Be prepared: communism and the politics of scouting in 1950s Britain

2013-04-19T08:45:32Z (GMT) by Sarah Mills
This article examines the exposure, and in some cases dismissal, of Boy Scouts who belonged or sympathised with the Young Communist League in Britain during the early 1950s. A focus on the rationale and repercussions of the organisation's approach and attitudes towards ‘Red Scouts’ found within their ‘ranks’ extends our understanding of youth movements and their often complex and conflicting ideological foundations. In particular, the post-World War Two period presented significant challenges to these spaces of youth work in terms of broader social and political change in Britain. An analysis of the politics of scouting in relation to Red Scouts questions not only the assertion that British McCarthyism was ‘silent’, but also brings young people firmly into focus as part of a more everyday politics of communism in British society.