LETTER : Identifying the original authors of Clause IV

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The Independent Online
From Mr Bob Birmingham

Sir: Further to the essay by Gareth Stedman Jones, it is perhaps worthwhile recalling that the following motion:

that the object of the Independent Labour Party shall be to secure the collective and communal ownership of the means of productions distribution and exchange

was carried at the founding conference of the Independent Labour Party, held in 1893, by 91 votes to 16.

The proposer of the recommendation was the delegate representing the Heywood Social Democratic Federation, the organisation considered to be the nearest to Marxist existing in England at that time, and as such more often than not in opposition to the general principles espoused by the Fabians.

Equally, it is perhaps worthwhile remembering that the ILP attracted very many active trades unionists who felt that the parliamentary pressure group tactics of the Fabians, designed to influence and work with the Liberal Party, were not in keeping with the perceived necessity to create an independent working-class and trade union voice in Parliament.

Yours sincerely,


London, E17

24 April