Richard Burton – A Communist Hero from Wales…


The Welsh actor and British film star Richard Burton (1925-1984) was well-known as a leftwinger and was not opposed (or afraid) to broadcast the fact that he considered himself a ‘Communist’. In the past, Wales has been a fertile breeding ground for progressive thinkers (as a child visiting Wales I was once advised by a Welsh miner never to let anyone tell me how to think), and many fine British Communists have emerged. Despite making his statement in 1973 (on the set of the pro-Communist Partisan film entitled ‘Battle of Sutjeska’), Richard Burton was allowed to keep the CBE awarded to him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on his 45h birthday (the 10th of November, 1970), or at least there was never any public talk of recalling this honour. On the other hand, despite being one of the greatest actors that ever lived, he never received an Oscar in the USA… He was of stout working-class stock (his father was a miner and his mother was a barmaid), Burton (born ‘Richard Walter Jenkins Jr’ in 1925), and was one of 13 children (with his mother dying of medical neglect after giving birth to her last child). By and large, most interviews try to ignore or down play his leftwing viewpoints – as if they had nothing to do with the essential fibre of the man! The point is that despite his working-class background and Communist ideals, Richard Burton became such a great star that it was difficult for the capitalist establishment to persecute him, or deny him a profession (as happened to Paul Robeson). Interestingly, Richard Burton described himself as a ‘tax exile’ – but explained that in 1957 he relocated to Switzerland to avoid paying what he considered the ‘unfair’ taxation levelled by the Conservative Party upon ordinary, working class people! Although Winston Churchill had complimented Richard Burton upon his Hamlet, Burton would surprise many with his two 1974 newspaper articles openly criticising Winston Churchill’s sanity during WWII, particularly with his promise to wipe the Japanese race off the planet! For expressing these views, the bourgeois BBC ‘banned’ Richard Burton for life in November, 1974. Richard Burton remained a Communist to his death – but the bourgeois establishment does its best to hide this fact from you. He died in 1984 at just 58 years of age….

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