Birmingham congress closes

Whilst the Tory Conference met in central Birmingham, just a mile away a very different congress was taking place. The congress of the CPGB-ML, held over three days has elected a new leadership, adopted a new rule book, and passed a number of resolutions which will inform the future direction of the party in the immediate future.

Our new Chair, Ella Rule is joined by two Vice Chairs Joti Brar & Zane Carpenter. A new central committee will now carry out the important work which confronts us.

British workers demand Brexit!

BW Brexit

This weekend saw the UKIP conference in Birmingham. For every Neil Hamilton on the platform there were dozens of saner Brexiteers from amongst the various strata of  British society in the audience. Most are members of UKIP for one very simple reason; its continued opposition to membership of the EU. The ‘left’ in Birmingham like other towns, is made up of self-righteous, unthinking puppets. Rather than talk to delegates the Birmingham ‘left’ made a small demonstration outside the conference and claimed it was all part of fighting racism. The usual individuals turned up – that is the very same people who are rabidly hostile to Russia, invite known Mi5 operatives onto anti-war platforms in the town, and back the imperialist Labour party the hilt. The trotskyite delusion is a permanent revulsion. Needless to say, CPGB-ML had nothing to do with the ludicrous protest. We spent time during the conference talking to delegates, trying to gauge their attitudes on a range of subjects, sold lots of socialist literature to them and attempted to put some of our opinions on Brexit to them. Except for a tiny minority, we found that  most were willing to listen to our point of view whilst the only attempt at intimidation came from the local police.

British workers must not allow the referendum result to be overturned. Theresa May’s strategy and favoured proposals differ according to which day of the week it is, and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party has never held a clear and consistent position. The furore that continues amongst the ruling class is never-ending and the liberal media continue to propagandise for the overturning of Brexit.

Attacks on the Brexiteers & attempts to overturn the referendum

Divisions among the ruling class over Brexit continue to be clear for all to see: the liberal bourgeoisie continues to pursue its anti-people, anti-Brexit agenda and remains committed to overturning the referendum result. This has been particularly evident in newspapers such as the Guardian and Observer, which have been desperately pursuing every possible avenue for overturning the vote.

A recent line of attack has been to jump on what is essentially a student petition: “Predicting a young people’s revolt over the coming months, student unions – representing 980,000 students at 60 of the country’s leading universities and colleges – are writing to MPs… calling on them to back a ‘people’s vote’ before a final Brexit deal can be implemented.”

If a second vote on the referendum takes place and Britain does vote on the final deal, it is worth remembering that university students are not the only young people who were too young to vote in the referendum. For every student there are many more disenfranchised working-class teenagers. If these young people could be mobilised to defend their class interests, the pro-Brexit vote would only grow.

Government and opposition chaos

The divisions within the Conservative Party (and, therefore, the government) are mirrored by those in Labour. Both parties continue to tear themselves apart over Brexit, and this chaos of the bourgeoisie can only be welcomed by class-conscious workers.

The government finds itself at a roadblock. The sheer impossibility of the situation should long ago have led to the downfall of the government. The problem is that most bourgeois opinion is terrified of a Corbyn-led Labour government, as there is no guarantee that it can be dissuaded from implementing at least some measures inimical to imperialist interests, even though it is a better bet than the Tories for finding a means of escaping the Brexit vote.

The chaos looks set to continue, and will only be made worse by the deepening economic crisis, which is bound to take a further lurch downwards before long.

Foreigners are constantly blamed for the lack of jobs, low wages and poor social provision that are caused by capitalism, and workers are urged by bourgeois politicians and media alike to swallow the lie that if it wasn’t for ‘all the immigrants’ there would be jobs available at high wages for all native-born Britons, along with readily available housing at affordable rents and a decent level of social provision.

Free market economics is bad for Britain

The truth, however, is that capitalism, in its desperate drive to push down production costs, must inevitably try to push down wages and social provision, too – not only to maximise profits, but also to survive the competition from its rivals and to win the struggle over markets.

If immigration were stopped tomorrow and average wages rose, it would not be long before enterprises presently relying on cheap labour closed down altogether, with their capitalist owners either being driven out of business and/or deciding that their money was better invested abroad and/or investing in new machinery that would lessen the need to hire workers.

That is why, despite the constant increase in productivity (which ought to lead to a shorter working day and higher living standards for all of us), living standards for workers continue to be pushed relentlessly downwards all over the world.

According to Oxfam: “In 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of humanity. The figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010. Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1 percent of the total increase in global wealth, while half of that increase has gone to the top 1 percent.”

Foreign and native-born workers alike suffer as a result of this downward pressure on wages and benefits, whatever country’s labour force they happen to belong to. Our only possible defence is our ability to fight back – an ability that is lost if the working class is divided against itself, whether on xenophobic lines or any other basis.

Far from exciting hatred, working-class immigrants to this country should be treated with sympathy, since it is clear that the overwhelming majority who leave their countries of origin only do so because they feel they must in order to escape poverty, starvation, persecution or war.

Just like us, they love their families and are simply doing whatever they can to take care of them and secure their futures.

So long as capitalism exists, so long will workers have to fight every inch of the way to maintain reasonable living standards for themselves and their families – and will periodically suffer real deprivation as a result of battles being lost.

So long as capitalism exists, there will always be a reserve army of unemployed – both of local people and of people abroad – who are desperate for work. Competition among workers for jobs is built into the capitalist system, and so the proletariat must not allow itself to be tricked into believing that it is other workers who are the enemy.

The sole and only cause of this desperate situation is the continued survival of the capitalist system, which stands convicted of an utter inability to cater to the even the most basic needs of the overwhelming majority of humanity.

If capitalism was overthrown and replaced by a planned, socialist economy, in which all society’s resources were used to provide for the needs of the working people and their families, there would be no such thing as unemployment and no such thing as competition for jobs.

Every person would be found something essential to do, and all labour would enrich the whole of society. Under socialism we shall apply the fair, basic economic law of socialism: he who does not work, neither shall he eat.

 

Photos from Birmingham Home Care workers rally

Addressing Home Care strikers on Saturday, Unison West Midlands Regional Secretary Ravi Subramanian told workers that he has had a meeting with Labour council leader Ian Ward, who assures Ravi the dispute will be resolved in line with “Labour values”. If those are the same values which shafted the same workers earlier this year (after Labour secured a majority on the council once more after the local election), which introduced an extra 50 working days a year for bin men last year, then Unison strikers need to be wary. The Labour party in the trade unions is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Successful meeting “imperialism on Trial” held in Birmingham tonight

Eva Bartlett speaking in Birmingham

Eva Bartlett spoke in Birmingham tonight alongside Peter Ford (a former British diplomat), Michael Pike (Veterans for Peace) and Peter Kuznik (author).

The meeting was well attended considering the £11 door price and a low profile amongst what passes for Birmingham’s anti war movement.

The meeting represented everything that is best about the emerging opposition to corporate media lies but summed up neatly the impotent end product of nearly all speakers. Without coupling the fight against imperialism with the fight for socialism, no positive horizons open up for humanity and pessimism castrates what would otherwise be a fruitful critique.

We are sure that these talented speakers and truth seekers will eventually find their way towards seeing through the greatest lie of all, the anti-soviet, anti-socialist lies of the ruling class. When this is done, a great leap forward will be made in the struggle to end war and human exploitation forever.

For more info on what’s happening in Syria here: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2018/07/10/news/syria-advances-to-liberation/

Venezuelan Embassy speak in Birmingham today

Marcos Garcia of the Venezuelan Embassy spoke at the offices of the CPGB-ML in Birmingham today.

A lively question and answer session discussed things as diverse as the success of the Petro, seizure of assets by ConocoPhillips, the issue of cadres in the Venezuelan revolution, the present strength of ALBA, the threat of war, and the development of trade and relations with China.

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninists) organises a weekly political study as well as regular talks, presentations and socials on Wednesday and Sunday every week.

Get in touch to find out more.

For more on the Bolivarian revolution read Resounding success for Nicolas Maduro.

Birmingham Worker candidates thank local voters

Birmingham-Worker-election-candidates

The votes this year for Birmingham Worker candidates mark a step forward, no matter how small, for working class people in the city. They also mark another step forwards for communists in Birmingham.

The offices of the CPGB-ML in Highgate, have been busy all month as comrades gave their time working on our first foray into electoral politics. Results in Stirchley and Brandwood were good first time efforts for Marxist-Leninists; we beat the great TUSC (trot-left social democrat) coalition in Kings Heath and we can build on our effort in Balsall Heath where we beat both the Tories & Greens to third place.

We’d like to express our sincere thanks to all our members, our supporters, those bin men who ignored the trots & union chiefs to spread the word, our neighbours and all those we met along the way. We’ll be in touch with everyone who left their name, address, email etc and if you didn’t but wish you had, fill in the form below. It’s another Labour council, and it’s going to be years of more assaults on working class interests. There’s not been a better time to join the Communist Party in Birmingham for decades. Get involved.

Results:

Brandwood & King’s Heath

Candidate Party Votes
Burgess Chris Liberal Democrat 479
Cox Patrick Green Party 658
Cremer Katherine Birmingham Worker 95
Franks Gordon John Conservative Party Candidate 1122
Gilliam Rob Liberal Democrat 293
Kaya Julie Green Party 392
Leddy Mike Labour Party 3350
Mackenzie-Lawrie Joshua Duncan Conservative Party Candidate 829
Murray Bill Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 78
Trickett Lisa Labour Party 3395
Rejected Ballot Papers 19

Stirchley

Candidates Party Votes
Banting Philip Andrew Liberal Democrat 141
Lawrence Reuben Birmingham Worker 45
Locke Mary Labour and Co-operative Party 1856
Stanton Elly Green Party 155
Williams Owen Vaughan The Conservative Party Candidate 576
Rejected Ballot Papers 7
TOTAL 2780

Balsall Heath West

Candidate Party Votes
Fazel Ali The Conservative Party Candidate 139
Guest Martin John Green Party 98
Ibrahem Sammi Birmingham Worker 156
Issa Islam Ahmed Liberal Democrat 204
Malik Zhor Labour Party 1938
Rejected Ballot Papers 35
TOTAL 2570

Message to Polish voters in Balsall Heath West, Stirchley, Brandwood & Kings Heath

Message to Polish workers in Birmingham / Wiadomość dla polskich robotników i robotnic w Birmingham
The Birmingham Worker
GŁOSUJ NA “THE BIRMINGHAM WORKER” W BALSALL HEATH WEST, STIRCHLEY, BRANDWOOD ORAZ W KINGS HEATH.
PRZESTAŃMY SIĘ OSZUKIWAĆ
Laburzyści obwiniają Torysów, Torysi zrzucają winę na Laburzystów ale tak czy inaczej to nadal ta sama, stara śpiewka!
Radni Partii Pracy oskarżają za każde cięcia budżetowe i ataki na robotników Partię Konserwatywną sami odmawiając wzięcia jakiejkolwiek odpowiedzialności ale wszyscy doskonale wiemy, że tak na prawdę to Torysi są inicjatorami tych cięć a Laburzyści decydują kogo uderzyć w pierwszej kolejności. Council jest odpowiedzialny między innymi za:
– zmarnowanie ponad 6 milionów funtów w samym tylko 2017 roku próbując obniżyć pensje śmieciarzom w nadziei na żałosne oszczędności,
– zamknięcie 26 Children’s centres w Birmingham,
– podniesienie podatków miejskich (tzw. Council Tax) w 2018 oraz żenujące próby przekonania opinii publicznej, że to dla dobra społeczeństwa wstrzymano opłaty za kremację,
– testowanie granic ludzkiej wytrzymałości pracowników i pracownic socjalnych przez zmuszanie ich w praktyce do pracy przez nawet 15 godzin na dobę,
– wydawanie pieniędzy podatników na podróże dla Izraelskiego zbrodniarza wojennego odpowiedzialnego za tysiące zabitych Palestyńczyków.
Nadszedł czas aby odciągnąć karierowiczów od koryta i zastąpić ich miejscowymi robotnikami, tymi którzy nie boją się stanąć w obronie zwykłych obywateli!

Should workers vote in Birminghams council elections?

Poster_Birmingham workerThe picture above probably answers that question for you! But this is the first time a radical, Marxist-Leninist working class organisation has stood in elections of any form in many years, so here’s a few words about why communists should bother.

As far as communists are concerned, whether to vote or not to vote, and whether or not to put up communist candidates for election, are not questions of principle, but of tactics – to be decided according to the situation in which we find ourselves and by the general level of engagement of the workers.

Given the fact that so many people still have great illusions in the system of bourgeois democracy in Britain, our party is at the present time in favour of the principle of putting up communist candidates for election. In most places, owing to the relative weakness of party organisations, standing candidates, even for council elections is an unnecessary burden. In Birmingham it’s a different situation. We’ve got experienced comrades, a strong local organisation, and in some places a bit of support from the local community.   For that reason, there will be communists standing for election in Birmingham, and the campaign that is being run is not the shoddy CPB-style Graham Stevenson for Mayor type of affair. We’ve distributed, not via Royal Mail but via our own members and supporters, more than 25,000 flyers to local residents and over 10,000 copies of our local newspaper the Birmingham Worker. We’re not apologising for the dictatorship of the proletariat either, our message is clear, bourgeois dictatorship is an evil which must be overthrown, and the workers must become masters of British society, they must establish their own dictatorship over the rich. Whilst it seems that’s not going to happen any time soon(!) it is the inevitable outcome of the class struggle.

Standing candidates gives us an opportunity to bring communist politics into the wider debate and to spread the influence of a revolutionary understanding.

Get in touch:

Sammi Ibrahem, our candidate in Balsall Heath West

A message to voters in Balsall Heath West

SAMMI IBRAHEM FROM GAZA TO BALSALL HEATH – INTERNATIONAL MAN OF PEACE

Sammi Ibrahem is no stranger to conflict and hardship. Born in a Palestinian refugee camp, Sammi Ibrahem was repeatedly shot by Zionist troops but lived to survive the ordeal and spread his message of uncompromising struggle against imperialism. Sammi who has been cruelly separated from his family for many years by the Israeli occupation of Palestine escaped Israeli detention on a scholarship programme and has, since his youth, been a champion of the oppressed ever since.

Man of peace

Sammi knows that hatred can only be challenged head-on. In his years as a community activist in Balsall Heath, Sammi has looked after the interests of hundreds of local workers and residents, many of whom have faced unfair eviction orders from the Council bailiffs as a result of crushing poverty, or the bullying threats of slum landlords, rapacious bosses or street hoodlums. But Sammi Ibrhaem says that workers and oppressed peoples can stand up to bullies and they can win, not only here in Balsall Heath, but around the world, whether it’s in Gaza or Seoul. As a champion of the oppressed, Sammi has been invited by countless organisations to visit them in the pursuance of peace and socialism.

South Korea and the threats of nuclear war

This April Sammi Ibrahem is a guest of the South Korean workers and peace loving people when he visits Seoul on a two week trip to promote friendship, peace and reunification. At the invitation of the Peace and Democracy Party, and the Korean peace organisations, Sammi will deliver a message from the socialist and peace loving people of Birmingham to our south Korean friends who face the threat of nuclear war as a result of the maniac Donald Trump and the aggressive plans of US imperialism.

As Sammi Ibrahem says,

“Korea was unjustly divided after the second world war as a result of US imperialist occupation of the south. It is high time that injustice was reversed.”

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Sammi, recently returned from a peace mission to Columbo given the support of Birmingham’s Sri Lankan community by visiting Sri Lankan Member of Parliament Sunil Handunneththi

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Sammi Ibrahem welcomes comrade Marcos Garcia, from the Venezuelan Embassy, to Birmingham in 2018