This is just a quick announcement to let you all know that the paperback edition of my book British Communism and the Politics of Race will be out next month through Haymarket Books. You can pre-order it now here.
On 9 September 1934, a BUF rally at Hyde Park was opposed by a massive anti-fascist counter-demonstration, coming a few months after anti-fascists attempted to disrupt a BUF rally at Olympia and after a summer of similar confrontations across a number of metropolitan areas in England. This post is based on an early chapter from my book project on the history of no platform, to be published by Routledge’s Fascism and Far Right series.
The British Union of Fascists (BUF) was formed by Oswald Mosley in late 1932 and it grew exponentially in its first years, with nearly 50,000 members allegedly joining. Enjoying support from Lord Rothmere’s Daily Mail and other sections of the Conservative right, Mosley attempted to establish the BUF through a series of public meetings, demonstrating its supposed mass support at rallies, inspired by Mussolini and Hitler. There were frequent mobilisations by anti-fascists against these public meetings and rallies in the early years of the BUF, culminating in two events in 1934 that solidified the militant anti-fascist approach of physical confrontation and also revealed the violent nature of the BUF.
Robert Skidelsky suggested ‘[f]or both fascists and anti-fascists Olympia was the epic battle of the 1930s’, explaining:
Fascists looked back with satisfaction on the ‘beating’ they had given the ‘Reds’ and claimed that it had restored ‘free speech’ in Britain. Anti-fascists regarded it as the moment when they unambiguously exposed the brutal face of fascism and condemned it thereafter in the eyes of all decent Englishmen.
Olympia was to be a demonstration of the strength of the British Union of Fascists. As mentioned above, its membership growth had been strong throughout its first 18 months. After several well-attended meetings at the Albert Hall, Mosley believed that a larger venue, such as that of Olympia Stadium, was necessary. Around 10,000 people filled the stadium, with anti-fascists (primarily members of the Communist Party) securing around 500 tickets. The Communist Party portrayed Olympia as a chance to build the anti-fascist movement and confront the growing BUF. Regarding threats made in the run up to the meeting by Mosley, the Daily Worker declared:
Already the Blackshirts have used provocative threats against the workers…
They have made such threats at many meetings, but [past] events have shown that all their thuggish methods were unable to prevent the workers having their say. To-night will again prove this rule…
[T]he workers’ counter-section will cause them to tremble. All roads lead to Olympia to-night.
A counter-demonstration by anti-fascists was held outside the venue, while anti-fascists heckled the speakers, including Mosley, and sought to disrupt the meeting. These disruptions were staggered over the evening, so to ensure the maximum disruptive effect. As The Times reported the following day, ‘The campaign of interruption had been well planned so that it should affect every part of the meeting in the course of the evening’.
BUF bodyguards violently ejected the anti-fascist protestors, with The Times stating the constant interruptions were ‘countered with similar thoroughness and with a uniformity of treatment which suggested a prescribed technique of violence’.The newspaper continued:
Stewards at once made for the offenders. If they resisted ejection the incident at once became an affair of fisticuffs and, if the victim remained standing at the end of his resistance he was seized ju-jitsu fashion and dragged out. Quite a number were borne out limp bodies after the frays.
Once ejected, there were a number of arrests of anti-fascists outside the venue, where further violence was meted out by the police. The Daily Workerreported that outside Olympia, ‘seething crowds of thousands of workers kept up a continual anti-Fascist uproar, despite the enormous special concentration of police forces which had been gathered… for the Blackshirts’ protection’. The following day, the newspaper stated that 24 anti-fascists had been arrested, compared to one BUF supporter, claiming that this was ‘a striking fact, which [spoke] volumes’ about the differing treatment by the police towards the BUF and the CPGB.
Mosley and the BUF complained about the tactics used by the anti-fascists, described as ‘highly organized groups of Reds’, to break up the public meeting. Quoted in The Times, Mosley claimed:
For over three weeks certain Communist and Socialist papers have published incitements to their readers to attack this meeting. The result was that a large Red mob gathered outside the hall for the purpose of intimidating those who entered, and very many of the audience were in fact jostled before they managed to enter the meeting at all.
In the BUF press, the violence was blamed on the Communists, but the fascist response was also celebrated, with A.K. Chesterton declaring it a ‘fascist victory’ and the ‘Red Terror Smashed’. On the other hand, the Communist Party also claimed a victory as Olympia, with the Daily Workerdeclaring the following day:
Terrific scenes were witnessed at Olympia last night, when the workers of London staged a mighty counter-demonstration to the Mosley Fascists. Mosley’s carefully-planned arrangements were turned into a complete fiasco.
There was an outcry by some in the press and some politicians at the violence witnessed at Olympia, which has been documented by a number of scholars. For example, The Times quoted Conservative MP Geoffrey Lloyd as declaring, ‘I am not very sympathetic to Communists who try to break up meetings, but I am bound to say that I was appalled by the brutal conduct of the Fascists last night’. Although a number argued that the tactics of the anti-fascist protestors was just as deplorable as the actions of the BUF stewards. The Timesreported on debates in the House of Commons in the aftermath of Olympia, summarising that ‘members were about equally divided between unqualified condemnation of alleged Fascist brutality towards interrupters, and the feeling that allowances must be made for those who had been sorely provoked by Communists’. Rajani Palme Dutt, a leading CPGB figure, wrote in his editorial for Labour Monthly that it was only because of the anti-fascist demonstrators that ‘the eyes of millions’ had been opened ‘to the real character of Fascism’. Dutt proclaimed, ‘It is solely thanks to their stand that the present universal outcry against Fascism has developed, where before there was silence or indifference or amused toleration’.
Scholars have debated whether the violence had a negative effect on the popularity of the BUF in 1934. David Renton has written that after Olympia, Lord Rothmere withdrew his support and that ‘BUF membership fell from 40,000 to 5,000 by the summer of 1935’. Both Martin Pugh and Stephen Dorril have shown that some were put off by the violence on display at Olympia, but to some BUF supporters, the violent confrontations with the Communists solidified theirdedication to Mosley. The columns of the mainstream newspapers were filled with both expressions of horror at the violence and letters of praise for Mosley’s tactics. As Pugh has explained:
The truth is that while the violence alienated some people, it also added to the appeal of the BUF among the young and militant anti-Communists, with the result that the organisation experienced a major turnover of membership during 1934-35.
Whether the violence turned people away from the BUF or attracted them to it, it was clear that violence was an inherent part of the BUF’s programme.
The violence meted out to anti-fascists who broke up the meeting at Olympia roused the anti-fascist movement. Dave Hann wrote, ‘[a]nti-fascists had certainly taken a beating at Olympia but their growing movement responded in force, with an increase in the number of BUF public appearances interrupted by anti-fascists and the number of people involved in anti-fascist activity. By the latter months of 1934, the anti-fascist movement was confident of disrupting the BUF’s staged rallies and while expecting fascist violence and police intimidation, were also confident that popular sentiment (particularly amongst workers) was turning against Mosley.
After Olympia, there had been in-roads made by the Communist Party, the Independent Labour Party and some trade unions to form a broad anti-fascist front. The Communist Party, transitioning from the ideas of ‘social fascism’ and ‘Class Against Class’ of the previous half decade to the Popular Front against fascism and imperialism of the mid-to-late 1930s, sought to lead the anti-fascist movement and work with the ILP, while criticising the timidness of the Labour Party and the TUC. As the General Council of the TUC debated its approach towards fascism in September 1934, the Daily Worker rhetorically asked, ‘who was it that had led the struggle in Olympia? Who was going to lead the struggle at Hyde Park on September 9?’
On September 9, 1934, the BUF planned to hold a massive outdoor rally in Hyde Park, London. Taking the initiative seized at Olympia and continued through the summer of 1934, the CPGB and ILP attempted to mobilise a large contingent of workers and anti-fascists to Hyde Park. In the lead up to the event at Hyde Park, the CPGB warned:
Incitement to violence and the carrying out of the most bestial brutality is the stock-in-trade of the Blackshirt thugs of Mosley.
Olympia showed this plain for all to see.
‘Should any violence take place on Sunday with regard to the great anti-Fascist demonstration’, the Daily Worker editorial declared, ‘then the responsibility dfor this rests on Mosley’s gang’. With the experience of Olympia in recent memory, the CPGB readied itself for potential violence, while at the same time, it warned against unnecessary violence. Jon Lawrence has suggested that this was part of the CPGB’s attempts to build the United Front with the ILP and a general shift away from violent confrontation by the Party leadership. However it could also be argued that the CPGB (and the ILP) had learnt the lessons of Olympia and did not want individual anti-fascist protestors from suffering the same level of violence at the hand of BUF stewards or from the police. In the end, there was a massive turnout against the BUF at Hyde Park (between 60-150,000), with ‘much booing, heckling and ridicule from anti-fascists’, but ‘no serious disorder’. Two days later, the Daily Worker reported that 18 people had been charged with a variety of offences after being arrested at the Hyde Park demonstration, down from around 24 after Olympia, but with much larger number of anti-fascist demonstrators.
The Daily Worker called the demonstration at Hyde Park a ‘great blow against fascism’ and that Mosley’s rally had been ‘an utter fiasco’. Despite the Labour Party and the TUC not supporting the demonstration and the police presence to maintain order (or to protect Mosley’s Blackshirts), the large crowd swamped the BUF rally ‘in a sea of organised working-class activity’. On the other hand, the BUF claimed this was ‘the most remarkable display of the strength of Fascism ever seen in Britain’, but complained about the ‘intimidation of the opposition and the most definite attempts to create an impression that there would be considerable disorder in the Park’. Even if the large crowds were not dedicated anti-fascists as the CPGB proclaimed, the BUF were vastly outnumbered and failed to win over those who had assembled in Hyde Park.
The momentum shifted away from the BUF after 1934, towards the anti-fascist movement, but also towards the National Government. As a number of a scholars have shown, the events of 1934 had led the National Government to debate laws regarding the policing of political meetings and public order, but shelved at the time. This was partly due to a reluctance by some politicians to curtail the freedom of political expression and partly because the BUF began to co-operate with the police. Martin Pugh also suggests that the BUF avoided large urban cities where there was more likely to be an anti-fascist mobilisation, preferring to hold meetings across provincial England. It was not until 1936, when Mosley and the BUF shifted tactics towards explicit anti-Semitism and trying to attract more working class supporters in the East End of London, that confrontations between anti-fascists, the police and the National Government reached a new crescendo with the ‘Battle of Cable Street’.
Michael A. Spurr, ‘“Living the Blackshirt Life”: Culture, Community and the British Union of Fascists, 1932-1940’, Contemporary European History, 12/3 (2003) p. 309.
Robert Skidelsky, Oswald Mosley (London: Papermac, 1990) p. 365.
Daily Worker, 7 June, 1934, p. 1.
The Times, 8 June, 1934, p. 14.
The Times, 8 June, 1934, p. 14.
The Times, 8 June, 1934, p. 14.
Daily Worker, 8 June, 1934, p. 1.
Daily Worker, 9 June, 1934, p. 1.
 The Times, 9 June, 1934, p. 11.
The Blackshirt, 15 June, 1934, p. 3.
Daily Worker, 8 June, 1934, p. 1.
The Times, 9 June, 1934, p. 11.
The Times, 12 June, 1934, p. 14.
R. Palme Dutt, ‘Notes of the Month’, Labour Monthly, July 1934, p. 390.
Dutt, ‘Notes of the Month’, p. 390.
David Renton, This Rough Game: Fascism and Anti-Fascism (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2001) p. 139.
 Stephen Dorril, Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism (London: Penguin 2007), pp. 298-301; Martin Pugh, ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts!’: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars (London: Pimlico, 2005), pp. 156-163.
Pugh, ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts!’, p. 162.
 Dave Hann, Physical Resistance: A Hundred Years of Anti-Fascism (Winchester: Zero Books, 2013) p. 46.
See: Matthew Worley, Class Against Class: The Communist Party in Britain Between the Wars (London: IB Tauris, 2017).
 Nigel Copsey, Anti-Fascism in Britain (London: Routledge, 2017) pp. 21-24.
Daily Worker, 5 September, 1934, p. 1.
Daily Worker, 8 September, 1934, p. 2.
Jon Lawrence, ‘Fascist Violence and the Politics of Public Order in Inter-War Britain: The Olympia Debate Revisited’, Historical Research, 76/192 (May 2003) pp. 259-261.
Copsey, Anti-Fascism in Britain, p. 26.
Daily Worker, 11 September, 1934, p. 1.
Daily Worker, 10 September, 1934, p. 1.
Daily Worker, 11 September, 1934, p. 1.
The Blackshirt, 14 September, 1934, p. 1.
Richard C. Thurlow, ‘The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back: Public Order, Civil Liberties and the Battle of Cable Street’, in Tony Kushner & Nadia Valman, Remembering Cable Street: Fascism and Anti-Fascism in British Society (London: Valentine Mitchell, 2000) pp. 83-84; Lawrence, ‘Fascist Violence and the Politics of Public Order in Inter-War Britain’, p. 263,
Pugh, ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts!’, pp. 169-170.
This is just a quick post to let you all know that Australian Feminist Studies has just published a special issue on the history of how the personal became political in Australia, co-edited by Michelle Arrow and Angela Woollacott. The special issue features my article, ‘When the Personal Became Too Political: ASIO and the Monitoring of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia’. You can find it here.
Within and Against the Metropole: Communism and Transnational Anti-Colonialism in Interwar Europe
(University of Manchester// November 30th, 2018// 9:30 am- 4:30 pm)
The professed internationalism and anti-imperialism of the communist movement has attracted the attention of historians of transnational labour movements, empire and colonialism. A resurgence in studies which focus on the relationship between communists and anti-colonial movements has taken place, due to both the growing availability of formerly-restricted source materials, and the rise of increasingly-sophisticated transnational methodologies. These new sources and methods have allowed for a richer study of the development, growth, transformation, and decline of anti-colonial networks involving communist activists, with emphasis placed on the role of border-crossing populations and individuals, local cultures of activism, and patterns of conflict and cooperation in both the Comintern and national Communist Parties’ apparatuses.
This one-day conference will bring together an international group of scholars to explore the relationship between communism and anti-colonialism in the interwar period. This will include sessions on the transnational connections and journeys of individual activists and their relationship to the structures of international communism; various anti-colonial milieus’ connections to labour and social movements in differing national and regional contexts; and the broader relationships between communists, race, and nationalism, both in colonial and metropolitan settings.
Confirmed speakers include:
- Satnam Virdee (University of Glasgow)
- Kasper Braskén (Åbo Akademi)
- Oleksa Drachewych (Independent Scholar)
- Daniel Edmonds (Independent Scholar)
- David Featherstone (University of Glasgow)
- Kate O’Malley (Royal Irish Academy)
- Professors Kevin Morgan, John Callaghan, and Neville Kirk, in a roundtable discussion.
Thanks to the generosity of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, attendance will be free, and registered attendees will receive lunch as well as tea and coffee. To book your place please email email@example.com
Lawrence Parker, author of The Kick Inside: Revolutionary Opposition in the CPGB, 1945-1991, has published a new book, Communists and Labour: The National Left-Wing Movement 1925-1929.
The National Left-Wing Movement (NLWM), set up by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1925–26 to pull the Labour Party rank and file towards Communist politics, was one in which Marxists worked in a largely open fashion to promote specific programmatic principles.
This publication sheds new light on how the early CPGB approached its work inside the Labour Party and points to a more variegated picture of the CPGB in the mid-to-late 1920s as still capable of producing rational and principled responses to the class struggle — albeit, in the case of the NLWM, partially flawed and unsuccessful ones.
The NLWM had another goal forced upon it of protecting Communists and their sympathisers from a Labour leadership intent on expelling and disaffiliating such elements in a pursuit of respectability. This monograph seeks to qualitatively measure the impact of that disaffiliation process on the CPGB, the NLWM and Labour sympathisers.
You can order the book here. Below is an extract from the book’s introduction.
The National Left-Wing Movement (NLWM), an oppositional force inside the Labour Party in the mid-to-late 1920s, designed to pull rank-and-file Labour members towards the politics of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), has the status of a relative historical curio. In the ever-expanding literature on the CPGB, the NLWM has received only cursory treatment.
This ‘novelty-item’ status is probably a reflection of the ‘grander’ historical events surrounding the NLWM in the trajectory of the 1920s CPGB. If people know anything about the CPGB in this era, they know of Lenin’s ‘hanged-man’ advice on affiliation to the Labour Party;the party’s role in the General Strike of 1926; and its adoption of disastrous sectarian tactics in the late 1920s.Compared to this, the NLWM is a relative blind spot.
The CPGB itself evinced very little understanding of the NLWM up to its dissolution in 1991. In one historian’s words, the Comintern’s seventh congress of 1935, which saw the popular front take centre stage in world Communist politics, came to be seen by CPGB members as a “foundation congress”. This creates instant problems for the reception of formations such as the NLWM, which was constructed around the pursuit of a process of differentiation with a more ideologically diffuse Labour left, whereas later CPGB approaches to this constituency were hedged around with more modest ideas of adaptation and accommodation — the popular front being the exemplar of such tactics.
Thus, in its latter decades, while the CPGB was still concerned to promote unity with the left of the Labour Party, a nebulous courtship was conducted from a distance, and Communists, in general, did not organise within Labour (this had largely come to an end in 1940). As the CPGB became ever more concerned with notions of respectability (which, in this case, meant respecting the bourgeois proprietorial rights that the Labour Party bureaucracy expected to wield over its patch) and as its chances of becoming a mass organisation that could become an attractive partner to the Labour Party receded, such ‘unity’ became steadily more chimerical. Even though its programme, The British Road to Socialism (first published in 1951), in many ways represented the Communists writing the Labour left’s programme for it, the CPGB was generally forced to rely on more indirect means of influencing Labour, such as the trade unions.
This conservative approach had definite implications for the manner in which the CPGB handled the radicalism of past movements such as the NLWM. When, for example, the CPGB chose to emote on Communist-Labour relations in 1977-78, there was no way, of course, that the historical experience of the NLWM could be central to that debate, given that it was set up to differentiate Communist politics inside a more generic Labour left and act as a bridge to the CPGB (although Monty Johnstone did at least outline a rudimentary awareness of the NLWM in 1978). Official histories of the CPGB offer a bland outline of the NLWM. For example, Noreen Branson, having spoken to one of the NLWM’s secretaries, Ralph Bond, does offer up some useful details but her narrative doesn’t reveal any of the key contradictions of the movement — in a similar fashion to Stalinist economists discussing the quantities of pig iron produced in the Soviet Union. In other words, we know some of the facts of the NLWM’s existence but we know very little of how and why it existed.
The Trotskyist movement has a much better record of trying to excavate the history of the NLWM, led by Brian Pearce, who originally published an important essay ‘The British Communist Party and the Labour left, 1925-1929’ in 1957 (under the pseudonym of Joseph Redman). This offered a sympathetic analysis of the NLWM and the CPGB’s work in establishing it. Pearce was a pioneer in this field and is deserving of respect. However, I have been critical of some of his approach in this study and, in particular, of his preference for quantifying the NLWM’s impact through bare statistics over exploring the qualitative evidence, which, in its very consistency, offers up a far less optimistic picture of the movement’s prospects. Nevertheless, Pearce, in identifying the NLWM as a positive force emanating from the CPGB beyond 1925 (i.e. after Stalin’s bureaucratic faction began to talk hold of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union), is an important figure in pointing up a more variegated picture of the CPGB in the mid-to-late 1920s.
Unfortunately, Pearce’s example has generally not been followed and when Britain’s two major Trotskyist organisations of the 1980s, the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) and the Militant Tendency, investigated the NLWM, the jaundiced picture that emerged had more to do with factional manoeuvring and soap-powder-type brand differentiation than with the real dynamics of the history involved. The Militant Tendency was an entrist group working inside the Labour Party and falsely denied that it had a separate organisation outside Labour. The SWP was Militant’s opponent, inventing spurious reasons as to why entry into the Labour Party was a thoroughly bad idea. This set the scene for their reception of the NLWM. Militant was obviously the more sympathetic but was publicly suspicious of the CPGB for maintaining a separate organisation outside the Labour Party (i.e. exactly what Militant itself did). The SWP, on the other hand, in Tony Cliff and Donny Gluckstein’s desperate works of the period, felt duty bound to present the NLWM essentially as a ‘right-opportunist’ gambit and a capitulation to reformism, in order to do down Militant and thus any idea of entry work in the Labour Party.
Academic works haven’t generally offered up anything better on the NLWM than the occasional, often trivial, aside, the exception being Leslie Macfarlane’s 1966 work on the CPGB in the 1920s, which offers some useful detail and was a suggestive source of ideas for this work.
However, there is another side to this partial disappearance of the NLWM from the history books. It was a badly organised and unsuccessful venture that lasted for barely three-and-a-half years. In fact, these years saw the removal of Communists from the Labour Party’s ranks and its political defeat at the hands of the Labour bureaucracy. So the question would be: why do we need a study of the NLWM?
The author doesn’t really have a pat answer to this question beyond his own cussedness and interest in obscure political formations. This work probably began with a set of different intentions and conceptions, roughly based on the thought that it would be a useful project since Jeremy Corbyn’s accession to the Labour Party leadership in September 2015 — the most left-wing leader in the party’s history — to understand the history of left-wing revolts in Labour. The author rapidly jettisoned these ideas, partly because he became suspicious of the utilitarian projections some of his friends put on the work.
The history of the NLWM has no specific bearing on today’s situation in the Labour Party. The NLWM was organised by a serious force to the Labour Party’s left: the CPGB, which was part of and exterior to the Labour Party in the first half of the 1920s. It was organised, in theory, on a precise political programme to offer a bridgehead for Left-Wing workers into the CPGB. Today, the Labour Party has a left-wing leader who is panicking the establishment (and is worth supporting for that reason alone) but there is no serious Marxist organisation to its left — merely a gaggle of incompetent sects. The idea that an organised Marxist conspiracy propelled Corbyn to power is a bizarre fantasy peddled by tabloid newspapers… and the Labour Party’s deputy leader Tom Watson. The movement that propelled Corbyn to power is ideologically incoherent and scarcely animated by socialist, let alone Marxist, ideas, instead being composed of people inspired by a loose amalgam of politically correct good causes and a weird cult of non-personality around Corbyn himself. So, ultimately, nothing has animated this work beyond the author’s own interest in the NLWM and filling a gap in the historical record.
However, while the author would be highly suspicious if his work were to become some kind of handbook for today’s militants inside the Labour Party, it does perhaps provide some more general — pessimistic — lessons as to the inherent problems of revolutionaries working inside reformist organisations. The CPGB of the 1920s largely worked in an open fashion inside the Labour Party and while it was able to animate a supportive section of Labour members inside the NLWM, it is doubtful this led to many long-term gains in the sense of making substantial numbers of Communists (or at least Communists willing to accept the CPGB as the ultimate organisational broker of their political identity). Later endeavours of the CPGB in the 1930s and subsequent entrist adventures in the Labour Party by smaller Trotskyist groups tried to offset the major drawback of open work (i.e. exposure to bureaucrats intent on expulsion and disaffiliation) by clothing themselves in the outward garb of social-democratic reformism and hiding their Marxist politics to a greater or lesser extent. It is doubtful if this later entrism achieved a balance sheet of anything more than the traditional leftist twin evils of opportunism and sectarianism.
K Morgan Against fascism and war: ruptures and continuities in British communist politics 1935-41 Manchester 1989 p33.
See, for example, G McLennan ‘Interview on the Communist Party and unity’ Marxism Today March 1977; D Priscott ‘Problems of Communist-Labour relationships’ Marxism Today October 1977; and M Prior ‘Communist-Labour relations’ Marxism Today February 1978.
M Johnstone ‘Early Communist strategy for Britain: an assessment’ Marxism Today September 1978. ‘Official’ histories of the CPGB also offer a bland outline of the NLWM — see, for example, N Branson History of the Communist Party of Great Britain, 1927-41 London 1985.
Ralph Bond (1904–89) became better known as a documentary filmmaker and co-founded the London Workers’ Film Society in 1929. He remained with the CPGB until his death.
N Branson History of the Communist Party of Great Britain, 1927–41 London 1985 pp 4–11.
I have used this version: B Pearce ‘The Communist Party and the Labour left, 1925-1929’ in B Pearce and M Woodhouse A history of communism in Britain London 1995 pp 184-210.
T Aitman ‘Labour’s purge of the 1920s’ Militant 18 April 1986. Aitman said: “Militant is a newspaper whose supporters represent a trendof opinion in the [Labour Party] — unlike the Communist Party of the [1920s,] which was a separate and distinct organisation.”
 See T Cliff and D Gluckstein Marxism & trade union struggle: the general strike of 1926 London 1986; and T Cliff and D Gluckstein The Labour Party: a Marxist history London 1988. See chapter 2 for more on this.
For an example of such trivia, John Callaghan argues: “[The NLWM] was designed to seduce the Labour left into joint work with the communists and succeeded, up to the General Strike, in fostering some sort of united front…”— J Callaghan Rajani Palme Dutt: a study in British Stalinism London 1993 p 117.
As this study will argue, if this was a seduction then it was a remarkably unsuccessful given that the courtship had in fact foundered long before the General Strike.
LJ Macfarlane The British Communist Party: its origin and development until 1929 London 1966.
Colleagues and comrades! Jon Piccini and I are having a book launch for our co-edited book (along with Matthew Worley) The Far Left in Australia since 1945, which will be published by Routledge. The launch will be at the Ian Potter Gallery at the University of Melbourne on Friday, August 24. We are very excited to announce that Professor Stuart Macintyre will be speaking at the launch.
The launch is being supported by the University of Melbourne Archives and the Melbourne branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History.
In the early 1960s, Britain first tried to join the Common Market. The British Labour Party, the trade unions and the Communist Party opposed this, arguing that it was creating a supranational capitalist entity that served no purpose for the British working class (or the other working classes of Western Europe). This can be seen in the literature on the Common Market by the Communist Party of Great Britain produced in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The Australian labour movement and the Communist Party of Australia also opposed Britain’s entry into the Common Market. In the early 1960s, CPA journalist Rupert Lockwood wrote a pamphlet for the Sydney Branch of the Boilermakers’ Society that outlined the Communist-influenced trade unions’ position towards the Common Market.
As part of my endeavours to make some of the more hard-to-find resources on leftist history, I have scanned and uploaded a copy of this pamphlet. In the era of Brexit, I thought it would be interesting to revisit this pamphlet of an earlier era of ‘Euroscepticism’ on the international left.