Endgames and New Times

Endgames and New Times

The Final Years of British Communism 1964-1991

May 2004
/
ISBN: 
9780853159919
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264
pp
£18.00

This is the sixth and final volume of L&W’s comprehensive history of the British Communist Party, covering the debates of the last years - a period of accelerated change and reassessment, and ultimately dissolution.

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The book begins by situating the CPGB within the major social and cultural changes of the 1960s, and documents the hopes for renewal that were symbolised by the new social movements associated with May 68, and the Prague spring. It ends with the collapse of the party and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Despite all the new thinking and idealism, the party could not hold together.

The book covers the Young Communist League’s engagement with popular culture in the 1960s; the influence of the new social movements, especially feminism; the party’s strong presence in the trade unions; CPGB relations with the Labour Party and labour movement; the increasing influence of Gramsci within the party, especially among a new generation of intellectuals; the Communist Universities of London; the influence of Eurocommunism; and the rise and fall of Marxism Today.

Preface
Introduction

Part One: Class, culture, communism and the challenge of the new social movements: 1964-1975
1. Communist identity and the impact of the YCL
The context of the 1960s
Class as the organising principle of communist identity
The contradictions of class: emancipation or cultural conservatism?
Working class unity
The CP in the early 1960s
The YCL and the cultural explosion
The trend is communism
Anticipating Gramsci?

2. Unlikely allies: feminists, students and the Party - FREE CHAPTER
The Politics of the New Social Movements
The CP and the New Student Movement
Left Behind: Communist Students in Crisis 1968-1972
Broad Left and Organic Intellectuals; the Communist Student Breakthrough; 1972-1974
The Origins of the Feminist Critique
The Impact of Red Rag
Feminism comes in from the Cold

Part Two: Renewing the Party: 1964-1975
3. Ideological and Strategic Renewal in the CPGB 1964-1968
The Break with Leninism: The British Road to Socialism  and the New Political Strategy
The Return of Socialist Humanism
Questions of Ideology and Culture
The Communist-Christian Dialogue
The Contours of Militant Labourism
The Critique of Monopoly Capitalism
Organising For Struggle: The Principle of Left Unity
The Prague Spring and After
In Search of a Strategy?

4. The Communist Party’s Industrial Strategy 1968-1974
Researching the CP’s Industrial Politics in the Period of the New Militancy
Militant Labourism and the Consolidation of the New Militancy
Situating the Party within the New Militancy
The CP and Free Collective Bargaining
Assessing the Party’s Impact
Extending the Party’s Influence in the Unions
Diversity and Pragmatism: The Party’s Influence in the Trade Union Broad Lefts
The Consolidation of Militant Labourism: Industrial Strategy Meets Political Strategy
The Conservatism of Militant Labourism
The CP, the Labour Left and the Alternative Economic Strategy
Battles From Within: Divisions over Economic and Industrial Strategy Emerge
Battles From Without: The Split over the Social Contract

Part Three: The rise and fall of an alternative strategy: 1975-1979
5. From Gramscism to Eurocommunism
The Emergence of British Gramscism
British Gramscism and the New Left
The Influence of Gramsci in the CP
The Critique of Economism
The Feminist Critique
The Cultural Critique
Political Agency and the Limits of Economism
Redefining Class Politics
Class and the Politics of Liberation
Gramscism Meets Eurocommunism: A New Political Strategy?
Eurocommunism and the Centrality of Democracy
The Revolutionary Democrats and the New British Road to Socialism
The Return of the Soviet Mantra
A Hollow Victory?

6. The CP in Decline
Gramscism Put On Hold
From Renewal to Inertia: The Leadership Fights Back
The Forward March of Labour Halted
The Rise of Sectionalism
Economism
The Debate Opens Up
The Consolidation of Division
The Decline of the Party’s Industrial Base
The YCL’s Downturn
The Student Demise
Another Exodus of Intellectuals?

Part Four: The Final Battle
7. The Death of Militant Labourism and the Crisis of Class Politics

Let Battle Commence
The Soviet Mantra Lives On
Divided We Stand
No Private Drama
Class Crisis; the Wider Context
Feminism and the Crisis of Class
From Class Politics to New Times

8. New Times and After
The Evolution of the New Times Project
Marxism Today’s New Times
From British Gramscism to New Times; A New Political Trajectory
The Manifesto For New Times
The Philosophy of the Manifesto
New Times and the New Left
New Times and New Labour

Bibliography
Appendix