David Aaronovitch was right. The Weekly Worker, newspaper of the 40-strong ‘Communist Party of Great Britain’ is essential reading. It is top class comedy and certainly provides a better laugh than Mark Steel or any of the other official Trot comedians can manage.
Take this week’s edition, where the Party’s guru ‘Jack Conrad’ says “the Iraq phase of US imperialism’s permanent war is virtually over. It is timely therefore to draw up an honest balance sheet.” It certainly is.
So what comes next? A refreshingly candid re-assesment of the Weekly Worker’s expressed hope of defeat for the UK-US forces in the light of the liberation of Baghdad? A criticial appraisal of the anti-war movements failure to address the rights of the Iraqi people?
Well here are the real lessons of the war according to comrade Conrad:
“Perhaps the biggest failure has been the Socialist Alliance. Despite the explosive wave of radicalisation the SA lackadaisically opted for “business as usual”. The SWP, Workers Power, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, the International Socialist Group and most of the so-called independents voted to postpone the annual general meeting till after the war. Already dangerously becalmed, this effectively liquidated the SA.”
Ok, but what about the role of the United Nations Jack, has it been made redundant?
“The SWP saw a golden recruiting opportunity for itself – and would brook no competition…..If it is to have a worthwhile future the May 10 – delayed – AGM will have to be a relaunch conference. Gulf War II proves that an on-off SWP “united front” of an electoralist kind is as good as useless.”
OK, got you, but it looked like the Iraqi people actually welcomed their liberation didn’t it? What about that?
“What of the CPGB? There were definite shortcomings. Our leadership did not move swiftly or decisively enough. Furthermore, sectarian diversions were given far too much leeway and prominence. Eg, objections to the involvement of the Muslim Association of Britain in the anti-war party. Puerile talk of popular fronts went hand-in-hand with brittle moralism about selling out fellow communists in the muslim world. Under the circumstances such nonsense should have been dealt with quickly and firmly.”
Right, but what about the casulties Jack, were they less than expected?
“The CPGB actually shed a thin layer of members. Collectively we failed to enthuse and lift them to the tempo exhibited by the mass movement. Either they quit or membership was terminated. Dead wood. An inactive communist is a contradiction in terms. Of course, numbers have been more than made up for by an influx of recruits. But there is no room for crowing.”
Indeed not, but is Syria next on the ‘hitlist’?
“Take the Weekly Worker. Sales on the numerous protests and demonstrations boosted circulation. But not qualitatively. Readership – in the print and electronic formats – still hovers at just under an average of 10,000. Not good enough. Obviously our paper shuns populism and demands seriousness. More should have been done though to improve accessibility (without watering down hard hitting polemics, etc).”
I certainly hope there is no watering down of Jack’s hard hitting polemics but did the anti-war movement really make a difference?
“There is, however, every reason for confidence. Britain is changed forever. The audience for leftwing ideas has multiplied many times over. There is a thirst for knowledge. A prediction – the anti-war generation of 2003 will progressively come to regard the Weekly Worker as required reading”.
Well I think some of us have caught on to that already. After all, if you want an insight into the priorities of the Trot left then the Weekly Worker can leave you in no doubt – there is only one – as always, themselves uber alles.