R. Palme Dutt

Juan Rafael Fajardo wrote: Can anyone tell me anything about Dutt's politics?

Indeed I can. Rajani Palme Dutt was born in 1896 and died in 1974. He was of Indian and Swedish parents. He was a brilliant student, and was suspended from Oxford for opposing the First World War. He was also a neat cartoonist as well. Championing the October Revolution, he was in the leadership of the Communist Party of Great Britain from an early date. He married Salme Murrik, a Comintern operative.

Although he favourably reviewed Trotsky's Where is Britain Going? in 1925, he rapidly became an intellectual hack for whatever the Soviet regime's current line happened to be, providing sophisticated justifications of each twist and turn of Moscow policies in Labour Monthly, which, despite not being an official CPGB magazine, he edited.

Dutt was wheeled out each time Moscow wanted a new line implemented. So he came to the fore when the Third Period was implemented in 1928-29, dealing with those in the leadership whose enthusiasm for the ultra-left lurch was somewhat lacking. The same thing happened in 1939, where he almost single-handedly swung the CPGB leaders into opposing the Second World War as an imperialist conflict.

And so on, and so on. By the late 1960s, however, with Eurocommunism starting to rise, and certain party leaders seeing what way the wind was blowing, Dutt fell out of favour. A long-term fan of Stalin, he never really accepted de-Stalinisation, and opposed the CPGB's leaders criticisms of the crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968.

Dutt undoubtedly had a brilliant mind, but, without being a careerist, wasted his intellect in the service of Stalinism. What made him run, I don't know.

There is a none-too-good biography of Dutt -- John Callaghan, Rajani Palme Dutt: A Study in British Stalinism, London, 1993.

Paul Flewers New Interventions