by Nick Wright
It is a wearisome task but part of my responsibilities include rebutting ignorant, malign and mistaken media utterances about communist policy. It occasionally bears fruit. The BBC, like most of the liberal (actually neo-liberal) media rarely acknowledges the contribution of the communist movement except to misrepresent it and even more rarely present our views in our own words or allow rebuttal.
The liberal newspapers are barely better. Zoe Williams of the Guardian has, along with most of her fellow columnists, conducted a campaign of unremitting hostility to the Corbyn project rivalled in its intensity only by the campaign subvert the Brexit vote. In fact, the two offensives are essentially one.
When she chose to misrepresent the communist contribution to the movement to defend the Brexit vote – which we celebrate as an expression of popular sovereignty – I banged off a letter that presented the party’s actual position. Days passed in which Williams’ original excesses faded from memory so I wrote again, this time to the readers’ editor, enquiring whether the Guardian had a policy of excluding communist views and hinting that I had further strategies in mind if their answer was not satisfactory.
By a fortunate coincidence, my letter surfaced the following day. And the icing on the cake was, on the same, another letter on related themes appeared in the Independent. A free press is a precious thing.
Here they are:
To Labour pragmatists who worry about losing working class votes and Bennites who have remained true to Labour and the TUC’s original opposition to membership of the Common Market Zoe Williams (Labour must choose remain 24/12/18) adds “slash-and-burn communists who relish the coming upheaval as the crucible of true radicalism.”
On the contrary, communists share Clement Attlee’s visceral opposition to Euro-federalism and the surrender of our country’s sovereignty. To this we add a long history of opposition to the actually existing slash-and burn capitalist economics that has stripped our country of productive industry and deprived generations of young people of productive skills.
It is precisely because we want an alternative to Britain’s crazily unbalanced and financialised economy that we campaigned for Britain to leave the neo-liberal EU and in doing so free ourselves from the anti-union judgements of the ECJ, the restrictions on state aid to industry, the obstacles to public ownership and the drive to militarise the EU.
But beyond this we are fearful that in breaking the bipartisan pledge that the Brexit vote be respected Labour will lose for generations more the trust that the Blair government betrayed and which the Corbyn team has so painstakingly rebuilt.
A betrayal of the Brexit vote will supercharge UKIP or worse.
The EU is an irreformable instrument for impoverishing the continental periphery and the working people of each country to the benefit of a predatory class whose wealth increases with every one of capitalism’s succeeding crises.
Communists want a Peoples’ Brexit. Unconstrained by EU treaties, single market rules and directives, a left-led Labour government could develop a worker-led industrial strategy; aid industry, invest in training, youth and jobs, social welfare, housing, education and health services; and take the transport, energy and postal service profiteers back into public ownership.
Head of communications Communist Party of Britain
and to the Indy
Andrew Grice is right to suggest that Jeremy Corbyn should listen to Labour voters as well as party members. (Independent 3 January.).
When Corbyn pledged to respect the result of the Brexit vote its wasn’t ‘constructive ambiguity’ but rather a politically principled stand which gave effect to the undertaking by both Tory and labour parties that the vote was both decisive and final.
Andrew Grice adds spurious authority to his advice to the Labour leader — to abandon current priority assigned to create the conditions for a general election — by selectively quoting the results of a current You Gov poll. He is symptomatically silent on the key findings which are that while 29 per cent of individual members polled oppose Corbyn’s position 47 per cent support it and one in twenty don’t know.
A further factor which should be taken into account is the balance of opinion — untested by the You Gov poll — among trade union affiliated members which is both more proletarian in composition than the individual membership and thus more accurately reflects opinion among the kind of people Labour needs to win a general election.