Peter Fryer’s Hungarian Tragedy

John Walker compares the crisis within the SWP to a crisis of the British Communist Party in the 1950s.

SWP posters and leaflets at an election rally at George Square, Glasgow

As the crisis in the SWP continues, it might be worthwhile considering the crisis in the British Communist Party in the mid-1950s.

Naturally, the content of the two crises differ considerably. In the 1950s the issue facing the CP was the nature of the newly installed regimes in eastern Europe, culminating in the reaction to the Hungarian Revolution.

The SWP has always rejected Stalinism and its predecessor organisation backed the Hungarian rebels without hesitation, and so this issue would never have been a problem.

But nonetheless’ it may be argued there are parallels between the CP then and the SWP now. I therefore present to you the introductory chapter of Peter Fryer’s 1956 book, Hungarian Tragedy, so you may judge for yourself.

Read the introduction to Peter Fryer’s Hungarian Tragedy here.


Note: This piece was published before rs21 was established as an independent organisation in January 2014. rs21 was founded by a group of people who had been in the opposition within the SWP and who left in response to its persistent mishandling of rape and sexual harassment allegations against a leading member.


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