Serious Mistakes and Shortcomings in the Activities of the Communist Party of Great Britain

M. Mitin


The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik) carefully followed the course of developments in the Communist Party of Great Britain in the time of Lenin and Stalin. As is known Stalin played a cardinal role in working out the party programme known as the British Road to Socialism in his discussions with its leader Harry Pollitt.(1) Between 1950 and 1953 the programmatic concretisation of this can be scrutinised in the major CPGB party documents.(2) The report by M. B. Mitin has to be seen in this context.

M.B. Mitin (1901-1987) was a leading theoretician of the CPSU(b). He was a member of the Central Committee from 1939 to 1961. In the years between 1930 and 1944 he was the main editor of the journal ‘Under the Banner of Marxism’. In the years 1939-1944 he was the Director of the Institute of Marx-Engels-Lenin under the CC of the CPSU(b). And in the period 1950-1956 he was the chief editor of the  Cominform journal ‘For a Lasting Peace, For a People s Democracy’ and it was in this capacity that this document was written.(3)

In his report Mitin argues that the CPGB under Harry Pollitt had side-lined the party programme the British Road to Socialism and projected it into the future. The party had misjudged the attitude to be adopted vis- a-vis the Labour Party and it had not faced the question of the national independence of Britain from US imperialism. Mitin noted that organisationally the party in its party-building had dropped the territorial-productive basis. The CPGB had not become a Marxist Leninist Party, it considered that socialism would come about peacefully, it had not engaged in building up the peace campaign. Mitin s report is a serious indictment of the CPGB in the 1953period and will be of value in tracing the origins of the development of rampant revisionism in the party. Although British Marxists such as Michael McCreery sought to comprehend the reformism of the CPGB, and even correctly pinpointed the refusal of the party to organise at the point of production(4) their evaluations were far removed from the Leninist-Stalinist framework. Today there are no parties in Britain which stand by the understanding of Stalin on the British Road to Socialism.

Vijay Singh

(1) J.V. Stalin, On the British Road to Socialism’,

(2) People’s Democracy in Britain: ‘The British Road to Socialism’ (Britain, January, 1951); Britain Arise, Report to the 22nd National Congress of the Communist Party, Harry Pollitt; ‘People’s Democracy for Britain’, Report to the 22nd National Congress of the Communist Party, John Gollan (Britain, Easter, 1952) in Archival Materials at

(3) Yu.V. Goryachev: Central”nyye Komitet 1917—1991, Istoriko-biograficheskiye spravochnik, ZAO ”Parad”, Moskva, 2005, ctr. 300.

(4) Michael McCreery, ‘Organise at the Place of Work’.

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