Endgames and New Times: The Final Years of British Communism 1964-1991

Endgames and New Times: The Final Years of British Communism 1964-1991

by Geoff Andrews


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780853159919
Publisher: Lawrence & Wishart Ltd
Publication date: 09/28/2004
Pages: 266
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Geoff Andrews is lecturer and staff tutor in politics at the Open University and a coeditor of Soundings. He has written widely on the history of the left. He is the author of Citizenship and Opening the Books: Essays on the Cultural and Social History of the Communist Party.

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Endgames and New Times: The Final Years of British Communism 1964-1991 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
Geoff Andrews, a Lecturer in Politics at the Open University, has written the sixth and final volume in Lawrence & Wishart’s history of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Andrews claims that ‘Stalin endorsed the main features’ of the revisionist 1951 CPGB programme The British Road to Socialism. But the only evidence for this seems to be party General Secretary Harry Pollitt’s unsupported claim that Stalin endorsed it when he met Pollitt in Moscow in 1950. Before Pollitt’s trip, the CPGB’s Central Committee had not discussed the need for a new programme, nor had it produced a draft. Pollitt acted behind the Party’s back. He alleged that he showed a document to Stalin, who, allegedly, approved it as a programme. Pollitt then returned home claiming Stalin’s backing, to bounce the CC into backing the new line. The CPGB’s 1956 break with Stalin led inevitably to its break with Lenin, which led inevitably to its break with Marx. Each was a step not to renewal but to dissolution. Its final break with Marxism was a break with the trade unions: its 1989 Manifesto for New Times accused trade unions of acting ‘against the interests of society as a whole’. In 1994, its journal Marxism Today backed Blair for Labour Party leader. Marxism Today, like the Labour Party, embraced Thatcherism while pretending to oppose it. Marxism Today wrote of the ‘failure of the left to understand Thatcherism’ – true, it didn’t understand Thatcherism. The CPGB never defined class clearly. It rejected the truth that all who work for a living are working class, the vast majority. Instead it fostered a false split between mental and manual workers – which split not the class, but itself. In rejecting class, it rejected materialist analysis of events. It fell for romantic nonsense about the Paris events of 1968, about new social movements and about the ‘New Left’. It enthused over Gramsci’s anti-Marxist hostility to the economic basis of society and his consequent wrong strategies. The CPGB also rejected democratic centralism. Instead it embraced the divisions of race, gender and sexual orientation, so-called identity politics (in fact, disunity politics). So it set up separate committees for each identity, dividing itself till it fell apart. This liberalism in the face of threats to party unity caused its demise.