Socialist Pamphlets

This section of pro-communist materials features pamphlets published by the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Socialist League, The Socialist Party of Great Britain, the Labour Party, and the Independent Labour Party. The latter two groups were reformist in nature, while the others were explicitly radical and revolutionary.

The pamphlets published by the Communist Party of Great Britain, Communism and Cotton and Communism and the Railways, elucidate a revolutionary Marxist analysis of two major industries in the U.K.. The party was the most substantial of the communist parties in Great Britain from its founding in 1920 until 1991, when it was disbanded. In 1945, when the party was at the height of its influence, two of its MPs won seats in the general election. Much of its membership left the party following the Warsaw Pact’s suppression of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, which saw a show of repressive violence by the Soviet Union and its affiliated states.

Pamphlets such as For Socialism and Peace: The Labour Party's Programme of Action and What the I.L.P. Stands For were published by the Labour Party and the Independent Labour Party (I.L.P.), respectively, which have had a close relationship throughout their histories. Founded in 1893, the I.L.P.was positioned to the left of the Labour Party, which was founded 13 years later, but the two were affiliated between 1906 and 1932. The two parties diverged on ideological grounds, with the I.L.P. preferring to take more radical stances than Labour. Eventually, the I.L.P. rejoined the Labour Party as Independent Labour Publications in 1975, serving as a left-wing pressure group within the party. These pamphlets address platforms and beliefs of their respective groups, advocating a reform-oriented approach to enacting socialist policies.

The remaining pamphlets were published by the Socialist League and The Socialist Party of Great Britain, both of which were more radical organizations than either the Labour Party or the I.L.P. Their pamphlets in this exhibit--like Nationalisation or Socialisation? and Forward to Socialism--reflect the groups’ revolutionary, and explicitly anti-reformist, character.