Socialist Party of Great Britain - originally a split from the Second International prior to World War I, remaining on internationalist positions increasingly tainted with pacifism through World War II, this organisation is more a historical curiosity than anything else

Book Review - The Alternative to Capitalism

The alternative to capitalism is published by Theory and Practice whose website contains a broad range of texts from political currents such as the SPGB, left communism and situationism. The book contains essays by Adam Buick and John Crump which were first published in 1986 and 1987. It’s not presented as an official publication of the SPGB, although the book was sent to us for review by comrades who are members of the organisation.

Reply to the SPGB's review of ‘The British Communist Left’

The SPGB in its review of the British Communist Left (Socialist Standard 1213, September 2005) shows that it has understood nothing of the question of revolutionary organisation, even after 100 years of existence. Less than half of the review actually deals with the book; the rest is an attack on the ICC. The article as a whole seeks to dismiss the communist left, yesterday and today, as irrelevant.

What is the SPGB?, Part 2

In the first part of this series we looked at the development of the SPGB from its origins as part of the tendency within the SDF that struggled against the reformism and opportunism of the latter. We showed that in its first years the SPGB was confronted with important questions arising from the development of capitalism, such as the role of the unions and the relationship between the struggle for reforms and the struggle for the revolution. In this second part we look at the vastly more demanding challenges that faced the whole workers' movement in the second decade of the 20th century. A period in which it became clear through the ravages of the First World War that capitalism has entered a new historical period, the period of its decadence, and in which the proletariat launched a wave of struggles, beginning in Russia in 1917, that for the first time threatened the class rule of the bourgeoisie.

What is the SPGB?, Part 3: Support for democracy undermines internationalism

The second part of this article in last month's World Revolution concluded that the failure of the SPGB to rise to the challenge of the First World War and the revolutionary wave meant that it "could not be part of the proletariat's forces". However, nor did it pass into the camp of the bourgeoisie. As a result "it came to occupy a position between the two great classes". What this meant became clear in the following decades and above all during the war in Spain and in the Second World War. Spain

What is the SPGB?, part 1

The Socialist Party of Great Britain is 100 years old this year. Formed in June 1904 it has maintained the same platform through wars, revolution and recession, it continues to attract the interest of people who are looking for an alternative to capitalism and who have rejected the distortions of socialism offered by bourgeois currents like Stalinism and Trotskyism. The question we have to ask, however, is whether this group genuinely offers a positive way forward for those proletarian minorities searching for a revolutionary critique of the present system. In order to provide a serious answer to this question, we need to place the SPGB in its historical context - to understand its place in the history of the workers' movement and to provide an analysis of what it represents today.

What is the SPGB? (part 4): 1945-2004

This series of articles has argued that, as a result of its failure to respond adequately to the First World War and the revolutionary wave that followed, the SPGB moved into the political no-man's land between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The third part of this article in WR 274 developed this analysis, showing that the SPGB's inability to make a critique of democracy pushed it into confusion faced with the war in Spain and into a virtual accommodation with the bourgeois state during the Second World War, when it was used by the ruling class as a safe channel for the questioning and anger provoked by the war. This final part takes this analysis up to the present.

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