Workers of the world? The Communist Party of Great Britain as a global party

Call for Papers


The conference, Workers of the world? The Communist Party of Great Britain as a global party, will be held at the People's History Museum in Manchester, and is being organised by the CPGB Archives Trust and the journals Socialist History and Twentieth Century Communism. A call for papers has been issued.

In the summer of 1920 the Communist Party of Great Britain was formed as the British section of the Communist International. Although the Comintern was dissolved in 1943, internationalism and the sense of belonging to a world movement would remain one of the defining characteristics of communist politics. Links with the USSR and communism’s ruling parties have proved an enduring source of interest and controversy for historians. At the same time, in recent years there has been a broadening out to other fields of transnational activism and association and the forms of political identity to which these gave rise. As increasingly attention turns to the writing of a global history of communism, historians of the party in Britain have been turning their minds to the multiple strands and histories of the CPGB can be located within it.

The People’s History Museum holds the archives of the CPGB and in making these publicly accessible has played a major role in stimulating a critical historiography of the communist movement in Britain. This conference will offer the opportunity to take stock of one of the key themes in this historiography on the centenary of the party’s foundation.

The organisers are seeking papers of 5000 to 8000 words to be presented at the conference. Conference themes may include, but are not limited to:

The CPGB as section of the world communist movement
Communists, the empire and anti-imperialism
Communists, the USSR and ‘actually existing socialism’
Transnational activism and solidarity networks
Delegations, study tours and political tourism
Britain’s ‘Cominternians’
Emigres and political exiles in Britain
Communists, anti-fascism and the war in Spain
Communists, maoism and the PRC
Culture wars, translations and publishing enterprises

For further details and updates, please visit the conference website on Proposals for papers and any enquiries should be submitted by e-mail to the organisers on

The deadline for submitting proposals is Monday, 30 March. The organisers will inform all applicants as to whether their proposals have been accepted as soon as possible after that date. The deadline for receiving completed papers from successful applicants will be Friday, 2 September 2020. Selected papers will be published in the journal Socialist History.

The conference registration fee, which covers lunch and light refreshments, will be £15.
Contact Info: Francis King, School of History, UEA, Norwich NR4 7TJ