Dating service for intellectuals

In the British party's case, such transfers were organised systematically from 1923, when the party had its first permanent representative in Moscow.

The party's legendary 'glass fortress' at 16 King Street, Covent Garden, may thus be seen, archivally at least, less as a headquarters than as the national branch office indicated by Pollitt.

The main organisational holdings in the CPGB's own archives date only from after the dissolution of the Comintern.

There were a number of reasons for this, not least the fact that the communist party in Britain was, in theory at least, to be regarded henceforth as an entirely autonomous organisation.

However, it was only in the very final years before the CPGB's dissolution in 1991 that a process of opening up began.

With its replacement in 1991 by the Democratic Left, this then culminated in the deposit of the archives in Manchester's National Museum of Labour History, now the Labour History Archive and Study Centre (LHASC) of the People's History Museum.

In adhering to the Comintern, with its famously exacting 'twenty-one conditions' of admission, the CPGB accepted a practice of democratic centralism in which the ultimate authority of the international over its constituent parties was explicitly established.

Just as the lines of accountability flowed inexorably upwards, so accordingly were the records of the Comintern's member parties sent for the scrutiny and future custody of its Moscow apparat.

Some years later, by the same circuitous route, the only available summary of the CPGB's heated debates over the war in 1939 turned up as a War Cabinet memorandum in what is now the National Archives.Its membership at this point had peaked at over fifty thousand, boosted by Britain's wartime shift to the left and the enthusiasm that many felt for Britain's Soviet ally.In this atmosphere of benign Russophilia, the hounding of the communists by the authorities was also somewhat abated, though never discontinued as attested by the presence of a King Street bugging device among the artefacts presented to the People's History Museum.Accessible in LHASC since the end of 1994, the collections have already given rise an extensive published literature and a series of Ph D dissertations.With the provision of on-line access to the archives, one may be confident that the resurgence of historical interest will continue.

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