Thursday, 12 September 2013

A veteran Trotskyist remembers: interviews with Harry Wicks

Harry Wicks was born in Battersea on 16 August 1905 and started work there on the railways in 1919. In 1926, after suffering victimisation for his active participation in the General Strike, he was elected to the executive of the Young Communist League (YCL). In the following year he was selected, through the YCL, to study in Moscow at the International Lenin School for party activists. This course included visits to other parts of the Soviet Union as well.

After his return to Britain in 1930, he became involved with the British Section of the Left Opposition (supporters of Leon Trotsky against the Stalinist regime of the Soviet Union) and was consequently expelled from the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1932. In November and December of that year, he was sent as the delegate of the British Section to meet Trotsky in Copenhagen.

He continued to be involved with the Trotskyist movement for the rest of his life, becoming, at various points, a member of the Communist League, the Marxist League, the Labour Party (between 1934-9), the Socialist Anti-War Front, the Independent Labour Party, and the International Socialists. He died on 26 March 1989.

The Modern Records Centre at Warwick University has now put online short extracts from a substantial series of recorded interviews given by Harry Wicks between 1976 and 1980 to Professor Logie Barrow, the editor of Wicks’s autobiography, published in 1992 by Socialist Platform Ltd as Keeping my head – the memoirs of a British Bolshevik .The full recordings, which were originally made on twenty-eight tape cassettes, are with Wicks's papers held at the Centre.

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