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Thursday, 28 June 2018

Manchester Communist Meeting on China Monday 23rd July 6.30pm

China's New Era and What it Means.

The Communist Party has published recently a new pamphlet on the subject of China (see below), and our General Secretary, Rob Griffiths, who will be the main speaker at our meeting has just returned from a meeting in Shenzhen to mark 'The Historical Contribution of Karl Marx and the Contemporary Significance of Marxism', which was attended by seventy Communist parties from 50 countries.

Our meeting will take place at the Friends' Meeting House which is located behind Manchester Central Library.

The aim of this pamphlet is to strip away the layers of myth and misunderstanding that surround discussions on China and its growing role in the world economy.
Some of these myths are simply the result of an inability by Western commentators to comprehend Chinese reality but, as we shall see in other cases, China also serves as a convenient scapegoat for economic problems that should instead be laid at the door of Western ruling elites.
Copies available at the meeting at £2 each, or contact us on manchester@communist-party.org.uk and we will arrange for one to be sent to you.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Palestinian Speaker in Manchester Next Saturday

Oppose Israel's Imposition of a One State solution.

Uphold UN resolutions: the basis for lasting peace.

Dr Aqel Taqaz, Vice Chair of the World Peace Council, Secretary of the Palestine Committee for Peace and Solidarity will be addressing a fringe meeting at the Trades Concils national conference at the Mechanics Institute in Manchester at 12.30pm on Saturday 9th June.

The meeting is part of a tour sponsored by Liberation, with other events in Oxford, London, Birmingham and Bristol.

Dr Taqaz is also a member of the Palestinian Peoples Party, a component within the Palestinian Authority government coalition.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Marxism is about economics and class. What about the environment?

Our growing understanding of the human impact on the planet poses some profound questions for all socialists, including Marxists, says the MARX MEMORIAL LIBRARY

(Feature From Morning Star 28th May 2018)

IT’S true that much of Karl Marx’s own work was to do with economics. And class is central to a Marxist understanding of history.

Much of Marx and Friedrich Engels’s writing was concerned with examining the inherently exploitative and dynamic nature of capitalism, seen as underlying the struggle between exploiting and exploited classes which would lead to socialism (and eventually to communism) in which inequality would be abolished and there would be plenty for all.

But both Marx and Engels were well aware of the wider, environmental aspects of human “conquest” over nature. And Marxists today have a good deal to say about the environment.
In his The Condition of the Working Class in England (written in 1845) Engels emphasised not just the low pay and appalling working and living conditions of working people, but the wider damage to the environment caused by industrial capitalism. This was as important to him as the conflict between factory-owner and worker over hours and wages.

The Communist Manifesto, composed the following year, focused on the need to organise technology and industry for the direct benefit of humans rather than profit.

But as the views of the 29-year-old Marx and the 27-year-old Engels matured they progressively incorporated the growing awareness of human impacts on the natural environment (as represented by Liebig’s work on soil fertility) and its interconnectedness (Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859 and Ernst Haeckel coined the term “ecology” in 1866).

Both Marx and Engels saw environmental degradation as not just a problem of the burgeoning industrial cities but a more general problem of the relations of humans to nature.

Although the analytical focus of Marx’s Capital was economics, key passages indicate his awareness that there were fundamental environmental as well as economic contradictions within capitalism.
At that time problems such as food-chain accumulation of pesticides or global warming were unknown, and their attention focused on issues such as soil deterioration and deforestation.

In Volume I Marx declares that “[c]apitalist production, therefore, develops technology, and the combining together of various processes into a social whole, only by sapping the original sources of all wealth — the soil and the labourer.”

And later, in Volume III, he writes of the moral imperative of environmental stewardship: “Even a whole society, a nation, or even all simultaneously existing societies together, are not the owners of the Earth. They are only its keepers, its beneficiaries, and […] they must hand it down to succeeding generations in an improved condition.”

Environmental contradictions raise questions about the complex dynamics of the relations of humans and of human society to nature — a project started by Engels in fragmentary essays collected together and later published as Dialectics of Nature.
Engels wrote: “Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human conquest over nature. For each such conquest takes its revenge on us. Each of them, it is true, has in the first place the consequences on which we counted, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel out the first.”

Engels saw this “revenge” as something which predated capitalism, and as one of the main driving forces behind technological and social change.

He concluded: “Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature — but that we, with flesh, blood, and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other beings of being able to know and correctly apply its laws. And, in fact, with every day that passes we are learning to understand these laws more correctly, and getting to know both the more immediate and the more remote consequences of our interference with the traditional course of nature.”

Other Marxists pioneered approaches which have integrated economics with our growing understanding of the way the natural world functions.

For example, Sergei Podolinsky, a contemporary of Marx and Engels and a pioneer of “ecological economics,” set out to develop a synthesis of Marxism with the insights of Darwin and the laws of thermodynamics.

Engels himself was critical of Podolinsky but more recently others have built on the ecological aspects of Marx’s own work, arguing that it provides the basis for a truly green socialist theory.

What seems clear is that just as capitalism, as an economic system, depends on exploiting workers, so too does it depend on exploiting the resources — living and non-living — of our planet. Non-exploitative capitalism is a contradiction in terms.

But notwithstanding their insights, Marx and Engels could not have foreseen the extent of the environmental crisis today.

Our growing understanding of human impact on the planet poses some profound questions for all socialists including Marxists.
For example, as the environmental crisis develops, it has been argued that the relationship between capitalism and the environment should be seen as a “second contradiction” of capitalism, a contradiction of equal significance to that between capital and labour.

Some claim that the increased costs of maintaining production in the face of environmental limits will automatically lead to the collapse of capitalism.

Others assert that the dangers of ecological collapse and the potential for a broad anti-capitalist alliance of people determined to bring about a greener, more peaceful world mean that “old” ideas about the primary role of class conflict in changing society are outdated.

Put thus, both arguments are over-simple. However, just as the contradiction between capital and labour has the potential to bring about a new kind of society, the contradiction between capitalism and the environment does raise the question of what such a society might be like; whether any vision of socialism based on unqualified material abundance is tenable.

Some declare that socialism itself, based on a perception of the potential of people, acting freely together, to do away with exploitation, poverty and want and to usher in an era of plenty for all, is misguided.

Current rates of growth — of production, consumption, and of the numbers of people on the planet are unsustainable; resource shortages and global ecological limits to growth, they claim, mean that any post-capitalist society will be characterised by scarcity and/or a kind of ecological authoritarianism very different from “traditional” socialist visions.

These are important questions and need to be examined in depth. A Marxist approach can contribute greatly to our understanding of the environmental crisis and the future prospects for people and the planet, which will be the focus of subsequent answers in this series.

A Labour Party consultation on the environment ends on Sunday June 24. See mstar.link/environment.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Manchester, Monday 21st May The Ideas of Karl Marx in the Year of the Bi Centenary of his Birth

Greater Manchester Communists will be discussing the ideas of Karl Marx at our next meeting on 21st May 2018 at the Friends Meeting House in Manchester (behind Central Library) at 7pm.

Marx, along with Engels, was the founder of scientific socialism, the theoretical guide for Communists, and pioneered a number of revolutionary concepts in the fields of politics, economics and philosophy.

Image result for karl marx
What does all that mean? And how is it still relevant today?

Here's where you may get some answers, or have the opportunity to provide some!

Oppose Racism and Islamophobia Manchester Sat 19th May

Communists will be joining other Mancunians and many others from across the North West to oppose the attempt by the Football Lads Alliance to spread hate and division, using the anniversary of the Arena bomb attrocity.

The FLA may have an innocent name but they are clearly a right wing islamophobic group with links to even more extreme factions. They are most definitely not against, "all extremism".

The protest against the FLA is being organised by Stand up to Racism and has wide support in the local and regional trade union movement, amongst councillors (including the leader and deputy of Manchester City Council, local MPs and at least one relative of a bomb victim.

Meet 11am St Peter's Square, Saturday 19th May 2018.

Saturday, 14 April 2018


The Communist Party of Britain unreservedly condemns the latest act of aggression in Syria by Britain, the USA and France today (April 14).

International law cannot be upheld by breaching the most important articles of the United Nations Charter, which ban unprovoked military attacks by one member state upon another.
As the post-World War Two Nuremberg Tribunal ruled: 'To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole'.
Such criminality cannot be erased by a vote in the House of Commons, although MPs should have been given the opportunity beforehand to uphold international law by blocking Prime Minister Theresa May's reckless escapade. In the light of disastrous interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, she insults us all by claiming that 'open source information' and 'intelligence reports' somehow justify Britain's involvement in this latest action.
Britain's Communists call on MPs and the members of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh National Assembly to condemn this aggression at the earliest opportunity and to demand that no further such action takes place. The use of British bases in the sovereign state of Cyprus, without the agreement of that country's own parliament, further underlines the extreme irresponsibility of Prime Minister May's decision.
Yet again, the world's three main imperialist powers have gone to war having failed in their duplicitous efforts to use the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a rubber stamp. In attacking sovereign Syria, they are not acting in the name of the 'international community', large parts of which do not support this latest military action.
Between them, Britain, the USA and France have bombed or invaded more countries since 1945 than the rest of the world put together.
Once more, these three powers have confirmed their character as rogue states whose strategy is to reassert - by any means necessary - domination over the rich natural resources and valuable transportation routes of the whole greater Middle East region.
The US, French and British air and missile strikes are gravely destabilising. They risk plunging the Middle East into a further escalation of war, with dangerous wider consequences for world peace. They appear to be linked to aggressive plans by the United States, abetted by Israel, to reassert its military control over Syria and Iraq and to use jihadi and other forces from outside Syria - some backed by Saudi and other Arab dictatorships - to re-escalate the war against the Syrian government.
It is no coincidence that this latest Western military assault took place only hours before a fact-finding mission from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was due to arrive in Damascus at the invitation of Syria and Russia to investigate the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma.
As demanded by two Russian Federation resolutions to the UNSC last Tuesday (April 10) - and vetoed by Britain, the USA and France - the OPCW team must be given full support for its work, which would include access not only to Douma, but also to any other sites it deems relevant.
By attacking three sites alleged to form part of a Syrian chemical weapons programme, the British, US and French air and missile strikes have made it more difficult for the OPCW to find and assess evidence for any such programme.
If the three Western governments genuinely had evidence that such sites were engaged in chemical weapons research, production and storage, they should have notified the OPCW without delay - not attempted to destroy that evidence.
The Communist Party of Britain condemns any use of chemical weapons, but stresses that without OPCW inspection there can be no proof of responsibility and that no evidence has been advanced either by President Trump or the British government.
The war-mongering posture of US President Trump as the head of NATO's most powerful state, and of French President Macron as a champion of EU militarisation, confirms the urgent necessity to leave both components of the NATO-EU alliance.
We need a government of the left that will pursue an independent foreign policy for Britain based on respect for international law, sincere support for the United Nations and solidarity with the world's exploited and oppressed.