HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THE FORMATION OF
THE SOCIALIST LABOUR PARTY
A political party is
"a political organisation that expresses the interests of a social class or its strata, uniting its most active representatives and directing them toward the attainment of certain goals and ideals". ('Great Soviet Encyclopaedia', Volume 19; New York; 1978; p. 305).
"the general body of labourers and operatives viewed in its relation to the body of capitalists or with regard to its political interests and claims".
('Oxford English Dictionary', Volume 8; Oxford; 1989; p. 559).
Originally, a labour party was
"... a political party specially supporting the interests of labour".
('Oxford English Dictionary', Volume 8; Oxford; 1989; p. 560).
A Social-Democratic Party was, originally, a labour party in a country where the bourgeois-democratic revolution has not been accomplished. Already, in late 1897, Lenin stressed the significance of the term 'Social-Democratic' in relation to the name of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP):
"The object of the practical activities of the Social-Democrats is ... socialist . . . and democratic. . . . Russian Social-Democracy has always emphasised ... the inseparable connection between its socialist and democratic tasks -- a connection which is strikingly expressed in the name which it has adopted". pp. 496-97).
(Vladimir I. Lenin: 'The Tasks of Russian Social-Democrats', in:
'Selected Works', Volume 1; London; 1944; p. 496-97).
SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY IN BRITAIN
The Social-Democratic Federation
In June 1881, Henry Hyndman, who regarded himself as
"...the first important British Marxist",
('New Encyclopaedia Britannica', Volume 6; Chicago; 1994; p. 199).
joined with others
"...in founding the Democratic Federation in 1884 the Democratic Federation was renamed the Social-Democratic Federation (SDF)".
('New Encyclopaedia Britannica', Volume 6; Chicago; 1994; pp. 199-200).
Engels describes Hyndman as
"an arch-conservative and an extremely chauvinistic but not stupid careerist, who behaved pretty shabbily to Marx . . . and for this reason was dropped by us personally".
(Friedrich Engels: Letter to August Bebel, 30 August 1883, in: Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: 'Selected Correspondence: 1846-1895: With Commentary and Notes'; London; 1943; p. 419).
The Scottish Labour Party
The second party formed in Britain claiming to represent the interests of working people was the 'Scottish Labour Party', founded in May 1888. (Michael Keating & David Bleiman: 'Labour and Scottish Nationalism'; London; 1979; p. 51).
This merged with the Independent Labour Party
"...at the end of 1894".
(Michael Keating & David Bleiman: ibid.; p. 53).
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