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Flying the Red Flag? Communists in the National Union of Mineworkers, 1945-1984.

Buckley, SB 2015, Flying the Red Flag? Communists in the National Union of Mineworkers, 1945-1984. , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The thesis seeks to analyse the industrial strategy of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CP) within the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Although many historians have discussed the CP’s industrial work, particularly in the pre-1945 period, this thesis is original because there is not yet a detailed study of the party’s work in the NUM between 1945 and 1985. The thesis also aims to make an intervention into post-war political history more generally, beginning its coverage in 1945 with the election of the first majority Labour government, at a time when both the party and the mining industry had high hopes for the future. The research concludes in 1985, after the miners’ strike, when both the NUM and the CP were irreparably divided. The thesis works within two overarching paradoxes: firstly, that the CP was believed to be ubiquitous in industry, yet weak elsewhere. Secondly, that the party ultimately imploded as a result of factionalism, which arose because of the industrial strategy that the CP had spent most of the post-war period adhering to. Moreover, the thesis makes four original contributions to knowledge. The work uses the historical method, drawing on empirical evidence from archives in Salford, Manchester, Warwick, Kew, London, Swansea and Barnsley, along with secondary evidence and interviews with protagonists, to construct a chronological analysis of the events; this, in addition to the scope of the work, is an original methodological contribution to knowledge. The second contribution discusses the relationship between the CP and communists in industry; although this has been discussed in the existing literature, the thesis adds more evidence to this through a detailed analysis of this specific period within the NUM. The thesis also offers the findings as a hypothesis for observations about the party’s industrial strategy generally, considering how the results of this study might be applied to other industries. The third original area is the theme of conflict across three groups: particularly, concerning the relationship between individual communists in the union; the party itself and communists in the union; and communists in the NUM and the union itself. The fourth area of originality derives from the thesis’s detailed analysis of wage militancy in the union across this period, a focus yet to be explored in any depth.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Themes: Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
Funders: University of Salford (Graduate Teaching Assistant)
Depositing User: SB Buckley
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2015 14:57
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2015 14:57
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/35943

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