'Class against class': the leadership of the Communist Party of Great Britain during the Comintern’s Third Period, 1928–1934

McIlroy, John and Campbell, Alan (2022) 'Class against class': the leadership of the Communist Party of Great Britain during the Comintern’s Third Period, 1928–1934. Labor History, 63 (2) . pp. 145-189. ISSN 0023-656X [Article] (doi:10.1080/0023656x.2022.2074973)

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Abstract

A prosopographical survey employed statistical analysis of data detailing the origins, occupations, prior affiliations, political careers and destinations of the 66 leading Communists who served on the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) during the Comintern’s Third Period, 1928–1934. There was significant innovation in composition: consonant with transformed politics, around 62% of CC representatives were newcomers, turnover accelerated significantly compared with 1923–1927 and the Old Guard was discarded. The committees were younger, although mean age only declined from 37 to 34 years, and female representation more than doubled. The CC remained overwhelmingly working-class – slightly more than in earlier years – with strong representation from skilled manual workers and miners. Only a small minority met the Comintern prescription that the committee be revitalised by electing factory militants; by the end of the Third Period, 90% of members were paid party workers. Short-term change failed to produce an enduring renewal of the Communist leadership. Some 75% of Newcomers during the ‘Class Against Class’ years failed to survive beyond them as CC representatives, with negative implications for the construction of an experienced cadre. A core of 12 who served before, during and after the Third Period was reinforced by 10 Newcomers who continued in the leadership after 1934. In succeeding decades, none of them challenged in prominence and prestige the core of leaders in place prior to 1929.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, History
Research Areas: A. > Business School > International Management and Innovation
Item ID: 35641
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Labor History on 02 Aug 2022, available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/0023656x.2022.2074973
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2022 15:22
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:34
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/35641

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