This article explores the support that existed for the Spanish Republic within the British Co-operative movement and asks what light this can shed on existing debates about the character of civil society and democratic engagement in the age of mass democracy. While much has been written about popular support for the Spanish Republic between 1936 and 1939, the Co-operative movement has remained somewhat in the shadows, and the movement’s response to the Spanish Civil War is yet to take centre stage. Similarly, while the British Co-operative movement played an important role within inter-war civil society, engaging many newly enfranchised working-class citizens with the democratic concerns of the day, studies of Britain’s inter-war civic culture have tended to focus on the middle classes, and the Co-operative movement has been overlooked. With a particular focus on the movement’s journals, and on the published ‘letters to the editor’, which reveal how ordinary co-operators engaged with ‘Spain’, the article examines how co-operators framed the Spanish Civil War in reference to the wider threat of fascism to their democratic and internationalist movement. It looks at how co-operators debated the issue of non-intervention; the dilemma the war posed for many pacifists within the movement; and the objections of many Catholic co-operators to the movement’s support for the Spanish Republic. Finally, it explores what co-operators did in practice at the local level in terms of raising awareness and aid. Ultimately, the article sheds light on the ways in which newly enfranchised working-class and female citizens participated in a rich democratic culture in 1930s Britain, in what was an unprecedented display of international solidarity.
Since 1960, the journal Labour History Review has explored the working lives and politics of ‘ordinary’ people. It has played a key role in redefining social and political history.
Labour History Review, published three times a year, is a keystone of the work by SSLH. Membership to the society is secured by means of a subscription to LHR. Find out about how to subscribe and other membership benefits here»
Labour History Review's Scope
The journal’s emphasis is on British labour history, though comparative and international studies are not neglected. We welcome contributions that dig deeper within the traditional subject matter of labour history and are keen to expand the parameters of the subject and the range of approaches taken to it. We are particularly interested in articles that engage with issues of gender, ethnicity or race, as well as class. Find out more about submissions here»
Annual LHR postgraduate essay prize
Postgraduates are encouraged to submit articles for consideration for the 2018 essay prize to the editors of LHR. This annual prize awards £500 for the best essay which will be published in the LHR. The deadline for the 2018 prize is the 31 March 2018. Application form and details can be downloaded here.
Labour History Review Volume 82, Number 2 July 2017 contains:
Matthew Kidd, ‘Class without Conflict: Popular Political Continuity in Late Victorian Bristol, 1867-1900’, pp. 91-118.
Alex Burston-Chorowicz, ‘Labour’s Finest Hour: Labour Electoral Victories after the Second World War in Britain and Australia, 1945 and 1946’, pp. 119-147.
Tony Insall, ‘Evidence from Norwegian Archives of British Attempts to Remove Franco in 1946’, pp. 149-171.
Book Reviews, pp. 173-188.
Liverpool University Press
Labour History Review (ISSN 0961-5652) is published by Liverpool University Press three times a year in April, August and December.
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