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The Scottish Labour Party was a party of socialist independence, founded in late 1975/early 1976, by a revolt of Jim Sillars M.P. and a group of his colleagues against the Labour Party. The background was the 1974 elections, with the upsurge in Scottish National Party (S.N.P.) votes, and the reaction of the Labour Party thereafter, which struggled to come to a solution on what kind of devolution it wanted (if any). The view of the new party was that the Labour party was no longer socialist and that the S.N.P. would never be socialist. The initial aims of the Party was to secure the establishment of a powerful Scottish Parliament to work in full democratic partnership with the rest of the UK and represent Scotland in Europe. The other man aim was to ensure that the Scottish Parliament was capable of applying socialist solutions to the problems of modern Scotland.

The new party attracted many members in a very short time, from the Labour Party, The S.N.P. and from Trotskyist groups such as the Scottish Aggregate of the International Marxist Group (IMG) and the Scottish Workers’ Republican Party (SWRP). The party attracted members from all over Scotland, including in Aberdeen, where there were 2 branches: city and university. The branch membership was recorded as 14 in October 1976. The branch, as well as fighting on the issues of the national party, focussed on issues such as accommodation, disinvestment in companies involved in South Africa and student grants.

The Party had some local council electoral success, but in the 1979 General Election lost all 3 of its M.P.s. The party did not last long and experienced internal squabbles, expulsions and splits – meaning it was all over by 1981.

Related entries: Scottish Labour Party (Aberdeen)

References: Breakaway: The Scottish Labour Party (Henry Drucker, EUSPB, Edinburgh, 1978) and University Freshers’ magazines. Also, see below.

Sources: there are some ephemeral items in the papers of Dr Michael Dyer at University of Aberdeen Library.

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The Scottish Labour Party was a party of socialist independence, founded in late 1975/early 1976, by a revolt of Jim Sillars M.P. and a group of his colleagues against the Labour Party. The background was the 1974 elections, with the upsurge in Scottish National Party (S.N.P.) votes, and the reaction of the Labour Party thereafter, which struggled to come to a solution on what kind of devolution it wanted (if any). The view of the new party was that the Labour party was no longer socialist and that the S.N.P. would never be socialist. The initial aims of the Party was to secure the establishment of a powerful Scottish Parliament to work in full democratic partnership with the rest of the UK and represent Scotland in Europe. The other man aim was to ensure that the Scottish Parliament was capable of applying socialist solutions to the problems of modern Scotland.

The new party attracted many members in a very short time, from the Labour Party, the S.N.P. and from Trotskyist groups such as the Scottish Aggregate of the International Marxist Group (IMG) and the Scottish Workers’ Republican Party (SWRP). The party attracted members from all over Scotland, including in Aberdeen, where there were 2 branches: city and university. The city branch was based in Aberdeen Trade Union Council offices and membership was recorded as 31 in June 1976 (it was 46 by October 1976).

The Party had some local council electoral success, but in the 1979 General Election lost all 3 of its M.P.s. The party did not last long and experienced internal squabbles, expulsions and splits – meaning it was all over by 1981.

Related entries: Aberdeen University Scottish Labour Party

References: Breakaway: The Scottish Labour Party (Henry Drucker, EUSPB, Edinburgh, 1978). Also, see below.

Sources: there are some ephemeral items in the papers of Dr Michael Dyer at University of Aberdeen Library.

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The Scottish Universities’ Labour Party existed at the time when there were three Combined Scottish Universities’ Parliamentary seats in the House of Commons (from 1918 – 1950), elected by graduates from the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews. The Party was affiliated to the National Labour Party and the branches played a role in the selection of Parliamentary candidates. There were full ordinary members, who had to be graduates of the universities, and there were also associate members who could be graduates of non-Scottish universities or undergraduates.

The Aberdeen branch as well as their role in selecting the parliamentary candidates, worked alongside the Burgh Labour Party, held joint meeting with the local Fabian Society, staged evening talks with notable speakers such as Lord John Boyd Orr and the nationalist Douglas Young, ran study groups, and undertook many fund raising initiatives such as Aid for Spain. Membership was around the mid-50s, but had declined so rapidly, that by 1956, the branch was discontinued.

References: as below

Sources: Party minutes from 1938 – 1956 are held at University of Aberdeen Library

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Campaign for Socialism is a Scottish left-wing group of Labour Party members, originally founded in 1994, as part of the campaign for the retention of Clause 4 in the constitution. In 2017 the group agreed a joint membership scheme with Momentum (which was founded in 2015).

The Aberdeen group was formed in 2015.

References: website.

Sources: unknown.

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A group that advertised in Aberdeen People’s Press in 1975. The advert stated the aim was ‘an attempt to promote radical Christian theology and Socialist theory’.

References: Aberdeen People’s Press, 1975.

Sources: unknown.

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The national group was formed by University students and graduates who were expelled and/or left the Socialist Party of Great Britain around 1973. There were a number of splinter groups in Britain, including one in Aberdeen (see the Aberdeen Libertarian Socialist Group, who also called themselves Aberdeen Anarchists). The national group issued publications such as ‘Libertarian Communism’, ‘Workers’ Power – for social revolution’ and ‘Social Revolution’. The Aberdeen group were very active and edited an issue in 1976 and also hosted a key conference that same year. In 1977 the movement merged with another group called Solidarity which had been formed in 1960 by former members of the Socialist Labour League (note: there had been an earlier Solidarity Group in Aberdeen between 1967 and 1972). Following the merger the new group published a journal called ‘Solidarity: for Social Revolution’.

The Aberdeen group was also part of the Scottish Libertarian Federation in the late 1970s. Members of the group were also involved in a host of local campaigns throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including the British Withdrawal from Northern Ireland Campaign/The Other Army Information Centre, Aberdeen Campaign Against The Cuts and the Stuff The Jubilee! campaign in 1977.

Related entries: Aberdeen Anarchists, Aberdeen Libertarian Socialist Group, The Big Print Collective and Solidarity.

References: information and issues of the national group magazines are available via website http://www.libcom.org. Aberdeen Group report in Scottish Libertarian Federation newsletter (1976).

Sources: there are copies of some printed material as part of Aberdeen Peoples Press archive at Aberdeen University Library.

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A branch of the national organisation which had been founded in 1950 (as the Socialist Review Group), which became the International Socialists in 1962 and finally the Socialist Workers Party in 1977. Members are very active in campaigns in the city and selling the Socialist Worker newspaper.

Related entries: Aberdeen University Socialist Worker Student Society.

References: adverts in International Socialism newspaper.

Sources: national archive is held at Warwick University, Modern Records Centre.

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