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History of the SPGB

Notes on Party History: The Trade Union Question

 The Trade Union question was a very thorny one in the early years of the Party. Some of those who founded the Party had a leaning towards industrial unionism, whilst others were inclined to regard the trade unions as only another facet of Capitalism. These conflicting views were reflected in disagreements over policy that were brought to a head in 1906 when a number of meetings were arranged to discuss the Party’s attitude to Trade Unionism..

 Before reaching this discussion we will relate some of the events that led up to it.

Mr. Aldred — An Explanation

 In our issue for March we published an article, “Muddled Critic of the S.P.G.B.,” commenting on some remarks about the S.P.G.B. made by Mr. Guy Aldred in his journal “The Word.”

 In the April issue of “The Word” Mr. Aldred published our article in full and said that he intends to reply to it in his next issue.

 In the meantime, in the April issue, he deals angrily with one passage in our article. Mr. Aldred had earlier written that the attitude of the S.P.G.B. at the 1951 election was “the result of its 1950 experience at the ballot-box.”

 To this we replied: —

The First of The Few

 

On the 15th, 16th and 17th of this mouth we shall be holding in London, our 45th Annual Conference. This means that the Socialist Party of Great Britain was formed forty-five years ago. In 1904, some members of the Social Democratic Federation, having done their damnedest to steer that compromising, reformist organisation on to the Socialist road, were expelled from it. With others, they set about creating a political party with which they could work for Socialism. The meeting at which it was decided to launch the S.P.G.B. was held at Battersea on May 15th, 1904, and the meeting to formally constitute the new party was held just off Fetter Lane, London, on the following 12th of June.

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