Month: January, 2013
Message from President Hugo Chavez Frias
worker | January 31, 2013 | 8:44 pm | Action | Comments closed


Sisters and brothers:

On behalf of the people of Venezuela, receive a fervent Bolivarian greeting and living testimony of brotherhood toward each of the peoples of the Great Nation. I really and truly regret not being able to attend this event in Santiago de Chile. As it is known to all of you, since December of last year I am once again struggling for my health in revolutionary Cuba. That is why these lines are my way to be present at the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, my way of reaffirming, today more than ever, the living and active engagement of Venezuela with the historical cause of the Union.

It is impossible not to feel Simon Bolivar pulsing among us in this summit of unity. Impossible not to evoke Pablo Neruda, Pablo of Chile and America, in this land and in this present moment of the Great Nation we are made of: Liberator, a world of peace was born in your arms. / Peace, bread, wheat are born from your blood, / from our young blood which comes from your blood / will come peace, bread and wheat for the world we are to make.

Bolivar, Bolivar always. In this 2013 we are celebrating the bicentennial of the admirable campaign: 200 years of that prodigious Bolivarian epic. On May 14, 1813, an army of New Granada and Venezuela departed from Cucuta commanded by then Brigadier Simon Bolivar, advancing with prodigious speed, and fought and won in Niquitao, Los Horcones and Taguanes to liberate central and western Venezuela, entering triumphantly on August 6th of that year of glory in Caracas. The military victory of the patriots had a transcendent political consequence: the birth of the Second Republic of Venezuela.

And hence with a vivid memory, I want to share with you a certainty: thanks to the CELAC we are beginning to look like everything we once were and what we wanted to be but was taken from us, we’re looking like the Pachamama, the cosmic belt of the South, the queen of nations and the mother of republics.

The spirit of unity has returned with full strength, it is the spirit of our liberators reincarnated in the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean; it is the spirit in which many voices come together to speak with one voice. It was the endearing spirit of the Summit of Latin America and the Caribbean that gave birth to CELAC in Caracas; it is the enduring spirit of this Summit in Santiago de Chile.

Since that December of 2011 when we founded CELAC in Caracas, world events have ratified the extraordinary importance of the great step forward we took. There is the crisis hitting the U.S. and Europe and throwing thousands of people into misery. Thousands of men, women and children have lost their homes, their jobs, their social security, their most elemental rights. While the U.S. and Europe, paraphrasing the eminent philosopher Ernesto Laclau, are
committing collective suicide, we are weathering the storm, and we will definitely ride it out. Today, we are an example of unity in diversity, of justice, welfare and happiness to the world.

At one year and almost two months since its founding in Caracas, CELAC has managed to stand with a character and a well-defined personality, above any judgment or ambition outside its principles and tenets. Today more than ever we can say that when we affirm that we have really and truly resumed the path of our Liberators, a slogan that identifies this Community, we were not making an empty or hollow statement. And now, such a transcendent slogan requires that we fill it each day with more and more historical, political, economic and social content.

That is why today we ratify the denunciation and condemnation of the shameful imperial blockade against revolutionary Cuba, the continuous colonization and now the progressive militarization of the Malvinas Islands, both of which are violations of all UN resolutions issued to safeguard the rights of the Cuban and Argentine people, but with no will on the part of this supranational organization to fulfill them. Justice is unquestionably on the side of Cuba and Argentina. If we are a nation of republics, our sovereignty is that of the entire Great Nation, and we must enforce it.

When the mournful sound of the drums of war is heard around the world, how valuable it is that the states of Latin America and the Caribbean are creating a zone of peace that jealously protects international law and defends political and negotiated solutions to conflicts. We have a duty to face the logic of war with a culture of peace, based on justice and equality.

CELAC is the most important project of political, economic, social and cultural unity in our contemporary history. We all have the right to feel proud: the nation of republics, as the liberator Simon Bolivar called it, has begun to emerge as a beautiful and happy reality. How not to recall, once again, the voice of Neruda when he tells us in his memorable poem “The Heights of Machu Picchu”: Rise to birth with me, brother. Let us rise, sisters and brothers, because the time has come to be born again, with all of the past and all of the future illuminating the present.

The sacred purposes, the fraternal relations and the common interests that unite the republics of Latin America and the Caribbean, have in CELAC a fundamental instrument not only to guarantee the stability of the governments that our peoples have given themselves, but also their sovereignty and, let us say with Jorge Luis Borges, the perpetuity of each of our nations.

Our common path has been long and difficult since we faced the Spanish Empire in the 19th century. The fight for independence, the fight that continues today, was linked, indissolubly linked, to the thoughts and actions of our liberators, to the fight for unity, for the construction of a Great Nation based on the most solid foundation. Let us remember what Bolivar said: There should be one single nation for the Americas, given that we have had perfect unity in everything. But the oligarchy closed the door to a historical project of unity, and we are still paying the price. Argentinean writer Norberto Galasso was right: What could have been the victory of the Great Nation became twenty defeats of small nations. This history should not repeat itself. I still have faith in those words I said in Caracas on the historic 2nd of December, 2011, when CELAC was founded: We are either one nation or we are not a nation! We either make a single Great Nation, or no one on these lands will have a nation!

How could we not see ourselves in the words of liberator Bernardo O’Higgins, the great disciple of the immense Francisco de Miranda, who wrote to Bolivar in 1818: The cause that Chile defends is the same one committed to by Buenos Aires, New Granada, Mexico and Venezuela, or better yet, it is the cause of the entire continent of Colombia.

Everything we do for unity will not only be justified by history, it will also become the most enlightened legacy we can leave to future generations. We will also be actively honoring the memory of our liberators. In CELAC, as Bolivar wanted, we have become one nation.

I want to invoke a few words from the wise Andres Bello, who was as deeply Chilean as he was Venezuelan, who was not only the pioneer of international law in our Americas, but also the first lawyer in the world to shape the doctrines of multilateral organizations of integration and unity. Since the 19th century, this great forger of our intellectual independence has continued marking our path: The tendency of the century we live in is to multiply the points of contact between peoples, to unite them, to bind them in friendship, to make the entire human species one single family. To resist this tendency is to descend from the heights of civilization. My belief is that in the 21st century, this tendency ought to be the same as the one so brilliantly stated by Bello.

Transcendent politics has room to flourish in CELAC. It has been eloquently stated in the manifesto that our Latin Caribbean America is capable of presenting itself and thinking of itself both within the region and before the world with full autonomy, and is capable of acting jointly.
Transcendent politics presupposes that learning is ongoing: it is learning how to live with our differences, to accept and process them, always finding the best way of complementing each other. Transcendent politics impedes schemes from dividing us. Let us not forget that painful warning from Bolivar: A schemer does more in one day than one hundred good men do in one month.

But I am convinced that in this amazing hour of our history, those who intend to divert us will fail. That what will prevail, and I say this with Bolivar’s words, is the inestimable good of unity, that the Monroe Doctrine will definitively disappear as an instrument of oppression, domination and disunity in this side of the world.

The enlightening words, following a clear Bolivarian theme, of the great Argentinean thinker Jorge Abelardo Ramos in his History of the Latin American Nation (1968), should cause us to reflect: Underdevelopment, as social scientists and technicians now call it, is not purely economic or productive in nature. It is intensely historic in meaning. It is the result of Latin American fragmentation. What happens, in short, is that there is a national question that remains unanswered. Latin America is not divided because it is “underdeveloped;” it is “underdeveloped” because it is divided. Underdevelopment is the child of division, and that is exactly why it is imperative to resolve the question of a national Americas in the coming years. Today we meet all the objective and subjective conditions to do so.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I am going to briefly touch on a few topics of the CELAC agenda. I have left some out so as not to make this letter too long.

I think it is crucial to rigorously comply with two great social commitments included in the Caracas Action Plan in order for CELAC to have value for our peoples: I speak of the development of the Latin American and Caribbean Literacy Program and the Latin American and Caribbean Program for Eradicating Hunger.

The only response countries of the first world have had in the face of the crisis has been cutting social spending and public investment. In CELAC, we can maintain economic growth with strong social investments, agreeing to a common agenda for equality and for the recognition of the universal right of each of our citizens, without exception, to free health care and education.

Moreover, we must reach accords that will allow us to create and promote a common energy agenda. We have the strength, at the outset, to face the extreme panorama of a world where energy sources have their days numbered. The region’s resources are huge: we only need to create appropriate policies that do justice to the gifts nature has provided. We have the experience of a successful PetroCaribe to show that is it possible to create an energy alliance based on reciprocity.
I want to paraphrase Bolivar: what we have done is but a prelude to the great task that remains to consolidate our CELAC. Never before have we had such an appropriate setting. Let us multiply the good effects and the well-managed efforts, and I say this with Bolivar, to make CELAC the center of a new system of unity of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dear Heads of State and Government:

We have committed ourselves to giving Cuba all our support, as it will hold the pro tempore presidency of our Community following this Santiago Summit. This is an act of justice following
50 years of resistance to the criminal imperial embargo. Latin America and the Caribbean are speaking with one voice, telling the United States that all of its attempts to isolate Cuba have failed and will fail.
As fate would have it, and it will go down in history, today, precisely as Cuba assumes the pro tempore Presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, is the 160th anniversary of the birth of the apostle of Cuban independence, one of the greatest Bolivarians of all time: Jose Marti.

His prophetic words still resonate today: “we intentionally say people and not peoples so as to not think there is more than one from the Rio Grande to Patagonia. It should be one because it is one. The Americas, even when it does not want to, and when brothers fight, will be together in the end of a colossal spiritual nation, they will love each other then.”

The time has come for Marti’s love, Bolivar’s love, the love of our Americas.

That is why, from my Bolivarian heart, I hope for the resounding success of this CELAC Summit. Here in Havana I will be watching its development. With all the light of the Great Nation that burns more brightly today in Santiago de Chile, I send an endless and brotherly hug to each and every one of you.

Hugo Chávez Frías
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Always towards victory!
Long live the union of our peoples!
Long live CELAC!

Radio Moscow broadcasts
worker | January 29, 2013 | 8:48 pm | Action | Comments closed

Here are four great broadcasts from Radio Moscow:

WFTU supports PAME 8 day Metro strike
worker | January 27, 2013 | 9:03 pm | Action | Comments closed

Check out this link for news from Greece on the class struggle:

Chile, a revolution denied
worker | January 21, 2013 | 8:04 pm | Action | Comments closed

By Zoltan Zigedy


This coming September 11 will mark the fortieth anniversary of the coup overthrowing the elected government of Chile, a country that, at the time, enjoyed the longest enduring tradition of electoral stability in South America. Despite the uninterrupted existence of a constitutional parliamentary system from 1932, the Chilean military—aided by US covert services—overthrew the President, Doctor Salvador Allende Gossens, and violently suppressed his supporters, installing a military junta that ruled for 26 years.

What prompted the US government and its traitorous allies in the Chilean military to destroy the fabric of Chilean civil society in 1973? What “sin” could possibly warrant the installation of a murderous, fascistic regime under the leadership of General Pinochet and his collaborators?

The answer is found in one word: socialism. Not the grafting of a tepid welfare safety net to the fringes of capitalism as promised by social democrats, not the “socialism” of workers’ token participation in management, not the bad faith of class collaboration or the regulation and management of a voracious and predatory profit system, but the real and robust pursuit of revolutionary and transformative change.

For Salvador Allende and Popular Unity– the coalition of Communists, Socialists, and other worker and peasant organizations that backed his election in 1970, the vote was the opening steps on the unique “Chilean road to Socialism,” a road that would hopefully lead to working class political power and social ownership superseding the private ownership of the leading economic enterprises and giant agricultural estates.

The Allende government pressed forward with its agenda, nationalizing key industries and creating new and parallel organizations and institutions of local and workplace power. Of course this did not go well with the wealthy and powerful in Chile or unnoticed by their North American allies. Millions of our tax dollars were devoted to funding counter-revolutionary groups and actions in Chile. Provocative strikes were organized by middle-strata shop keepers, transportation owners, and managers to disrupt the economy. Demonstrations were instigated to bring sections of the middle strata—the “momios”—into the street in protest. Sabotage and vandalism were pressed. Even neo-Nazi terrorist groups were encouraged and funded by the CIA. And, of course, the US government did everything it could to isolate the Popular Unity government from international assistance, credits, and trade.

In the face of these provocations, Allende and his supporters urged workers and peasants to step forward in defense of the economy and the bourgeois democracy. And they did, in great numbers.

Thus, the expected rejection of Popular Unity in the elections of March, 1973 never materialized. Despite an unprecedented destabilization campaign, the Right was unable to muster enough votes to depose Allende. The only path left open to the enemies of popular power was the military coup. Six months later, Allende was dead and tens of thousands were about to be killed, jailed, tortured, disappeared or in hiding.

The Guzman Chronicles

It is rare to have a vivid and detailed account of such an important and tragic historical process. But thanks to the hours of video documentation secured by film maker Patricio Guzman, we can trace the powerful people’s movement that coalesced around Salvador Allende, the excitement and empowerment of the masses as they forged ahead, the hopes and disappointments of workers and the poor, and the betrayal and destruction of national aspirations. Guzman was a partisan of Popular Unity, yet open to recording the views and movements of the opposition. He captures the euphoria of workers and peasants finding their voices, the explosion of meetings and discussions of the formerly powerless, and the new-found confidence of the liberated.

His trilogy, The Battle of Chile (The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie, The Coup d’Etat, and Popular Power) is available on DVD (Icarus Films) along with the 1996 film (Chile, Obstinate Memory) of his return to Chile to show his work in the post-Pinochet era.

Guzman’s prescient sense of the significance of Popular Unity seemingly put him on every corner, in every demonstration, in the mines and factories, and in the seats of governance. The visual imagery of workers, peasants, and ethnic minorities in the tens of thousands rallying to the cause of Popular Unity is unforgettable. Conversely, the faces of the “momios” and the military leaders reflect the ugliness of both their fear and their arrogance. Nor will one will ever forget the footage of a camera operator filming his own death at the hands of a soldier.

Far better than the many written accounts of the Chile tragedy, Guzman’s films expose the truths of class and ethnic divisions without adornment. In most cases, one can identify whether an interviewee on the streets of Santiago supports or opposes Popular Unity before he or she even speaks. Class identity is transparent.

Yes, it is class war, conscious class war. But class war that the long-ruling oligarchs, the industrialists, landlords and their minions could only win with the intervention of the military and their powerful friends to the north.

While the popular forces lost the battle of Chile, the collective memory of the peoples’ rising had to be extinguished before Chile could be returned to anything close to a “normal” bourgeois republic. For some time after elections were restored, Chile still lay in the shadows of the Generals, fearful of their return.

When Guzman arrived to present The Battle of Chile for the first time in his native land, he recorded the responses of a group of youth, both before the showing and after. Before the viewing and with only modest exceptions, the students mouthed the views received from Pinochet-era textbooks and documentaries. They showed some sympathy for the conditions of the very poor that might move them to support Popular Unity, only to charge the partisans with impatience, irresponsibility, or poor judgment. The views expressed were remarkably similar to those one might encounter in an upper-middle class suburban school in the US.

When the lights came on after the screening, the students were visibly moved—some were reduced to tears, others spoke openly for the first time of relatives who were repressed. Despite the concerted effort to remove the memory of Popular Unity, The Battle of Chile shocked the young people into a sympathetic encounter with their own history. This moment is captured vividly in Guzman’s Chile, Obstinate Memory.

A Vital Source

But the events of these three years, as revealed by the film and other chronicles, constitutes more than the nostalgia of those of us who placed so much hope in Popular Unity. Rather, the Chilean experience was a case study of the struggle to throw off the yoke of imperialism and capitalism. This episode bore many features unique to the conditions existing at that time and the pathway chosen by the movement’s leaders. At the same time, the Chilean revolutionaries faced adversaries and obstacles that are universal in any profound social change. In short, we have much to learn from Chile’s tragedy.

Today’s militancy, emerging slowly, but inexorably from the crushing impoverishment and stark inequities spawned by the global crisis, constitutes a new and promising assault on wealth and power. However, a new generation of the angry and defiant risk failure and disillusionment unless it draws lessons from the successes and failures of the past. History is cruel to those who turn away from those lessons.

Only those who are terminally jaded can but admire the energy of the “Occupy” militants in the US and the “Indignados” in Europe. But any who view The Battle of Chile will quickly recognize that powerful ruling classes with far-reaching police, a sophisticated intelligence apparatus, and a modern military at their beck and call are not readily moved to surrender power and position to forces organized in open-air general assemblies or in urban street encampments. Nor will they accommodate demands issued with the nobility of moral authority. Chile’s legacy reminds us that transformational change is about overcoming the nexus of economic and state power.

Recognition of the fusion of economic and state power in our time—what Marxists call “state-monopoly capitalism”—is essential to any credible assault on the fortress of wealth and privilege. To reach for state power, the majority must begin to disable the economic might wielded by the few. But to accomplish this, the many must act to take the power of the state that preserves and protects the economic basis of the ruling elites.

Solving these two challenges simultaneously is the task of revolutionaries. In Chile, Popular Unity hoped to meet the challenges by establishing loci of peoples’ organizations in neighborhoods and workplaces and nationalizing the heights of the economy. They understood that presidential power was only a fragile link to state power and far from sufficient to neutralize the economic might of the Chilean capitalists and their courtiers and attendants. Our modern day would-be revolutionaries are well-advised to grasp these realities.

The Battle for Chile is cold water in the face of so many erstwhile advocates of social justice who have turned to timid or utopian schemes to address a capitalist social system that has only become more aggressive and rapacious since the era of Chile’s interrupted revolution. While the loss of a counter-force to the US and its allies—the European socialist community—has vastly strengthened the hand of global capitalism, it neither excuses nor justifies a retreat from an anti-capitalist program. We see alternative schemes emerging from those disillusioned with the politics of reformism, but uneasy with revolutionary politics; they advocate motley theories of “radical democracy,” cooperatives, “The New Economy,” various strains of anarchism and kindred rejections of “hierarchies,” among others.

Marx and Engels anticipated these developments over a century and a half ago when they wrote in the Communist Manifesto:

Historical action is to yield to their personal inventive action; historically created conditions of emancipation to fantastic ones; and the gradual, spontaneous class organisation of the proletariat to an organisation of society especially contrived by these inventors. Future history resolves itself, in their eyes, into the propaganda and the practical carrying out of their social plans.

In the formation of their plans, they are conscious of caring chiefly for the interests of the working class, as being the most suffering class. Only from the point of view of being the most suffering class does the proletariat exist for them.

The undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their own surroundings, causes [activists] of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class antagonisms. They want to improve the condition of every member of society, even that of the most favoured. Hence, they habitually appeal to society at large, without the distinction of class… For how can people, when once they understand their system, fail to see in it the best possible plan of the best possible state of society?

Hence, they reject all political, and especially all revolutionary action; they wish to attain their ends by peaceful means, necessarily doomed to failure, and by the force of example, to pave the way for the new social Gospel.

Such fantastic pictures of future society, painted at a time when the proletariat is still in a very undeveloped state and has but a fantastic conception of its own position, correspond with the first instinctive yearnings of that class for a general reconstruction of society…

They, therefore, endeavour, and that consistently, to deaden the class struggle and to reconcile the class antagonisms. They still dream of experimental realisation of their social Utopias, of founding isolated “phalansteres”, of establishing “Home Colonies”, or setting up a “Little Icaria” — duodecimo editions of the New Jerusalem — and to realise all these castles in the air, they are compelled to appeal to the feelings and purses of the bourgeois…
They, therefore, violently oppose all political action…; such action, according to them, can only result from blind unbelief in the new Gospel.
Revolutionaries must and will put these “castles in the air” behind them as the struggle for social justice sharpens.

And ahead are the many obstacles underscored by the Chilean events chronicled in Guzman’s film. Two critical problems of revolutionary theory that loom large in the battle for Chile are (1) the question of the military and other “security” organs and (2) the question of the “middle class.”

Clearly, Popular Unity failed to solve the problem of the military in 1973, though its leaders certainly recognized it. In our time, the near-coup in 2002 against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela demonstrates the continuing dangers from those social elements holding a near monopoly on physical force: the military. Like the police and other organs of social control, the military invariably align with those opposing change. Without Chavez’s uniquely strong links to long-cultivated and sympathetic elements of the military, the coup would have undoubtedly led to a bloody and uncertain outcome. Any real quest for transformative change must wrestle with this question.

The question of the “middle classes” is really the problem posed by those who occupy the social space between the ownership class (the 1%) and those conscious of their diminished status resulting from employment by or servitude to the ownership class. While those who occupy this space are, in reality, also subservient to the rich and powerful, they see their status as above the poor and working class and identify their aspirations with the fate of those who rule. Labor leaders and other image shapers foster illusions about a broad and inclusive “middle class.” They offer the fantasy that auto workers and bus drivers have the same class interests as corporate lawyers and bond traders. In this imaginary world, their lives intersect at the shopping mall, the stadium, and the television set. Of course they really don’t. Even arch conservatives like Charles Murray have concluded that this view is nonsense, but the view persists widely in the mainstreams of both the US and Europe.

The dangers of these illusions are demonstrated well in The Battle of Chile. The “momios” who provided a mass base for the opposition to Popular Unity would, by and large, have eventually benefited from the Chilean road to socialism. But seduced by the lure of consumerism, vulgar culture, crass individualism and the delusional promise of joining the ranks of the privileged few, they proved to be an enormous obstacle to advancing the Popular Unity program.

In the more prosperous capitalist countries, the problem of the middle strata is even more acute today. While Marx’s judgment that the “…individual members of this class… are being constantly hurled down into the proletariat…” may be somewhat affirmed by the global economic crisis, the fact remains that the middle-class world view is resilient and will persist for some time. Belief in personal exceptionalism, like belief in spirits, is a difficult deception to shed.

“To be young and a revolutionary is a biological imperative” was a piece of graffiti scrawled on a wall in Santiago and translated for me by my friend Kay when we visited Santiago in the fall of 1990. After Pinochet, this was a welcome inspiration for those of us who placed hope in the Chilean revolutionary process. But biology will only take revolutionaries so far without a study of history. In fact, without heeding the lessons of history—in this case the Allende government and its violent suppression—the imperatives and energy of youth will dissipate and give way to cynicism and disappointment. The Battle of Chile offers these hard lessons, but also profound inspiration.

Zoltan Zigedy

Equal rights for all in the USA
worker | January 21, 2013 | 5:46 pm | Action | Comments closed

By James Thompson

Much has been made of the violation of human rights in other countries in the press of the USA. Usually such stories have centered on the former USSR and/or People’s Republic of China. Little mention is given to the racism and sexism which pervades the societal structure in the USA. Racism and sexism and discrimination in all its forms have been used to split and divide the working class in the USA. As long as working people view their co-workers who are of a different race and/or sex than them as inferior, it is easy for the bosses to lower our wages and benefits and working conditions. This has been done historically and it has worked quite well to bolster the profits of the capitalists. Unfortunately, it has been a catastrophe for working people who have seen their incomes, benefits and working conditions in the USA slide in a grotesque race for the bottom.

It is time that legislation should be introduced to make such practices illegal and punishable by law.

Here are some suggestions of basic statements which could be introduced as proposed legislation to address the persistent problems of racism and sexism and discriminatory labor practices:

Citizens of the USA are equal before the law, without distinction of origin, social or property status, race or nationality, sex, education, language, attitude to religion, type and nature of occupation, domicile, or other status.

The equal rights of citizens of the USA are guaranteed in all fields of economic, political, social, and cultural life.

Women and men have equal rights in the USA.

Exercise of these rights is ensured by according women equal access with men to education and vocational and professional training, equal opportunities in employment, remuneration, and promotion, and in social and political, and cultural activity, and by special labor and health protection measures for women; by providing conditions enabling mothers to work; by legal protection, and material and moral support for mothers and children, including paid leaves and other benefits for expectant mothers and mothers, and gradual reduction of working time for mothers with small children.

Citizens of the USA of different races and nationalities have equal rights.

Exercise of these rights is ensured by a policy of all-round development and drawing together of all the nations and nationalities of the USSR, by educating citizens in the spirit of Soviet patriotism and socialist internationalism, and by the possibility to use their native language and the languages of other peoples in the USA.

Any direct or indirect limitation of the rights of citizens or establishment of direct or indirect privileges on grounds of race or nationality, and any advocacy of racial or national exclusiveness, hostility, or contempt, are punishable by law.

It should be pointed out that these items were taken directly from the Constitution of the former USSR. The only words changed were “USSR” which was changed to “USA.” Some people may ask, “Why is it that in the former USSR people were granted equal rights in the constitution of that country, but in the USA, we can’t even seem to pass an Equal Rights Amendment.

By ending the practices of racism and sexism in the USA, working class power would be greatly increased since these tactics are two of the main tools the capitalists use to oppress the working class.

Interview with Gerrard Sables, Branch Secretary, North Devon branch of the CPB
worker | January 21, 2013 | 5:12 pm | Action | Comments closed

Here is a written interview with Gerrard Sables, Branch Secretary of the North Devon, branch of the Communist Party of Britain. Questions were submitted by Pat Thompson, Chair, Houston Communist Party and answered directly by Gerrard Sables. Following is the interview:

1. Why did you join the Communist Party of Britain (CPB)?

I joined the CPB in March 1991 having left the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in June 1987. My membership of CPGB started in June 1972. The CPB was founded in April 1988 and the CPGB dissolved in December 1991. Our party was founded in April 1988 with the rules and constitution and policies of the CPGB. So when I joined the CPB I considered that I was rejoining the Communist Party. I first joined in 1972 inspired by the campaign against the Vietnam War, the campaign to free Angela Davies, the role of the party in the trade union movement, and a whole host of other reasons. I was at the time an active trade union representative and reader of the Morning Star as I am still.

2. What are your duties and responsibilities as a party member? In what activities do you become involved as a party member on a local level?

The duties and responsibilities are set out in Rule 15 of our Aims and Constitution. Put in a nutshell it is to carry out party policy. Each member has to pay dues, read and promote the Morning Star, if at work to be a trade union member and member of a co-operative society. She or he has to improve political knowledge and contribute towards developing party policy

3. What is the position of the CPB on the Labour Party?

We accept that the Labour Party is the mass party of the working class. Over half of trade union members are in unions affiliated to the Labour Party and it was set up by trade unions. We do what we can to turn the Labour Party left both by struggle and debate. In the early days of the CP there were many who had joint membership. We are very critical of the Labour party’s tendency to class collaboration and to imperialism. There is within the Labour Party a continual battle between left and right. Our position on the Labour Party is under constant review.

4. What you consider to be the “work of the party” of the CPB?

Building a mass movement that is a broad based but labour movement led anti-monopoly alliance to acheive working class power.

5. Is the CPB involved in trade union activity? If so, how?

Party members are active at all levels of the trade union movement. I should imagine it is the same in the CPUSA as it is in all communist parties.

6. What do you think of the anti-Communist laws in Texas?

Bloody disgraceful and they need to be fought hard. Anti-communism is the essential ingredient in fascism.

7. What do you think of Trotskyism?

It’s a pain in the arse. There are so many different organisations claiming to be Trotskyite that one cannot consider it as a united philosophy or movement. Having said that, I know some Trotskyites we can work with: in anti-cuts campaigns, Palestine Solidarity and Anti-war movements. In Britain there are two significant Trotskyite parties: the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party. I get on reasonably well with members of both. The higher up their organisations you go the sillier they are it seems.

8. What do you see as being the major problems confronting the working class in Britain?

This coalition government which we as a party are doing our best to be rid of. Prior to Thatcher becoming Prime Minister Britain was the most equal society in Western Europe; now it is the least. There is an attempt to divide the working class which we oppose. The media with the sole exception of our paper follows the agenda set by big business and imperialism. Capitalism is the major problem.

9. What do you see as being the major problems confronting the working class in the USA?

Probably the same problems that face the working class in other capitalist countries.

10. Is the CPB Marxist-Leninist in its philosophical orientation?


11. What do you think of the term “vanguard party of the working class” and is the CPB that party in Britain?

I don’t really like it. Any party that claims to be that is tempting fate. Our party has a resposibility to change society for the better but others also accept responsibility. alliances are not built by boasting.

12. Please comment on anything else you feel would be relevant to this discussion.

Our party launched the Peoples’ Charter. It is now the policy of the TUC and all of the big trade unions. Our party seeks to unite around policies. Our strongest weapon is the Morning Star which is now supported by all the big unions and is the most respected paper of the left.

Speech to the national congress of the Communist Party of Britain
worker | January 20, 2013 | 5:00 pm | Action | Comments closed

Check out this video of a speech by General Secretary Robert Griffiths delivered to the recent Communist Party of Britain national Congress: