RDG redux…

Last month it was my great pleasure to meet up with Steve F, formerly of the Revolutionary Democratic Group and related organisations on the republican socialist left.

Steve gave me a large bag full of RDG materials- greatly expanding and completing our collections for this tendency.

To put a rough chronology on this, we now have the following in our collections:

Founded in 1983, the RDG does not appear to have produced a substantial publication for the first couple of years of its existence until Republican Worker in 1986.

Republican Worker- 1st series

Seven issues from 1986 to 1989. The first four issues being 6 or 8 page tabloids and the latter three in magazine format.

The RDG book The Politics of the SWP was also published in this period.

The 2nd series of Republican Worker was simply the bulletin of the (majority) RDG after the split in the group. It was short lived and that side of the split soon gave up the RDG name in favour of Republican Worker Tendency. We have just two bulletins from this period in the early 1990s plus a couple of Republican Worker Tendency pamphlets including a draft manifesto Reclaiming Communism For Today.

The minority tendency in the RDG began to issue the Republican Marxist Bulletin from August 1989. This ran for 21 issues until September 1993 and a further six issues under the name Workers Republic until April 1995. We now have a complete 27 issue run of this Bulletin plus a number of specials, leaflets and supplements.

We also have several really interesting pamphlets from around 1994-5:

The SWPs Republican Faction and the National Question

The Marxist Programme and the SWP

The Working Class and the Struggle For Democracy– which is a reply to Andy Wilson at the time of his expulsion from the SWP.

The RDG Draft Programme from 1996 was published both as a pamphlet and as a supplement in the Weekly Worker newspaper.

The RDG had a relationship with the Weekly Worker over an extended period during which it regularly published substantial articles and supplements in the paper.

A further RDG supplement in the Weekly Worker appeared in 2001- In Defence of Bedfordshire Socialist Alliance

A third series of Republican Worker appeared in at least four issues between 2001 and 2003. This was a 2 or 4 page tabloid and may possibly have been issued as a WW supplement or published by them on behalf of the RDG. We have issues 1, 3 and 4.

Fast forward to 2014 and we find the descendants of the RDG now trading as the Republican Socialist Alliance and issuing two pamphlets: Republicanism and the National Question and the Crown Versus the People.

All our RDG and related materials can be found here:

REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRATIC GROUP Archive

We hope in future to be able to trace the development of the ‘other’ side of the RDG after the 1989 split. Based primarily in Scotland, this group (as mentioned above) son became the Republican Workers Tendency and later the Red Republicans. Allan Armstrong’s book From Grey to Red Granite gives some very useful info on this and is highly recommended.

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