Thomas Linehan
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Communists at play
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During the interwar period, the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) worked to create a separate space for its members to enjoy leisure outside the dominant commercial framework which was said to be infused with bourgeois values. Despite being over-burdened with Party tasks and other responsibilities, Britain's interwar communists did find space to play. Communist political values would be affirmed through leisure, while the Party and Young Communist League (YCL) would pursue wider political goals through leisure activities. Through participation in Party, YCL and British Workers' Sports Federation (BWSF)-run leisure, communist allegiance was affirmed and stridently announced. Although activists young and old were encouraged to play at Party or YCL-run social occasions, communist leisure was never free from the imperatives of the political struggle. The communist-led United Mineworkers of Scotland (UMS) sought to build model youth organisations with a robust leisure orientation.

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Communism in Britain 1920–39

From the cradle to the grave

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