Chapter two examines the making of a communist activist focussing on the 1952 apprentices' strike in Britain; an event that accelerated Reid's rise within the CPGB. Drawing on autobiographical material of various activists, we emphasise the fact that being a communist involved the complete immersion of one’s self in a political culture whose ties extended way beyond the factory floor or the conference hall into the wider society. Mutual assistance, socialising and politics were fused in Party lives. All of this in a small, embattled political party produced an intimacy that stretched across generations. This helps to explain why leaving the Party, as he did in 1976, was such a 'heart-wrenching' moment for him.
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