Turner Controversy

The Turner Controversy is a name given to a dispute within the Socialist Party of Great Britain regarding the nature of socialism instigated by Tony Turner. The struggle for leadership of the Movement for Social Integration .

When Turner started volunteering for the second world war , Turner started giving readings for the party on what socialism would be like. The content of these readings led him to a position that caused enormous controversy in the Party by the early to mid-1950s and which was elaborated by Turner and his supporters in the Party’s internal discussion of the forum . [1]

Three interlocking proposals underpinned the ‚Turnerite‘ viewpoint:

  1. que la society of mass consumerism and automated plow qui capitalism HAD Become Had To Be swept away in icts Entirety if alienation Was to be Abolished and created a truly human community. This Meant to return to pre-industrial methods of production, the lines inspired by Tolstoy and William Morris ’s News From Nowhere .
  2. that the creation of the new socialist society was not only in the interests of the class, but also in the interests of the whole world, irrespective of class,
  3. the way of creating the new peaceful and cooperative society had to be entirely peaceful, indeed pacifist (and in the view of some, possibly even gradual).

This view was in direct contradiction to the Party’s Declaration of Principles, which identified socialism as being the product of the class struggle and which states the socialist movement should organize for the capture of political power, should it need to be used against a recalcitrant anti-socialist minority.

A series of acrimonious disputes between the ‚Turnerites‘ and the majority of the Party [2] culminated in a party referendum and then a resolution being held at the 1955 Party Conference asked to resign. Turner, having survived a previous attempt to expel him, promptly did so, along with a number of other members including Joan Lestor (later to become a Labor Minister) and the psychologist John Rowan. Some of these former members have formed a short-lived Movement for Social Integration, though, ironically enough, the impact of the dispute has been completely disruptive and negative. Indeed, it did not recover its vitality for some years, until the wave of radicalization that grew up in the late 1960s.

See also

  • Socialist Party of Great Britain breakaway groups # The Movement for Social Integration
  • Luddism


  1. Jump up^ Socialist Party of Great Britain (November 1954). „Socialism – Gold Clause 6 ?, Forum 26“. London: Socialist Party of Great Britain.
  2. Jump up^ Socialist Party of Great Britain (January 1955). „Socialism and Clause Six, Forum 28“. London: Socialist Party of Great Britain.