Archives and Special Collections: Subject guides - Modern Political Papers


Haston, Jock (1913-1986)


Haston became a Communist whilst a merchant seaman in the early 1930s. He left the Party in 1936 and became a Trotskyist, being involved with various groups over the next few years, including the Revolutionary Socialist League and the Workers' International League, out of which emerged the official organ of the Fourth International in Britain in 1944, the Revolutionary Communist Party. In April 1945 this was the first Trotskyist party to contest a parliamentary election in Britain - when Haston, its secretary, stood at Neath. The RCP failed to make progress over the next few years, and split into factions led by Gerry Healy and others, arguing over the respective benefits of open electioneering and the more traditional Trotskyist tactic of 'entering' the Labour and other parties. The RCP collapsed in 1949, with Haston quickly joining the Labour Party. The Haston archive represents a major source for students of the modern far left in Britain, with important records of the WIL and RCP, including minutes, internal party bulletins, conference documents, broadsheets, memoranda and correspondence. There are files relating to the Trotsky Defence Committee (1936-38) and overseas left groups - particularly in the United States, France, Germany, India and Ireland. Numerous individuals are represented, including: H G Wells, George Orwell, Natalia Sedora-Trotsky, Ted Grant, Max Shachtman, and C L R James. The collection comprises some 4000 items between 1913 and 1965. [DJH]

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Created: 1 April 1997 [Last updated: 17 September 1997]