Early British Communism

Two recent articles

The second of two articles commemorating the centenary of the British Communist Party is now available and should be of interest to members of the SLHS as it deals extensively with a number of Glasgow socialists, including Arthur MacManus, Tom Bell and William Paul.

John McIlroy and Alan Campbell, ‘The Socialist Labour Party and the leadership of early British Communism’, Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory, 48, 4 (2020), pp. 609–659: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/Y2BHVVI5SXIJFQYYABRM/full?target=10…

Starting from the work of Walter Kendall, Ray Challinor, James Hinton and Richard Hyman, the article addresses a long-standing historiographical issue: the role ex-members of its main constituent organisations, the BSP and SLP, played in the early Communist Party. It progresses past controversy by analysing the 19 former SLP activists who sat on the CPGB Executive in the 1920s. It compares their impact in the party with their comparators from the BSP. The article concludes that the idea of competing political identities based on earlier allegiance persisting into the 1920s has been exaggerated and fails to facilitate our understanding of the development of British Communism between 1920 and 1928.

See also John McIlroy and Alan Campbell, A. (2020b). 'The early British Communist leaders, 1920–1923: a prosopographical exploration', Labor History, 62, 5–6 (2020), pp. 423–465: