New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Proud to be a Communist in the 21st Century

by John Maryon

A contribution to the joint NCP–RCPB-ML seminar held recently in London

KARL MARX and Frederick Engels co-operated to publish the Communist Manifesto in 1848. It was at the time of the Industrial Revolution when cities were being industrialised and millions flocked from the countryside to seek work in the new factories. It was also a time of harsh exploitation by the bourgeoisie who accumulated great wealth from the surplus value created by the workers. The Communist Manifesto examined the development of nature, society and productive forces and proved the necessity for a class struggle. A struggle that would not only lead to a redistribution of wealth through various forms of public ownership, it would also serve to change the aspirations of the proletariat and the social relations within society itself.

Today, the those dark satanic mills may have gone but sweat-shops, with low pay and appalling working conditions, still exist where capitalism flourishes. Often the owners are to be found living in luxury near their tax havens. Grim polluted factories, with a dangerous work environment and employing children, are no longer to be found in Britain – but we do have low pay and zero-hour contracts forcing workers to rely on food banks. In former times, agricultural labourers were forced to carry out hard manual labour, almost from dawn to dusk, but today their equivalent may be NHS staff. Some qualified ambulance workers may still be working 15 hours into a shift. And although the workhouse may be a thing of the past, homeless people today can be left to die cold, lonely and frightened in some mean dark street.

Capitalism still exists to enslave many parts of the world, remaining powerful and influential. It is, however, in terminal crisis, facing irreconcilable contradictions, as predicted by Marxists, leading to booms and slumps. Cycles of inflation, unemployment and business failures occur, but the main burden will always be carried by the workers. Imperialist rivalry increases, with great hostility towards the socialist countries, bringing with it the constant danger of war. Communists today have an essential and vital role to play, in educating and organising the working class, to fight for improved wages and working conditions whilst maintaining the struggle for world peace.

We now live in the digital age, an era of quantum physics and instant communication, but the fundamental nature of capitalism has not changed. The class struggle must continue, and it is the duty of communists to lead it. Tinkering with a failed system by Social Democrats will achieve nothing. Communists believe that a revolutionary change is essential, with full commitment to the class struggle.

It can take courage to be a communist. A situation similar in some ways to young men refusing to enlist for the First World War. Incessant propaganda by the bourgeois media creates an image in people’s minds of communists being dangerous red monsters with evil intent. Others with alternative views, such as anarchists, are also tarred with the same brush by being presented as only wanting to destroy. A good communist must be able to stand tall and proud, be fair and honest and work hard to gain the trust and respect of their fellow workers.

Communists may stand side-by-side with others to fight for a common cause. Whilst they may not agree with all the other parties’ honestly held views, those opinions will be respected and discussed. Communists will join with allies to form a broad front when it is expedient to do so.

We will never abandon our core values or commitment to the scientific philosophy of Marxism-Leninism. Communists will strongly resist the negative influence of a number of Trotskyist organisations and also expose the treachery of the pseudo-left. Throughout the Labour movement there are individuals who whilst pretending to be progressive follow a reactionary agenda of their own. They emerge at critical times to oppose the workers’ struggle, make false claims against the socialist countries, and some apparently have no qualms about stabbing their leader in the back.

Communists will endeavour to equip the working class with the knowledge and confidence necessary to establish state power and build a socialist society. For centuries, the poor, oppressed and disadvantaged have fought for justice and equality. Now in the modern world, with the rise of organised labour and the development of scientific socialism, it is possible not only to dream of a better world but to build it.

Marxists realise that in the real physical world there is constant change. It is important to learn lessons from history and adapt to new conditions as they arise in order to meet new challenges that may lie ahead. There is no point, however, in re-fighting the ideological battles between Stalin and Trotsky of over 100 years ago. This is merely a last-ditch attempt by some Trotskyists to gain some relevance in the modern world.

Communists respect an individual’s sexuality and oppose any attempt to discredit or hassle others. We regard ourselves as all citizens of the world and are totally opposed to racism, social segregation or any persecution of ethnic minorities. We seek to build a beautiful new world based upon equality with the establishment of real human rights; something that is impossible in a capitalist society.

Communist party members are committed to democratic centralism. This ensures that factional disputes, which would weaken the movement, are avoided. Policies are discussed fully and openly, following which a vote is taken. The policy then becomes binding on all comrades.

The struggle of the working class is international. Communists are true internationalists, realising the importance of working together to co-ordinate our struggles with multi-national co-operations. There is also the question of aid in the form of material or military assistance given by powerful states to weaker ones being bullied by imperialism. In Afghanistan it is reported that a number of people have been forced to sell their kidneys to buy food. The USA has frozen the nation’s assets, but China has stepped in to provide aid including medicines. This is the kind of action that makes me proud to be a communist in the modern world.