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Book summary
Ella Rule: Claudia Jones, Communist (£1.00)
Claudia Jones, Communist (£1.00)Download booklet as a PDF

A recent issue of British stamps featured Claudia Jones, describing her as a ‘civil-rights activist’. Her best-known achievement is that she is considered the mother of the Notting Hill Carnival, the biggest carnival in Europe. All very respectable, but concealing the fact that, first and foremost, Claudia was a communist.

This excellent pamphlet examines Claudia's great contribution to the struggle for workers' emancipation, both in the United States and here in Britain.

It documents her vital contribution in fighting for equal rights for black people in Britain, which led to her establishing an anti-imperialist journal, the West Indian Gazette, and which culminated in her founding what was to become the Notting Hill Carnival.

It also looks at the usually overlooked question of Claudia's attitude towards class, imperialism, revisionism, the USSR and China -- pivotal questions for communists in the 1950s and 60s as well as now.

In doing so, the author completely debunks the popular prejudice that Claudia Jones was a black nationalist, whose narrow focus was on 'black issues' and who believed that rights for black people could only be achieved by organising separately from -- and in opposition to -- all white workers.

Claudia Jones was a great working-class heroine of the 20th-century communist movement, and her life and contribution deserve to be far more widely known.

Essential reading.

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