Too close for comfort
The errors of the CPGB in relation to the 1924 minority Labour government were deeply rooted in the political physiognomy of the early Comintern, argues Lawrence Parker
This article maps out some of the Communist Party of Great Britain’s response to the installation of a minority Labour government under prime minister Ramsay MacDonald in January-November 1924.
In summary, the CPGB had an opportunistic wobble at the beginning of 1924, as the government was formed, followed by the adoption of a more principled line after the intervention of the Communist International, with the CPGB then moving against some of those elements within its organisation that had been infected with the earlier opportunistic line. There then followed debates that suggested figures such as Rajani Palme Dutt were guilty of collapsing politically in the face of the Labour government and flitting between opportunism and sectarianism.
The CPGB’s problems with its united front tactics in this period were constant, going far beyond individual errors, generalised misapplication or specific misguidance from the Comintern. Rather, such problems can be seen as extending back into the notion of a united front tactic wielded by the militarised, top-down parties envisaged by the 21 conditions adopted at the second congress of the Comintern in 1920.
Space precludes a detailed discussion of the machinations of Britain’s first Labour government and we can only record that it defiantly set itself against any assertion of class interest and instead stressed the cause of ‘national’ unity, which, in this case, meant the pacification of capitalists and capitalist interests.1 In other words, it was not a particularly edifying institution to be spreading illusions in, as the CPGB certainly did in early 1924. However, it was not as if the CPGB did not know what was going to take place in regard to the illusions that the working class had in 1923 and 1924 regarding MacDonald and company. Thus in May 1923, the communist MP for Motherwell, Walton Newbold, wrote:
The Labour Party, so far as it remains under the leadership of Mr MacDonald, will re-enact in English history the role of the Presbyterian majority in the Long Parliament [1640-60]. It will vacillate and compromise, compromise and vacillate, until finally, through intrigue, it goes over bag and baggage to the counterrevolution.2
In a similar preparatory vein, Tom Bell warned that it would be “folly to think that the [CPGB] can ever give up its right to criticise the policy of the Labour Party or the personal conduct of the Labour leaders”.
Writing in November 1923, Dutt continued this sober appreciation into his analysis of the December 1923 general election: “It is no good looking to the existing [Labour] leadership to produce a working class programme: they are too far gone in confusion and capitulation already.”3 However, while the author is looking to the “local bodies of the workers themselves”,4 Dutt narrows the horizons of the movement in an economistic manner, with his talk of keeping “clear of all the intricacies of bourgeois politics, foreign policy, economic theory, restoration of markets, empire trade, tariffs, free trade, inflation, deflation”, in order to concentrate on “the plainest immediate issues”.5 This odd train of reasoning - as if those “immediate issues” were not bound up with “bourgeois politics”, “free trade” and “economic theory” - is then hunkered down onto the issue of unemployment, which leads Dutt to a seemingly radical conclusion:
… it is the business of the state to take charge now of the production of the country … so as to employ the unemployed and supply the needs of the workers, and that if to do this means trenching on wealth and property, whether by capital levy or otherwise, we should do it without fear - and to get it done we should set up a Labour government [that] shall be made to do it. That is the plain, direct agitation of the election.6
Whatever the radical language employed, Dutt had limited his horizons to that of leftwing Labourism and it was this mixture of sobriety and economism that swiftly collapsed in late 1923 and early 1924. By December 1923, the CPGB was clearly getting overexcited: “If only the workers can unite, there is no limit to what they can reach, in this moment of the breakdown of capitalism.”7 This ‘objectivist’ vein continued through the month: “The force of the mass movement is driving forward the Labour Party to a class challenge, whether it wishes it or not.”8
By January 1924, Dutt could also be found in an excitable mood with the formation of the minority Labour government, writing that the “the struggle for power is here”. The earlier economism remains securely in place, with unemployment seen as key, while other issues, such as “democratic reform … universal suffrage, the abolition of the House of Lords … should certainly be put in hand, though it cannot occupy the forefront of attention”.9 Dutt, however, moves beyond this by taking a moderate, understanding, tone:
A Labour government on a minority cannot be expected to show easy successful action or immediate results straightaway. That must be recognised, and there will be patient understanding of the position on the part of the workers.10
This conciliatory stance became worse: “There is no wish at this moment to endeavour to force alternative programmes or issues upon a Labour government or to complicate its path or embarrass its support.”11
Dutt was also subsequently criticised for another article he had written in The Workers’ Weekly, where it was suggested that “the greatest danger” to achieving a working class government was the “discrediting of a Labour government by its open association with the bourgeoisie and impotence to help the workers”.12 This attempt to close ranks with Labour leaders at the expense of the “bourgeois elements in the cabinet” was forcefully exposed by ‘CM Roebuck’ (Theodore Rothstein) in April 1924.13 JT Murphy subsequently recalled a proposal that Dutt had made in early 1924 regarding the close approximation of the CPGB and the Labour Party, which meant that the CPGB should not put forward an independent programme in any future election to save the Labour government from defeat.14
However, Dutt, clearly the main villain of this particular piece, was not alone in the CPGB with such formulations. In the same year, Willie Gallacher had argued for a ‘responsible’ and rightist interpretation of the policy of the united front, stating that it was not a “happy phrase or a mere sentimental expression used for the purpose of getting party advantages”.15 In relation to the 1924 government, Gallacher added:
Had we been concerned merely with the treacherous and self-seeking leaders, we could have struck several of them heavy, deadly blows. But, while such action may have been no more than these individuals personally deserved and while it might have soothed the offended ‘dignity’ of CP members, the ultimate result would have been to strengthen the forces of reaction. Our concern was not to assert or defend our own ‘dignity’, but to strive all the time for working class victory.16
The conciliatory outcome of such a stance is clear. CPGB general secretary Albert Inkpin went even further, writing to the Labour home secretary Arthur Henderson on December 20 1923 with some programmatic “suggestions”:
Please accept this as an earnest of the very sincere desire of the Communist Party to help. We hail the present triumph of the Labour Party and will throw all our energy into making that triumph a lasting victory for the cause of the workers.17
Dutt, therefore, was simply “swept along with the euphoria like everyone else”,18 opportunistically arguing that the CPGB could not ‘lash’ the Labour Party in the same way it could the Independent Labour Party because of working class attachment to the former.19
It was also clear that Dutt and others were being led astray by the slogan of the ‘workers’ government’, defined by the CPGB’s electoral manifesto of November 1923 as the “watchword of the moment”.20 He argued in January 1924:
Therefore the first need for all of us at the present moment, whatever our differences, whatever our criticisms and distrusts, is to unite in support of a workers’ government and its supremacy first and foremost, and to exert all our forces one and all to fight on its behalf four-square against the whole capitalist world …21
But in the absence of any minimum political programme, the ‘workers’ government’ slogan has merely become a cloaking device that breeds illusions in the Labour administration.22
This relative political collapse provoked some alarm in both CPGB and Comintern circles. Indeed, Karl Radek, writing in 1924 of the “reformist epidemic [that] affected even certain communist parties and writers”, playfully suggested a disbelief in the stance that the CPGB had adopted: “… we do not think for a moment that our British comrades believed that Henderson and MacDonald were capable of conducting the class struggle.”23 Harry Pollitt of the CPGB reported to Moscow of a “a tendency on the part of some to subsume the identity of the CP into that of the Labour Party, and a countervailing tendency on the part of others towards sectarian ‘overzealousness’”.24 Bob Stewart, CPGB representative in Moscow from June 1923 to September 1924, was “alarmed by the extent to which the CP welcomed the new administration; it seemed to him that the party was once more lurching dangerously to the right”.25
The Comintern responded quickly to Pollitt’s report. A resolution of the Communist International Presidium executive committee - ‘The British Labour government and the Communist Party of Great Britain’, published on February 6 1924 - warned that the Labour government was not one of “proletarian class struggle”.26 It stated that the CPGB “must preserve its ideological, tactical and organisational independence ... It must appeal to all groups and organisations of the working class who demand of the Labour government a resolute struggle against the bourgeoisie”.27 When the Comintern’s president, Zinoviev, wrote an anniversary message to The Workers’ Weekly in late February 1924, it was noticeably blunt: “You must … take every opportunity to expose the Labour government whenever it betrays the interests of the workers.”28 The fifth congress of the Comintern in June-July continued with this process of firmly yanking the CPGB to the left.29
This had a positive impact on the CPGB, which then began to hold the Labour government properly to account for its miserable record of conciliationism - although, when Dutt wrote in April 1924 that the “political education of the British working class is proceeding very fast”30, one does wonder whether he also had himself in mind. He also began to develop, clearly under Comintern influence, some sound political criticisms on the standing army and the use of military force in industrial disputes.31
The CPGB then began to move against those elements in its organisation that were unwilling to accept the party’s toughening of its line in relation to the Labour administration. Therefore, Morgan Philips Price,32 who left the CPGB in July 1924, had a ‘protective’ introduction imposed on his piece by Dutt in The Labour Monthly of that month (published as the final part of a four-article series), to disabuse readers of any notion that Price spoke for the journal’s producers.33
Price obviously had the CPGB in mind when he wrote:
It is therefore no use clothing oneself in sackcloth and ashes and going about croaking like ravens that the Labour government has sold the British workers to the bourgeoisie and that all is lost. Such tactics will only make the group that does this ridiculous, and nothing kills in English politics so easily as ridicule.34
He then moved towards nationalism and a strand of anti-intellectualism:
Nor will extracts from the speeches of Zinoviev and Trotsky in 1920 impress those unemployed engineers, who are hoping from an Anglo-Russian agreement to get to work again, any more than a recitation of what the Sultan of Zanzibar said in the year one. Without reflecting the least on the brilliant writings of our Russian comrades, it is nevertheless essential to adapt language to the mentality of the country in question.35
Price also showed that the use of wretched conciliatory politics had begun to seep down from the Labour government into the interstices of the movement, when he discussed how to conduct relations with the ILP: “… if they are dubbed ‘political bankrupts’ and ‘agents of the bourgeoisie’ from the first, the psychological atmosphere necessary to impress the Labour Party right wing and the careerist element, which is among them, will be absent.”36
In his introduction, Dutt argued that the effect of Price’s reasoning was “to surrender Marxism for a programme of revolution by state purchase” and to “encourage the apostles of social pacification”.37 JR Campbell, writing in August 1924, also in response to Price, illustrates the ‘firming up’ of the CPGB’s line on the Labour Party:
If [Price] is out to suggest that the communists should kindly water down their policy, moderate their criticism and whisper to the active workers within the labour movement that after all the Labour Party might be a little more extreme, but we must not say so too openly in public, then the Communist Party is standing none of that nonsense …38
However, as the CPGB moved into early 1925, Dutt was not content with the correction that had been made to the opportunistic line on the Labour government a year earlier, and now adopted a more overt leftism. Despite admitting that Labour “still possesses a hold upon the workers as the representative of their awakening claim to power”,39 Dutt was clearly banking on this state of affairs coming to an abrupt end. A “mass Communist Party” was presaged on the notion that the “days of the old comprehensive, democratic Labour Party, with its contradictory banner of ‘independent working class politics’ and ‘no class antagonism’, are drawing to a close under the relentless pressure of the class struggle in Britain”.40
This threadbare logic, displaying some of the misplaced ‘objectivism’ present in early 1924 and reading like a premonition of the later ‘class against class’ period, was then picked apart in a lengthy debate, with JT Murphy leading the charge. He pointed out that losing the MacDonald leadership would not mean the end of the Labour Party’s support among the working class41 and was resolutely opposed to any splitting tactic: “We are for the revolutionising of the Labour Party, and the trade unions, and against splits. Splits at this stage of revolutionary history are the answers of the reactionaries to the demands of the revolutionary struggle.”42
Ralph Darlington has argued that in terms of the CPGB’s ‘open’ penetration tactics in the Labour Party, a “pull towards reformism was the price the CP had to pay for intervention”.43 Such a pull was fairly obvious from the narrative above and was not a mere aberration stemming from the existence of the minority Labour government, but rather embedded in the CPGB’s day-to-day practice.
Ruth Fischer of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) attended the CPGB’s 1924 congress and was scathing of the party’s culture. Speaking at the fifth congress of the Comintern, she said:
Every member has two membership cards - one of the Communist Party and one of the Labour Party … It seems to me that the member belongs to the Labour Party on weekdays, and on Sundays, by way of rest and recreation, plays a little with the communists.44
In a similar vein, Dutt remarked upon the “complete immersion in Labour Party day-to-day work” and that the “interpretation of the communist task is simply the winning of strategic leadership within the local Labour organisations”.45
One might question the sources here. Fischer’s views reflect an ultra-leftist strain in the KPD and the Comintern that was one of the origins of a rumbling conflict with the CPGB in this period.46 Dutt’s judgement was also part of his leftist spasm in 1925. However, this is definitely a case where the messengers should not be shot.
There is plenty of supplementary evidence to show that Fischer and Dutt were telling the truth - whatever their leftist motivations. For example, the CPGB knew that its “members were still weak and easily lost themselves in other organisations”.47 Bell said:
The temptation to win the support of some little tin-pot group of admirers of JH Thomas,48 some religious bigots or reactionaries is very great. In the heat of the electoral contest the passion to beat the opposition and ‘get in’ sometimes dominates. As a matter of fact, some comrades have argued that our real propaganda only begins after we get our man in!49
So the pull of reformism was obviously there in spades, but this can only be a very partial explanation, as there were plenty of elements in the political physiognomy of the early CPGB that made it susceptible to this kind of rightist pressure.
One explanation that must be discounted is a narrow concentration on the Comintern’s actions in 1924 as the main source of the CPGB’s errors. Without falling prey to the ideologies of ‘Bolshevisation’ and ‘Leninism’ then current in the Comintern, it was a good thing that the Comintern yanked the CPGB to the left in 1924, even if that was an outcome of the British party’s extreme rightism at the beginning of the year. Those such as Darlington, who try to alibi the CPGB’s behaviour by suggesting the CPGB “had to maintain a principled critique of reformism …, whilst striving to develop the broadest rank-and-file Labour unity to force the Labour government to adopt a more anti-capitalist course of action”,50 only reveal their contemporary subjection to the opportunist dogmas of the Socialist Workers Party type.
On similar lines, it is necessary to probe Brian Pearce’s views on the Comintern’s Fifth Congress, which, he suggested, “presented the world with a spectacle of political unrealism and fantasy” that held back a number of communist parties, including the CPGB.51 But the specific terms of what the Comintern said about the Labour government - that it was “a bourgeois-imperialist government and not a government of the working class” and that the CPGB “must continue its fight for affiliation to the Labour Party”52 - seem rather unexceptional and emphatically not the stuff of fantasy. Although Trotsky was rightly critical of the contextual “bureaucratic bluster” and “ideological muddle” under which the congress undertook its work and the subsequent confusion engendered in the communist movement (Dutt was obviously a victim), he argued: “A good deal of the work of the fifth world congress was correct and necessary. The struggle against the right tendencies, which sought to raise their head, was absolutely urgent.”53
Moreover, when the CPGB was met by leftist tomfoolery at the congress, there was still some space in which to debate and repel such argument. Thus, Ernie Brown was able to counter Fischer’s argument that the CPGB should take an “active opposition” to the Labour Party, stating that her standpoint partly rested “on a confusion of the British Labour Party with the Labour government”. He added: “The Labour Party represents the proletarian mass organisation and consequently it is the absolute duty of the Communist Party to work inside the Labour Party.”54
When the CPGB complained of its members’ complete immersion in Labour Party work or their inability to maintain concrete criticisms, it was, of course, pointing out the failures of its application of the united front tactic - a consistent pastime of party writers in this period. Dutt even complained in early 1923 of some cases of “deliberate suppression of communist principles, on the part of communist membership in the name of the united front”.55 As we have seen previously, a set of rightist errors were the seeding ground for subsequent leftist mistakes. Thus members queried “the practical difficulties in the way of continued proclamations of communism if effective work was to be done”.56
However, as Dutt suggested in his reply, it was not a matter of the lack of such a leftist stance; rather it was CPGB members backsliding around “ambiguous statements”.57 Later that year, Dutt was able to sketch out the process, to which he was soon to fall victim. He talked of the “disappearance of our members in a locality with the Labour Party”, arousing a “left revolutionary antagonism to the whole process of participation” and dissolving local parties into “sectarian lefts and reformist rights”.58
Ultimately, these failures can be traced back to the manner in which the early Comintern sought to organise its constituent organisations (pre-existing the later process of Stalinisation). Parties “organised in a most centralised manner … marked by an iron discipline bordering on military discipline [with] strong and authoritative party centres invested with wide powers”59 were, in retrospect, unlikely to breed open bodies with a wide-ranging and critical culture.
When an organisation such as the CPGB interacted with the broader workers’ movement under the aegis of the united front in the early 1920s, it was thus not going to be able to sustain a consistent critical culture of ‘unity in diversity’ in relation to alliance partners without destabilising its own nascent party regime.60 When that process led the CPGB to adapt to the 1924 Labour government, the pressure then built up to shift to the left. However, the inability to sustain open criticism meant that this was subsequently expressed in more sectarian standpoints. This much is clear from the above narrative.
Thus, when Bell discussed endeavouring to lead the left in the Labour Party and trade unions into a CPGB that had “neither left nor right”, but was a “united party carrying through a communist policy”,61 this was not just factually untrue, but a delusion that was only likely to lead his organisation into a continuing cycle of opportunism and sectarianism (as was to happen in the shift from the National Left Wing Movement to ‘third period’ in the later 1920s).
However, such judgements come with a rider. There was a constant recognition in the CPGB in 1923 and 1924 that its united front practice was incorrect and that it needed to step onto the critical path of ‘unity in diversity’. That is what much of the party commentary featured here is about; criticising and attempting to correct the CPGB’s practice in relation to the Labour Party. This is a part-reflection of the fact that the party did have some space for open and critical debates in its publications. The result was that its leading members were able at least to pose a solution to the CPGB’s united front dilemma.
But it is also important to realise that this space was under threat. Murphy was complaining in January 1924 of “formalism, organisational fetishism and lack of political training” in the CPGB: “Already the party lead is accepted too formally, and the voice of political criticism too seldom raised within our ranks.”62 This sloth was traced by Murphy back to the reorganisation of the party in 1922 at its Battersea conference. Other comrades echoed Murphy’s complaints.63
However, some leading voices in the CPGB were much more blasé about this state of affairs. In response, Pollitt appeared to suggest that the party ‘grunts’ should keep their nose out of weighty matters: “It sounds the real business to write about ‘the need for politics’; it will be much better for our party when we try and learn how to apply them.”64
A sobering aspiration for a party heading towards the abyss of Stalinisation.
1. For more on this see R Miliband Parliamentary socialism: a study in the politics of Labour Pontypool 2006, pp93-120.
2. JTW Newbold, ‘Communism and the Labour Party’ Communist Review May 1923.
3. RP Dutt, ‘Notes of the month’ The Labour Monthly December 1923. The idea behind The Labour Monthly, edited by Dutt, appears to have been to engage a broader leftwing leadership with communist ideas, although the journal was never technically owned by the CPGB - see K Morgan Labour legends and Russian gold: Bolshevism and the British left part 1, London 2006, p74. Dutt’s ‘Notes of the month’ were an attempt to offer an authoritative summation of the CPGB’s line on various issues.
7. ‘To victory’ The Workers’ Weekly December 7 1923.
8. ‘Now for a workers’ government’ The Workers’ Weekly December 14 1923.
9. RP Dutt ‘Notes of the month’ TheLabour Monthly January 1924.
12. RP Dutt, ‘The Labour government - where do we stand?’ The Workers’ Weekly February 8 1924.
13. CM Roebuck and RP Dutt, ‘The Labour government or the class struggle’ Communist Review April 1924. In his reply, Dutt condescendingly pointed out the difference in writing an “article of 1,000 words in a weekly for very simple readers and an article of 4,500 readers in a theoretical review”. This ignores the fact that his Labour Monthly articles were not of a noticeably higher political standard in this period.
14. JT Murphy, ‘The coming of the mass Communist Party in Britain: a reply to RP Dutt’ The Communist International No13 (new series).
15. W Gallacher Can Labour govern? The first Labour government and the struggle of the workers London 1924, p9. Bob Stewart, in February 1923, showed a more sectarian, manipulatory understanding of the united front by arguing that its purpose was “getting the masses on the move and then extending the field of action and using it for communist purposes”. Cited in A Thorpe The British Communist Party and Moscow, 1920-43 Manchester 2000, p74.
16. W Gallacher op cit.
17. ‘Policy for Labour government: what shall it be?’ The Workers’ Weekly January 4 1924.
18. J Callaghan Rajani Palme Dutt: a study in British Stalinism London 1993, p56.
19. Ibid p58.
20. CPGB Electoral Manifesto, November 20 1923.
21. RP Dutt, ‘Notes of the month’ TheLabour Monthly January 1924.
22. For more on the general issues with the ‘workers’ government’ slogan, see M Macnair Revolutionary strategy: Marxism and the challenge of left unity London 2008. pp100-14.
23. K Radek, ‘The British Labour government’ The Communist International No3 (new series).
24. Cited in A Thorpe op cit p75.
25. A Thorpe op cit p76.
26. J Degras (ed) The Communist International, 1919-1943, documents: Vol II, 1923-28, London 1960, pp83.
27. Ibid p84.
28. The Workers’ Weekly February 29 1924.
29. J Degras op cit pp134-37.
30. RP Dutt, ‘Notes of the month’ TheLabour Monthly April 1924.
31. RP Dutt, ‘Notes of the month’ TheLabour Monthly July 1924.
32. Price had visited Russia during its revolution in 1917 and was initially sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, although he later became more critical of the regime. He was supported by the CPGB in his unsuccessful campaign as Labour candidate for Gloucester in the December 1923 election. He eventually served as Labour MP for Whitehaven and then the Forest of Dean.
33. MP Price, ‘The Labour Party and power’, part 4 - ‘What should be the attitude of the left wing?’ The Labour Monthly July 1924. The other parts of the series were: part 1 - ‘Some continental comparisons’, February 1924; Part 2 - ‘Possible achievements and certain difficulties at home’, April 1924; and part 3 - ‘The outlook abroad’, May 1924.
34. MP Price, ‘The Labour Party and power’, part 4 - ‘What should be the attitude of the left wing?’
38. JR Campbell, ‘Leftwing Labour: should it cherish illusions?’ The Labour Monthly August 1924. See also E Charteris, ‘Should the Communist Party be liquidated? A reply to M Philips Price’ Communist Review October 1924.
39. RP Dutt, ‘British working class after the elections’ The Communist International No8 (new series), February 1925.
41. JT Murphy, ‘How a mass Communist Party will come in Britain’ The Communist International No9 (new series). For Dutt’s reply, see RP Dutt, ‘The British working class movement, the left wing and the Communist Party’ The Communist International No12 (new series).
42. JT Murphy, ‘The coming of the mass Communist Party in Britain: a reply to RP Dutt’ The Communist International No13 (new series). For other contributions to this debate, see A Martinov, ‘Lessons of the election in England’ The Communist International No8 (new series), February 1925; and CM Roebuck, ‘The Labour Party and the workers’ struggle’ The Communist International No10 (new series).
43. R Darlington The political trajectory of JT Murphy London 1998, pp125-26.
44. Cited in K Morgan op cit p227.
45. RP Dutt, ‘The British working class movement, the left wing and the Communist Party’.
46. K Morgan op cit p227.
47. ‘The party in council’ The Workers’ Weekly September 1 1923.
48. Thomas, general secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen, had been made secretary of state for the colonies in MacDonald’s 1924 administration.
49. T Bell, ‘The united front: some questions and answers’ Communist Review September 1924.
50. R Darlington op cit pp127-28.
51. B Pearce and M Woodhouse A history of communism in Britain London 1995, p166.
52. J Degras op cit pp134-36.
53. L Trotsky The Third International After Lenin: www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1928/3rd/ti05.htm#p2-05.
54. ‘Comintern policy, British position discussed’ The Workers’ Weekly July 4 1924. Max Petrovsky, the Comintern representative in Britain, backed up Brown.
55. ‘Communist Party council’ The Workers’ Weekly February 17 1923.
58. RP Dutt, ‘Communists in the election’ The Workers’ Weekly November 23 1923.
59. Terms of admission into Communist International: www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/jul/x01.htm.
60. For more on this idea, see M Macnair op cit pp100-14.
61. ‘Executive Committee meeting’ The Workers’ Weekly October 3 1924.
62. JT Murphy, ‘The party conference’ Communist Review January 1924.
63. See TA Jackson, ‘The party conference’ Communist Review January 1924; and E Cant, ‘The party conference’ Communist Review March 1924. There is also the issue in late 1924 and 1925 around the CPGB’s inability to critically engage with Trotsky and the Left Opposition - see J McIlroy, ‘New light on Arthur Reade: tracking down Britain’s first Trotskyist’ Revolutionary History Vol 8, No1, 2001.
64. H Pollitt, ‘The party conference - looking backward and forward’ Communist Review February 1924.