‘Britain’s communists condemn without reservation the barbarous murders in Paris of journalists and other civilians by jihadist terrorists’, Communist Party of Britain general secretary Robert Griffiths declared at the weekend.
‘Hard-won democratic and human rights must always be defended against reactionary elements and states that seek to undermine and destroy them’, he told the party’s two-day executive committee meeting at its headquarters in Ruskin House, Croydon.
Mr Griffiths also reaffirmed the Communist Party’s long-standing commitment to secularism, multiculturalism and working class unity against all forms of racism – including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia – and religious fundamentalism.
But he slammed the ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘double standards’ of politicians and commentators who deplored the shooting of Charlie Hebdo journalists last Thursday, yet who had justified the US and NATO bombing of Serbian and Al-Jazeera television stations during the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, killing many more broadcasters and civilian workers.
‘It should be remembered that the seeds of Islamist terrorism were sown by the US, British and NATO interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, beginning with Western and Saudi Arabian backing for the mujahideen and Osama Bin Laden against progressive, pro-women regimes in Kabul’, the CP leader pointed out.
At this first meeting of the new executive committee since the party’s 53rd congress last November, officers were elected for a two-year term of office: Liz Payne (chair), Ruth Styles (vice-chair), Robert Griffiths (general secretary), Graham Stevenson (trade union organiser), John Foster (international secretary), Anita Halpin (editor of party bulletin ‘Unity!’) and Bill Greenshields (political education organiser).
Morning Star acting editor Ben Chacko and London CP district secretary Steve Johnson will join the main officers on the party’s political committee.
Looking ahead to this year and next, the new executive adopted a detailed strategic plan to strengthen the labour movement politically; build the People’s Assembly together with the women’s, peace and other progressive movement; secure more support of every kind for Britain’s only left-wing daily newspaper, the Morning Star; and to extend the Communist Party’s organisation and political influence.
More immediately, Britain’s communists urged support for the CND ‘Wrap Up Trident’ demonstration on January 24 and the Women’s Assembly against Austerity on February 14.