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The Marxism of the Social Democratic Federation

  • Henry Collins

Abstract

Though Karl Marx lived more than half his life in England he made no attempt to found a Marxist party here. To have done so would have been incompatible with his outlook, according to which ‘the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves’.1 While Marx was never what the French called ‘ouvrieriste’, since he believed that conscious socialists equipped with scientific theory had an indispensable contribution to make, he always saw this function as the injection of socialist ideas into working-class organisations which had formed more or less spontaneously. When ‘the working classes themselves’ were ready to move and had, in fact, begun to do so, then socialist organisations which would include intellectuals as well as workers could help show them the way. Until this had happened attempts to initiate working-class organisations from outside would be futile and harmful.

Keywords

Trade Union Labour Movement Class Struggle Labour Party School Meal 
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Notes

  1. 5.
    K. Korsch, Karl Marx (1938), pp. 101–9. According to Mr. C. Abramsky Korsch was the first writer to discuss the full significance of this concept.Google Scholar
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    C. Tsuzuki, H.M. Hyndman and British Socialism (1961), pp. 30–1.Google Scholar
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    H.M. Hyndman, The Future of Socialism (1915), pp. 182–3.Google Scholar
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    S. and B. Webb, The History of Trade Unionism, (1950), pp. 409–11.Google Scholar
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    Karl Kautsky, The Proletariat (1908). This was one of a series by Kautsky explaining the Erfurt programme of 1891.Google Scholar
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    H. Quelch, in Social Democrat, October 1897.Google Scholar
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    James Leatham, A Socialist View of the New Trade Unionism (1893).Google Scholar
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    H.M. Hyndman, General Booth Book Refuted (1890).Google Scholar
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    William Morris and E. Belfort Bax, Socialism, Its Growth and Outcome (1893), pp. 277–83.Google Scholar
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    Theodore Rothstein, Egypt’s Ruin (1910) with introduction by Wilfred Scawen Blunt.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The estate of the late Henry Collins 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Collins
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Continuing StudiesUniversity of WarwickUK

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