Shanley Jock

Jock Shanley

Born in 1903 in Aberdeen, he was educated at Ruskin College and the Central Labour College. Before the Second World War, he was general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Upholsterers. After the war, with Bob Shuke and Alf Taylor, he was an architect of the National Labour Agreement that ended the sweat-shop conditions of the furniture manufacturing industry.
His union merged with the National Union of Furniture Trades Operatives (NUFTO), which in turn amalgamated with the woodcutting machinists in 1971 to form the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union (FTAT), he retired to allow space for a younger man to take over his responsibilities.
Noted in the union movement for his academic knowledge of Marxism and labour related questions, he was a committee member of the Marx Memorial Library for over 25 years, for many of which he served as vice-chair, and continued to make contributions to the Library’s journal. He died aged 86 in 1989.
Source: Morning Star September ? 1989

Shapiro Jack & Marie


Jack & Marie Shapiro

The Shapiros began their youthful political activity in the mainstream Communist movement but diverged into supporting other Marxist tendencies for much of the second half of their life. 

Born in 1916 into a Jewish family in the East End of London, Jack Shapiro  joined the Young Communist League as a teenager. Like many of his contemporaries, his early political life was marked by struggle against anti-semitism and the rise of fascism. This took the form, initially, of membership of the Jewish Workers’ Circle and then, later, of the Communist Party.

Shapiro found the Jewish Workers’ Circle “full of a vast variety of militants fresh out of the revolutionary parties in their own countries [whose] militancy and keenness to keep the struggle alive was an important inspiration to young people such as myself.” [Glynn] Although many members of the Circle would have described themselves as internationalists, they appear not to have discussed opening membership to non-Jewish workers. Shapiro explains that this was because “it was taken for granted that there was a separation between Jews and non-Jews in Stepney. It was taken for granted that you shopped in a Jewish shop…” No doubt, joining the YCL and then the Party enabled Shapiro engage in a much wider struggle.

For he was also active in the rent struggles of that period sometimes erecting barricades to prevent landlords evicting hard pressed tenants. Shapiro assisted with rescuing Jewish children from Europe and, in the war, in the taking over of bomb shelters in London's Savoy Hotel to highlight the poor provision for the less well off.

Marie was born in London on 11 December 1913 but her parents moved back to Poland, where they had originally come from, in 1914. At the age of 15, she joined the Polish Young Communist League and soon after that the Communist Party of Poland.

This nation was then under the fascistic rule of Pilsudski and the Party had to work underground in conditions of total illegality. As a teenager, Marie served a prison sentence of nine months for distributing the Party’s May Day leaflets. After her release, her parents were able to obtain a British passport for her and she was deported from Poland.

Arriving in Britainin 1932, Marie joined the British Communist Party and obtained work as a seamstress in London’s east end. She recruited young women workers to the Tailor and Garment Workers Unionand also to the Party and YCL.  One year after her arrival in London, Marie met Jack Shapiro, in a Communist bookshop in London. They were soon married and the long marriage was based on being the closest of comrades and friends.

Like Jack, Marie was active in many of the key struggles of the period. With the founding of the People’s Republic of Poland after the Second World War, she went to work in the Polish Embassy in London, helping to reunite and support families who had been divided by war.

It is said that “from the first”, Jack Shapiro opposed the 1950 British Road to Socialism, “both for its parliamentary cretinism and abandonment of the dictatorship of the proletariat as well as its betrayal of the peoples fighting British imperialism for their complete freedom”.

Like his brother Michael Shapiro, who worked in China from 1949, Jack Shapiro strongly supported the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and Mao Zedong, in what was thought by them to be an international fight against `modern revisionism’. This led him in the early 1960s to join the political trends associated with such approach.

Apart from his directly political work Jack was heavily involved with the Royal National Institute for the Deaf and in promoting the interests of the disabled in China. When the British establishment offered him an Order of the British Empire, he rejected it on the grounds that he spent his life fighting to overthrow the British Empire.

Jack Shapiro supported the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and was its Honorary President when he died on 29th January 2010 at the age of 93.

On 19 January 2008, Marie Shapiro accepted honorary membership of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and she died later that year, just a couple of days before what would have been her 95th birthday.

Sources: Institute of Geography Online Paper Series: GEO-019, “Marxism and Multiculturalism” by Sarah Glynn; CPGB-ML statement 1st February 2010;

Shapiro Michael

Michael Shapiro

Michael Shapiro was born in East London and won a scholarship, which enabled him to take a B.Sc. (Econ) degree at London University. Shapiro joined the Communist Party in 1934, and was a lecturer in Economics at a London University college and a prominent Jewish Communist in the London Party for many years afterwards. In his spare time, he was an expert on housing questions and worked and wrote on housing issues under his pen name, Michel Best. 

As Secretary of the Stepney Tenants Defence League from 1936, he worked closely with Tubby Rosen and Father John Groser of St Michael's Church, Watney Street. With Elsy Borders (see separate entry), Shapiro was also instrumental in the formation of the National Federation  of Residents' and Tenants' Associations around 1939.


One and one of the twelve Communist councillors elected in Stepney after the war, he was mentioned personally in Piratin’s `Our Flag Stays Red’.



See left for picture of Shapiro shortly after his election as a Communist councillor.

In 1950, at the invitation of the Communist Party of China, Michael went to China to work for the Xinhua News Agency to help with the translation journalistic work. He worked there for many years on the English translations of Mao's works and as Daily Worker correspondent. It is likely, given his association with Alan Winnington, that Shapiro was sent by the British Party to assist the new China. 

As a war correspondent on the `wrong’ side in the Korean War, he found himself in circumstances whereby he could not return to Britain and he ended up marrying locally and dying in China in 1986. His wife was Liu Jinghe, a prominent member of the Party in China and a respected psychologist. 

Shapiro was strongly in disagreement with the British Party’s position on China in the years of breach between the parties for the rest of his life. Similarly, his brother Jack Shapiro was a noted British Maoist.

Michael Shapiro spent a total of 36 years copy-editing English stories and doing translation for the Department of Home News for Overseas Service of Xinhua. A prize in his memory for journalistic excellence has been established. 


Shapiro Jean

Jean Shapiro

Jean Shapiro was born on November 25 1916, in Carshalton, Surrey. At Commonweal Lodge school, Purley, where she became head girl, she was also the only pupil in her class to go into higher education. She took a diploma in journalism at University College London. In the mid-1930s, inspired by the Spanish civil war, she joined the Communist Party and remained an active member for two decades.  
Her first job was to sub-edit the memoirs of past Prime Minister, David Lloyd George. She worked on `Farmer and Stockbreeder’, writing on women's issues. Her first marriage to fellow journalist Stewart Farrar ended during the Second World War, a period when she had a formative experience. Her first baby was taken from her before she had seen her, since she had spina bifida and was unlikely to live more than a few days. Later in the war, she married a Communist, Jewish airman - the clinical psychologist Monte Shapiro.
She took on the refurbishing of an old building as a day nursery for working mothers. While her children were young, she worked as a teacher. Shapiro’s writing for the Daily Worker focused particularly on women's issues. She left the Party in 1956, soon after Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin.
Jean Shapiro was home editor for `Good Housekeeping’ and, for 17 years, answered readers' letters. The problems that readers presented inspired her later books - on motherhood and childcare - and her campaigning.
In her late years she became an influential voice for feminism, using her earlier experience; he r most important work being `Ourselves, Growing Older’ (1989). She also wrote `On Your Own’ (1985) a guide for separated, divorced and widowed women - which offered advice on coping with everything from a leaky roof to a new relationship - and `Get The Best Out Of The Rest Of Your Life’ (1990). Shapiro became involved with the University of the Third Age in Bristol, where she ran a non-fiction writing group. Jean Shapiro died on May 10th 2005, aged 88,
Source: Guardian May 19th 2005


Shapiro Monte

Monte Shapiro

Monte Bernard Shapiro was born May 31 1912. He was one of a number of gifted psychologists who emigrated to Britain from southern Africa before the second world war. After completing psychology degrees at Rhodes University, he went to Cambridge.
At the outbreak of the war, Shapiro, who had joined the Communist Party in the 1930s, volunteered for aircrew duties and was assigned as a navigator/bomb aimer. He was shot down over the Netherlands in 1943 and severely injured an arm, leading to lifelong disability.
In the late 1940s, Shapiro joined the Institute of Psychiatry and Maudsley hospital. He was convinced that psychological treatments should be based on scientific principles.
The marriage of theory, and the application of experimental methods to single cases, was again apparent in Shapiro's second contribution to clinical psychology. From 1951 onwards, he published a series of papers applying an experimental method to diagnostic problems, which, in many ways, foreshadowed developments in the field of neuropsychology 25 years later.
Shapiro's third significant contribution came with the extension of single-case methods into problems where the subjective report of the patient, rather than performance on a cognitive test, was the focus of inquiry. He recognised the limitations in the available measures and devised a personal questionnaire method for scaling an individual's self-reported symptoms.
In the clinic, Shapiro was a man of infinite patience: tolerant, empathic and non-judgmental. To students, he was both encouraging and demanding. If an answer to a question was not apparent, one would be briefed to research the literature before the next clinical supervision. This then became the basis for an exhaustive inquiry into the validity of one's conclusions and the merits of the literature.
Shapiro left the Communist party in 1956 after Krushchev's denunciation of Stalin.
Shapiro was never awarded a professorship, although many believed he merited one. He died on April 29th 2000.
See entry for Jean Shapiro, his wife.
Source: Guardian Tuesday May 2, 2000