Mark Perryman on the British left since the end of the CPGB

I am not weighing in on the current crisis in the SWP (although recently writing the introduction to our edited volume on the history of the British far left has made me think that revisiting the International Socialists’ ‘turn to the class’ in 1969 and the subsequent factional fighting in the IS in the early-to-mid 1970s might be fruitful for understanding the contemporary discussions over the democratic centralist structure of the SWP), but as part of the debate over at Socialist Unity, former Communist Party ‘Euro’ Mark Perryman (who now runs Philosophy Football) has written about his experiences in the CPGB and the left since its dissolution in 1991. His latest piece can be found here, which includes a link to a free downloadable version of his chapter in the Lawrence & Wishart book, After the Party (edited by Andy Croft). It is fascinating account of how the Eurocommunist/Gramscian approach (popularly associated with the journal Marxism Today) still attracted young activists and showed some possibilities of where left could have headed, as the usual historiography paints a picture of the CPGB in terminal decline by the early 1980s. So read up, and follow the debates!

(On a sidenote, I quoted Perryman in my article on then CPGB and youth culture in the 1980s, published in the journal Twentieth Century Communism also published by Lawrence & Wishart)

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