Standing in the crowd at the graveside of Karl Marx (situated in Highgate Cemetery, North London), yesterday (15.3.15), my personal concerns about the state of the British Left (and by implication the Western Left) were confirmed rather than allayed. Paying respect to the memory of Karl Marx is not the issue, although of course, this can be done at any time in the year and at any place (the Russians, for instance, have their own large statue of Karl Marx in Moscow), and not necessarily at Highgate Cemetery on the day after the date that Marx actually died (March 14, 1883). The gathering together of Communist and Socialist individuals, groups, parties and representatives was interesting to see – with the conspicuous absence of the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba and the Communist Party of the USA, etc. The only ‘Communist’ country to send an official ambassadorial representation was that of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Although described as an important ‘international’ event, the hundred or so that attended represented a very small cross-section of the international community, a number that was bolstered by British attendees. Around 50 people were from the UK, and another 50 people represented leftist movements from outside the UK. This gathering occurred around a common respect for the life and work of Karl Marx – a presence that was eulogised by the Keynote speakers for the day – Professor Yuri Emelyanov (of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation), and Jean Turner (of the British Communist Party).
The monologues quite rightly focused upon the importance of the work of Karl Marx, and pointed-out that Marxist thinking helped inspire the Soviet people to finally over-come the forces of Nazi German fascism in 1945. It was also stressed that there appears to be a new rise in fascism and racism today, inspired, maintained, and perpetuated by the governments of the capitalist West. After the speeches, flowers were laid at the base of the memorial and the crowd were encouraged to sing the ‘Internationale’. The meeting then dissolved, and participants were invited to a local Public House for food and drink. Is this the application or representation of Marxist thinking? The ‘Oration’ as it is called, is ostensibly arranged by the Marx Memorial Library, but this is in fact an adjunct of the Communist Party of Britain and the Morning Star Newspaper. The overwhelming majority of the UK participants were white, and middleclass, whilst the number of actual working class people could be counted on the fingers of a single hand. It was easy to see the working class comrades who had made the effort to attend the ceremony – as alienated as they were by this essentially ‘middleclass’ event – they stood to the periphery of the gathering, respecting the memory of Marx, whilst simultaneously being excluded by a natural bourgeois complacency that was hid behind an institutional veneer of ‘inclusiveness’. Simply being invited to stand in the same general area of a middleclass gathering, cannot be assumed as be the same as an ‘equal’ inclusiveness. Besides, as Marx continuously pointed-out, it is the middleclass who should change their naturally exploitative ways, so as to accommodate working class mores.
As the event was organised by the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), no other UK Leftist groups were present (except for the New Communist Party [NCP] which was founded in the 1970’s, etc.). The Communist Party of Britain broke away from the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in the late 1980’s, (taking the Morning Star Newspaper with it). In 1991, the Communist Party of Russia officially dissolved the Soviet Union and all the Communist Party branches around the world – bringing a decisive end to Soviet Communism. However, out of the resultant ideological chaos, various groups and parties attempted to re-constitutionalise both their existences and their functions – independent of the leadership of the USSR – whilst still generally espousing Marxist-Leninist rhetoric. Each one of these political neo-entities assumed a monolithic attitude (mimicking the USSR) toward their members, whilst ‘ignoring’ their other fellow Leftist groups and parties as being ideologically unsound, divergentists, or otherwise betrayers of the revolution. All of this has become something of a media circus for the British Left – which is now dominated by the white bourgeoisie – and which thoroughly excludes from its ranks the very working class it claims to be representing and attempting to liberate through revolution!. The Morning Star Newspaper, for instance, is a bourgeois Left entity that has lost its radical ‘proletariat’ edge a long time ago. This might explain why the membership of the bourgeois British Leftist parties remains in the low hundreds – as their very mode of existence, as obviously ‘middleclass’ as it is, automatically excludes the ordinary members of the working class from it, at the point of contact. The British Communist movement today is riddled with the intellectual arrogance of the bourgeoisie – which assumes that ‘it’ knows what is best for the worker! Even the Oration yesterday had the air of a visit to the bourgeois State Cenotaph – with its middleclass sense of occasion and contrived notions of respect.
Workers must unit and begin a new revolution that first and foremost must put an end to the bourgeois domination of the workers parties. Bourgeois corruption must be swept away so that the work of Karl Marx is not lost forever under a sea of Bourgeois complacency and sentimentalism. Respecting the work that came from the brain of Karl Marx is not the same, and cannot be equated with, a contrived sense of ‘feeling sad’ for his loss. The two things are completely different. As workers, we need to apply Marxist thinking to this situation and burst the ideological bubble that supports and sustains the bourgeoisie’s colonisation and domination of the Workers Movement. This is not a complicated feat to achieve. The bourgeoisie hold the keys to education in our country, and some of them are taken with Marx. So what if they are, for surely they should understand that the injustice that sustains their class privilege is premised upon the exploitation of the workers, and that the forces of history demand that such a parasitic class must be over-thrown? The British workers must take their Communist Movement from the bourgeoisie if the legacy of Marx is not to become simply another middleclass fetish. I suspect that any ‘true’ worker giving voice to this statement at Marx’s grave yesterday, would probably have been thrown-out by the majority bourgeoisie!