Soviets in Britain: the Leeds convention of 1917

White, S. (1974) Soviets in Britain: the Leeds convention of 1917. International Review of Social History, 19(2), pp. 165-193. (doi:10.1017/S0020859000004600)

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Abstract

The Labour and Socialist Convention held at Leeds on 3 June 1917 was held expressly “to follow Russia”. It adopted four resolutions, the most celebrated of which called for the establishment of what have been termed “extra-Parliamentary Soviets with sovereign powers”. It was described shortly afterwards as “the most spectacular piece of utter folly for which [the Socialist left] during the whole war-period, was responsible – which is saying not a little”. A contemporary journal held that many of the ILP men had become “avowed Syndicalists or Bolsheviks”; and the King, in conversation with Will Thorne after the latter's visit to Russia on behalf of the government, expressed some concern about what had taken place. He “seemed greatly disturbed at the famous Leeds Conference”, Thorne recorded. Thome's reply, however, had “seemed to relieve his mind”. F. W. Jowett, a member of the group which issued invitations to the Convention, referred to it to the end of his life as the “highest point of revolutionary fervour he had seen in this country”.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:White, Professor Stephen
Authors: White, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:International Review of Social History
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0020-8590
ISSN (Online):1469-512X
Published Online:18 December 2008

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