Thomas Linehan
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Being in a familiar place
The life of the adult activist
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This chapter looks at the experience of Communist Party membership within the framework of international communism and its imperatives, the strict Leninist code of practice for recruits, and the British Party's fluctuating recruitment performance. Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) membership could become a 'total' way of life for some recruits, an all-consuming enterprise of personal devotion to the Party and its mission. The chapter delves into the inner world of the Party 'local' or branch by illuminating some of its characteristics and idiosyncrasies, and explores the meaning of communism for Party activists. It considers the experience of expulsion for those who parted company from the Party and the communist world. Margaret McCarthy's feelings were widely shared in the Party. The idea of the 'working class' as a subject transcending its individual elements, the proletariat as a distinct discursive entity, was a characteristic feature of communist belief.

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Communism in Britain 1920–39

From the cradle to the grave

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