This is just a quick post to let readers know that the journal Labor History has just published an article by myself titled ‘Against fascism, for racial equality: communists, anti-racism and the road to the Second World War in Australia, South Africa and the United States’. The abstract is below:
The Second World War (after June 1941) was a high point for the international communist movement with the Popular Front against fascism bringing many new people into Communist Parties in the global West. In the United States, South Africa and Australia, the Communist Party supported the war effort believing that the war against fascism would eventually become a war against imperialism and capitalism. Part of this support for the war effort was the support of black and indigenous soldiers in the armed forces. This activism fit into a wider tradition of these communist parties’ anti-racist campaigning that had existed since the 1920s. This article looks at how support for the national war effort and anti-racist activism intertwined for these CPs during the war and the problems over ‘loyalty’ and commitment to the anti-imperial struggle that this entanglement of aims produced.
You can access the article here. If you have trouble downloading it, let me know and I can send a PDF.
This is just a quick post to let you all know that Labour History Review have published an article by myself and Nicholas Barnett titled ‘”Peace with a Captial P: The Spectre of Communism and Competing Notions of “Peace” in Britain, 1949-1960’. It is available for free via open access here.
Here is the abstract:
This article is concerned with different factions within the British peace movement during the 1950s and early 1960s, each of which gave the word ‘peace’ a different meaning. We argue that the movement was made up of several, often contradictory sections, and despite attempts by groups like the Peace Pledge Union to distance themselves from the communist controlled British Peace Committee, popular perceptions were tainted by association with communism until the mid-1950s. Following the onset of the H-bomb era, this taint lessened as people began to fear the destructiveness of hydrogen weapons. When the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament formed in 1958 it became the predominant British organization opposed to nuclear weapons and achieved popularity because it limited its objective to nuclear disarmament whereas the Peace Pledge Union demanded the condemnation of all war.
Terrorism and Political Violence have just published my article, ‘Creating the National/Border Security Nexus: Counter-Terrorist Operations and Monitoring Middle Eastern and North African to the UK in the 1970s-1980s’. It is based on research funded by the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ David Phillips Travelling Fellowship. The abstract is below:
This article looks at an earlier episode in the history of the UK border security apparatus by examining how the immigration control system was used in the 1970s and 1980s to detect potential terrorists from the Middle East and North Africa. Using recently opened archival records, it shows that the UK government introduced a strict system of visa checks, interviews, and other measures to nearly all Middle Eastern and North African visitors to the UK to prevent the entry of suspected terrorist personnel. By using these highly arbitrary measures, it became the modus operandi of the UK authorities to treat all Middle Eastern and North Africans as potential terrorists until convinced otherwise.
You can find the full article here. If you would like a PDF, do let me know.
This is just a quick post to let everyone know that Daryl Leeworthy and I have just had an article published in Twentieth Century British History journal on the Communist Party of Great Britain and gay rights. The title of the article is ‘Before Pride: The Struggle for the Recognition of Gay Rights in the British Communist Movement, 1973-85′ and is available here.
Here’s the abstract:
This article examines the role of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and its youth wing, the Young Communist League (YCL), in the advancement of gay rights in the 1970s and 1980s. Although the CPGB was the first major organization of the British labour movement—and the British left—to advance a policy of gay rights, its participation in the gay liberation movement has tended to be neglected by scholars. In contrast to the general perception of the CPGB in the last decade (or so) of its existence as a party of declining influence and cohesion, easily ignored by the mainstream of the labour movement, we argue that the embrace of gay rights provided communists with a means of pushing for a diversification of labour politics. This coalesced in the mid-1980s with the co-founding of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) by the communist activist Mark Ashton. With the recent scholarly and public interest in the LGSM and its impact upon the Labour Party’s attitude to gay rights, this article aims to reveal that the ‘pre-history’ of the group is firmly rooted in the CPGB/YCL and the Eurocommunist section of the British communist movement.
If people cannot access the article, let me know and I can send a pdf.
This is a quick post to let people know about two new publications of mine. Firstly, the International Review of Social History has published an article titled ‘National Liberation for Whom? The Postcolonial Question, the Communist Party of Great Britain, and the Party’s African and Caribbean Membership’. Here’s the abstract:
The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) had a long tradition of anti-colonial activism since its foundation in 1920 and had been a champion of national liberation within the British Empire. However, the Party also adhered to the idea that Britain’s former colonies, once independent, would want to join a trade relationship with their former coloniser, believing that Britain required these forms of relationship to maintain supplies of food and raw materials. This position was maintained into the 1950s until challenged in 1956–1957 by the Party’s African and Caribbean membership, seizing the opportunity presented by the fallout of the political crises facing the CPGB in 1956. I argue in this article that this challenge was an important turning point for the Communist Party’s view on issues of imperialism and race, and also led to a burst of anti-colonial and anti-racist activism. But this victory by its African and Caribbean members was short-lived, as the political landscape and agenda of the CPGB shifted in the late 1960s.
Secondly, the Australian Labour History journal has published a review of mine, looking at two books concentrating on the Cold War and the New Left in Australia. The two books are Meredith Burgmann’s edited volume, Dirty Secrets: Our ASIO Files, and Ann Curthoys and Joy Damousi’s edited volume, What Did You Do in the Cold War, Daddy? Personal Stories from a Troubled Time. You can access the review here.
The latest issue of the journal Twentieth Century Communism is out now through Lawrence & Wishart. It features, amongst other things, a review essay by me on the concept of solidarity and its place within transnational labour history. The essay looks at the following four books:
David Featherstone Solidarity: Hidden Histories and Geographies of Internationalism (London/New York: Zed Books, 2012)
Christian Høgsbjerg C.L.R. James in Imperial Britain (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014)
Neville Kirk Labour and the Politics of Empire: Britain and Australia 1900 to the Present (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011)
Irina Filatova & Apollon Davidson The Hidden Thread: Russia and South Africa in the Soviet Era (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2013)
If you use academia.edu, you can access the essay here.