Communist Parties

Many years ago when I took a job with the Ministry of Defence a question they asked was ‘Are you or have you ever been a communist’, or words to that effect. Obviously they already knew with the background checks carried out on anyone joining the MOD and signing the Official Secrets Act.

Decades on I’ve just thought what exactly did they mean with that type of question, leading on to what makes a person a communist. I suppose it’s easy to have communist tendencies or to feel broadly aligned to the aims of socialism and communism. But I expect the question really implied was did I belong to the communist party.

So I did a google uk search for communist party and discovered there are more parties than you can shake a stick at. We have:

Communist Party of Britain
Communist Party of Great Britain
New Communist Party of Britain
Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
The Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Communist Party of Britain Marxist-Leninist

Is there so much that can be argued over when it comes to communism, and to such a degree that parties can break up, diverge and reform in other shades? And I haven’t included the communist based parties that have socialism in their name!

The Drink of the Death Squads

Coca Cola in Colombia seems to have a track record of bad working relationships with unions in Colombia. I mean really bad!

Now it seems the story is repeating itself in Pakistan. Since forming a union at Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in the southern Pakistan city of Multan in June 2009, members have met with death threats, abduction, firings, extortion, forgery and fraud. Management’s vicious response to the workers’ fight for a union is a story drenched with violence, corruption, sleaze and escalating criminality.

Read more at the IUF Website 

Time to roll out a classic track by David Rovics called Drink of the Death Squads.

‘Seems you American workers get downsized, us we just get shot’

H/T Jemmy Hope

VAT as a Weapon of Class Destruction

So the bankers and the media are gushing over posh boy George’s rich man’s budget. They’ve softened us up over the past few weeks with negative superlatives on the economy like dire, tough, bloody, unavoidable and now they praise it as a job well done.

There some data from the Office for National Statistics that shows that the richest 10% spend £1 in every £25 on VAT whilst at the poorer end £1 in every £7 goes towards VAT.

So posh boy’s knee-jerk reaction is to up VAT as it hits the poorer more than the richer. But wait, haven’t we heard mention of upping VAT before? As a reminder here’s some posters from not so long ago.

First off the Tories with their nightmare scenario of Brown upping VAT.

Then there’s one from posh boy Clegg’s little grouping about the Tories upping VAT.

Spot the difference? No, of course not. There is no difference. This current ConDem coalition shows the Liberals for what they truly are. Where we hoped that they would temper posh boy George’s hatred for the working class we receive disappointment. At the first whiff of ‘power’ their principles have been discarded like a used condom. The problem is that in Parliamentary terms we have no opposition (aside from Caroline Lucas, the Green MP and a few left leaning Labour MPs) to the neoliberal financial model of screw the workers. The Labour Party’s line is the same – the poor, the sick, the young, the old, the working man and women, they’re the ones who have to pay for the failure of the rich. If they’d retained power we’d still be in the same position.

The BBC were interviewing some members of the public on the day of the budget. They were set up somewhere along the Thames with posh flats and houses on one bank and poorer housing on the other. One woman commented ‘This is class war’. I don’t know how the BBC let her slip through but she is right, this is now open class warfare. Parliament has failed in that it is not representative of the people. The MPs are chosen as clones to be representative of the state, people who say one thing yet quietly promise not to upset the status quo. I think we’re in for a summer of discontent.

Where does the Labour party go from here?

The Guardian has an article looking at the views of nine leading ‘left-wing’ thinkers. You can read it here.

This is reported as the ‘left-wing’ of the Labour Party so there should be some radical ideas knocking about. Let’s have a look. Well, I was going to go through it but I think it’s easier to just list the items. If you want to know more then follow the link above.

proper voting reform
an Apollo-style declaration to turn Britain into the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind
families and work-life balance
job share in the shadow cabinet
a non-selective school entrance system
deciding what is the right size of the public sector
move on tax avoidance
scrap inheritance tax, introduce a French and Swedish-style wealth tax
regulate the market
democratise the state
introduction of modern capital controls
European-wide minimum wage and tax on bonuses and high pay
directly elected education boards
a 35-hour week
a big examination of family law
a careful look carefully at adoption
clamp down on dangerous and nuisance driving
investigate the activities of pubcos [big pub companies]
a universal banking obligation
a green investment bank
a competition inquiry into the big banks
abolish the current higher-rate pension tax relief
introduce tax relief of 20p in the pound for anyone who saves
how we can afford fairness and equality
VAT on private school fees.
universal tax credit system, going to everybody
a new way to pay for politics
more women into politics
Invest in prevention
formalise cash-in-hand working
responsibility charging

All well and good taken in their own right but the stuff of change? The issues we have with the country and the wider world boil down to power and greed. The capitalist system uses these to retain control in the hands of the few. I’ve come to realise that I don’t want a party that seeks to tinker round the edges, that looks to spin the positive from a situation, that seeks to limit their remit to turd polishing.

None of the above is going to change things. All it will do is give the illusion of change but leaving the underlying malaise free to fester.

The Labour party was once described as a ‘broad church’ which was one of its powers but it now seems to have descended into a small sect of a much larger mega-church, the church of greed and capitalism.

The answer to the question of this post is “into history’.

Now, where to find a party that will bring in socialism?

What to read next?

I’m in the market for some new reading material so if you’d be so good as to help then you can find my ‘looks interesting’ feed from Goodreads.com in the sidebar. If you have a Goodreads account then feel free to add me as a friend.

And if you have anything else to recommend then I’d like to hear it!

** Update – just ordered these two:

The Revolution Betrayed by Leon Trotsky

Global Justice: Liberation and Socialism by Ernesto Guevara