G. D. H. Cole: Wikis

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G. D. H. Cole
Born 25 September 1889(1889-09-25)
Cambridge, England[1]
Died 14 January 1959 (aged 69)
London, England
Occupation Historian, economist, writer

George Douglas Howard Cole (25 September 1889 – 14 January 1959) was an English political theorist, economist, writer and historian. As a libertarian socialist he was a long-time member of the Fabian Society and an advocate for the cooperative movement. He and his wife Margaret Cole (1893-1980) together wrote many popular detective stories, featuring the investigators Superintendent Wilson, Everard Blatchington and Dr Tancred.

Cole was educated at St Paul's School and Balliol College, Oxford.

As a conscientious objector during World War One, Cole's involvement in the campaign against conscription introduced him to a co-worker, Margaret Postgate, whom he married in 1918. The couple both worked for the Fabian Society for the next six years before moving to Oxford, where Cole started writing for the Manchester Guardian. During these years, he also authored several economic and historical works including biographies of William Cobbett and Robert Owen. In 1925, he became reader in economics at University College, Oxford. In 1944, Cole became the first Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford. He was succeeded in the chair by Isaiah Berlin in 1957.

Contents

Socialism

Cole became interested in Fabianism while studying at Balliol College, Oxford. He joined the Fabian Society's executive under the sponsorship of Sidney Webb. Cole became a principal proponent of Guild Socialist ideas, a libertarian socialist alternative to Marxist political economy. These ideas he put forward in The New Age before and during the First World War, and also in the pages of The New Statesman, the weekly founded by the Webbs and George Bernard Shaw.

Cole said his interest in socialism was kindled by his reading News from Nowhere, the utopian novel by William Morris. He wrote,

I became a Socialist because, as soon as the case for a society of equals, set free from the twin evils of riches and poverty, mastership and subjection, was put to me, I knew that to be the only kind of society that could be consistent with human decency and fellowship and that in no other society could I have the right to be content.”[2]

Neither a Marxist nor a Social Democrat, Cole envisioned a Socialism of decentralized association and active, participatory democracy, whose basic units would be sited at the workplace and in the community rather than in any central apparatus of the State.[3]

Cole was a powerful influence on the life of the young Harold Wilson, whom he taught, worked with and convinced to join the Labour Party. Before him, Hugh Gaitskell was a student of G.D.H Cole.

Cole wrote at least seven books for the Left Book Club, all of which were published by Victor Gollancz Ltd. These are marked with LBC in the list of his books given below.

Co-operative studies

Cole was also a theorist of the Co-operative movement, and has made a number of contributions to the fields of Co-operative studies, Co-operative economics and the study of Co-operative History. In particular, his book "The British Co-operative Movement in a Socialist Society" examined the economic status of the English CWS (the predecessor of the modern Co-operative Group), evaluated its possibility of achieving a Co-operative Commonwealth without State assistance, and hypothesised what the role the Co-operative movement mught have in a Socialist State.[4]

A second book, A Century of Co-operation, examined the history of the Co-operative movement from the very first Co-operatives, to the contribution of the Chartists and Robert Owen, through to the Rochdale Pioneers, as well as the movement's development (in Great Britain) over the following century.[5]

Trivia

"after the interval, members of the club performed a scurrilous, libellous, treasonable and blasphemous operetta for which Mr GDH Cole was responsible. The club entered into the spirit of the production and enjoyed itself very much".

Non-fiction works

  • Trade Unionism on the Railways (with R Page Arnot, 1917)
  • Self-Government in Industry (1917)
  • The Payment of Wages (1918)
  • The Regulation of Wages During and After the War (1918)
  • Guild Socialism Restated (1920)
  • The World of Labour (1923)
  • The Life of William Cobbett (1925)
  • Robert Owen (1923)
  • The Intelligent Man's Guide Through World Chaos (1930)
  • The Condition of Britain (with his wife, Margaret Cole, 1937) LBC
  • The People's Front (1937) LBC
  • War Aims (1939) LBC
  • Europe, Russia and the Future (1941) LBC
  • Great Britain in the Post-War World (1942) LBC
  • Monetary Systems and Theories (1943)
  • The Means to Full Employment (1943) LBC
  • A Century of Cooperation (1944)
  • Persons & Periods (1945)
  • The Common People, 1746-1946 (with Raymond Postgate, 1946)
  • A Short History of the British Working Class Movement, 1789-1947 (1947) ISBN 0415265649
  • A History of the Labour Party from 1914, (London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1948)
  • The Meaning of Marxism, (1950) LBC
  • The British Co-operative Movement in a Socialist Society, (London, G. Allen & Unwin 1951)
  • Introduction to Economic History 1750-1950, (London: Macmillan 1952)
  • A History of Socialist Thought: 7 Volumes, (London: Palgrave Macmillan (2003) ISBN 1-4039-0264-X)

Detective stories

  • Cole, G. D. H. (1923) The Brooklyn Murders
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1925) The Death of a Millionaire
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1926) The Blatchington Tangle
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1927) The Murder at Crome House
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1928) The Man from the River
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1928) Superintendent Wilson's Holiday
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1929) Poison in the Garden Suburb aka Poison in a Garden Suburb
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1930) Burglars in Bucks aka The Berkshire Mystery
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1930) Corpse in Canonicalsaka The Corpse in the Constable's Garden
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1931) The Great Southern Mystery aka The Walking Corpse
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1931) Dead Man's Watch
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1932) Death of a Star
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1933) A Lesson in Crime (short stories)
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1933) The Affair at Aliquid
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1933) End of an Ancient Mariner
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1934) Death in the Quarry
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1935) Big Business Murder
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1935) Dr Tancred Begins
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1935) Scandal at School aka The Sleeping Death
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1936) Last Will and Testament
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1936) The Brothers Sackville
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1937) Disgrace to the College
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1937) The Missing Aunt
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1938) Mrs Warrender's Profession
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1938) Off with her Head!
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1939) Double Blackmail
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1939) Greek Tragedy
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1940) Wilson and Some Others
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1940) Murder at the Munition Works
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1940) Counterpoint Murder
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1941) Knife in the Dark
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1942) Toper's End
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1945) Death of a Bride
  • Cole, G. D. H. and Cole, M. I. (1946) Birthday Gifts

References

  1. ^ "George Douglas Howard Cole Papers", p. 3. Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Amsterdam. On line.
  2. ^ G. D. H Cole, "World Socialism Restated," pamphlet (1956), quoted by Margaret Cole, The Life of G. D. H. Cole, Macmillan/St. Martin's (1971); cited, Harry Barnes, Three Score Years and Ten (July 24, 2006).
  3. ^ Peter Sedgwick, "A Return to First Things", Balliol College Annual Record 1980, pp.86-88 (review of A. W. Wright, G.D.H. Cole and Socialist Democracy). Marxists’ Internet Archive. On line.
  4. ^ Cole, G.D.H., “The British Co-operative Movement in a Socialist Society: A Report for the Fabian Society”, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1951.
  5. ^ Cole, G.D.H., A Century of Co-operation, Oxford: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1944.
  6. ^ Oliver Postgate, Seeing Things: An Autobiography, Sidgwick & Jackson (2000) ISBN 0-283-06363-7

Literature

External links

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