Mervyn Drage
Mervyn Drage

3:59 AM - Jan 02, 2011 #21

My father and all the family are grieving for a wonderful woman who has seen us through very hard times, (I lost my son Adam at the beginning of the year. She was not a well woman in the last couple of years and to slander her like this you should all be ashamed of yourselves as she can no longer defend herself, and my father is grieving for the woman he adored.
How would your loved ones feel if you were slandered like this on your death.
Think before you speak out. No I am not a communist, and if this is how you treat people then I would never want to be one.
My father is a very good person, you are not.
I too feel that the treatment by various CPB members of the now deceased Mary Rosser, ex Chief Executive, Morning Star, shows a complete lack of compassion to the comrade concerned and her family who are currently in mourning.
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Noreen Branson
Noreen Branson

10:50 AM - Jan 02, 2011 #22

I'm surprised its not been put up on the Star website but the problem's easily remedied. Under the heading "Rosser Obituary: No-one was forced out of the party" the letter read:

I do not want to detract from the late Mary Rosser's important role in saving the existence of the Morning Star and then, in 1988, re-establishing the Communist Party (Obituary, the Guardian, December 24).
But Mike Hicks has no basis for claiming that "After 10 years she was one of almost 50 per cent of the executive committee members of the Communist Party of Britain who were virtually forced out of office and membership during a time of sharp political differences".
She, like him, lost office in elections that nobody has ever claimed were unfoar, and by a substantial majority. No member of the CPB executive was forced out of party membership in 1998 or subsequently, neither virtually nor otherwise.

Robert Griffiths
General Secretary
Communist Party of Britain


You'll note he doesn't quibble with the "almost 50 per cent" figure that some have questioned on this thread. Nor does he bring up the allegedly unrecorded transfer of CPB money to the Star (which some Straight Lefters make so much of -- quite surprising given the alleged Spanish practices used by the old Party to fund the Daily Worker/Star in Gollan's day). All Griffiths is objecting to is the meaning of the term "virtually forced out". I daresay he's correct as far as the letter of the CPB rules goes but it's all semantic as "virtuallY" can mean anything you want it to mean. It's curious that Griffiths has chosen to respond to the Guardian obit (which many Star readers will not have seen) in the columns of the Morning Star.

Guy Burgess
Eton & Cambridge
There are two points to be made here.

The first is that in all probability Griffiths's letter was only published in the Star because the Guardian didn't see fit to print it.

The second is that Mike Hicks is quite right to say that almost half the members of the CPB's executive were forced out after the brouhahah in 1998. What one has to remember is that the victory of the Griffiths faction increased the influence of some of the most boorish and unpleasant people in the Party. When dyed-in-the-wool Stalinists like Haylett, Wright and Murray want you out, they don't have to rely on formal expulsions to get their way. All they need to do is create an intimidating atmosphere and wait for it to exhaust the opposition into desuetude.

The fact that the Star failed to carry obituaries on Ron Bellamy and Mary Rosser tell us all we need to know about these people. They pride themselves on applying the airbrush to history, just like their hero did.

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Skeptic
Skeptic

4:46 PM - Jan 02, 2011 #23

I'd almost been persuaded by Eye Witness, until I saw the distinctly shifty letter from Robert Griffiths and his rather unclever and clumsy playing with words.

It's a simple question and a simple point. Was it the case that "nearly half of the EC" elected at the 1997 Congress were no longer members of the CPB by the end of 1998?

That was the point Mike Hicks was making.

We can have a fascinating debate about whether they were forced out ("virtually" or otherwise, whatever hell that means), and the political differences that led to this factional fall-out, but surely we can agree "nearly half" the duly elected 1997 EC ceased to be members of the CPB in relatively short order following Griffiths election as general secretary.

Ron Bellamy's article published by the Weekly Worker and also on this forum set out his group's view on those differences.

Is Robert Griffiths paper Political Basis of Divisions on the Executive Committee similarly available?
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Perry Striker
Perry Striker

11:24 PM - Jan 02, 2011 #24

My father and all the family are grieving for a wonderful woman who has seen us through very hard times, (I lost my son Adam at the beginning of the year. She was not a well woman in the last couple of years and to slander her like this you should all be ashamed of yourselves as she can no longer defend herself, and my father is grieving for the woman he adored.
How would your loved ones feel if you were slandered like this on your death.
Think before you speak out. No I am not a communist, and if this is how you treat people then I would never want to be one.
My father is a very good person, you are not.
It was inappropriate and unacceptable for me to have made negative comments about Cde Mary Rosser at this time.

I apologise unreservedly for the hurt and offence I have caused members of the family.
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Eye witness
Eye witness

12:27 AM - Jan 03, 2011 #25

There are two points to be made here.

The first is that in all probability Griffiths's letter was only published in the Star because the Guardian didn't see fit to print it.

The second is that Mike Hicks is quite right to say that almost half the members of the CPB's executive were forced out after the brouhahah in 1998. What one has to remember is that the victory of the Griffiths faction increased the influence of some of the most boorish and unpleasant people in the Party. When dyed-in-the-wool Stalinists like Haylett, Wright and Murray want you out, they don't have to rely on formal expulsions to get their way. All they need to do is create an intimidating atmosphere and wait for it to exhaust the opposition into desuetude.

The fact that the Star failed to carry obituaries on Ron Bellamy and Mary Rosser tell us all we need to know about these people. They pride themselves on applying the airbrush to history, just like their hero did.
The real Noreen Branson would not have written such tosh as this.

The Hicks-Rosser crowd had almost all left the party as their dishonest, vindictive, unprincipled sacking of Haylett as Morning Star editor collapsed in 1998 - blown apart by an independent review which they had agreed with the NUJ, and then punished at the PPPS AGM by the overwhelming majority of shareholders.

People like Andrew Murray and Nick Wright were not in any significant positions in the CPB at that time. And by what definition was Haylett more "Stalinist" than Hicks, Rosser, Bellamy, Ritman etc.? He didn't produce falsified minutes, issue bogus financial accounts to cover up unauthorised transfers that bankrupted the party, hang onto membership records to which he was not entitled, connive in secret with a Trotskyist group to defeat the CPB leadership's own policy (while Hicks was still General Secretary!), or publish a factional journal.

Hicks and Rosser were defeated democratically at the 1997 CPB congress, the January 1990 CPB executive and then at the PPPS AGM. Fact.
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Eye witness
Eye witness

1:04 AM - Jan 03, 2011 #26

There are two points to be made here.

The first is that in all probability Griffiths's letter was only published in the Star because the Guardian didn't see fit to print it.

The second is that Mike Hicks is quite right to say that almost half the members of the CPB's executive were forced out after the brouhahah in 1998. What one has to remember is that the victory of the Griffiths faction increased the influence of some of the most boorish and unpleasant people in the Party. When dyed-in-the-wool Stalinists like Haylett, Wright and Murray want you out, they don't have to rely on formal expulsions to get their way. All they need to do is create an intimidating atmosphere and wait for it to exhaust the opposition into desuetude.

The fact that the Star failed to carry obituaries on Ron Bellamy and Mary Rosser tell us all we need to know about these people. They pride themselves on applying the airbrush to history, just like their hero did.
Oh, and by the way, what is this "Griffiths faction" that defeated Mike Hicks in January 1998?

It was simply the majority of Executive Committee members (17 out of 30), who had had enough of dishonesty and disruption (especially over the process to appoint a new Morning Star editor after Chater). It included comrades such as Mary Davis, Richard Maybin, Kevin Halpin, Kenny Coyle, John Foster, Martin Levy etc. - none of whom were in any "faction" (although Hicks accused various of them of being in Straight Left or "Kevin Halpin's faction", as he once put it). They had no shared programme and were not party to any secret meetings, mailings etc. - but had all come the conclusion at different points in time that Hicks should be replaced.

In fact, if memory serves, John Foster was only finally persuaded to oppose Hicks at the January 1998 EC meeting itself - by Mike Hicks! John had seen all the falsificiation and disruption at first hand on the EC and Political Committee, but was understandably worried about the consequences for party unity of changing the General Secretary. But one more display of lying and attempted bullying was enough - especially when Hicks accused him at the meeting of being a Straight Left plotter! That's when Foster realised that there was no alternative but to elect a new GS.

There was a strong feeling, too, that politically the Hicks leadership was submerging the independent profile of the Party in the Morning Star and through mostly Labour Party-orientated joint campaigns with Socialist Action.

No more than two or three dozen people left the CPB with Hicks and Rosser. Most of their other supporters remained loyal to the Party. The Morning Star dispute exposed the lies told around the sacking of John Haylett, and a detailed report showed the extent to which agendas, minutes and financial records had been falsified. That persuaded most of the Hicks-Rosser sympathisers that the change of General Secretary had been necessary.

"Tell the truth and trust the comrades!" - that was the motto which proved successful.

Today, only Hicks and a few anti-CPB elements still pretend not to know the truth about the events of the period.

While the CPB pays tribute to Mike Hicks' role in the latest Party history pamphlet, and Griffiths acknowledges Mary Rosser's role in his Morning Star letter, Hicks wants to use Mary's death to peddle his failed lies. Pretty low, in my book. Why should those of us who know the truth let him get away with it?
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Tommy Steele
Tommy Steele

3:45 AM - Jan 03, 2011 #27

There are two points to be made here.

The first is that in all probability Griffiths's letter was only published in the Star because the Guardian didn't see fit to print it.

The second is that Mike Hicks is quite right to say that almost half the members of the CPB's executive were forced out after the brouhahah in 1998. What one has to remember is that the victory of the Griffiths faction increased the influence of some of the most boorish and unpleasant people in the Party. When dyed-in-the-wool Stalinists like Haylett, Wright and Murray want you out, they don't have to rely on formal expulsions to get their way. All they need to do is create an intimidating atmosphere and wait for it to exhaust the opposition into desuetude.

The fact that the Star failed to carry obituaries on Ron Bellamy and Mary Rosser tell us all we need to know about these people. They pride themselves on applying the airbrush to history, just like their hero did.
Offering Mike the party chairman's role is hardly "forcing people out". He chose not to accept that role and to form a faction instead. His group refused to pay dues, they boycotted party work, they sacked the editor of the Star.
If anyone has the names of the "almost 50%" of the EC who were forced out let's hear them.
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Mediaman
Mediaman

2:25 PM - Jan 03, 2011 #28

I'd almost been persuaded by Eye Witness, until I saw the distinctly shifty letter from Robert Griffiths and his rather unclever and clumsy playing with words.

It's a simple question and a simple point. Was it the case that "nearly half of the EC" elected at the 1997 Congress were no longer members of the CPB by the end of 1998?

That was the point Mike Hicks was making.

We can have a fascinating debate about whether they were forced out ("virtually" or otherwise, whatever hell that means), and the political differences that led to this factional fall-out, but surely we can agree "nearly half" the duly elected 1997 EC ceased to be members of the CPB in relatively short order following Griffiths election as general secretary.

Ron Bellamy's article published by the Weekly Worker and also on this forum set out his group's view on those differences.

Is Robert Griffiths paper Political Basis of Divisions on the Executive Committee similarly available?
as it appeared in the Weedy Wanker and republished here in 2005:

http://www.network54.com/Forum/393207/m ... %26quot%3B
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Tommy Steele
Tommy Steele

3:23 PM - Jan 03, 2011 #29

Offering Mike the party chairman's role is hardly "forcing people out". He chose not to accept that role and to form a faction instead. His group refused to pay dues, they boycotted party work, they sacked the editor of the Star.
If anyone has the names of the "almost 50%" of the EC who were forced out let's hear them.
I am the real Tommy Steele.

The contribution posted on January 3rd 2011 at 3.45am is not from me.
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Old Comrade
Old Comrade

12:16 AM - Jan 04, 2011 #30

In writing that "no member of the CPB executive was forced out of party membership in 1998 or subsequently, neither virtually nor otherwise", Griffiths makes the CPB's position pretty clear as far as I can see.

He isn't "quibbling" about whether "almost 50%" of the EC were forced out - he's stating that NONE were. Which is true, as it is about EC membership as well.

As Hicks had not made any false claims about financial matters, why should Griffiths wash this particular dirty linen in public?

For myself, I don't know why he's showing such restraint. There's even a few complimentary references to Hicks in the new Party history pamphlet written by Griffiths and Ben Stevenson!

Still, most who are interested in the truth, rather than looking for a pretext to knock the CPB, BRS etc, know the truth about Hicks and Rosser. With so many new and younger members in the CPB these days, a majority of the Party membership probably couldn't give a damn about them.

The Guardian hasn't published my letter challenging Hicks as far as I know, nor any from comrade Griffiths (I suspect the one in the Star was a copy of one sent to the Guardian).
So many new and younger members in the CPB these days...ha ha ha. If only that were true.
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