Teach anti-capitalism, but get it right

Submitted by AWL on 20 October, 2020 - 5:29 Author: Jim Denham
Graphic from Morning Star

Very little happens by accident or oversight at the Morning Star (despite the paper using that excuse whenever their periodic lapses into blatant antisemitism provoke complaints from leading CPers).

So it was, I’d submit, no accident that a quite good article by NEU activist Robert Poole (7 October, electronic edition), protesting at government guidelines banning anti-capitalist materials in schools, was accompanied by this picture. The slide that the teacher is showing his pupils contains the following text:

“The main difference between Marxism and Leninism is that, while Karl Marx believed the proletariat would be urban and industrialised, and would rise in rebellion spontaneously, Lenin needed to alter Marxism to fit his needs. Thus, according to Leninism, the proletariat would be agrarian, as they were in Russia, and would rise in rebellion with the leadership of a vanguard party, which in his case was the Bolshevik party.”

That statement contains at least two downright falsehoods: Marx most certainly did believe that workers required a party, and Lenin did not believe that the proletariat in Russia was “agrarian”.

The term “agrarian proletariat” has to mean “peasantry” since there wasn’t a significant industrialised-agriculture waged-worker class in Russia at the time. So Lenin differed from Marx in thinking that forces other than the working class can create socialism? And so also, logically, the Chinese peasantry, or Russian armies in Eastern Europe, or the Afghan officer caste could do that? What that teacher is promulgating to his young pupils is not Marxism or Leninism, but Stalinism.

I’m told that the “Features” section of the Morning Star is run by a particularly crude Stalinist faction, so it’s (again) probably no accident that the picture appeared there.

For the record, here’s what Lenin actually said about the relationship between the proletariat and the peasantry: “Yet no alliance, even with the most honest and determined revolutionary democrats [rebellious peasants], will ever make the proletarians forget their still greater and more important goal, the fight for socialism, for the complete abolition of the rule of capital, for the emancipation of all working people from every kind of exploitation. Forward, workers and peasants, in the common struggle for land and freedom! Forward, proletarians, united by international Social-Democracy, in the fight for socialism!” ( The Proletariat and the Peasantry, 12 Nov 1905).

Meanwhile, the Morning Star editorial of October 17-18 contains the usual anti-EU bluster and implied backing for Johnson that we’ve come to expect: “having been rumbled in their ploy to bind Britain to other single market rules via Northern Ireland, EU leaders resent the enshrinement in law of Tory contingency plans to prevent it”.

What’s new, however is the recognition that “no deal” and trading on WTO rules would “damage industries, especially in dairy and animal products, confectionery, chemicals, financial services and to a lesser extent Britain’s biggest export, namely, petroleum.”

The innocent reader would naturally conclude that the Morning Star therefore opposed “no deal”: but, of course it doesn’t. Like its political masters the Communist Party of Britain, the Morning Star positively supports “no deal”.

The “line” hasn’t changed, but presumably they’re aware of just how badly their real position would go down with most of the unions that pump money into the paper.

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