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The British Social Democratic Federation 1880-1885: From O'Brienism to Marxism

Abstract

A number of Bronterre O'Brien's disciples were the leading lights of the London clubs that provided the silent majority to the Social Democratic Federation (S.D.F.). Even after the O'Brienites came to accept the need for collective ownership of the means of production, their political strategy remained that of O'Brien. An understanding of the role played by the O'Brienites helps to explain various problems in the history of the S.D.F. such as why most members remained with Hyndman rather than follow Morris into the Socialist League and why the S.D.F. adopted an ambiguous attitude to trade unions and to palliatives.

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