Labour united and divided from the 1830s to the present

The troubles inside the Labour Party, which followed Jeremy Corbyn's election and the Brexit referendum, have rekindled the interest of both academics and practitioners in organisational matters. This book shows that the present disunities are nothing new and are far from capturing every source of disagreement within the British labour movement. The first section covers the long nineteenth century, an era spanning from the Industrial Revolution to the First World War. It discusses Robert Owen's Grand National Consolidated Trades' Union (GNCTU), the first working-class association ever in Britain to try to unite all trades in the country to secure workers' control of their labour, and the biggest one so far. It examines the British branch of the American Knights of Labor, internal tensions during the Edwardian years, the Great Labour Unrest, and attempts made by domestic servants to form trade unions. The second looks at unity and disunity in the wider left. It focuses on the Co-operative movement, the concept of Resale Price Maintenance, and inter-organisational divisions. The divergences, in the 1944-1947 period, between the Labour Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) as well as the Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist Party are discussed. The third section zooms in on the Labour Party, with particular focus on the post-New Labour years. It provides a sweeping account of the Parliamentary Labour Party's (PLP) post-war division, crisis of party management, Scottish Labour Party, and the deep transformation that the Labour Party is currently undergoing.

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