British Social Democracy


Note by Transcriber — Ted Crawford

The journal of the BSP after the split on the issue of the war, the weekly The Call, lasted from 24 Feb.1916 – 29 July 1920 when it transmuted into The Communist. (It has been microfilmed and is thus available elsewhere but some of the paper copies in the British Newspaper Library which I consulted are in very poor condition. It is also available in Hull University and the National Library of Scotland while there are microfilm copies at the LSE.) It was started in anticipation of a split in the BSP which eventuated two months later at Easter 1916 – 24-25 April. Despite the success of the split from Hyndman, since the slaughter of the war went on and the mood of Britain was still very patriotic, the mood of the paper is gloomy, indeed the battle of the Somme started in July 1916 while the Irish rebellion was crushed during its opening conference. One has the impression that an immense change in optimism occurred after the first Russian Revolution which was warmly greeted in the paper on the 22 March 1917. There was a huge growth in all the Marxist currents in Britain without much direct Russian involvement through instructions or money. Still the BSP, as in the pre-Hyndman era, up to the end of 1918 though its members were often exceedingly active in the Trade Unions did not try to organise their members in groups and develop a line therein in the Bolshevik style.

Walter Kendall in his book, The Revolutionary Movement in Britain, 1900-21: the Origins of British Communism, 1969, deals with The Call, the BSP and its evolution into the Communist party. Most of his material about The Call is in Chapters 6 and 9. Kendall’s thesis seems to be that there was an organic growth until some point between early 1918 and early in 1919 when the changes that occurred were increasingly pushed through with Russian money and agents and did not arise out of British conditions and so were, in a sense, artificial, all of which is dealt with in great detail in the Part 2 of the book. Studies since the archives have been opened up have tended to confirm Kendall’s thesis as regards the amounts and frequency of Russian subventions though whether the CP was simply an artificial creation of the Russians is a much more debatable point.

A number of the leading members wrote articles for the paper, Dora Montefiore for instance, the other prominent woman is Zelda Kahan and apart from these two there is Fairchild, the editor, Walton Newbold MP, Fineburg, Dukes, Watson, Ward, Tom Quelch, and last but not least Theo Rothstein who also writes under the name John Bryan and the initials W.A.M.M. Many articles and editorials are anonymous.

Index of articles


Socialist “Man Power”, Dora Montefiore 9 November 1916


Socialism and Militarism, J. T. Walton Newbold 1 February 1917
Capitalism and Imperialism, J. T. Walton Newbold 22 February 1917
Cotton, Iroan and Imperialism, Theo. Rothstein 8 March 1917
The Defence of the Russian Republic, Theo. Rothstein 12 April 1917
The May-day Message, Theo. Rothstein 3 May 1917
Thoughts on the Russian Revolution, Dora Montefiore April 1917
Adult Suffrage, Dora Montefiore 3 May 1917
May Day: Symbol of International Solidarity, Dora Montefiore 10 May 1917
The Case For Indemnities, Theo. Rothstein 14 June 1917
The Case Against Indemnities, Theo. Rothstein 28 June 1917
Letter on first release from prison, John MacLean 19 July 1917
Food of the People, Dora Montefiore 2 August 1917
Demand Petroff’s Release, John MacLean 2 August 1917
The Lead from Lanarkshire, John MacLean 9 August 1917
Independence in Working Class Education, John MacLean 6 September 1917
The Education of the People, Dora Montefiore 27 September 1917
The League of Nations, Theo. Rothstein 4 October 1917
Clyde Labour, John MacLean 11 October 1917
The Ferment Of Revolution, Dora Montefiore 18 October 1917
Russian Political Refugees Defence Committee, John MacLean 29 November 1917
The Knock-out Blow, Dora Montefiore 29 November 1917
The Release of John Maclean: Special Message to “The Call”, John MacLean 12 December 1917


The Austro-German Peace Terms, Theo. Rothstein 3 January 1918
Open Letter to Lenin, Dora Montefiore 3 January 1918
The International: Will the Allies Throw Away the Last Chance?, Leon Trotsky 10 January 1918
Marxism and the Labour Party, (Part I) J. Fineberg 7 March 1918
Marxism and the Labour Party, (Part II) J. Fineberg 14 March 1918
The Crux of Alsace-Lorraine, Eden and Cedar Paul 21 March 1918
Marxism and the Labour Party (Part III), J. Fineberg 21 March 1918
Mr. Balfour’s Professions, Dora Montefiore 28 March 1918
The BSP Conference, The Call 4 April 1918
Letter, John MacLean 18 April 1918
Prince Lichnowsky’s Memorandum, Theo. Rothstein 25 April 1918
In Memory of Karl Marx, Dora Montefiore 2 May 1918
Marx as a Revolutionary Thinker, Theo. Rothstein May 1918
The Bankruptcy of the Second International, Theo. Rothstein 9 May 1918
The Churches and Socialism, Dora Montefiore 16 May 1918
The German Socialist Minority: A Rejoinder, Theo Rothstein 23 May 1918
Jewish Social-Democrats and Zionism, The Call 27 June 1918
Democracy During and After the War, Dora Montefiore 11 July 1918
The German Socialist Minority, Theo Rothstein 11 July 1918
The Reconstruction of the International, Theo. Rothstein 25 July 1918
The Reconstruction of the International, Dora Montefiore 27 August 1918
A Poet of Nameless Horrors, Dora Montefiore 29 August 1918
Dictatorship and Democracy, Theo. Rothstein 26 September 1918
Bolshevism v Democracy in Education, Eden and Cedar Paul 17 October 1918
How Will Socialism Be Realised?, Dora Montefiore 24 October 1918
Labour Party Women’s Conference, Dora Montefiore 24 October 1918
Mud Flats of Flanders & North France, Dora Montefiore 24 October 1918
Capitalism and Native Races, Dora Montefiore 7 November 1918
The German Revolution, Theo. Rothstein 21 November 1918
Democracy and the Proletarian Revolution, Theo. Rothstein 05 December 1918
Impressions of the Reception of John Maclean, Dora Montefiore 12 December 1918
Educate, Agitate, Organise, Dora Montefiore 26 December 1918
An Acid Test of Sincerity, John MacLean 29 December 1918


A Call to Our Women Comrades, Dora Montefiore 9 January, 1919
The Meaning of Social Revolution, Theo. Rothstein 9 January, 1919
Now’s the Day and Now’s the Hour, John MacLean 23 January, 1919
Manifesto of the German Spartacists, The Call 30 January 1919
Our Martyred Dead, Theo. Rothstein 30 January 1919
Maclean’s Claim Against the Authorities, John MacLean 2 February 1919
Maclean in Cumberland, John MacLean 4 February 1919
An Appeal to the World, Maxim Gorki 6 February, 1919
The Coal Situation, John MacLean 6 March 1919
Coal and Cotton, John MacLean 20 March 1919
The Coal Compromise, John MacLean 27 March 1919
The Rift in the Paris Lute, Theo. Rothstein 10 April 1919
What is Our Position?, Theo. Rothstein 17 April 1919
May Day, 1919, Dora Montefiore 1 May 1919
The Two May Days, Theo. Rothstein 1 May 1919
A Bandit’s Peace, Theo. Rothstein 15 May 1919
Maclean in the Colne Valley, John MacLean 5 June 1919
Lackeys of the Master Class, Theo. Rothstein 5 June 1919
Parliamentarism and Trade Unionism, Theo. Rothstein 5 June 1919
Parliamentarism and Trade Unionism II, Theo. Rothstein 12 June 1919
The Power of the Russian Revolution, Theo. Rothstein 17 July 1919
Parliamentarism and Trade Unionism, Dora Montefiore 24 July 1919
Towards a Revolutionary World War, Theo. Rothstein 31 July 1919
Bolshevik Russia, Dora Montefiore 14 August 1919
Socialist Unity, The Call 21 August 1919
Will Capitalism Collapse? John MacLean 28 August 1919
A Cunning Device, Theo. Rothstein 4 September 1919
Koltchak Outlawed, Lenin and Kalinin 4 September 1919
British Troops in the Caucasus, 4 September 1919
The Triumph of Imperialism, Richard Clements 4 September 1919
Japan and Soviet Russia, Sen Katayama 4 September 1919
Parliamentarism and Trade Unionism, Theo. Rothstein 11 September 1919
The Trade Union Congress and After, John MacLean 25 September 1919
Points About the Strike, John MacLean 9 October 1919
A Labour Party in Power or the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Dora Montefiore 02 October 1919
The Miners’ Next Move, John MacLean 23 October 1919
Labour’s Commissariat Department, John MacLean 30 October 1919
German Spartacists’ Call for Russia, The Call 6 November 1919
On with the Revolution, John MacLean 6 November 1919
Anti-Parliamentarism, Karl Radek 6 November 1919
Let us Understand the Pioneers, Theo. Rothstein 13 November 1919
“The Call”, Dora Montefiore 20 November 1919
The “Modern” Methods of Warfare of the Allies, Dora Montefiore 20 November 1919
A Revolutionary Municipal Policy, Theo. Rothstein 27 November 1919
Burn Bradbury & Down with Prices, John MacLean 27 November 1919
The Fate of the German Revolution, Theo. Rothstein 27 November 1919
The Crimes of Imperialism, Dora Montefiore 4 December 1919
Appeal from the Hungarian Communist Party, 7 December 1919
High Prices! Bonar Law’s Admission! Burn Bradbury!, John MacLean 9 December 1919
High Prices and Low Wages, John MacLean 16 December 1919
Dr. E. J. Dillon on the Peace Conference, Dora Montefiore 30 December 1919


High Prices!: Bradbury Battered, John MacLean 1 January 1920
Away with the Idle Rich, John MacLean 22 January 1920
The Secret of the League (part I), Nikolai Bukharin 22 January 1920
The Secret of the League (part II), Nikolai Bukharin 29 January 1920
Inflation and High Prices, John MacLean 29 January 1920
War or Peace?, Tom Quelch 5 February 1920
The Congress of the French Party Socialist Party, Boris Souvarine 26 February 1920
Lenin v. Loyd George: British Materialism and British Idealism, John MacLean 26 February 1920
Labour’s Impotence and Its Strength, Theo. Rothstein 4 March 1920
The French Syndicalist Movement, Boris Souvarine 11 March 1920
The Devil’s Charter, Dora Montefiore 11 March 1920
Revolt of the Slaves, Maxim Gorky 25 March 1920
Man Has Arisen!, Theo. Rothstein 1 April 1920
The Organisation of the Army and the Structure of Society, N. Bukharin 8 April 1920
The Latest Phase of the German Revolution, Philips Price 22 April 1920
A May-Day Message from Germany, Clara Zetkin 29 April 1920
The Call of May Day, Theo. Rothstein 29 April 1920
May Day 1920, Dora Montefiore 29 April 1920
The Communist First of May, Boris Souvarine 29 May 1920
Grabbing Persia: The Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919, K. Malik 13 May 1920
British Imperialism and Persia, Dora Montefiore 27 May 1920
Socialisation (part I), Anton Pannekoek 10 June 1920
Socialisation (part II), Anton Pannekoek 17 June 1920
My Tribute to Jim Larkin, Dora Montefiore 17 June 1920
England and the East, Radek 01 July 1920
The Awakening of the East, MN Roy 15 July 1920
From Brixton Jail to Enzeli, Kerran 15 July 1920
The Communist Unity Group: Our Point of View, Thomas Bell and William Paul 29 July 1920
Is Capitalism Collapsing?: A Rejoinder to Mary E. Marcy, John MacLean 13 November 1920
The Communist, 19 August 1920 —