H. M. Hyndman and British Socialism

By Chushichi Tsuzuki; Henry Pelling | Go to book overview

V NEW UNIONS AND 'INDEPENDENT LABOUR'

I

IT is generally said that the S.D.F. was hostile to trade unionism, and there is some evidence to support this view. As the Webbs pointed out, there were certain resemblances between the Owenites of the 1830's and the Social Democrats of the 1880's, in their criticism of what they regarded as the futility of the craft unions.1 Hyndman in his most militant phase predicted 'the fast-approaching bankruptcy of the most powerful trade unions in the world': this was when a financial report of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers had shown a marked decline in its balances in 1885 and 1886. He thought that the unions could not cope with the new industrial situation created by the introduction of new machinery, and he appealed 'to the skilled artisans of all trades, to make common cause with their unskilled brethren, and with us Social-Democrats' so as to facilitate the advent of a Co-operative Commonwealth.2

It may be suggested, however, that Hyndman and Justice played some part in preparing the minds of the workers for the great revival of unionism which took place at the end of the eighties. In 1888 Justice published a series of articles on the conditions of workers in various trades, and on the need for their organization; and in the same year the first battle in the campaign to organize the unskilled workers was led by

____________________
1
S. and B. Webb, History of Trade Unionism ( 1950 ed.), p. 409.
2
Justice, 18 June 1887.

-87-

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H. M. Hyndman and British Socialism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Editor''s Note vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Plates x
  • I- Scion of Empire 1
  • II- Tory Radical 13
  • III- Founding the Democratic Federation 1880-1884 31
  • IV- Riots and Ructions 57
  • V- New Unions and ''Independent Labour'' 87
  • VI- Imperialism and the Second International 112
  • VII- Low Spirits, High Finance 132
  • VIII- Labour Alliance or Socialist Unity? 152
  • IX- Syndicalists and Suffragettes 179
  • X- The German Menace 194
  • XI- World War and Revolution 218
  • XII- Last Years 243
  • XIII- Epilogue 268
  • Appendix A - S.D.F. Finances 277
  • Appendix B - S.D.F. Membership 281
  • Appendix C - Bibliography of Works by H. M. Hyndman 286
  • Appendix D - List of Unpublished Sources Consulted 291
  • Index 293
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