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Notes for a history of the IMG 6: Why we Left the Communist Party

October 22, 2015

Why we leftThe fallout from Khruschev’s speech to the 20th Congress of the CPSU and, later the same year, the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution, gave rise to an exodus of members from the Communist Party of Great Britain, some of whom gravitated towards the far left.

A number of former CPers, centred on Nottingham, had discovered the works of Trotsky through the work of Isaac Deutscher. Styling themselves the Nottingham Marxist Group, they were to issue a pamphlet “Why we Left the Commmunist Party”.

According to Ken Coates, this was actually written by Tony Cliff but “Pat (Jordan) got a lot of signatures of ex CP members from Nottingham for it”. Stan Newens puts things slightly differently “I met Pat Jordan… and took him back to see Tony Cliff. As a result Socialist Review made contact with a group of dissidents which included Ken Coates and John Daniels… We helped them publish a brochure…” Ian Birchall’s account, in his biography of Tony Cliff, agrees that Cliff was the author of the pamphlet, which came about after Pat Jordan, sought contact with representatives of various strands of Trotskyism, including Ted Grant, Sam Bornstein and Tony Cliff.

We will return to the relationship between the Socialist Review Group and the Nottingham Group in a later post.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2015 10:39 pm

    Congratulations on finding and publishing this document. A very valuable contribution to our understanding of the origin of the USEC current in Britain.Do you know who wrote it and who were “we” who signed it?

    • October 23, 2015 4:09 am

      The links in the accompanying notes make it fairly clear that Tony Cliff was the actual author. It was issued unsigned and I am unsure of the actual names of the people Pat Jordan got to sign up to it- if indeed that happened in any formal sense.

  2. ihbirchall permalink
    October 23, 2015 2:39 pm

    I have an interview with Ken Coates lasting 1 hour 40 minutes in which he talks of his contacts with Cliff anf the SR group in the late fifties and early sixties. I am happy to make this available to anybody interested (though I may need technical assistance). You can contact me through my website


  1. Why They Left The Communist Party | Red Mole Rising

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