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Last on

Mon 14 Jan 2013 11:00 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 14 January 2013

The British Communist Party was pronounced dead in 1991 as the Soviet Union was collapsing. This is the story of its afterlife and how the Communist Party's money, its people, its ideas continued to play a critical and sometimes surprising role in British politics.

Twenty years ago, Britain's answer to Bolshevism, the Communist Party of Great Britain, gave up the ghost and disbanded itself at a special conference in Bloomsbury.

But arguably that was the very moment when the real influence of Britain's official communists began to be felt in a new and unexpected way.

Freed from carrying the burdensome hammer and sickle and its compromising associations with Stalin's terror and the economic failure of the Soviet system, these ex-communists went out into the rest of the political world and began to exert real, if subtle, influence.

Max Cotton traces the influence of the 'modernising' euro-communists, through the financial legacy of millions of pounds of 'Moscow Gold' and through the organisations they have founded and run, and looks for traces of their Marxist roots.

Producer: Adam Bowen.

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