by Cardinal Cox
The Last English Revolutionary: Tom Wintringham 1898-1949 available at Amazon.co.uk
Dope on Pnuk part 25
This is a biography of Tom
Wintringham (1898-1949), someone you'll end up thinking we should
all know a little more about. Born in Grimsby in North
Lincolnshire, his family were Nonconformist by faith and Liberal
by politics. A great-grandfather had been mayor five times and an
uncle was an MP, until he died in the House of Commons and then
his wife won the seat.
Into this family was born Tom who
passed largely unscathed through World War One, and then, looking
for something to make the world a better place, became an early
member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
Gaoled for apparently inciting
mutiny in the armed forces in the run-up to the General Strike,
he later went to Spain (on the outbreak of the Civil war there)
and was fundamental in the formation of the International
Brigades. Expelled from the Party for his relationship with an
American (he got off lightly, associates were summoned to Moscow
and never seen again) he became a founder of the Home Guard in
Britain during World War Two.
At heart a Marxist (though the
Communists had rejected him) he co-founded the Common Wealth Party
that contested local by-elections during the war and had
candidates stand in the 1945 general election.
Throughout his life Tom was so
often right (wanting to eradicate poverty and empower the common
person) and so often wrong (he could seldom criticise Stalin).
His private life was equally confused with his affairs and
marriages. He saw himself in a tradition which dated back to John
Lilburne, leader of the Levellers, who had opposed both Charles I
and Cromwell, when the latter became a dictator. Lincolnshire
should be proud of him.
© All work copyright of Cardinal Cox.