Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Task of the British Working class against racism and class oppression and the struggle for Socialism in the 21st century by Nickglais

Above Justice - the first Marxist paper in Britain organ of the Social Democratic Federation

This is the text of a speech given by Nickglais to the meeting in Brixton on Sunday 28th February to Celebrate the Life of Claudia Jones called by George Jackson Socialist League.

I speak here today as part of the Welsh contingent of the British working class - the Welsh being the indigenous peoples of these islands prior to the Anglo Saxon invasions and currently one of the nations in these islands.

The British Working Class like the concept of class itself is a dynamic and its constituent groups change with the passage of time with new groups emerging and older ones receding.The Welsh being one of the earlier constituent groups of the British Working Class.Today the working class is found in call centres and not coal mines has in the past and is not just white but has many complexions.

The working class in Wales was really born in the insurrection in Merthyr in 1831 when the Red Flag was raised in Wales for the first time in Hirwaun when a white cloth was dipped in a calfs blood and the Red Flag raised for the first time in these islands.

Has Professor Gwyn Wiiliams writes the Merthyr Rising was the first time that militia and regular troops like the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were beaten by armed rebel's in British History. More insurrections were to follow in 1839. a planned uprising of 5000 the Chartists in Newport was shot down - in these conditions the ideas of Socialism was born in these Islands.

Parallel to this class struggle in Wales, Marxism was taking birth and by 1848 with the Communist Manifesto the world historic role of the working class in history was revealed and the dynamic role of class struggle in history unfolded.

The Communist Manifesto also proclaimed the essential unity of the working class to overcome the newly emergent industrial capitalism - something we need to heed today when divisions and sectarianism plague the working class movement.

By the end of the 19th Century the working class through trade union and political action decided to form its own Political Party and break with Liberalism and Merthyr figures again in history with Kier Hardie being elected the first Labour MP with the aid of people like Thomas Edward Nicolas or Niclas Y Glais who was his election agent..

However the rise of the Labour party was concurrent with the rise of a Labour Aristocracy what Lenin would call the Labour Lieutenants of capital in the new era of Imperialism and Finance Capital.

Kier Hardie died in 1913 and Niclas Y Glais gave him his funeral oration and the new Labour Party by 1914 embraced Imperialist War under the leadership of the Labour lieutenants of capital and became what Lenin called Social Democracy at that time a stinking corpse.

Niclas Y Glais buried Kier Hardie in 1915 along with the Labour Party.

Niclas Y Glais who had been Kier hardie's agent in Merthyr went on to form the Communist Party in Wales a genuine working class party for at least 30 years.

The First Labour Governments and especially the Labour government of 1929-31 during the World Economic Crisis drove more people off national assistance than did the previous Conservative government and the Communist Party defended the working class against the cuts. In Wales and Scotland and Yorkshire in the early 1930's Red base areas were established in Britain.Scotland elected the first Communist member of parliament in Willy Gallacher in 1935.

Below is a video of Communist Party leadership in the Blaina Riots of 1935

By 1935/6 the Communist party abandoned a lot of its independent party building in favour of Popular Fronts against Fascism and relaxed it opposition to the Labour Party seeking Communist Party affiliation to Labour Party once again.

During the Second World War the CPGB threw its weight behind the struggle against Fascism and tried to limit militancy of the working class but in Wales again by 1944 unofficial miners strikes led by Communist Miners leader Arthur Horner developed. The class struggle was restrained when it should have been developed.

After the Second World war the path was opened up for revision of the basics of Marxism Leninism with adoption of a Parliamentary Road to Socialism called the British Road to Socialism and abandonment of the earlier program for a Soviet Britain.

By the time Claudia Jones arrived in Britain in 1950's the British Party had started its fatal embrace with Khruschevism. The United States Communist Party she has arrived from was abandoning the Black Belt as the basis of Black National Liberation and losing comrades like Harry Haywood who protested the revisionist abandonment of the national question by the CPUSA.

The British revisionist party did not know what to do with Claudia and had no understanding of the dialectic of race and class or the national question and black liberation and she found herself isolated in a white party and like her partner Manchanda moved to realising that sometime was wrong in the Communist Movement even if she did not fully comprehend it like most of us at that time.Manchanda would go on to help found the anti- revisionist movement in Britain after Claudia's death.

Reading Marika Sherwood's biography of Claudia Jones reveals what she calls the instrumentalism rather than principled position of the CPGB 's on the race question in Britain in 1950's and early 1960's ,we already recognise a Party not fit for purpose and like 1914 ended the Labour Party has a vehicle for Socialism in Britain 1956 did likewise for CPGB and the Communist Party deservedly passed into history.

Colonial paternalism aptly describes the Communist Party of Great Britain's relationship with the ethnic national minorities who found in the new Maoist politics of 1960's inclusive type of communism that challenged eurocentrism which dominated CPGB revisionist politics a breath of fresh air. Idris Cox of the CPGB International Committee famously set up a commission on Nigeria that had no Nigerians on it.

Mao was one of the first to identify some of the problems created in the communist and international working class movement and sought to solve them initially by Polemics with the Soviet Party and then by means of Cultural revolution to eradicate capitalist roaders from the Chinese Communist Party.

Mao's contribution was basically five fold

1. Ending Eurocentric Marxism
2. Providing strategic concept of protracted peoples war
3. Providing practical dialectical tool in theory of contradiction
4. Developing a Mass Line and not Commandism
5. Cultural revolution

Understanding Mao's contribution was to take time and it was Chairman Gonzalo in Peru that first understood the significance of Mao's theoretical contributions and this was developed further by Nepalese comrades like Prachanda and Bhattarai in Nepal and Ganapathy in India who clearly understand that revolutions are to be developed in 21st Century and not merely repeated.

The principal contradictions in the world seen through the eyes of the newly emergent Marxist Leninist Maoist movement were :

1 The contradiction between the Oppressed nations and Imperialism
2 The inter imperialist contradictions
3 The capital labour contradictions

The Struggle for Socialism in the 21st has unfolded under the banner of Marxism Leninism Maoism with first our Nepalese comrades breaking on to the stage of world history in 2006 and now in 2010 the battle has commenced in India with the Communist Party of India Maoist defending the Adivasi people from the genocidal onslaught of the Indian State in Operation Green Hunt.

The renewal of the communist movement in the 21st century is being spearheaded by our comrades in South Asia in Nepal , India and Philippines and the reconstitution of new working class and oppressed peoples organisations and parties is proceeding apace and the Co-ordination Committee of the Revolutionary Communists of Britain is one such expression of that reconstitution of the Communist movement in Britain which will once more address the need for a genuine working class party in Britain that has been absent since 1956 to take on the task of fighting class and racial oppression.

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