Communist history

The ETU and the Communist Party

Dedication:To those Communists of integrity and honesty, loyal to their union, who were falsely accused of fraud against it.   Thanks to Bob Carr and Larry Braithwaite, Communist veterans of the ETU, for their invaluable assistance. […]

Communist history

History CP early 50s early 60s



After its defeat in the early 1950s, a process of its leading politicians beginning to simply follow the same broad ideological thrust as the Tories had seemingly delivered the electoral party of the working class virtually wholesale to Tory politics.

A left opposition of sorts did exist in the Parliamentary Labour Party but it was very much focused on leading individuals. Nye Bevan had been clearly on the left in the House of Commons during the war. After the landslide Labour victory in the 1945 general election, he was appointed Minister of Health, responsible for establishing the National Health Service. In 1951, Bevan was moved to become Minister of Labour and National Service. Shortly afterwards he resigned from the government in protest at the introduction of prescription charges for dental care and spectacles. His resignation, along with others was in protest at Chancellor, Hugh Gaitskell’s, introduction of charges imposed in order to meet the financial demands imposed by the Korean War. Bevan effectively led the left wing of the Labour Party for the next five years.

In the meantime, and contrary to much retrospective suggestion, Tory politics began to shift away from the war-time consensus. In 1953, the end to the BBC’s monopoly on broadcasting was signalled with the passing of legislation that would result in the appearance of ITV. The same year, sweet rationing but not sugar rationing ended, followed the next year by the complete abolition after fourteen years of food rationing in Britain when restrictions on the sale and purchase of meat and bacon were finally lifted. Communists argued that all that the Tories had done was to “abolish rationing by the book – only to replace it by rationing by the purse”.  [Communist Party, `A policy for Britain: general election manifesto’, (1955)]


Articles, reviews, speeches

Birmingham Communists in action in the 1930s

From “the Lucas girls’ joy” to “we won’t pay” – the fight against Bedaux to the rent strike: Birmingham Communists in action in the 1930s                Graham Stevenson   The 1930s saw, across the country […]

Communist history

The Communist Party in the 1980s

THE BRITISH COMMUNIST PARTY IN THE 1980s: REVISIONISM, RESISTANCE AND RE-ESTABLISHMENT   The background to the falling apart of the CPGB was deeply rooted in controversies about which direction the Party should go; should it […]

Communist history

The Life and Times of Sid Easton

              THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SID EASTON         “The Life and Times of Sid Easton” (1992) is a collection of items associated with a well known Communist. Sometime street fighter, sportsman, cabbie, […]

Communist history

Anatomy of decline – the Young Communist League 1967-86

   ANATOMY OF DECLINE The Young Communist League of Great Britain 1967-86           by                      GRAHAM  STEVENSON Right: The 1965 Midlands district congress […]

Communist history

The Memoirs of Frank Watters

“Being Frank”: The Memoirs of Frank Watters   “Dedicated to my grandchildren      Ben and Joanne Stevenson” © Estate of Frank Watters 2006 ******************************************************************   Editor’s note: The text of `Being Frank’ reproduced here is […]