Labour History

Spokesman Books | Labour History

Labour History Titles

With authors such as Tom Mann, Ken Coates, Tony Topham and R. H. Tawney on subjects ranging from The Making of the Labour Movement, Syndicalism, Workers' Control to Bevanism and Feminism this section is packed full for the discerning reader of Labour History.


<span style='font-size: 14px;'>British Labour and the Russian Revolution - Centenary Edition </span>British Labour and the Russian Revolution - Centenary Edition
The Leeds Convention of 1917
An expanded centenary edition

Edited by Janet Douglas and Christian Hogsbjerg with Ken Coates' original introduction

'I got back from Leeds yesterday. It was a wonderful occasion, but a little disappointing from the point of view of practical outcomes. Snowden and MacDonald and Anderson are not the right men - they have not the sense for swift dramatic action. The right man would be Williams (of the Transport Workers), but he is not yet sufficiently prominent. Smillie is perfect except he is too old. The enthusiasm and all but unanimity were wonderful - out of 2,500, there were only about three dissentients. Nothing was lacking except leaders…'
Bertrand Russell, 5 June 1917

The Leeds Convention of June 1917 has been described by Ralph Miliband as 'perhaps the most remarkable gathering of the period.' The description seems to be a fair one. On the one-hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution and the coming together of the many and varied strands of the British labour movement at the Leeds Convention, Spokesman is pleased to re-publish 'British Labour and the Russian Revolution' with additional materials.

Price: 8.00

108 pages | paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 8653


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>From Liberal to Labour</span>From Liberal to Labour
with Women's Suffrage
The Story of Catherine Marshall

By Jo Vellacott

Catherine Marshall was a vital figure in the women's suffrage movement in Britain before the First World War. Using her remarkable political skills on behalf of the major non-militant organization, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, she built close connections with major suffragist politicians, leading some - in all three parties - to consider adopting a measure of women's enfranchisement as a party plank.

By 1913 Marshall was uniquely placed as a lobbyist, with inside information and sympathetic listeners in every party. Through her the dynamically reorganized NUWSS brought the women's suffrage issue to the fore of public awareness. It pushed the Labour Party to adopt a strong stand on women's suffrage and raised working-class consciousness, re-awakening a long-dormant demand for full adult enfranchisement. Had the general election due in 1915 taken place, NUWSS financial and organizational support for the Labour Party might well have been substantial enough to influence the final results.

'The book's great strength is its insider perspective, based on the author's exemplary, definitive analysis of the huge archive of Catherine Marshall papers - a source never so thoroughly worked before. The author is clearly the world authority on this material and her work is, in addition to its contribution to British political history, a real addition to the growing corpus of British women's biography.'
SYBIL OLDFIELD, University of Sussex


Price: 17.99

518 pages | Indexed
ISBN: 978 0 85124 8523
Paperback


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Corbyn's Campaign</span>Corbyn's Campaign
Edited by Tom Unterrainer
With Contributions from Umaar Kazmi, Abi Rhodes, Ben Sellers, Christine Shawcroft, Tony Simpson, Nadia Whittome, Adele Williams, Chris Williamson, plus Jeremy Corbyn

Defying all expectations, Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour Leader with a resounding mandate. His campaign re-wrote the rules of British politics by mobilising tens of thousands of supporters both within and outside the Party. The 'Corbyn for Leader' campaign, a radical social movement reflecting aspects of the new left across Europe, and Corbyn's ultimate victory provide the rarest of opportunities to redefine the Labour Party and socialism for a new generation.

Corbyn's Campaign tells the story of Jeremy's victory and articulates the opportunities for a renewal of socialism in Britain. Contributors were active - at both national and local levels - throughout the leadership campaign, and continue to be so as a new politics unfolds.

Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, lost his seat by 41 votes at the 2015 General Election. Chris is a regular contributor to Tribune and spoke on behalf of Jeremy Corbyn's campaign at meetings across the country.

Ben Sellers of Red Labour blogs at the World Turned Upside Down; Radical Thinking from the North East.

Christine Shawcroft is a long-serving member of the Labour Party's National Executive Committee, and contributes to Labour Briefing.

Adele Williams is Secretary of the Sherwood Branch Labour Party in Nottingham East and a trade union administrator.

Tony Simpson edits The Spokesman, the journal of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, and is a member of UNITE.

Tom Unterrainer teaches maths and is compiling a political bibliography of Ken Coates, who helped establish the Institute for Workers' Control.

Abi Rhodes is a writer and reviewer for the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, a student of Critical Theory and Politics, and is a member of UNITE.

Reviews
Richard Price, February 2016
Mike Phipps, February 2016
Andreas Bieler, 28 January 2016
John Daniels, 25 January 2016



Price: 7.95

104 pages
ISBN: 978 0 85124 8516
Paperback


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>The Making of the Labour Movement</span>The Making of the Labour Movement
The Formation of the Transport and General Workers' Union 1870-1922
by Ken Coates and Topham

This authoritative and comprehensive history does more than tell a story. It shows how trade unions created permanent organisation, based on "recognition" as a key concept. Those who had formerly been locked out from society now recognised their own strength in association, and saw that strength reflected in the eyes of their bosses.

Price: 15.00

909 pages | Indexed
ISBN: 978 0 85124 5652
Paperback


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Bevanism: Labour's High Tide</span>Bevanism: Labour's High Tide
by Mark Jenkins

"The first edition of this work, in 1979, coincided with a seminal moment of Labour's history, though few might have anticipated it at the time. The era of Thatcherism was about to descend. In that final year of the Callaghan administration, Michael Foot was Leader of the House and yet he kindly granted me an interview in his busy parliamentary office. In the event it lasted for two whole hours because of Michael's abiding interest in the Bevanite movement, of which he had, of course, been a key leading member …

The book began as a four-year research thesis for my Doctorate. Upon completion, it was immediately taken up by Ken Coates and published by Spokesman as a valuable contribution to Labour's post-war history … The thesis of Bevanism was a polemic against leftist denigrators of the seventies who denied that the Bevanites represented the broadest, most popular Labour current of the twentieth century, with a mass following in both the Party and the trades unions far exceeding the levels of support enjoyed by the Socialist League and the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in the thirties. The weight of statistical evidence I assembled as proof has never subsequently been challenged. However, the thesis was never a slavish promotion of Bevanism or even its programme.

So, we return to Bevan's social-democratic dilemma. Where do the boundaries of the state end and the free market begin? Bevan was never the ideologue of dogmatic statism. He was always the principled pragmatist, prepared to win over the medical profession by 'stuffing their mouths with gold' to establish the principle of free public medicine. The NHS remains his abiding legacy, which today, along with public education, faces its sternest test since the days of Clement Attlee's bold initiatives."

Mark Jenkins, from his new introduction to the 2012 edition


Price: 17.50

324 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 8127


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>The Blair Revelation</span>The Blair Revelation
Deliverance for Whom?
by Ken Coates and Michael Barratt Brown

Whatever is happening to the Labour Party?

Michael Barratt Brown and Ken Coates seek to tell the truth as they understand it of the changes which the Labour Party has recently undergone. They have looked closely at Mr Blair's much hyped commitment to ethical socialism. They examine the meaning of his idea of 'community', and test his claims that he stands in the tradition of Christian Socialism.


Price: 6.99

224 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 6055


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Clause IV </span>Clause IV
Common Ownership
and the Labour Party


The debate on Clause IV erupted during the Labour Party Conference in 1994 when the new Leader, Tony Balir, announced:

"No More ditching. No more dumping. Stop saying what we don't mean. And start saying what we do mean, what we stand by, what we stand for.

It is time we had a clear, up-to-date statement of the objects and objectives of our Party ... "

This was a total surprise because it ran completely contrary to the Leader's own statement a few months earlier, when he was interviewed by David Frost during an election campaign for John Smith's successor ...

This book contains a careful analysis of the issues involved in this controversy.

Price: 6.99

100 pages | Hardback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 5744


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Inside the Left</span>Inside the Left
By Fenner Brockway

"Fenner Brockway lived a long life and it was certainly packed with colourful action. Here we are reproducing the first volume of his autobiography, which was written on the eve of the Second World War. Never afraid to court controversy, this book celebrated the Socialist movement's opposition to the First World War, and the activities of an anti-war movement which continued after that conflict.

A pupil of Keir Hardie and Bernard Shaw, the young Brockway found his natural home in the Independent Labour Party, which developed his talents as an editor and public agitator. He became acquainted with many of the key personalities of international socialism, and with all the leading figures on the British Left, including H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell and the political spokesmen of the growing Labour movement.

This book contains Brockway's detailed account of the efforts of the British Left to find some kind of political unity during the years of the Labour Party's split, when Ramsay MacDonald formed a National Government. The ILP left the Labour Party, and entered into a variety of negotiations with the Communists and others to attempt to crystallise a Socialist opposition."

Ken Coates
Foreword to the new edition

Reviews:
Morning Star, 22nd March 2010 - John Green

Book of the Month: Fenner Brockway's Inside the Left - by John Green in London Progressive Journal


Price: 18.00

352 pages | Indexed
ISBN: 978 085124 7748
Socialist Classic


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>What Went Wrong</span>What Went Wrong
Edited by Ken Coates

Contributors: Michael Barratt Brown, Geoff Bish,
Francis Cripps, Frank Field MP, Tom Forester,
Stuart Holland MP, John Hughes, Michael Meacher MP, Frances Morrell

We are reprinting What Went Wrong at a time when it has become a matter of conventional wisdom, a popular myth hardly ever challenged, that the Callaghan Government fell in 1979 because of unbridled trade union mutiny and turbulence. The accounts in this book demonstrate that this explanation is not only grossly over-simplified but is also a travesty of what really happened. Foreword to 2008 Edition

Alistair Graham reviewed this title in the August edition of The Forest & Wye Clarion.

Price: 12.00

256 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 7540


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Tom Mann</span>Tom Mann
Social and Economic Writings
Tom Mann

Tom Mann is widely recognised as a leading pioneer of socialism in Britain and one of the most important personalities of the period which saw the emergence of Labour as the political alternative to Conservatism. This book provides... a careful selection of writings which show his intellectual development.
Laurent’s introduction gives an account of Tom Mann’s life and political involvements.

Price: 7.99

148 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 4686


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Tom Mann's Memoirs</span>Tom Mann's Memoirs
Introduce by Ken Coates

The first secretary of the Independent Labour Party, the President of the dockers' union, the first General Secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering Union: a mere roster of the positions he held in the Labour Movement, of which this is a tiny fraction, would establish Tom Mann as a Pioneer. But what he did was always more impressive than the positions from which he did it. He was an initiator, a catalyst, a goad to action. Whenever a real crisis came, his stature found its true proportions, and again and again Tom Mann became a pivot for the actions of downtrodden people. Throughout his lifetime as a militant socialist, whatever the stages of evolution of his thought, he invariably displayed a gift for finding himself at the centre of every major struggle of his time. For this reason it is important that these Memoirs, first published in 1923, should again become available.

Price: 15.00

278 pages | Paperback | Indexed
ISBN: 978 0 85124 7588
Socialist Classic Series


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>The Syndicalist</span>The Syndicalist
ed. by Tom Mann
with an introduction by Geoff Brown

The Syndicalist journal was edited under the auspices of the Industrial Syndicalist Education League. The purpose of the ISEL was "to popularise syndicalist principles amongst Trade Unionists with a view to the realisation of the Industrial Commonwealth." This volume reproduces in facsimile the issues of The Syndicalist from 1912-1914.

Price: 19.95

104 pages | Wirobound
ISBN: 978 0 85124 8059


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>The Life of John Wheatley</span>The Life of John Wheatley
By John Hannan

John Wheatley was the architect of left-wing opposition on Red Clydeside during the the First World War. He alone commanded the loyalty and respect of all the different groupings amongst the socialists, including such diverse firebrands as Maxton, Gallagher and Kirkwood. It is to Wheatley that the main credit must go for the achievement of the Independent Labour Party in Glasgow which provided two-thirds of the city's elected representatives at Westminster.

Price: 9.99

178 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 4967


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>British Labour and the Russian Revolution</span>British Labour and the Russian Revolution
The Leeds Convention: a report from the Daily Herald
with an introduction by Ken Coates

The Leeds Convention of June 1917 has been described by Ralph Miliband as 'perhaps the most remarkable gathering of the period.' The description seems to be a fair one.

Spokesman Books also publish The Miracle of Fleet Street: The Story of the Daily Herald by George Lansbury , which contains illustrations by Will Dyson.

Price: 4.99

35 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 0787


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>British Labour and the Russian Revolution</span>British Labour and the Russian Revolution
The Leeds Convention: a report from the Herald
with an introduction by Ken Coates

Price: 7.95

35 pages | Hardback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 0770


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Democracy in the Mines</span>Democracy in the Mines
Selected and edited by Ken Coates

Speaking in the debate on the Queen's Speech in March, 1974, Tony Benn was interrupted by the member for Bridgwater, Mr. Tom King, who demanded to know whether workers in industries about to be nationalised "will have the right to be consulted on the question whether they wish to be nationalised?" Quite rightly Benn replied that if his opponent would think back "over the history of public ownership he will recall that it was the miners and the railwaymen who campaigned continuously for the public ownership of their industries."

This collection of writings by different hands is partly an attempt to explore the question, why was this so?

Price: 6.99

128 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 0800


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Democracy in the Mines</span>Democracy in the Mines
Selected and edited by Ken Coates

Price: 8.50

128 pages | Hardback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 0794


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>The First Worker Co-operators</span>The First Worker Co-operators
by John Bellers

Introduction by Ken Coates

During the lifetime of the Labour Government which was elected in October 1974, the only experiment in industrial democracy to assume a tangible and practical form, was the creation of a number of workers' co-operatives, under the auspices of the Department of Industry, at the time that it was headed by Tony Benn.

Against great odds, in difficult commercial circumstances, and facing strong Civil Service opposition, the three co-operatives struggled on as long as they could. The First to die was the Scottish Daily News. Its story is documented in a book published by the Institute for Workers' Control, The New Worker Co-operatives.

Price: 2.00

30 pages | Pamphlet
ISBN: 978 0 85124 0664


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Workers' Control</span>Workers' Control
by Ken Coates

Trade Unionists in Britain pursued their hope of a more fulfilling life in the secure knowledge that if they joined together, a better world was indeed possible. Now, a new generation of trade unionists, internationally, may in turn draw inspiration from the ideas and experiences of those who came together in pursuit of industrial democracy and workers' control.

'This book is a significant contribution to the ongoing discussion around issues of workers' control...'

Jeremy Dear National Union of Journalists, Andy Gilchrist Fire Brigades Union, Billy Hayes Communication Workers Union, Joe Marino Bakers, Food & Allied Workers' union, Mick Rix ASLEF, Mark Serwotka Public & Commercial Services Union, Tony Woodley Transport & General Workers' Union.

Read a review by Jim Mortimer


Price: 7.99

190 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 6826
Socialist Renewal 3:7


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Readings and Witnesses for Workers' Control</span>Readings and Witnesses for Workers' Control
Edited by Tony Topham and Ken Coates

This book of Readings and Witnesses for Workers' Control seeks to show the rich history of the trade union movement to win a voice in the government of industry for the people who do the work in it.

Price: 9.99

504 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 6994
Socialist Renewal 5:1


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>The Attack & Other Papers</span>The Attack & Other Papers
R H Tawney was a major figure in the development of English socialist thought.

Tony Benn contributes an introduction which is itself a thoughtful development of the argument in which Tawney was engaged throughout his long and stimulating life.

Price: 9.99

194 pages | Indexed
ISBN: 978 0 85124 3115
Paperback | Socialist Classics


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>The Industrial Syndicalist</span>The Industrial Syndicalist
ed. by Tom Mann
with an Introduction by Geoff Brown

"... it is no longer possible for members of any political or religious party whatever to deny that there is, on foot, a great world Movement aiming definitely and determinedly at the economic emancipation of the workers.

A movement which... is constantly striving forward to the next stage in the Evolution of Mankind, where competition will have to give way to co-operation." Tom Mann

Price: 9.95

390 pages | Hardback - large format
ISBN: 978 0 85124 0817


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>The Awkward Warrior</span>The Awkward Warrior
Frank Cousins: His Life and Times
by Geoffrey Goodman

Frank Cousins was General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union from 1956 to 1969. During those years he helped change the Labour Party and the TUC, and in so doing influenced an entire generation.

"... a good book on a great theme ..."
Michael Foot, Guardian

"I know of no better account of the events in
the TUC and Labour Party during Cousins' years
from 1956 to 1969.
"
George Aitken, AUEW Journal

"... a vital text for anyone who wants to understand the underlying truth of the Labour Movement."
Richard Clements, Tribune

"Geoffrey Goodman has done every bit as good a job as Bullock did in his study of Bevin."
Peter Paterson, Spectator

Price: 17.99

616 pages | Indexed
ISBN: 978 0 85124 4174
Paperback


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>The New Worker Co-operatives</span>The New Worker Co-operatives
Edited by Ken Coates
with contributions by Tony Benn, A. J. Eccels,
Richard Fletcher, Ken Fleet, Derek Jones &
Allister Mackie.


This book recounts the experiences of the Merseyside plant of IPD (Fisher-Bendix), subsequently to become the Kirby Manufacturing and Engineering Company; of the Scottish Daily News; and of the Triumph Meriden motor-cycle enterprise. It attempts a preliminary evaluation of the successes and failures of these experiments, and it seeks to situate them in their place in co-operative history, Labour policy and socialist theory.

Price: 6.95

219 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 1470


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Work-ins, Sit-ins and Industrial Democracy</span>Work-ins, Sit-ins and Industrial Democracy
by Ken Coates

An account of the lessons of the factory occupations in the early 'seventies, this book contains the most complete description of the first sit-ins yet published.

Price: 7.99

165 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 2781


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>New Labour as Past History</span>New Labour as Past History
By Royden J. Harrison

My first purpose in this pamphlet is to demonstrate that when it comes to a way with words Mr Tony Blair is more than a match for Humpty Dumpty. It will be recalled that Humpty Dumpty announced: ‘When I use a word … it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less’. When Mr Blair says ‘advance’ he means ‘retreat’. This pamphlet concludes that there are indeed new conditions which have to be recognised. But these conditions require Labour, not to go back on its traditional commitments, but to go beyond them.
R. J. Harrison

Price: 2.00

28 pages | Pamphlet
ISBN: 978 0 85124 5966
Socialist Renewal 1:8


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Women's Liberation in Labour History</span>Women's Liberation in Labour History
By Jo O'Brien

In this pamphlet Jo O’Brien discusses the economic, social and political roles of women and children in working class life in Nottingham and elsewhere in the nineteenth century.

Price: 2.00

15 pages | Spokesman pamphlet 24
ISBN: 978 0 85124 0367


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>May Day</span>May Day
by European Labour Forum

The streets were ablaze with colour as banners were raised on high, swaying above the heads of the marchers, the tramp and shuffle of feet, animated chatter and the rasp of brass bands filled the air. It seemed that the whole of organised labour in London was on the move, countless thousands treading the cobbles beneath the rain-threatening spring sky.

Price: 2.00

32 pages | Pamphlet
ISBN: 978 0 85124 5935
Socialist Renewal 1:6


Quantity:  

<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Idle Hands, Clenched Fists</span>Idle Hands, Clenched Fists
The Depression in a Shipyard Town
by Stephen F. Kelly

In July 1981, violence erupted on to the streets in Liverpool. In Toxteth unemployed blacks and whites launched an assault on the Liverpool police. But there were some watching the rioting in Toxteth who had seen it all before. In the autumn of 1932, those on the dole in Birkenhead had reacted similarly. This book, for the first time, records in detail the events of that autumn on Merseyside.

Price: 9.99

105 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 4471


Quantity:  

Spokesman Books | Labour History