Socialist Party of Great Britain

Socialist Party of Great Britain

The Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) was formed in 1904 as a breakaway from the Social Democratic Federation, the first organisation to propagate Marxist ideas in Britain.

The Marxism of the SPGB is a continuation of that of the extreme leftwing of pre-WWI Social Democracy, rejecting all Leninist accretions (vanguard party, Bolshevik seizure of power as proletarian or socialist revolution, distinction between socialist society and communist society, theory of aristocracy of labour maintained out of superprofits of imperialism, transitional demands). The SPGB pioneered the view in Britain that Russia was neither a “workers state” nor socialist, but state capitalist. It advocates no minimum programme of reforms to be achieved within capitalism, but only socialism. It endorses trade union action on sound lines.

The Socialist Standard has been the party's official organ since 1904.

Encyclopedia of Marxism on S.P.G.B.

Issues of The Socialist Standard


Writers of the S.P.G.B.

Jack Fitzgerald

Jack Fitzgerald, (1872-1929)

Founding member of the SPGB. A bricklayer, Fitzgerald joined the SDF in the 1890s, but was expelled in 1903 on a charge of “impossibilism.” On the 12 June 1904, he founded the SPGB together with 140 other former members of the SDF.


Gilbert McClatchie, (1890-1976)

Joined in 1910. Member of the editorial committee of the Socialist Standard for many years. He had a wide knowledge of history, economics and the working-class movement and was the Party's historian.


Edgar Hardcastle

Edgar Hardcastle, (1899-1995)

The son of a founding member of the SPGB, Hardy joined the party in 1922. He studied at the LSE and did considerable work on political economy, in particular a Marxist critique of Keynes and other work on political economy.


Harry Young, (1901-1995)

Outdoor speaker, indoor lecturer, writer and election candidate for the SPGB who joined in 1940. Previously the first national organiser of the YCL and employee of the Comintern in Moscow.


James D'Arcy, (1919-2001)

Member 1942-1991. Outdoor speaker, represented the SPGB in many debates, central organiser and executive committee member.


Harry Baldwin, (1930-2010)

Member 1950-1978. Outdoor and indoor speaker, executive committee member, parliamentary and local election candidate.


Pieter Lawrence, (1932-2007)

Australian-born. Speaker, executive committe member, member of Socialist Standard editorial committee. Author of pamphlet Socialism As A Practical Alternative.