communist Students from the Stop the War Coalition

Communist Students is not even a year old, but in its brief existence has been attacked by all manner of unprincipled opponents who are clearly bent on driving us out of the movement. They obviously fear what we are saying and the political support that we are slowly building amongst students.

Although we had actually been affiliated to the Stop the War Coalition since September 19, we were informed on the day of the deadline for motions and nominations, October 12, that our "application" had been rejected. Why? Because we stand for democracy and socialism in Iran. Because we oppose a united front with the regime in Tehran. Because we fight for the politics of Marxism in Britain and oppose the popular frontism of the John Rees-Lindsey German Socialist Workers Party and the national socialism of Andrew Murray's Communist Party of Britain. In other words because we support the political programme of the CPGB.

Birds of a feather flock together though. Weekly Worker readers might perhaps recall Owen Jones. He is co-chair of the Socialist Youth Network, a youth organisation that says it is open to all who want to fight for working class politics, "whether or not you are a member of the Labour  Party". In reality its main purpose was to provide support for John McDonnell's campaign to become leader of the Labour Party. Obviously that failed. A little detail that goes unremarked on the SYN website.

Anyway one of comrade Jones' many roles in SYN has been that of witch-hunter. Above all he wanted to remove from SYN anyone associated with the CPGB. He even demanded that John McDonnell's name be removed from Hopi's list of sponsors - against his expressed wishes.

Not surprisingly, comrade Jones has proved more than keen to support the STWC officers in their attempt to define Hopi and CS (and, of course, the CPGB) as politically unacceptable, as being beyond the pale, as the not to be touched.  He has therefore recently described the CPGB as a "deeply suspicious sect" not concerned with fighting our "own ruling class", but only exposing the "alleged" failings of the British left (email to CPGB national organiser Mark Fischer). Of course, comrade Jones does not specify why we are "deeply suspicious", although one can guess what kind of putrid allegation is being made.

The point is, however, that with its current  politics and organisational methods, the British left will never be in any serious position to challenge the ruling class. Pathetically, whereas those with a deep understanding and analysis of Iran's social contradictions and dynamics such as Yassamine Mather will be excluded from the Iran-themed STWC conference, delegates will now be subjected to undiluted apologetics of the SWP-CPB type. Eg, 'Iran isn't as bad as Saudi Arabia' or other western-supported regimes in the Middle East (so we shouldn't be too critical of it). Disgusting politics, quite frankly.

We will not lie back and meekly accept this obvious attempt to sideline those who seek to combine opposition to imperialist aggression with support for the working class and democratic opposition in Iran, as Communist Students has done and continues to do.

We have called upon our members and allies in the student movement to reject this breach of democracy and take the fight to their local Stop the War student groups.

Our appeal has certainly been warmly welcomed, with numerous comrades expressing their support and signing up to the Hopi petition, and with over 140 people, predominantly students, signing up to the 'Reject political censorship in the Stop the War Coalition' group on Facebook (www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5547972793).

At the October 27 conference it is absolutely vital that those who reject our exclusion protest at this, and we call upon students who are going, as delegates or observers, to get in touch with us at info@communiststudents.org.uk.