We have received a complaint regarding the obituary of Tony Benn carried in the last edition of Proletarian.
The complainant, Louis Brehony of the Manchester Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG), is aggrieved that we allegedly “nicked” his “work”. The ‘work’ in question was a Facebook post with a list of the alleged crimes of Tony Benn that had been shared and reshared a few times, and we openly admit that we took a few usable lines from this circulating post to incorporate into our obituary (whilst leaving out those parts that were incorrect and inaccurate).
Normally, we do try to reference our sources, but Facebook posts are not very traceable or easily referenced, so in this case, we simply used what we knew to be fact and discarded the rest. We are not competitors in an exam, so ‘plagiarism’ is hardly an issue. Since we had not previously heard of the author, and he did not link to his party’s website in his post, we had no way of knowing that he was a member of the RCG.
As communists, everything we write is a collective effort by a number of people, which is why, generally speaking, we do not include bylines. Our only interest is in propagating the truth – not in taking ‘credit’ or building journalistic careers. For Brehony, however, it would appear that bourgeois intellectual ‘property rights’ take precedence over the propagation of truth to the working class.
In actual fact, the accusations of ‘plagiarism’ – amounting to accusations of dishonesty and lack of principle – are a way of fudging the real differences between our party and the RCG.
The real difference is that our party is a working-class party that staunchly upholds the dictatorship of the proletariat and supports everything done to suppress the class enemy following the victory of socialism, while the RCG is a petty-bourgeois party which shudders with horror whenever it encounters the real dictatorship of the proletariat – particularly the one which clocked up the greatest successes ever, that of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Josef Stalin.
But it is so much easier to put forward spurious accusations of dishonesty than face this real and revealing class question!
For the record, our party is always happy for people to use any part of our materials in order to help educate the working and oppressed masses about capitalism, imperialism and socialism. That is why we create them in the first place. It is quite nice to hear about it and for our party to be mentioned when material is translated or reproduced in some way, but if we don’t, it hardly matters!