National Minority Movement - Organizational History - Establishment


The National Minority Movement (NMM) was established at a convention held August 23–24, 1924, attended by 271 delegates, claiming to represent 200,000 workers. By the time of the NMM's formation in 1924, the Comintern had abandoned strategies based on the prospect of an imminent world revolution in favour of slow, gradual working within established institutions, including "pure and simple" reformist trade unions. The aim of the National Minority Movement was to convert the revolutionary minority of the working class into a majority. The NMM would organise workers who were dissatisfied with the existing unions but not willing to join the Communist Party, as well as those who were already CP members. In this way the Communists would increase their influence in amongst workers without splitting the existing organisations.

The NMM was affiliated to the Red International of Labour Unions (RILU). Its President, from 1924 to 1929, was the veteran trade union activist Tom Mann and its General Secretary, over the same period, was Harry Pollitt. Other prominent figures included Wal Hannington, in charge of organization of the metal workers until transferred by the party to work organising the unemployed, the engineer J.T. "Jack" Murphy and coal miners A. J. Cook, Arthur Horner and Nat Watkins.

Organising Secretary of the NMM was George Hardy, while George Fletcher served as Treasurer.

The organization appears to have been modeled after the American Trade Union Educational League established by Communist trade union leader William Z. Foster in 1921. As with TUEL, he NMM was divided into trade-related sections, the most important of which were the Mining MM (headed full-time by Watkins), the Metal Workers' MM (headed by Hannington), and the Transport MM (headed by Hardy).

An early success of the movement was the election of Minority Movement supporter A. J. Cook as General Secretary of the Miners Federation of Great Britain.

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