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Title: Prospects for socialism : the character and implantation of working-class activism in the Manchester area, 1933-1941
Author: Flinn, Andrew D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 6043
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis examines the success or otherwise of left-wing politics in the years 1933 to 1941. The study focuses on the cities and towns which broadly correspond to the modem administrative region of Greater Manchester. Rather than attempting another broad and inclusive history of the thirties, the methodology adopted is of a series of case studies. The region selected is notable for the diversity of all aspects of workingclass life, including work and politics. The case studies chosen, describing the experiences of left-wing activists in the engineering, railway and cotton industries, within the Irish Catholic and Jewish communities and as members of the Women's Cooperative Guild, reflect that diversity. This research concentrates on rank-and-file organisation and grass roots activism. The focus is not on trade union or party leaders but on strikers, shop stewards, branch secretaries,c onferenced elegatesa nd local party workers. The actions of thesep olitical militants are examined not only in terms of national events but equally importantly in the context of local economic and social factors. To achieve this, the records of national organisations are used in conjunction with extensive reference to local materials, oral history and other autobiographical sources. The case study approach allows for the examination and contrast of the effects of different factors such as class, gender, occupation, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, culture, political traditions and economic circumstances on the implantation of socialism amongst working-class activists in differing communities in the 1930s. Among the questions considered are the relationship between industrial militancy and political radicalism; the links between the experience of class and political allegiance; the effects on the development of local Labour and Communist Parties of the enduring presence of other forms of working-class politics including Conservatism and non- Communist socialism; the extent to which the nineteen thirties can be said to complete the "double closure" of British socialism; how far the dominant organisations of labour politics failed to fully represent the interests of a heterogeneous working-class; the differences between the objectives of Labour Movement leaders and local activists; the outcome of the conflict between community (including religious) elites and left-wing parties; the relationship of feminism to 1930s Labour politics and the representation of gender issues by the dominant working-class organisations; the experience of generational differences in political conflict; the continued relevance of internationalism and anti-war sentiment in an era of anti-fascist alliances, and finally the relationship of the local to the national, the specific to the general.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available