ON THE ENVIRONMENT
At the last Congress no resolution from the Executive was presented on the environment. However, below is the composite resolution from branches and districts that was passed unanimously be Congress. Some but not all parts have been implemented following congress. Comrades might find it useful to evaluate the progress made since the last congress in the light the current discussion:
THE ENVIRONMENT 55th Congress: Draft Composite: (R20,R21,R22,A14)
Congress recognises the scale of the global environmental crisis that threatens to undermine life and civilisation on our planet; and the importance of this arena of struggle in the fight for socialism.
The environment in which we live is fundamental to life and capitalism not only exploits labour but also nature, or the environment, in ways which are harmful to the future of humankind.
Unsustainable use of resources and land use, pollution and loss of habitats and species are becoming critical, but one of the most pressing issues is climate change, now almost universally acknowledged to be mainly the result of human activity. The impact of this is felt all over the world and will quickly increase over this century. Increased strength and frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms, global warming, changes in rainfall patterns causing drought or flooding, and sea level rise are all manifestations of climate change. These changes lead to relocation of coastal communities, climate refugees, and food shortages and these impacts are felt the greatest by poor countries and communities.
The overproduction and inherent wasteful practices of capitalism are now becoming self-evident and Communists must start to answer how socialism can be built without destroying the planet.
The building of a socialist society must be seen to be both planet and worker friendly and we have to construct policies to address this with a global outlook. The issues of travel, food, decent housing, access to work and access to energy must all be addressed to ensure sustainable communities.
We are committed to supporting accelerated research into renewable energy technologies to replace carbon dioxide-producing fossil fuels. In addition to this, whilst fossil fuels are still being used, there is an immediate need for increased research into carbon capture technologies.
However, the Communist Party also needs to develop policies to take into the trade union movement that are about long-term development and not short-term gain; we need to start campaigning for the conversion of many industrial jobs into green jobs and not defending growth at any cost. This will require the control of development by central governments in collaboration with their neighbours as we have to make the distribution of income more equal as we manage the resources of the planet more equitably.
The future has to be one of nurturing the planet whilst allowing human development to continue.
In Britain this means an integrated and cheap public transport system using clean energy that discourages people from using and owning private vehicles. This will mean more buses, trams, trains and bikes being built and fewer cars. The capitalist promotion of self-drive cars is not the answer.
This also means a sustainable home-building programme that is about social housing using recycled materials with up to date technology that looks at social integration of communal spaces and resources. It also needs to look at the use and reuse of water and a variety of methods for heating and cooling the housing provided.
All of this will require co-ordination and co-operation, and this can only be delivered through state intervention, at least a Left Labour government as a start and in the longer term within a socialist society.
Congress resolves that Marxist education throughout this party will include analysis of the political economy of environmental crises and the need for the replacement of an economy based on capitalist accumulation by one devoted to the development of a socialist ecological civilisation.
Congress also resolves to re-establish an Environment Commission, or to commit to include these issues into an active science commission, and through this to encourage party members to become active in local and national campaigns against activities harmful to the environment and to humankind, such as fracking – being imposed on communities without proper consultation and consent – while calling for alternative employment for those currently engaged in such work. The Commission could establish working groups with allies to develop appropriate policies, and work with sister parties on developing more sustainable policies for the world movement.
Yorkshire District Committee
West Yorkshire Branch
Birmingham & District Plus Branch
North West District Committee
BEIGE, BITTY & BLUNT
The domestic Congress resolution is beige, bitty and blunt. It follows an identical formula from previous resolutions with more than two thirds devoted to background and reflection. It lacks any sense of where, in practice, the Party’s heading. It’s passive and projects a lack of confidence in ability to deliver.
It lists issues including gender, race, orientation and disability but, offers no call to arms, repeating what’s been in previous resolutions. Maybe the EC thinks doing the same, can lead to different results. It refers to the Party’s Housing Charter but offers no ideas on tackling the housing situation. Progressive federalism is a fudge, containing conclusions with no explanations and excuses for taking a position on national self determination that contradicts Party principles.
The resolution contains few actions, just more alliances, co-operation and another convention where the Party will be in an echo chamber talking to ourselves and those that agree.
It bangs on about crisis of capitalism, takes up a position on the sofa to tackle it, avoiding hard issues. The crisis is within the working class. They are disempowered, disillusioned and deceived. Labour has turned its back on them, they have no trust or belief in the establishment and are fed fake news and a misleading social and political narrative. This crisis requires our Party to re-connect with the working class. This won’t be achieved by zoom, social media nor revelling in our history. We are an activist Party, not history boys. We need inspiration. This demands energised leadership and leading by example. This resolution feels tired and academic.
Congress offers an opportunity for the Party to spell out what it is going to do to become a party of influence. The resolution should focus on what we are going to do, not what we think.
Philip Street Midlands district
I wish to encourage maximum solidarity to the People’s Republic of China and upholding the historic success of the Communist Party of China
Throughout 100 years of revolutionary experience, the CPC has overthrown feudal rule, won socialist revolution, eliminated poverty and won unparalleled victories for Chinese workers. Under the two centenary goals, China has realised a moderately prosperous society in 2021 and as it heads towards 2049 aims to create an advanced socialist country.
I urge all Communists to send maximum solidarity to the CPC and PRC in realising their goal. It is important to educate communist, cadres and class conscious workers on the theory and practice of the CPC. Far from ‘taking the capitalist road’, the CPC is adhering ever closer to Marxism by recognising, as Marx did, that socialism is developed on the basis of the advanced commodity economy first and not out of backwards conditions. The ownership, distribution and exchange system will match the existing stage of development, as Engels noted in Anti-Duhring, socialism is not a matter of pure will but objective conditions. As China is still a developing socialist country we should understand the necessity of their path. As the Manifesto states, the first duty of the proletariat in power is to develop the productive forces to the maximum. The CPC is doing just that and the benefits for the Chinese people has never been clearer. As Xi Jinping has stated on several occasions, the highest goal of the CPC is to realise communism on the basis of a generational struggle that occurs along an entire historical epoch.
I wish to encourage the vanguard party of the British workers, the CPB, to promote even further the fraternal ties with the CPC and encourage greater understanding of the CPC and combat the imperialist propaganda from the US and incorrect ultra-leftist distortions promoted by certain quarters. The CPC is the world’s largest and most successful Marxist Leninist Party, their success holds lessons for us all in adapting Marxism to national conditions.
ON MODERN MONETARY THEORY
Domestic Resolution, on Modern Monetary Theory (line 650 – 655):
It is true that there is a tendency on the left to view MMT in an escapist manner, that we can simply pump money into public services, directly into the worker’s pockets. and even that we don’t even need to tax!
If we were to expand the money supply without levying tax on the capitalist class, we’d eventually end up filling the pockets of the upper echelons of that class – the monopolists and oligopolists – as wealth tends to filter upward. Funnily enough, this is exactly what has happened during the pandemic!
Proponents of MMT say the state controls the money supply, and they’re right, but it is the capitalist sector that controls technology, labour conditions and the level of skills and intensity of the workforce and hence, controls the flows of wealth.
MMT could potentially be used as a framing device, to illustrate that the capitalists as a class have managed to acquire substantial wealth from the government gravy-train and that it is only after the fact that the government is raising taxes on the working class to pay for it. It could be used to demonstrate that the constant printing of money without taxation on the capitalist class leads to the tendency for wealth to filter upward as we saw during the pandemic. The unyielding printing of money in general leads towards other crises: inflation, currency devaluation, higher interest rates etc.
In other words, our current situation framed through MMT should be enough to reject the utopian understanding of MMT wholesale.
It is a state under the control of workers that’s needed. When the workers have control over technology, automation, labour conditions and intensity of the workforce, there’d be no need to print money constantly because at that point, they’d have control over the flows of wealth.
Simon Brignell Eastern district
POINT OF ACCURACY
Gerald Sables says that:
Line 158 of domestic resolution gives 6% as the percent of GDP for financial services. It is 80%. See https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research
Having read the HoC Library briefing above – he is incorrect. The figure is actually 6.9%.
Gordon Scobie Scotland
‘FAR-REACHING TRANSFORMATIONS’ NEED TO BE SPELLED OUT
The domestic resolution states:
“555 As the UN International Panel on Climate Change proposed in its 15th Report, ‘rapid and far-reaching transformations’ in the world’s energy, transport and food systems are vital by the year 2030.
This is the political analysis that needs to be won in ‘green’ movements such as Extinction Rebellion, whose unelected leaders appear to be reluctant to draw the necessary anti monopoly capitalist conclusions from their campaigning. “
Am I alone in finding these comments woefully inadequate.
The fact that ‘rapid and far-reaching transformations’ are required tells us virtually nothing. A search of the IPCC site made me none the wiser; perhaps I missed something but the fact is that these far-reaching transformations need to be spelled out together with their implications for political change. The rather supercilious tone concerning the drawing of “necessary conclusions” is unlikely to win us many friends in the environmental movement. As to the “political analysis” referred to, apart from a list of practical common-sense suggestions on various topics, I could find no political analysis worth the name in terms of ecological economics, the causes of the ecological crisis, and its historical roots in the capitalist system. Because of this I feel that we have no cause to be snooty about Extinction Rebellion. True the document points raises the question of how achievable is the Green New Deal but criticism of this essentially Keynesian approach should be made more sharply to emphasise the need for an approach which goes beyond the merely pragmatic.
Phil Clegg Yorkshire
CLASS IN CHINA
In response to Daniel Williams’ assertion that the majority of “class conscious workers, particularly youth” in China reject the idea that China is a socialist country, rather than getting into a discussion as to whether the current CPB position of concurring with the Chinese Party in its characterisation of their country is correct, I would mainly be interested to know the basis for Comrade Daniel’s assertion. Firstly his definition of class conscious workers in China and secondly how he arrives at the view that this is indeed what they think.
RE RESOLUTION FORMAT
Firstly, can I make a heartfelt plea for future Draft Resolutions to have a clear structure and format with “issues to be resolved” in the Preamble clearly laid out and Reasons and Actions highlighted. There should be fewer preambulatory clauses than operative ones, ie more solutions listed than problems.
Secondly, operative issues should be numbered (making them easy to identify) and should present a logical progression to the Resolution.
I found the current draft resolution far too unnecessarily wordy making it very difficult to find specific issues buried therein. Also, the goals were not clearly laid out.
Brenda Brown North West
THE FIRST GREEN REVOLUTION WASN’T GREEN
Socialism with a market economy like China, Vietnam and now Cuba?
The Labour Party is not Socialist Who will fill the Anti – Capitalist void ?
Where is the Popular Front? Britain needs a Socialist Brexit Alternative and Agricultural Revolution
The Green Revolution is the term used to describe the transformation in agricultural practices in many parts of the developing world between 1940 and the 1960s.- And the Green Party are not about greening but creating a wilderness of the Countryside, When they talk about sustainability they mean the opposite from what the Green Revolution did to food production but with the same results.
To sustain life we must grow more food and that food will be from ruminants who eat grass as much as other green food, because 80% of Britain’s farmland only grows grass The Green Revolution was a disaster for food production and as a result of it most countries produced less food
In the 1980’s, 490million were classed as seriously undernourished and another 800 million as merely undernourished. One example was the Philippines
where paddy fields supported fish until the miracle rice plants needed fertilizer and pesticides which killed the fish, produced more rice and less protein. In agriculture it is all according to the weather what can be grown.
In the UK traditionally Dairy and Livestock rearing in the wetter but warmer, poorer lands of the North and West and Corn, Roots and Vegetables in the better lands of the South and East. Even so the markets dictated results so “Up Corn Down Horn” and vis a versa
Today British farms are sustainable. They have to be, to have succeeded for 300 years. Those that adopted the Green Revolution methods soon discovered the problems. Including “Organic” farming where productivity depends on lower yields and higher retail prices.
Today the issue is all about “Market Gardens” which is a small farm, allotment or back garden, which produces for self sufficiency or sells vegetables, salad or fruit directly to consumers and/or restaurants. A variety of different plants are grown, with the emphasis on continual production throughout the year.
This sort of production compliments the large farm supplying the supermarkets who bulk buy. The next Green Revolution must not only deal with improved seed varieties, fertilizers and herbicides but pests and pesticides as well.
A reduction in productive land as a result of the world population reaching 7.7 billion with more mouths to feed on less acres. What Britain needs is a British Brexit Agricultural Policy for Britain instead of the lunatic scheme to pay farmers to remove livestock from the uplands and allow it to become a wilderness.
On the Domestic Resolution
I think there is a gaping hole in the Domestic Resolution; an elephant in the room. It reads like the manifesto of a contending political party of the normal kind, seeking power to implement a programme of (doubtless much needed) wide-ranging reform. What is missing is what came to be missing in the Communist movement generally – the wish to pass power to the working class.
There is no mention at all of the need for democracy in the workplace – the basis on which Communism has to be founded. It is not sufficient that the state take the responsibility of running the society in the workers’ interest, there must be participation by ordinary working people (and the population generally) at every level. This is the lesson to be taken from the collapse of the Soviet Union, a lesson the CPB seems not to have learnt.
The CPB would benefit from absorbing the ground breaking work of the American Marxist economists Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff (who interpret Marx in ways that differ in important ways from the way the communists came to interpret it). They stress the importance of production, and appropriation and distribution of the surplus in the theory of class and history, leading to the conclusion that only when the workers themselves have the power to decide what to do with the profits they generate, can we have a communist society. That means private and state enterprises must be, step by step, replaced by worker self-directed enterprises to form the basis of the economy on which higher forms of cooperation including democratic macro- economic planning can and should be a part.
Post Brexit Britain
I’d like to know the position held about how opportunities for Socialism could be enhanced with Brexit established. Those who asked for a second referendum didn’t seem to want to note that the 2017 and other subsequent elections performed an answer to the question perfectly well. By 2019 both Corbyn and McDonnell had nailed their colours to the mast ruling out a no deal Brexit, thus accepting continuing EU hold on us (as in Norway while not in the EU faces EU law which overrules Norwegian law – dock workers found they could no longer say who worked on the docks but powerful multinational shipping companies could). I was conscerned that reading the Morning Star this appeared to be overlooked and there was a failure to guide Corbyn in this respect. So how was the vote in 2019 accounted for with former mining communities voting Tory. Had they become the archetypal xenophobic, racist supporters of Farage/Johnson, or more likely incensed by the Labour Party’s ignoral of those seats that supported leaving the EU. This is continually ignored. I realise the Morning Star has its own views. I expect to see a clear vision for Socialism post Brexit. Johnson did what his manifesto said and ‘got Brexit done’. He has no other mandate. He should be gone, but where’s the alternative vision?
I think both resolutions are totally accurate. The industry I work in, public transport, especially in the North of England is purposely underfunded and kept together at times literally with sticky tape.
North West District
The EC Domestic Resolution confirms an alarming economistic and unMarxist turn by some, increasingly describing our main enemy as “the capitalist monopoly corporations” as opposed to monopoly capitalism itself.
The alliance we need is frequently downgraded to being an “anti-monopolies alliance” as opposed to the BRS formulation of being a “popular, democratic, anti-monopoly alliance”. The “popular” and “democratic” are equally vital components as “anti-monopoly”. The combination and interlocking of all three concepts are what makes the required alliance genuinely transformative and revolutionary.
We are opposed to monopoly capitalism as a social system run in the interests of a capitalist class. Reducing this to “capitalist monopoly corporations” or “monopolies” misses the essence of our fundamental critique of capitalist economic and social system, which in the present day may be described as state monopoly capitalism, but still a system, serving a class, not a simply collection of individual big corporations.
The Resolution strays even further into non-Marxism when it says the “capitalist monopoly corporations” hold state power in Britain (Line 213). This violates the Marxist thesis that State power is always held by a ‘single’ class i.e. a whole class, and not simply by one of its fractions, even if a given fraction of that class can be said to play a dominant role in the State. Being just “anti- monopoly” or anti big corporations can lead down a very slippery reformist slope, I am sure not intended.
We should make clear the Communist Party is against state monopoly capitalism
as a system, the whole of the bourgeoisie, and against the state, which is an instrument of the whole of the capitalist class, and in favour of the “popular, democratic, anti-monopoly alliance”, as both the immediate and strategic response to all the issues we face today.
I would like to reply to a small part of Andrew Northall’s comments.
If his assertion is correct that the term ‘capitalist monopoly corporations’ is being used ‘increasingly’ to define our class enemy, and in his comments he implies ‘exclusively’ too, as opposed to ‘state monopoly capitalism’, he has a point in his criticism of its use. We live in Britain in these dying days of Western imperial domination and the rise of China, so, sometimes simply the term ‘capitalism’ would be more appropriate. Capitalism has very little progressive use for the working class at all now, in our society in Britain – as Marx and Engels went to great labours to point out would happen! Indeed when capitalism developed from feudalism it was progressive in that it created, over time, conditions that moved our class, the working class, to a position wherein it could begin to organise as a class, and, eventually, bring about the new, socialism. That time is becoming riper – we have proof that that is the case; we only have to look at the massive increase in the vote for Labour policies at the 2017 general election to know the appetite for change, and for socialist change, is here, growing and strong; the current weakness for exploiting this position is the organisation of our class as an instrument for effecting this change; ( and, of course, we need constant consciousness-raising education and to develop potent strategies for minimising the effect of the capitalist media). The term ‘capitalist monopoly corporations’ is an accurate specific description of the current dominant aspect of capitalism that dictates much of our lives, but that term only does that; it does not reflect or convey the whole picture. It is reductive and could be misleading. All three – ‘capitalist monopoly corporations’, ‘state monopoly capitalism’ and ‘capitalism’ – terms are needed for use in different, appropriate contexts.
Diane Randall MIDLANDS district
Re: ‘The crisis is capitalism
Take the road to socialism!’
Regarding the Domestic Resolution, and specifically ‘A politicised labour movement’ (generally at lines 658-691) I would be interested to know (and respectfully ask that the same be considered in congress) what the CPB position will be with regard to independent candidates standing in local and national elections.
In particular; whether support/endorsement of independent candidates will be considered in principle, and if so; what criteria would be required in offering support/endorsement by CPB to independent candidates; and what obligations etc. would be required or expected from prospective independent candidates.
I ask as a non-party member (former Labour Party member) who is actively exploring the prospect of standing as an independent in a Manchester-based constituency on a left platform at the next general election (2024), and would be enthusiastic in working with the CPB.
Prior to the pandemic more people were employed than ever before and yet union membership remained at historic lows. Many of these workers are employed via agency contracts, zero hours contracts or other short term arrangements. Many see unions as irrelevant. Additionally documented and undocumented labour are often outside of organised labour. Unions must organise outside of traditional structures and with workers not currently organised. To do this they must be flexible and go where the workers are. We must unify our class.
I have been a member of the CPB for about a year now. And I would like to commend this party’s work towards helping the most vulnerable people in this country and being a party that TRULY represents the working people of Great Britain. The vast majority of the party line I agree with.
However, there is one major grievance I have with the party line. The endorsement of Dengist China. The process of market reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping, initially to try and boost the productivity of China’s bureaucratically-deformed socialist system, has led to the restoration of capitalism in China. Nationalised industry has been privatised, social services rolled back and the majority of the country’s GDP is now produced in the private sector. The vestiges of state planning that remain serve the generalised interests of capital, not the working class. The new capitalist class is deeply entrenched within the Chinese state bureaucracy and its HR department, the CPC.
The idea that China is presently on a course of socialist development is not taken seriously at all by class conscious workers in China, especially the youth. And I urge the party to challenge China’s so called “Socialism with China’s Characteristics”.
Party, Science and response to Covid19
We have to question how the EC determined the Party’s attitude toward the pandemic. Was there serious consideration of the range of scientific opinion? Why was one particular strand of scientific opinion considered to be the correct one? It appears that Party line has been decided on the basis of a set of assumptions. Widely shared among the membership though they probably are, assumptions do not constitute analysis.
CPB has long claimed a close association with science. We can cite the names of Haldane and Bernal, and we can arguably trace it back to Marx and Engels. The way EC decided Party policy on the pandemic looks to be anything but scientific. Adherence to a line has become increasingly dogmatic, and discussion of alternatives positively discouraged. Domestic draft resolution, l.94 “others have strayed into conspiracy theories”: either follow the line as decided by EC, or be considered a crank: nothing in between. Then we have this at l.96 “persuaded against them by scientific evidence and reasoned argument”. It is beyond ironic.
We also have to question the prominence – seemingly with the approval of EC – of behavioural psychology in leading the response to the pandemic. We should be looking on this with great consternation. It intensifies alienation, it operates remotely through mass-media manipulation, it approaches people on an emotional rather than rational level – the antithesis of open and reasoned discussion, which is supposedly the scientific approach. And it is the approach most likely to breed cynicism and suspicion.
Deciding policy on the basis of unchallenged shared assumptions is not scientific. A period of self-reflection is needed. We need to remind ourselves how to do political analysis.
Independence for the Disabled is a Human Right
I believe that independence for the disabled is a human right and that we, in the Communist Party, should apply our talents to enable disabled people to live independently. I am sure that our under-graduates, graduates and apprentices are capable of creating products that would revolutionise disabled life. The disabled are a group of tax payers, consumers and talented individuals and enablement would allow them to contribute more to society. They are one section that are under-valued resulting in a lost generation of talented people.
There are products on the market but most are limited. For example even the fittest wheelchair user can be defeated by a modest ramp or badly laid pavement. Why not invent an extremely lightweight wheelchair that can travel over every terrain and used without assistance? The blind can have the assistance of a guide dog but they are expensive, so why not invent a hand-held product that would ping like sonar and enable them to get a view of the world. We have driverless cars in the pipeline which should be prioritised for the blind as their need is greatest. I am sure that our talented young people could think of better items to enable disabled people.
It is no good changing the laws in Parliament if we do not change our view of the disabled. We must and should demand independence for them. I want the Communist Party to put all our talents to good use and show the world that we are a forward looking party where all members of society are included and valued.
There is no mention of the Disabled in the policy documents and this is a great omission.
Written for the Morning Star as a contribution to Congress inner party discussion.
Additional words on Wolff
I would like to reply to a small part of John Hemp’s comments on Congress EC Domestic resolution, in which he recommended the, very worthy, Richard Wolff’s approach to ways forward for beginning to redistribute some wealth and to restore some democratic control, and to create, consequently, a growing popular appetite for both in real conditions, in the USA. Actually, Richard Wolff has taken his practical ideas, and said so, from practices in Germany and in France, and most significantly – ideas from our Labour Party 2017 and 2019 manifestos. All ideas and proposals for increasing working class democratic control and to start redistributing wealth and winning the ‘battle’ of ideas are important to consider, and adopt if they fit our conditions, and not least, practices in China, Cuba etc. should be considered too.
Diane Randall MIDLANDS district
Defending the rights of women on the basis of sex
I believe the EC Domestic Resolution sets out an excellent strategy for the party in the short and medium term. In particular I commend its strong commitment, described in lines 438 – 457, to defending the rights of women on the basis of sex, which have come under increasing attack from both successive Tory governments and more surprisingly from the mainstream parties, which seem to be competing with each other to discard decades if not centuries of women’s hard-won rights. The CPB is almost alone in this regard and along with its revolutionary socialist programme was a major reason I recently joined the party. Women are half the working class and central to the fight for socialism and I hope that this section of the resolution is not watered down or compromised when Congress comes to debate the resolution.
Sonya Andermahr MIDLANDS district.
RESPONSE RE Take the road to socialism!’
In reply to Dan Ross and his question on support / endorsement for independent election candidates in 2024. Not sure this will be the answer you are looking for but for me the answer lay within the ground work we all do now to build sustainable anti-monopoly alliances in our communities ahead of that election, how well we can build broad support for a left agenda locally and through working with a range of allies, the impact this struggle has on the issues of the day.
It will be from this that we assess what support / endorsement can be directed to any independent candidate should no CP candidate come forward.
I am pleased you would be enthusiastic about working with the CP we have a healthy and active branch in Manchester that would welcome your views on Britain’s Road to Socialism as a starting point to building on this approach to your question.
You should still have my details if you want to follow this up further.
North West District
The role of financial services
Line 158 of domestic resolution gives 6% as the percent of GDP for financial services. It is 80%. See https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn06193/
South west district