Labour Party history

Minnie Lansbury — a different sort of Labour councillorMatthewWed, 28/02/2018 - 12:35

A meeting organised by Lewisham Workers’ Liberty Wednesday 28 March, 7.30 Amersham Arms, New Cross.

Minnie Lansbury was only 32 when she died in 1922, but she had a full and inspiring life.

She was one of the Poplar Labour councillors who carried out extensive reforms in the interests of the borough’s working class and, when the council began to struggle financially, led a mass campaign for poor boroughs to receive more funding.

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The story of Votes for WomenMatthewWed, 14/02/2018 - 13:06

The first leaflet in Britain to “insist” on woman’s suffrage was written in 1847 by a prominent woman Chartist, Anne Knight. Seventy years later women over 30, with certain property qualifications, were granted the right to vote as part of the Representation of the Peoples Act in February 1918.

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Learning the lessons of the Labour left

Submitted by Matthew on 31 January, 2018 - 12:57 Author: Will Sefton
A Party with Socialists In It

A Party with Socialists in it: a History of the Labour Left (Pluto Press 2018) by Simon Hannah.


Clarion editor Simon Hannah has produced a well written and concise history of the Labour left from the party’s inception through to the present day.

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Illusions of Power: The lessons of last time round

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 12:09 Author: Keith Road

In the early 1980s, many Labour councils were committed to defy Tory cuts. Sadly, every single one of these councils backed down in the end. There are many lessons to be learned from that defeat.

Today business rates are set by, and channelled through, central government. In the 1980s, councils set and collected rates levied on local businesses. They had more scope to offset central government cuts through these tax-raising powers. In that context many argued that this tax-raising was progressive and redistributive.

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The Russian revolution and the British left

Submitted by Matthew on 31 May, 2017 - 10:46 Author: Chris Mathews

It is February 1917. A large crowd are gathered to hear socialists and pacifists denounce the war. As the speeches start the snow begins fall... The hundreds who assembled that snowy night, looking like a scene out of Dr Zhivago, were not in Petrograd 1917 but in Waterfoot, Rossendale.

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How to fight the Labour rightMatthewWed, 15/02/2017 - 14:00

The Labour Party has 600,000 members and Momentum has 20,000. That should be good news for the activist left in the party. Certainly, if the left organises on the scale it did for the two leadership elections that delivered majorities for Corbyn, then it should be capable of making real progress in other Labour internal elections, in getting through positive rule changes which would strengthen and democratise the Party.

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A debate about Momentum: Martin Thomas answers Jon LansmanMatthewWed, 15/02/2017 - 13:32

This explanation by Jon Lansman of recent events in Momentum was circulated in the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy. Since it contains nothing confidential, and is the only political explanation available from the Momentum leadership other than the article by Christine Shawcroft in Labour Briefing (Feb 2017), which we replied to last week, we reprint it here.

Maintaining the centre-left coalition

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The history of the Progressive Alliance

Submitted by AWL on 9 December, 2016 - 10:44 Author: Luke Hardy

The result of the Richmond Park by-election has encouraged more calls for Labour to enter a “Progressive Alliance” to oppose “hard Brexit” and the resurgent populist right. Memories must be short, as only last year the Lib Dems were an integral part of a government attacking migrants, the disabled and the poor.

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Clement Attlee — the compromising committee man

Submitted by Matthew on 19 October, 2016 - 12:31 Author: John Cunningham

Aware that the life of the post-1945 Labour leader and prime minister has been done before, Bew’s biography attempts to give new angles on Attlee’s life. He isn’t successful and the search for new perspectives ends up recounting endless Cabinet intrigues, Attlee’s relationship with Churchill, and countless opinions on Attlee from everybody and their uncle.

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