Frank Glass


Cecil Frank Glass, though born in England (Warwickshire) was brought up in South Africa when his family emigrated there in late 1908 or 1909. He was a member of the Industrial Socialist League that organised Coloured workers in Cape Town and joined the South African Communist Party when it was formed or very soon afterwards. He broke from their political positions in 1925 and adapted the positions of the Left Opposition in 1928.

Fascinated by the revolutionary events in China from 1927 onwards and critical of the Comintern, in 1930 he went to China and supported himself in Shanghai as a freelance journalist there over the next decade - apart from a visit to the USA from April 1937 to October 1938. By then he was a Trotskyist, who because of his many articles, written in New International under the name of Li Fu-jen, had considerable prestige in the Trotskyist movement. He helped found the Communist League in China and was its principal contact with the Trotskyist movement internationally. He went to meet Trotsky in Coyoacan on August 11, 1937, and he discussed China and Wang Fanxi’s analysis of the situation with LDT.

He went back to China but increasing difficulties and the Japanese invasion forced him to leave on the last ship from Shanghai before the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941. Via the Philippines and Australia he got back to the USA. He joined the American SWP and wrote extensively on China under the names of Ralph Graham and John Liang for their press. In the late 1940s he moved to the West Coast, Los Angeles and died there in 1988 after some years of bad health.

Ted Crawford

Last updated on 15.8.2004