1970s >> 1978 >> no-892-december-1978

Political Notebook: Chinese Takeaway

Last month’s Notebook looked at the current goings on in the big two and a half political parties. This month we turn our attention to what are commonly referred to as ‘the extremists’, a euphemism for those organisations which pursue the same sterile policies as Lib-Lab-Con, but haven’t got many members.

Chinese Takeaway
Bad news for a few hundred million Chinese peasants. That famous book of everyday slogans for work, rest and sleep,  Quotations From The Thoughts of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung. is no longer to be treated like the bible. The Chinese leadership — and the Maoists in the West — have decided that the time has come to end the deification of Mao. So, after a quarter of a century in which Chinese workers and peasants have been taught to learn the words of the great book parrot-fashion, it seems that all has changed. Indeed, Maoist bookshops in London seem to have stopped displaying the little red book, the Chinese Embassy has stopped giving away free copies and even the tramp who used to sell them at Speakers’ Corner for thirty pence a copy has been given the push. It can be predicted that by 2001 — the year by which Mao says China will have become ‘a powerful socialist country’ (p.179) — the little red book will be as scarce as the collected works of Stalin in Russia today. Mao’s book contains the following passage:

    . . . US imperialism has made itself the enemy of the people of the world and has increasingly isolated itself. Those who refuse to be enslaved will never be cowed by the atom bombs and hydrogen bombs in the hands of the US imperialists. The raging tide of the people of the world against the US aggressors is irresistable. (p.78. written in 1964).

We wonder whether the book’s withdrawal could possibly have anything to do with the fact that China is now a diplomatic ally of the USA against Russia, is itself an imperialist power and has recently placed a multi-million pound order for Harrier jump-jets with the British Government.

A Front for What?
Mr. John Tyndall, like most of his good and sturdy fellow National Front leaders, is a man with convictions. In the case of Tyndall, these have sometimes been for breaking the law. It is interesting to read, in the NF paper. Spearhead, No. 18. just what Tyndall’s idea of ‘restoring law and order’ involves:

    Driving out of Carnaby Street I beheld walking about a species of humanity that 1 thought only existed in the wilder forms of horror fiction and I resolved there and then that if I ever revisited this neighbourhood in the future it would not be at the wheel of a car but at the tiller of a chieftain tank, preferably with a flame thrower apparatus attached as an extra, and a large refuse van bringing up the rear.

Are we honestly supposed to treat the National Front as a serious political party?

Vanessa’s Revolution
Down at the High Court, Ms. Vanessa Redgrave (actress) and Mr. David Astor (former editor of The Observer) argued about whether the Trotskyist Workers’ Revolutionary Party is a ‘nasty, despicable, ludicrous and silly’ party (as Mr. John Wilmers QC. appearing for Ms Redgrave neatly put it), or not. The case concerned an article entitled “Vanessa and the Red House Mystery”, published by The Observer in 1975. The article described events involving an actress. Irene Gorst, which are alleged to have taken place at the WRP’s ‘education school’ in the Derbyshire Peak District. Ms Gorst claimed that she was forcibly detained at ‘the school’, subjected to political indoctrination and told of stores of hidden arms in the basement of ‘the Red House’.
Clearly, it was not for us, but for the Defenders of British Justice, to determine whether Ms Gorst’s story was a complete fabrication or whether, as we’ve always believed, the WRP comprises a crowd of crazy fantasists, waiting to re-enact the events of Petrograd 1917 in the streets of Derby. Whether or not it’s true that they’ve got a few rifles hidden in the closet, the plain fact is that the entire Leninist concept of revolution. based upon enlightened leaders and armed uprising, is doomed to failure in the capitalism of 1978. So that’s why you’re ‘nasty, despicable, ludicrous and silly’, Vanessa. And you can’t sue us for libel for writing that.

Star Wars
The Communist Party also went to Court last month to try and stop the new soft porn daily from calling itself the Daily Star in case readers mix it up with the Morning Star. If readers ever began to confuse what’s written in the Socialist Standard with the nonsense in the London Evening Standard, we’d politely tell our editorial committee that it’s time they gave up the job.

Steve Coleman