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Reply to Andy Newman on CPGB

Marcus Strom

Andy Newman pens a broadside at the methods and prospects of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Hypocritically he accuses the CPGB of indulging in rumour-mongering and mudslinging then proceeds to adopt this very method himself.

He writes of me that: "Perhaps most significantly the popular and talented Marcus Strom returned to Australia. Although he said this was due to his wife wanting to be nearer her family, it is hard to imagine he would have gone back to Oz, leaving a staff job on the Independent, if he was not slightly jaundiced about his political prospects."

While I am flattered by his adjectives, his 'analysis' is nothing but rumour-mongering. First, I did not have a staff job on the Independent. Second, I am not jaundiced by my political prospects at all. The class struggle exists even in Australia: only it's sunnier. Third, I take full responsibility for my move to Australia. It was done to be near my own family, not my wife's, who is a Kiwi. Surely Andy would grant that having my children near their grandparents, among other things, is a fairly valid reason for a move.

Fourth, and most importantly, the CPGB provides the only honest accounting of the left in the UK - that's why it gets up everyone's noses. If the left continues to lie to itself, its members and the world at large is it not surprising that much of the true information that leaks out is partial? Watching the SWP groan under the weight of its own contradictions is a lesson in Kremlinology. The far left in Britain lives in a fantasy land concerning its own prospects and its influence in society. The SWP is the worst offender. If I had a pound for every time I heard an SWPer say: "There's never been a better time to be a socialist..." I'd be a rich man. By holding up a mirror to the circus of the far left, the CPGB attracts all manner of brickbats. To Andy I say, comrade the mote is in your own eye.

As for myself, the struggle is a global struggle and I am happy to continue fighting for the working class in the land of my birth.

Andy admits to alcohol-fuelled pranks as a youngster. I trust that his defence (sic) of the SWP was written while he was sober.


Apology from Andy Newman:

"I apologise for any inaccuracy in reporting Marcus Strom's move to Australia. My remarks were based upon my recollection of a conversation I had with Marcus in a pub following the February Socialist Alliance executive meeting, and as good journalistic practice I should have checked the facts with Marcus prior to publication.  I regret that I failed to do so. Hey - we live and learn! Marcus therefore makes a fair point when he criticises my article for double standards - disapproving on the CPGB reporting gossip while at the same time relying on gossip for my critique of them.  Essentially Ian Donovan makes the same critique elsewhere. Nevertheless, the overall thrust of my article, which was to favourably compare the SWP (as a serious activist organisation) to the CPGB, (which I believe makes ill informed attacks on the SWP for essentially opportunist reasons) still holds."


January 2005

Andy Newman's
original article

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