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Bolshevism, Syndicalism and the General Strike: The lost
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This, the third and final volume of Kevin Morgan’s widely acclaimed series Bolshevism and the British Left, centres around the figure of Alf Purcell (1872-1935), who was one of the leading personalities in the British and international labour movement. Purcell was most famous as one of TUC ‘lefts’ of the 1920s. He was Labour MP for both the Forest of Dean and Coventry, as well as being the founder of a working guild in the spirit of guild socialism, the controversial president of the International Federation of Trade Unions and the man who moved the formation of the British communist party. A sometime syndicalist and associate of Tom Mann, his experiences in the militant Furnishing Trades gave rise to the uncompromising trade-union internationalism which features so centrally in these chapters. With the squeezing of his syndicalist approach, as the labour movement polarised into Labour and communist currents, Purcell died a politically broken figure. Morgan uses Purcell’s biography to explore wider controversies – among them the rival modernities of Bolshevism and Americanism; the reactions to Bolshevism of anarchists like Emma Goldman; and the roots of political tourism to the USSR by British labour delegations in which Purcell featured so prominently. The volume also includes a major challenge to existing interpretations of the general strike, which it compellingly presents, not as the last fling of the syndicalists, but as a first and disastrously ill-conceived imposition of social-democratic centralism by Ernest Bevin.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. p. 6
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  1. Acknowledgements
  2. p. 7
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. 8-9
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  1. Introduction: around a life
  2. pp. 10-22
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  1. 1. Syndicalism, internationalism and the furnishing trades
  2. pp. 23-63
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  1. 2. Roads to freedom in the 1920s
  2. pp. 64-105
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  1. 3. Labour’s Russian delegations
  2. pp. 106-155
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  1. 4. ‘Swimming against a flood’: Emma Goldman in London
  2. pp. 156-195
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  1. 5. The other future?
  2. pp. 196-232
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  1. 6. The General Strike
  2. pp. 233-280
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  1. 7. Internationalist swansong
  2. pp. 281-304
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  1. Epilogue: a claim-making performer
  2. pp. 305-309
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 310-325
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  1. Timeline
  2. pp. 326-334
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 335-348
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  1. Bolshevism and the British left: concluding thoughts
  2. pp. 349-354
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