Thomas Linehan
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Culture from below
A culture for proletarians
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From 1923, responsibility for proletarian education had been prised away from that which the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) derided as the unaffiliated intellectual fringe of the labour movement. Proletarian culture within British capitalism was, therefore, by necessity, bound to be immature and under-developed. Convinced that 'bourgeois' culture aimed to secure the docility, passivity and ultimate compliance of the masses, the CPGB sought to dislodge apparently corrupting bourgeois thoughts from the minds of its activists and replace a bourgeois cultural perspective with a communist one. The communist approach to culture not only marked a departure from the perceived deficiencies of bourgeois culture but also from that of earlier positions on culture taken by the British Left. Maurice Dobb glanced, approvingly, at developments in Soviet Russia in the fields of drama, literature, music and particularly literacy to give him a sense of the new culture.

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Communism in Britain 1920–39

From the cradle to the grave

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