Communism in the professions : the organisation of the British Communist Party among professional workers, 1933-1956

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Parsons, Stephen Robert
  • Subject: JN101 | HT

This thesis is a historical study of middle-class members of the Communist\ud Party of Great Britain. Although it is principally concerned with the\ud period from 1933 to 1956 some attention is given to the Party's first\ud decade and the years immediately after the great upheaval of 1956. The\ud thesis examines the reasons why middle-class people were attracted to the\ud Communist Party; the various cultural and political initiatives they were\ud involved in and their changing role in the CP. The work describes the way\ud middle-class Communists drew upon their professional and technical skills\ud to contribute to the life of the Party and its political campaigns.\ud Attention is also given to the relationship of middle-class Communists\ud both to their working-class fellow members and to the Party leadership and\ud how these relationships developed and changed over time. The thesis\ud revises various previously accepted characterisations of middle-class\ud Communists which have emphasised the superficial nature of their\ud commitment to the CP in the late 1930s or concentrated attention on those\ud who became entangled in the world of spying. The most important aspect of\ud the study, however, is the examination of the way in which Communists in\ud the professions related their Communism to their work and how in turn\ud their professional concerns and attitudes influenced their politics. To\ud this end detailed studies have been made of the political and occupational\ud activities of Communists in three professional groups - architects,\ud psychologists and school teachers.
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