Scottish Communists - website of the Communist Party
Saturday 27 August
STUC, 333 Woodlands Road Glasgow G3 6NN
All readers of the Morning Star from across the Labour Movement in Scotland are invited to this short conference. It takes place in a critical period for the development of our Labour Movement. When every other newspaper and media channel is determined to split and divide, the Morning Star stands for Labour Movement unity, peace, socialism and support for Jeremy Corbyn. The focus of the conference is on how to build the readership and influence of the Morning Star and particularly how to develop and strengthen Morning Readers Supporters Groups.
11 a.m. Opening Remarks from the Chair
Denise Christie, Chair, Scottish Labour Campaign for Socialism
11.10 The Morning Star and the Scottish Labour Movement
Jackson Cullinane Head of Unite Scotland’s Politics, Research & Campaigns Unit
11.25 Building the influence of the Morning Star
Bernadette Keaveney, Circulation Manager, Morning Star
11.45 Developing Readers and Supporters Groups
Sandra and Iain Trotter (Dumfries) and Lindsay Barlow and Douglas Kerr (Renfrewshire) give their experiences
12.00 Reporting for the Star: giving a voice to the movement
12.15 Winning new readers: the role of trades union councils and trade unions
Questions and discussion
12.45 Chair’s summing up of action points
The Morning Star is owned and run by a cooperative society, the People Press Printing Society. Its Management Committee includes nine national trade unions. All readers are encouraged to become shareholders and participate in the democracy of the paper (a share costs a minimum of £5). The Morning Star was founded as The Daily Worker in 1930 and was renamed the Morning Star fifty years ago in 1966. It is the oldest English-language socialist daily in the world.
There are currently active readers and supporters groups in West Dunbartonshire, Ayrshire, Dumfries, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Edinburgh. Supporters are seeking to organise formally constituted groups in Dundee, Fife, South West Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Video of a very successful public meeting held in Glasgow City Centre to discuss & examine advancing Socialism after the EU Referendum.
Tam Kirby from the Communist Party and Vince Mills from the Labour Party Campaign for Socialism were our speakers, chaired by Sandra Trotter of the Communist Party Fife Branch & UNISON trade union activist.
Recorded on Wednesday, 6 July 2016 in Glasgow.
Find out more: great pamphlets on EU & Labour Movement
The EU deconstructed
With an introduction by John Foster five critical voices from within the EU, from Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, Cyprus and Germany describe the austerity effect of membership of the European Union. Readers are encouraged to circulate this to friends and family
ISBN 978-1-907464-17-1 32pp £2 printed
Download free or go to https://issuu.com/manifestopress/docs/the_eu_deconstructed_e
Britain and the EU
This pamphlet ends with a warning. The EU’s imposition of neo-liberal policies on all governments, including those led by the traditional parties of the Left, has resulted in the collapse of support for social democracy. In the coming referendum voters will be asked to support an even more neo-liberal and probusiness EU. Politically, such an outcome would pose an additional danger that Cameron would use it to argue that the electorate has voted in support of the EU’s so-called free market policies and therefore against Labour’s programme for public ownership and enhanced public spending.
The battle for the Labour Movement
1 2015: a year of struggle January 2
2 Despite its flaws Labour remains the best choice for the working class March 11
3 Socialism is the only antidote to exploitation May 1
4 After the election, what priorities for the left? May 23 6 The Tories are fighting on a wide front – so must we June 20
8 Bail-out sell out July 14
10 The illusory recovery August 8
12 Big spending – the spark our economy needs August 10
14 Corbyn's victory stands to chart a new course for Britain September 14
16 An unabashed socialist is at the helm again October 3
18 Privatise the profits – the only game in Tory town November 27
20 2016: A year for decisive advance November 28
22 March, demonstrate, lobby & strike against Tory government policies January 2, 2016
19th & 20th November 2016
Please find attached the Executive Committee resolution for discussion at the Communist Party 54th Congress on November 19 & 20 at Ruskin House, Croydon.
The EC has decided that each Branch and District and Nation Committee may submit up to three amendments, which must reach Party Centre by September 12 (no longer September 5). These should respond directly to the contents of the resolution, or introduce important new matters that in your view should be included.
In order to maintain the overall balance of the EC resolution, please use the entitlement to two Branch, District or Nation resolutions of your own to deal with any single issue in detail or at length, or to raise internal Party matters.
Branch Secretaries are urged to ensure that every local member not on email receives a paper copy of the draft EC resolution as soon as possible.
BLOCK THE RULING CLASS OFFENSIVE AND WIN A LEFT-LED GOVERNMENT
- Capitalist crisis and imperialist aggression
- Peace still the priority
- The structural crisis of the British economy
- Challenging the ruling class offensive
- The left turn in the Labour Party
- Federalism and devolution
- Trade union rights for workers' advance
- Women to the fore
- A class agenda for equality
- Immigration – a working class response
- The next steps
Topics covered will include:
What is Imperialism?,
The basics of Marxism,
the Irish question
and many more...
The school is open to all. There will comfort breaks between classes. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us at www.ycl.org.uk
Unity Office, 72 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 7DA (beside Admiral Bar, 4min from Central Station)
Willie Gallacher was Communist MP for West Fife for many years. Our speaker Jim Whyte was Scottish Secretary of the Young Communist League and helped in Gallacher's political campaigning. Jim is in a unique position to speak from his first hand knowledge of a great leader of Red Clydeside who had it out with Lenin in Russia, but who eventually came round to Lenin's way of thinking!
Willie Gallacher was a founding member of the British Communist Party (following Lenin's advice), and grew politically and in the admiration of those around him to become the Member of Parliament for the constituency of West Fife.
This meeting was held on the 80th anniversary of Gallacher becoming a Communist MP. Jim talks us though the titanic developments in Scottish and British leftwing politics from the early 1900's up to the Cold War.
Raymond Mennie, Communist Party Scottish Committee
Recorded in Dundee 2016
The organised labour & trade union movement has a strong history in Scotland. Class politics was what gave the movement that strength, and class politics remains the key to rebuilding an effective fightback against Austerity, whether is comes from the government in Westminster, Holyrood or the powerful pro-business EU.
In 2016, Raymond Mennie from the Scottish CP leadership committee, stood in the elections as a Communist candidate. This is a talk which he delivered in Dundee, which exposes the extent to which neoliberal austerity politics has become the mantra for almost every Party in power.
Neo-liberal policies: done "at a Price to us, and a Profit to them"
Raymond gives a clear analysis of where the real power lies in Scotland and Britain, and where ordinary people are in this economically & politically. He then addresses what needs to be done by our movement to combat those who seek to retain the power of Capital in the hands of the few, who do so at the expense of the many. Raymond gives a blistering critique of the lack of talk in Westminster or Holyrood of "public ownership" or "wealth redistribution" - both fundamental tenets of socialism. He also shows how the European Union political project is a club for big business, and fundamentally against the interests of working people at it's core.
Filmed on Glasgow May Day 2016
This year was the centenary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, so the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) agreed to co-host a Centenary Celebration with the Communist Party in Scotland (CPB) at our Glasgow offices. It was followed by a great annual Red Bloc May Day Social, where much political discussion followed!
Joe Law from the CPI spoke of some of the recent history in Ireland, and what forces have shaped Ireland to the present day. He also shared his own experiences growing up in Ireland, and what it means to be an effective trade unionist and a Communist working in communities divided by many factors such as religious background & national identity. Communists like himself and James Connolly knew that it was in the interests of the ruling class to play worker off against worker on the basis of these factors, whereas the way to win was and still is uniting around class politics as fellow workers.
Keith Stoddart from the Communist Party (CPB) gives an introduction showing how a Marxist from Edinburgh - James Connolly - played a huge role not just in Scotland, but in the States & is especially remembered for his part in the Irish Easter Rising.
In the run-up to the British EU Referendum in 2016, the media reports almost exclusively on virulently rightwing voices & their "trigger issues" that they seek to bring up on the EU debate. The Communist Party believes that we must clearly make Left arguments against the European Union and for leaving the EU. We believe that it is at it's very core an unreformable anti-working class & anti-socialist club for big business & the control of workers by Capital. Of course, the EU is a political body that is not to be confused in any way with the "continent of Europe" - as it is racism, anti-immigration, petty nationalism & xenophobia that fuel much of the rightwing rhetoric and outlook, and these have no place whatsoever in a socialist analysis!
Prof John Foster here takes on some common myths about the EU:
1. Leaving the EU means the end to human rights & European Court of Human Rights
2. The EU has kept Peace in Europe
3. We'll loose 3 million jobs if we leave the EU
4. We need the EU to protect us from TTIP
5. Austerity only comes from Tories or Westminster?
Then the the Broad bigger picture is looked at: "What actually IS the EU, what is it's core nature"?
From the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign http://scottishvenezuelasolidarity.org.uk/
We are forwarding here a statement from the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign with the request that you support it and circulate it further. After that we give you links to three articles which give up-to-date insights into the situation in Venezuela
Tony Burke, Unite the Union,
Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Venezuela Solidarity Campaig
Colin Burgon, Labour Friends of Venezuela
We, the undersigned, note the growing concern across progressive movements and governments across Latin America that elements of the Right Wing within Venezuela have called again for the 'ousting' of the elected President Nicolas Maduro before the constitutional end of his term.
The success of such a campaign would mean the implementation of a hardline neo-liberal programme in Venezuela, which could only further exacerbate the country's economic problems and overturn the advances in social programmes and labour rights of recent years.
Announcements from the right-wing this week follow the decision of the US to renew sanctions against Venezuela, which have been condemned by the Union of South American nations.Agreeing with the Latin American community of nations, we call for respect for Venezuela's national sovereignty and ongoing solidarity with the social achievements Venezuela has made in recent years.
THREE RECENT ARTICLES FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST
1. Venezuela’s Right Wing Confesses to 17 years of Political Delinquency: The Amnesty Bill - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-francisco-dominguez/venezuelas-right-wing-con_b_9401644.html?utm_hp_ref=venezuela
2. Right Wing Majority in Venezuela’s National Assembly: The Constitutional and Political Stakes - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-francisco-dominguez/right-wing-majority-in-ve_b_9069350.html?utm_hp_ref=venezuela
3. Fixing the Venezuelan Economy - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-weisbrot/fixing-the-venezuelan-eco_b_9318760.html?utm_hp_ref=venezuela
Prof John Foster, Communist Party International Secretary, explains what is going on in the Ukraine. Ukraine is a country divided by a civil war that has already killed thousands. The country is also in economic chaos. Inflation is running at over 40 per cent. Average wages for those lucky enough to be employed are around £25 a week. Over half the population is living below the UN-determined poverty level.
Recorded September 2015, this event was originally to have had Eddie Dempsy give a report on the International solidarity visit to the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. Although Eddie couldn't make it, Prof Foster stood in and gave tremendously useful insights into this potentially complex subject.
Prof Foster & others Left authors continue to give this sharp analysis in the Morning Star daily Leftwing newspaper - like this article:
Communism Ban signals Reign of Terror in Ukraine from Tuesday 19th January 2016.
Only the Morning Star in Britain really carries the news and analysis on Ukraine and many other subjects & issues which Western media can often obscure.
Carolyn Jones, Director of the Institute of Employment Rights
Taken from Morning Star Scotland website: http://morningstarscotland.org/video/111-video-challenges-to-politics-of-working-class
Part of the "Redeveloping Class Politics" Autumn 2015 Conference held in Glasgow's STUC organised by the Morning Star.
Carolyn Jones, Director of the Institute of Employment Rights, opened this successful Conference with her insights & analysis of the "Challenges to Politics of Working Class", and what we can do to further the cause of ordinary people in the face of a mass Tory & Ruling class onslaught.
IER: A think tank for the labour movement http://www.ier.org.uk/
Also includeds a short tribute to the late Dr Alan MacKinnon, former Chair of CND and Morning Star supporter and columnist.
ROBERT GRIFFITHS asks who should govern Britain? Monopoly corporations through the EU, the Bank of England, Nato and the Pentagon — or the people, through their mass movements and elected representatives?
Poor Oliver Letwin. Like Jim Carrey in the US comedy film Liar, Liar, he can’t help blurting out inconvenient and embarrassing truths.
In the case of Carrey’s screen character, his son had cast a spell on him to halt the torrent of lies.
In Letwin’s case, his wealthy Eton and Oxbridge background have given him such a colossal sense of superiority and entitlement that he imagines himself to be bullet-proof.
His views of black people and the “lower classes” from above provide further insights into the mind of a ruling-class politician who is currently a senior policy adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron.
This, after all, is the Tory MP who was seen dumping piles of constituents’ correspondence into five different bins in a public park near Downing Street, so little did their problems concern him.
In the past, Letwin has voiced his willingness to beg rather than allow his offspring to attend a state school like 93 per cent of other children.
He once admitted that the NHS would not survive five years of Conservative government cuts, reorganisation and privatisation — a prediction now on course to be realised.
Soon after Chancellor George Osborne made the first of many doomed announcements that austerity policies would ensure a rosy future for the British economy, Letwin declared that it faced an “immediate national crisis.”
That certainly turned out to be the case in 2012, when VAT increases and deeper public spending cuts choked off the economic recovery begun under the outgoing Labour government.
Since then, the Tories have dumped their little Lib Dem helpers to step up the ruling class offensive against public services and the welfare state, against the poor and disabled including children, and against trade union and democratic rights.
Only fresh increases in property values and household borrowing have so far maintained economic demand, although recent growth figures have been revised downwards towards near-zero.
Even after the cuts in social and welfare spending, tax relief for the rich and big business would be driving Britain’s public finances into the ditch were it not for record fire-sales of public-sector assets.
In 2015, Osborne collected £20bn from flogging off cut-price bank, building society and Royal Mail shares to his party’s paymasters in the City. He’s counting on another £41bn between now and 2020.
He and Cameron must be praying that Letwin doesn’t blurt out the truth about their “long-term economic plan” and “northern powerhouse” — that they don’t really exist.
These are fictions to fool the people with the aid of the right-wing media.
What is real, however, is a ruling class strategy to boost the corporate profit base through tax reductions, international tax dodging and extensive privatisation of the health, education and criminal justice systems. Organised labour is to be weakened by new laws in a deregulated market.
Big business will want to keep Britain in the pro-austerity, anti-democratic European Union, while seeking to escape even the mildest regulation of the financial sector.
British imperialism will continue to regard EU and Nato membership as vital to serving its economic and financial interests around the world, not least in the important greater Middle East region.
As British capital continues to draw vast profit from its global operations, foreign states and private monopolies will be bribed to invest in Britain’s backward energy and transport infrastructure.
The price will be paid, literally, by workers and consumers here for generations to come.
This is the scenario facing the peoples of Britain and our labour and progressive movements today.
We cannot allow this Tory government to wage class war on every front without responding with equal and greater force.
Every socialist and communist should play whatever part they can in their local trade union, student, tenant, People’s Assembly, CND or Stop the War organisation and its activities.
We must march, demonstrate, lobby and strike against Tory government policies on an even bigger scale than before. But we also need to do so around a popular left-wing alternative programme. This should include:
- New powers to enforce equal pay and the national minimum wage.
- An end to statutory pay discrimination against young workers.
- A wealth tax on the super-rich and higher taxes on big business profits.
- A “Robin Hood” tax on financial speculation.
- An end to all PFI and privatisation schemes.
- Public ownership of gas, electricity, water, mail and the railways.
- Massive public sector low-interest investment in energy and transport.
- A huge council house building programme.
- Reversal of all benefit cuts and the reintroduction of student maintenance grants.
- Devolution of substantial economic and financial powers to local government.
- Powerful Scottish and Welsh parliaments and elected English regional assemblies in a federal Britain.
- No more nuclear weapons.
In Jeremy Corbyn, we now have a Labour Party leader who is closer to these kinds of policies than anyone since Keir Hardie.
But the left still has to win the battle of ideas inside the labour movement, especially in the Labour Party. This is particularly so in four areas.
First, the case must be clearly made for democratic, British public ownership of our electricity, gas, water, nuclear and railway industries in place of French, German, Dutch, Belgian and Chinese public ownership.
This would also end the grim farce of feeble regulators conducting frequent inquiries into rip-off practices.
Second, the only consistently democratic alternative to reactionary nationalism and the Tory devolution “tax trap” is a fully federal Britain.
Scottish separation under current conditions would weaken the labour movement and strengthen the forces of reaction on both sides of the border.
Labour should come out clearly for Scottish and Welsh parliaments with wide-ranging economic, financial and legislative powers; for English regional assemblies where popular support exists; for replacing the House of Lords with an English or federal chamber; and for equal status between the nations of Britain.
This should be accompanied if not preceded by a radical process of wealth redistribution across Britain from the City and the south-east to workers and families in every region and nation.
As new figures show the wealth gap getting bigger again, a modest 2 per cent assets tax on the richest one-tenth of the population would wipe out Britain’s annual public spending deficit at a stroke.
Third, with Trident renewal set to cost at least £167bn over 40 years, the labour movement must wholeheartedly embrace the campaign to scrap Britain’s weapons of mass murder.
The money saved could redeploy all armaments workers in socially useful research, development and production in such varied spheres as marine technology, civil defence and Third World development.
Finally, the labour movement needs to end its infatuation with the European Union.
It is absurd to imagine that as the world’s fifth biggest economy, Britain could not trade with the rest of Europe and the world to mutual advantage, while also safeguarding jobs by having the freedom to protect vital industries and enterprises.
As workers and their organisations are coming to understand across Europe, the basic treaties and organisations of the EU have been designed in favour of big business and are intentionally unreformable.
It will be hard enough winning a Labour government that will challenge monopoly and state power in Britain.
Why wear additional shackles that bind us to the EU Commission, the European Central Bank, monetarism, a super-exploited labour market and pro-big business trade deals such as TTIP?
Already, EU laws and treaties ban large-scale borrowing for public-sector investment — as the SNP government has discovered — and make it unlawful for states to legislate for equal treatment for guest workers (hence the Luxembourg ruling at the European Court of Justice). They effectively outlaw the non-commercial use of public ownership for social or environmental purposes.
Who should govern Britain?
Monopoly corporations through the EU, the Bank of England, Nato and the Pentagon — or the people, through their mass movements and elected representatives?
Robert Griffiths is general secretary of the Communist Party.
Bliadhna Math Ur bho'n Phàrtaidh Chomannach ann an Alba!
This coming year will one of enormous challenges and opportunities for the Communist Party, its members and supporters.
We face a ruling class offensive – spearheaded by a very right-wing Tory government – which aims to privatise health and education, dismantle the Welfare State, incapacitate the trade unions, restrict our rights to protest, keep Britain shackled to the EU and acquire a new generation of weapons of mass destruction.
This places a duty on every Communist Party member and organisation to do their utmost in the trade union movement, the People’s Assembly, the National Assembly of Women, CND, Stop the War and campaigning bodies to ensure that 2016 is a year of heightened mass and class struggle.
All CP branches must draw up their plans for the coming twelve months if they have not already done so. These should include not only key campaigning activities, but also initiatives on the Morning Star and political education fronts.
A new pack of materials to launch and enhance study of our programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism, has been prepared and will be issued before the end of January.
We need a significant increase in the number of Communist Party candidates and campaigns in the May 2016 Scottish, Welsh and English local elections.
We need good Labour votes where we are not standing ourselves, in order to strengthen the position of Jeremy Corbyn and the left inside the Labour Party.
We need a big turnout at the Ukrainian embassy in London on Tuesday, January 19 (at 12.30 for 1 pm) to protest against the banning of that country’s Communist Party.
We need a huge mobilisation for the anti-fascist, anti-racist march and rally in east London on Sunday, October 9, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street. Our party will be playing a leading role in this event.
We need a successful Red Star Festival on July 23 and a vibrant 54th party congress on November 19-20.
But more than anything else, the working class and oppressed peoples around the world need a stronger, more influential Communist Party and international communist movement.
Build the Communist Party in 2016!
Throw back the ruling class offensive!
Strengthen working class and left unity!
General Secretary, Communist Party of Britain