Tony Cliff papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Drafts of publications, c. 1946-2000; publications, 1952-2000; notes for speeches, 1990s; bibliography of works, 2002.

Administrative / Biographical History

Tony Cliff was born in Palestine in 1917 with the name Ygael Gluckstein. He became a Trotskyist in the 1930s and emigrated to Britain shortly after the Second World War, where he joined the main Trotskyist group, the Revolutionary Communist Party. After writing State Capitalism in Russia, which advanced the theory that the Soviet Union was a state capitalist entity, Cliff was expelled from the Revolutionary Communist Party and formed the Socialist Review Group. This group initially comprised Cliff and a small group of his adherents. It operated within the Labour Party and became known as the International Socialists. In the mid 1960s the International Socialists changed tactics and began to operate independently. The International Socialists became the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 1977. The SWP launched the Anti-Nazi League in 1977 and partly as a result its membership grew rapidly at that time. Tony Cliff was the author of a number of books, which explained his theories. These books included biographies of Lenin and Trotsky, and State Capitalism in Russia, republished by the Pluto Press in 1974. Tony Cliff died in April 2000, at which time the SWP had over 10,000 members.

Reference: Tony Cliff, A World to Win - life as a revolutionary, (2000, London).


The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

This initial deposit of archives in this collection was made by Tony Cliff's family in July 2002.

Other Finding Aids

A box list has been compiled for this deposit.

An authority record exists for Tony Cliff (GB 152 AAR2260).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are expected.

Related Material

The Centre also holds the Tarbuck papers (MSS.75), which include archives of the Socialist Review Group and Revolutionary Communist Party. The records of the International Socialism Group (MSS.84), and of its members Richard Hyman (MSS.84), Steve Jefferys (MSS.244), Richard Kuper (MSS.250), Alistair Mutch (MSS.284) and Stirling Smith (MSS.205) have been deposited at the Centre. In addition the Colin Barker papers (MSS.152) have also been deposited at the Centre.

Personal Names