Harry Pollitt

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Pollitt, Harry


Born Nov. 22, 1890; died June 26, 1960. Figure in the British and international workers’ movement.

Pollitt, the son of a worker, was born in Droylsden, near Manchester. He worked for many years, first as a boilermaker’s apprentice and then as a boilermaker, in Manchester, Southampton, and London. As a young man, he joined the workers’ movement. In 1906 he joined the Independent Labour Party, and in 1912 he became a member of the British Socialist Party. During World War I he took part in antiwar propaganda. In 1915, Pollitt helped lead a strike of shipyard workers in Southampton. In 1918–19 he was among the organizers of a movement of plant and factory shop stewards in the Thames River basin. He was also an organizer and leader of the Hands Off Russia movement, which was directed against the anti-Soviet intervention.

Pollitt was one of the founders in 1920 of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). In 1922 he became a member of the Central Committee and of the Central Committee’s Politburo, and in 1943 a member of the party’s Executive Committee and Political Committee. From 1921 to 1924 he was secretary of the London Bureau of the Red International of Trade Unions. Between 1924 and 1929 he was general secretary of the National Minority movement, which opposed the reformist policies of the right-wing trade union and Labour Party leaders. In 1925, Pollitt was sentenced to a year in prison for revolutionary activity. From 1924 to 1943 he was a member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern. He participated in the Third, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Congresses of the Comintern. From 1929 to 1956, Pollitt was general secretary of the CPGB, and from 1956 to 1960 chairman of the party’s Executive Committee. He visited the USSR a number of times. Pollitt died en route from Australia to Great Britain.

Pollitt was one of the authors of the program of the CPGB, “Britain’s Path to Socialism.” He also wrote many works on the theory and practice of the workers’ and communist movement.


Selected Articles and Speeches, vols. 1–2. London, 1953–54.
Serving My Time: An Apprenticeship to Politics. [London, 1950.]
In Russian translation:
Izbr. stat’i i rechi, vol. 1. Moscow, 1955.
Gody politicheskogo uchenichestva. Moscow, 1960.
Marksizm i rabochee dvizhenie v Velikobritanii. Moscow, 1960.


Matkovskii, N. V. Vernyi syn angliiskogo rabochego klassa. Moscow, 1970.


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The Bantams beat Bury in their last match of the season to avoid seeking re-election, but it was later discovered that the club had bribed the Bury players to lose and Coventry chairman David Cooke, manager Harry Pollitt and captain George Chaplin were all banned from football for life.
The closest the Communist Party came to winning a Welsh seat was when Harry Pollitt was 972 votes short of victory in Rhondda East in 1945.
Though Jay Lovestone had accepted the new line, added his voice to the denunciation of Bukharin, and seemed the most secure of party leaders, at the Sixth Convention in April 1929 Comintern plenipotentiaries Philip Dengel and Harry Pollitt peremptorily ordered him to cede the general secretaryship to Foster.
She was herself converted to the Communist cause in 1935 through direct conversations with the man at the top, Harry Pollitt.
MI5 files released today show British Communist Party leader Harry Pollitt was underwhelmed by members such as WH Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis.
MI5 files released today to the National Archives show that the British Communist Party leader Harry Pollitt was distinctly underwhelmed by members like WH Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis.
In a letter to Harry Pollitt, leader of the Communist Party of Great Britain, Sir Stafford addresses him as "My dear comrade" and commends him for doing "extremely good work".
three-month trip to Australia, that Harry Pollitt, the chairman of the
The 'Biographical Glossary' encapsulates the lives of leading British Communists in nineteen terse paragraphs, including the long-serving Harry Pollitt (General Secretary 1929-39 and 1941-56), and Nina Temple, the last General Secretary who had the courage to realise that the game was up.
Beckett is particularly good at summing up his characters, chief among them Harry Pollitt, an outstanding leader with a human warmth and openness that too many lacked, or felt obliged to stifle under their heavy Bolshevik armour.
He was putting out his newsletter, "The Week"' and Harry Pollitt, general secretary of the Communist Party, conceived the idea of asking this exotic mercurist to see what had happened in Wales and to write about it for the Worker.
Along with J R Campbell and Harry Pollitt, Horner used his experience to obstruct such tendencies within the Politburo, but they failed to stop the formation of the United Mineworkers of Scotland in April 1929.
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