Workers is the bi-monthly journal of the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) or CPBML. Don’t let that put you off though! Workers is a well researched and well written 24 page magazine crammed with interesting ideas. This issue has a strong focus on Brexit (the CPBML are pro-Leave) but there are also articles on union issues and one on the First World War.
I was particularly interested in ‘How free movement is wrecking Romania‘ and ‘Take control for a future for British biotechnology’.
The first article looks at the negative effect of European Union (EU) free movement rules on Romania saying: “Romania has become a country populated by the old and by children.” It’s interesting to consider how the countries we recruit labour from are effected by that. The article points out that: “For all the talk of an NHS crisis when Britain leaves the EU, the real crisis is in countries like Romania. Between 2011 and 2013 fully a third of Romania’s hospital doctors left the country.” I was shocked to learn that since Romania joined the EU around a quarter of the countries workers had left. It certainly made me think about UK use of foreign labour and wonder why we haven’t invested more in robotics and training our own workers as alternatives.
The second article concerned EU rules which would restrict British biotechnology. Workers takes a stance which I would broadly call Nationalist on many issues. They say they are for “an independent, self-sufficient, self-reliant Britain dedicated solely to the interests of the British working class”. This might surprise some but if you think about it how could Britain pursue Socialist or Communist policies whilst restricted by EU rules? How could Britain build its own industrial and research base within the confines of EU directives and rulings from the European Court of Justice? Workers clearly takes the view that Britain can’t do either of these things within the EU. The article on biotechnology discusses the ruling by the ECJ that the new technique of genome editing falls under the EU’s 16- year-old ruling on genetically modified plants. This was a real body blow to the British biotechnology industry as it would massively increase costs to bring new developments to market. Workers looks at this one area as an example of how we would be better off outside the EU. It also looks at the under-funding of British bio-tech research and argues for State funding. Many years ago I wrote an article on the Base Technology Project of Japan which sought to identify 21 key areas of technology for the future and co-ordinate Japanese research and funding in those areas. It’s long been my view that Britain should have something similar and that State funding should be a strong component of such a strategy. It will be well known to long-time followers of Third Way that we also favour a State Bank with the sole power to create credit. Thus there are similarities between some of the positions of the CPBML and Third Way though our points of origin and the traditions we draw on (Distributism, Social Credti and Catholic Social Theory in the case of Third Way) are quite different.
Go past whatever prejudice you many have about the CPBML tag and read Workers and you might be surprised by how much you agree with!
You can subscribe to Workers for one year (six issues) for £12 online at cpbml.org.uk/subscribe
Reviewed by Pat Harrington