Our party held its third annual International Friendship Dinner at Saklatvala Hall on 23 January. Among the honoured guests on this occasion were Comrades Ma Xin and Wang Yingchun from the Chinese embassy, Comrade Jang Song Chol from the embassy of the DPRK, Comrade Nguyen Dac Thanh from the Vietnamese embassy, Comrade He Dalong and several other representatives from the Xinhua News Agency, and Comrade Asari and others from the All Africa People’s Revolutionary Party.
The occasion proved very uplifting for all comrades present, as the great victories of socialism in the socialist countries represented were recalled, reminding us that as a mighty force led by true communist and workers’ parties, socialism is invincible, renewing our determination to redouble our efforts to achieve cooperation and coordination in the international and national communist movements in the struggles against imperialism, to establish socialism and to build a new future of freedom, equality along with ever-increasing material and cultural wellbeing for the masses of the world’s people.
Addressing our guests, our party chairman, Comrade Harpal Brar, alluded to the victories of socialism in China, Korea and Vietnam. He referred to the address made by President Sun Yat Sen on 11 March 1925, the day before his death, to the executive committee of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR, when he looked forward to the day when a free and mighty China would join the Soviet Union and the two would be allied in the struggle to emancipate the people of the world.
In 1949, that dream of President Sun Yat Sen’s came to fruition when, under the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China, the People’s Republic of China came into being, when the people of China “stood up”. Since that time, China has made great strides. It has eliminated hunger, it has turned itself into one of the world’s foremost economies, and is probably the world’s biggest exporter.
Comrade Brar looked forward to the day when Britain, too, will join the socialist family and we will be able to march together; a day that will come all the sooner with the support and encouragement of countries that are already socialist and of communist and progressive parties everywhere.
The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) will in the meantime play its part in supporting the socialist countries, celebrating their achievements, and defending them against the calumnies spread by their imperialist enemies, such as those interminably directed against People’s China on such questions as Tibet, human rights, the environment, etc, etc.
We know that the only ‘crime’ China has committed is the elimination of poverty and the establishment of true independence and sovereignty: the imperialists can no longer dictate terms to China from their gunboats and treaty ports. We will play our part in ensuring that British working people understand this and are able to see through imperialism’s lies, he said.
With regard to the DPRK, Comrade Brar paid special tribute to this small country, which is at the cutting edge of the fight against the mighty US imperialism. It stands like a Sparta in the Far East.
The Korean people, supported by the people of China, and with assistance provided by the Soviet Union, were the first people to inflict defeat on US imperialism and its imperialist allies. Since that time imperialist hostility against the DPRK has never abated, and it keeps Korea divided by a series of huge walls bifurcating the country that, unlike the Berlin wall, are never mentioned.
Yet the DPRK continues to stand proud and strong against imperialism, which, for all its machinations, has not been able to force it back into dependence.
With regard to Vietnam, Comrade Brar said Vietnam has a special place in his heart, recalling his youth when the Vietnam war was at its height and remembering what a joy it was to wake every morning to read about the latest victory of the Vietnamese people against the predatory forces of US imperialism.
He recalled the words of Comrade Ho Chi Minh, who stood defiant against the US bombing of Vietnam’s cities, certain of the people’s eventual victory in their struggle for independence and freedom, confidently predicting that, when victory day came, the Vietnamese people would rebuild their country, and that when they did so, its cities would be more beautiful than ever.
Comrade Ho Chi Minh’s vision has come to pass. Today, the Vietnamese people have rebuilt their beautiful cities and are making great economic progress.
Comrade Brar also addressed the representatives of the Xinhua News Agency, congratulating them on the objective manner of their news reporting, and contrasting it to the flunkeyism of British journalists, who, with their pay packets provided by the press barons of monopoly capitalism, fall over themselves to act as cheerleaders for British imperialism.
He said that they are as much warmongers and war criminals as were Hitler’s venal journalists. He recalled the verse:
You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
Thank god, an English journalist
But seeing what unbribed he’ll do
There really is no occasion to.
Although the representative of the Cuban embassy had at the last moment been required for work outside London, and so could not attend, he sent his good wishes. Comrade Brar congratulated Cuba on having taken the flames of revolution to several other countries in Latin America and put an end once and for all to the domination of US imperialism over the politics and economics of every Latin-American country.
Comrade Brar also paid tribute to the people of Haiti, who are suffering so severely as a result of the terrible earthquake that has hit their capital Port au Prince. He recalled that the Haitians were the first to free themselves from slavery by armed struggle. Yet the US still makes a slave of the whole nation, interfering in its affairs, deposing its elected leader Aristide and sending him into exile. US imperialism is now trying to use the cover of disaster relief to recolonise the country.
Welcoming the guests from the All-African Peoples’ Revolutionary Party, Comrade Brar alluded to the way in which labour-aristocratic elements in the working-class movement used racism as a means of dividing the working class against itself and seriously weaken it in the fight against imperialism and its own capitalist exploitation and oppression.
Finally, Comrade Brar mentioned absent comrades and friends, in particular Comrade Jack Shapiro, who was in hospital, but was a lifelong friend of China and Korea and a staunch jewish opponent of zionism and champion of the rights of the Palestinian people to be restored to their homeland.
Also, the embassies of Angola and of Nicaragua who had been unable to attend but had sent their good wishes to the meeting.
The representatives of the fraternal parties and countries expressed their thanks for the warm welcome and gave their greetings, and the meeting also resolved to send condolence to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on the death of Comrade Jyoti Basu who had recently passed away at the age of 95, after decades of fighting to advance the interests of the poor and oppressed masses of India.
Comrade Brar ended the formal part of the evening by citing the words of Shelley:
‘And these words shall then become
Like Oppression’s thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again – again – again –
‘Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number –
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.’
(‘The Mask of Anarchy’ by Percy Bysshe Shelly, written on the occasion of the massacre carried out by the British government at Peterloo, Manchester in 1819)