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INDUSTRIAL DEPARTMENT

Industrial Department

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Industrial Department

CP/CENT/IND. For opponents of the CPGB, one of the most disturbing features of British communism was its alleged manipulation of trade union grievances to promote economic chaos. These were bogeys that went back to the Party's syndicalist origins and were vigorously revived during the years of the Marshall Plan, when an extensive communist industrial presence was mobilised against the dominant western conception of industrial recovery. Though CPGB membership was by this time declining, such anxieties probably reached their peak with the industrial conflict of the 1960s and 1970s, as members and former members of an earlier vintage reached the pinnacle of their trade union careers. If Harold Wilson seemed to see a "tightly knit group of politically motivated men" behind disputes like the seamen's strike of the 1966, which at least confirmed the continuing industrial significance of the party. For those set on exposing or celebrating such machinations, the archives will be found to contain only fragmentary information. For the National Minority Movement of the 1920s, there is a file in the papers of its then general secretary Harry Pollitt, but little from the same period on the industrial activities of the party itself. Nor, in this particular case, is the coverage as extensive as it might be in the post-war period. Doubtless the communists' networking and caucusing in the unions were sometimes more informal than opponents believed. Nevertheless, it is clear that they had also learnt the necessity of discretion in the compiling of written records of discussions of any sensitivity. Bert Ramelson, the CPGB's national industrial organiser from the mid-1960s, was at the heart of these discussions. Famously, he boasted on one occasion that he had only to "float an idea early in the year and it will be official Labour Party policy by the autumn." Again in Ramelson's own deposit of papers, the Needs of the Hour instructions that he circulated to communist delegates before TUC and other trade union conferences may be examined to test the validity of that claim. There is also much that is relevant in the papers of Wal Hannington, whose activities in the Amalgamated Engineering Union included several years as a national organiser in the 1940s. Again, the papers of George Matthews include files relating to the CPGB's industrial policies in the 1950s, and the archive also has transcripts of the ETU ballot-rigging trial (CP/MISC/ETU). Though the Industrial Department files contain materials of interest for the party's final years, in general the record of its very considerable industrial presence needs to be traced through the papers of other key activists, officers and committees.

Description drawn from Kevin Morgan's introduction.

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Miscellaneous industrial files (i)

Miscellaneous industrial files (i)

From box CP/CENT/IND/01. FILE 01: Papers re dockworkers and activities in Port of London, mainly leaflets and draft leaflets and statements, 1950s. | FILE 02: File on CP factory branches and... (more...)

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Papers of Pete Carter and Ian McKay

Papers of Pete Carter and Ian McKay

From box CP/CENT/IND/02. FILE 01: TUC 1988. | FILE 02: TUC 1989. | FILE 03: TUC 1990. | FILE 04: Scottish TUC 1990. | FILE 05: Scottish TUC 1991. | FILE... (more...)

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Keith Ebbutt papers

Keith Ebbutt papers

From box CP/CENT/IND/10. FILE 01: Minutes, etc., of the CPGB Education Advisory Committee, 1978-1989. | FILE 02: Documents produced by the CPGB Education Advisory Committee, 1978-1991. | FILE 03: Materials on... (more...)

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National Minority Movement & related groups

National Minority Movement & related groups

From box CP/CENT/IND/11. FILE 01: National Minority Movement agendas, resolutions, chairman's addresses and reports of NMM Conferences 1-6 & general leaflets, circulars, etc. including A programme for Labour co-operators and Speakers'... (more...)

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Red International of Labour Unions

Red International of Labour Unions

From box CP/CENT/IND/11. FILE 09: RILU published reports, resolutions & decisions from 1st-5th World Congresses, 1921-30. | FILE 10: Various RILU leaflets/pamphlets, 1921-34. | FILE 11: Miscellaneous RILU leaflets, manifestos and... (more...)

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Bill Jones papers

Bill Jones papers

From box CP/CENT/IND/12. FILE 01: Leaflets, circulars, cuttings, etc. relating to the TGWU and the London Busworkers section, 1932-1968. | FILE 02: Leaflets, circulars & leaflets relating to the breakaway National... (more...)

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Miscellaneous industrial files (ii)

Miscellaneous industrial files (ii)

From box CP/CENT/IND/12. FILE 04: Metal & Engineering Trades materials, 1930s & 1940s. | FILE 05: Miscellaneous documents relating to the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), 1940s-1950s. | FILE 06: Draft TUC... (more...)

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Various advisory committees on education

Various advisory committees on education

From box CP/CENT/IND/13. FILE 01: Miscellaneous Education Advisory Committee documents, 1944-1970. (See also EAC materials among the Keith Ebbutt papers: CP/CENT/IND/10/1-2.) | FILE 02: Education Advisory Committee correspondence, 1960-1973. |... (more...)

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National Association of Teachers in Further & Higher Education

National Association of Teachers in Further & Higher Education

From box CP/CENT/IND/14. FILE 02: Vicky Seddon's file re Broad Left grouping within NATFHE, 1981-1986 (See also the file on Broad Left initiatives in the papers of Pete Carter and Ian... (more...)

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