Against all the odds : women in the Communist Party in Scotland 1920-91 : an oral history
The intention of this thesis is to redress the balance towards women in communist history and to show for the first time the extent to which they were involved in Communist Party activity at local, national and international levels. As an oral history the thesis is based on the testimony of women involved in the Communist Party of Great Britain in Scotland from its inception to its demise. The role of children's organisations in the first half of the twentieth century, and the part they played in shaping women's consciousness is considered. The many ways that women came into the Party and the part they played in its structures are defined, as is the unique role of the Scottish Women's Advisory Committee. Women's perceptions of the USSR and their experiences of visiting the socialist countries are examined along with their views on living socialism, the leadership in the Soviet Union and the events of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. The activity of women in the Young Communist League (YCL) is described, especially in the 1960s when it seemed to take on a new lease of life as did the expectations of women in that era. The mid-1970s signal the influence of feminism in the Party and the respondent's views towards this are analysed. The penultimate chapter examines the divisions that occurred from the new draft of The British Road to Socialism in 1977. The new theories that came into the CP are discussed as are the acrimonious splits of the I 980s. The thesis ends with the fall of the Eastern Bloc and the winding up of the Communist Party of Great Britain.