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Vol. 80/No. 6      February 15, 2016

(front page)

‘Build a party to lead revolutionary struggle’

Paper showcases UK Communist candidate

Eleonore de Bonneval
Photo of Jonathan Silberman, Communist League candidate for mayor of London, accompanying article about the party in the Jan. 23 issue of International Business Times.
“My objective isn’t to push capitalism to the left or the right, my objective is to overthrow it,” Jonathan Silberman, Communist League candidate in the May 5 elections for London mayor, told International Business Times Jan. 23.

“What is the point of the Communist League?” said Silberman in response to reporter Orlando Crowcroft. “It is to build a party that will lead a revolutionary struggle in this country. It exists to join the worldwide fight for socialism. There is no other reason.”

The lengthy interview, titled “Viva! Jonathan Silberman — Communist London Mayor Hopeful Dreams of Cuban Revolution in Britain,” features a photo of him holding up a copy of the Militant while addressing a candidates’ meeting. Crowcroft contrasts the long-time communist to followers of new Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn, saying, “Silberman has no interest in making capitalism fairer — he wants to demolish it.”

Crowcroft notes that as a factory worker Silberman “actually comes into contact with workers on a daily basis — unlike the massed ranks of the radical London left, content to cheer the revolution from posh North London cafes.”

The article traces Silberman’s political life. The son of Jews who fled Germany under Hitler, he became active in the fight against Washington’s imperialist war against the workers and peasants of Vietnam. Silberman says, “That was when I realized I was a revolutionary.”

The author notes Silberman’s decades-long work in defense of the Cuban Revolution and his regular participation in the annual Havana International Book Fair, promoting Pathfinder Press books on revolutionary, working-class politics.

He points to Cuba’s example for workers in the U.K. and worldwide, Crowcroft says, a sharp contrast to “the bloody authoritarian nightmare that the Soviet Union had become after Stalin.”

“He hates that the mainstream and radical left who apologise for the anti-Semitism of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas in their attempt to promote the Palestinian cause (which he believes in),” the article says. “He despises the reluctance of the British left to support the Maidan protests [in Ukraine] or the anti-Assad movement in its efforts to oppose British intervention (which he also opposes).”

“Silberman spends the bulk of his Saturdays knocking on doors in working class housing estates,” the article says, “and finds the respondents receptive.”

“It doesn’t matter if someone is Labour, Tory or Ukip,” Silberman says. “It makes no difference to their interest in our politics. Supporting Ukip doesn’t signify some big right wing ideology. I don’t think that there is a massive anti-immigrant sentiment in the working class.”

The communist candidate says workers are attracted to the campaign’s proposals for the unions to unite native-born and immigrant workers in a common fight for better pay and working conditions.

“Why don’t we fight for massive rise in the minimum wage that would benefit all workers?” Silberman says.

He “wants to build houses, schools and hospitals and put people to work,” Crowcroft says. He wants to “fight anti-Semitism and Islamophobia at the same time.”

The article ends with a reproduction of the front page of the Jan. 25 issue of the Militant.

Related articles:
Capitalist crisis fuels demand for change, turn to Sanders, Trump
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