Theory & Struggle

Three communist educators

Theory & Struggle (2020), 121, (1), 108–123.


Robin Page Arnot’s writings and his own life provide a remarkable insight into socialist and communist politics of the twentieth century. His work as a socialist educator remains to be researched, but this article shows that there is enough to say with certainty that his efforts in the field of Marxist education were pioneering. His reputation as a scholar in the service of the labour movement, in particular on behalf of Britain’s miners, remains unparalleled. His life and work as an active communist over many decades remain as a rich primary source for labour historians.

James Klugmann was a leading Marxist scholar, communist educator and activist. He studied at Cambridge and was associated with the famous spy ring; he then worked for the Comintern in Paris, making links with communist students around the world, and as part of the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. From 1946 to his death in 1977, he worked as a Communist Party official, edited Marxism Today, and wrote the first two volumes of the history of the CPGB; was an outstanding educator associated with the Marx Memorial Library; and a thinker trying to comes to terms with Stalinist crimes, the Cold War, and the new postwar developments and political tendencies.

Andrew Rothstein’s role as a communist educator and propagandist is examined from the1920s to the 1980s. The article identifies his special contribution as bringing together an understanding of the revolutionary Bolshevik tradition of Russia and the anti-imperialist tradition of the British working class, and as carrying forward the legacy of his father Theodore within the Social Democratic Federation/British Socialist Party between 1890 and 1920. The article considers his achievement in combining the defence of Marxism as an integral component of Britain’s labour movement and Labour Party with his role as the British spokesperson for the world’s first socialist state from 1920 to the 1960s

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Author details

Davis, Mary

Seifert, Roger

Foster, John