Dissent from dissent
The ‘Smith/Party’ Group in the 1970s CPGB
in Against the grain
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The 'Smith/Party Group' was an informal faction inside the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in the early 1970s. The focus of the Smith Group's critique of the CPGB programme The British Road to Socialism was the party's attitude and demeanour towards the supposedly 'mass party of the British working class', the Labour Party. The feminist critique of left-wing politics was clearly a factor in the eventual dissolution of the Smith Group, with what one member would charge was the Group's 'contentious mode of expressing ourselves' and reluctance 'to consider the problems of sexism'. Most Smith Group members were university lecturers or postgraduates, journalists or other non-affiliated professionals, what Antonio Gramsci would have characterised as 'traditional intellectuals'. There was never a fixed or even recorded membership, but rather 'a loose association of individuals', around 35 to 40 in London and a few others in contact elsewhere, mainly Manchester and Glasgow.

Against the grain

The British far left from 1956

Editors: Evan Smith and Matthew Worley

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