Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist)

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Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Chairman Harpal Brar
Vice Chairman Ella Rule
General Secretary Zane Carpenter
Founded 2004
Headquarters London, England
Newspaper Proletarian[1],
Numerous pamphlets
and booklets
Ideology Anti-Revisionism,
Political position Far-left
International affiliation None
Official colours Red, White

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist) is a British Marxist-Leninist political party that is guided by scientific socialist and communist understanding and principles. Their youth wing, Red Youth, is noted to be increasingly active, and has widely circulated its statement of beliefs "We Want Freedom"[2] and program of action "Build the Red Bases! The party was founded in 2004 after splitting from the Socialist Labour Party (SLP). The CPGB (ML) publish their own bimonthly newspaper, Proletarian. The Marxist journal LALKAR is closely allied with the party.

Political views and positions

The CPGB-ML claims to be the voice of the true interests of the British working class, whom it maintains are the "ruing class in waiting". It published regular statements[3] and leaflets, and holds public meetings to promote these interests.

The CPGB-ML believes that there is no single British national interest, but that interests of the British working class are entirely different, and in many instances diametrically opposed to those of the ruling British financial and business elite who govern the country. The CPGB-ML maintains, in its publications and video broadcasts, that Britain is therefore not a democratic nation (ruled by the people), but a dictatorship of the financial oligarchy, clothed in a 'democratic shell'. It upholds Lenin's teaching on the state and maintains that Britain remains an Imperialist country.[4]

The CPGB-ML states that British imperialism and world capitalism are facing a profound capitalist crisis, which is driving them to make mass redundancies, and attack the social conditions of the working people of Britain by destroying the welfare state;[5] and believes that the same crisis is driving British capitalism to war abroad.[6] It campaigns against both these tendencies, claiming that a policy of positive economic construction led by working people in power is the only way to escape the crisis.

For this reason, the CPGB-ML actively opposes legislative attacks made by Labour, Liberal and Tory parties on the welfare state including the NHS, is active in the 'anti-cuts' movement, the anti-war movement and the anti-capitalist movement. Its positive position is that the working class, to solve the problems it faces, must seize state power, which cannot be achieved via the electoral process.[7]

The CPGB-ML was one of the only parties in Britain that did not condemn the youth riots of 2011, but characterised them as a rudimentary form of anti-capitalist resistance that lacked adequate leadership and direction.[8]

The CPGB-ML opposes so-called social democracy (represented in their analysis by the Labour Party) and what they term 'revisionist communist' parties that uphold what its chairman, Harpal Brar, describes as "the disastrous program of the British Road to Socialism."[9] The BRS claims that workers can achieve power and a socialist system by voting Labour, whereas the CPGB-ML states that history has disproved this thesis and it should be discarded.[10]

The CPGB-ML opposes all immigration controls as measures to misdirect workers and blame each other for the capitalist crisis. Migration has been a feature of human civilisation since the earliest times, and capitalism produces it on a wider scale than ever before. What is responsible for hardship among workers is crisis and unemployment.[11]

As of April, 2013 the CPGB-ML is noted as an ally of North Korea and for its anti-imperialist stance opposing efforts to discourage North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons.[12][13] It has called for a defeat of British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a movement of direct action and non-cooperation among British working people, in order to exert its political influence. The CPGB-ML has publicly campaigned within Stop the War movement, and among working people, for these positions to be adopted.[14]

The CPGB-ML calls for the withdrawal of British troops from Ireland and for a unified 32 county state to be formed. It supports Sinn Fein's leadership of the Good Friday Agreement, which it believes falls within this framework. The party also supports the struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli Zionism, which it characterises as an apartheid state.[15]

The CPGB-ML publicly supports governments around the world which it perceives to be socialist or "anti-imperialist" such as North Korea,[12][13] Zimbabwe, and the People's Republic of China. It was one of the few British parties to consistently oppose NATO war crimes in Libya and Syria, and support the democratically elected, progressive and popular governments of Mummar Gaddafi and Bashar Al Assad.[16][17]

After careful analysis, the party accepted a position at its 2012 congress, that there are no separate English and Scottish nations, but rather, when those nations were at the point of developing as modern capitalist economies, their ruling classes joined together to form a "British" nation.[18]

The CPGB-ML believes in the widest measures of local democracy, but sees Scottish nationalism as a diversionary movement from building a really powerful working class movement across the whole of the historically constituted nation that is 'Great Britain'. It therefore opposes the limited measures that are being put forward as 'Scottish Independence', which it notes will not break the Union, the British state or the British army in any significant manner.[19]


The party was founded on July 3, 2004 in London.[10] The party effectively is a split from the Socialist Labour Party (SLP) of Arthur Scargill. The split was caused by Scargill's refusal to accept the positions adopted by the SLP congress, including its support of North Korea to defend itself against US agression by any - including nuclear - means necessary. Arthur Scargill was not prepared for the SLP to adopt what he perceived to be an orthodox Marxist-Leninist line, and therefore expelled the majority of the central committee and the entire Yorkshire region of 'his' party.[10][20] Those comrades went on to form the CPGB-ML.[21] Many of the founding members had previously been members of the Association of Communist Workers or the Indian Workers Association.

The Party also has a number of comrades from the early days of the British communist movement and the original Communist Party of Great Britain that was associated with the Third International. The current Honorary President is Isabel Crook, wife of David Crook, both were communists who were in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and later went to work for Mo Zedong and the Chinese communists.[22][23] Prominent former members include Jack and Marie Shapiro, veterans of the anti-revisionist movement and life long communists.[24]

The party's chairman is a retired university law lecturer, writer and businessman Harpal Brar, who has been editor of the Marxist-Leninist journal Lalkar (formerly the organ of the Indian Workers Association) since 1979. Harpal was a national leader of the Indian Workers Association throughout the 1970s - 1990s, which participated in and led many important working class struggles. He and the CPGB-ML, have published many of his and his comrades writings on aspects of Marxism. He is a defender of the record of the Soviet Union[25] under the leadership of the CPSU(B) and Joseph Stalin. He has written extensively and made presentations on the capitalist economic crisis[26] we are currently facing, the Chinese revolution[27] and many other subjects of historical importance to the working class.

Harpal Brar has spoken in debates at the Oxford Union in 2008 (Against the motion 'capitalism can save the planet[28]'), and the Durham union on three occasions (in 2010, against the motion 'the West has a duty to impose democracy[29]', in 2011 against the motion 'this house would fight for queen and country[30]'; and in 2012 in favour of the motion 'capitalism has failed'[31]). He was interviewed by Durham Students Union Radio after the last named debate on the record of Soviet Communism[32].

His books include Perestroika, the complete collapse of revisionism,[33] Trotskyism or Leninism,[34] Social democracy – the enemy within,[35] Bourgeois nationalism or proletarian internationalism,[36] Imperialism – decadent, parasitic, moribund capitalism,[37] Chimurenga!: The liberation struggle in Zimbabwe,[38] 60th Anniversary of the victory over fascism,[39] Imperialism – the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat,[40] Imperialism and War,[41] Nato’s predatory war against Yugoslavia,[42] The British General Strike,[43] Capitalism and Immigration,[44] and Revisionism and the demise of the USSR,[45][46]

The party's vice-chairman and international secretary is Ella Rule. Ella rule has been active in the movement for 50 years, and has also written and published extensively. She has written a book entitled Marxism and the Emancipation of Women,[47]</ref> and co-wrote Imperialism in the Middle East,[48]</ref> among other works. She has researched and made presentations on class society in Britain, the economic crisis of capitalism and on the Katyn Massacre[49] and the world food crisis,[50] among others.

The party's general secretary is Zane Carpenter. He has made presentations on revisionism and the reasons the USSR collapsed.[51]

CPGB-ML contingent at London May Day march in 2008


The CPGB-ML adheres to Marxism-Leninism as they perceive it was developed by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. They consider that, after the death of Stalin, Khrushchev and other revisionists in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union leadership undermined socialism to the point where the Soviet Union collapsed.

The CPGB-ML argues there is no separate ideology of Stalinism, which it believes is a term coined by Trotskyists,[52] and used as an 'insult' rather than accurate political characterisation.[34] The CPGB-ML is opposed to Trotsky's teachings which it considers petty bourgeois and anti-communist, and to modern-day Trotskyists, who it maintains are the agents of imperialism in the working class movement. Harpal Brar's book Trotskyism or Leninism[34] argues that Stalin and Mao were simply disciples of Marx, Engels and Lenin, who applied their teachings to guide workers' struggles in the concrete historical conditions they faced, with great distinction. He has presented his work at party schools and can be viewed on line.[53]

The party places particular emphasis on the importance of political education of its members and supporters in the classics of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, and a broad historical understanding of the world, including the achievements of the Soviet Union.[54][55]

The CPGB-ML is a steadfast supporter of communist states and other perceived anti-imperialist nations, including North Korea, Zimbabwe and People's Republic of China. Delegations from the Chinese embassy have attended meetings of the CPGB-ML and members of the CPGB-ML and the Red Youth have made visits to North Korea.[56]


It takes a keen interest in international affairs and supports the Irish Republican movement, the Iraqi Resistance, Cuba, the People's Republic of China and North Korea. Many CPGB-ML members were also active in the Stop the War Coalition until the party's expulsion in October 2011 over its support for Muammar Gaddafi in the Libyan civil war,[57][58] their respective trade unions and pensioners' campaigns. The CPGB-ML has declared its support for President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, and supports the state of Palestine against Israel, believing Israel to be illegally occupying Palestinian land.[59]

Electoral work

CPGB-ML is also a party front 'Proletarian' which was formed in 2008. The party front was formed "to prepare for standing in elections", although they have not stood any candidates to date. The CPGB-ML's members spend time leafleting in public and attending marches, but understand that the working class will become a force only when they are organised and united with an advanced communist understanding of the nature of their oppressors and the means of their liberation. This is the main task upon which all their actions centre.


  1. Proletarian
  2. "Each one, teach one!" Red Youth
  3. "Statements issued by the CPGB-ML" Proletarian Online
  4. "Communists and the struggle against imperialism" Proletarian issue 45 (December 2011)
  5. "Europe in chains: lessons of the economic crisis" Proletarian issue 51 (December 2012)
  6. "Syria: US imperialism sows the seeds for the next world war" Proletarian issue 49 (August 2012)
  7. "Congress motions 1: the way forward for our party during the economic crisis" Proletarian issue 37 (August 2010)
  8. "Rage against capitalism; the working class fights back" blog Red Youth August 9, 2011
  9. "Britain's Road to Socialism - Communism or Social Democracy? Harpal Brar and other party leaders expound and defend their political position on the subject, uploaded March 4, 2011 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Formation of the CPGB-ML" Proletarian Issue 1 (August 2004)
  11. "Capitalism and immigration" Lalkar March, 2006
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Obama to meet South Korea's Park Geun-hye in May" BBC April 16, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 "North Korea's UK ambassador defends Pyongyang's stance in rare speech: In speech to Communist party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), Hyon Hak-bong says North is only interested in self-defence" article by Tania Branigan in The Guardian April 15, 2013
  14. "Anti-war mass assembly - 8 Oct 2011" set of images on Flickr
  15. "Congress motions 2: our international solidarity tasks The motions below were passed at the CPGB-ML’s congress on 5 June 2010" Proletarian issue 37 (August 2010)
  16. "The following articles contain the word 'libya' in the title" search on April 17, 2013 of Proletarian for "Libya" which shows half a dozen articles expressing support for the government of Mummar Gaddafi
  17. "The following articles contain the word 'syria' in the title" search on April 17, 2013 of Proletarian for "Syria" which shows about a dozen articles expressing support for the government of Bashar Al Assad
  18. "Scotland: a part of the British nation" Proletarian issue 51 (December 2012)
  19. The National Question in Scotland: Contributed by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) as a discussion article. Lalkar. URL accessed on 2012-10-13.
  20. "An exposure of the shameful, unconstitutional and anti-communist behaviour of Arthur Scargill and his flunkeys" Article 16 Proletarian issue 1 (August 2004)
  21. "CPGB-ML founding conference" Article 18 Proletarian issue 1 (August 2004)
  22. "Western witness stays true to the Party line" article by Tan Zongyang in China Daily 2011-06-22
  23. "My memories of 1949 " uploaded on June 21, 2011 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  24. Biography of Jack & Marie Shapiro on website of Graham Stevenson, accessed April 17, 2013
  25. "WW2 1/10: Communism v Fascism; the falsification of history" uploaded December 4, 2010 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  26. "Capitalist Crisis 2009 - 1/8" uploaded May 6, 2009 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  27. "Chinese Revolution - The Comintern's analysis 1/10" uploaded March 7, 2010 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  28. "Capitalism can't save the planet" uploaded December 27, 2010 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  29. "'The West' has a duty to impose democracy! 1/2" uploaded October 19, 2010 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  30. "Fight for Queen & Country? 1/2" uploaded January 30, 2011 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  31. "Capitalism has failed" uploaded November 12, 2012 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  32. "Soviet Communism - the truth" uploaded November 2, 2012 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  33. "Book summary: Harpal Brar: Perestroika – the Complete Collapse of Revisionism" Proletarian
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 "Book summary: Harpal Brar: Trotskyism or Leninism?" Proletarian
  35. "Book summary: Harpal Brar: Social Democracy – the Enemy Within" Proletarian
  36. "Book summary: Harpal Brar: Bourgeois Nationalism or Proletarian Internationalism?" Proletarian
  37. Book summary: Harpal Brar: Imperialism – Decadent, Parasitic, Moribund Capitalism" Proletarian
  38. "Book summary: Harpal Brar (editor): Chimurenga! The Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe" Proletarian
  39. "Book summary: 60th Anniversary of the Victory Over Fascism" Proletarian
  40. "Book summary: Harpal Brar: Imperialism – the Eve of the Social Revolution of the Proletariat" Proletarian
  41. "Book summary: Harpal Brar: Imperialism and War"
  42. "Book summary: Harpal Brar: Nato's Predatory War Against Yugoslavia" Proletarian
  43. "Book summary: Harpal Brar: The 1926 British General Strike" Proletarian
  44. "Book summary: Capitalism and Immigration" Proletarian
  45. "Book summary: Harpal Brar: Revisionism and the demise of the USSR" Proletarian
  46. Recommended Books Proletarian
  47. "Book summary: Ella Rule (editor): Marxism and the Emancipation of Women" Proletarian
  48. "Book summary: Harpal Brar and Ella Rule: Imperialism in the Middle East" Proletarian
  49. "Katyn - 1/6" uploaded August 10, 2009 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  50. "Food Crisis 2011" uploaded September 17, 2011 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  51. "USSR Betrayed 1.m4v" uploaded October 19, 2010 by StalinSociety to YouTube
  52. "Trotskyism is a tool of the capitalists ... Leninism is a weapon for the workers!" Issued by CPGB-ML 05 July 2012 Proletarian
  53. "Trotskyism or Leninism?" uploaded January 24, 2012 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  54. "Leninism, a study guide" Red Youth blog
  55. downloadable pdf files of historical and current publications including many by Lenin and Stalin and "CPGB-ML - Party Programme" Proletarian Online
  56. "North Korea: Reality Check! 2/6" uploaded November 11, 2010 by ProletarianCPGBML to YouTube
  57. Not so memorable - Communist Party of Great Britain. URL accessed on 2012-10-13.
  58. "Not so memorable: The decline in the anti-war movement has left the STWC all at sea, argues Harley Filben", October 13, 2011. Retrieved on April 18, 2013. “The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) has been summarily expelled, ostensibly because it had been “publicly attacking” the coalition in its press. The CPGB-ML, led by comrade Harpal Brar, is an organisation we have previously characterised as “ultra-Stalinite”; it upholds the legacy of JV Stalin with unassailable loyalty, and also avowedly supports ‘anti-imperialist’ nationalists in the third world. It is the CPGB-ML which turns up at every Stop the War AGM with a motion calling on us to adopt the slogan, ‘Victory to the resistance!’” 
  59. "Syria: US imperialism sows the seeds for the next world war" Proletarian issue 49 (August 2012)

External links

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