Reference number
  • MIL
  • (1923)-2005
  • Collection
  • Records of the Socialist Party and its predecessors (including the Revolutionary Socialist League and Militant Tendency). The collection includes papers of MPs Terry Fields and Pat Wall; documents re Militant's campaigns in Liverpool and against the Poll Tax; documents re Labour Party Young Socialists; publications, including 'Socialist Fight' and 'Militant'; publications of other Trotskyist organisations, including the Socialist Labour League, Workers' International League, Revolutionary Communist Party and the Fourth International.
  • 133 boxes
Admin history
  • The Socialist Party has its origins in the International Socialist Group (ISG), formed in 1950 following the expulsion of Ted Grant and others from 'The Club' (itself a former faction of the Revolutionary Communist Party). In 1956 the ISG merged with the Committee for the Regroupment of the Fourth International in Britain, resulting (in 1957) in the formation of the Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL).
    In 1961 the majority of the Nottingham branch of the RSL split from the main organisation to form the International Group. After rejoining the RSL in 1964 the faction split again in 1965 to form the International Marxist Group.
    From 1964, the group dropped the name Revolutionary Socialist League, arguing that it was a 'tendency' within the Labour Party, rather than a separate party. It became known by the name of its new newspaper 'Militant'.
    By 1970 the Militant Tendency controlled the Labour Party Young Socialists and it became increasingly influential in constituency Labour parties, controlling Liverpool City Council between 1983-1987. In the general election of 1983, two Militant candidates were elected to parliament - Dave Nellist in Coventry South East, and Terry Fields in Liverpool Broadgreen; in 1987 they were joined in Westminster by Pat Wall, MP for Bradford North.
    From 1981 Militant came into increasing conflict with the leadership of the Labour Party; this resulted in internal divisions within the Party and expulsions of Militant supporters. In 1991 the two remaining Militant MPs were expelled from the Party and the tendency finally broke with Labour, adopting the name Militant Labour. In 1997 it changed its name to the Socialist Party (except in Scotland, where it remained Scottish Militant Labour).
    Reference: Barberis, McHugh, Tyldesley, 'Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organisations' (Pinter, London, 2000).

    A fire at the Commercial Road premises of 'Militant' in 1975 caused the destruction of some archive material.
Access status
  • Open