Election 2024: revisionists still propping up the Labour party

Even the CPB’s best theorists tie themselves in knots when trying to justify their party’s rotten position.

Lalkar writers

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Even as the revisionists of the CPB are forced to admit that a Labour government led by Sir Kier Starmer will offer nothing to the working class and simply continue to act in the same way as the present Tory government led by Rishi Sunak, they urge us to vote Labour anyway since the nasty Tories must be got rid of. But no list of the terrible calamities that have fallen on the working class since 2010 (actually, it was since 2008) can hide the fact that Labour is as pro-austerity, pro-war, anti-worker and racist as the Tories. All mainstream parties of the British parliament support British imperialism to the hilt, and the job of communists is not to gloss over this essential fact but to help workers realise that they will never achieve a decent life by electoral means under a system that serves their class enemies.

Lalkar writers

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The opportunism and dogmatism of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), and its predecessor organisation the Communist Party of Great Britain post 1951, is well known to all genuine Marxist-Leninists and anti-imperialists.

The fateful decision taken in 1951 to advocate for supporting the Labour party is one that has never been reversed, leading ultimately to the destruction of the old CPGB in 1988. The new version that emerged on its ashes (the CPB) has kept this fatal error in its updated version of the bible of British opportunism, the infamous British Road to Socialism.

Even as the working class has been turning against the Labour party in ever greater numbers over the years, the CPB has remained absolutely committed to its line that the Labour party must be supported in elections, even if they sometimes caveat this by running a handful of their own candidates or backing other opportunist and pro-imperialist parties such as the Greens.

At this election it is going to be extremely difficult to sell the idea of voting for a party whose entire leadership (not just Sir Keir Starmer) is supporting the genocidal actions of the Israeli regime.

Apparently realising this, the CPB leadership have deployed Andrew Murray to come up with a more ‘sophisticated’ argument for voting Labour. We should thank Comrade Murray for providing us with this because in doing so he has, perhaps unwittingly, revealed the utter bankruptcy not only of the CPB’s arguments but also of the Socialist Campaign Group (SCG) of supposedly ‘left’ Labour MPs whom Murray is asking British workers to vote for. (No ceasefire, no vote, Morning Star, 26 June 2024)

Significance of the Palestine movement

Murray states that the movement in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle is “the most important factor in progressive British politics today”. On this point we agree with him, but with an important addition: this movement has been powered by the most radical sections of the working class and the student groups. It is not a movement that was mobilised by the (so-called) leaders of the Stop the War Coalition, who have done their best, as usual, to monopolise the protests, driving them into a dead end resulting in demobilisation and demoralisation.

Instead, the movement has renewed itself through the actions of the student encampments. Murray is intelligent enough to know that he cannot advocate for a blanket endorsement of the Labour party, but he is still advocating for workers to support the likes of Zarah Sultana, Richard Burgon and other members of the SCG.

Murray claims that not voting for these characters is ‘ultra left’, but he actually confesses immediately as to why this is not the case when he states: “The logic here is that any Labour MP will form part of a majority sustaining a Keir Starmer government, which itself will offer no relief to the Palestinian people and will be headed by an outspoken supporter of Israel’s actions.”

Murray claims that supposedly ‘left’ SCG MPs need to be supported in order to have “as many strong voices of opposition to imperialism, war and genocide” as possible. But do these MPs actually pass Murray’s own test? Each of them has spoken in favour of a ‘ceasefire’, but has also been careful to denounce the Al-Aqsa Flood operation of the Palestinian resistance. They have spoken in favour of a ‘Palestinian state’ being established; but this is hardly a radical anti-imperialist stance, since Starmer himself is also in favour of this, as is Rishi Sunk, as is Joe Biden.

Role of ‘left’ Labour gatekeepers

What Andrew Murray is actually advocating for is support not for candidates who will really challenge British imperialism, but for those who can best be called ‘gatekeepers’. The SCG members are always (as was the case with Jeremy Corbyn and his group of ‘left’ Labour luminaries) the first to be put on platforms by Stop the War and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC); they are the ones whose political line is put forward as the ‘official’ position of the movement, and anyone who steps beyond that, as the Manchester committee of the PSC did, is promptly denounced and forced out.

When these leftist gatekeepers are seen to have gone too far, they are promptly given a rap on the knuckles by the bourgeois press, and a demand that they repent is issued. Richard Burgon dutifully performed the required genuflection in 2019, when it was discovered that he had made some accurate comments back in 2014 about zionism being a barrier to peace in the middle east. The customary demand for an apology was issued, and Burgon dutifully grovelled.

This isn’t just a matter of one man’s political weakness; it is indicative of the entire purpose of the Labour ‘left’. They are a ‘left’ for the bourgeoisie, and they are there to police the proletariat. This is why their position on Gaza consists purely of handwringing and ineffectual pacifism – because this is the furthest left position allowed within bourgeois circles.

The movement, which Murray acknowledges is hugely significant, has already long surpassed the bourgeois politics of the Labour left, and yet the CPB continues to try to prop up the latter as ‘leaders’.

Murray also states that it is “not possible in this election to vote in an anti-imperialist government. That option does not exist – and pretending otherwise is fanciful.”

Nature of the Labour party

Of course, here Murray again gives away far more than he intended. It has never been possible to elect an anti-imperialist government in Britain: even as early as the first Labour government it was openly stated by Ramsay MacDonald and other Labour party leaders that their ambition was to prove themselves good administrators of the British empire.

This has been true of every Labour government since then, and yet the CPB and its predecessor party insisted on recommending voting Labour at every election since 1951. Whilst we cannot elect an anti-imperialist government, we can at least do our best to weaken the party that has been chosen by the ruling class as its chosen party of alternative power, tasked with taking over whenever the Tories become too discredited.

And this has consistently been the role of the Labour party: to take over as the frontmen for British imperialism when the Tories have become too despised to be able credibly to carry out the business of the ruling class.

This is when the ruling class turns to the Labour party, as it is doing now. It does this also to use the Labour party’s link to the trade unions to divide the working class and squash any potential militant struggles.

This is a fact that Murray himself openly concedes when he states that “1974 is a particularly clear example when Harold Wilson’s return to office was designed to, and actually did, divert and divide the mass working-class action against Edward Heath’s Tories and, through the social contract and the incomes policies, demobilise the class struggle”.

Murray goes on to add to the damning case he is making against himself and his party by stating: “The great strike wave of 2022 has generally abated, and Labour ministers will probably move to extinguish it altogether through limited concessions.”

Mr Murray continues to cling to the utterly discredited tactics of the British Road to Socialism, even as he is conceding that the assumptions underlying it have turned out to be false over and over again since 1951. Regarding imperialism, though, we must also point out that Murray and the CPB’s view on this vital question is utterly inadequate and, in fact, opportunistic in the extreme.

A new era of anti-imperialist struggle passing the CPB by

The revulsion felt by millions of workers towards the murderous criminality of the zionist regime and its US sponsor has forced the leftist gatekeepers into at least verbal opposition. But this is not the only war that British imperialism is intimately involved with.

The world is currently being fundamentally changed, not only as a result of the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people but also by the Russian war against the Nato army in Ukraine. On the latter issue, where have Murray’s supposed SCG ‘champions of anti-imperialism’ been?

Aside from one brief, feeble rebellion, when some of them supported a letter calling for negotiations issued by StW, they have completely fallen in line behind Starmer’s rabid support for the actions of US imperialism in Ukraine and against Russia.

This matches the politics of the CPB entirely, whose leaders have issued disgraceful calls for the withdrawal of Russian forces from the Donbass – an action which, as the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has noted, would only lead to genocide in those regions that rose up against the fascist coup in 2014. What the CPB and others calling for ‘Russian troops out’ never admit is that this is the same as calling for ‘Nato troops and fascist militia in’.

Andrew Murray and the CPB are damned by their own admissions and their own actions. Murray openly admits that Keir Starmer would be as supportive of the genocidal war waged by the zionist regime as present Tory prime minister Rishi Sunak is, and he further admits that Labour governments have historically been used to divide and destroy working-class resistance at home.

What he is calling for is not the creation of a genuinely anti-imperialist force in Parliament but the preservation of the left wing of bourgeois opinion; the preservation of the leftist gatekeepers. Murray makes these calls because the CPB itself is a part of this machinery, whose role is to police the actions of the working class and to make sure genuine anti-imperialism and militant working-class struggle does not emerge in the coming period.

All workers should reject the advice of Comrade Murray and act to break the hold that Labourism has over working-class politics.


Since this article was written, an even more disgusting and open call for a Labour landslide has come from the craven editorial board of the Morning Star, which performs its usual service to bourgeois democracy by painting every ill that has befallen British society as originating in the nastiness and racism of the Tory party.

The existence of British imperialism, which is the root cause of racism in Britain, along with the nature and role of the equally racist, equally ‘nasty’ and equally anti-worker Labour party, is left entirely out of account.

The paper’s editors (ie, the CPB luminaries) call instead for a return of ‘decent socialists like Jeremy Corbyn’ to Parliament to lay the foundations for a new resurgence of ‘the left’ once workers realise (as even the CPB recognises they are bound to do) that the new Labour government is as brutally anti-worker and viciously pro-war as the last Tory government was – and, indeed, as all the governments of British imperialism have been and will be.

On the topic of how the working class is ever to climb out of the endless cycle of voting for governments that don’t represent it via a system that can never take its needs into account, these great creative communist thinkers have not a word to say. (No room for complacency – vote to reject the politics of austerity and hate, 3 July 2024)