Response to Observer article on China

Peter Taaffe, an executive committee member of the Socialist Party and its former general secretary, wrote the following letter to the Observer on 7 June 2021.

Simon Tisdall’s assertion (Observer 6/6/21) that Xi Jinping’s speech “would not have been out of place at a Militant Tendency meeting circa 1976”, is both scandalous and risible.

Xi’s regime is a dictatorial one-party regime. It represses workers and political opposition. It is moving from its Stalinist origins to an equally undemocratic form of state capitalism.

In stark contrast, Militant, now the Socialist Party, stands for real, liberating, democratic socialism.

In the 1970s – and even right up to today – Militant’s ideas have frightened the representatives of capitalism and their shadows in the labour movement. “Circa 1976” and beyond we were attracting support in the unprecedented mass rallies in the Albert Hall, and when that became too small, we had to move to Alexandra Palace.

We not only shook to its foundations the right wing in the Labour Party but organised some of the biggest workers’ movements, like the Liverpool city council campaign in the 1980s, and later the anti-poll tax mass non-payment campaign, which confined the poll tax to the dustbin of history and, with it, Thatcher herself.

We stand for real democratic socialism, in opposition to bureaucratic autocracy and to crisis-ridden, out-moded capitalism.

We are fighting for power to be vested in the democratic organisations of working people, whether in Britain, China, or elsewhere in the world.

Yours sincerely, Peter Taaffe, former editor of Militant, and former general secretary, Socialist Party

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 15 June 2021 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.