Guy A. Aldred Archive

Communism : Story of the Communist Party
Chapter 17
William Morris and Anti-Parliamentarism

Written: 1935.
Transcription/Markup: Andy Carloff
Online Source:; 2021

Anti-Parliamentarism, as distinct from Anarchism, was pioneered in Britain by William Morris. He was seconded by Belfort Bax. Both contributed excellent work to the proletarian struggle, but neither had the courage to last the distance as revolutionary pioneers. They compromised with the parliamentarians and returned to the ranks of the Social Democracy for the sake of fellowship, and hecause they could not bear being in exile. Trotsky would have termed them the “ Capitulators.”

The story of William Morris, and his Anti- Parliamentarian activity, is told in detail in my Pioneers of: Anti-Parliamentarism. It need not be repeated here. Finally Morris broke from the Anti-parliamentarian Socialist League and formed the Hammersmith Socialist Society, which, according to its prospectus, “ will disclaim both parliamentarism and Anarchism.”

It was in Hammersmith that the ploneer work of the Anti-parliamentarian Communist Propaganda Groups were developed from 1907 onwards.

These groups were organized first by me in Clerkenwell, after I had announced my conversion to Anti-P’arliamentarism in the columns of Justice, the Social Democratic journal for May, 1906. That letter is reproduce in full in Dogmas Discarded, Pt. II, Chapter XI.

In various debates in Social Democratic Halls in London ; in open-air meetings in various parts of London ; in the columns of my monthly journal, The Herald of the Revolt, described as “An Organ of the Coming Social Revolution,” from December, 1910, to May, 1914; in my campaign in Glasgow in 1912, and the following year, under the auspices of the Glasgow Clarion Scouts, I developed the Anti-Parliamentary Communist program and agitation. Much of this work expressed the lengthened shadow of William Morris.