Revolutionary Democratic Group / Republican Marxist

RW.jpgIn my youth the RDG was a permanent fixture outside events hosted by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and, for a small group, they were a prolific producer of bulletins and leaflets.

Wikipedia gives an overview of the group its distinctive politics, history and relations with the wider left.


We present here a collection of RDG documents which includes the following:

Republican Worker 3 1986 newspaper format
Republican Worker 5 1987 magazine
Republican Worker 6 1988 magazine
Republican Worker 7 1989 magazine
Republican Worker Bulletin- ?Marxism 88 – Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and Gulf War
Republican Worker bulletin no1 1990 (Bulletin of the RDG)
Republican Marxist Bulletin SWP Conference 1989 no1
Republican Marxist SWP Conference 1989 no2
Republican Marxist Bulletin no2 Oct 1989
Republican Marxist Bulletin no3 Jan 1990
Republican Marxist Bulletin no4 March 1990
Republican Marxist Bulletin no5 May 1990
Republican Marxist Bulletin no6 July 1990
Republican Marxist Bulletin no7 Sept 1990
Republican Marxist Supplement no1 Sept 1990
Republican Marxist Bulletin Gulf Special Nov 1990
Republican Marxist Bulletin no10 Mar 1991
Republican Marxist Bulletin Poll Tax Demo 23rd March 1991
Republican Marxist Bulletin no11 May 1991
Republican Marxist Bulletin no12 July 1991
Republican Marxist Bulletin Marxism 91 no2
Republican Marxist Bulletin no13 Oct 1991
Republican Marxist Bulletin no17 Nov 1992
Republican Marxist Bulletin no20 May 1993
Republican Marxist Bulletin no21 Sept 1993
Workers Republic no22 Jan 1994- renamed Republican Marxist Bulletin continuing old numbering
Workers Republic no23 March 1993

I feel sure that some of our readers must have other RDG materials in their collections, and we would love to hear from them. In particular it would be good to have an account of the issues behind the split in the RDG around 1989 and the subsequent trajectories of the two halves of the group.

The Workers Liberty website also has a section on their discussions with the RDG but a number of the links to documents here are dead.

And John Sullivan summed up the group thus:

“Revolutionary Democratic Group

THERE is little to say about the Revolutionary Democratic Group, which publishes a journal, the Republican Worker. It is a clot produced by individual defectors from the SWP in London and Scotland who came together to indulge their nostalgia. They see themselves as an external pressure group on the SWP, which they would rejoin if the party would turn towards the working class, reform its rank-and-file groups and institute a more democratic internal regime. The SWP leaders ban them from their public meetings on the grounds that nostalgia is both debilitating and catching.

The RDG have retreated from the difficult questions facing late twentieth-century Marxists by deciding that we must give more weight to democratic demands and fight for the democratic republic, free speech, votes for women and the separation of Church and State (except in Ireland, where society is not yet ripe for such an advanced step). It caused some surprise when they supported the RCP’s Red Front in the 1987 General Election, but the minimalism of the programme appealed to their nostalgia for the SWP of the 1970s. They seemed, when we spoke to them, a little shamefaced about that episode, and admitted that the RCP are a ‘rum lot’, hardly a convincing Marxist analysis.”


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