Monday, 30 September 2013

Parties to the left of Labour: experiences from the past.

Parties to the left of Labour: experiences from the past.
The Communist Party and the Independent Labour Party

1:30pm to 5pm
Community Centre, 62 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AB
Kings Cross and Russell Square tubes

By following the journey of these important parties on the left of the Labour Party in the early 20th century, we will learn about key figures, organisations and aspects of the history of the British labour movement and be able reflect on what we can learn of relevance to today’s challenges for building a broad left parties.
If you are thinking of attending, email or phone Fred on 079 4189 3212.

1. The Communist Party: from internationalism and revolution to the "British Road to Socialism"
The forerunners of the CP came together  to form the new party in 1920. This followed the wave of big industrial struggles from1910 to1914, led by a strong independent shop stewards movement. The parties that came together included the Social Democratic Federation, the Socialist Labour Party, and many individual militants with a syndicalist outlook. The introduction will look at the political issues involved in the creation of the CP, their enduring legacy and the eventual subordination of the CP to Stalinism.  We will also discuss the role the CP played during the post WW1 period, in particular the general strike of 1926 and the unemployed workers movement during the 1930s depression, and what that means for our understanding of class and revolutionary strategy.

2.There and Back Again: The Journey of the Independent Labour Party 1910-1947
In the first half of the twentieth century, the Independent LabourParty (ILP) was one of the most significant left wing groups in the British working class movement.  This session looks at the evolution of the ILP with a particular focus on the period after the upsurge of working class militancy from 1910, covering the debates surrounding socialist unity, the ILP’s mainly pacifist role in the First World War, the debate after the Russian Revolution on communism and the Third International, the rift between rank and file and leadership over the first and second Labour Governments, the secession of the ILP from the Labour Party in 1932 and its subsequent leftward evolution while trying to occupy the space between Stalinism, Trotskyism and social democracy, its role in the Second World War, through to its final demise as a force of any significance and collapse back into mainstream social democratic politics.

Later in the autumn:
1960s New Left and the rebirth of revolutionary politics

The seminar on Saturday 5 October will be followed by another later in the autumn which will look at the New Left which came out of the radicalisation of the 1960s, the feminist and women's liberation movement and the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign. This radicalisation led to the birth of large revolutionary Marxists organisations such as the International Socialists, the International Marxist Group and the Socialist Labour League. The seminar will look at the renewal of Marxism and feminism in that period and its legacy today.

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