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Wales and Socialism

Wales and Socialism

Martin Wright


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This study examines the spread of socialism in late-Victorian and Edwardian Wales, paying particular attention to the relationship between socialism and Welsh national identity. Welsh opponents of socialism often claimed it to be a foreign import, whereas socialists often asserted that the Welsh were socialist by nature. This study – the first full-scale study of the influence of early socialism across all of Wales – demonstrates that the reality was more complex than either assertion would admit.

Rather than focusing on the structural growth of socialism, the topic is discussed in terms of the spread of ideas and the development of a political culture. The study culminates in a discussion of attempts, in the period before the Great War, to create a specifically Welsh socialist tradition. In approaching the topic from this angle, this study restores a part of the lost diversity of British socialism that is of striking contemporary relevance.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Front Cover Front Cover
Title Page iii
Copyrigt Page iv
Series Editors’ Foreword v
Contents vii
Acknowledgements ix
Introduction 1
1. Pioneers, 1790s–1880s 5
2. Putting down roots, 1889–1899 34
(i) Cardiff and Fabianism 35
(ii) The Social Democratic Federation in south Wales 58
3. South Wales and the ILP ascendancy, 1891–1906 82
(i) The ILP and socialism in south Wales before 1898 83
(ii) The 1898 coal strike 105
(iii) The culture of socialism in south Wales 122
4. Beyond the heads of the valleys, c. 1880s–1906 143
(i) British socialism and Welsh Wales 144
(ii) Socialists, quarrymen and Lord Penrhyn 161
(iii) Towards an indigenous Welsh socialism? 174
(iv) Robert Jones Derfel, ‘Socialist Cymreig’ 189
5. Progress and pluralism, 1906–1912 202
(i) The socialist movement in Wales after 1906 203
(ii) The struggle for a Welsh socialist consciousness 222
Conclusion 239
Select Bibliography 242
Index 265
Back Cover Back Cover