Socialist Vanguard Group (SVG)

Scope and Content

This collection includes membership applications, minutes, reports, correspondence and publications.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Socialist Vanguard Group was established in the United Kingdom in 1929 as the British Section of the Internationaler Sozialistischer Kampf-Bund, also known under the Esperanto title of Internacio de Socialista Kunbatalo (ISK), (International League of Militant Socialists or Militant Socialist International) in Germany. The ISK had evolved in 1926 from the Internationaler Jugendbund, a small educational group of members of the main German Left parties led by the philosopher Leonard Nelson (1882 - 1927). The English group was never large, but had an influence disproportionate to its size, one of its members, Allan Flanders, subsequently becoming a national figure as an industrial relations adviser.

Following the dissolution of the ISK as a political movement in 1946, the SVG continued as an independent body. But the belief grew among its membership that a change of approach was required, and it was formally dissolved in October 1950. It was succeeded in 1951 by Socialist Union, which was intended to be a more orthodox and broadly-based 'ginger group' within the Labour Party.

Reference: Accession file for MSS.173; Mary Saran, 'Never give up', London, 1976 (copy in Modern Records Centre searchroom); Geoff Spencer, 'Beloved alien', [A rememberance of Walter Fliess], printed privately, 1985 (MSS.173/20/8); R M Douglas, 'No Friend of Democracy: The Socialist Vanguard Group, 1941–50', Contemporary British History, 16: 4, 51 — 86 (2002).


The reference codes of these records have been determined by their physical order rather than their catalogue order.

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Acquisition Information

These records were deposited by Dr Rene Saran, Mary Saran's daughter, in November 1977.

Other Finding Aids

Custodial History

These records were in the custody of Mary Saran (1897-1976), who between 1941 and 1955 was editor, then joint editor with Dr Rita Hinden, of 'Socialist Vanguard/'Socialist Commentary', which up until October 1947 was the organ of the Socialist Vanguard Group.

Related Material

The Modern Records Centre also holds records of: Socialist Union, the successor of the SVG; 'Socialist Vanguard/Socialist Commentary', the official organ of the SVG until October 1947; the Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy; Walter Fliess, member of the ISK and the Socialist Union.