Revolutionary Communist at Work: Tom Sibley on Bert Ramelson
7pm Tony Benn House, Victoria St, Bristol. BS1 6AY

Bristol, Bath and Gloucester CPB invite you to a public meeting to hear from Tom Sibley, co-author of a recent biography of Bert Ramelson, and share the company and experience of some of those who have felt Bert's influence in their own political lives.

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You can buy a copy of the book from the Morning Star Online.

Revolutionary Communist at Work: a political biography of Bert Ramelson

Roger Seifert and Tom Sibley

Bert Ramelson (1910-1994) was a remarkable man who lived through remarkable times. Born into a Jewish ghetto in pre-1917 Ukraine, he went on to become Britain's foremost communist during the turbulent years of industrial strife in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s. He lived through the first years of the Bolshevik revolution and the ensuing Civil War - during which members of his family were murdered in the anti-Semitic pogroms of the period. After a short spell in Palestine working on a Kibbutz, he fought in the Spanish Civil War as a member of the Canadian contingent of the International Brigade, and then as a tank commander with the British Army in the Second World War. Having been taken prisoner at Tobruk, Ramelson went on to lead a mass breakout from an Italian Prisoner of War Camp.

 

From 1937 onwards, Ramelson lived as a professional revolutionary. After the war he spent nearly twenty years as a full-time Communist Party worker in Yorkshire, but it was his appointment as the Party's National Industrial Organiser in 1965 that brought him to national prominence. During this period he received the accolade of being named by prime minister Harold Wilson as the most dangerous man in Britain. As well as playing a leading role on the industrial scene, Ramelson was also centrally involved in the leadership of the Communist Party, where he played a key role in many a stormy debate - including taking the lead in confronting the Soviet authorities when he denounced their 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia.

'Bert Ramelson is best known as the Communist Party's industrial organiser during the days of the Wilson, Heath and Callaghan governments. With others on the left he helped to develop a mass movement based on organised workers which was strong enough to block anti-trade union legislation and protect workers' rights. We badly need such a movement today, with an even broader canvas. Much can be learned about how to do this from studying Bert's life.' Rodney Bickerstaffe, former TUC President

Tom Sibley was a full-time worker for the CPGB in the late 1970s and early 1980s. For many years he was Head of the TASS and MSF Research Departments before taking up a position as General Secretary of The International Centre for Trade Union Rights. In 2008 he was awarded a PhD for his dissertation on the impact of anti-communism on the labour movement during the early years of the Cold War.