Labour History Review

Mazzini's Transnational Legacy amongst British Co-operators (c.1885-1949)

Labour History Review (2012), 77, (3), 267–288.


This article argues that Mazzini's long influence on twentieth-century British co-operators has until now escaped systematic scrutiny. While the support of British radicals for the Italian Risorgimento revolutionary is well known, labour historians have reserved scant attention to the long legacy of Mazzini's doctrine amongst British co-operators, who, even after the Second World War, still quoted the Italian exile's ideas on association as the basis for the harmonious working of society. Identifying ‘second generation’ British Mazzinians amongst co-operators, this article also argues that their allegiance to the Italian exile's doctrine crossed class divisions. Finally, it contends that by taking a transnational approach it is possible to trace an enduring liberal trait within working-class co-operators, suggesting that the ideology of twentieth-century, ‘class-conscious’ British workers may have been more textured than it has been hitherto affirmed.

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Author details

Sutcliffe, Marcella