Reference number
  • SPL
  • 1964-1996
  • Collection
  • The collection centres on materials relating to the activity of the Trotskist International Spartacist Tendency in Britain. The collection covers 3 periods:

    1964-1975: The Spartacist Tendency had no permanent organised presence in Britain during this period. However the publications of the Spartacist League/US 'Spartacist and Workers Vanguard' contain many articles referring to the general political situation in Britain, and to British socialist parties and groups. In particular 'Spartacist' contains much material in the 1960s on the Healy tendency (Socialist Labour League), and 'Workers Vanguard' has extensive coverage of the 1974 miners' conflict with the Heath government.

    1975-1978: The London Spartacist Group (LSG) was active during this period. From 1975 'Workers Vanguard' has been distributed widely on the British left, both through subscriptions and single-issue sales. In this period the LSGs activity is reported and reflected in that paper, and also in various mimeographed leaflets included in the deposit.

    March 1978 to the present: At the beginning of this period the Spartacist League/Britain (SL/B) was founded in a fusion between the LSG and the Trotskyist Faction (TF) of the Workers Socialist League. The TF had been formed as an internal faction in 1977, and resigned from the WSL in February 1978. In April the first issue of 'Spartacist Britain', the monthly paper of the SL/B, was published (in September 1984 the name was changed to 'Workers Hammer'). In 1980 the Leninist Faction of the WSL fused with the SL/B, and in 1981 the Communist Faction of the IMG did likewise. Materials relating to these two groups are included in the deposit, in addition to the newspapers, journals and leaflets of the Spartacist Leagues itself.

    The collection comprises: 'Spartacist Britain / 'Workers Hammer', issues 1-165, April 1978-August 1991; 'Workers Vanguard', Spartacist Publishing Company, New York, issues 33-417, 1976-1986; 'Spartacist' (published in New York), 1964-1995; miscellaneous publications and leaflets, 1977-1983.
  • 9 boxes
Admin history
  • Spartacist League: originally formed as the 'Revolutionary Tendency' of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the Spartacist League was formed in 1964 when they were expelled from the SWP for not supporting the Cuban revolution, as well as opposing the SWP's part in the "revisionist" United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USFI). Led by James Robertson, the SL was named after Rosa Luxemburg's Spartakusbund (the precursor to the German Communist Party). The SL's international wing, the International Spartacist Tendency (now known as the International Communist League), was formed in 1974. The Spartacist League suffered two large splits: the first being the formation of the International Bolshevik Tendency in 1985 and in 1996 a group formed by the expelled SL newspaper editor, Jan Norden (known as the Internationalist Group).
    Reference: Red Groups ( Accessed June 2002.
  • This collection has been weeded for duplicates.
Finding aids
  • An authority record exists for the Spartacist League (GB 0152 AAR2194).
Access status
  • Open