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Democratic Ideas and the British Labour Movement, 1880–1914


  • Date Published: February 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521024143

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About the Authors
  • This is the first detailed survey of democratic ideas on the British Left in the period leading to 1914. Socialists of the late nineteenth century inherited assumptions about the priority of democracy from a long tradition of British Radicalism. However, the advent of the Fabians, who rejected this tradition as primitive, and of an ILP leadership more concerned to enter than reform parliament, meant that the movement was split between 'strong' and 'weak' views of democracy. By the eve of the First World War a consensus was emerging that might have formed the basis for a more realistic and more radical approach to democracy than has actually been pursued by the Labour Party and the Left during the twentieth century. Democratic Ideas and the British Labour Movement assesses an important debate in the history of socialist ideas and in the formation of the British Labour movement.

    • The first detailed study of attitudes to democracy in the Labour movement from 1880 to 1914
    • Has a relevence for the contemporary debate on democracy in the Labour movement
    • Offers a fresh political perspective on socialist history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'It traces the importance of democracy from those who took on the mantle of the Chartists, to those who came together to form the Labour Party, and from those who believed in strong democracy to those who believed that they could change the world simply by being in power without winning the arguments among the majority of the electorate.' Chartist

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521024143
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 154 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.502kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I:
    1. The survival of Chartist assumptions
    2. Democracy and socialism in the 1890s
    3. Democracy and the industrial struggle
    Part II:
    4. Conflicts in the ILP
    5. The pressure to federate: the industrial struggle in the late 1890s
    6. The rise and fall of the Clarion Federation
    Part III:
    7. The early 1900s: a hinge period
    8. Socialists and the state
    9. Parliamentary socialism? Labour in parliament
    10. Parliamentary democracy? 'Fred's obsession' and the path to the Bradford resolution
    11. Background to sydicalism: the legacy of the NIGFLTU's failure
    12. Avoiding the 'Servile State'. The impact of syndicalism and guild socialism
    13. 1914: an emerging consensus on the eve of Armageddon
    14. Conclusions
    Appendix. Federation for local Labour historians - and for national

  • Authors

    Logie Barrow, Universität Bremen

    Ian Bullock, Brighton College of Technology

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