Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A quick guide to Maoism in the UK today

The alleged involvement of the (now defunct) Workers Institute for Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought in the South London slavery case has led to renewed attention to the almost forgotten Maoist parties that exist today. The following is just a quick guide to the groups that follow in that tradition but is not intended to be a full history. For anyone wanting to read about the development of Maoism I thoroughly recommend reading Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday.

The only Maoist group I have ever come into regular contact with was the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist) back in my student days (the late seventies). The CPB (M-L) controlled the Students Union at the Polytechnic of Central London (now the University of Westminster) and were a tightly knit group seemingly welded not just to the Chinese Communist Party, but in particular to Enver Hoxha the Albanian dictator.

I haven't seen any evidence of them for years but as their website show they are still around and publish (unusually for a Maoist group) a quite readable magazine Workers. Their founder was Reg Birch a well known trade unionist active in the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) back in the seventies. They were and still are from the look of it quite a small group, but then none of the Maoist groups ever attracted the same kind of attention that the Trotskyist groups did (and still do). Unusually the CPB (M-L) does not have (or at least declare) any international links.

Next on our list is the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist) founded by the politcally itinerant Hardial Bains who died in 1997, but remains the inspiration for this tiny sect which published unreadable nonsense on it's website in the form of the Workers Weekly (not to be confused with the Trotskyist Weekly Worker). They currently run a sort of bookshop-cum-party centre called the John Buckle Centre, though be warned you have to phone ahead before visiting otherwise you might not get let in. (I'd say "or out" again, but in the current circumstances they might not be amused).

What do they stand for? Here's a taster:

It is also instructive to examine the experience of the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin and Albania under the leadership of Enver Hoxha, which were states where the working class was in power, which were run in the interests of the working people and where the political processes ensured representation in the interests of the working class and people. These were the most advanced examples to date of states with democratic political processes. However, lessons can also be drawn from the fact that the socialist system was destroyed in these countries. A further advance was 
necessary which would have enabled the working people to actually govern themselves 
and not depend on representatives.

You can find out more in their self deluded "Programme" (read Manifesto) here.

The other organisation that might be considered to be at least around that tradition is the New Communist Party, which originated as a split from the Official Communist Party (CPGB) in the 1970's and has drifted towards the North Korean regime through such fronts as Juche Idea Study Group of England and Friends of Korea (by which they mean North Korea) and promote the most oppressive nation on earth under Kim Jong Un (that's the one that looks like he's eaten all the pies whilst his people starve).

The NCP are led by Andy Brooks a quite amicable fellow (known him for years) and has a couple of interesting sidelines being a known expert on Oliver Cromwell and is active on the satirical website PFLCPSA which covers the antics of leading figures in the PCS Union.

Over the years Maoist groups have come and gone (or changed their names) and their history for what it is can be found at the Encyclopedia of Anti- Revisionism on line, but good luck with that if you choose to enter.

Further info on Mao and "Comrade Bala" as he is becoming known in the two posts below this one.


Family Tree of Maoism in the UK.....


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