Bob Darke on how to fight racism in Hackney, 1979

Bob Darke is best known for the 1952 book The Communist Technique in Britain about his disaffection with the Hackney Branch of the Communist Party. That’s been previously covered here.

Darke criticised the CP for its subservience to Stalinist Russia at the expense of working class issues in Hackney. So it was hardly surprising that after he left the party he continued to work as a bus conductor and focus on trade union and tenants issues:

I live in Nisbet House, Homerton, a block of council flats in the Borough of Hackney, where washing is always hanging on the lines on the verandas, and there are bicycles and prams in the tiled hallways and sheds. Such a block of flats in the East End is a world of its own, closer-knit than the luxury flats in the West End where, I imagine, a man can lock his door on his neighbours. But if, in the East End, you can’t keep your own business from the neighbours that also means that your circle of friends is all the wider.

The Communist Technique in Britain, p7

In the clip above he makes the case for strong tenants organisations being bulwark against racism and the spread of organisations like the National Front. 

2 thoughts on “Bob Darke on how to fight racism in Hackney, 1979

  1. Hi John
    I met Bob Darke during my Hackney People’s Press days. One day, we did a Sunday morning sale in new territory, and chose the Trelawney estate at random. As usual when doing a tower block, we took the lift to the top floor and worked down. At some point I knocked on a flat door and Bob answered. He bought a paper and we chatted for a while. Eventually he told me his name — I believe at that time he was the secretary of the TA. I asked around later and a CP contact told me something of his history. We sold papers on his estate on a number of occasions afterwards and I always knocked on his door (a guaranteed sale, after all!!). — Charles Foster

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