Harry Pollitt

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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