CPB to its youth wing: please don’t adore Stalin or deny Holocaust

Submitted by AWL on 27 October, 2021 - 5:47 Author: Jim Denham
Stalin and YCL logo

The Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and, more so, its youth wing the Young Communist League (YCL), have been growing. The YCL claims to have trebled in size in recent years, to about 450 members.

But this is not unalloyed good news for the CPB leadership.

RegularMorning Star readers will have noticed several letters complaining about the image that the YCL presents of themselves, posturing in militaristic garb, faces often covered with balaclavas and kerchiefs that are obviously not just covid masks.

Many of these young poseurs make no secret of their adulation of Stalin and his grisly record of mass murder. This is rather embarrassing for the CPB leadership, because for many years it has been understood that such feelings should only be expressed in private – and certainly not in the pages of the Morning Star, which claims to be a “broad left” publication. So now the party leaders have issued detailed protocols on how members should conduct themselves on social media, including the need to avoid “adulation of Stalin and support for the substantial abuses of state power which occurred under his leadership”. Such adulation is “not compatible with our party’s judgement of these matters”, they warn.

However, this stricture has not gone down well with the more performative Stalin fans of the YCL. An email from an unnamed YCL member to the blogger who publicised the protocols (Lawrence Parker), states that many of the new recruits “have a very anti-revisionist, pro-Stalin, position”, and the incoming central committee of the YCL has a “majority … dead opposed to [the protocol]”. The policy of “no talking about Stalin”, the YCLer writes, “is the knee-jerk reaction of the older generation of the CPB leadership”.

The protocols then move on to antisemitism: “Our class enemy is the ruling capitalist class, not some secretive sinister cabal of Freemasons, Zionists, the Illuminati or the Bill Gates Foundation. Party members promoting absurd theories and claims risk bringing the CP into disrepute. Posting anything online which ‘normalises’ or endorses antisemitic conspiracy theories – including holocaust denial in any form – is incompatible with party membership.”

It may seem pretty extraordinary that a left wing organisation should need to warn its members against holocaust denial, but it seems the CPB leadership feels this is indeed necessary. It is worth noting that for all the good intentions behind these strictures, the Morning Star regularly carries articles and comment that could be called “absolute” anti-Zionism and more than once has had to apologise for antisemitic articles.

It seems unlikely that the majority of the YCL will abide by these instructions. Lawrence Parker’s anonymous correspondent writes: “The YCL recently voted at its congress to change the position on Palestinian liberation from a two-state solution to a single-state solution. That motion specifically attacked the CPB [two state] line”.

And while holding to a “single state” position on Israel/Palestine is not in itself antisemitic, it hardly suggests that the YCL are in any mood to listen to strictures from the CPB on the subject, or to discourage a world view that sees Israel as a uniquely illegitimate state.

The anonymous YCLer closes their email with the ominous words: “And there’s more of that kind of thing in the pipeline too.”

• Text of the protocols: pages 4 and 5 of the September issue of the CPB members bulletin; Lawrence Parker’s blog

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