International Marxist Group (IMG), later the Socialist League

Scope and Content

National leadership records, 1967-1987; conference records, 1972-1988; records concerning women's activities and issues, 1970-1988; records concerning youth and student activity, 1969-1987; records concerning Ireland, 1970s-1981; records concerning international activities and countries outside the British Isles, (1948)-1981; records concerning the IMG in Scotland, 1970-1975; records of and concerning English branches, 1971-1974; branch statistical returns, 1976-1982; Fourth International records, 1976-1983; internal information bulletins and internal bulletins, 1972-1980; pre-conference internal discussion bulletins, 1968-1984; weekly notes to organisers and national briefings,1974-1984; international bulletins, 1969-1980; various subject files, bulletins, discussion papers and publications, (1963)-1999.

Administrative / Biographical History

The International Marxist Group, the official Trotskyist section of the Fourth International, Unified Secretariat, emerged in the mid 1960s from work around the journal 'The Week'. Its broad aims were the overthrow of capitalist power by revolution and the overthrow of Stalinist state capitalism followed by the setting up of a government based on direct democratic control by the people. It started off as an entryist group working within the Labour Party. In 1968 it broke away to pursue an independent path and later went through a succession of phases. In 1977 its newspaper, 'Socialist Challenge', first appeared. Its membership peaked in the 1970s at around 1000 but by 1983 its membership had fallen to around 700.

This inability to maintain a strong stable membership caused the International Marxist Group to reconsider its relationship to the Labour Party. In the early 1980s it reverted back to entryism although it chose not to refer to its members or branches within the Labour Party, instead referring to 'Socialist Challenge' supporters. In December 1982 the Group changed its name to the Socialist League and its associated newspaper from 'Socialist Challenge' to 'Socialist Action'. By 1990 the circulation of 'Socialist Action' was around 500. The organisation also appeared to operate under the name Socialist Action during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Reference: David Widgery 'The Left in Britain 1956-68' (Harmondsworth, 1976.). Peter Shipley 'The Militant Tendency: Trotskyism in the Labour Party' (Foreign Affairs Publishing Co., Surrey, 1983.).

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

The first accession was deposited in the Centre by the International Marxist Group in 1976. Since then the Group and its successor Socialist Action have made six further deposits, the last in 1989.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

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

Related Material

The International Marxist Group agreed to deposit its papers in 1975 to compliment the papers of E. A. Whelan (MSS.95), which had been previously deposited in the Centre. Since then the papers of Bob Purdie (MSS.149) and Chris Bambery (MSS.419) have also been deposited. 'Red Mole', which was published by the International Marxist Group and known from 1973 as the 'Red Weekly', is held at the University of Warwick Library in the Maitland Sara Hallinan collection.

Other papers from the International Marxist Group,1976-1985, are held at London University: British Library of Political and Economic Science. The Labour Party Archive, which is held at the Labour History Archive and Study Centre in Manchester, has a file on Trotskyist infiltrators of the Labour Party and other material on the Ultra-Left.