Labour Party history

The “IS tradition” and the Independent Labour Party

Author: 
Sean Matgamna

The “IS tradition” of the 1960s, which members and old ex-members of the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) cherish, was in fact largely taken from the Independent Labour Party in its last years.

A case study in centrism

In the last issue of Solidarity, Mordecai Ryan outlined the history
of the ILP
, the main British "centrist" organisation of the 1930s and 40s. Its nearest equivalent in Britain today is the SWP. As mud is a mix of earth and water so centrism is an unstable and almost always incoherent mix of bits of revolutionary Marxist political tradition and aspiration with alien, reformist, etc elements.

Britain’s biggest left party, 1893-1945, and what became of it - The history of the ILP

The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was founded by Keir Hardie and others in 1893 and “ended” some time in the 1970s, when what was left of it joined the Labour Party. For the first 25 years of its existence, it played a central role in British working class politics.