Workers of all lands, unite!
ELCOME to this special issue of Unity! which is circulated free to all celebrating the defeat of fascism at the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 and to participants at the Stand Up to Racism conference. Unity in the ﬁght against racism, antisemitism and fascism is in the political DnA of communists. the fascists and their police protectors were fought to a standstill on the streets of london and other cities. thousands of anti fascists volunteered for liberty in Spain. the Red Army tore the guts out of the nazi war machine. Capitalist crisis breeds racism and fascism in new forms. today, the chauvinism spawned by the tory/UKip axis must be countered by a progressive exit from the racist Fortess Europe based on stronger rights at work. Our working class movement must combine the battle for decent wages for all and a big increase in house building with a defence of migrant workers’ rights. Workers united combined with a progressive government could put an end to zero hours, low wages, insecure work, discrimination and exploitation. AnitA HAlpin iS EDitOR OF tHE Unity! gROUp OF pUbliCAtiOnS
HIS WEEKEND sees two important and significant demonstrations of solidarity with all those fighting racism and fascism. On Saturday, Stand up to Racism is holding its conference with an impressive array of speakers from anti-racist campaigns across Europe. On Sunday, national and local organisations come together to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the ‘Battle of Cable Street’ when, on 4 October 1936, more than 100,000 people turned out in East London to defeat police attempts to clear the way for Oswald Mosley’s blackshirted British Union of Fascists. The Communist Party congratulates the organisers of both these events. Since the 22 June much has been said about the impact the people’s decision to exit the EU will have particularly in respect of any rise in racism. Such
All power to the working class The role of the Communist Party
No to racism and fascism attitudes existed prior to the referendum and the worst action now would be for Government to ignore the popular mandate. Communists say that Britain should adopt an anti-racist immigration policy that is fair to all - with help for refugees fleeing famine and war. We say that the Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights must be upheld. All EU citizens currently living in the EU should be guaranteed residence and the unfair anti discrimination rules imposed on non EU citizens must be reversed. There must be no more mass deportations as was seen last month when mothers, fathers and grandparents were among those forcibly removed from the UK to Jamaica despite many of them having spent their entire adult lives in Britain. We are concerned at the tactics used by Home Office immigration enforcement, which has been accused of ‘strategically’ detaining individuals to fill the charter
flight without consideration of their circumstances. We must also oppose and support those peoples being deported due to the problems with housing and homelessness. This is a clear sign of the lack of affordable housing in many of our towns and cities. In addition we must oppose and campaign against decisions of the UK Government as floated by the Prime Minister at the recent Special Assembly of the UN to tinker with the Convention on Refugees. Yes, the Convention was drawn up after the anti-fascist war but who can argue that people aren't fleeing war currently. Wars often caused by western imperialism and then fanned afterwards. The 9,000 desperate refugees, including nearly a thousand children, crammed into the infamous ‘Jungle’ camp at Calais need our help and solidarity From the start the attitudes of the French and British governments toward the refugee crisis have been a disgrace. The Tories have sought to shut our doors on anyone seeking asylum in this country,
even voting against providing a safe haven for unaccompanied child refugees until a concerted Labour fightback forced a Uturn. The French authorities have hampered efforts to get humanitarian aid into the camp — blocking entry for the Convoy to Calais organised by Stand Up to Racism and the People’s Assembly, for example — and bear a heavy responsibility for the squalid conditions here. With residents lacking sufficient food, clean water, healthcare and sanitation it is hardly surprising if crime rates are rising. Shopkeepers complaining of stolen goods and lorry drivers who say their vehicles have been damaged are not lying. But the mobs baying for the residents to be sent home must be confronted, not appeased. The ‘Jungle’ is a symptom, not a cause of the flow of refugees into Europe.
the Communist party believes that socialist revolution and the construction of a fundamentally new type of society to replace capitalism is essential for the future of humanity and our planet. in all three countries of britain, capitalism has become a barrier to balanced economic development, environmental security, social justice and meaningful democracy. the big business proﬁt system has to be replaced by a new system – socialism – based on mass participation in decision making, social ownership of the economy, democratic planning and solidarity. but fundamental change will also require a transfer of political power, taking it out of the hands of a small number of monopoly capitalists whose interests dominate our society. Such a revolutionary process will have to be led by the working class – the producers of society's wealth – at the head of an alliance of forces representing the interests of the people as a whole. What is the role of the Communist party in helping to achieve a socialist society in England, Scotland and Wales? Why is a strong and inﬂuential Communist party essential for victory? this pamphlet aims to stimulate discussion and understanding of the unique role that only a communist party can play. it divides into four distinct but inter-related sections, each of which can form the basis for a political education session or class.
tOny COnWAy COnvEnES tHE COMMUniSt pARty’S Anti-FASCiSt, Anti-RACiSt COMMiSSiOn
European Union migration double standards HARSEv bAinS
S PART of the general election campaign in October 1974, the Labour Party promised a referendum to decide whether Britain should remain in the then European Economic Community (EEC) or quit. in the 1975 referendum, 67 per cent of voters favoured staying in the EEC; the indian Workers’ Association (great britain) — iWA(gb) — was among the 33 per cent opposing continuing membership. the Wilson government promised much in terms of works councils and an increase in workers’ participation in the aﬀairs of industry. instead, what we had was increased bureaucracy, the destruction of manufacturing, the migration of ﬁnance to cheaper labour
markets in Europe and a disconnected system of overpaid non-accountable European MEps and bureaucrats. Secret trade deals like the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (ttip) and that between the EU and india, are all aimed at the continued exploitation of developing countries still further. in response, the iWA(gb) has been stepping up its campaigning, alongside other left and progressive forces, against the neoliberal agenda of globalisation and associated austerity. David Cameron’s EU renegotiations in February this year, aimed at creating the conditions for a ‘Remain’ victory in the referendum campaign, were a contemptible demonstration of racism and xenophobia. the proposals for imposing a work qualiﬁcation period of up to four years for in-work beneﬁts for migrants from Europe resonated with migrant workers in britain as a very real threat.
When the iWA(gb) carefully examined the results of 43 years of EU membership, it became clear that there has been a growing contradiction between the promises of frequent renegotiations in the interests of working people and the actual delivery. the expected paradigm of a Europe with free movement for people permanently settled in britain, including those who have a non-EU passport, has been denied. people from india, for example, still require one Schengen visa for Europe and a separate one for britain. Within the EU, Asian communities have experienced the worst of all worlds as result of britain’s alignment with the EU’s ‘Fortress Europe’ approach. the indian Workers’ Association (great britain) continues to lobby against the discriminatory, unethical immigration legislation applicable to non-EU residents
that divides poor families and denies them the basic human right to live together in britain. together with our allies in lexit, we are not against the people of Europe or people in any other part of the world. We want to be friends and trading partners with all peoples of the world, whatever their race, religion or nationality. in his editorial in People’s Democracy 29 June, prakash Karat, former general secretary of the Communist party of india (Marxist), said that ‘the struggle against racism and xenophobia of the far-right can only be countered by putting forward such a left programme and mobilising people around it. What has to be underlined is that the struggle for an alternative agenda can be advanced now that the EU shackles have been removed.’
this pamphlet by Kenny Coyle oﬀers a concise overview of the historical development of imperialism as well as anti-imperialist and socialist revolutions in South-East and East Asia. in this current era of anti-imperialist politics and programmes that present tremendous opportunities and challenges to the peoples of Asia, Kenny Coyle considers the chances for advances and the continuing malign inﬂuence of british and US imperialism in the region.
HARSEv bAinS iS gEnERAl SECREtARy OF tHE inDiAn WORKERS ASSOCiAtiOn (gb)
pamphlets are £2 from www.communist-party.org.uk/shop
Asia: imperialism and resistance
‘the Morning Star is the most precious and only voice we have in the daily media’ Jeremy Corbyn
Cable Street 80th commemoration Sunday 9 October Assemble 12 noon Altab Ali park, E2
unrolled the dirty tricks to attempt unsuccessfully - to gerrymander the result was truly shocking Repeated studies have RitAin’s working people today shown the scale of media bias against face greater challenges than at any Corbyn and his team, from a bbC that time for years. helped coordinate on-air resignations to Over the summer our prime minister may have changed, but the determination newspapers whose hostility has been of the Conservative government to press exposed in studies by the Media Reform Coalition and the lSE. ahead with its assault on working people there's one exception among daily has not. papers: the Morning Star. And that's not a the trade Union Act leaves workers coincidence. weaker, and bosses stronger, than ever: it's owned by its readers, rather than and the bosses are hardly proving some billionaire tax exile. Anybody can trustworthy custodians of our economy. pay a pound and become an owner of From asset-stripping bHS before leaving this icon of our high streets to die, the people’s paper with full voting rights at the annual general meetings that elect to watching impotently while our steel our management committee - no industry stares into the abyss, britain's retrospective £25 supporters’ tax rulers in both the business and political worlds have shown they have no vision or applied.And we're the paper of all working people and those suﬀering strategy for the future that’s why discrimination and oppression. working people's wages are still not Alone in the press the Star has worth what they were when the bankers' welcomed the revolution in the labour crash hit us eight years ago. that's why young people are entering a party and the new mass membership. britain needs a decisive break with world of precarious work and sky-high years of privatisation and ﬁnancial rents. speculation: we need democratic public And that’s why the movement to ownership and an industrial strategy for change all that, in the form of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the labour party, growth. Alone we cover the industrial struggles is more important than ever. Corbyn has had a rough ride in his year of the unions and put the workers' case against that of the bosses who have ruled at the helm. generals have threatened unchallenged for too long. military coups if he wins an election. his isn't it time you made the Morning Star own Mps have waged a ceaseless your daily paper? campaign of viliﬁcation, culminating in their mutiny following the EU ben Chacko is editor of the Morning Star referendum. As the leadership contest by ben Chacko
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phil piratin, the ‘Red Commander’ liz pAynE
F THERE was a ‘commander in chief ’ at the Battle of Cable Street, it was Phil Piratin. He would not have described himself as such, preferring to say that 'the working class had won the day'. but his house in new Road was the centre of operations on that Sunday, October 4, 1936. piratin was born in 1907, the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia. He grew up in Stepney, East london, one of britain's poorest areas. After spells in the fur and other trades, and a period at sea, he began his own small business. in June 1934, he protested outside the Olympia indoor arena where Sir Oswald and his british Union of Fascists were holding a mass rally. As the blackshirts brutally attacked hecklers inside the stadium, the police battled to hold back thousands of anti-fascists outside. piratin heard one of the mounted police oﬃcers shout at the crowd: 'get back to your slums, you Communist bastards!' He went back to Stepney and joined the Communist party. His own organising skills played a
I want to join the Communist Party/Young Communist League name address
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central role in stopping Mosley two years later. but he also argued strongly that violence alone would not end the appeal of fascism among working class people. As Stepney Communist party secretary, he drove local communists and their allies to take up the problems of the poor and unemployed. His fearless work among tenants – many of them fascist party members or supporters – led directly to the formation of the Stepney tenants' Defence league. its militant campaigning against slum landlords inspired similar developments across london and beyond. it also led to his election to the local council in 1937, the ﬁrst of what became a group of 12 Communist councillors. During the Second World War, he threw himself into the party’s huge campaign for Air Raid precaution measures to defend the working class from aerial bombing, becoming an ARp warden himself. When the blitz began, the rich and powerful took refuge in underground shelters, while the rest of the population remained on the surface. piratin led a legion of East Enders to occupy the deep luxurious shelter used by the ‘Savoy Hotel parasites’, making worldwide news. Other local communist
leaders broke open the gates to london Underground stations. it came as no surprise to piratin when he was elected Mp for Stepney Mile End in 1945. He then worked with communist Mp Willie gallacher and a group of leftwing labour Mps – most of them soon expelled – to oppose the Cold War drive against the Soviet Union, communism and socialism. that may have contributed to his defeat in the 1950 general Election, although merger with the neghbouring constituency was the main factor. piratin subseqently became business manager with the Daily Worker, rebuilt his own enterprises and raised funds for the Communist party. His memoir of Stepney and Cable Street, Our Flag Stays Red, ﬁrst published in 1948, remains a text-book for left-wing local activism. the ﬁrst full account of his extraordinary life appears in Granite and honey the story of Phil Piratin, Communist MP by Kevin Marsh & Robert griﬃths, published by Manifesto press. liz pAynE iS CHAiR OF tHE COMMUniSt pARty
the labour movement must develop its own economic strategy JOHn FOStER
Join britain’s revolutionary party of working class power and liberation www.communist-party.org.uk
Granite and honey the story of phil piratin, Communist Mp Kevin Marsh and Robert griﬃths tell the story of the legendary anti fascist organiser and East End Mp £14.95 (+£1.50 p&p), 256pp illustrated iSbn 978-1-907464-09-6
N AN ARTICLE published in August the former Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, castigated both sides in the referendum debate for exaggerating the economic consequences of leaving the EU: ‘in truth,’ he said, ‘the economic consequences are much more evenly balanced’. What he did not add is that for working people these consequences, good or bad, will depend on how britain leaves the EU. the challenge for the labour movement is to ensure that the new freedoms are used to our beneﬁt. theresa May will do all she can to prevent this. On behalf of the City of london and big business she will seek to maintain all existing neo-liberal constraints through membership of the European Single Market. Just like the EU itself, the Single Market bans public ownership, state aid to industry, public control over procurement and direct labour through local government. it also requires full compliance with EU Court of Justice decisions which have hamstrung trade union freedom to take action against the super-exploitation of migrant workers. in addition, Mrs May will seek membership of the European Economic
Area and the EU Customs Union - further hamstringing progressive policy by subjecting us to CEtA and, if ratiﬁed, ttip. it is only outside the Single Market and the European Economic Area that real opportunities for progressive economic transformation – strategies for public sector intervention that can rescue manufacturing, rebalance the economy and curb the baneful inﬂuence of City of london. this external ﬁnancial control remains the biggest single threat to our economy. investment banks are now the dominant shareholders in every major company. by demanding maximum dividends at the expense of new investment they are strangling our productive economy. An example would be the Wood group, the giant contractor dominating the north Sea oil sector, currently trying to sack hundreds of its employees. last month, in order to satisfy its big shareholders, it announced that it was increasing its dividend payment by 10 per cent despite its earnings falling by 20 per cent. in the same month bp actually borrowed money to maintain its dividend. this is happening everywhere. big shareholders beneﬁt. Workers suﬀer. And our productive economy is crippled. that is why a pro-active economic strategy is so urgently needed. its key
elements are only possible outside the European Single Market. H Restoring public ownership of energy, transport and communications to ensure that proﬁts go into restoring our country’s crippled infrastructure – not the pockets of bankers. H Creating a State investment bank that can use the current very low interest rates to buy controlling shares in strategic companies to combat ‘shareholder value’ rip-oﬀs and to invest in technology and the workforce. H Using the tools of state-aid to industry and procurement to develop strategic industrial concentrations regionally, drawing on the R&D capacity of refunded Universities, and democratically run through local government H Using government statutory powers to enforce employer obligations to invest in training and to end exploitative zero hours contracts. A trained and stable workforce is the essential base for any productivity increase. All this is possible, but not within the Single Market. All this has been promised by Shadow Chancellor McDonnell, but he thinks he can deliver while remaining within the Single Market. Well, sorry, he can’t.’ JOHn FOStER iS tHE COMMUniSt pARty’S intERnAtiOnAl SECREtARy