The Marxism of the Social Democratic Federation

  • Henry Collins


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.


Trade Union Labour Movement Class Struggle Labour Party School Meal 
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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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