Shades of the Cold War: The role of Communist workers at the Midland Railway Workshops
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Although a small minority among the 2500-strong workforce at the Midland Railway Workshops in the 1950s, the Communists were an active group, whose physical focal point was a section of the Machine Shop in Block 3, known as 'Red Square', where Jack Marks, a fitter and turner who was an active CPA member, operated a lathe.This paper argues that the activities of Marks and fellow CPA members went far beyond political proselytising and that herein lay their success as union activists. The paper explores the growth of Communism among the workforce at the Midland Workshops; the role of agitators and activists such as Marks in achieving better working conditions, their political and industrial influence upon other unionists, and the response of management. It concludes that the extent of the Communists' acceptance and popularity among their fellow workers lay in their commitment to every day issues, rather than in their ideological understanding of world events.
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