This proved to be a mixed blessing in the General Strike of immediately prior to which much of the central leadership of the CPGB was imprisoned. Twelve were charged with "seditious conspiracy". Five were jailed for a year and the others for six months. Another major problem for the party was its policy of abnegating its own role and calling upon the General Council of the Trades Union Congress to play a revolutionary role. Nonetheless during the strike itself and during the long drawn out agony of the following Miners' Strike the members of the CPGB were to the fore in defending the strike and in attempting to develop solidarity with the miners.
The result was that membership of the party in mining areas increased greatly through and Much of these gains would be lost during the Third Period but influence was developed in certain areas that would continue until the party's demise decades later. The CPGB did succeed in creating a layer of militants very committed to the party and its policies, although this support was concentrated in particular trades, specifically in heavy engineering, textiles and mining, and in addition tended to be concentrated regionally too in the coalfields, certain industrial cities such as Glasgow and in Jewish East London.
But this support built during the party's first years was imperiled during the Third Period from to , the Third Period being the so-called period of renewed revolutionary advance as it was dubbed by the now Stalinised leadership of the Comintern. The result of this "class against class" policy was that the Social Democratic and Labourite parties were to be seen as equally as much a threat as the fascist parties and were therefore described as being social-fascist. Any kind of alliance with " social-fascists " was obviously to be prohibited.
They met with an almost total lack of success although a tiny handful of "red" unions were formed, amongst them a miners union in Scotland and tailoring union in East London. Arthur Horner , the Communist leader of the Welsh miners, fought off attempts to found a similar union on his patch.
But even if the Third Period was by all conventional standards a total political failure it was the 'heroic' period of British communism and one of its campaigns did have impact beyond its ranks.
Increasing unemployment had caused a substantial increase in the number of CP members, especially those drawn from engineering, lacking work. This cadre of which Hannington and Harry MacShane in Scotland were emblematic, found a purpose in building the NUWM which resulted in a number of marches on the unemployment issue during the s.
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Although born in the Third Period during the Great depression, the NUWM was a major campaigning body throughout the Popular Front period too, only being dissolved in This policy argued that as fascism was the main danger to the workers' movement, it needed to ally itself with all anti-fascist forces including right-wing democratic parties. In Britain this policy expressed itself in the efforts of the CPGB to forge an alliance with the Labour Party and even with forces to the right of Labour.
Gallacher sat for West Fife in Scotland , a coal mining region in which it had considerable support. On the streets the party members played a leading role in the struggle against the British Union of Fascists , led by Sir Oswald Mosley whose Blackshirts tried to emulate the Nazis in anti-Semitic actions in London and other major British cities. With the beginning of the Second World War in , the CPGB initially continued to support the struggle on two fronts against Chamberlain at home and Nazi fascism abroad.
Following the Molotov—Ribbentrop nonaggression pact on August 23 between the Soviet Union and Germany, the Comintern immediately changed its position. The British party immediately fell in line, campaigning for peace, and describing the war as the product of imperialism on both sides, and in which the working class had no side to take. Campbell , the editor of the Daily Worker , and both were relieved of their duties in October From until the CPGB was very active in supporting strikes and in denouncing the government for its pursuit of the war. However, when in the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany, the CPGB reversed its stance immediately and came out in support of the war on the grounds that it had now become a war between fascism and the Soviet Union.
Pollitt was restored to his old position as Party Secretary. In fact, the Communists' support for the war was so vociferous that they launched a campaign for a Second Front in order to support the USSR and speed the defeat of the Axis. In industry they now opposed strike action and supported the Joint Production Committees,  which aimed to increase productivity, and supported the National Government that was led by Winston Churchill Conservative and Clement Attlee Labour. At the same time, given the influence of Rajani Palme Dutt in the Party, the issue of Indian independence and the independence of colonies was emphasised.
Harry Pollitt failed by only votes to take the Rhondda East constituency. Both Communist MPs however, lost their seats at the general election. The Party was keen to demonstrate its loyalty to Britain's industrial competitiveness as stepping point towards socialism. At the 19th Congress, Harry Pollitt asked rhetorically, "why do we need to increase production? To retain our independence as a nation. The party's membership peaked during , reaching around 60, In the party issued a programme, The British Road to Socialism officially adopted at the 22nd Congress in April , which explicitly advocated the possibility of a peaceful transition to socialism — but only after it had been personally approved by Stalin himself, according to some historians.
Glossary – Churchill College
From the war years to the CPGB was at the height of its influence in the labour movement with many union officials who were members. Not only did it have immense influence in the National Union of Mineworkers but it was extremely influential in the Electrical Trade Union and in the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers the key blue collar union. In addition much of the Labour Party left was strongly influenced by the party. Dissidents were few, perhaps the most notable being Eric Heffer the future Labour MP who left the party in the late s, and were easily dealt with.
The death of Stalin in , and the uprising in East Germany the same year had little direct influence on the CPGB, but they were harbingers of what was to come. On his return to Britain Fryer resigned from the Daily Worker and was expelled from the party. After the calamitous events of , the party increasingly functioned as a pressure group, seeking to use its well-organised base in the trade union movement to push the Labour Party leftwards.
Gerry Pocock, Assistant Industrial Organiser described the industrial department as "a party within a party", and Marxism Today editor James Klugmann would routinely defer to Industrial Organiser Bert Ramelson on matters of policy.
kick-cocoa.info/components/pikecodi/xamop-come-recuperare-i.php The party's orientation, though, was to the left union officers, not the rank and file. Historian Geoff Andrews' explains 'it was the role of the shop stewards in organising the Broad Lefts and influencing trade union leaders that was the key rather than organising the rank and file in defiance of leaderships' and so the party withdrew from rank-and-file organisations like the Building Workers' Charter, and attacked "Trotskyist" tactics at the Pilkington Glass dispute in Still the party's efforts to establish an electoral base repeatedly failed.
They retained a handful of seats in local councils scattered around Britain, but the CPGB's only representative in Parliament was in the House of Lords, gained when Wogan Philipps , the son of a ship-owner and a long-standing member of the CPGB, inherited the title of Lord Milford when his father died in The Daily Worker was renamed the Morning Star in At the same time the party became increasingly polarised between those who sought to maintain close relations with the Soviet Union and those who sought to convert the party into a force independent of Moscow.
The international split between Moscow and Beijing in led to divisions within many Communist Parties but there was little pro-Beijing sympathy in the relatively small British Party. This tiny group left the CPGB by McCreery himself died in in New Zealand. Later a more significant group formed around Reg Birch , an engineering union official, established the Communist Party of Britain Marxist-Leninist. Initially, this group supported the position of the Communist Party of China. Divisions in the CPGB concerning the autonomy of the party from Moscow reached a crisis in , when Warsaw pact forces intervened in Czechoslovakia.
The CPGB, with memories of in mind, responded with some very mild criticism of Moscow, refusing to call it an invasion, preferring "intervention". Three days after the invasion, John Gollan said "we completely understand the concern of the Soviet Union about the security of the socialist camp Even this response provoked a small localised split by the so-called Appeal Group which was in many respects a precursor of the split which formed the New Communist Party.
From this time onwards, the most traditionally-minded elements in the CPGB were referred to as ' Tankies ' by their internal opponents, due to their support of the Warsaw Pact forces. Others within the party leaned increasingly towards the position of eurocommunism , which was the leading tendency within the important Communist parties of Italy and, later, Spain. However, this strong result was primarily a personal vote for Reid, who was a prominent local trade union leader and gained much support because of his prominent role in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in , which had taken place a few years earlier and was seen as having saved local jobs.
The Euro-Communists in the party apparatus were starting to challenge the authority of the trade union organisers. At the Congress, Dave Purdy proposed that "the labour movement should declare its willingness to accept voluntary pay restraint as a contribution to the success of the programme and a way of easing the transition to a socialist economy"  — a challenge to the Industrial Department's policy of "free collective bargaining".
The growing crisis in the party also affected the credibility of its leadership, as formerly senior and influential members left its ranks.
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In , three of its top engineering cadres resigned. Jimmy Reid , Cyril Morton and John Tocher had all been members of the Political Committee, playing a crucial role in determining the direction of the party. Like another engineer, Bernard Panter, who left a few months before them, they jumped a sinking ship. According to the Party's official historian this period was marked by a growing division between the practitioners of cultural politics — heavily inspired by the writings of Antonio Gramsci and party's powerful industrial department which advocated a policy of militant labourism.
The cultural politics wing had dominated the party's youth wing in the s and was also powerful in the student section. As such many of its members were academics or professional intellectuals or in the view of their opponents, out of touch and middle class. They were influenced by the environmental and especially the feminist movement. The other wing were powerful in senior levels of the trade union movement though few actually reached the very top in the unions and despite the party's decline in numbers were able to drive the TUC's policy of opposing the Industrial Relations Act.
In the view of their opponents on the cultural or eurocommunist wing, they were out of touch with the real changes in working people's lives and attitudes. As the seventies progressed and as industrial militancy declined in the face of high unemployment, the tensions in the party rose even as its membership continued to decline. By debate around the new draft of the British Road to Socialism brought the party to breaking point. Many of the anti- Eurocommunists decided that they needed to form their own anti-revisionist Communist party.