Sloan Pat

Pat Sloan 

Born Patrick Alan Sloan on the 19th May 1908 in Northumberland, his father was a manager of an electrical power company.

Pat Sloan graduated with a First in Economics from Cambridge University.

He lived and worked in the Soviet Union on and off from 1931 until 1937, although he did not formally join the British Communist Party until 1933. He spoke at the national congress of the Party in 1938, the year he edited a memorial book for John Cornford (see separate entry). He began publishing articles and books on the Soviet Union, including one for the Left Book Club, which would add up to a considerable body of work.

Sloan married fellow Communist Margaret Cohen in Surrey in 1944.

During his Party life, he was a Branch Secretary, District Committee member, and muncipal election candidate. He was a member of the Association of Supervisory Staffs, Executives and Technicians (ASSET- later ASTMS) and was always an active member of the Co-operative movement. By 1949 he was secretary of Biggin Hill & Leaves Green branch of the Party in Kent and continued to live locally for many years.

In 1951, he became General Secretary of the British-Soviet Friendship Society, a merger between the Friends of the Soviet Union (established in 1930), the Russia Today Society (founded in 1934), and the National Committee for British-Soviet Unity, a successor bodies to the Anglo-Soviet Friendship Committee, established in 1940. Sloan found his role became an extremely stressful one during the 1950s as the cold war proceeded but the growth of the national liberation movements in the developing world gave him heart.

By the mid-60s, an identifiable new trend had emerged of the re-printing of articles from the British Communist press and journals in newly emergent African nations. Alongside this, many new and original articles by leading British Communists were published in various journals in the now independent countries of Africa.  These were usually and notably by people such as Palme Dutt, Idris Cox, Jack Woddis, and Kay Beauchamp (see separate entries for all), but Pat Sloan also made a significant contribution. He also gave a series of lectures in Ghana from 1964-5.

Developments in the international communist movement weighed heavily on Sloan and, as he aged, he had become less active by the turn of the 1970s.  As he put it in Comment in 1971, "my activity has declined partly due to the ageing process, partly to the accompanying feeling that `it is now up to the younger ones, and partly to the fact that we now no longer have that comforting and inspiring monolithic `black and white picture which, however wrong it was, held us together in the past". The lack of progress of the Party in Britain was a source of real disappointment to him.

By the mid-70s he had moved to Orpington and was a member of the Bromley branch of the Communist Party there until his death. During this time, he wrote and published an account of economics from a Marxist standpoint in 1975, which seemed to be testing beliefs established in youth.

Sloan died in late 1978 in Orpington.

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