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Encyclopedia > Communist Party of Great Britain
Communist Party of Great Britain
Years active 1920 - 1991
Political Ideology Communism
Political Position Far left
International Affiliation Comintern
Preceded by British Socialist Party
Communist Unity Group
South Wales Socialist Society
Communist Labour Party
Communist Party (BSTI)
Succeeded by Democratic Left
Colours Red
See also Politics of the UK

Political parties
Elections Year 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display 1920) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... This article is about the form of society and political movement. ... The term far left refers to the relative position a person or group occupies within the political spectrum. ... The Comintern (Russian: Коммунистический Интернационал, Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional – Communist International, also known as the Third International) was an international Communist organization founded in March 1919, in the midst of the war communism period (1918-1921), by Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including... The British Socialist Party was a socialist party founded in Britain in 1911. ... The Communist Unity Group (CUG) was a small communist organisation in the United Kingdom. ... The South Wales Socialist Society was a federation of communist groups in Wales, with many of its members being coal miners. ... The Workers Socialist Federation was a socialist political party in the United Kingdom, led by Sylvia Pankhurst. ... For other uses, see Red (disambiguation). ... The Politics of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland takes place in the framework of a constitutional monarchy in which the Monarch is head of state and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government. ... This is a list of political parties in the United Kingdom. ... The United Kingdom has five distinct types of elections: general, local, regional, European and mayoral. ...

The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was the largest communist party in the United Kingdom, though it never became a mass party like the Communist parties of France and Italy. It existed from 1920 to 1991. In modern usage, the term communist party is generally used to identify any political party which has adopted communist ideology. ...

Contents

Formation

The party was founded in 1920 after the Third International decided that greater attempts should be made to establish communist parties across the world. The CPGB was formed by the merger of several smaller Marxist parties: the British Socialist Party, the Communist Unity Group of the Socialist Labour Party and the South Wales Socialist Society. The party also gained the support of the Guild Communists faction of the National Guilds League, assorted shop stewards' and workers' committees, socialist clubs and individuals and many former members of the Hands Off Russia campaign. Several branches and many individual members of the Independent Labour Party also affiliated. As a member of the British Socialist Party, the Member of Parliament Cecil L'Estrange Malone joined the CPGB. The Comintern (Russian: Коммунистический Интернационал, Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional – Communist International, also known as the Third International) was an international Communist organization founded in March 1919, in the midst of the war communism period (1918-1921), by Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including... Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... The British Socialist Party was a socialist party founded in Britain in 1911. ... The Communist Unity Group (CUG) was a small communist organisation in the United Kingdom. ... The Socialist Labour Party was a socialist political party in the United Kingdom. ... The South Wales Socialist Society was a federation of communist groups in Wales, with many of its members being coal miners. ... The terms steward or stewardess can refer to a number of different professional roles. ... The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a former political party in the United Kingdom. ... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ... Cecil John LEstrange Malone, usually known as Cecil LEstrange Malone, was a left wing member of the United Kingdom House of Commons and Britains first communist Member of Parliament. ...


In January 1921, the CPGB was refounded after the majorities of Sylvia Pankhurst's group the Communist Party (British Section of the Third International), and the Scottish Communist Labour Party agreed to unity. Sylvia Pankhurst Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst (May 5, 1882 - September 27, 1960) was a campaigner in the suffragette movement in the United Kingdom, and a prominent left communist. ... The Workers Socialist Federation was a socialist political party in the United Kingdom, led by Sylvia Pankhurst. ... The Communist Labour Party was a small Communist Party in Scotland. ...


The party increased during a period of increase of political radicalism in Britain just after the First World War and the Russian Revolution, and was also represented in Britain by the Red Clydeside movement.[1] “The Great War ” redirects here. ... The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a series of political and social upheavals in Russia, involving first the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, and then the overthrow of the liberal and moderate-socialist Provisional Government, resulting in the establishment of Soviet power under the control of the Bolshevik party. ... Red Clydeside is a term used to describe the era of political radicalism that characterised the city of Glasgow in Scotland, United Kingdom, and urban areas around the city on the banks of the River Clyde. ...


During the negotiations leading to the initiation of the party a number of issues were hotly contested. Among the most contentious were the questions of "parliamentarism" and the attitude of the Communist Party to the Labour Party. "Parliamentarism" referred to a strategy of contesting elections and working through existing parliaments. It was a strategy associated with the parties of the Second International and it was partly for this reason that it was opposed by those who wanted to break with Social Democracy. Critics contended that parliamentarism had caused the old parties to become devoted to reformism because it had encouraged them to place more importance on winning votes than on working for socialism, that it encouraged opportunists and place-seekers into the ranks of the movement and that it constituted an acceptance of the legitimacy of the existing governing institutions of capitalism. Similarly, affiliation to the Labour Party was opposed on the grounds that communists should not work with 'reformist' Social Democratic parties. These Left Communist positions enjoyed considerable support, being supported by Sylvia Pankhurst, Willie Gallacher and other notable activists. However, the Russian Communist Party took the opposing view. In 1920, Lenin argued in his essay "Left Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder that the CPs should work with reformist trade unions and social democratic parties because these were the existing organisations of the working class. Lenin argued that if such organisations gained power, they would demonstrate that they were not really on the side of the working class, thus workers would become disillusioned and come over to supporting the Communist Party. Lenin's opinion prevailed eventually. A parliamentary system, or parliamentarism, is distinguished by the executive branch of government being dependent on the direct or indirect support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. ... The Labour Party is a political party in the United Kingdom. ... The phrase Second International has two meanings: For the international association of socialist parties of the late 19th century, see Second International (politics) and a successor organization, the Socialist International For one of the Merriam-Webster dictionaries of American English, see Websters New International Dictionary, Second Edition This is... Social democracy is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed that the transition to a socialist society could be achieved through democratic evolutionary rather than revolutionary means. ... Left Communism is a term describing a whole range of communist viewpoints which oppose the political ideas of the Bolsheviks from a position which is asserted to be more authentically Marxist and proletarian than the views held by the Communist International after its first two Congresses. ... William Gallacher was born in Paisley, Scotland, on December 25, 1881. ...


Initially, therefore, the CPGB attempted to work within the Labour Party, which at this time operated as a federation of left-wing bodies, only allowing individual membership from 1918 onwards. However, despite the support of notable figures (such as the Independent Labour Party leader, James Maxton) the Labour Party decided against the affiliation of the Communist Party. Even while pursuing affiliation and seeking to influence Labour Party members, however, the CPGB promoted candidates of its own at parliamentary elections. The Labour Party is a political party in the United Kingdom. ... The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a former political party in the United Kingdom. ... James Maxton was a Scottish politician. ...


Following the refusal of their affiliation, the CPGB encouraged its members to join the Labour Party individually and to seek Labour Party endorsement or help for any candidatures. Several Communists thus became Labour Party candidates, and in the 1922 UK general election, Shapurji Saklatvala and Walton Newbold were both elected. The UK general election of 1922 was held on 15th November 1922. ... Shapurji Saklatvala, Commons portrait, 1922 The Right Honourable Shapurji Saklatvala (March 28, 1874 - January 16, 1936) was a British politician and Member of Parliament for the Communist Party of Great Britain. ... John Turner Walton Newbold, known as Walton Newbold was the first Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom to be elected as a communist. ...


The 1920s and 1930s

1924 was marked by the affair of the forged Zinoviev Letter, intended to suggest that the Communist Party in Britain was engaged in subversive activities among the armed forces and elsewhere, the forgery's aim being to promote the electoral chances of the Conservative Party. It was probably the work of SIS (MI6).[2] The Zinoviev Letter is thought to have been instrumental in the Conservative Partys victory in the United Kingdom general election, 1924, which ended the countrys first Labour government. ...


Throughout the 1920s and most of the 1930s the CPGB decided to maintain the Leninist doctrine that a communist party should consist of revolutionary cadres and not be open to all applicants. The CPGB as the British section of the Communist International was committed to implementing the decisions of the higher body to which it was subordinate. Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism is a political and economic theory which builds upon Marxism; it is a branch of Marxism (and it has been the dominant branch of Marxism in the world since the 1920s). ... The first edition of Communist International, journal of the Comintern published in Moscow and Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) in May 1919. ...


This proved to be a mixed blessing in the General Strike of 1926 immediately prior to which much of the central leadership of the CPGB was imprisoned. Twelve were charged with "seditious conspiracy". Five were jailed for a year and the others for six months. Another major problem for the party was its policy of abnegating its own role and calling upon the General Council of the Trades Union Congress to play a revolutionary role. The UK General Strike of 1926 lasted nine days, from 3 May to 12 May 1926, and was called by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in an unsuccessful attempt to force the government to act to prevent wage reduction and worsening conditions for coal miners. ... Image:TradeUnionsCongress20050108 CopyrightKaihsuTai. ...


None the less during the strike itself and during the long drawn out agony of the following Miners Strike the members of the CPGB were to the fore in defending the strike and in attempting to develop solidarity with the miners. The result was that membership of the party in mining areas increased greatly through 1926 and 1927. Much of these gains would be lost during the Third Period but influence was developed in certain areas that would continue until the party's demise decades later. Third Period refers to the ultra-left policy adopted by the Comintern, following the end of the New Economic Policy in the Soviet Union in 1928 up to the adoption of the Popular Front policy in 1934. ...


The CPGB did succeed in creating a layer of militants very committed to the party and its policies, although this support was concentrated in particular trades, specifically in heavy engineering, textiles and mining, and in addition tended to be concentrated regionally too in the coalfields, certain industrial cities such as Glasgow and in Jewish East London. Indeed, Maerdy in the Rhondda Valley along with Chopwell in Tyne and Wear were two of a number of communities known as Little Moscow for their Communist tendencies. For other uses, see Glasgow (disambiguation). ... Maerdy is a town in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taff, traditional county of Glamorgan, south Wales, lying at the head of the Rhondda Fach Valley. ... Rhondda Cynon Taff (Welsh: Rhondda Cynon Tâf) is a county borough in Glamorgan, South Wales. ... Chopwell is a village in Tyne and Wear, located approximately three miles west of Rowlands Gill and one mile north of Hamsterley. ...


But this support built during the party's first years was imperiled during the Third Period from 1929 to 1932, the Third Period being the so called period of renewed revolutionary advance as it was dubbed by the (now Stalinist) leadership of the Comintern. The result of this "class against class" policy was that the Social Democratic and Labourite parties were to be seen as equally as much a threat as openly fascist parties and were therefore described as being social-fascist. Any kind of alliance with social-fascists was obviously to be prohibited. Third Period refers to the ultra-left policy adopted by the Comintern, following the end of the New Economic Policy in the Soviet Union in 1928 up to the adoption of the Popular Front policy in 1934. ... For architecture, see Stalinist architecture. ... The Comintern (Russian: Коммунистический Интернационал, Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional – Communist International, also known as the Third International) was an international Communist organization founded in March 1919, in the midst of the war communism period (1918-1921), by Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including... Fascist redirects here. ...


The Third Period also meant that the CPGB sought to develop revolutionary trade unions in rivalry to the established Trades Union Congress affiliated unions. They met with an almost total lack of success although a tiny handful of "red" unions were formed, amongst them a miners union in Scotland and tailoring union in East London. Arthur Horner, the Communist leader of the Welsh miners, fought off attempts to found a similar union on his patch.


But even if the Third Period was by all conventional standards a total political failure it was the 'heroic' period of British communism and one of its campaigns did have impact beyond its ranks. This was the National Unemployed Workers' Movement led by Wal Hannington. Increasing unemployment had caused a substantial increase in the number of CP members, especially those drawn from engineering, lacking work. This cadre of which Hannington and Harry MacShane in Scotland were emblematic, found a purpose in building the NUWM which resulted in a number of marches on the unemployment issue during the 1930s. Although born in the Third Period during the Great depression, the NUWM was a major campaigning body throughout the Popular Front period too, only being dissolved in 1941. NUWM pamphlet. ... A Pamphlet telling the story of the Scottish unemployed march to Edinburgh, September 1928 Wal (Walter) Hannington (born 1896) was a founder member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and National Organiser of the National Unemployed Workers Movement, from its formation in 1921 to its end in 1939, when... A popular front is a broad coalition of different political groupings, often made up of leftists and centrists who are united by opposition to another group (most often fascist or far-right groups). ...


After the victory of Hitler in Germany the Third Period was dropped by all Communist Parties as they switched to the policy of the Popular Front. This policy argued that as fascism was the main danger to the workers' movement, it needed to ally itself with all anti-fascist forces including right-wing democratic parties. In Britain this policy expressed itself in the efforts of the CPGB to forge an alliance with the Labour Party and even with forces to the right of Labour. Having positioned itself to the left of Labour during the Third Period the CPGB had now moved to the right of that, far larger, party. Hitler redirects here. ...


In the 1935 general election Willie Gallacher was elected as the Communist Party's first MP in six years, and their first MP elected against Labour opposition. Gallagher sat for West Fife in Scotland, a coal mining region in which it had considerable support. During the 1930s the CPGB opposed the Conservative government's policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. On the streets the CPGB played a leading role in the struggle against the British Union of Fascists, led by Sir Oswald Mosley whose Blackshirts tried to emulate the Nazis in anti-Semitic actions in London and other major British cities. Stanley Baldwin Clement Attlee The UK general election held on 14th November 1935 resulted in a large, though reduced, majority for the National Government now led by Stanley Baldwin. ... William Gallacher was born in Paisley, Scotland, on December 25, 1881. ... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ... Fife West was a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1885 until 1974. ... This article is about the country. ... The Battle of Cable Street or Cable Street Riot took place on Sunday October 4, 1936 in Cable Street in the East End of London. ... The flag of the British Union of Fascists showing the Flash and Circle symbolic of action within unity The British Union of Fascists (BUF) was a political party of the 1930s in the United Kingdom. ... Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet (November 16, 1896 – December 3, 1980), was a British politician known principally as the founder of the British Union of Fascists. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...


The 1940s and 1950s

With the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, the CPGB initially continued to support the struggle on two fronts (against Chamberlain at home and Nazi fascism abroad). However, thanks to direct intervention by the Communist International (initiated by Stalin), this policy was quickly changed to fall in line with other Communist Parties; campaigning for peace, and describing the war as the product of imperialism on both sides, and in which the working class had no side to take.[3] This was opposed within the CPGB by Harry Pollitt, who felt so strongly on the issue that he resigned from the Central Committee of the party (though he remained a member). Pollitt was replaced by Palme Dutt. Through 1939 to 1941 the CPGB was very active in supporting strikes and in denouncing the government for its pursuit of the war. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Harry Pollitt (1890 - 1960) was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain for more than 20 years. ... Rajani Palme Dutt (1896 - 1974) was a leading figure in the Communist Party of Great Britain. ...


However, when in 1941 the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany, the CPGB reversed its stance immediately and came out in support of the war on the grounds that it had now become a war between fascism and the Soviet Union. Pollitt was restored to his old position as Party Secretary. In fact, the Communists' support for the war was so vociferous that they launched a campaign for a Second Front in order to support the USSR and speed the defeat of the Axis. In industry they now opposed strike action and supported the Joint Production Committees, which aimed to increase productivity, and supported the National Government that was led by Winston Churchill (Conservative) and Clement Attlee (Labour). The patriotic stance of the CPGB was such that in 1943 at a by-election in Cardiff they actively campaigned for the Conservative Party candidate against Fenner Brockway, the Independent Labour Party candidate. This article is about the independent states that comprised the Axis powers. ... National governments or national unity governments are broad coalition governments consisting of all parties (or all major parties) in the legislature and are often formed during times of war or national emergency. ... Churchill redirects here. ... Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC (3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is currently the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and the oldest political party in the United Kingdom. ... Archibald Fenner Brockway, Baron Brockway (November 1, 1888 - 1988) was a British anti-war activist and politician. ... The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a former political party in the United Kingdom. ...


In the 1945 general election, the Communist Party received 103,000 votes, and two Communists were elected as members of parliament, one of whom was the aforementioned Gallacher, the other being Phil Piratin, who won Mile End in London's East End. Harry Pollitt failed by only 972 votes to take the Rhondda East constituency. Both Communist MPs however, lost their seats at the 1950 general election. Clement Attlee Winston Churchill The United Kingdom General Election of 1945 held on 5 July 1945 but not counted and declared until 26 July 1945 (due to the time it took to transport the votes of those serving overseas) was one of the most significant general elections of the 20th... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ... Philip Piratin (15 May 1907 – 10 December 1995), known as Phil Piratin, was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and one of their few Members of Parliament. ... Mile End is an area of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in East London, England. ... The United Kingdom general election in 1950 was the first general election ever after a full term of a Labour government. ...


The party's membership peaked during 1943, reaching around 60,000. Despite boasting some leading intellectuals, especially among the Communist Party Historians Group, the party was still tiny compared to its continental European counterparts. The French Communist Party for instance had 800,000 members, and the Italian Communist Party had 1.7 million members. The Party tried, unsuccessfully, to affiliate to the Labour Party in 1935, 43 and 46. A subdivision of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), from 1946-1956 the Communist Party Historians Group formed a highly influential cluster of British Marxist historians, who pioneered history from below. ... The French Communist Party (Parti communiste français or PCF) was founded in 1920. ... The Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI) or Italian Communist Party emerged as Partito Comunista dItalia or Communist Party of Italy from a secession by the Leninist comunisti puri tendency from the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) during that bodys congress on 21 January 1921 at Livorno. ...


In 1951 the party issued a programme called The British Road to Socialism (officially adopted at the 22nd Congress in April 1952), which explicitly advocated the possibility of a peaceful reformist transition to socialism. The importance of this document is that it implicitly renounces the revolutionary purpose for which the party was founded in the first instance. The BRS would remain the programme of the CPGB until its dissolution in 1991 albeit in amended form and even today is the programme of the Communist Party of Britain which claims political continuity with the CPGB. The Communist Party of Britain, which claimed to have 1026 members in 2007, is the largest Communist party in the United Kingdom. ...


From the war years to 1956 the CPGB was at the height of its influence in the labour movement with many union officials who were members. Not only did it have immense influence in the National Union of Mineworkers but it was extremely influential in the Electrical Trade Union and in the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers the key blue collar union. In addition much of the Labour Party left was strongly influenced by the party. Dissidents were few, perhaps the most notable being Eric Heffer the future Labour MP who left the party in the late 1940s, and were easily dealt with. The National Union of Mineworkers is a trade union for coal miners in the United Kingdom. ... The Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU) was a British trade union. ... Eric Samuel Heffer (January 12, 1922 – May 27, 1991) was a British socialist politician. ...


The death of Stalin in 1953 and the uprising in East Germany the same year were of little influence on the CPGB in themselves but they were harbingers of what was to come. Of more importance was Khrushchev's Secret Speech at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which was first published in English in The Observer newspaper, and then the events of 1956 in Poland and Hungary. Labour unrest in Poland and then in Hungary were to totally disrupt not only the CPGB but many other CPs as well. However in Britain, the CPGB was to experience its greatest ever loss of membership as a result of the intervention of the Warsaw Pact armies and their crushing of the workers uprising in Hungary in 1956. This event was covered in the CPGB sponsored paper The Daily Worker by its correspondent Peter Fryer but as events unfolded they were spiked. On his return to Britain Fryer resigned from the Daily Worker and was expelled from the party. Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: , Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jughashvili; Russian: , Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878[1] – March 5, 1953), better known by his adopted name, Joseph Stalin (alternatively transliterated Josef Stalin), was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Unions Central Committee from... Protesters marching through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin The Uprising of 1953 in East Germany took place in June and July 1953. ... Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (Russian: , Nikita Sergeevič Chruščiov; IPA: , in English, , or , occasionally ); surname more accurately romanized as Khrushchyov[1]; April 17 [O.S. April 5] 1894[2]–September 11, 1971) was the chief director of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. ... The Secret Speech is the common name of a speech given on February 25, 1956 by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denouncing the actions of Josef Stalin. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Combatants Soviet Union ÁVH Hungarian government, various nationalist militias Commanders Yuri Andropov Pál Maléter, Béla Király, Gergely Pongrátz, József Dudás Strength 150,000 troops, 6,000 tanks 100,000+ demonstrators (some later armed), unknown number of soldiers Casualties 720 killed according to official... For other uses, see Morning Star. ... Peter Fryer (February 18, 1927 - October 31, 2006) was an English Socialist writer and journalist. ...


1960s and 1970s: Decline of the party

After the calamitous events of 1956, the party increasingly functioned as a pressure group, seeking to use its well-organised base in the trade union movement to push the Labour Party leftwards. But its efforts to establish an electoral base repeatedly failed. They retained a handful of seats in local councils scattered around Britain, but the CPGB's only representative in Parliament was in the House of Lords, gained when Wogan Philipps, the son of a ship-owner and a long standing member of the CPGB, inherited the title of Lord Milford when his father died in 1963. Wogan Philipps (25 February 1902 – 30 November 1993) was the only Communist Party of Great Britain member ever to sit in the British House of Lords. ...


The Daily Worker was renamed the Morning Star in 1966. At the same time the party became increasingly polarised between those who sought to maintain close relations with the Soviet Union and those who sought to convert the party into a force independent of Moscow.


The international split between Moscow and Beijing in 1961 led to divisions within many Communist Parties but there was little pro-Beijing sympathy in the relatively small British Party. Perhaps the best known of the tiny minority of CPGB members opposed the Moscow line was Michael McCreery, who formed the Committee to Defeat Revisionism, for Communist Unity. This tiny group left the CPGB by 1963. McCreery himself died in 1965 in New Zealand. Later a more significant group formed around Reg Birch, an engineering union official, established the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). Initially, this group supported the position of the Communist Party of China. The Sino-Soviet split was a major diplomatic conflict between the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), beginning in the late 1950s, reaching a peak in 1969 and continuing in various ways until the late 1980s. ... Reg Birch (7 June 1914 - 2 June 1994) was a British Maoist trade unionist. ... The Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) is a British communist political party. ... The Communist Party of China (CPC) (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), also known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the ruling political party of the Peoples Republic of China, a position guaranteed by the countrys constitution. ...


Divisions in the CPGB concerning the autonomy of the party from Moscow reached a crisis in 1968, when Warsaw pact forces intervened in Czechoslovakia. The CPGB, with memories of 1956 in mind, responded with criticism of Moscow. This response provoked a small localised split by the so called Appeal Group which was in many respects a pre-cursor of the 1977 split which formed the New Communist Party. From this time onwards, the most traditionally-minded elements in the CPGB were referred to as 'Tankies' by their internal opponents, due to their support of the Warsaw Pact forces. Others within the party leaned increasingly towards the position of eurocommunism, which was the leading tendency within the important Communist parties of Italy and, later, Spain. Eurocommunism was a new trend in the 1970s and 1980s within various Western European communist parties to develop a theory and practice of social transformation that was more relevant in a Western European democracy and less aligned to the partyline of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. ...


The last strong electoral performance of the CPGB was in the February 1974 General Election in Dunbartonshire Central, where candidate Jimmy Reid won almost 6,000 votes. However, this strong result was primarily a personal vote for Reid, who was a prominent local trade union leader and gained much support because of his prominent role in the Upper Clyde Ship Builders work-in, which had taken place a few years earlier and was seen as having saved local jobs. Nationally the party's vote continued its decline: according to a contemporary joke, the CPGB at this time pursued the British Road To Lost Deposits. The UK general election of February 1974 was held on February 28, 1974. ... Dunbartonshire was a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1708 to 1950. ... Jimmy Reid is a Govan born journalist and ex-trade union activist. ... The Lawrence textile strike (1912), with soldiers surrounding peaceful demonstrators A trade union or labor union is an organization of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals in key areas of wages, hours, and working conditions. ... Upper Clyde Shipbuilders was a group which amalgamated the major shipbuilders of the River Clyde, Glasgow, Scotland. ...


The growing crisis in the party also affected the credibility of its leadership, as formerly senior and influential members left its ranks. In 1976, three of its top engineering cadres resigned. Jimmy Reid, Cyril Morton and John Tocher had all been members of the Political Committee, playing a crucial role in determining the direction of the party. Like another engineer, Bernard Panter, who left a few months before them, they jumped a sinking ship. Jimmy Reid is a Govan born journalist and ex-trade union activist. ...


According to the Party's official historian this period was marked by a growing division between the practitioners of cultural politics - heavily inspired by the writings of Antonio Gramsci and party's powerful industrial department which advocated a policy of militant labourism. Antonio Gramsci (IPA: ) (January 22, 1891 – April 27, 1937) was an Italian writer, politician and political theorist. ...


The cultural politics wing had dominated the party's youth wing in the 1960s and was also powerful in the student section. As such many of its members were academics or professional intellectuals (or in the view of their opponents, out of touch and middle class). They were influenced by the environmental and especially the feminist movement. Feminism is a social theory and political movement primarily informed and motivated by the experience of women. ...


The other wing were powerful in senior levels of the trade union movement (though few actually reached the very top in the unions) and despite the party's decline in numbers were able to drive the TUC's policy of opposing the Industrial Relations Act. In the view of their opponents on the cultural or eurocommunist wing, they were out of touch with the real changes in working people's lives and attitudes.


As the seventies progressed and as industrial militancy declined in the face of high unemployment, the tensions in the party rose even as its membership continued to decline.


1977-1991: breakup of the party

By 1977 debate around the new draft of the British Road to Socialism brought the party to breaking point. Many of the anti-Eurocommunists decided that they needed to form their own anti-revisionist Communist party. Some speculated at the time that they would receive the backing of Moscow, but such support appears not to have materialised. The New Communist Party of Britain was formed under the leadership of Sid French, who was the secretary of the important Surrey District CP, which had a strong base in engineering. Image File history File links Emblem-important. ... Eurocommunism was a new trend in the 1970s and 1980s within various Western European communist parties to develop a theory and practice of social transformation that was more relevant in a Western European democracy and less aligned to the partyline of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. ... The New Communist Party of Britain is the smaller of the two maincommunist political parties in Britain. ...


Another grouping, led by Fergus Nicholson, remained in the party and launched the paper Straight Left. This served as an outlet for their views as well as an organising tool in their work within the Labour Party. Nicholson had earlier taken part in establishing a faction known as "Clause Four" within Labour's student movement. Nicholson wrote as "Harry Steel", a combination of the names of Stalin ("man of steel" in Russian) and Harry Pollitt. The group around Straight Left exerted considerable influence in the trade union movement, CND, the Anti-Apartheid Movement and amongst some Labour MPs. Straight Left was the name of a political group in Britain, and of a newspaper. ... Labour Students is an independent student organisation affiliated to the British Labour Party. ... CND redirects here. ... Anti-Apartheid Movement, originally known as the Boycott Movement, was a British organization that was at the center of the international movement opposing South Africas system of apartheid and supporting South Africas Blacks. ...


On the opposing wing of the party Martin Jacques became the editor of the party's theoretical journal Marxism Today and rapidly made it a significant publication for Eurocommunist opinions in the party, and eventually for revisionist tendencies in the wider liberal-left. Although circulation of the magazine rose it was still a drain on the finances of the small party. Martin Jacques was editor of Marxism Today till its dissolution in 1991. ... Marxism Today was the theoretical journal of the Communist Party of Great Britain prior to its dissolution in 1991. ...


In 1985 a factional struggle broke out in the CPGB. Members loyal to the Party's programme, the British Road to Socialism, established a network of Morning Star readers' groups and similar bodies, calling themselves the "Communist Campaign Group". In 1988 these elements re-established the party, based on the British Road to Socialism, as the Communist Party of Britain. For other uses, see Morning Star. ... The Communist Party of Britain, which claimed to have 1026 members in 2007, is the largest Communist party in the United Kingdom. ...


In 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, the Eurocommunist-dominated leadership of the CPGB, led by Nina Temple, decided to disband the party, and establish Democratic Left, a left-leaning political think tank rather than a political party; Democratic Left itself dissolved in 1999, to be replaced by the New Politics Network. Some Scottish members formed the Communist Party of Scotland. Supporters of The Leninist who had rejoined the CPGB in the early 1980s declared their intention to reforge the Party, and held an emergency conference at which they claimed the name of the party. They are now known as the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), although commonly call themselves the Communist Party of Great Britain, and publish the Weekly Worker, although the Communist Party of Britain are the designated 'Communist Party' in the UK by the Electoral Commission. Nina Temple is a former communist political figure in the UK. During the late 1970s she was general secretary of the Young Communist League (Britain). ... In the United Kingdom the Communist Party of Great Britain reformed itself into a left-leaning political multi-issue grassroots campaign group/think-tank called Democratic Left in 1991 based around the CPGBs Manifesto for New Times (1990, Lawrence & Wishart). ... This article is about the institution. ... In the United Kingdom the Communist Party of Great Britain reformed itself into a left-leaning political multi-issue grassroots campaign group/think-tank called Democratic Left in 1991 based around the CPGBs Manifesto for New Times (1990, Lawrence & Wishart). ... In United Kingdom politics ,the New Politics Network is an independent political and campaigning think tank, concerned specifically with issues relating to democratic renewal and popular participation in politics. ... The Communist Party of Scotland (CPS) was established in 1991 when the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was disbanded and re-formed as the Democratic Left think-tank. ... The Weekly Worker is a weekly newspaper published by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee). ... The Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), which commonly calls itself the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), is a British Leninist political grouping, which publishes the Weekly Worker newspaper. ... The Weekly Worker is a weekly newspaper published by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee). ... The Electoral Commission is a non-ministerial government department with powers in the United Kingdom, which was created by an Act of Parliament, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (2000 c. ...


General Secretaries of the CPGB

1920: Albert Inkpin
1929: Harry Pollitt
1939: Rajani Palme Dutt
1941: Harry Pollitt
1956: John Gollan
1975: Gordon McLennan
1990: Nina Temple

Harry Pollitt (1890 - 1960) was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain for more than 20 years. ... Rajani Palme Dutt (1896 - 1974) was a leading figure in the Communist Party of Great Britain. ... Harry Pollitt (1890 - 1960) was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain for more than 20 years. ... John Gollan (April 2, 1911 - 5 September 1977) was a leader of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). ... Gordon McLennan (born 12 May 1924) is a former leader of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). ... Nina Temple is a former communist political figure in the UK. During the late 1970s she was general secretary of the Young Communist League (Britain). ...

Notable members

David Aaronovitch (born July 8, 1954) is a British journalist, broadcaster, and author. ... Sir Kingsley William Amis (April 16, 1922 – October 22, 1995) was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. ... George Alfred Barnard (September 23, 1915 - August 9, 2002) British statistician known particularly for his work on the foundations of statistics and on quality control. ... John Desmond Bernal (1901–1971) was an Irish-born scientist (from Nenagh, County Tipperary), known for pioneering X-ray crystallography. ... Bill Bland was a British, anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist and dentist who was notable as a worldwide leader of the rather small movement that backed Enver Hoxha, the Albanian communist leader, in the struggles over Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy in the later 1960s. ... Anthony Frederick Blunt (26 September 1907 – 26 March 1983), known as Sir Anthony Blunt, KCVO between 1956 and 1979, was an English art historian, formerly Professor of the History of Art, University of London and director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (1947-74). ... Jim Bollan is a councillor in West Dunbartonshire in Scotland. ... Edith Bone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Elizabeth Margaret Braddock JP (24 September 1899, Zante Street, Liverpool–13 November 1970), better known as Bessie Braddock, was a British Labour politician. ... Peter Leslie Brearey (23 December 1939 - 7 May 1998) was a British secularist, socialist and journalist. ... Maurice Brinton was the pen name under which Chris Pallis (1923-2005) wrote and translated for the British libertarian socialist group Solidarity from 1960 until the early 1980s. ... Christopher Caudwell is the pseudonym of Christopher St. ... Winston Bernard Coard (born August 10, 1944) was a Grenadian politician who was part of the coup détat that overthrew Maurice Bishops government in 1983. ... Ken Coates (1930 - ) is a British Marxist. ... Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became one of the best-known writers on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalins purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. ... Rupert John Cornford (27 December 1915 – 28 December 1936) was an English poet and communist. ... Maurice Campbell Cornforth (1909 – 1980) was a British Marxist philosopher. ... Bob Crow (born 13 June 1961) is the general secretary of the British trade union RMT. A staunch communist, he is one of the founder members of the so-called Awkward Squad - the loose grouping of left-wing union leaders who came to power in a series of electoral victories... The Rt. ... Stewart Farrar at home, 1999 Stewart Farrar (June 28, 1916 - February 7, 2000) was a well-known author of books on Alexandrian Wicca. ... Peter Fryer (February 18, 1927 - October 31, 2006) was an English Socialist writer and journalist. ... Gerry Gable (born 1937) is a British Jewish political activist. ... William Gallacher was born in Paisley, Scotland, on December 25, 1881. ... The cover of Gascoynes 1935 book A Short Survey of Surrealism David Gascoyne (October 10, 1916 - November 25, 2001) was a British poet associated with the Surrealist movement. ... Robert Griffiths is the general-secretary of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB). ... A Pamphlet telling the story of the Scottish unemployed march to Edinburgh, September 1928 Wal (Walter) Hannington (born 1896) was a founder member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and National Organiser of the National Unemployed Workers Movement, from its formation in 1921 to its end in 1939, when... Jock Haston (1913-1986) was a Trotskyist politician and General Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist Party in Great Britain. ... Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey, CH, MBE, PC (born 30 August 1917), is a British Labour politician. ... Gerry Healy (December 3, 1913 - December 14, 1989) was a Trotskyist activist. ... Eric Samuel Heffer (January 12, 1922 – May 27, 1991) was a British socialist politician. ... Margot Claire Heinemann (1913 – 1992) was a British Marxist writer, drama scholar, and leading member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm CH (born June 9, 1917) is a British Marxist historian and author. ... David Holbrook (born 1923) is a British writer, poet and academic. ... Lewis Jones, writer, seriously cheesy, and political activist of the left, (December 28, 1917 - January 21, 1912) was born in Clydach Vale in industrialized South Wales. ... Pat Jordan was a British Trotskyist who was central to founding the International Marxist Group. ... Luke Kelly, (17 November 1940 - 30 January 1984) was an Irish singer and folk musician from Dublin, Ireland, most famous as a member of the band The Dubliners. ... Helena Ann Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws (born 12 May 1950) is a Labour member of the House of Lords. ... Peter Keuneman was a prominent Marxist member of Parliament and a leading figure in the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). ... James Klugmann (1912-1977) was a leading British Communist writer who became the official historian of the Communist Party of Great Britain // Education Greshams Cambridge Educated at Greshams School and Cambridge University (at both of which he was a friend and contemporary of the spy Donald Maclean), Klugmann... Charles Lahr (1885 - 1971) was a German-born anarchist, London bookseller and publisher. ... John Gordon Michael Lawrence (29 September 1915 - 14 November 2002) was a leading far left activitist in a wide variety of groups in the United Kingdom. ... Robert Leeson Jack Lindsay (1900 - 1990) was an Australian-born writer, who from 1926 lived in the United Kingdom, initially in Essex. ... James Litterick (July 15, 1901-?) was a politician in Manitoba, Canada, and was the first member of the Communist Party of Canada to be elected to that provinces legislature. ... Ewan MacColl (25 January 1915 - 22 October 1989) was a British folk singer, songwriter, socialist, actor, poet, playwright, and record producer. ... Hugh MacDiarmid was the pen name of Christopher Murray Grieve (August 11, 1892, Langholm - September 9, 1978), perhaps the most important Scottish poet of the 20th century. ... Michael (Mick) McGahey was a Scottish miners leader and Communist. ... Claude McKay (September 15, 1889[1] – May 22, 1948) was a Jamaican writer and communist. ... Arthur MacManus was the first chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain from 1914-1919. ... Harry McShane, born May 7, 1891 was a Scottish socialist, and a close colleague of John Maclean. ... Cecil John LEstrange Malone, usually known as Cecil LEstrange Malone, was a left wing member of the United Kingdom House of Commons and Britains first communist Member of Parliament. ... This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ... John Streeter Manifold (21 April 1915 – 19 April 1985) was an Australian poet and critic, known also for his interest in Australian folksongs. ... Carl Aldo Marzani (4 March 1912 - 11 December 1994), was an American who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II and later the U.S. Department of State. ... Professor John Maynard Smith[1], F.R.S. (6 January 1920 – 19 April 2004) was a British evolutionary biologist and geneticist. ... William Mellor (1888-1942) was a leftwing UK journalist. ... Dame Jean Iris Murdoch DBE (July 15, 1919 – February 8, 1999) was an Irish-born British writer and philosopher, best known for her novels, which combine rich characterization and compelling plotlines, usually involving ethical or sexual themes. ... J. T. Murphy was an English trade union organiser and Communist. ... Andrew Murray may refer to: Andrew Moray, commonly referred to as Andrew Murray, Guardian of Scotland during 13th century; key military and political leader of the Scots during the Scottish Wars of Independence Andrew Murray (botanist) (1812–1878), Scottish botanist Andrew Murray (minister) (1828–1917), South African minister of religion... (Arthur) Leslie Morton (1903 - 1987) was a prolific English Marxist historian. ... John Turner Walton Newbold, known as Walton Newbold was the first Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom to be elected as a communist. ... Sylvia Pankhurst Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst (May 5, 1882 - September 27, 1960) was a campaigner in the suffragette movement in the United Kingdom, and a prominent left communist. ... Wogan Philipps, 2nd Baron Milford (25 February 1902 – 30 November 1993) was the only member of the Communist Party of Great Britain ever to sit in the House of Lords. ... Philip Piratin (15 May 1907 – 10 December 1995), known as Phil Piratin, was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and one of their few Members of Parliament. ... Raymond William Postgate (November 6, 1896 - March 29, 1971) was an English socialist journalist and editor, social historian, mystery novelist and gourmet. ... Jimmy Reid is a Govan born journalist and ex-trade union activist. ... John Reid PC (born 8 May 1947) is a British politician who is Home Secretary and Member of Parliament (MP) for the Scottish constituency of Airdrie and Shotts in the United Kingdom. ... Al Richardson (20 December 1941 - 22 November 2003) was a British Trotskyist historian and activist. ... John Edgell Rickword (October 22, 1898 - March 15, 1982) was an English poet and critic, and journalist and literary editor. ... Michael Roberts (William Edward Roberts) (6 December 1902 - 13 December 1948) was a British poet, writer, critic and broadcaster, who made his living as a teacher. ... Andrew Rothstein (1898, London - 1994) was a Russian-British journalist. ... Shapurji Saklatvala, Commons portrait, 1922 The Right Honourable Shapurji Saklatvala (March 28, 1874 - January 16, 1936) was a British politician and Member of Parliament for the Communist Party of Great Britain. ... Raphael Samuel (London, 1934-December 9, 1996) was a Marxist historian born to Jewish parents. ... John Saville (born 1916) is a British Marxist historian, now Professor emeritus of the University of Hull. ... Hugh Parr Scanlon, Lord Scanlon of Davyhulme (26 October 1913–27 January 2004) was a British trade union leader. ... Sir Alfred Sherman, KBE, (born 10 November 1919), journalist, was a public affairs advisor in private practive as Interthought, an adviser to Margaret Thatcher, a co-founder of the Centre for Policy Studies, and a consultant to the Western Goals Institute. ... Derek Simpson was the surprise winner of the election to General Secretary of the AEEU, and Joint General Secretary of Amicus. ... Cliff Slaughter is a British Trotskyist. ... A graduate of the University of Wales, Lampeter, Sue Slipman went on to teacher training at the University of London, and began her career as President of the National Union of Students between 1977 and 1978. ... Ken Sprague (1927 - 2004) was an English socialist political cartoonist, journalist and activist. ... Hedi Stadlen, (6 January 1916 – 21 January 2004), better known in Sri Lanka as Hedi Keuneman, was an Austrian Jewish philosopher, political activist and musicologist. ... Randall Swingler (May 28, 1909 – 1967) was an English poet, writing extensively in the 1930s in the communist interest. ... Katherine Mathilda Swinton (born November 5, 1960), better known as Tilda Swinton, is a Golden Globe Award-nominated British actress known for both arthouse and mainstream films. ... Alan John Percivale Taylor (March 25, 1906 – September 7, 1990) was a renowned English historian of the 20th century. ... Edward Palmer Thompson (February 3, 1924 - August 28, 1993), was an English historian, socialist and peace campaigner. ... Alan Thornett (born 1937) is a British Trotskyist leader. ... Theodore Philip Toynbee (June 25, 1916 - June 15, 1981) was a British writer and journalist. ... David Maxim Triesman, Baron Triesman (born 30 October 1943) is a Labour member of the House of Lords. ... Edward Falaise Upward is a British novelist and short story writer, born Romford, England, 9 September 1903. ... Winifred (Freda) Utley was a British scholar and author, born on January 23, 1898, London, England, and died on January 21, 1978, Washington, DC. A card-carrying British Communist by age 28, Winifred Utley had begun to reverse her stance on the worldwide Communist movement by the time her husband... Harry Wicks (16 August 1905 - 26 March 1989) was a British socialist activist. ... Ellen Cicely Wilkinson (8 October 1891, Manchester-6 February 1947) was the Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough and later for Jarrow on Tyneside. ... Raymond Henry Williams (31 August 1921 - 26 January 1988) was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. ... Thomas Henry (Tom) Wintringham (1898-1949) was a British soldier, military historian, journalist, poet, Marxist, politician and author. ...

See also

The Young Communist League (YCL) is the youth wing of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB). ...

Notes

  1. ^ The Papers of the Communist Party of Great Britain (1920 - 1994). Held at Labour History Archive and Study Centre. Online abstract and index available. Extent: 235.5 (841 boxes). Retrieved June 14, 2006.
  2. ^ Independent article on "Churchill's spy chief and the Zinoviev Letter"[1].
  3. ^ Communist Party of Britain's comprehensive Harry Pollitt biography

External links

The Communist Party of Britain, which claimed to have 1026 members in 2007, is the largest Communist party in the United Kingdom. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Communist Party of Great Britain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3028 words)
The CPGB was formed by the merger of several smaller Marxist parties: the British Socialist Party, the Communist Unity Group of the Socialist Labour Party and the South Wales Socialist Society.
In January 1921, the CPGB was refounded after the majorities of Sylvia Pankhurst's group the Communist Party (British Section of the Third International), and the Scottish Communist Labour Party agreed to unity.
The CPGB reached its peak in 1943 and in the 1945 general election, the communist party received 103,000 votes, and two Communists were elected as members of parliament one of whom was the aforementioned Gallacher, the other one was Phil Piratin who won Mile End in London's East End.
Communist Party of Britain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2197 words)
The Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was established in 1968 by a leading engineering union official, Reg Birch, who had been a prominent member of the CPGB and at that time a supporter of the Beijing line in the Sino-Soviet dispute.
Under the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998, which regulated the use of symbols on ballot slips and electoral material, the Communist Party of Britain is the only British political party entitled to use the hammer and sickle in such cases.
The Communist Party of Britain describes itself as a "disciplined and democratic organisation" and operates on a model of democratic centralism.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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