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British Labour Party's Patriotic Politics on Immigration and Race, 1900-1968

Park, Eunjae (2017) British Labour Party's Patriotic Politics on Immigration and Race, 1900-1968. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis examines the British Labour Party’s understanding of, and approaches to, domestic race issues from 1900 to the 1960s. Its focus is to compare the party’s race politics for 1900-1939 to that for post-1945 New Commonwealth immigration, thereby finding continuities in the Labour Party’s race politics in a longer-term perspective.  It does so by exploring the party’s position on: the Eastern European Jewish immigration and the 1905 Aliens Act; the 1919 Aliens Act; the employment of coloured seamen on British merchant ships; the anti-Semitism practiced in East London by the British Fascists. After this, it discusses what continuities and changes appear in the Labour’s policies towards post-1945 non-white immigrants until the 1960s.  It will argue that the basis of Labour’s race politics was patriotic concerns which developed into different directions in each case. On the one hand, the Labour Party’s official position of opposing immigration laws was based on liberal and tolerant British tradition, with a change in emphasis occurring after the First World War to socialist internationalism. Likewise, anti-Semitism of British fascists in the 1930s was criticised as a foreign assault on Britain’s order and democracy. On the other hand, Labour’s patriotic language took a opposite direction when in government office, administering immigration control and addressing issues related with coloured seamen. Labour defended its positions as protecting the interests of Britain and British workers. The features shown in the early twentieth century reappear in its politics on New Commonwealth immigration in the 1950s and 1960s. Its volte-face into acceptance of immigration control, suspicion of a multi-racial society, and attempt to exclude race from its politics, all reveal long-standing tensions within Labour’s politics, which demonstrates that Britain’s race politics need to be understood in a much longer trajectory than a narrow focus on post-1945 years.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Mrs Eunjae Park
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2018 11:56
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2018 11:56
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20520

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