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MacDonald's PartyLabour Identities and Crisis 1922-1931$
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David Howell

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203049

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203049.001.0001

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Excluding Communists

Excluding Communists

(p.380) CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO Excluding Communists
MacDonald's Party

David Howell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The relationship between the Labour Party and the Communist Party remained unresolved through most of the 1920s. Only in 1928, after several debates resulting in ambiguous decisions, did the Labour Party finally exclude all members of the Communist Party from its institutions. Keen ideological divisions could be emphasized by partisans. Clement Attlee did not share in the welcome for the Bolshevik Revolution. Questions of constitutional propriety and political feasibility were crucial both to the protracted debate and to its eventual outcome. In particular, these concerns focused on the relationship between the Labour Party and its trade union affiliates. The controversy was also shaped by the broader industrial and political contexts. The industrial struggles of 1921 and 1926, the conflicting reappraisals fostered by industrial defeats, electoral optimism and anxieties, the brief fact of the 1924 Labour Government — all were significant. Moreover, the shifting industrial and political strategies of the Communist Party, responding to both domestic and international pressures, left their mark especially on debates within the trade unions.

Keywords:   Communist Party, Labour Party, politics, trade unions

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