Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sticking Up for Comrade Joe

My first interaction with the CPGB (ML) was in North London, where upon leaving a Finsbury Park super-market I was encountered with a man wearing a hammer & sickle bib trying to blog a newspaper. It was named "Lalkar" and being up for a laugh a friend dubbed it "Lolcommunism" and purchased a copy. Its frontpage read "Solidarity with Comrade Mugabe" and on the second page it quoted verbatim a full transcript of his ham-fisted, ranted dribblings. On the third it had coverage of the highly effecient and reasonable response the Burmese government had made to the uprising of some reactionary monks, as well as denouncing the "regime change" schemed at by western devils. It then moved on to a relatively moderate piece on a conference which seemingly only the New Communist Party and CPGB (ML) showed up to about King Jong Il and what a shining example of a revolutionary in an industrialised country he was.

Now obviously this wasn't a moderate outfit, but it was when they quoted Stalin approvingly in their rememberence of the 1917 article (beloved by all Marxist leftist newspapers as much as ones hating on the 1960s are by conservative ones) that the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist Leninist) started to fall into place. They call it "Non-Revisionism" or "Anti-Revisionism" (pretty amusing really, given that Lenin was a revisionist of the highest order and it took the opening of his archives to confirm that Stalin had any ideological basis at all for his actions) but a more common name for the ideology is "Stalinism".

So if the head of this outfit was giving a talk for the Oxford Union you'd imagine that it'd cause quite a fuss, right? Perhaps a tenth as great a one as the one which Irving did, maybe?

Well not exactly. As you can see, Harpal Brar makes something of a joke about it:

Before getting stuck into some hard-core apologism:

Let's be reasonable about this, shall we? Stalin had a much larger population to work with, and a lot more time. But even with that factored in managing to kill more than Hitler isn't anamazing record. I find it at least interesting that a defender of one tyrant can make light of his views and get away with it while even by Irving's own (hilariously un-self-aware) account of the event the suprising-it-happened-at-all event was performed to a Union that kept stone silent in its cold hostility (Irving, of course, fantasised this into an Oxford Union tradition. Unless Brar moves them in a way that no other has before or since I think that we can say the above two videos safely discredit that).

Perhaps we should take this as some indication of the Far Right's relative weakness: whereas SWP front the Anti-Nazi League could manage a strong showing there is not really a right wing equivalent and so there was no means for them to mobilise any form of resistance. And no publicity, which I suppose raises interesting questions about the media. Not that I want any McCarthyite purges or anything. ;)

Regardless, make of this what you will. But whatever you do don't make the mistake my friend did in funding these reactionary lunatics when Lalkar is readable for free here.

p.s. - On the topic of Red Watch I checked out the CPGB (ML)s website (which has those two videos embedded on the front page, I imagine it's the biggest public event they've played a prominent role in since they came into existence and they clearly care because they've set up a YouTube account seemingly specifically for it. Unless perhaps by "OxfordUnion2008" they mean that they expect to be invited back between now and December 31st, which would denote a striking quantity of arrogance given that even with a crash on there are literally dozens of other anti-capitalist groups to choose the leader of) after a rally of there's was covered quite well on Red Watch and seemed strangely well attended for a Stalinist outing two decades after the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

And why was I on Red Watch? Well, arrogance. Douglas told me that we had been put up on there and I was keen to cock a snoop at my presence, but I couldn't find myself. If you've seen me then please do pass the link along. :)

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