Britain's Socialist Heritage

One of Britain's leading communists, Kevin Halpin has been a fighter all his life.
As a child in Preston, he fought the poverty that saw his grandmother die in the workhouse. After the death of his mother, seven-year-old Kevin fought an increasingly harsh father. At school, he fought the teachers who dished out six of the best for questioning religion, and in the streets, he was a champion scrapper.
Later he fought the Nazis in the Mediterranean before going on to become one of the noted leaders of engineering and other workers in a lifetime of struggle for justice and a better world.

Through it all his wry sense of humour has kept him cheerful while sustaining those around him. A love of cooking and a keen enthusiasm for invention has also marked the career of this remarkable man.
His sharp observation of the world around him from early childhood onwards helps to make his account of a life lived to the full both readable and inspiring, with many a chuckle at the ironies of human nature.

Kevin has divided his account of life through the 20th century and beyond into 15 chapters.
They cover his early years in Preston; his wartime service in minesweepers; joining the Communist Party and the start of his main working life back in Britain, together with his growing Marxist education.
There's a detailed examination of the impact of the historic 20th Soviet Communist Party congress and its impact on political thinking in Britain. Accounts of political activity, historic strikes, blacklisting and the crises within the communist movement spring to life as Kevin weaves through them the pithy and humorous observations of a man who was there, saw it all and understood what was happening.

This is a book which casts new light on the development of left politics in Britain and beyond throughout the past 70 years. It is an unassuming account by a remarkable man, whose contribution to political and industrial life offers lessons for today.

Edited by Ken Keable (CPB) with an introduction by Ronnie Kasrils (SACP) and a foreword by Pallo Jordan (ANC).
All Royalties from this book will go to The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

The history of the Anti-Apartheid movement brings up images of boycotts and public campaigns in the UK. But another story went on behind the scenes, in secret, one that has been never told before.

This is the story of the foreign recruits and their activities in South Africa, how they acted in defiance of the Apartheid government and its police on the instructions of the African National Congress. It tells of:
" ANC Banners that unfurled
" ANC speeches that sounded through public places
" Buckets that exploded and showered ANC leaflets
" Transportation of weapons, communications, logistics
" Helping ANC fighters to enter South Africa,
" and more.....

Many recruits were Young Communists, others were Trotskyists or independent socialists; from the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the USA, and they all took amazing risks.
Some paid a heavy price for their support. This is their untold story.

Ken Keable adds, re the video:
"Ronnie Kasrils has corrected me on one point that I made in the video: "All The costs were met by the Soviet Union." He says that the ANC also had many other sources of funding besides the Soviet Union. He says, "Other countries in Africa, India, Scandinavia, Cuba etc. and NGOs such as International Defence & Aid contributed enormously as did individual supporters." I am happy to acknowledge this. When I went on my two missions to South Africa, I was under the impression that my own costs had been met by a Soviet source (which they may well have been) and that was part of the basis for my remark."

364 pages
Product Code:
    Merlin Press Ltd
    Feb 2012

Young men from across Britain, many who were Communists or sympathetic to their cause, left relative safety at home to go and fight for the Republican Government of Spain who were being attacked by Franco's Fascist forces.
They formed International Brigades (Brigadas Internacionales) and fought heroically, aided by material support by the Soviet Union, who stepped in once it was clear that Fascist Germany and Italy were arming and enabling Franco.

But today there are those who wish to distort this memory and muddy the waters. Now that all the International Brigaders have passed on, today many people's first encounter with tales of the Civil War could be via Ken Loach's very controversal film "Land and Freedom" or through anti-Communist George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia".

We hope this small video can go some way to readdressing the historical balance & understanding that we have through the International Brigaders.

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