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Splits and Fusions- an archive of Trotskyist publications in Britain

This is the post excerpt.

Welcome to Splits&Fusions.

Here we will showcase documents from the various tendencies of what can broadly be described as the Trotskyist movement in Britain (with a nod to Irish, US and other publications in the English language).

In most cases items will be presented without much in the way of editorial, beyond a brief (and hopefully factual) description of the group. Continue reading “Splits and Fusions- an archive of Trotskyist publications in Britain”

More Interventions…

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In addition to the joint Chartist and Intervention Collective discussion bulletins which we mentioned recently, we have also added more items to our Intervention Collective folders.

These include another four copies of the Intervention Discussion Bulletin and a dozen issues of ‘Intercorr’ volumes two and three from 1979-1980, a duplicated discussion and correspondence bulletin, along with a few miscellaneous items.

The latest issue of Intercorr we have is for April 1980, at which point relations with the Chartist group were still under discussion.

It is not entirely clear whether or not this marriage went ahead or what happened to the Intervention Collective at this point.

We do know that by the mid 1980s Ken Tarbuck, under the nom de plume John Walters was writing for the Socialist Alternatives journal and then, half a decade later still, established the socialist discussion journal New Interventions which was relatively long-lived with a substantial run of issues.

We intend to scan a complete collection of New Interventions later in the year…

THE INTERVENTION COLLECTIVE Archive

 

 

 

Ted Knight 13/06/1933 to 29/03/2020

We are saddened to learn of the death of Ted Knight.

Expelled from the Labour Party for his association with the Socialist Labour League, he later rejoined and went on to become the Labour leader of Lambeth Borough Council.

In the early 1980s Ted was one of the editors, along with Ken Livingstone, of the Labour Herald newspaper.

We have just a single copy of Labour Herald at the moment but we are hoping to borrow and scan a substantial collection in due course.

LABOUR HERALD v3 no3 Friday 16th September 1983

We will post links to any obituaries of Ted below.

From John McDonnell

 

Controversy: The Monthly Socialist Forum

We have previously covered Trotskyist activities in the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and the journal Free Expression and there is more to tell of this story.

Controversy was an ‘official’ ILP discussion journal from the mid-1930s which carried a range of socialist opinion, debates and polemics including both Trotskyist and Stalinist views.

We have eight issues, containing articles from Leon Trotsky, Frank Ridley and Henry Sara amongst others associated with the Trotskyist movement.

Just click on the covers for PDF copies of the full issues.

Thanks to Nina Houghton for supplying these which had belonged to her father Albert Houghton, a Trotskyist in the ILP in the 1930s. More information about Albert and his partner Bessie Houghton (nee Collins) would be gratefully received.

The (International Leninist) Workers Party

By popular demand we bring you…

wpartMarch 1979 saw the expulsion of a number of members of the Workers Revolutionary Party, including Newsline journalists Stephen Johns and Royston Bull. Johns’ expulsion was reported in the WSL’s Socialist Press (back page) and the WSL later issued an open letter to the expellees.

Some months later, this group of ex-WRP members were to launch the Workers Party with its founding conference in July 1979.

Socialist Press issues 165 and 166 carried a two part reply to criticism of the WSL in issue 5 of the Workers Party Bulletin (which we do not have). However, we do have another un-numbered issue for 9th June 1979. This is interesting for its article against feminism- a theme for which, along with its homophobia, the WP would become notorious.

Politically the WP started in the Trotskyist camp- as evidenced in the Workers Party Draft Manifesto and in Workers Party Book no2 on the struggle to re-establish the Bolshevik tradition. The Draft International Perspectives are more critical of Trotskism as a whole but still within that framework.

However, very quickly, the WP evolved towards a position of left-Stalinism, (eventually re-styling itself the International Leninist Workers Party) and in the process threw off its own split- the Workers News Group.

In the 1990s the ILWP Bulletin became the Economic & Philosophic Science Review and shortly afterwards the group entered Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party. They were eventually expelled but some of their members went native and left to remain in the SLP.

Despite the death of its founder, Royston Bull, in January 2005 the EPSR continues to this day, issuing its bulletin approximately fortnightly. This is available in printed form and also as a text file on its website.

Also available are the ‘Books’ which are useful in tracing the early political development of the group. Members of the EPSR occasionally avail themselves of the Weekly Worker letters page, on occasion, to put their views.

We have very few issues of the WP and ILWP bulletins and only a small number of copies of EPSR.

If anyone can supply us with more, please get in touch.

(INTERNATIONAL LENINIST) WORKERS PARTY Archive

If readers come across further articles on the Workers Party in the left press, please post them in the comments below.

 

Rank and File papers

Ian Birchall’s website carries a very useful bibliography of Rank and File publications.

This highlights the sheer number and variety of such publications – some durable with a wide circulation, others ephemeral and / or local- which existed mainly from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. And that is not to mention the factory bulletins which we have also previously covered.

Rank and file papers

Our holdings of Rank and File papers can all be found here.

Whilst some papers underwent changes in name or format, breaks in publication over the years, we have grouped variants of the same or similar paper into a single folder.

Thus Rank and File Technical Teacher contains Class Contact no1 later to become Technical Teacher from issue 2. This folder also has a number of related leaflets and bulletins.

Our largest collection is R&F Teacher– properly, originally, just called Rank & File. A very interesting and substantial paper with a wide variety of contributors- some of whom will be known to or remembered by readers of this Blog. It was somewhat moving to stumble upon articles written by Blair Peach.

The journal Black Bored, covered much the same ground as R&F and was to merge into it. We don’t recognise any of the people writing for it. Would anyone have any further info?

The Building Worker folder contains a couple of issues of Rank And File- paper for building workers from the 1960s. At the time, Building Worker was a title taken by an official union paper. Then we have Building Workers Charter in the early 1970s and Building Worker from the mid-1970s.

Whilst we have single issues of many papers, we do have a dozen or so Carworker from the early 1970s and also two issues of a (much) later series from 2000!

National Rank and File Fireman was a daily bulletin from the 1977 firefighter’s strike. We have 7 issues.

We have six issues of the miners’ paper The Collier from the 1970s

Rank and File Miner post-dates the 1984-5 strike and is not (as far as we know) an IS/SWP linked paper so it has its own folder separate from The Collier.

Other papers of note are Resistance– bulletin of the London Shop Stewards Defence Committee- 2 issues from 1967 and Cab News from as far back as 1958. This latter is in many ways the prototype for later R&F publications and we are told that Mike Kidron and Robin Fior used to meet up with some London cabbies in a backstreet café and help them put it together.

We also have a number of Rank and File pamphlets– nationally produced- and local Rank and File bulletins eg for Enfield or Hackney.

Later Rank and File morphed into the Right To Work Campaign and we have a few RTW pamphlets and materials here.

Some bulletins were produced by local groups of socialists- more substantial than a factory bulletin but not quite an industry wide rank and file paper.

So, Council Worker was a duplicated bulletin produced by Richmond IS for the Council Workers Action Group and Public Worker was produced by Lambeth IS.

We are aware that we are only really scratching the surface here and we expect to be able to bring more Rank and File and related papers in the coming months.

Thanks to Ian Birchall, Colin Fancy, John Rudge, Barry Buitekant and many others for loans of material and general advice and assistance!

If any readers can help supply further papers, please get in touch.

RANK AND FILE PAPERS Archive

 

Women in the NUT

We will shortly be posting a large batch of Rank and File materials of all types, courtesy of Ian Birchall and Colin Fancy.

Amongst Colin’s collection we found five issues of a bulletin / journal called “Women in the NUT” which dates from the later 1970s  and early 1980s.

An unofficial publication on a socialist- feminist basis, this statement from issue 4 clearly sums up the aims of Women in the NUT.

Supporters of the SWP, the IMG and others were involved with the bulletin and Colin’s mother Julie was on the editorial board. It is to her and her comrades that we dedicate this post on International Womens Day.

WOMEN IN THE NUT Archive

WIRFI and the MFS

Dear readers, we need your help with filling in a few gaps in the fossil record and gaps in our knowledge!

[UPDATED 1st March 2020- see below]


We have previously covered the Workers Revolutionary Party (Workers Press), the anti-Healy side of the 1985 split, and have several hundred copies of the weekly paper Workers Press from December 1985 through to issue 522 October 1996.

Whilst we know publication of Workers Press did end around this time, there is no indication that 522 was the last issue and it does contain a coupon inviting readers to take out a sub…

Workers Press was subsequently followed by Workers International Press which appeared on a less frequent and more sporadic schedule, for reasons noted in the third issue.

We now have the first 4 issues of WIP which is a 24 page magazine. Issue 4 for September 1997 reports on the death of editor Geoff Pilling and promises an obituary in the next issue, which we do not have. Issue 6 (September 1998), is then a relaunch, some months later. It is in tabloid format and styles itself the paper of the Workers International Faction, formed in November 1997 to defend the Workers International- the WRP(WP)’s international extension, from liquidation.

By issue 10 WIP was simply the paper of the Workers International. It then ran for at least another 34 issues up to no44, January 2004.

By this time the Workers Revolutionary Party (Workers Press) had dissolved itself to form a much looser association, the Movement For Socialism (not to be confused with the Movement for a Socialist Future).

We have issue 7 of the Movement For Socialism bulletin which is a large format four page tabloid. This covers in details the founding conferences of MFS which took place in June and December 1998.

We also have the agenda for the December conference.

The Workers International / WIRFI still exists and has a website here.
It launched a bulletin in 2012 and a journal in 2013 which can be found online.

The Movement For Socialism no longer appears to have a public presence or activity but we are told comrades maintain an occasional discussion list…

What would immeasurably enrich our understanding would be further issues of the MFS bulletin, issues 1 – 5 of Workers International Press and earlier copies of Workers Press to fill the gaps in our collection.

WIRFI Archive

includes Workers International Press, various pamphlets put out by the Workers International and its Socialist Studies imprint and copies of the later bulletins cribbed from the WIRFI website.

MOVEMENT FOR SOCIALISM Archive