The Church Socialist League
The Church Socialist League was founded in 1906 following an address by the Labour MP Keir Hardie at Mirfield, with the initial aim of furthering the socialism of the Independent Labour Party and Social Democratic Federation within the Church. It absorbed many of the more radical members of the Guild of St. Matthew and the Christian Social Union. A gradual split eventually developed between those who wanted explicit affiliation with the parliamentary labour parties and those who saw their role as primarily theological. Members included Conrad Noel, W.E. Moll, Percy Widdrington, Paul Bull, Walter Frere, Lewis Donaldson, Percy Dearmer, James Adderley, Maurice Reckitt, Ruth Kenyon, Charles Record and Harold Buxton.
THE CHURCH SOCIALIST LEAGUE
- The Church has a mission to the whole of human life -- Social and Individual, Material and Spiritual.
- The Church can best fulfil its social mission by acting in its corporate capacity.
- To this end the members of the League accept the principle of Socialism.
- Socialism is the fixed principle, according to which the community should own the land
and capital collectively, and use them co-operatively for the good of all.
Object: To secure the corporate action of the Church on these principles.
- To cultivate by the regular use of Prayer and Sacraments the life of brotherhood.
- Members undertake to help each other in fulfilling the object of the League by speaking and lecturing, and in other ways.
- Members shall co-operate as far as possible to secure the consideration
of social questions at their various Ruridecanal and Diocesan Conferences,
and the election of Socialists on these and other representative bodies.
- To secure the due representation of the wage-earning clases upon all the official
representative bodies of the Church.
- MEMBERSHIP -- Open to all members of the Church of England.
- The members are pledged to make themselves familiar with at least one
branch of social reform.
- The members shall form themselves into groups with a Secretary for each Diocese.
- There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of two representatives from each Diocese.
- The League must have funds; therefore members of branches should send to their branch
Secretaries a really liberal Subscription according to their ability (of which at least I/- is forwarded to Central), and unattached members should support the Central to the very utmost of their power. If you are unable to send all you wish at once, in the case of branches, the money can be collected in
small sums, and of unattached members can be sent in half-yearly or quarterly instalments to the Central; but you should state in all cases what you intend your Annual Subscription to be. Some members are putting a voluntary tax on their income of £I in every £I00
Men and women wishing to join the League shall communicate with the
Rev. J. H. Hastings, Halton, Lancaster, Hon. General Secretary; or with the
Rev. Conrad Noel, Coggeshall, Essex, Organizer.