Jeremy Hawthorn
Jeremy Hawthorn

January 4th, 2011, 7:14 am #31

I am the real Tommy Steele.

The contribution posted on January 3rd 2011 at 3.45am is not from me.
I think that someone is playing on Tommy's original name here. This thread may not be the place. Perhaps we should all refrain from further comment.
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Lev Kamenev
Lev Kamenev

January 4th, 2011, 9:56 am #32

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.
Ron Bellamy's piece is helpful in this regard:

"at the January EC after the 1997 national congress. Mike Hicks was replaced as general secretary with 13 votes against 17."
Voters for Hicks as Gensec therefore accounted for 13 out of 30 (43%).
Members of the EC who left the CPB, I calculate at about 10 or or 33%. I don't recall others but stand open to correction.
Only Pete Ritman was expelled. The others stopped paying party dues, then stopped attending EC meetings and finally severed connections. I recall that Mary was lapsed by her branch.

Barney Crockett
Mike Hicks
Francis Wilcox
Andrew Clark
Mary Rosser
Ron Bellamy
Joan Bellamy
Tish Newland
Paul Corry
Pete Ritman (expelled)

I think Tony Chater, no longer on the EC, had already left the party but can't remember for certain.
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Skeptic
Skeptic

January 4th, 2011, 12:46 pm #33

So, the truth is slowly being established. Contrary to Eye Witnesses assertion that one EC member left the party, we are now clear that "at least" 10 members of the 1997 EC were no longer CPB members by the end of 1998. We don't need to debate if this is "nearly half".

We see that Robert Griffiths a well known anti-British Roader replaced Mike Hicks as general secretary. Most of those who played a leading role in the "re-establishment" of the CPB in 1988 (Hicks, Chater, Rosser, Bellamy etc) were no longer CPB members by 1999. People like Andrew Murray and Nick Wright, prominent in Straight Left and anti- the re-establishment process and anti the British Road took increasingly prominent leadership positions in the CPB from 1998.

One of the reasons for removing Mike Hicks is stated by Eye Witness as because the then leadership was pursuing a pro-broad labour movement orientation and strategy and downplaying the "independent" role of the Communist Party i.e. in line with the traditional approach of the BRS. Which fits with Bellamys accusations of the Griffiths leadership pursuing a "sectarian" course with respect to the labour movement and the Labour Party.

I find the references to Socialist Action and criticism of the Hicks leadership for working with a pro-labour movement Trotskyite group a red herring. There are a number of ex (I assume ex) Socialist Action members in leadership positions in todays CPB and it is todays CPB which joined up with the former Militant Tendency (so-called Socialist Party) in the anti-Labour No2EU electoral front.

Eye Witness asks us to believe there was no factional activity around the January 1998 EC which removed Hicks, but appears again to be playing with words and using a narrow definition of factional activity. So, despite in his/her (ok, we know its a "he")own admission there were a range of disparate people on the new EC with different views, but all apparently simultaneously coming to the view that Hicks had to go, there were no outside conversations to agree this, or more crucially to agree on which single candidate should be put up against Hicks??

Whatever ones views about Mike Hicks, the re-establishment of the CPB, the BRS, labour movement orientation, independent role of the CP etc etc, one has to agree that something major and significant happened in the CPB in 1998, with original founding members and leading members gone, and taken over by people with some very different perspectives and approaches.

Hicks and Co do seem to have a point.

Perhaps Eye Witness should adopt a new adage "The truth will always out!"
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Guy Burgess
Guy Burgess

January 4th, 2011, 2:58 pm #34

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).
What I meant, and I thought I made clear, was that Griffiths is clearly not querying the statement that "almost fifty per cent" of the EC "left" following the split with Hicks and Rosser (I use "left" to avoid "forced out" which can clearly be intepreted in different ways).

And now that some others are trying to put names to the numbers who "left" wasn't George Wake on the EC at the time as well?


Guy Burgess
Eton & Cambridge
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Eye witness
Eye witness

January 4th, 2011, 8:47 pm #35

So, the truth is slowly being established. Contrary to Eye Witnesses assertion that one EC member left the party, we are now clear that "at least" 10 members of the 1997 EC were no longer CPB members by the end of 1998. We don't need to debate if this is "nearly half".

We see that Robert Griffiths a well known anti-British Roader replaced Mike Hicks as general secretary. Most of those who played a leading role in the "re-establishment" of the CPB in 1988 (Hicks, Chater, Rosser, Bellamy etc) were no longer CPB members by 1999. People like Andrew Murray and Nick Wright, prominent in Straight Left and anti- the re-establishment process and anti the British Road took increasingly prominent leadership positions in the CPB from 1998.

One of the reasons for removing Mike Hicks is stated by Eye Witness as because the then leadership was pursuing a pro-broad labour movement orientation and strategy and downplaying the "independent" role of the Communist Party i.e. in line with the traditional approach of the BRS. Which fits with Bellamys accusations of the Griffiths leadership pursuing a "sectarian" course with respect to the labour movement and the Labour Party.

I find the references to Socialist Action and criticism of the Hicks leadership for working with a pro-labour movement Trotskyite group a red herring. There are a number of ex (I assume ex) Socialist Action members in leadership positions in todays CPB and it is todays CPB which joined up with the former Militant Tendency (so-called Socialist Party) in the anti-Labour No2EU electoral front.

Eye Witness asks us to believe there was no factional activity around the January 1998 EC which removed Hicks, but appears again to be playing with words and using a narrow definition of factional activity. So, despite in his/her (ok, we know its a "he")own admission there were a range of disparate people on the new EC with different views, but all apparently simultaneously coming to the view that Hicks had to go, there were no outside conversations to agree this, or more crucially to agree on which single candidate should be put up against Hicks??

Whatever ones views about Mike Hicks, the re-establishment of the CPB, the BRS, labour movement orientation, independent role of the CP etc etc, one has to agree that something major and significant happened in the CPB in 1998, with original founding members and leading members gone, and taken over by people with some very different perspectives and approaches.

Hicks and Co do seem to have a point.

Perhaps Eye Witness should adopt a new adage "The truth will always out!"
Nice try, Skeptic, so long after the events - which I witnessed and the above poster did not - but desperate and highly misleading.

You earlier tried to throw doubt on the unauthorised removal of CPB funds to the Morning Star - without a shred of evidence. Why so desperate to conceal the truth, which has been substantiated in every set of Morning Star accounts for a decade?

Up to half the EC forced out? Not true, in any respect at all. Not one EC member excluded from the EC or expelled. So, again, who's lying?

Now you also claim that many EC members "simultaneously" came to a decision to remove Hicks in 1998. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, eh? But here again, Skeptic reveals their own ignorance, dishonesty or both. Different EC members came to the conclusion that they should elect - yes, elect - a different General Secretary over a period of at least three years. In 1996, Hicks had only narrowly been re-elected over Richard Maybin (another Straight Lefter?!).

And Nick Wright and Andrew Murray played no significant role in the CPB during this period. Subsequently, they were elected to the EC. More recently, one has stood down and the other failed to be re-elected.

Next pathetic effort at rewriting history, Skeptic?

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Eye witness
Eye witness

January 5th, 2011, 10:17 am #36

So, the truth is slowly being established. Contrary to Eye Witnesses assertion that one EC member left the party, we are now clear that "at least" 10 members of the 1997 EC were no longer CPB members by the end of 1998. We don't need to debate if this is "nearly half".

We see that Robert Griffiths a well known anti-British Roader replaced Mike Hicks as general secretary. Most of those who played a leading role in the "re-establishment" of the CPB in 1988 (Hicks, Chater, Rosser, Bellamy etc) were no longer CPB members by 1999. People like Andrew Murray and Nick Wright, prominent in Straight Left and anti- the re-establishment process and anti the British Road took increasingly prominent leadership positions in the CPB from 1998.

One of the reasons for removing Mike Hicks is stated by Eye Witness as because the then leadership was pursuing a pro-broad labour movement orientation and strategy and downplaying the "independent" role of the Communist Party i.e. in line with the traditional approach of the BRS. Which fits with Bellamys accusations of the Griffiths leadership pursuing a "sectarian" course with respect to the labour movement and the Labour Party.

I find the references to Socialist Action and criticism of the Hicks leadership for working with a pro-labour movement Trotskyite group a red herring. There are a number of ex (I assume ex) Socialist Action members in leadership positions in todays CPB and it is todays CPB which joined up with the former Militant Tendency (so-called Socialist Party) in the anti-Labour No2EU electoral front.

Eye Witness asks us to believe there was no factional activity around the January 1998 EC which removed Hicks, but appears again to be playing with words and using a narrow definition of factional activity. So, despite in his/her (ok, we know its a "he")own admission there were a range of disparate people on the new EC with different views, but all apparently simultaneously coming to the view that Hicks had to go, there were no outside conversations to agree this, or more crucially to agree on which single candidate should be put up against Hicks??

Whatever ones views about Mike Hicks, the re-establishment of the CPB, the BRS, labour movement orientation, independent role of the CP etc etc, one has to agree that something major and significant happened in the CPB in 1998, with original founding members and leading members gone, and taken over by people with some very different perspectives and approaches.

Hicks and Co do seem to have a point.

Perhaps Eye Witness should adopt a new adage "The truth will always out!"
Methinks Skeptic is no innocent truth-seeker.
His/her theory reproduces all the claims of the Hicks-Rosser faction - claims which they ran away from trying to justify in open argument at the time.
The idea that Griffiths, Maybin, Foster, Kevin Halpin etc. were Straight Left is too daft to take seriously - which is why nobody outside the H-R faction (or even, I suspect, inside) ever did.
When Andrew Murray argued at the 2000/01 CPB congress (or maybe the one after)to drop the general Vote Labour line and move away substantially from the BRS, Griffiths played the main role in defeating him.
Which brings me to Rob Griffiths the "anti-British Roader". Griffo like many others in the CPB, including Foster and Maybin, opposed parts of the 1977/78 BRS. After re-establishing the party in 1988, Griffiths was on the drafting commission to produce a new edition, along with Chater and Ron Bellamy. They produced a united draft, from which Griffiths did not dissent then or subsequently, that was adopted by the CPB in (I think) 1990. All subsequent updates have either been drafted by Griffiths or supported by him.
Comrades on the EC and PC saw Hicks, Chater, Bellamy and their clique manoeuvre, factionalise and then lie openly over a four-year period leading up to Hicks' de-election in January 1998, all the while accusing anyone who objected as "incompetent", Straight Left etc. Good comrades on the EC like Andy Bain and Anita Wright were subject to horrendous levels of heckling and bullying, which they courageously withstood.
We even got to the position where Hicks was demanding a Special Congress to overturn "factional" election results of the previous Congress (ie. because some members of his faction had not been elected to the EC), on the grounds that the required number of District Committees had called for it under rule. Yet he refused to allow the PC and EC to see the evidence that these calls had been made, insisting on the right of the General Secretary to keep some correspondence secret! Anybody who could count knew he was lying.
It was with the greatest reluctance, at first, that EC members looked around for a replacement for Hicks. At first it was Maybin who came forward, but lost. Others were canvassed - not by a faction but by other EC members. Eventually, Griffiths was approached (he had at one time been a big supporter of Hicks), and agreed to stand. I remember him telling the EC that the last straw for him was the lying and manoeuvering to get Paul Corry in as editor of the Morning Star after Chater, in place of deputy editor Haylett.
As part of this campaign, Hicks and Rosser ended up arguing that a PC meeting that had taken place, with agendas and invitations issued to editorial candidates (who turned up and waited outside), had not happened!!! Nor was it ever scheduled!! Those in attendance (Hicks, Foster, Maybin, Griffiths, Rosser, Ritman etc.) had all been figments of each others' imagination!!
That way madness lies. They had to go.
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Eye witness
Eye witness

January 5th, 2011, 11:13 am #37

as it appeared in the Weedy Wanker and republished here in 2005:

http://www.network54.com/Forum/393207/m ... %26quot%3B
Thanks, Mediaman.
A real gem, republished by the CPGB-MI5 as proof of how the CPB were always on the verge of a split, total collapse etc. Those were the days!
I can't be bothered to challenge every tendentious claim or inaccuracy in Bellamy's piece. Nobody in the CPB took it seriously at the time, so why do so now?
Just to note a few points:
1. Bellamy's concern about the non-election of various people to the CPB EC is confined entirely to those who were closely associated with the Hicks-Rosser faction. Other comrades with good records stood and lost, including friends of Griffiths, Halpin, Foster etc. Yet Bellamy mentions nothing about them. Nor did Griffiths and company whine about "factionalism" defeating their mates.
2. The chair of the Election Preparations Committee at the 1995 congress was ... Paul Corry! I don't remember him bringing forward any evidence that "factions" had been at work at that congress, either within the EPC or among the delegates.
3. After Hicks and his faction took the unprecedented step of demanding that the completed 1995 congress ballot papers be scrutinised for evidence of factionalism, Witch-Finder General Ron Bellamy presented the prosecution case at the EC. His mathematical arguments - similar to those reproduced in the Weekly "Worker" in relation to the 1997 congress - were comprehensively demolished at the EC by Val Little. It was sad to see a once-respected comrade made to look such a fool by someone who clearly had far greater training and knowledge in the field.
4. The Kenny Coyle/ Colin Green commission on factionalism was set up after the 1995 congress at the insistence of the Hicks-Rosser faction! They supported its composition - and then did not want to discuss its findings! Nor did they want to circulate it throughout the party - but could not be seen to oppose doing so. By what "centralist discipline" could branches, districts and nations have been prevented from responding to the report? Nonsense.
5. It was an open secret that Coyle and Green believed they had uncovered evidence of factionalism. They made no secret of it in private - but believed it important to try to produce a report that would maintain unity of some kind. The factionalism they uncovered was that of Hicks, Rosser, Bellamy and Co.
6. Claims about the number of party organisations demanding a special congress etc. should be taken with a bucket of salt. Hicks refused to hand over the letters demanding such, on the grounds that they contained other information too confidential for the EC to see! He was, of course, lying.
7. Ritman was no longer on the EC when he was suspended from the party and then expelled, for hanging on to a national membership list to which he was no longer entitled, and for using it to circulate a factional journal from a PO Box linked to his home address. Chief Inspector Coyle reported on the PO Box link just as Griffiths - following an interview with Ritman in Manchester - was about to recommend lifting Ritman's suspension. No wonder that, at this point, Bellamy and his faction realised that their time was well and truly up, and left the party.
8. The Griffiths Report on the Hicks-Rosser clique dealt the faction a devastating blow. It set out in painstaking detail the lies and manoeuvres, the falsified minutes, the secret talks with Socialist Action to remove editor John Haylett from the PPPS management committee and replace him with SA supporters, etc. etc. The faction had no answer to it then or afterwards. It is significant that Bellamy does not even attempt to rebut it in his article "leaked" from the faction's journal to the Weekly Worker.
I could go on, but the class struggle calls.
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Eye witness
Eye witness

January 5th, 2011, 11:26 am #38

Ron Bellamy's piece is helpful in this regard:

"at the January EC after the 1997 national congress. Mike Hicks was replaced as general secretary with 13 votes against 17."
Voters for Hicks as Gensec therefore accounted for 13 out of 30 (43%).
Members of the EC who left the CPB, I calculate at about 10 or or 33%. I don't recall others but stand open to correction.
Only Pete Ritman was expelled. The others stopped paying party dues, then stopped attending EC meetings and finally severed connections. I recall that Mary was lapsed by her branch.

Barney Crockett
Mike Hicks
Francis Wilcox
Andrew Clark
Mary Rosser
Ron Bellamy
Joan Bellamy
Tish Newland
Paul Corry
Pete Ritman (expelled)

I think Tony Chater, no longer on the EC, had already left the party but can't remember for certain.
Lev, I don't think Joan Bellamy, Ron Bellamy or Pete Ritman were members of the EC after the 1997 congress.
That reduces the list to 7 (out of 30) EC members who left the party sometime after Hicks' replacement. 23% is even further way from the "almost half" claimed by Hicks - and none of them were "forced out".
Perhaps a case of Statistics, Damned Statistics and Mike Hicks.
Some EC members (as many as 6) who initially voted for him to remain as General Secretary did not resign from the EC or the party.
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Skeptic
Skeptic

January 5th, 2011, 5:00 pm #39

Methinks Skeptic is no innocent truth-seeker.
His/her theory reproduces all the claims of the Hicks-Rosser faction - claims which they ran away from trying to justify in open argument at the time.
The idea that Griffiths, Maybin, Foster, Kevin Halpin etc. were Straight Left is too daft to take seriously - which is why nobody outside the H-R faction (or even, I suspect, inside) ever did.
When Andrew Murray argued at the 2000/01 CPB congress (or maybe the one after)to drop the general Vote Labour line and move away substantially from the BRS, Griffiths played the main role in defeating him.
Which brings me to Rob Griffiths the "anti-British Roader". Griffo like many others in the CPB, including Foster and Maybin, opposed parts of the 1977/78 BRS. After re-establishing the party in 1988, Griffiths was on the drafting commission to produce a new edition, along with Chater and Ron Bellamy. They produced a united draft, from which Griffiths did not dissent then or subsequently, that was adopted by the CPB in (I think) 1990. All subsequent updates have either been drafted by Griffiths or supported by him.
Comrades on the EC and PC saw Hicks, Chater, Bellamy and their clique manoeuvre, factionalise and then lie openly over a four-year period leading up to Hicks' de-election in January 1998, all the while accusing anyone who objected as "incompetent", Straight Left etc. Good comrades on the EC like Andy Bain and Anita Wright were subject to horrendous levels of heckling and bullying, which they courageously withstood.
We even got to the position where Hicks was demanding a Special Congress to overturn "factional" election results of the previous Congress (ie. because some members of his faction had not been elected to the EC), on the grounds that the required number of District Committees had called for it under rule. Yet he refused to allow the PC and EC to see the evidence that these calls had been made, insisting on the right of the General Secretary to keep some correspondence secret! Anybody who could count knew he was lying.
It was with the greatest reluctance, at first, that EC members looked around for a replacement for Hicks. At first it was Maybin who came forward, but lost. Others were canvassed - not by a faction but by other EC members. Eventually, Griffiths was approached (he had at one time been a big supporter of Hicks), and agreed to stand. I remember him telling the EC that the last straw for him was the lying and manoeuvering to get Paul Corry in as editor of the Morning Star after Chater, in place of deputy editor Haylett.
As part of this campaign, Hicks and Rosser ended up arguing that a PC meeting that had taken place, with agendas and invitations issued to editorial candidates (who turned up and waited outside), had not happened!!! Nor was it ever scheduled!! Those in attendance (Hicks, Foster, Maybin, Griffiths, Rosser, Ritman etc.) had all been figments of each others' imagination!!
That way madness lies. They had to go.
How to win friends and influence people. Not. Actually, yes I was just asking some questions in a genuine spirit of enquiry. I genuinely do not understand why Mike Hicks would "lie" in print in a national newspaper, which would run some risk presumably of being found out. We started off this thread with Hicks quoted as saying "nearly half" of the 1997 EC had left the CPB and Eye Witness saying it was "one". The truth appears not unsurprisingly to be somewhere between the two. Opposing factions have a tendency both to lie and exaggerate, so it is not surprising the truth is somewhere between the two.

Eye Witness appears to be engaged in a bit of a campaign on this, "carpet bombing" a lot of contributions in this thread, not even able to resist having a go at Teresa Hicks Petrie, who is clearly a "civilian" in all this. I note Eye Witness is placing a considerable distance between Straight Left and Robert Griffiths, and I suspect from a Straight Left perspective. I suspect Eye Witness is damning Griffiths with his references to how close he was to Hicks and how bound up he has been in producing various editions of the British Road. I suspect Eye Witness is one of those "unpleasant boorish" Straight Left characters referred to by Noreen Branson. I also suspect Eye Witness has revealed far too much inside information regarding the inner workings of the CPBs EC.
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Eye witness
Eye witness

January 5th, 2011, 6:52 pm #40

No, Skeptic, most of your suppositions about me are comically wide of the mark. I have systematically demolished attempts by you and others to misrepresent the past (you call it "carpet bombing"!).
Instead of challenging my facts and analysis, you end up by wittering that the truth must lie "somewhere in between" 1 EC member being forced off the CPB EC and "almost 50%". Why must it? I am challenging you as I challenged Mike Hicks to name those forced off the EC. And because there was one faction (Hicks-Rosser), you bleat that there must therefore have been two, and that opposing factions usually lie.
Are you incapable of rebuttal? Do you have any alternative facts or evidence? Are you able to make assessments that come down on one side or another - or are two sides always as bad as one another?
Do you always collapse into some marshy misddle ground?
Yet you are free with your speculations about me, where I stand, what my motives are etc. Why not deal in facts, dear boy or girl, facts. And if you haven't got any, on what are your ludicrous suppositions based?
Falsified PC minutes - fact, they exist, EC members saw them, touched them, read them.
Falsified accounts - fact, ditto.
Members of EC not forced out - fact, ditto.
On what basis do you now presume to dispute any of this? None of the Hicks-Rosser faction have done so before now, although Bellamy was factually inaccurate in his one specific asttempt on one single count (Ritman was not on the EC when suspended and later expelled).
As for my non-existent sympathies for Straight Left? Pathetic - which makes me think you are not the naieve, innocent seeker after truth that you pretend to be. I was far closer to Griffiths on every contentious issue.
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