Cripps! Pollitt! Maxton! One struggle, one fight!

This morning’s post brought a couple of contemporary Independent Labour Publications pamphlets- Land And Freedom from 2013, about the Spanish Civil War and A Socialism For Our Times from 2003 together with an 8 page update to the ILP’s politics. There was also a rather nice postcard…

However, for our last ILP related post (for the moment) we need to go back to 1932.

The Socialist League was formed in that year from a merger of the National ILP Affliation Committee- a group of ILPers who dosagreed with Labour Party disaffiliation and so remained in the LP- with GDH Cole’s Society for Socialist Inquiry and Propaganda (SSIP).

Although Cole and others were to leave, others joined. JT Murphy, expelled from the Communist Party, joined and became national secretary in 1934. Stafford Cripps became Chairman the same year as othe Labour MPs left the league.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the SL was the Unity Campaign of 1937 which attempted to bring together all left-wing political forces in the country, notably the ILP and the CP in an anti-fascist united front.

Launched in January 1937 in Manchester, it signed up supporters, simultaneously, at the city’s Free Trade Hall, the Princess Theatre and the Theatre Royal. Aneurin Bevan and Ellen Wilkinson were among the signatories to this campaign for unity on the left and arms for Spain. The fortnightly Tribune magazine, financed by Stafford Cripps and George Strauss (Labour MP for Lambeth North), was set up as the mouthpiece for the movement.

The Labour Party, regarded the Uniy Campaign as an attempt at entrism by the Communist Party and on 27 January 1937 it disaffiliated the League, giving its members until June to quit either the Labour Party or the League.

The Socialist League chose to dissolve in May 1937.

We have a copy of The Unity Campaign- Cripps, Pollitt, Maxton a pamphlet issued by the National Unity Campaign Committee.

This advertises the Daily Worker, the New Leader and Tribune and its introduction is signed by three members each of the ILP, the CP and the Socialist League.

We also have two Socialist League pamphlets.

“Forward To Socialism” from 1934 and “Trades Councils In The Struggle For Socialism” which was written by Reg Groves. On page 12 of our copy of this latter pamphlet you will see a rubber stamp advertising the local Socialist League branch at Balham Road.

The Socialist League was a prolific producer and circulater of literature.

It appears to have had two regular publications- the Socialist Leaguer which was a monthly (3rd Friday of each month) and The Socialist which was presumably a later continuation of this title.

We have seen neither of these papers but would very much like to!


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