Public politics and traditions of popular protest: demonstrations of the unemployed in Dundee and Edinburgh, c.1921-39

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Abstract

Through an examination of demonstrations of the unemployed in Dundee and Edinburgh, this article explores the changing parameters of public politics during the interwar period. Concentrating on the role of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and the National Unemployed Workers' Movement in these protests, and the changing response such protests elicited, the article contends that the 1920s witnessed a decline in both the potency and perceived legitimacy of such public forms of political action. It concludes that, on the evidence from Dundee and Edinburgh, British politics in this era were shaped less by ideology than by method, and it was changing attitudes towards popular traditions of public protest that provided the crucial distinction between the CPGB and the Labour Party.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-513
Number of pages24
JournalContemporary British History
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Public politics
  • Protests
  • Unemployment
  • Communism
  • Labour Party

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