Cadre development programme for 2015 begins!

Red Youth comrades can apply each year to enter onto a cadre development programme in Marxism-Leninism. This year Red Youth has just over twenty young comrades on the programme run by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). Comrade Aberrabii a student in the West Midlands has completed his first module which requires a written assignment, assessment and public presentation. He gave his presentation to a meeting in Birmingham this month which was well received. Red Youth will publish a select number throughout the course of the year and encourages comrades to work their way through our online education programme. We’re happy to publish his speech here.

comrade Aberrabii speaks to the meeting in Birmingham

comrade Aberrabii speaks to the meeting in Birmingham

What is imperialism? That is the first question that should be asked when debating or having a discussion about imperialism. If we look at the dictionary definition then imperialism is essentially the policy of extending a country’s power and influence through colonialism, use of military force, or other means.

So then, what is a definition of imperialism meaningful to Marxist Leninists? It is the highest stage of capitalism as Lenin said in his Imperialism: The highest stage of Capitalism, its most advanced and parasitic stage. It is not a policy of this or that government but rather something inevitable and imperialism has to come to life in order for capitalism to be fully developed, in other words imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism

There are various contradictions within the imperialist system that will contribute to its destruction. These contradictions are why imperialist nations are in terminal decline. Lenin clearly outlined three primary contradictions that contribute to this decline, as well as eventual collapse of capitalism and imperialism.

The first contradiction:

There is a contradiction between labour and capital, between the exploiter and the exploited in the imperialist countries. The dominance of finance capital and the total power of the financial oligarchy invades, saturates and subverts all means of social control, such as the police, the courts and the media. Also the products produced are appropriated into the hands of the ruling class (the bourgeoisie), which use the wealth to accelerate and repeat the same process. It then becomes clear to the people that no change of government has any influence on how things really run, that no matter who you vote for no change is going to happen and that revolution is only way to freedom.

The War waged in Iraq and the truth behind it, was one of the biggest crimes that was committed by the US. It revealed the truth about the US and its desires of waging more and more wars so it can oppress more and more people. Official statistics state that up to 65% of the American population believed that the US invasion of Iraq was a huge mistake. This is leading people to get more politically conscious because there is obviously some people who had relatives that participated in that war and after they saw the truth about the Iraq war, they started to despise the establishment for making their relatives take part in their inhuman imperialist war. Britain and the US used 1,100 to 2,2000 tons of armour-piercing shells made of depleted uranium during attack on Iraqi forces. It therefore becomes evident that the US was the one trying to wage chemical warfare and not Saddam Hussein.

Second contradiction

There are a handful of contradictions within the imperialist camp. There is frenzied competition between the various imperialists.  The first and second world wars are ample proof of the truth of this thesis. The First World War was an imperialist war as each imperialist nation took part to fulfil their own imperialistic interests. It was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies and spheres of influence of finance capital, etc. It is indeed thanks to the First World War that the October revolution was won took place.

In the Second World War the US was not fighting against Nazi Germany in order to eliminate Nazism but rather to protect its economic interests in European and Asian markets. Yet as an example of a clash between US corporate interests William Hearst, a friend of Hitler’s and the founder of the Hearst mass media empire, did much to spread myths about the Soviet Union. The American mass media did many favours for Hitler of this kind, including spreading fictional creations such as the holodomor being calculated genocide.

Other examples of a clash of interests between competing imperialist states can be seen in the wake of the Second World War, such as the Suez Canal Crises, in which during the last death throes of the British and French colonial empires the US sought to cast its own sphere of influence over the Middle East. Thus the US denied any support for the old empires in order to ensure its own hegemony. Such contradictions between imperialist nations persist to this day, the conflicts in Iraq, Libya and Syria highlight the varying interests and clashes of interest between them when committing themselves to imperialist wars of aggression

Third contradiction

There is a contradiction between the oppressor nations and the vast masses of the oppressed world. There is constantly an increase in the export of capital, necessitated by the need to find profitable sources of investments. This means taking capital to where the cheap labour and raw materials are. Setting up production there and extracting super-profits. Super-profits are derived from the super-exploitation of workers, who are living in horrible conditions and are denied any kind of rights or health and safety at work. The USA is notorious to have done this to Mexico and to people living near the borders where poor peasants with super low wages have to work for the privileged white capitalist.

Oppression and being oppressed for a long time lead the oppressed to create resistance, in order to fight against the imperialists. Some of them are led by communists with the ultimate goal of establishing Socialism such as the people’s war in Colombia with FARC-EP or ELN and the Philippines with the New People’s Army. Some resistance movements are nationalist in nature such as the Palestinian and the Irish movement. Lenin thesis on imperialism shows that no matter what the class of origin of these movements, in the context of the world system of imperialism, all those whose struggles tend to weaken imperialism are anti-imperialist.

In conclusion, as Lenin says ‘Imperialism is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat’. In that it is the horrible acts that are done by Imperialism that gather people to revolt, it has so many contradictions to the point where Imperialism will self-destroy itself.

Therefore how can we as Marxist Leninists fight against Imperialism?

We have seen what the imperialists have done in Yugoslavia, the attack carried out by NATO that left hundreds if not thousands innocents dead. We have seen their crimes in Libya, where the so-called rebels were only proxy armies working for the US. NATO completely destroyed Libya and has turned the country to ashes and left thousands of Libyans dead. Libya now is a destroyed country rife with tribal and factional civil war. This is why a socialist nation must protect itself against imperialist aggression. It is for this reason that the United States is not able to invade the DPRK, and American proxies in Syria are losing ground because Syria has defended itself admirably.

Marxist Leninists support national liberation and anti imperialist movements despite any reactionary ideology where it advances the cause of proletarian revolution. Communists need to support Syria’s Assad against proxy armies despite the fact that Ba’athism is a reactionary and bourgeois ideology, as it has however popular support in Syria. Leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi and Gamal Abdel Nasser were progressive and revolutionary, because they were fighting imperialism. Refusing to support anti imperialist nations and movements is purely opportunism. Lenin taught us that the interest of the oppressed and anti imperialist movement is of the same interest of the proletariat.

There are a lot of parties in Britain which style themselves as left wing but fail to support any national liberation and anti imperialist movements. The Stop the War Coalition expelled the CPGB-ML due to its opposition to the NATO war in Libya, and the support we gave Gaddafi. Our organisation also opposed the invasion by NATO that was going to take place in Syria in late 2013. It becomes clear to us that groups such as the Stop the War Coalition are counter revolutionary, they are not Marxists nor they are Leninists as Lenin said at the 2nd congress of the Communist International, that all Communists must assist bourgeois democratic liberation movements where they advance the proletarian revolution. Failure to do so is the worst kind of opportunism.

The SWP, CPB, Labour, Socialist Party etc… are not revolutionary at all but want to preserve British imperialism. Joseph Stalin said in Foundations of Leninism that the struggle for independence made by the Emir of Afghanistan is revolutionary, for it is a struggle against imperialism. The struggle waged by social democrats such as Karl Kautsky and others are reactionary for their purpose is to preserve imperialism.

The main question is not whether this or that party calls itself in words communist, the question that should be asked is in deeds is it fighting Imperialism? For example the Syrian Social Nationalist Party is far more revolutionary than The French Communist Party or the Communist Party of Britain because it is actively waging a struggle against imperialism. European nationalism on the other hand reactionary for its purpose is to praise countries that wage countless wars.

It is very important to support anti imperialist struggles, because they will weaken imperialism and serve the purpose of clearing a wider path for the development of socialism it is therefore of great significance to support anti imperialist movements so that the path towards socialism flourishes here in Britain!

Long live Red Youth!

Death to imperialism!

red youth

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Tories and Labour herald new dawn for youth exploitation

Screenshot from 2015-02-18 14:42:49

Tuesday’s policy announcements by the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition mark the entrance proper of both the question of youth and the question of labour into the election dog fight. In this tit-for-tat battle between the all-out reactionary welfare reforms of the Tories and the left-social democratic rhetoric of Labour, we may be fooled into believing that the object of contention is the future employability, prosperity and flourishing of young workers. A closer examination of both sets of benefit reforms, however, reveals only two strategies of ensuring the immediate term increased exploitation of young workers; strategies which differ only in their subtlety and intensity.

Here we will briefly outline a critique of the economic, social and political implications of both policies; implications which, we believe, have already been obfuscated by the rhetorical niceties of politicians and the press, and by inaccurate analyses of data provided by pilot schemes for the Tory policy.

The Conservative policy is best understood as an extension and consolidation of the principles of workfare. After six months of unsuccessful job-seeking, young people would be denied their standard JSA (dependent only on evidence that the jobseeker is, indeed, looking for work), and instead be offered a ‘youth allowance’ – paid at the same pitiful rate and dependent upon the claimant fulfilling 30 hours of community based work alongside 10 hours of job-seeking. Mr Cameron justifies this policy on the basis that it would provide badly needed work experience to young people and, ultimately, lead to a decline in youth unemployment. Speaking in Hove, East Sussex, Mr Cameron announced that:

“What these young people need is work experience and the order and discipline of turning up for work each day (…) That well-worn path – from the school gate, down to the jobcentre, and on to a life on benefits – has got to be rubbed away.”

It has apparently not occurred to the Prime Minister that there is a distinction between the individual difficulties a young person faces when applying for employment (in which a comparative lack of skills compared to other applicants may well prove an obstacle) and the overall underrepresentation of youth in the labour market. To claim that the latter is caused by a diminished skill set among young people would be to say that young people have gotten stupider, lazier and less competent in comparison to periods of low youth unemployment. Such a position is not only an outrageous insult, but is fundamentally disproved by even a cursory glance at school and college qualification rates over the last thirty years.

Contrary to this ridiculous position, we hold that the current rate of youth unemployment has nothing to do with an unprecedented slump in the qualities of young people, and everything to do with a structural crisis of capitalism which forces both private and public sector employers to seek efficiencies by avoiding recruitment, merging entry level jobs and, as far as possible, employing those who need less training and development opportunities than the majority of young people. This has created an all-out assault on the pay and conditions of those young people in work who, forced to compete for jobs and with no competition amongst potential employers, are compelled to pick up the scraps of the labour market in the form of precarious and low paid work – work which often returns them to the jobcentre with alarming speed.

The very best which we could say about any policy which refuses to address the conditions of the crisis, the want of jobs themselves and the appalling treatment of young workers, is that it simply will not work. The Tory policy, however, does not even merit this compliment; as opposed to being merely ineffective, the ‘youth allowance’ scheme threatens to take a bad situation for young workers and extend it into a recurring cycle of unemployment, poverty and exploitation

The crux of this policy’s failure lies both in the type of work which claimants will be forced into and the effect which a mass pool of unpaid labour will have on job creation. In the first instance, Mr Cameron proposes that claimants can ‘play their part’ by ‘making meals for older people, cleaning up litter and graffiti, or working for local charities’. Perhaps these workshy urchins will be expected to spend a weekend mucking out Mr Cameron’s stables!?

In effect, forced labour taken from the unemployed would be indistinguishable from the forced labour already extracted from those members of the working class unfortunate enough to be held within our prison system. The next step for Cameron is surely the establishment of an English equivalent of the Deutsche Arbeiterfront, were the current labour lieutenants of the bourgeoisie not already ably fulfilling this task!

The Tory scheme promises employers a continual stream of free labour to undertake jobs which would otherwise be waged and available to young people. What employer in their right mind would pay for a job to be done when they can get it done for free indefinitely?

In light of this, we assert that the entire debate about the efficacy of pilot schemes for this policy is meaningless. If youth unemployment can be demonstrated to have gone down in areas where this policy has been implemented, this is entirely dependent on the fact that the policy was implemented in isolation. It may be that cleaning graffiti for free in one borough may make you an attractive applicant for a cleaning job in an adjacent council, but if all areas and all comparative employers are guaranteed free labour then such jobs will begin disappear. Any analysis which ignores this fact is doomed to be merely an exercise in rhetoric, rather than a concrete appraisal of young people’s future.

Against the Tories’ shambolic, back of a fag packet proposal, Labour have sensibly seized the opportunity to indulge in some populist ‘left’ posturing. Mr Miliband has promised a guaranteed six-month employment contract to every young person out of work, and guaranteed apprenticeships to all school leavers with relevant grades. With a political foresight with which he can rarely be credited, ‘Red Ed’ even had the sense to combine social-democratic nostalgia with a pretence of class war leadership – proclaiming that this miraculous policy would be funded by a tax on bankers’ bonuses and, thus, striking a blow at the bogeymen of the reformist anti-austerity movement.

While openly left in rhetoric, the Labour proposal constitutes a brutal attack on the employment rights of young workers. While it may be a distinction more theoretical than real in the present age, the initial justification of capitalism’s existence is that – in opposition to feudalism – the labourer’s relation to his employer is that of a free person entering into a contract. In this free contract, the worker has the right to demand certain conditions of his employer and, if these are not forthcoming, may freely refuse to enter into a given employment; losing only the wages that this employ would have secured him in future. Even this basic right of a worker is violated by Labour’s proposal. In an attempt to look ‘tough’ on those claiming benefits, Mr Miliband has followed the Tory example and promised to refuse benefits to any young people who turn down the job offered them. This position denies young workers the same basic rights held by everyone else and cannot conceivably be justified, even within the rules of the capitalist labour market.

We believe that the solution to youth unemployment is not to be found in the harassment of working class youth, but in the creation of a society which can offer young people meaningful work. We have no illusions that a one-off tax on one part of the capitalist class can pay for a wonder policy to solve the various difficulties facing young workers; capital is global and able to avoid national taxation with relative ease. We believe that only through creating a society where the working class controls what it produces and how it is distributed can we ensure long term, fulfilling and meaningful employment for all. We refuse to accept that young workers are to blame for youth unemployment, and we refuse to accept that we must beg employers for the ‘charity’ of hiring us. The only future which will work for us is socialism, and socialism is the only future we fight for.

> Who stole OUR future?

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Join the Communist Party in the north west of england!

birmingham cpgb-ml

a party study group in St. Helens

If you’ve been a long-term reader of this blog, or if you’re new to Marxism and live in the north west of England, now is the perfect time to join Red Youth and the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist – Leninist). Our comrades meet regularly in groups based in Crewe, St Helens, Wigan, Manchester & Liverpool and you’re very welcome to get along to meet them and see whats going on. We’ve got others in Blackburn, Preston and further north in Southport and we’re hoping to expand our activity and work in 2015 with new weekly and monthly meetings in these areas.

Now is a great time to get involved! If you’re interested, think about getting along to meet some of the group this coming Saturday in St. Helens town centre. Email owens.rhiannon@yahoo.com or northwest@cpgb-ml.org for more details.

each one, teach one!

1507210_1539304129676348_574488581751469330_nRY_logo_white_250image 92

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North Korea: a defector tells all

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Shin Dong-hyuk has recently come out admitting that statements he gave which were used in his biography ‘Escape from Camp 14′, which tells the story of him being born and raised in a North Korean prison camp until he escaped, were lies. While he still stands firm that his overall story is true, he has admitted that many parts of his story are false and need updating.

Who is Shin Dong-hyuk?
Shin Dong-hyuk is one of the most well-known ‘defectors’ from the DPRK and the leading witness in the current UN report on North Korea’s human rights. He has spent his years giving interviews that formed the basis of his biography, shaking hands with leaders such as George W. Bush and David Cameron, teaming up with the Bush Institute (a conservative think tank based around George W. Bush and his family), and being honoured and praised by the pro-imperialist NGO Amnesty International.

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What is Shin’s story?
Shin Dong-hyuk claimed that he was born into a North Korean prison and lived there until he escaped and fled the country. He talks about all kinds of horrors from members of his family being executed, starvation, and heavy work in a prison called Camp 14.

His new version of events changes his original story very drastically. In his new story he includes two prison camps, not just ‘Camp 14′ (the name of his book) but also ‘Camp 18′. The new version of his story also includes him escaping the camp twice before. While he had originally claimed that he was tortured when he was 13, the new version of his story now says it happened at the age of 20.

Finally, his father came out saying that Shin had never lived in a political prison camp and his testimony is false.

Even Shin’s own biographer, Blaine Harden, admitted that many parts of his story do not add up. In a statement on his website he said that: “On Friday, January 16, I learned that Shin Dong-hyuk, the North Korean prison camp survivor who is the subject of Escape from Camp 14, had told friends an account of his life that differed substantially from the book.”

But already in the introduction to his book he stated that:

“In writing this book, I have sometimes struggled to trust him. He misled me in our first interview about his role in the death of his mother, and he continued to do so in more than a dozen interviews. When he changed his story, I became worried about what else he might have made up.

Fact-checking is not possible in North Korea. Outsiders have not visited its political prison camps. Accounts of what goes on inside them cannot be independently verified. Although satellite images have greatly added to outside understanding of the camps, defectors remain the primary sources of information, and their motives and credibility are not spotless. In South Korea and elsewhere, they are often desperate to make a living, willing to confirm the preconceptions of human rights activists, anticommunist missionaries, and right-wing ideologues. Some camp survivors refuse to talk unless they are paid cash upfront. Others repeated juicy anecdotes they had heard but not personally witnessed.”
(p. 10)

Many citizens of DPRK  emigrate out of the country to find work and education abroad, from logging operations in Russia, textiles factories in Mongolia, to work in Japan and China, and even university placements in the UK. But ordinary people who emigrate out of the DPRK who don’t tell such incredible stories, usually don’t get best selling book deals, don’t become celebrities, and certainly don’t make money from prancing to a photo-shoot with reactionary heads of states and selling themselves out to every free market think tank that shamelessly hides behind the label of a human rights organisation.

Where have we seen this before?
The Nayirah testimony. Imperialist countries such as the USA and Israel are not above killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people to secure their own greed, so it is a mistake to believe that they are above the most dirty lies.

One of the worst examples of this is the “Nayirah testimony” where in October 1990, a young girl who only gave her first name Nayirah, gave testimony that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers killing premature babies by stealing their incubators and letting the babies die on the floor, that Iraqi soldiers had tortured a friend of hers, and were making fun of George W Bush. Her speech was so powerful that it became a media poster to support an invasion of Iraq.

It was later revealed that her second name was al-Sabah, and that she was the daughter of the Kuwait ambassador to the USA (Kuwait being the country that Iraqi soldiers supposedly committed these crimes according to Nayirah), and both worked for an organisation called “Citizens for a free Kuwait” which was an operation established by the Kuwait government to sway public opinion in the USA towards a US invasion of Iraq. Then the cherry on this whole grizzly sundae is that the Citizens for a free Kuwait, was hiring the business of public relations corporation Hill and Knowlton, that worked to spreading her testimony all over USA television news networks.

By now everybody was doubting her testimony but it was to late. The Gulf War had already started and thousands were to perish in the upcoming months.

What can we learn from this?
As much as any story may appeal to your emotions, there are many terrible people out there who aren’t bothered by the consequences of lying for personal gain.

As imperialism is once again driving towards war on all fronts, the left should be wary of the propaganda intended to dehumanise its enemies. We must expose their lies and not give one inch to their sabre-rattling.

Seek truth from facts.

Always be prepared to be wrong.

Never abandon our solidarity with anti-imperialist comrades overseas.

Human rights: DPRK vs USA

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Scotland Meeting: “Labour: a party of cuts, privatisation and imperialist war”

Since its very first time in office 90 years ago (bombing Iraq, selling out the unions), the Labour party has consistently proved itself to be a loyal servant of the British imperialist ruling class (both in and out of office) and an entirely false ‘friend’ to the British working people.

If we want a dignified, secure and peaceful future for British workers, free from poverty, insecurity, discrimination, war and preventable diseases, we need to understand who are our friends and who are our enemies in the struggle against capitalism and for socialism.

Come along and join the discussion, and be part of building a future that’s fit for human beings.

Saturday 24 January 2015 (12.00-2.00pm)
Beechbank Community Centre, Wester Mavisbank Avenue, Airdrie, ML6 0HE

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The science of Marxism-Leninism

We’re reproducing here the page from our online Marxist education programme which can be found on the tabs above or via this link.  Every member and supporter is encouraged to work their way through the links, and a number of comrades each year have the opportunity to complete a cadre development programme in Marxism-Leninism within Red Youth. Its vital that we arm ourselves with revolutionary theory:

each one, teach one! 

All beginnings are difficult, so said Karl Marx. But if you take it one step at a time, study patiently and diligently, with friends and comrades where possible – you’ll get the rewards. Understanding Marxist philosophy starts here:

An introduction to Mao Zedong’s On Contradiction

An introduction to Mao Zedong’s On Practice

Stalin: The Foundations of Leninism

Stalin: Dialectical and Historical Materialism

Stalin: History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks)

The origin of the family, private property and the state

For a fuller understanding of the collapse of the Soviet Union, look no further:

Perestroika – the Complete Collapse of Revisionism

http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=books&subName=display&bookId=2

http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=books&subName=display&bookId=7

Social Democracy – the Enemy Within

http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=books&subName=display&bookId=3

Imperialism and the worst ever crisis of overproduction

http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=books&subName=display&bookId=21

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Red salute to a great Marxist Leninist and CPGB stalwart; Billy Hunt-Vincent

william-hunt-vincent

“So many things have changed today
The world moved in a different way
Aided by the faint and weary
Who failed to delve Marxist theory
And almost cast a sad death knell
On your: “Long live the YCL!”

(from the poem Willie McGuire, see below)

Billy was born on the 12th July 1930 in Spring Garden Lane in the ‘Town End’ of Sunderland, where he lived with his mam and dad, Liz and Nicky and his older sisters. They lived in two rooms of what can only be described as a slum, a fact which Billy never shied away from: he was proud of where he came from. They didn’t use the back room for living in, as there was a crack in the wall so big you could see the shared tap in the yard outside. Before he was one year old, Billy contracted pneumonia and his mam was told by the doctor to let him ‘sleep away’ as nothing could be done. Having lost two children already, Liz wasn’t going to let that happen and borrowed the money to buy some medicine, eventually nursing Billy back to health. Her strength and determination and love for her bairns was to have a lasting impact on Billy’s life.

When he was four, the family, now including his baby brother, moved to the newly built council estate of Marley Potts in 1934. Billy remembered this being like ‘going to paradise’, having a proper house of their own with a garden and surrounded by fields: a far cry from the slums of Sunderland’s east end!

Despite the fact they had nowt, his mam always made sure they had boots on their feet and food in their bellies, unlike many of his contemporaries. Billy always remembered the happy times growing up in Marley Potts: his mam’s wonderful cooking and the strength with which she looked after her family in the difficult days of the ’30’s.

The family continued to grow and soon Billy had three more brothers. Sometimes they exasperated him when he was off being one of the ‘big lads’, but he’d always step in and fight anyone who threatened his brothers and they grew up a tight-knit and loving family.

Billy passed his 11 plus and won a place at Monkwearmouth Central School, initially he didn’t take up his place as the cost of a uniform was prohibitive. News of his achievement soon spread round the estate and his mam was finally persuaded to send him to the school after a visit from a neighbour: a Boer War veteran who felt Billy, having earned his place, deserved the opportunity to benefit from it. Money for a school cap was found and this ‘uniform’ was accepted by the school! Billy developed a lifelong love of reading and eventually, through much cajoling, persuaded his mam to let him have a library card: which was a big responsibility as any lost or damaged books would have to be paid for. Billy left school at 14 and served his time as a blacksmith with the River Wear Commissioners. These were tough times during the war and with his dad away in the army and his sisters working as part of the war effort, Billy took on the responsibility of bringing some money into the household.

Billy worked as a chain-maker on the docks: maintaining the chains was a job that had to go on despite the weather and he was often called on to retrieve damaged chains from the top of the dock cranes in snow and howling gales. It was tough work and he was equal to the task.

Though not a popular pastime in the 1950’s, Billy became interested in weightlifting: the start of a lifetime interest in health and fitness. Through this he met Nick Rowell who opened Billy’s eyes to politics and helped his nascent political and social views to coalesce into a firm-held and passionate belief in social justice. They were part of a group of likeminded mates who would swim in the North Sea in all weathers: diving off the pier and swimming across the bay. They would then play handball or football on the beach to warm up. On one such occasion a mate of Billy’s left his trunks on the sea wall to dry and when he came back they were frozen solid and stuck to the stone! In 1958 Billy won a medal for his weightlifting, being crowned North East Strength Champion in the ten stone class.

Billy’s political views lead him to join the Communist Party in 1959 and he became involved in trade unionism: working as a shop steward he fought tirelessly for decent working conditions (a subject he wrote about in his semi-fictitious novel ‘Shed no Tears for the Defeated’ which was published earlier this year). Billy stood as a Communist Party candidate for Sunderland Council in 1968 and again in 1973. When the CPGB split in 1977 he and his friends in Sunderland joined the NCP not wanting to move away from their original beliefs. [Billy went into the NCP in the belief that it represented a revolutionary alternative to the CPGB’s revisionism. Experience over a number of years showed him, however, that the NCP, because of its incurable and cretinous support for social democracy, was no better. Being totally disillusioned and disgusted by the NCP’s political line, he joined the CPGB-ML and, although in failing health, helped it in every possible way he could, especially by sending his poetry to be published in the Party’s journal or the fraternal paper, LALKAR. He was interviewed by Ranjeet Brar on behalf of the CPGB-ML; that interview will shortly be appearing on Proletarian Television. Like his family, we too, members of his extended family, will sorely miss him – Editor].

He was a well-known figure in the trade union movement, serving on the Sunderland Trades Council and never lost his passion for championing the rights of working people or his belief that if we all pulled together to fight for a better world we could achieve a fairer and more balanced society.

Billy married Londoner, Pat Cattermole in 1967, whom he’d met on holiday in Bulgaria, and in 1968 the first of his two sons, Bob, was born with Will arriving two years later. The boys were a great source of pride to him and he strove to pass on his passion for social justice to them as well as encouraging them to make the most of their education and strive for a better life.

During his life Billy embraced many hobbies, including oil painting and writing and had a number of letters, articles and poems appear in various publications over the years. He also had a love of music ranging from the popular songs of his childhood, through folk music to classical: especially the great Russians composers of the 19th Century.

Billy’s love of travel lead him to visit what would have been considered at the time as some very exotic places and he became a tour guide for Yorkshire Tours, leading coach loads of tourists to Moscow, Leipzig, Dresden, Leningrad, Prague and Budapest.

During the Miners’ Strike, Billy actively supported the NUM on the picket line and at meetings. He continued to have a strong empathy with the miners, attending Durham Miners’ Gala many times over the decades.

In later years Billy continued with his political activities and, after retirement, spent a lot of time writing, having his first novel published earlier this year at the age of 83.

We will remember him as a principled and proud man, whose passionate political and social views dominated his life. He was at times a hard man, certainly stubborn, but with a deep well of affection for his family. We will all miss his judgement and his strong presence in all our lives.

Comrades who want to know more can read this obituary in Lalkar and a review of his
book Shed no tears for the defeated is also published. Copies of this book can be purchased from sales@cpgb-ml.org or from ebay.

POEMS

Here are a few of comrade Billy’s poems as they appeared in Proletarian over the years:

Poem: What peace is there? published in Proletarian 2005

What peace is there?
When bombs are falling all around
With children buried underground
And women agonised and crowned
By thorns of terror unbound?
What peace is there?
What peace is there?
Where boys in refugee camps grow
And with their slings they learn to throw
Missiles of hate at tanks to show
Repugnance of their common foe?
What peace is there?
What peace is there?
Where men must bend their lives to war
And win their lives by tooth and claw
To force usurpers to withdraw
Then work to build and reach their star?
What peace is there?
What peace is there?
There where the Prince of Peace was crowned
And pulverising shells are found
Where right of might is renowned
Where principles in blood are drowned?
What peace is there?

W Hunt-Vincent

Poem: Willie McGuire in Proletarian October 2014

The sight of young men from southeast Ukraine preparing themselves for war, to defend their birth-right, as seen on TV, brings to mind a young Scotsman who spoke his last words to Harry Pollitt as he lay in a hospital bed in Spain in the 1930s.

Willie McGuire, Willie McGuire
What was it set your heart on fire?
From distant Dundee home to go
Where Jarama and Ebro flow
Brave through the Spanish gates of hell
Cry out: “Long live the YCL!”

You died to give this world a chance
To crush the grisly fascist stance
Of those who make a world of want
You fought to end the age of cant
With gun in hand while comrades fell
Cried out: “Long live the YCL!”

So many things have changed today
The world moved in a different way
Aided by the faint and weary
Who failed to delve Marxist theory
And almost cast a sad death knell
On your: “Long live the YCL!”

Willie McGuire, Willie McGuire
Your fight in Spain will ere inspire
Young people from around the globe
Who proudly don the red, red robe
Stained by the blood of heroes who fell
Now: “Long live a New YCL!”

By William Hunt-Vincent

Poem: I Wonder If Those Days Are Coming Back by William Hunt-Vincent in Proletarian 2007

Now I remember
I remember the days of long gone by
When I was young and my spirit was high
I remember
When I roamed the streets in my old sand shoes
And nazis were just coming in the news
I remember
And I wonder if those days are coming back

Now I remember
On a cold and bitter frosty morning
I walked to school shortly after dawning
I remember
There in the old school yard a sight that hurt
Charlie Brown was dressed in his sister’s skirt
I remember
And I wonder if those days are coming back

Now I remember
Charlie’s father was always on the dole
And dole had eaten poor Sunderland’s soul
I remember
His friends hid the boy who wanted to die
To keep his shame from the cruel world’s eye
I remember
And I wonder if those days are coming back

Now I remember
When we all played around the Southwick Green
Scrambling in the gutter for orange peel
I remember
How we dodged the rattling old tram cars
And our fathers hung about outside bars
I remember
And I wonder if those days are coming back

Now I remember
When everything was cheap upon the stall
But man’s labour was cheapest of all
I remember
How the people struggled and laughed and cried
And this town of Sunderland nearly died
I remember
And I wonder if those days are coming back

Now I remember
And as I try to think of ways and means
To prevent the return of bad old scenes
I remember
We must come together, you and me
To once and forever set ourselves free
I remember
We must see that those hard days never come back

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