AS WE HAVE noted on several occasions, the main focus of the Third Way Think Tank is on ideas. For obvious reasons, we’re particularly interested in any group or individual that takes a general position that is ‘Neither Left nor Right.’ However, labels or perceptions are of no real interest to us. On saying that, we try to avoid the dogmatists and control freaks of both the left and right like the plague!
However, that’s not to say that we’d never look at the ideas, organisations or people who’re generally portrayed as being beyond the pale. To accept media definitions without examining the subject matter would be stupid in the extreme.
With this in mind, our attention was recently drawn to the brought to the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (1).
The Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (CPB(M-L)) was formed by Reg Birch (2) in 1968. Birch died in 1994 – and from what we can gather from his obituary in the Independent (3) he seemed to have been quite a character. A book entitled Reg Birch: engineer, trade unionist, communist was published in 2004 (4).
What sets the CPB(M-L) apart from other leftist groups is that it advocates a policy of ‘Workers Nationalism’. According to one report (5) the CPB(M-L) has also “issued leaflets and published articles in their magazine Workers, calling for ‘British Jobs for British Workers’ and opposing the introduction of cheap foreign labour to undercut British workers. They seem to promote a national line and are strongly anti-EU.”
The use – by Communists – of various nationalist-sounding phrases and slogans is nothing new. And there are plenty of left of centre nationalist’ groups out there – the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru being the two closest to home.
However, there does seem to be something different about the CPB(M-L).
A leaflet (6) issued by them supported the construction workers at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire. They walked out after Italian workers were hired ahead of local British workers. The CPB(M-L) leaflet gave a plug for the people who produced the British Jobs For British Workers posters – www.bearfacts.co.uk – and noted “Throughout the country, British workers have allowed themselves to be displaced by imported labour.”
(Co-incidently, the cover of the latest issue of British Worker – the magazine of Solidatity Trade Union (7) – also features a photograph of striking workers at the Lindsey Oil plant. To get hold of this issue simply contact the union at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a pdf copy of British Worker).
As this is just a very brief introductory look at the CPB(M-L), we’ve not had a chance to have an in-depth look at their web-site (8). We’ll have to save that for another day. However, a couple of items did catch our eye. For instance, we can’t find anything wrong with a couple of statements that we’ve seen concerning immigration (9) or Britain’s involvement in Libya (10).
The Political statement from the Communist Party, 15th Congress, London, November 2009 is also worthy of study. Again it mentions “workers’ nationalism” and there’s an excellent analysis of capitalism:
“But we have learnt that unemployment is capitalism’s favoured weapon of attack on workers. Unemployment, underemployment, agency working, short term working, outsourcing – all designed to weaken a community’s root.”
The CPB(M-L) statement – Change Britian, Embrace Your Party – ends with the rallying cry:
“Renew this focus on Britain. Because Britain is under attack we have to defend it, protect it, and cherish it.”
(9) “The EU encourages immigrants from all over the world, who arrive here via Italy, which grants residency so easily – it is the EU’s weakest link. The UK Borders Agency admits that immigration is out of control. National sovereignty for Britain must mean, among other demands, controlling our borders.
The Office for National Statistics says that the number of low-skilled workers born outside Britain has more than doubled since 2002. Most of the extra 367,000 foreign-born workers in low-skilled jobs came from the eight eastern or central European countries which joined the EU in 2004. In 2002 there were approximately 4,000 workers from these nations. This year, there were 235,000. The coalition government, like Labour, encourages the inflow of workers from inside Europe.
Separate ONS figures also show that net migration has increased despite government talk of bringing it down. Net immigration rose to 242,000 in the year ending September 2010, the largest total for five years”.
(10) “Britain’s brutally aggressive adventure in Libya is to be utterly condemned.
Claiming falsely to protect civilians, British military jets are raining munitions from the sky on to Tripoli and other Libyan cities in a “shock and awe” assault, acting on behalf of one side in a civil war abroad, attempting to assassinate the head of state of a sovereign country and to teach a lesson to Libyans who dare to support their independence in the face of imperialist intentions.
The British action is both shameful and cowardly. British troops are not to be risked yet the Libyan people die in intensive bombing raids. In spite of a deliberately vague UN resolution, the action is illegal under international law. It is terrorism, inflicted by our government against a sovereign state which is no threat to us or its neighbours.
Britain acts as cheerleader to EU aggression, promoting the interests of the USA, which grabs its chance to seize control in awkward Middle East states which refuse to do its bidding. It is no coincidence that Libya has the highest standard of health, education and infrastructure in North Africa, that Gaddafi’s government is resistant to religious extremism, and that Libya has high-quality oil.
At a time when government tells us there is no money for civilised life at home, there is unlimited funding for the bombings – likely to top £1 billion by the end of the year. War is waged on us at home, and on the Libyan people in their country.
Where is the outcry? Why have workers not protested against this outrage? The voice of the trade unions is absent. Not surprisingly Labour MPs remain largely silent, except to complain that they aren’t being fully consulted on each escalation in the war which they support, and to assert that the civil not military budget must be used to fund it.
In targeting Gaddafi as head of state, and killing his son and three young grandchildren, the British government is perpetrating state terrorism.
We support the right of the Libyan people to determine themselves the affairs and government of their country, free from imperialist meddling. Whatever the future holds for Libya, it is not our business, nor that of the USA or the EU.
We denounce this war being waged in our name.”