The Communist Party salutes the valiant and hard working staff of the people's daily, and urges members and supporters, to redouble their efforts to build the readership of the Morning Star, more vital and a bigger, better paper than ever.
Half a century ago, the Daily Worker became the paper you now hold. Editor BEN CHACKO explains why it’s more vital than ever before.
FIFTY years old today! I hope many of you can join us at our birthday bash at the 100 Club in London tonight.
It’s packed to the gills with class acts and, like so many of our events, made possible by the solidarity of the trade union movement, with sponsorship from RMT, Unite, Unite London and Eastern Region and the London Morning Star Supporters Group.
For newer readers who might be wondering how we can be 50 when we celebrated our 85th birthday last year, we weren’t lying to you. The Morning Star was founded as the Daily Worker on January 1 1930 and we remain the proud heirs to that tradition.
But we took on our current name on April 25 1966 and decided it seemed like a good excuse for a party, as well as an opportunity to highlight the continuing need for a paper like ours.
Britain’s economy is broken. That much is clear.
Its inability to provide secure jobs on pay adequate to allow people to get a place they can call home or raise a family is stifling the aspirations of a generation.
The government’s indifference to the death of entire strategic industries — coal last year and, unless much more dramatic action than we’ve seen so far is in the pipeline, steel this year with oil soon to follow — shows it has no vision for this country’s future.
When quality of life declines from one generation to the next it is obvious that the system is failing to deliver.
And it is not just Britain. This spectre is haunting Europe and the United States too.
We need a radical break with all the assumptions that have set the agenda for British politics for the last four decades. That agenda has enriched the wealthiest and robbed the public of our assets, our jobs and our pensions.
But like parasitical elites throughout history, ours refuses to change. The only answer David Cameron and co have to rising discontent is repression.
That is the cause of the creeping authoritarianism disfiguring successive administrations.
The reason for the gagging of unions and charities at election time, for the bid to cripple our movement through the Trade Union Bill, for the breathtakingly draconian ban on local authorities’ right to decide which investments are ethical and which are beyond the pale.
We need a way out, and the Corbyn revolution in the Labour Party is the answer.
The explosion of grassroots activism that swept a backbench MP who had never sought high office to the leadership of Britain’s biggest party was a sign that ordinary people had had enough.
The hysterical hostility of the Establishment to their mild-mannered challenger is down to the popularity of his ideas. Taboo in Westminster, many seem common sense outside it: public ownership of strategic industries, an end to endless wars, control of runaway rents, a better-regulated workplace in which bosses can’t get away with poverty pay and zero-hours contracts.
A 24-7 campaign of demonisation, misinformation and slander has been directed by the Conservatives, the monopoly media and even some of his own colleagues at the MP for Islington North. But he is battling through it, and initially poor polling results are being turned around, if slowly.
It’s essential that he does so. Because the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn would mean the defeat of the only alternative to have raised its head above the parapet since the Thatcherite onslaught began.
It would confirm the Tories’ direction of travel, even if a Labour Party led by someone else succeeded in winning power — which seems unlikely given the intellectual bankruptcy of the Labour right and the electorate’s palpable lack of enthusiasm for their Tory mimicry.
But we have a mountain to climb. The Establishment controls not just the levers of power but the narrative of the media, through the ownership of four-fifths of our newspapers by tax-dodging billionaires and the domination of the airwaves by their yapping goons.
The role of the Morning Star throughout its history has been to provide an alternative voice amid the clamour of the right.
To speak up for the rights of working people, not property tycoons; for the comradeship of the trade union movement against the “everyone for themselves” nihilism of the bosses; for the values of internationalism and peace in the face of the racism and war fever whipped up by the rest of the press.
In the 1930s we stood out against the rise of fascism.
In the 1940s and 1950s we challenged the madness of cold war aggression and exposed the atrocities committed in Korea, Malaya and elsewhere by British troops.
In the 1960s and 1970s we stood with the most militant wing of a trade union movement whose victories were making Britain a stronger and fairer nation (not to mention being among the first to recognise the talent of the Beatles!).
In the 1980s we fought for the working-class communities being destroyed by the Thatcher regime and stood shoulder to shoulder with the miners and the Wapping strikers.
In the 1990s we weren’t fooled by the so-called “end of history” or the empty promises of Tony Blair’s takeover, and in the 2000s we campaigned against the illegal wars he helped unleash.
In 2015 we were the only Britain-wide daily to endorse Corbyn’s bid for the Labour leadership and now we’re the only voice in the media that backs him to the hilt and will do everything in our power to see him enter Downing Street.
On our own, though, we can’t do much. The Morning Star is a small newspaper with a tiny staff compared to the other national dailies.
Our sales have been rising since last year, but our lack of commercial advertising means our paper still runs at a significant loss, putting our very future in jeopardy. We rely on the generosity of our readers to keep us going with donations to the Fighting Fund.
If you agree that Britain needs change and the movement needs a socialist newspaper, please support us. If you’re an occasional reader, why not read us daily? If you’re a daily reader already, why not get involved with a local readers and supporters group if there’s one in your area — or set one up if there isn’t! Our campaigns manager Calvin Tucker will be delighted to help you.
We can’t afford mass advertising so we depend on our readers to promote us in the movement and on the streets.
If you can’t make it tonight, raise a glass to the paper anyway — or better still, pop a present in the post for our Fighting Fund. Go on — it is our birthday!