The Labour Party had also accepted an invitation to attend, but it’s believed deputy leader Tom Watson had to withdraw at the last moment. The Conservative Party was represented by an official of the Centre for Policy Studies.
During a meeting in Beijing of 24 communist parties with Communist Party of China (CPC) head of publicity and Politburo member Huang Kunming, the Communist Party of Britain was one of the five selected to make a presentation. The other speakers were from the Cuban CP, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the South African CP and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Comrade Huang declared that the CPC needed to follow Marxism in its strategy for construction as it had done for revolution.
He told the communists, ‘We are adhering to and developing Marxism in order to build socialism with Chinese characteristics and we are making the right choice at the right time. According to Karl Marx, the working class liberates the whole of humanity by liberating itself’.
He said that since the CPC’s 18th congress in 2012, which elected Xi Jinping as the party’s general secretary, a new situation had arisen with new challenges and tasks. The Chinese people were having to break new ground in order to maintain peace, development and security, intensifying international relations and sharing the benefits of China’s successes among its own people and those of other countries.
Adapting China’s systems and institutions to new realities, enforcing the socialist rule of law (not least against corruption) and strengthening the leading role of the Communist Party demonstrated the dynamism of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Addressing the forum, Robert Griffiths praised China’s enormous record of development, based as it is on planning and public ownership of key sectors of the economy – ‘which alone can ensure that the benefits of new technologies will be shared by workers and the people generally’. China’s willingness to engage in mutually beneficial projects with other countries is assisting them to develop independently of domination by Western monopoly capital.
He particularly welcomed China as a ‘voice and force for peace and cooperation in today’s very dangerous world’.
‘Now the Communist Party of China is constructively challenging political parties everywhere with the tasks of building a world of peace, development and security’, Mr Griffiths remarked. He especially welcomed its recent decision to play a central role in the annual international meeting of communist and workers parties by taking a permanent place on the working group which prepares and guides its activities, as ‘another sign of the CPC’s turning outwards’.
The CPB general secretary explained to the forum why winning the early election of a left-led Labour government is essential to put Britain on the path to peace, development and security.
‘Withdrawal from the European Union is an essential stage in this process, not least so that a left-led Labour government can pursue measures to extend democratic control over our economy, rebalancing it away from domination by finance capital in the City of London and towards manufacturing and infrastructure.
‘The referendum vote against EU membership was a left-wing vote as well as a right-wing one. And only outside the EU can a left-led Labour government be free to pursue a genuinely independent foreign and defence policy’.
Mr Griffiths closed by outlining the Communist Party of Britain’s process of ‘communist renewal’.
‘Our party seeks to represent the interests and aspirations of the working class and people generally’, he told the communists from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. But to do so more effectively, the CPB has to:
- Enhance its organisation and communications, utilising new technologies, as a party which seeks to inform and mobilise workers and the people – work in which the Morning Star plays an important and essential role.
- Recruit and retain new members, especially among workers, women, black and ethnic minorities and young people.
- Provide education in the ideas of Marxism-Leninism, making full use of the invaluable facilities of the Marx Memorial Library and Workers’ School in London.
The CPB general secretary also announced that his party would be issuing an updated draft edition of its programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism, for discussion across the labour movement and adoption following the party’s 55th congress in November 2018 – when it hoped to welcome representatives from the CPC and China’s embassy in Britain once again.