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The Tide of DemocracyShipyard Workers and Social Relations in Britain, 1870-1950$
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Alastair J. Reid

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719081033

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719081033.001.0001

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Robert Knight and the origins of the Labour Party

Robert Knight and the origins of the Labour Party

(p.257) 12 Robert Knight and the origins of the Labour Party
The Tide of Democracy

Alastair J. Reid

Manchester University Press

Most previous accounts of the origins of the Labour Party have been one-sided in their focus on the socialist activists and in their portrayal of trade unionists as either gradually coming under socialist influence or remaining narrowly focused on conserving their existing economic positions. The minutes of the Parliamentary Committee, which functioned as the national executive of the Trades Union Congress, allow a more careful analysis of behaviour on the trade union side of the process, making it possible to acquire the same detailed grasp of factional activity as has already been established by earlier historians for the socialists. For although unfortunately the minutes contain no reports of the course of discussions and restrict themselves to bald summaries of resolutions, they still contain information on proposers and seconders, and therefore throw light on the issues which most concerned each union leader as well as on which of them were prepared to work most closely together.

Keywords:   trade unions, socialist activists, trade unionists, minutes

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