Communism did not start with Karl Marx, or with the Russian Revolution of 1917. In Britain, a rich historical seam of communist ideas dates back to the Middle Ages and beyond. The desire for a future based on peace, cooperation, community and common, wealth has long inspired the peoples of England, Scotland and Wales.
At times of great crisis, such as the Peasants' Revolt (1381), the English Revolution (1640), and the Chartist uprisings of the 1830s and 1840s, communist ideas have come to the fore, voicing the hopes of working people.
The Communist Party continues that living, revolutionary tradition. It is a product, first and foremost, of the British labour movement. Its roots lie deep in Britain's trade unions, socialist societies and in other working class organisations.
When founded in 1920, the Party brought together militant socialists and trade unionists who understood the need for a revolutionary change in society. They were inspired by the world's first workers' state, Soviet Russia, led by VI Lenin. But they were also repelled by the mass slaughter of the 1914-1918 Great War. Britain needed a party that would fight capitalism and imperialism, unlike the labour leaders who preferred collaboration and surrender.
Since then, the Communist Party has been in the frontline fighting for the interests of the working class. Despite its small size and the imprisonment of its leadership, it played an outstanding role in the 1926 General Strike.