Harpal Brar

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Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) Chairman Harpal Brar (second from left) with Vietnamese, Korean and Ethiopian visitors at a celebration of the 91st anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution in London in 2008.

Harpal Brar (born 5 October 1939) is an Indian-born communist politician, writer and businessman[1] based in Britain.

Born in Muktsar Wp→, Punjab Wp→, British India, Brar has lived and worked in Britain since 1962, first as a student, then as a lecturer in law at Harrow College of Higher Education Wp→ (later merged into the renamed University of Westminster Wp→), and later in the textile business.[2] He is noted for his anti-revisionist positions describing the Soviet project of collectivisation and industrialisation under Joseph Stalin as the working class's willing "forgo(ing of) consumption in order to build the mighty Soviet state"[3] and other Stalinist policies.

Political activities

Brar joined the Maoist Revolutionary Marxist-Leninist League but soon left to become a founder member of a small group of anti-revisionists, the Association of Communist Workers, as well as being a member of the Association of Indian Communists.

He and his comrades officially dissolved the ACW in 1997 in order to join Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party, a breakaway from the Labour Party after its abandonment of the original version of Clause IV. Brar and his comrades worked to bring what they described as an Anti-Revisionist Marxist-Leninist programme to the SLP, but were eventually expelled seven years later.[4]

After Scargill expelled the entire Yorkshire Regional Committee and five members of the National Executive Committee for what Brar's supporters claim was for attempting to engage in serious debate as opposed to petty personal politicking, a number of SLP activists resigned from the party. From this nucleus, in July 2004, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was formed,[5] and Brar was elected as its chairman.

Adopting positions maintained by Brar and his comrades since the 1960s, the CPGB-ML has been vigorously opposed to all those who work with or in any way endorse the Labour Party since its inception. Its stated aim on formation was to oppose opportunism in the working-class movement, revive the "class against class" programme embodied by the Communist Party of Great Britain during the 1920s, and to work for the establishment of socialism in Britain.[6][7]

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was registered with the Electoral Commission in 2008 under the name "Proletarian", which is the title of the bi-monthly newspaper of the CPBG-ML. The party was registered "to prepare for standing in elections".[8]


Brar defends the governments and leaders of the USSR up until the death of Stalin in 1953.[9] In various articles and books he has documented his contention that with the advent of Khrushchev to power, the socialist economy of the USSR was gradually undermined and the basis for the restoration of capitalism was laid.[10] He is as an unapologetic admirer of Stalin and therefore seen by some as a somewhat controversial figure.[11]

He, along with his daughter Joti Brar, is an active member of the Stalin Society, the website of which contains articles denying Soviet wrongdoing in the Katyn Massacre,[12] The Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor),[13] and the Moscow trials[14] which they blame on the Nazis, dismiss as propaganda, or describe as fair process, respectively.


For many years, he was on the executive of the Indian Workers Association (GB) and was the editor of that organisation's journal Lalkar. He continues to publish the journal, but the IWA cut its ties with the paper in 1992, when members of the Executive Committee with affiliations to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) objected to Brar's publishing of an article that was mildly critical of the adoption of market socialism in China.[15]

Since 1992, Brar has self-published fourteen books on various aspects of Marxism, imperialism and revisionism. These works are a combination of original material and articles previously published in Lalkar and have been translated and distributed internationally by a number of sympathetic communist parties around the world.

Elections contested

UK Parliament elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  %
1997 Wp→ Ealing Southall Wp→ SLP 2,107 3.9
2001 Wp→ Ealing Southall Wp→ SLP 921 2.0

European Parliament elections

Year Region Party Votes  % Result Notes
1999 Wp→ London Wp→ SLP 19,632 1.7 Not-elected Multi-member constituency; party list

London Assembly elections (Entire London city)

Date of election Party Votes  % Results Notes
2000 Wp→ SLP 17,401[16] 1.0 Not elected Multi-members party list[17]

See also


External links

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