“Class Before Race”: Article on CPGB and post-imperial ‘race relations’ reaches 1000 downloads on academia.edu

A CPGB pamphlet from 1961

A CPGB pamphlet from 1961

This is just a brief post to announce that my article, ‘”Class Before Race”: British Communism and the Place of Empire in Post-War Race Relations’, has reached 1000 downloads on academia.edu. The article was first published in Science & Society in late 2008, with the following abstract:

The Communist Party of Great Britain, as the largest organization to the left of the Labour Party and an influential body within the trade union movement, occupied an important position in the anti-racist and anti-colonial movements in Britain from the 1920s until the 1970s. As black immigration from the Commonwealth flowed into Britain between the late 1940s and early 1960s, the CPGB was involved in campaigns against racism and for colonial independence. However it continually encountered the difficult task of situating its anti-racist activities within the wider class struggle. At the same time, the Party’s traditional Marxist understanding of the issues of racism and colonialism were altered significantly by the decolonization process and the rise of new social movements. The CPGB viewed the issues of “race” and racism, within a Marxist framework, and this had implications for the practical issues in the struggle against racism. At the core of this problem was overcoming the traditional view on the white left of black workers as still “colonials” or “outsiders,” whose problems had been subsumed within the wider class struggle.

If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you enjoy it. I have been re-reading as I delve into the anti-colonialism of the CPGB in the inter-war years.


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