Marxism in Britain: Dissent, Decline and Re-Emergence by Keith Laybourn

By Keith Laybourn

Because the moment global struggle, Marxism in Britain has declined virtually to the purpose of oblivion. The Communist get together of serious Britain had greater than 50,000 contributors within the early Nineteen Forties, yet under 5,000 whilst it disbanded in 1991. Dissenting and Trotskyist corporations skilled a really comparable decline, even supposing there was a overdue flowering of Marxism in Scotland. according to the Communist celebration documents at Manchester, this article examines the decline over the past sixty years. facing the impression of the chilly warfare upon British Marxism, the ebook appears to be like at how overseas occasions corresponding to the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechslovakia affected the Communist celebration of serious Britain. the problems of Marxism and Britain’s withdrawal from the Empire also are addressed, as are the Marxist impression upon British commercial relatives and its involvement within the feminist circulation. concentrating on the present debate in British Marxist heritage over the impact of Moscow and Stalinism at the Communist get together, Keith Laybourn explores the ways that this factor, which divides historians, undermined Marxism in Britain.

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FOR PEACE – NOT WAR. 114 It received a welter of supporting comments from bodies and individuals such as the Gorbals Tenants Association, a 15-year-old schoolgirl and Mrs Billie Horne, of the Communist Housewives of Luton, who complained of the rising cost of children’s clothing. Yet others complained of the workload of teachers who were teaching with classes of 50 or more children. This was a rather cosmopolitan movement with non-Communists such as Margaret Airey as National Organiser and Mrs Monica Felton (chairman of the Third Assembly), although the CPGB also took a deep interest in the broad-ranging women’s movement of the early 1950s.

69 The second major industrial consideration was the relationship of the CPGB to the trade union movement. The Communist Party extended its influence within the trade union movement in the 1930s despite the opposition of the TUC which was CPGB during emergence of Cold War 1945–56 25 acting in concert with the Labour Party to root out Communist influence. There is no doubt that the CPGB’s industrial work continued apace in engineering. Len Powell, a Communist, was, for instance, full-time general secretary of the Engineering and Allied Trades Shop Stewards’ National Council.

They had not joined the union to cause trouble as the press and Attlee implied. At the 1948 TUC conference, the president, Florence Hancock, attacked the CPGB for ‘fomenting unofficial strikes’ and ‘undermining’ the authority of union officials. A Congress resolution called for ‘determination to defeat and expose those elements’. 87 On 29 October, the Daily Worker claimed that the latest ‘heresy hunt’ was motivated by the desire to remove Communist opposition to wage restraint. The TUC replied with the pamphlet Defend Democracy, which attacked Communist disruption.

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