Main parties are ignoring poverty and war, say Communists

By staff writers
18 Apr 2010

The Communist Party of Britain (CPB) has said that after a week and a half of election campaigning, “the people's needs continue to be ignored by the main parties”.

The CPB is one of a range of small left-wing groups contending seats in the election. It emerged at the end of the Cold War, following disagreements with Eurocommunists who had rejected the repressive Soviet legacy and Marxist-Leninism.

Urging politicians to “wage war on poverty”, the CPB, which has a significant interest in the daily Morning Star newspaper, says that economic inequality and the presence of UK troops in Afghanistan are both being overlooked by Labour, Tories and Liberal Democrats.

The CPB accused the Labour government of presiding “over a redistribution of of wealth from the poor to the better-off and the rich since 1997”.

They pointed out that the government's 2009 report, Wealth in Great Britain, showed that the poorer half of the population own just one per cent of personal wealth between them, down from seven per cent in 1996. The richest twenty per cent own almost two-thirds of personal wealth, although the figures do not take account of hidden assets, such as in tax havens.

When the Communist Party launched their manifesto last week, Women's Organiser Mary Davis focused on the government's failure to meet their target of halving child poverty by 2010.

The CPB is standing six candidates in the general election. They are supporting left-wing Labour candidates in other constituencies, but are refusing to back “right-wing New Labour candidates”, instead choosing to give support in some seats to other parties and alliances, such as the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition.

“Taxing the super-rich and big business super-profits would slash the deficit almost at a stroke,” suggested the party's General Secretary, Rob Griffiths. He described the idea that spending cuts were necessary as a “big lie”.

The Communist Party's manifesto calls for the withdrawal of UK troops from Afghanistan and an end to the ownership of nuclear weapons by the the UK government.

The party would combine this with a wealth tax on the richest 10 per dent of the population, a windfall tax on energy, banking and retail monopolies and a levy on City speculation. They suggest that these measures combined could raise £91 billion.

Many of the CPB's policies are shared by other left-wing parties, such as the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the Scottish Socialists, although most do not share the CPB's opposition to membership of the European Union.

Other left-wing groups also accuse the Communist Party of failing to condemn human rights abuses in countries such as China, as well as having previously supported oppressive policies in the Soviet Union and its satellites.

[Ekk/1]

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