Class or Nation: Communists, Imperialism, and Two World Wars by Neil Redfern

By Neil Redfern

The dimensions of the Communist occasion of significant Britain (CPGB) belied its effect; many observed it as a microcosm of the communist-capitalist fight. It had a robust presence in British society regardless of being a minority stream. established upon newly on hand assets, Neil Redfern re-examines the move and its dating to imperialism. He strains the heritage of British communism from its gradualist roots and reveals that, regardless of global battle I, the 1917 revolution and mass events in Asia, Africa and Latin the USA, CPGB remained Euro-centred and reformist instead of innovative, even assisting the post-1945 Labour govt.

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Extra info for Class or Nation: Communists, Imperialism, and Two World Wars

Example text

After the final split in the BSP the Manifesto provided for the international majority the means to avoid ‘revolutionary defeatism’. The split came within months, helped along by The Vanguard, published by Maclean’s Glasgow branch. In its first issue, in an open challenge to the Hyndmanites, it averred that ‘This monstrous war shows the day of social pottering or reform has passed . . 119 In November, Petroff came close to calling for a split: ‘We must . . 121 He was arrested shortly afterwards, as part of the general repressions on the Clyde.

The illusion was based on the International’s deterministic view that socialism would inevitably supersede capitalism. The growth of large-scale capitalist production was held to be automatically creating the material conditions for socialism and also an associated class consciousness in the working class, a view that seemed to be vindicated by the enormous growth of trade unions and mass socialist parties. But August 1914 showed that nationalism was a more potent mass force than socialism. Yet the illusion was not utterly without foundation – hundreds of thousands demonstrated against war in Britain, France and Germany in the crucial July days.

51 In 1908, when Anglo-German contention over colonies was becoming acute, Blatchford argued that ‘Britain must defend her Empire or lose it . . The world is welcome to my share of the Empire . . 52 The Marxist Sects in Britain This then was the milieu in which British Marxism took root. The main Marxist organisations in our period were the SDF, the main forerunner of the BSP, in turn the main founding organisation of the Communist Party of Great Britain, William Morris’s Socialist League, the SLP and the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB).

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