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Essays to celebrate the life and work of Chris Wrigley

This book reflects upon the wide range of Chris Wrigley's research and publications in the study of the various aspects of British labour history. It presents a set of themes revolving around the British labour movement and the lives of those connected with it. The book begins with a discussion on biography in the shape of George Howell's work on trade unions and presents Herbert Gladstone's view that the unions emerged from the medieval workers guilds. Chris was also interested in political figures connected with progressivism and the labour movement, which is reflected in the examination of Gladstone's role in the Liberal Party. There is an examination of the Co-operative Party in the north-east of England, the 1911 National Insurance Act, and the relationship between the unions and the Labour Party. The inter-war British labour politics is covered by the disaffiliation of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) from the Labour Party and by a study of the Progressive League. British and German working class lives are compared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Female trade unionism is dealt with a focus on Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries (AWCS). The contribution of the Lansburys is brought by an essay on the role of the family members in working-class politics, including women's enfranchisement. The book also deals with the attempt by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) to engage with punk music, and ends with a discussion on the theme of Labour disunity.

From the cradle to the grave
Author: Thomas Linehan

This book is a study of the communist life and the communist experience of membership. The study places itself on the interface between the membership and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) by considering the efforts of the latter to give shape to that experience. For those who opted to commit fully to the communist way of life it would offer a complete identity and reach into virtually all aspects of life and personal development. In regard to the latter, through participation in the communist life 'joiners' gained a positive role in life, self-esteem, intellectual development, skills in self-expression, and opportunities to acquire status and empowerment through activities like office-holding or public speaking. The British Communist Party had a strong and quite marked generational focus, in that it sought to address the experience of Party life and membership at the principal phases of the life cycle. The Party developed rites of passage to guide its 'charges' through the different stages of the life cycle. Thus its reach extended to take in children, youth, and the adult experience, including marriage and aspects of the marital and family relationship. The Party did not disengage even at the beginning and termination of the life cycle. Its spokespersons advised communist mothers on birth and mothercraft, 'red' parents on childrearing, and addressed the experience of death and mourning within the communist domain.

The troubles inside the Labour Party, which followed Jeremy Corbyn's election and the Brexit referendum, have rekindled the interest of both academics and practitioners in organisational matters. This book shows that the present disunities are nothing new and are far from capturing every source of disagreement within the British labour movement. The first section covers the long nineteenth century, an era spanning from the Industrial Revolution to the First World War. It discusses Robert Owen's Grand National Consolidated Trades' Union (GNCTU), the first working-class association ever in Britain to try to unite all trades in the country to secure workers' control of their labour, and the biggest one so far. It examines the British branch of the American Knights of Labor, internal tensions during the Edwardian years, the Great Labour Unrest, and attempts made by domestic servants to form trade unions. The second looks at unity and disunity in the wider left. It focuses on the Co-operative movement, the concept of Resale Price Maintenance, and inter-organisational divisions. The divergences, in the 1944-1947 period, between the Labour Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) as well as the Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist Party are discussed. The third section zooms in on the Labour Party, with particular focus on the post-New Labour years. It provides a sweeping account of the Parliamentary Labour Party's (PLP) post-war division, crisis of party management, Scottish Labour Party, and the deep transformation that the Labour Party is currently undergoing.

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The persistence of left-nationalism in post-war Wales
Daryl Leeworthy

Cymru’s left turn began to develop in the late-1970s with the embrace of a much broader range of rights, notably for women, ethnic and racial minorities, and lesbians and gays, together with the necessary vocabulary, than had A miner cause? 185 previously been the case. But the clearer turn in the 1980s saw Plaid Cymru enter political territory that had been developed since the 1930s by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and a smaller number of socialist and republican movements.13 Advocates of a left-nationalist position, then, had long articulated an

in Waiting for the revolution
Jeremy Tranmer

also affected by high levels of disunity. The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), for instance, experienced its own divisions and splits. Some of its difficulties were linked to elements that also concerned the Labour Party, such as the dominant political and ideological position of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives and the rapid decline of traditional industries. Other factors were specific to the CPGB itself. In this chapter it will be suggested that the questioning by many communists of the party’s long-established ‘revolutionary pragmatism’ contributed

in Labour united and divided from the 1830s to the present
How the Communist Party of Great Britain discovered punk rock
Matthew Worley

11 Comrades in bondage trousers: how the Communist Party of Great Britain discovered punk rock M atthew Worley Speaking in June 1976, Paul Bradshaw, the editor of Challenge, the newspaper produced by the Young Communist League (YCL), surveyed the state of British youth culture.1 Superficially, he reasoned, things did not look good. The youth movements that helped define the 1960s had fragmented; popular music appeared depoliticised. Although glam rock had briefly offered an interesting challenge to masculine stereotypes, and reggae continued to provide a

in Labour and working-class lives
Gavin Brown

4 Anti-apartheid solidarity in the perspectives and practices of the British far left in the 1970s and 1980s Gavin Brown Communists and members of the New Left were involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) from its origins in the late 1950s. In its early days, the AAM welcomed support from individual communists, but was reluctant to be seen to be too close to the Communist Party (CP). Nevertheless, members of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) played a significant role at all levels of the movement throughout its history.1 Fundamental to this was

in Waiting for the revolution
Commonalities and divisions
Anastasia Chartomatsidi

7 The British left’s attitude towards the Battle of Athens, December 1944–February 1945: commonalities and divisions Anastasia Chartomatsidi Introduction The topic of this chapter is the British left’s attitude towards the conflict in Greece from the December Events (Dekemvriana) (1944) to the Varkiza Agreement (February 1945). More specifically, it examines the attitudes of the Labour Party, the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and the newly founded Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). This study presents the positions of these parties and explores how

in Labour united and divided from the 1830s to the present
Abstract only
Thomas Linehan

Linehan 00 13/6/07 11:26 Page 1 Introduction It is necessary, in the first instance, to explain this book’s focus. Firstly, this book is a study of the communist life and the communist experience of membership. The study will also place itself on the interface between the membership and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) by considering the efforts of the latter to give shape to that experience. The CPGB was formed in July 1920, a product of a favourable revolutionary conjuncture, Comintern (CI) prompting, and an amalgamation of a number of small

in Communism in Britain 1920–39
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The far left in Britain from 1956
Evan Smith and Matthew Worley

, has often been used to define groups outside the Labour Party – that is, groups, parties or movements deemed more revolutionary or overtly socialist than Labour. Given such ambiguity, ‘the far left’ is typically used to distinguish between Labour and those such as the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) or the various Trotskyist groups to have emerged in Britain from at least the 1960s. In his 1987 book, John Callaghan used the term ‘far left’ to describe the ‘Leninist left’ of the CPGB, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), IMG, Militant and the Workers

in Against the grain