Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Iraq, GDH Cole And Friends

This item is some 3,500 words long with an additional 45 footnotes.

Iraqi and Trade Union Influences

After the invasion of Iraq on 19 March 2003, it took only four weeks for Saddam Hussein’s Government to lose the control of Baghdad.

In the Commons six days earlier (1), I had already raised the question of whether a role would be open for the re-emergence of the Iraqi Labour Movement (2) in order to assist it in the reconstruction of its country. Around that time, I also started raising the issue of the role of the Iraqi Trade Union Movement with Tony Blair at meetings of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

It was natural for me to concentrate then (and since) on the role of Trade Unionists in Iraq, as my links with both Trade Unionism and Iraq go back a long way and have always been deep.

On Trade Unions, I taught classes on politics and industrial relations for them at Sheffield University Extramural Department/Division of Adult Continuing Education for 21 years before entering Parliament in 1987 (3).

On Iraq, I also underwent the bulk of my National Service in Basra in 1955 and 1956 at a time when it was peaceful.

So much has happened in Iraq since then that it was never difficult to keep up with its main developments (4). In fact, its relative tranquillity was shattered by events around the time of my demob when I had just got back in England.

A Window To Change

In this article, I wish to explore how my experiences as a young man came to shape my overall political views and led to my current involvement with the work of “Labour Friends of Iraq” (5) who link closely with the main Iraqi Trade Unions.

Shortly after I arrived in Iraq early in 1955, I travelled from Baghdad to Basra by train. On the southern outskirts of Baghdad, we pulled to a stop and I looked out on, what for me, was a life-changing scene.

Through the window of the train, I was looking at a large settlement on a hillside; known as a Sarifa (6). Everything was made out of baked mud. There were extensive mud walls, numerous one-story mud houses, mud streets with open sewers and even a well that was dug into the mud which had baked mud surrounds.

The hillside was full of people. Children were playing in the streets around the sewers. Women in black burkas were busy, mainly carrying large cans of water. There were fewer men, but most were in clean white Arab clothing.

It seemed to me that they had a hugely impoverished existence. Not then knowing anything about Islam, I thought that I had stumbled on a biblical scene. It should be appreciated that this was well before people had become accustomed to seeing far worse scenes from the third world on their TV screens. What I saw was completely new to me.

My culture shock was soon reinforced. Whilst I undertook clerical work at the RAF Movements Unit on the banks of the Shatt-al-Arab river at Basra, my work also took me on regular visits to the town’s marshaling yards, docks, railway station and shipping lines. I persistently saw groups of labourers bent double carrying huge loads on their backs, such as old fashioned bulk refrigerators.

The best opportunity I had to talk to Iraqi workers about their lives was in the camp, with local clerical and labouring staff, including workers unloading goods from barges at our quayside. As I never studied Arabic, I was dependent upon their speaking English. But this was fairly universal amongst those given work with us.

Labourers in particular seemed to me to have exceptionally hard lives. Some of the statistical evidence on this is shown in material I eventually obtained as an M.P. from a researcher at the Commons Library, which showed that in 1960 (shortly after my stay in Basra) the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) per capita in Iraq was only 18% of the equivalent in the United Kingdom. The GDP was also very badly distributed (7).

Reassessing Religion

Up to arriving in Iraq, I had regularly attended a local Methodist Chapel and had acquired Labour leanings. Some of the lay preachers were ethical socialists and I had been impressed with the powerful socialist content of a sermon by the Rev. Donald Soper, who in later days I was to read in the pages of Tribune. I also lived in a Mining colliery where during the 1945, 1950 and 1951 General Elections most homes displayed Manny Shinwell’s Election Address in their windows.

But there was no great depth to my Labourite views. The best of my socialist readings were the plays and prefaces by George Bernard Shaw which Penguin Books published.; although I read these as much from an interest in the theatre as to absorb Shaw’s political standpoint.

I was, therefore, fairly ill-prepared for my experiences in Iraq and they immediately raised questions in my mind.

How could an all loving, all perfect and all knowing creator, permit such conditions to exist? And how could human beings in positions of authority, let it persist?

I had no idea that these were perennial philosophical and political questions, nor that these matters could form a part of academic investigations.

I never rose above the rank of Leading Aircraftsman and I only ever found one person to discuss such matters with. Corporal Murphy had “atheist” on his locker where we had to designate our religion. He was an ex-Catholic who introduced me to the works of James Joyce; but he was sceptical of my efforts to regurgitate the bits of socialism that I had picked up from Shaw whose fictional and other books I was now reading more fully(8).

A bookseller in Basra also helped. He sold English books and had a supply from the Rationalist Press Association, with titles such as “Let the People Think” and “Men Without Gods” (9). When I heard the Anglican Minister in Basra preach
against their evil influence, these books became even more appealing to me.

Whilst my move away from my past religious convictions was fairly rapid, I never adopted an anti-religious stance. This was because the Methodists I had known (including my mother) had mainly been kind people and also because of the nature of the political values I was starting to absorb in Iraq. I recognised that it is intolerance that brings problems; whether in the guise of religion, atheism, political ideology or from tribal, racial and national fanaticism. Although this did raise the difficult question of how far we should then tolerate the intolerant.

As I have indicated, pondering over religion opened up philosophical problems for me. So when I finally reached University as an adult student, I studied for a degree in the two subjects I hit upon in Iraq - politics and philosophy.

Seeking Socialism

On politics, I began to pick up bits ands pieces from the BBC overseas broadcasts which included references to newspapers and weeklies I had never then read. Through my bookseller, I found that I was able to order the air mail edition of the New Statesman and dated copies of the Observer which came by sea.

I still hold a New Statesman review on rice paper written by GDH Cole (10) about a book by the Socialist Union entitled “Twentieth Century Socialism” (11). So I ordered the book as well.

The Socialist Union’s case was encapsulated in a memorable phrase about their stance on page 146, namely a “socialist economy is a mixed economy, part private part public and mixed in all its aspects.”

Cole, who wrote regularly in my New Statesman, issued his lengthy critique. He was never a Marxist, but he claimed to be “Marx-influenced” (12). In his review, he argued that the Socialist Union’s case suffered “badly from the illusions of what Marxists call ’petit-bourgeois idealism’ and from an under-estimation of the need for a fighting working-class anti-capitalist drive as the impelling force towards a Socialist society.” I was on his side.

The extent to which Cole rejected the arguments for a genuinely mixed economy was shown in a Labour Party pamphlet published in 1947 in which he listed thirteen areas which were “at least” open to the extension of public ownership. These started with rural and urban land and ended with any industry or service which operated inefficiently (13).

Early on, I felt that I had been lucky to discover a handful of Cole’s books in the camp library (14). I began to absorb something of Cole’s position, when unfortunately the library was closed down. Much later, I came to interpret his stance as containing six basic provisions. I appreciate, however, that these are not to be seen as rigid and unqualified dogmas and that Cole adapted these stances to fit in with changing circumstances.

GDH’s Guidelines

First, he favoured participatory democracy and spurned bureaucratic structures, even when these arose under Communist or Democratic Socialist arrangements. It was some time before I came across his early advocacy of Guild Socialism, which he drew from throughout the rest of his life. His early views provided a synthesis between Syndicalism and Democratic State Socialism, and allowed for both collectivist action and freedom (15).

Secondly, his criticisms of reformist Democratic Socialism and Communism didn’t prevent his seeking to get them to work together, in the hope that the process would nurture aspects of his own synthesis and provide the necessary forces to tackle Capitalism (16).

Thirdly, his dislike of the undemocratic nature of Communism did not restrain him in his advocacy of public ownership. For he felt that limited reformist programmes would easily be undone through subsequent Capitalist manipulations and that they would also dampen down the fervour of the socialists who pursued such avenues. (17).

Fourthly, he associated himself with the Marxist concept of working for and with an organised working class as the major engine for the social change he desired. But he looked for a socialism that could be organised in line with the participatory values which he saw as being embryonic in the organised labour movement (18).

Fifthly, he believed that socialism had to operate in a comradely way on an international canvas in order to overcome colonialism, racism and the financial controls of capitalism (19).

Finally, and by no means least, he believed that socialism required people (and especially working people and their families) to appreciate and pursue co-operative socialist values. This was necessary not just to achieve forms of socialism, but to ensure that socialism itself would then fulfil its potential. He, therefore, had a great commitment to the educational ideas (20) of bodies such as the Workers’ Educational Association and produced a series of political works aimed at seriously minded working class men and women. (21).

To me, his arguments for universal moves towards equality and democracy seemed to fit in well with the needs of the Iraqi people - although I could not find Iraq dealt with in his writings (22).

His way to socialism, meant that I should keep my guard up against both the blandishments of Communism and the restricted vision of Labourism, but that (as long as I knew what I was about) I shouldn't’t be frightened to deal or associate with either.

I appreciate that today, economic and social changes have arisen which challenge the relevance of aspects of Cole’s analysis. These include the collapse of the Soviet Union, the high-tech revolution and a developed phase of globalisation. But I like to think that it was because I adopted Cole’s style of approach, that I have been able to adapt it to many of the avenues I pursued; especially when an M.P.(23)

Back To Basra

In Basra, the reason my small local stock of Cole’s books disappeared with the rest of our library was that our camp was being downsized as a consequence of Britain signing the Baghdad Pact (24).

Through the pact; Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and Britain (with the encouragement of the USA) provided a “defence line” against the Soviet Union.

Up to that stage, Britain had run three RAF camps in Iraq on land that was British Crown territory. These were at Habbaniya (where I landed and finally departed), Shiaba (which I visited) and our Movements Unit in Basra.

In addition, each camp contained sections for Iraqi Levies, who were Iraqi troops (often Assyrian) under British control and with British Officers.

As a consequence of the Baghdad Pact, the camps officially became Iraqi territory and the Levies were disbanded. Iraqis serving as Levies were given the option of joining the Iraqi Armed Forces, although the Assyrians (who were strongly pro-British) overwhelmingly refused this option.

British troops remained (technically as advisers), but the numbers were cut along with our library. So apart from reading Cole’s regular articles in the New Statesman, I turned to those he was given to analysing. First, I obtained a copy of “New Fabian Essays”(25) and then I attempted to order a copy of Karl Marx’s “Das Capital”. But my bookseller had to tell me that the local Chief of Police had subsequently informed him that he was prohibited from ordering the latter.

Into Politics

It wasn’t until I returned to England that I appreciated that the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) formed the key element of the Iraqi Labour Movement and was seen by the regime as being a major threat.

Whilst I came to have a great sympathy for the role of the ICP (26) in Iraq; Cole’s worries about the role of Communism were being confirmed elsewhere.

At the start of July 1956 my belated copy of the Observer arrived containing 26.000 words from Khrushchev’s speech to the 20th Conference of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in which he denounced Stalin’s cult of personality.

Then my period of demob occurred at the time of the Hungarian Crisis, with Soviet troops encircling Budapest on 4 November, 1956. I was fully in support of Imre Nagy’s agreement to introduce a programme of free elections and solidly against the Soviet Union’s invasion.

In fact the first political meeting I attended following my demob (which was also the first I attended in my life, expect for Durham Big Meetings as a socialising teenager) was a British Communist Party Rally held in Newcastle which was addressed by their General Secretary, John Gollan. I roundly heckled him over his support for the Hungarian invasion.

There was, however, another aspect of Golan’s speech which I cheered. This was his criticisms of the British and French invasion of Egypt which had also just taken place. It was action which was to have a dramatic impact on Iraq.

Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal on 26 July 1956, whilst I was still in Basra. It was only when I saw a dated copy of Reynolds News three weeks later that I read the type of support for his actions that I was seeking.

The British and French assault on Egypt started with bombings on 31 October just after I left Iraq. The invasion went down badly with the Iraqi people, who increasingly opposed the close relationship between their regime and Britain.

In 1958 their own Colonels led a revolution which toppled the Iraqi Monarchy and a year later half a million people out of a population of only seven million joined the May Day Demonstration in Baghdad, with the ICP playing a dominant organising role (27). British troops evacuated Iraq around the same time, not to return for another 44 years.

It is amazing the number of Iraqi people I have met recently who attended the above Rally, mainly as young children.

When I was an M.P. in 2003 , I was astonished when the Defence Minister Geoff Hoon, came up to me and asked “Harry, what on earth were British Troops doing in Iraq 50 Years ago?” This was asked at the time of the latest invasion. It would have helped if he had been briefed (or had read his Departmental brief) on the matter before helping to turn the clock back.

My own experiences 50 years ago helped me to become a humanist (but not a Dawkin’s style zealot) and a strong democratic socialist who, following Cole, rejected both Communism and limited Labourite methods. I also felt that socialism needed to place international concerns at its centre.

GDH’s Final Fling

Demobbed and back in England, I had a chance to support what was to be Cole’s last political project.

He had written a pamphlet for the New Statesman in July 1956, coinciding with the review which I kept on rice paper. It was called “World Socialism Restated” (28). I didn’t obtain a copy until I was back in England and it was reprinted in March 1957 with a postscript added to cover the relevance of his project to the recent Suez and Hungarian invasions.

This pamphlet has always been important to me.

First, it embodies the basic lessons I had reached from my experiences and limited readings (including Cole) whilst in Iraq.

Secondly, it is one of Cole’s more readable and lasting contributions. For it is generally accepted that many of his books (but not all of his writings) after his early work on Guild Socialism were somewhat pedestrian although detailed and well researched (29). His wife Margaret, who shared much of his life’s work, correctly pointed out that the pamphlet contains “some of his finest and most sincere writings in the post-war years”. (30)

Finally, it was published as part of an effort to assist in the establishment of a body called the International Society of Socialist Studies (ISSS) which he was to preside over.

Cole hoped that the ISSS would be as influential internationally as the Fabian Society (which he had Chaired) had been earlier in furthering ideas for the British Labour Movement, except he hoped it would be his own form of socialism that would be to the fore and not that of the Webb’s.

I attended the Inaugural Conference of the ISSS in London at which Cole discussed a paper they had issued entitled “How Current Trends in Capitalism Influence Socialist Policies”.(31). A concept which still has considerable relevance.

The ISSS failed to make the impact which Cole had hoped for because in the words of his wife “the objects which those who joined it had in mind it were wildly incompatible” . (32).

It has, however, been argued that two preparatory Conferences held in Oxford and Paris which led to the launch of the ISSS were “the first political gatherings of anything that could be called a New Left” (33), which emerged even before Khrushchev’s speech on Stalin had shaken sections of the British Communist Party (34) and other leftists into setting up “The Reasoner” (an unheard of Journal of Dissent inside the British Communist Party)(35), “The New Reasoner“ (36), “University and Left Review” (37) and the early issues of “New Left Review” (38).

In fact Stuart Hall, the first editor of New Left Review participated in the Paris Conference and was elected to the ISSS’s International Committee at its Inaugural Conference.

The initial stimulus which led to the move towards setting up the ISSS came from two linked articles by Cole appearing in the New Statesman on 15 and 22 January 1955, just before I arrived in Basra. I did not come across these until they were reproduced by the ISSS in a 1959 publication (39) . Cole having died in the January.

Cole’s articles had the overall title of “The Future of Socialism”. The same title used a year later by Tony Crosland for his very different revisionist work (40). Margaret described her husband’s version as “indignant” and “calling upon those who had been his comrades and correspondents to look into their hearts and wake up before it was too late” for he felt that “the Socialist movement all over the world had lost not only its way but its drive and energy”. (41)

50 Year In Labour

At the time of preparing to attend the ISSS launch in September 1957, I also joined the Labour Party. The passing reason being that I needed to join to qualify to enter an essay competition on Nationalisation which was sponsored by the local Labour M.P., Manny Shinwell.

But Cole’s embryo (and long existing) New Leftism was quite compatible with work in the Labour Party and the Trade Union Movement, as long as this was done without any illusions. From such a perspective, it was better than being taken over by Communists or Trotskyists. It also meant full involvement with the official labour movement, not as entryists but as a "sensible extremist" and a "loyal grouser" (42).

My Trade Union was the Transport and Salaried Staff Association, so I attended Branch Meetings and was sent as delegate to a Line Conference. As the main speaker was Ray Gunter, the Labour Right-Winger, I soon realised the avenues open to me would present me with rather a long-haul towards socialism.

I then moved on to be a student at Ruskin Adult Education College with fellow Labour Movement activists in studying politics and economics. As indicated earlier, Cole had himself worked in and for Adult Education (pursuing what are normally termed liberal adult educational values hopefully for intelligent socialist ends). As a student, then a lecturer, this was to become my own major involvement for 27 years of my life. Working ,for instance, with two classes of Yorkshire Miners during the NUM’s 1984 strike.(43).

I have always, of course, since 1957 been politically active in the Labour and Trade Union Movement. But for a fully fledged democratic socialist this can be a draining as well as a sustaining experience. It is essential to discuss and dispute matters with activists who share similar horizons. More than any other avenue, Independent Labour Publications provided me with this opportunity for a decade or so from 1975.(44).

A Labour Friend Of Iraq

Whatever reformist and even New Labourite programmes I later became tainted with (especially in the second half of my 18 Years as an M.P.), at least I can point to numbers of justifiable campaigns I have been involved in (45) . None more important than what might well be my own final political project : work with “Labour Friends of Iraq”, who have those invaluable links with the Iraqi Trade Union Movement. A Movement at the cutting edge of the struggle for the principles I came to believe in.

My proudest possession is my certificate of honorary membership of the Iraqi
Federation of Trade Unions presented to me during a visit to Iraq in April 2006. Here are comrades who deserve our active backing as they struggle for democracy, freedom and justice in the hideously difficult circumstances.

If things have come full circle for me, at least I am now properly involved with Iraqi comrades and I have finally graduated from just looking with shock out of a carriage window.


1. Hansard, 3 April 2003, columns 1090-1.

2. Hanna Batatu, “The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq”, Princeton University Press, 1978. See Book 2 “The Communists from the Beginnings of their Movement to the Fifties”.

3. Michael Barratt Brown, “Adult Education for Industrial Workers: the Contribution of Sheffield University Extramural Department”, 1969, National Institute of Adult Education (England and Wales).

4. Marion Farouk-Sluglett & Peter Slugett, “Iraq Since 1958”, KPI Ltd., 1987.


6. Edith & E.F.Penrose, “Iraq: International Relations and National Development”, 1978, Ernest Benn Limited. See photograph section.

7. Abbas Alnasrawi, “The Economy of Iraq”, 1994, Greenwood Press.

8. e.g. Bernard Shaw, “Essays in Fabian Socialism”, 1932, Constable and Company. I obtained a 1949 reprint in Basra in 1955.

9. Bertrand Russell, “Let the People Think”, 1941, Watts and Co. Hector Hawton,“Men Without Gods”. 1948, Watts and Co.

10. G.D.H.Cole, “Twentieth-century Socialism”, New Statesman. 7 July, 1956, pp 8-9.

11. Socialist Union, “Twentieth Century Socialism”, 1956, Penguin Books.

12. G.D.H.Cole, “The Meaning of Marxism”, 1948, Victor Gollancz, p12.

13. G.D.H.Cole, “A Guide to the Elements of Socialism”, 1947, The Labour Party. pp 15-16.

14. G.D.H.Cole & Raymond Postgate, “The Common People”, 1938, Methuen was amongst them.

15. G.D.H.Cole, “Self-Government in Industry”, 1917, G. Bell and Sons Ltd. Sets out his blueprint.

16. R.H.S. Crossman, “G.D.H.Cole and Socialism”, 2 September 1960, New Statesman, pp 311-2. He states “The split in the Labour Movement was for Cole not merely a political disaster but a torment of the soul. During the Thirties he fervently supported the Popular Front and in 1945 saw the main role of the Labour Government as reconciling East and West."

17. G.D.H. Cole, “World Socialism Restated”, July 1956, New Statesman Pamphlet,p 7, “…even where the parliamentary road is open, it is all too easy for those who follow it to abandon the quest for Socialism and to rest content with such advances towards the Welfare State as can be made without attacking the fundamental inequalities of capitalist society.”

18. G.D.H.Cole, “Organised Labour”, 1924, George Allen and Unwin.

19. G.D.H.Cole, “Capitalism in the Modern World”, October 1957, Fabian Tract 310,pp 23-25.

20. A.W.Wright, “G.D.H.Cole and Socialist Democracy”, 1979, Clarendon Press,pp 144-9.

21. GDH Cole & Margaret Cole “The Intelligent Man’s Review of Europe To-Day”,1933, Victor Gollancz, is an example. Although the teaching, industrial and political avenues which GDH participated in were male dominated, his works were also meant to appeal to women. See Betty D. Vernon “Ellen Wilkinson”,I982, Croom Helm Ltd, pp 31-35.

22. G.D.H.Cole, “The Intelligent Man’s Guide Through World Socialism”, 1932,Victor Gollancz, p 46. The text is 659 pages long and the only reference to Iraq is in a table of populations

23. I would claim that there were aspects of a common overall approach in the forms of action I took against the Poll Tax, for a "democratic, federal and social Europe", over aid for Iraqi Kurds, for the defence of the Coal Industry, for improved electoral registration, against environmental pollution, for disability rights, for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, for the Tobin Tax, in the campaign to try to save 700 local jobs at Biwater which led to subsequent campaining against the Enterprise Bill, over military adventures and finally in working with the Trade Union Movement in Iraq.

24. Charles Tripp, “A History of Iraq”,2000, Cambridge University Press, pp 140-3.

25. R.H.S. Crossman (editor), “New Fabian Essays” 1952, Turnstile Press.

26. op cit ,Hanna Batatu, Book Three, “The Communists, the Ba’thists, and the Free Officers from the Fifties to the Present".

27. Abdullah Muhsin & Alan Johnson, “Hadi Never Died : Hadi Saleh and the Iraqi Trade Unions”, 2006, Trade Union Congress, p 17.

28. See footnote 17.

29. “The New Reasoner”, Issue 8, Spring 1959, pp 36-9 , Kingsley Martin and Asa Briggs “Two Tributes to G.D.H. Cole” in which Kingsley Martin states “What his writing lacked was imagination; his strong personality and deep feeling was apt somehow to get lost. He did not call to his service the periphery of his mind.He explored no byways of thoughts, and though he seldom used an inept word, he did not stop to find a memorable one.”

30. Margaret Cole, “The Life of G.D.H. Cole”, 1971, MacMillan, p 284.

31. Report of the Proceedings of the Founding Conference of the International Society of Socialist Studies, “ISSS: a new crusade”, ISSS, pp 56-70.

32. op cit, Margaret Cole, p 285.

33. Peter Sedgwick, “A Return to First Things”, 1980, Balliol College Annual Record, pp 86-88.

34. Michael Kenny, “The First New Left: British Intellectuals After Stalin”,1995, Lawrence & Wishart, pp 17-19.

35. Lin Chun, “The British New Left”, 1993, Edinburgh University Press, pp 10-12.

36. “The New Reasoner”, Issue 5, Summer 1958, G.D.H. Cole, “Next Steps in British Foreign Policy”, pp 8-11.

37. “Universities and Left Review”, Volume 1, No.1, G.D.H. Cole ,“What is Happening to British Capitalism?”, pp 24-7.

38. “New Left Review”, No.1 Jan-Feb 1960, p 1. G.D.H. Cole died a year before this first issue, but the opening quotation at the head of the editorial would have gladdened his heart, it was from one of his favourite's William Morris and read “It is a new Society that we are working to realise, not a cleaning up of our present tyrannical muddle into an improved, smoothly-working form of some ‘order’, a mass of dull and useless people organised into classes, amidst which the antagonism should be moderated and veiled so that they should act as checks on each other for the insurance of the stability of the system.”, William Morris, “ Commonweal, July, 1885. Cole had been converted to socialism by reading his “News From Nowhere” when a schoolboy.

39. op cit, International Society of Socialist Studies, pp 11-20.

40. C.A.R. Crosland, “The Future of Socialism”, 1956. Jonathan Cape.

41. op cit, Margaret Cole, p284.

42, op cit, A. W. Wright, pp 2. Also, Betty D Vernon “Margaret Cole, 1893-1980”. Croom Helm Ltd 1986, pp 81-84 shows that the term “loyal grouser” was initiated by Francis Meynell to describe those involved with the Society of Socialist Inquiry and Propaganda (SSIP) which the Coles helped to establish in 1930-1. Although it was restricted to members of the Labour Party, it was something of a model for the international aspirations of the ISSS.

43. Labour Leader, December 1984, pp 6-7 contains extracts from 12 of their essays about expereinces during the strike.

44. Barry Winter “The I.L.P. : a brief history”,1982, Independent Labour Publications, p 12 on the Vienna Union, known as the Two-and-a-half International, “between” the Second and Third Internationals has relevance to another New Leftism which did not wish to be identified with Communism or Social Democracy, but still looked for formulas which could unite the two on a worthwhile socialist platform.

45. An eventual source on these will be the 120 detailed reports I issued to the
North East Derbyshire Constituency Labour Party in my period as an M.P. between 1987 and 2005.


Anonymous said...

Hello Comrade,

It feels good to be back on the blogosphere again.

Thank you for yet another very interesting piece; after more than two and a half months without proper internet access it made my (otherwise regular) visit to your blog very enjoyable.

I see that you have turned 71. Since you did so while I was "off-line", so to speak, I would like to wish you a happy birthday - a slightly delayed wish, but better than none I suppose.

Take care,



Harry Barnes said...


Good to see you are back. I have just returned from a student's re-union at Coleg Harlech where I led the discussion on the situation faced by Trade Unionists in Iraq.