New Communist Party (NCP) leader Andy Brooks successfully led the opposition to an anti-communist motion at a students’ union discussion at the Bloomsbury Campus of University College London (UCL) this week.
The UCL Debating Society is the oldest society at UCL and the third oldest debating society in England. The event was part of their Monday Night Public Debate Programme, which aims to raise awareness of key current issues and challenge people’s opinions.
The organisers said that given that many commentators are predicting the end of neoliberalism and the rise of socialism’s popularity in Britain, there was now a need to explore why so many right-wing thinkers are try to create a moral equivalence between fascism and communism and demonise the ideology’s symbol. They said that further discussion on this topic is required and that a large part of the responsibility for doing so lies in universities and student societies, such as the UCL Debating Society, that reach the entire student body.
The motion that "This House believes that the Hammer and Sickle should be considered a hate symbol” was moved by representatives of the reactionary Henry Jackson Society and the Institute of Economic Affairs, another right-wing think-tank.
The movers repeated the usual Cold War litany about Stalin’s “crimes”, Pol Pot, gulags and “repression” – but their arguments were easily demolished by Andy Brooks, whose case was ably supported by another London student.
The NCP leader said that the banning of communist symbols was the precursor for banning communist parties that wasn’t even done in the imperialist heartlands during the height of the Cold War. It was being done now by the Ukrainian fascist regime and the other reactionary governments in eastern Europe because they fear the resurgence of the working-class movement and seek to suppress it by using back-door methods to circumvent European law that forbids the banning of political parties or the establishment of one-party states. Though these regimes equate communism with fascism they don’t really believe this – if they did they wouldn’t elevate their past fascist leaders, such as the Ukrainian collaborators idolised by the Kiev regime, or the pre-war clerical-fascist leaders of Poland and Hungary who have now been incorporated into their official historical narrative.
A lively debate followed the openings, but the opposition had clearly won the day and it ended with the defeat of the reactionary motion at the vote.
The UCL Debating Society was first established in 1828 to encourage debate, freedom of speech and critical thought amongst the student community. It holds regular meetings throughout the academic year that are open to anyone who wishes to attend.