I learnt the scholar’s craft through my membership of the British Communist Party (BCP).  Born into a working-class family in Deptford, London, I joined the party and the Young Communist League (YCL) in 1969, aged 17.  Crucial to that life-changing decision was the party’s opposition to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.  Like many idealists of my generation I was captivated by the Prague Spring and Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubček’s slogan of ‘socialism with a human face.’ I was also moved by the Czechoslovak people’s peaceful resistance to the invasion, which I found far more edifying than rioting bourgeois students in Paris.[1]

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