The Political Culture of the Left in Affluent Britain, by Lawrence Black (auth.)

By Lawrence Black (auth.)

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Communists typically chose titles such as To Struggle is to Live or Born to Struggle. 4o For Richard Hoggart, socialists were a species who want to do something about things'. ' 41 This impulse was not entirely altruistic. ' A 1955 CPGB country branches conference stressed the importance of work in the British Legion, Women's Institute and cricket clubs. ' In some cases the same people - Labour's Douglas Hawkins was South Wales Pigeon Club secretary from 1962. The point was that this was not a strictly political impulse, but one that found realization in socialism.

Families were often at the core of local Labour organization -like the Woolets in North Ealing. There was concern in the 1950s that these could become private fiefdoms. Family ties in Southwark, it was found, froze-out newcomers'. 59 Identities 25 Socialism was, in part, hereditary. ' To grow up in a 1950s communist household was to be, in the title of a recent collection, The Children of the Revolution. Activists' children were regarded as likely members' for the YCL or Labour League of Youth.

This was evinced in British Communism by the trauma of leaving the party. 45 Those who left the CPGB attracted media interest during the Cold War. Labour politics in rural Tory strongholds and the professions were tantamount to social isolation', but communists were perceived as ~liens' and suffered a pariah status'. Defectors were greeted (even by historical accounts like Pelling's) as if they had returned from a foreign adventure. McShane, who left to join Eric Heffer in the Socialist Workers' Federation, rejected £500 from the Daily Express, but sold his story to Reynolds News.

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