International Marxist Group

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

International Marxist Group, Discussion Bulletins, 1973-5; Internal Information Bulletins, 1973-1975; Pre-conference Discussion Bulletins; miscellaneous items on international work, 1968-1974; reports and leaflets on students' work, 1973-5; reports and leaflets on women's work, 1973-5.

International Marxist Group/Socialist Action National Committee, Political Committee and other committees minutes, 1975-1981 and 1983; Discussion Bulletins, 1976-1979; Internal Information Bulletins, 1978-1980; Pre-conference Discussion Bulletins, 1968 ; Internal International Information Bulletins, 1969-73, 1977, 1979-80; Internal International Discussion Bulletins, 1973-1980; Weekly Notes to Organisers (later National Briefings), 1974-1981; London Notes, 1979-1980; Internally circulated papers of International Socialism, 1968-1977; Fourth International United Secretariart, 1979; Peoples Democracy, Irish Section of the Fourth International, 1978-1981.

International Marxist Group/Socialist Action National Committee Political and Central Committee Minutes, 1981-4; Minutes of delegate conferences, 1978-85; Accounts, membership returns and printed material.

International Marxist Group Minutes/Socialist Action, 1975-84; discussion bulletins, 1965-1985; Internal information bulletins, 1970-1980; Other internal bulletins, 1968-1981; reports and leaflets especially concerning women's work.

Administrative / Biographical History

The International Marxist Group, the official Trotskyist section of the Fourth International, Unified Sectretariat, emerged in the mid 1960s from work around the journal The Week. Its broad aims are 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 has since gone through a succession of phases. In 1977 its newspaper the Socialist Challenge first appeared. Its membership peaked in the 1970s at around 1000 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.).


The papers remain in the order in which they were received.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

This collection 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

A copy of this collection-level is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom. A box list describing the initial deposit is available in paper format at the Centre's searchroom, at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's. For details of the later deposits see the Summary Guide to the Modern Record Centre .

Authority records exist for the International Marxist Group (GB 0152AAR1628), E. A. Whelan, (GB 152AAR1982), Bob Purdie,(GB 152AAR0973 ), Chris Bambery (GB 152AAR1604).

Conditions Governing Use

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

Appraisal Information

There has been no appraisal, destruction or scheduling.


Further deposits are expected.

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 published by the International Marxist Group and known from 1973 as the Red Weekly is held at the University of Warwick Library.[ref.: Maitland Sara Hallinan].

Other papers from the International Marxist Group,1976-85 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.