Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Posts Tagged ‘Politicians’

In 1923 Dan Griffiths asked ‘What is Socialism?’ … now we have all the answers

Posted by wcmlibrary on February 6, 2014

The library has just received a very exciting donation of around 100 letters written to Dan Griffiths in 1923 in response to his question What is socialism?.

Dan, a school teacher in Llanelli, was very active in the labour movement and considered standing for parliament for the Labour Party, but stood down in favour of another candidate.  He also wrote a number of books, including What is Socialism?: a symposium – the book that the definitions of socialism were included in.

Dan’s great-niece, Rosemary, has kindly donated the folder of letters, which were received from a wide spectrum of people including politicians, trade unionists and writers, to the library along with a group photograph which includes both Dan and Ramsay MacDonald.

Dan Griffiths (third left) with Ramsay MacDonald and others

Most of the letters are very positive and give full and detailed responses to Dan’s question,  but a letter from May Starr of Plebs states:

“I am writing at Com. Horrabin’s request .. with reference to his definition of socialism he asks me to say that he really does not wish to add anything further to his definition.  In fact he feels that there is nothing to add to that particular statement – it must stand and fall as it is, and being an exceedingly hard pressed and busy chap begs to state that he can’t face the ordeal of starting all over again.  If the space really mus be filled up why not add “Buy the Plebs, 6d monthly” or similar phrases.” 

Other highlights of the collection include letters from Ramsay MacDonald, Ellen Wilkinson, Alfred and Ethel Holdsworth, Leonard Woolf, AJ Cook, GDH Cole and Tom Mann.

Letter from Ellen Wilkinson

Letter from Ellen Wilkinson

We are extremely grateful to Rosemary for giving us these letters which provide a fascinating insight into the politics of the 1920s.

Jane Taylor
Librarian

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