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Origins of the SLPjames connolly portrait

POLICY ROOTS

The Socialist Labour Party was founded originally in 1902 by the legendary James Connolly. Until 1923 the party played a leading role in the socialist movement both nationally and internationally. Following the foundation of the Federal Labour Representation Committee in 1900 and its successor, the Labour Party, in 1910, the status of the SLP was undermined and it ceased to operate.

Socialist Labour warned against the federal Labour Party which it regarded as a party of social democracy which would move to the right and embrace capitalism. A hundred years later, the same prophetic words are often uttered but their truth is rarely acknowledged or understood by many on the tradtional left.

Following the ditching of the Labour Party's constitution and in particular its "commitment" to common ownership followed by its open embrace in 1995 of the free market, the Socialist Labour Party was re-established with Arthur Scargill, the Miner's President, as its leader.

People from the Communist Party, the Labour Party and many in the trades union movement, completely disillusioned by developments inside 'New' Labour, welcomed the revival of the Socialist Labour Party. The constitution of the party was drawn up after months of consultation and won massive support. Individuals and groups who believe in federalism, wanting to combine membership of the SLP with other parties or in "alliance" with other groups, rejected Socialist Labour.

The vast majority of comrades involved in the consultation process supported the SLP and its ideal of one unified, constitutionally based party. Quite correctly, they saw Socialist Labour as the only party capable of winning support for socialism amongst the Labour and Trades Union Movement and eventually amongst the people as a whole.