Restoring Stalinism to communist history

McIlroy, John (2013) Restoring Stalinism to communist history. Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory, 41 (4) . pp. 599-622. ISSN 0301-7605 [Article] (doi:10.1080/03017605.2013.876816)

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From the late 1920s into the 1960s Stalinism dominated British Communism. It transformed the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) into a Soviet satellite and reformist hybrid. Policy swings animated by Russian policy compromised the CPGB’s work in the trade unions. They facilitated adaptation to trade unionism and accommodation
with labourism, although these tendencies were periodically challenged. This article assesses the writings of Nina Fishman. A self-styled ‘revisionist’, Fishman
sidelined Stalinism, located the dynamics of the CPGB’s union intervention in British culture, party leaders’ conscious economism and disregard of bureaucratic centralism. She applauded their move from revolutionary politics to reformism. Her delineation of the development of British Communism and dismissal of Soviet hegemony is
conceptually and evidentially flawed. Marxist conceptions of Stalinism, trade unionism and economism provide a superior means of understanding British Communism than
Fishman’s inadequately evidenced assertion of the CPGB’s independence, trade union loyalism and revolutionary pragmatism.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 13171
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Depositing User: John Mcilroy
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2014 08:31
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 00:21

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