Dead Socialist Watch, #272

Sidney Bunting, political activist in South Africa. Having missed out on a fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he had studied classics, Bunting went to South Africa  in 1900 to serve in the war, remaining there afterwards and practicing law. He joined the whites-only South African Labour Party in 1910, and drifted leftwards from 1913, after witnessing brutal state repression of labour disputes. One of the founders of the CPSA in 1921, he pushed to transform a virtually all-white into an overwhelmingly black organisation, though he fell out with the Comintern when it called for an independent black republic outside the British Empire. He kept quiet for a bit, but was expelled from the Party in 1931, when “Buntingism” became a term of opprobrium. Born St Pancras, 29 June 1873, died Johannesburg, 25 May 1936.

The excellent Allison Drew has recently published a book about him.

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