The Communist Party of Great Britain is no longer. In 1991 it conceded that times had changed and transformed itself into the Democratic Left. Its membership had all but disappeared; the final collapse of communism in Eastern Europe dealt the final blow.
Yet despite its consistently poor electoral performance, the Communist Party exercised significant influence over many years. It mobilised widespread extra-parliamentary action and attracted into its ranks an impressive range of intellectual and cultural luminaries.
It was, however, compromised by its complex relationship with the Soviet Union, which continued to provide funding long after official links were much reduced. The Good Old Cause examines the shifting and often contradictory strategies through which the party tried to reach its objectives: how it attempted to fulfil its role as part of the supposed 'general staff of the world revolution' by means of conventional political inudtrial activity.
'The Good Old Cause' was the name given to the English Republicans of the seventeenth century, much admired by British communist of the twentieth. Like their earlier counterparts, these communists tasted the full bitterness of seeing everything they had most passionately struggled for deafeated, discredited and cast into the historical dustbin. This book is both a tribute to their commitment and a critique of their illusions.
- From the back cover