Email to comrades in CPGB and other Socialist parties


Comrades, I can definitely see the need for a new Marxist party, or some sort of new Socialist party which could unite leftwingers in the Labor Party and members of various other left and Marxist parties.

But as far as I can see nobody has gotten together and done a serious critical analysis of what went wrong with the 20th Century Socialist experiments in the Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe, and how a new ruling bourgoisie was able to emerge. There is certainly no common conclusion.

Some factions blame the failure of Socialism in the Soviet bloc on Stalin, others on Gorbachov, or Yeltsin, or Trotsky. Nobody seems to have criticized Lenin or Marx themselves.

Comrades, we will get nowhere until we conduct an in-depth analysis, not fearing to revise the theories of Marx, Engels and Lenin themselves in the light of 20th Century experience.

I have conducted just such an analysis myself, as published in many articles on my website (The Unorthodox Website at In particular the article on 21st Century Socialism – just called Socialism on the Home Page index. Other articles of interest are Confessions/Explanations of a Former Stalinist, Still Stealing From The Workers’ Wage Packets, Errors of the Socialist Era, Graveyards of Socialism, The Kronstadt Uprising in Defense of Soviet Power, Socialist Democracy and Democratic Socialism all on the above website.

Also there is a link from the home page to my newer weblog, which can be located at Here, under the May 14th entry, is an article on Blair’s Legacy and a call in the final paragraph for a new Socialist party uniting Communists and former leftwing Labor Party members.

Please feel free to use any or all of these articles as a basis for discussions on what went wrong in the past, and how to develop Socialism in the 21st century.

In my view the partial failure and ultimate collapse of Socialism in the 20th century cannot be blamed on any one individual or group of individuals. In the final analysis I have come to the conclusion it was the apathy/political immaturity of the masses, which should have been foreseen by Marx, Engels and Lenin, which led to the power gained by the people in the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 being allowed to slip out of the hands of the masses and into a new ruling class.

There was a fundamental flaw in the system, so this would have happened, in my view, had Leon Trotsky or anybody else taken over from Lenin instead of Joseph Stalin. Indeed the rot in the system had already started during Lenin’s lifetime – see my article on the crushing of the Kronstadt rebellion, a crime in which both Lenin and Trotsky were heavily implicated.

Nobody is beyond criticism – we all made mistakes. Until we admit that, comrades, and learn from these mistakes, we will get nowhere fast.

Yours fraternally,

Tony Papard (ex-member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and Young Communist League in 1960s/1970s)

Joe Meek evening at NFT/Dali at Tate Modern

Last Thursday, June 14th, I met up with my friend Chris and we visited the new Dali exhibition at the Tate Modern. Be warned, you need several hours to view this properly, as it not only has many of his paintings, drawings, etc. but also full length films, which we didn’t have time to see. We did, however, see the recently completed color animation Destino, which Dali started to make with Walt Disney in the 1940s, and which contains typical Dali Surrealist images.

The Joe Meek evening was postponed from earlier in the year due to a power cut (the so-called Curse of Joe Meek!) It included some interesting clips, including a great color one of Screamin’ Lord Sutch performing ‘Jack The Ripper’. Not exactly pc nowadays, if it ever was, but great quality clip. ‘Live It Up’, a rather silly early 1960s movie featuring Joe Meek’s discovery and heartthrob, Heinz Burt (who was no better an actor than he was a singer), David Hemmings, and a young Steve Marriott among others. Gene Vincent has a cameo performance singing the forgettable ‘Temptation Baby’ whilst dressed in a cardigan, polishing a steam-roller (!) and singing apparently to a walking lampshade (judging from the hat she wore). An eminently forgettable film with a highly unlikely ‘plot’.

But the main feast of the evening was a great BBC ‘Arena’ documentary by Anthony Wall and others, many of whom were present to answer questions from the audience. Joe Meek was a complex character, a gay man who tragically ended up shooting himself and his landlady dead. He didn’t get the financial rewards he deserved for his innovating recording techniques (in his ‘studio’ in a flat in Holloway Road). But a few years after his death his estate was awarded royalties for ‘Telstar’, his biggest hit both sides of the Atlantic, which had been the subject of a court case.

A play/musical about Joe Meek was on the London stage a year or so ago, and there is talk of it being made into a movie. The play was excellent. I guess some things about Joe, and fellow gay impresario Larry Parnes, may never be known – such as how many of their ‘discoveries/boys’ succumbed to the casting couch in order to gain fame.

But a fascinating, if tragic, character, a great ‘Arena’ documentary, and a great afternoon out. I’m sure Salvadore Dali would have loved the Surrealism of Joe Meek’s life and death.

Busy, busy, busy…..

I had my second Retirement Party (at work) on Friday. I went in specially as my last working day was over a week earlier. There was a good turnout for me, loads of food (vegetarian outside the Conference Room, and a meat barbecue in the patio), and the Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International, Kate Gilmore, made a speech and presented me with some lovely gifts from AI and my colleagues. These included a DVD/VHS recorder/player, DVDs of really old TV shows from the 1950s and later, and a souvenir book signed by my colleagues with pictures of myself at work and at work parties on the front. Best of all was a picture of me with The Million Dollar Quartet, which I shall of course call The Million Dollar Quintet – Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Tony Papard!

I also got DVDs of me and my colleagues at AI. I haven’t had time to watch these yet, or the videos of my other Retirement Party which someone gave me. Nor have I had time to connect up the new DVD/VCR recorder/player or find out how to work it. Saturday I took my mother to visit a Greek-Cypriot cousin in Forest Hill. She gave us a nice lunch, and we sat in her beautiful garden, whilst she chose some photos of herself and friends/family from my father’s albums, which my brother rescued from his house in Cyprus. She’d never seen photos of herself at such a young age before. She will get them copied for the family. She invited me to join her in Cyprus in August and stay with her, and meet her mother and father again.

Sunday we had to be up early to travel to Gravesend for a boat trip up the Thames to Southend and back. It was a beautiful day, there was live music on the boat from Wee Willie Harris, Rockin’ Gerry Champion, Chas McDevitt, the City Ramblers, etc. We had several hours in Southend, and a nice meal on the pier. It was a very pleasant day.

Today I have a hospital appointment, but eventually I’ll get around to watching the DVDs/videos, and fixing up my new DVD recorder.

And I thought I’d have plenty of spare time in my Retirement. No way – I will be kept extremely busy. I go to my mother’s most days and cook for her, take her out, do shopping for both of us, etc. When not doing any of this, I have loads of things to work my way thru. Just sorting out the new DVD recorder will take a whole day at least.