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Proletarian issue 26 (October 2008)
Editorial: China explores space while the capitalist world economy crumbles
The news has just come through that Zhai Zhigang, the commander of China’s third space mission has become the first Chinese citizen to walk in space.
The news has just come through that Zhai Zhigang, the commander of China’s third space mission has become the first Chinese citizen to walk in space.

China is only the third country to achieve this (after the US and the USSR). The space walk paves the way for China to send someone to the moon by 2017.

And while socialist China forges ahead with its ambitious space programme, America’s NASA is being forced to cut back its space programme because the US government, as a result of the hundreds of billions of dollars it is spending to try to save US capitalism, is severely restricting NASA’s funding! (See ‘Jubilation as first Chinese man walks in space – but misery for US as NASA’s 50th anniversary mired by funding crisis fears’ by Barry Wigmore, Daily Mail, 29 September 2008)

The CPGB-ML sent a contingent to participate in the Stop the War demonstration in Manchester of 21 September. The mobilisation for this demonstration was disappointing, with only some 2,000-3,000 people attending.

The most dispiriting part of the day, however, was the rally at the end, at which speaker after speaker roundly condemned the government for its warmongering while urging continued support for the Labour party whose government it is!

The demonstration was called in Manchester because this is where the Labour party was holding its annual conference. The conference excited some people, who thought it could bring about a change of party leadership and lead to Gordon Brown stepping down as prime minister.

Brown was, however, able to send his audience into raptures by singling out “irresponsible speculators” as the cause of the current financial crisis – heaven forbid that he should blame capitalism itself!

On the contrary, he affirmed that the Labour party will “always be a pro-enterprise, pro-business and pro-competition government” and claimed that he personally was going to “rebuild the world financial system”!!

In the face of the eloquent magnificence of these empty phrases, union leaders such as Tony Woodley of Unite were overwhelmed with joy: “At long last, he took on the speculators and spivs”, he gushed. “In a Britain divided between fat cats who have wrecked the economy and ordinary people who are suffering the consequences, the prime minister came down firmly on the right side.”

The much feted ‘leadership challenge’ wilted and died in all the hot air, while the New Communist Party (NCP) has been driven to ever dizzier heights of foolishness in its insistence that the Labour party is “the only mass force capable of implementing reform”.

These seasoned Marxists claim that the Labour party can “easily”, by taxing the rich and renationalising the privatised industries, raise the money needed to radically improve living standards; meanwhile, they condemn “sects” who seek to mobilise the working class around a correct line (could it be the CPGB-ML they are targeting here?).

The clear implication is that, in the eyes of the NCP, the only way of achieving anything is to mobilise around an incorrect line, the line of a bourgeois reformism (which we should point out is hopeless reformism in the current crisis conditions). We beg to differ!
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