Robert Knight and the origins of the Labour Party

Alastair J. Reid

in The Tide of Democracy

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780719081033
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702949 | DOI:
Robert Knight and the origins of the Labour Party

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Most previous accounts of the origins of the Labour Party have been one-sided in their focus on the socialist activists and in their portrayal of trade unionists as either gradually coming under socialist influence or remaining narrowly focused on conserving their existing economic positions. The minutes of the Parliamentary Committee, which functioned as the national executive of the Trades Union Congress, allow a more careful analysis of behaviour on the trade union side of the process, making it possible to acquire the same detailed grasp of factional activity as has already been established by earlier historians for the socialists. For although unfortunately the minutes contain no reports of the course of discussions and restrict themselves to bald summaries of resolutions, they still contain information on proposers and seconders, and therefore throw light on the issues which most concerned each union leader as well as on which of them were prepared to work most closely together.

Keywords: trade unions; socialist activists; trade unionists; minutes

Chapter.  7668 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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