THE REAL NIGHTMARE

The first thing on our minds when we now wake up in the middle of the night isn’t, of course, Covid-19 or even the health of our Prime Minister, it is relief that we have not been nuked as we slept by the dastardly Chinese or Russians. What better opportunity could they have than now when we are all being ravaged by a virus? We can, however, turn over and go back to sleep, content in the knowledge that Dominic Raab (or Keir Starmer, if he has mysteriously become Prime Minister in the middle of the night) is willing to push the Red Button and avenge us posthumously, even at the personal cost of becoming a genocidal mass murderer .

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, one of our four nuclear missile-armed submarines has been at sea. The far-sighted people at the Admiralty have even taken Covid-19 into account. If only others in government had been so far sighted! Crews are now held in quarantine ahead of the deployment, so that, it is hoped, none of them develop the symptoms while at sea. As a further precaution, the crew currently at sea are thought not to have been told about the pandemic. This is so that they are not distracted by a fellow submariner with a cough from the business in hand: targeting their rockets on China, Russia and North Korea and the potential need to re-program them quickly to hit Iran (France and Israel, although nuclear armed, are presumably exempt).

CND has calculated that replacing Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system will cost at least £205 billion. See https://cnduk.org/resources/205-billion-cost-trident/ . Money well spent for a good night’s sleep!

Before returning to sleep with these reassuring thoughts in your head, don’t however dwell on the possibility that the USA might have sold us the systems with a disabling mechanism hidden within them. That would only give you feverish nightmares in which Mr Raab or Mr Starmer repeatedly stab at the Red Button and nothing happening while a ginger haired President sits in the White House and smirks.

The Coronavirus Pandemic: a view from Croydon

The coronavirus pandemic and its social consequences are moving so quickly that anything we write today is likely to be rendered obsolete tomorrow, especially when it is written from the narrow perspective and vantage point of Croydon and its local Communist Party branch. Nevertheless, here are a dozen recommendations that we might have been discussing at our AGM on Thursday had it not been postponed.

1. A government of national unity. It is unacceptable that someone as unsuitable, untrustworthy and clearly as out of his depth as the Fat Controller should be heading up a Tory government at a time of national crisis.

2. Full disclosure of the government’s modelling of the epidemic in England, Scotland and Wales so that it can be scrutinised by the wider medical and academic community. Remember how wrong were the government’s narrow pool of medical advisers over mad cow disease?

3. More comprehensive reporting and publication of the numbers of infections and deaths at the local level.

4. Responsibility for managing the epidemic in Northern Ireland to be transferred to the Republic. A single, unified strategy is called for in the island of Ireland. Covid-19 does not respect borders, least of all ones as porous at that between the North and the South of Ireland.

5. Compulsory requisitioning of private hospitals. It is simply unacceptable that the government should be further subsidising these parasitic institutions by hiring their facilities at commercial prices.

6. Nationalisation without compensation of UK retail banks, i.e. those behind the ring fence set up following the Vickers report, before they fail.  They should then be supervised by the Bank of England, which itself should be brought completely under government control. We must learn from the mistakes in the 2007-8 bail out of banks and not use public funds to protect bank shareholders and their over-paid senior management while leaving their customers to suffer. We can then ensure that banks support socially useful activities rather than prioritise building up their own reserves as they did following the 2008 financial crisis. If necessary, relevant parts of UK industry should also be taken over to preclude profiteering, co-ordinate manufacture of respiratory equipment and promote not-for-profit vaccine research and distribution.

7. The homeless should be taken off the streets immediately and properly housed. The acquisition of vacant properties and second homes could be undertaken to facilitate this.

8. Food banks should be run down as quickly as practicable and replaced with adequate levels of social payments. To this end, Universal Credit should be immediately transformed into a more generous and less restrictive system and workers on zero hours contracts and others in the gig economy brought within its ambit.

9. The government should disregard the bleating from Richard Branson and other UK airlines to bail them out. If they are failing, they should be put into administration and their fleets mothballed. The opportunity this would provide to formally abandon Heathrow expansion should be taken.

10. The wealth of UK citizens held abroad in tax havens should be re-patriated and further flight of capital abroad halted by the immediate imposition of capital controls. A comprehensive wealth tax should be imposed to help finance the crisis.

11. Evictions and mortgage foreclose on individual’s primary homes should be made illegal.

12. A mandatory role for trade unions in every workplace. This would ensure that exposure to infection by employees is related to social need and is fairly distributed. Employers cannot be trusted to carrry this out unchecked.

This list of recommendations isn’t comprehensive; nor does it necessarily represent current, official CP policy. In essence, a social revolution is called for – and that is CP policy. These recommendations are how we view things from Croydon. If you agree or disagree with any or all of them, let us know.

The Meaning of Conspiracy

With concern mounting about the spread of the Coronavirus, is it perhaps time to take a step back and ask ourselves whether this outbreak and the criticisms in the mass media of how China is dealing with it fit in with some other issues that have dominated news coverage in recent months: Hong Kong; Taiwan; the plight of the Uyghurs in China’s western Xinjiang Province; Trump’s “tariff war” with China; and the Huawei/G5 controversy. The common link is, of course, China.

Could the reporting of the Corona virus outbreak be exaggerated or worse, could it have been created in a laboratory to undermine the Chinese state? The Communist Party is largely indifferent to such conspiracy theories – with one exception. The capitalist state itself is, in our view, a ruthless conspiracy against the majority of the people who reside within its borders. Our evidence?

• The success of historical materialism in explaining the world we live in – and in particular its rejection of the idea that the state as simply the means of balancing competing interests.

• The self-evident fact that, regardless of elections every four or five years, the welfare of the great majority of those in capitalist states is simply not the state’s priority. Further evidence of this was provided this week in a report by the Rowntree Foundation that found that around 14 million people in the UK, one in five of the population, are in poverty.

• The evidence, when we can get hold of it, about how capitalist governments actually respond to perceived threats to the status quo. It’s too soon to discover the smoking gun that saw off Corbyn and the probably failed attempt to radicalise the Labour Party, but a re-reading of The Enemy Within by Seumas Milne will provide a salutary reminder that government (aided by the security services) and the judiciary will act as one to protect the status quo.

While the unity of action between government and the judiciary is predicted by historical materialism and supported by hard evidence such as that found by Seamus Milne, why is the government then, according to Whitehall speculation, apparently intent on restricting judicial review and tightening up on the selection of judges? Clearly the finding by the Supreme Court that parliament was illegally prorogued was an embarrassment for the government and it wishes to remind the judiciary that its independence a token independence only. Class interests are what bind the state together. That is the real conspiracy, and, if the judiciary wishes to prosper, they had better keep it in mind.

 

References

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report on UK Poverty 2019-20 http://www.jrf.org.uk/report/uk-poverty-2019-20
The Enemy Within – MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair by Seumas Milne, Verso, 1994