Rajani Palme Dutt
Rajani Palme Dutt
|Born||19 June 1896|
|Died||20 December 1974 (aged 78)|
|Political party||Communist Party of Great Britain|
Rajani Palme Dutt was born in 1896 on Mill Road in Cambridge, England. His father, Dr. Upendra Dutt, was a Bengali Hindu surgeon and Indian national, while his mother Anna Palme was Swedish; he was thus half-Bengali and half-Swedish. Anna Palme was a great aunt of the future Prime Minister of Sweden Olof Palme.
Dutt was educated at The Perse School, Cambridge and Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained a first class degree in Classics, after being suspended for a time because of his deemed subversive propaganda as a conscientious objector in World War I.
Dutt joined the Labour Research Department, a left wing statistical bureau, in 1919. The following year, he joined the newly formed Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and in 1921 founded a monthly magazine called Labour Monthly, a publication which he edited until his death.
Dutt was on the Executive Committee of the CPGB from 1923 until 1965 and was the party's chief theorist for many years.
Dutt first visited the Soviet Union in 1923, where he attended deliberations of the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) relating to the British movement. He was elected an alternate to the ECCI Presidium in 1924.
Following an illness in 1925 which forced him to stand down as editor of Workers' Weekly, Dutt spent several years in Belgium and Sweden as a representative of the Comintern. He also played an important role for the Comintern by supervising the Communist Party of India for some years.
Palme Dutt was loyal to the Soviet Union and to Leninist ideals. In 1939, when the CPGB General Secretary Harry Pollitt supported the United Kingdom's entry into World War II, it was Palme Dutt who promoted Stalin's line, forcing Pollitt's temporary resignation. As a result, he became the party's General Secretary until Pollitt was reappointed in 1941, after the German invasion of the USSR and consequent reversal of the Communist Party attitude towards World War II.
In his book Fascism and Social Revolution a scathing criticism and analysis of fascism is presented with a study of the rise of fascism in Germany, Italy and other countries, he called fascism a violent authoritarian, ultra nationalist, and irrational theory. In his own words: "Fascism is antithetical to everything of substance within the liberal tradition."
After Stalin's death, Palme Dutt's reaction to Khrushchev's Secret Speech played down its significance, with Dutt arguing that Stalin's "sun" unsurprisingly contained some "spots". A hardliner within the CPGB, he disagreed with its criticisms of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and opposed the CPGB's increasingly Eurocommunist line in the 1970s, retiring from his party positions, although remaining a member until his death in 1974. According to historian Geoff Andrews, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was still paying the CPGB around £15,000 a year "for pensions" into the seventies, recipients of which "included Rajani Palme Dutt".
1920: The Sabotage of Europe
1921: Back to Plotinus, Review of Shaw's Back to Methusela: A Metaphysical Pentateuch
1921: Psycho-Analysing the Bolshevik, Review of Kolnai's Psycho-analysis and Sociology
1922: The End of Gandhi
1923: The British Empire
1923: The Issue in Europe
1926: The Meaning of the General Strike (pamphlet)
1926: Trotsky and His English Critics
1928: Indian Awakening
1933: Democracy and Fascism (pamphlet)
1933: A Note on the Falsification of Engels' Preface to "Marx's 'Class Struggles in France"
1934: Fascism and Social Revolution
1935: The Question of Fascism and Capitalist Decay
1935: British Policy and Nazi Germany
1935: The British-German Alliance in the Open
1935: For a united Communist Party : an appeal to I.L.P'ers and to all revolutionary workers
1936: In Memory of Shapurji Saklatvala
1936: Anti-Imperialist People's Front in India, written with Ben Bradley
1936: Left Nationalism in India
1938: On the Eve of the Indian National Congress, with Harry Pollitt and Ben Bradley
1938: The Philosophy of a Natural Scientist
1938: The Philosophy of a Natural Scientist, a Rejoinder to Levy
1938: Review of Marx & Engels on the U.S. Civil War
1940: Twentieth Anniversary of the Communist Party of Great Britain
1940: India Today
1947: Declaration on Palestine, at the Empire Communist Parties Conference, London on 26 February to 3 March 1947
1949: Introductory Report on Election Programme
1953: Stalin and the Future
1953: The crisis of Britain and the British Empire
1963: Problems of Contemporary History
Thomas A. Jackson as editor of The Communist
| Editor of Workers' Weekly
J. R. Campbell
| Editor of the Daily Worker
|Party political offices|
| Acting General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain