Against the Grain: The British Far Left From 1956

Opposed to the grain is the 1st common historical past of the British a long way left to be released within the twenty-first century. Its contents hide a number of companies past the Labour occasion, bringing jointly top specialists on British left-wing politics to envision problems with category, race and gender from 1956 to the current day. The essays amassed listed here are designed to spotlight the influence made via the a ways left on British politics and society. even though the anticipated revolution didn't come, companies comparable to the overseas Socialists, the foreign Marxist workforce and Militant grew to become loved ones names within the Seventies and Eighties. Taken as an entire, the gathering demonstrates the level to which the some distance left has weaved its impression into the political textile of england.

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4 The controversy intensified when, after the announcement of the Hitler– Stalin Pact in August 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union proceeded to partition Poland. The totalitarian states were active allies it seemed. indd 27 03/06/2014 16:01:04 28 Part I Movements provinces of Poland, despite excluding Polish workers and peasants from the process. 5 Max Shachtman now joined James Burnham in disputing the workers’ state theory (and would go on to develop his own theory of bureaucratic collectivism) within the SWP.

Inevitably the RCP, like the FI, was split by warring groups. 42 Recognising their poor prospects they separately calculated that there was more to be gained operating within the Labour Party than by trying to create rival parties on the outside. They would engage in what the Trotskyists called ‘entrism’ – that is organised infiltration. Outside far left circles they attracted little attention until the 1960s. Labour’s own left-wing was itself divided over the role of Stalinism. 43 This changed dramatically in the wake of the American decision to assist European economic recovery in the summer of 1947.

These last three chapters take events from the mid-1960s up to the present day and this is indicative of the far left’s significant contribution to anti-racist and anti-fascist activism, particularly when its influence in other areas of politics had declined. As noted above, this collection cannot serve as a comprehensive history of the far left in Britain since the 1950s. At the very least, it hopes to encourage further research and point towards new sources relevant to the subject. We would, too, like to think that the collection will spark a dialogue amongst activists in the present era about the history of the far left since the mid-twentieth century and how this impacts upon contemporary left-wing politics.

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