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SDF

Robert Tressell and the Social Democratic Federation

'Robert Tressell and the Social Democratic Federation'

West London Branch Dayschool -
'The Strategic Choice Before Socialists: Lessons From 100 Years Ago'

Recorded: 
Saturday, 21 June 2003

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The Historical Place of the SPGB

Islington branch meeting

Recorded: 
Sunday, 1 June 1980

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Stepping Stones to Nowhere

Reform and Revolution. Three Early Socialists on the Way Ahead. William Morris, John Carruthers, Fred Henderson. Edited and introduced by Stephen Coleman. Thoemmes Press. £9.75

The first organisation in Britain to put forward Marxian views was the Socialist Democratic Federation which had been founded in 1881 as a federation of Radical (i.e. leftwing Liberal) political clubs and which two years later adopted socialism as its aim and added “Social” to its title. The second was the Socialist League, formed as a breakaway from the SDF in 1884.

The Birth of the Socialist Party

In the early days of the Working Class Movement, when advocates of better conditions were treated as felons, there was some ground for engaging in secret societies and for defending internal deliberations from prying eyes. Towards the end of the Nineteenth Century the fetters upon revolutionary activity had been so considerably loosened in England, and the path to power opened by means of electoral action, that secrecy was no longer necessary and only became an obstacle to progress.

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