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Title: The principal contributions of the Socialist Party of Great Britain to the development of Marxian political and economic theory.
Author: Perrin, David Anthony.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 1993
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Abstract:
The life expectancy of political organisations who claim to stand in the Marxist tradition is often short. Differences over aspects of theory, sometimes masking clashes of personality, ensure that there is a continual flow of splits and sects whose theoretical deliniations are slight enough to confuse the most avid observers. When a Marxist organisation endures for nearly a century with its objective, principles and overall perspective intact, its very uniqueness should be enough to command attention. When it can endure with a set of principles and a revolutionary outlook that sets it apart from the great bulk of those.using the epithet 'Marxist', then this is doubly so. The Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) is just such an organisation. Founded in 1904, it is the oldest existing Marxist organisation in Britain, and one of the oldest in the World. Its uniqueness of outlook is largely a product of its adherence to what could be described as 'classical Marxism' and it is one of the few Marxist parties still surviving which refuses (now as in the past) to support the basic tenets of Leninism in any shape or form. If these facts alone are enough to make this political party an object of interest, it has not been reflected in the literature, or rather the lack of it, dealing with the SPGB. It is fair to say that it has suffered the fate of being relegated to the status of an historical footnote in many academic works, rarely receiving the degree of serious study that it merits. Part of the object of this thesis is to correct this imbalance, bearing in mind that while the SPGB has survived the post-war era intact, many of the Organisations which have derided it as an irrelevant sect or a 'Marxist club' have floundered or perished - the Communist Party and the Independent Labour Party being notable examples. The focus of this thesis is the specific contributions that the SPGB has made to the development of Marxian thought, in both political philosophy and economy theory. Basing itself on Marx's labour theory of value and his theory of social development, the SPGB has, by responding to world events, applied Marxian theory in a particularly distinctive manner. This thesis does not deal exhaustively with the contributions of the SPGB, but focuses on eight specific areas in which the Party has shown a willingness to apply Marxian theory in such a way that it has clearly distinguished itself from other 'Marxist' or 'left-wing' political organisations. These range from its claim at its found'ation to have resolved the 'reform or revolution' dilemma, through to its recent response to the ascendant free-marketeers who claimed that socialist planning, as advocated by Marx and Engels, was a practical impossibility. Other chapters examine in detail the SPGB' s views on war, democracy ~ Russia, economic crises, inflation and the welfare state, providing a systematic account of the SPGB's political and economic positions hitherto unavailable outside of the Party's own publications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.240792  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Marxism
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