Communist Party

Building a theatre of action

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The Workers' Theatre Movement developed out of the confident working class movement of mid-1920s Britain, but was later buried by the changing priorities of the Communist Party. Its radical legacy of performance by, for and about workers is uncovered by David Gilchrist.

The great upheavals of the First World War and the Russian Revolution led to a widespread questioning in British society; this applied no less to theatre. Following the example of Russia, which experienced a huge flowering of art following the revolution of 1917, workers in Britain saw the establishment, at first locally, and then on a national basis, of the Workers’ Theatre Movement (WTM).

Lessons of defeat: German communists and the rise of Hitler

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Eighty years ago Hitler came to power, crushing the strongest workers' movement in the world. Donny Gluckstein, author of A People's History of the Second World War, looks at the fatal mistakes the German left made in response to the rise of Nazis and draws lessons for today

This year, 2013, marks a tragic anniversary. It is 80 years since Hitler established his dictatorship over Germany. On 27 February 1933, shortly after his appointment as chancellor, the parliament (Reichstag) burned down in a fire which was probably started by the Nazis. This was the excuse needed to ban the Communist Party and begin mass repression. On 22 March the first concentration camp opened at Dachau near Munich.

The minority movement

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As major industrial struggle seems set to make a return to Britain, Dave Sherry looks at the strategy and tactics of the revolutionary left during the period of intense class conflict which gripped Britain between the end of the First World War and the General Strike of 1926

In 1920 the best parts of the revolutionary left came together to form the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). It was soon put to the test.

Its first big challenge was the relationship between the "official" and "unofficial" wings of the trade union movement and how to work both with and against a newly emerging group of leftwing officials in the face of a deep recession and a vicious state offensive.

Eric Hobsbawm: half Marx

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Eminent historian Eric Hobsbawm's latest book champions Karl Marx as capitalism's great critic, but he argues that Marx's alternative to the system has failed. Patrick Ward looks at why it is wrong to abandon Marxism as a project for transforming the world


The financial and economic crisis that erupted in 2008 has a fed a renewed interest in the ideas of Karl Marx. The latest book from respected Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, How to Change the World, is a welcome addition to this resurgence.

Left History: Rising from the East

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Dave Crouch looks at the role of the Communist Party in organising Jewish workers in London's East End from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Respect's electoral success in east London and Birmingham is not the first time the left has reached out to an oppressed minority in political turmoil. Phil Piratin's famous victory in 1945 to become Communist Party MP for the Mile End constituency took place in an area where Jewish immigrants made up between 40 and 50 percent of the population.

To Fight Chauvinism Everywhere

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Communists in Harlem, just republished, is the celebrated account of the relationship between communism and the black struggle in the US. Hassan Mahamdallie speaks to its author Mark Naison.

Communists in Harlem first came out in 1983. What spurred you to write it?

I was very involved in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the late 1960s and the whole approach of the Communist Party to the 'Negro question' was something that different groups in SDS were using to justify or explain their own understanding of race in America in that pretty tumultuous era. They used the communist approach particularly to justify how they would deal with organisations like the Black Panthers or black student unions on college campuses.

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