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The Red Flag

February 9, 2016

Red FlagThe Red Flag was the first Trotskyist paper produced in Britain. It was published in May 1933 by the British Section of the International Left Opposition.
In the mid-1970s, some enterprising comrades produced a facsimile of the first edition of Red Flag as a fund raiser for the IMG.
In his history of early British Trotskyism , Martin Upham explained (1):
“The British Section celebrated May Day 1933 with the first printed Trotskyist newspaper the country had produced, The Red Flag. It did not normally report the work of the British Section. It was a propaganda vehicle, aimed at a revolutionary audience. The stress on Trotsky’s articles on Germany and (later) Austria reflected the interests of the International Left Opposition, though from July unsigned British articles begin to appear. In the first three months of publication sales of The Red Flag advanced from more than 900 to nearly 1,250. Sales, which had been divided 3:1 in London’s favour were now more healthily distributed in the ratio of 7:5. In the autumn however, The Red Flag entered a decline, perhaps as a casualty of the factional struggle.”
There was also one link, in terms of personnel, to the IMG. Harry Wicks was one of the early British Trotskyists organised in the Balham Group in South London . In 1980, Harry Wicks joined the IMG when a group of former SWP members fused with the IMG.

(1) http://www.revolutionary-history.co.uk/index.php/british-material/353-britain-hobt
(2) https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/balham/
(3) See Bob Wood’s review of “Keeping My Head – The Memoirs of a British Bolshevik”, Socialist Outlook, 1 May 1993

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