2012 is the 91st anniversary of the founding of the Communist party. Since that time, communists have played formative roles in the struggle for democracy, the fight for the right to work, and in defence of public housing, health and education.
The British Communist Party was founded in London at a convention held at the Cannon Street Hotel in the summer of 1920.
The Party has a proud history of struggle in the capital’s working class movement. Our members have played leading roles in trade union battles from the 1926 General Strike to the 1986 News International dispute at Wapping.
London’s Communists led the fight against fascism on the streets of the East End at the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 and sent volunteers to fight General Franco’s forces in the Spanish Civil War.
During World War Two Communists led East Enders to shelter in London Underground stations when the London County Council would not protect them from Nazi bombs. The Party even organised a mass occupation of the Savoy Hotel to protest against the luxurious shelters built for the rich in the West End.
Communists also rose to leading positions in the tenants’ movement resisting slum landlords and fighting for new and better housing to be built for Londoners made homeless by wartime bombing. The post-war period saw Communists become influential trade union leaders in London’s major industries and Communists were elected to local councils.
London’s Communists have also welcomed and defended the immigrants who have made our city the diverse, multi-cultural capital it is today. Over the years London has also been a base for Communist and national liberation movements in other countries. In London British Communists have cooperated with comrades from our sister parties all over the world from South Africa to Chile.
Communists in London played an active role in fighting for equality for women helping to found the National Assembly for Women in 1952 and fighting for equal pay in the trade union movement. Communist women also played an active role in the Womens' Liberation Movement from the 1960s.
Communists have also played an important part in the cultural life of London. Many actors in the Unity Theatre were party members and communists also played a key role in the Folk Music revival. Prominent African-Caribbean Communist Claudia Jones founded the event that later grew into the Notting Hill Carnival.
Today the party remains committed to winning advances for working people and the goal of socialism. Organised in branches on a London-wide basis, the Party’s activities are directed by a District Committee elected by a biennial delegate congress.
Communists continue to play leading roles in the trade union movement and in a variety of progressive campaigning organisations. We also continue to work alongside our sister parties in the international movement through the Coordinating Committee of Communist Parties in Britain.
There will be communists active in your locality, industry or Community. Contact us here.