The Slow Burning Fuse|
The lost history of the British Anarchists
Table of Contents
The Slow Burning Fuse was first published in 1978 (London, Paladin Books).
The work for this book has involved research into archives and reference libraries. Since I was not supported by grants or by any academic institution this could have been a rather desperate undertaking. I had, however, the sense to work part-time as a stage hand at the Fortune and Drury Lane theatres during the writing of the book, which kept my feet very much on the ground. I would like to thank the following for the discussions and the pleasant experience of working with them: Arthur, Reg, Fred, Allen, Bob and John from the Fortune; and Alan, Kenny, Paul, Jim, Billy, Del, Brian, Tim, Tom, Jim, John, Colin, Richard and Sabha at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. For more particular information and assistance I must thank the following people. Perhaps as an 'unofficial' historian I have had to rely more than others on an informal network of interested, knowledgeable and helpful people. Without them this book would be rather worse than it is now. First mention must go to my comrade Ken Weller. In no way, however, does this diminish the great help I have received from Nick Massey, Francis Devine, Dave Poulson, Jeffe Jeffers, Raphael Samuel, Stan Shipley, Albert Meltzer, Sheila Rowbotham, Rachel Howe, Sam Dreen, Bill Fishman, Anna Davin, Rudolf de Jong and Thea Duijker and Mieke of the Institute of Social History at Amsterdam, the Keeper and staff of the Brotherton Collection at Leeds University, Grayson Holden, Tom Woodhouse, Jerry Ravetz, Mary Canipa and Freedom Press, Tony Bunyan, Mark Kramrisch and Nicholas Walter. This book is dedicated to the memory of two Leeds Anarchists, Billy MacQueen (d. 1908) and my friend George Cummings (d. December 1975).
To paraphrase Kropotkin, the history of Anarchism does not reside in books - at least as far as England is concerned. Nevertheless two books must be singled out for special mention even though the first is hostile to Anarchism and the second never seems to have heard of it. These are E. P. Thompson's William Morris, and Walter Kendall's The Revolutionary Movement in Britain. E. P. Thompson's book exhaustively covers the Socialist League period and Morris' relationship with the Anarchists and gives a more detailed picture of the early socialist movement than I had space to do. Outside these areas, particularly when he is dealing with Anarchists, he should be treated with caution. Walter Kendall's book is only about a part of the revolutionary movement in Britain but gives a fact-packed summary of some of the developments on the left before and during the Syndicalist Revolt and is particularly interesting in his detailed accounts of the formation of the Communist Party of Great Britain. He ignores the Anarchist contribution completely. But both books deserve respect because they have gone to the primary sources and in their central concerns have demythologized important parts of the history of the left. The books mentioned below are only some of the books I have looked at during the writing of the present work. A few other titles will be found in the footnotes. The books here listed, however, are those where more than a paragraph or even only a sentence is of interest to would be historians of Anarchism. The bulk of the information for this book has come from a close examination of periodicals and the private papers of Anarchists, but the following works do repay examination.
ALDRED, G. A., Dogmas Discarded, Glasgow, 1940.
-, No Traitor's Gait !, Glasgow. Issued in approximately monthly parts from 1956.
-, Rex v. Aldred, Glasgow, 1948.
ALLEN, E. J. B., Revolutionary Unionism, Huddersfield, 1909.
CALDER-MARSHALL, A., Lewd, Blasphemous and Obscene, London, 1972.
CARLSON, A., German Anarchism, Metuchen, New Jersey, 1972.
CARPENTER, E., My Days and Dreams, London, 1916.
CLYNES, J. R., Memoirs, London, 1937.
COATES, K. and TOPHAM, T., Workers' Control, London, 1970.
CRAIK, W. W., Central Labour College, London, 1964.
Documents of the First International, 4 vols., London/Moscow, 1964.
FISHMAN, W. J., East End Jewish Radicals, London, 1975.
FOX, A., A History of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives, Oxford, 1958.
FOX, R. M., Smoky Crusade, London, 1937
FREEMANTLE, A., This Little Band of Prophets, New York, 1960.
GALLAGHER, W., Revolt on the Clyde, London, 1949.
GLASIER, J. B., William Morris and the Early Days of the Socialist Movement, London, 1921.
GOLDMAN, E., Living My Life, London, 1932.
HART, W. C., Confessions of an Anarchist, London, 1906.
HENDERSON, P. ( ed. ), Letters of William Morris, London, 1950.
HULSE, J. W., Revolutionists in London, Oxford, 1970.
KENDALL, W., The Revolutionary Movement in Britain, London, 1969.
KROPOTKIN, P., Memoirs of a Revolutionist, London, 1908.
LATOUCHE, P., Anarchy !, London, 1908.
LEE, H. W. and ARCHBOLD, E., Social Democracy in Britain, London, 1935.
LONGONI, J. C., Four Patients of Dr. Deibler, London, 1970.
MANN, T., Tom Mann's Memoirs, London, 1923.
MARX, K. and ENGEIs, F., Selected Correspondence, London, I934.
NETTLAU, M., Anarchisten and Sozial-Revolutionäre, Berlin, 1931.
NEVINSON, H. W., Fire of Life, London, 1935.
NICOLL, D. J., The Ghosts of Chelmsford Gaol, Sheffield, 1897.
-, The Greenwich Mystery, Sheffield, 1897.
-, Letters From the Dead, London, 1898.
-, The Walsall Anarchists, London, 1894.
NOMAD, M., Dreamers, Dynamiters and Demagogues, New York, 1964.
PATON, J., Proletarian Pilgrimage, London, 1936.
ROCKER, R., The London Years, London, 1956.
SHADWELL, A., The Revolutionary Movement in Britain, London, 1921.
SHIPLEY, S., Club Life and Socialism in Mid-Victorian London, London, 1971.
SWEENY, J., At Scotland Yard, London, 1905.
TAYLOR, J., Self-Help to Glamour : The Working Men's Clubs 1860-1972, London, 1972.
THOMPSON, B., Queer People, London, 1922.
THOMPSON, E. P., William Morris, London, 1955.
John E. Williams and the Early History of the S.D.F., Anonymous, London, 1886.
WOODCOCK, G. and AVACUMOVIC, I., The Anarchist Prince, London, 1950.
See also the Bibliography in Kendall and Nettlau's Bibliographie De l'Anarchie, Brussels, 1897, if a wider range of titles of a more general or more theoretical bent is required.
The periodicals whose files I have consulted are : Alarm, Anarchist, Anarchist ( Sheffield ), Black Flag, Commonweal, Daily Herald, Freedom, Freiheit, Herald of Revolt, Industrialist, Industrial Syndicalist, Islington Gazette, Justice, Labour Annual, Liberty ( Boston ), Liberty ( London ), Reynold's News, Sheffield Anarchist, Shop Assistant, Solidarity, Spur, The Times, Torch, Voice of Labour, War Commentary, Weekly Times and Echo, Workers' Dreadnought.