The Struggle for the Class Party in Britain 1848-1914

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Without a revolutionary party, there cannot be a successful revolution. And while the fight for the party is always posed at an international level, and the fundamental problems encountered in the fight are both universal and historic, stemming from the proletariat's position as an exploited class confronted with the immense weight of ruling class ideology, it is also important for revolutionaries to examine the specific conditions - both historical and geographical - in which this fight takes place. Thus, revolutionaries in Britain are faced with a weakness in the marxist tradition, and a strength of reformist illusions, which go back a long way, and which have made the struggle for the class party in this country a particularly arduous one. The series of articles we begin here, which was first published in World Revolution from October 1996 to September 2000, while not pretending to be an exhaustive treatment of the problem, aims to provide a framework for understanding these difficulties. In particular, it will show why the formation of the Labour Party at the beginning of the 20th century failed to answer the needs of the workers' movement for a revolutionary party.


Dossier: Marxism in the UK 1848-1914