Posts Tagged ‘social democratic federation’

Labour history uncut: Labour’s original hard left – the social democratic federation

06/11/2012, 02:01:28 PM

Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal continue their stroll through the organisations that set up the Labour representation committee (LRC) in 1900. Today, it’s the turn of the social democratic federation (SDF)

The SDF was founded in June 1881 by Henry M Hyndman, a journalist and world traveller. On reading the communist manifesto, rather than just agreeing with everything then going back to watching X-Factor, he decided that he was the very man to form Britain’s first socialist party and transform the nation into a socialist idyll.

Very sure of himself was Henry M Hyndman.

Initially, many socialists were sceptical. Hyndman had a history of opposing democracy (including home rule in Ireland) and, worse, he was the son of a wealthy businessman.

Still, after some time, a selection of socialist thinkers and luminaries came around and joined the organisation. This was because Hyndman managed to convince them of the heartfelt sincerity of his beliefs. Also he was the son of a wealthy businessman.

Well, socialist clubs need funds too.

Thus began the long and honourable tradition within the labour movement of taking much-needed funds from a friendly businessman, hoping there are no strings attached.

Henry Hyndman supported the SDF with the proceeds of his work as a shopping centre Santa


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