Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


What is the United Front?, 1922

by Communist Party of Great Britain

image from Red Clydeside collection

The 'United Front' theses was written by the Soviet leader, Lenin, and published by the Comintern in 1921. The theses called for Communist Parties in Europe to work with all workers' organisations, not only Communist inspired organisations, on issues affecting the immediate needs of workers.

The 'United Front' theses proved to be a contentious document and the adoption of its main points by the CPGB caused a minor split within the new party. Many on the ultra-left of the CPGB viewed the adoption of 'United Front' tactics as an excuse for the party to indulge in all kinds of compromises with social-democratic and reformist parties. Opponents of 'United Front' tactics felt that this would lead to the obliteration of the CPGBs role as a party of permanent opposition to the State and to other political parties.

However, the CPGBs adoption of 'United Front' tactics and the defection of the ultra-Left in the party enabled the fledgling CPGB to escape from the sectarian and propagandist methods that had until then dogged British Marxism. The adoption of 'United Front' tactics allowed the CPGB to make a much greater impact on working class politics than its predecessor Marxist organisations had done.

Source: Bissett Collection, Glasgow University Special Collections