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Australian Socialist League (1887 - c. 1907)

4 May 1887
c. 1907
Political Party
Alternative Names
  • ASL (Accronym)


The Australian Socialist League was formed in Sydney in 1887. It is membership held a wide variety of viewpoints: state socialism, anarchism, and 'modern socialism', which lead to the collapse of the party in 1889. It reformed in 1890 and by 1893 had 15 branches and more than 9000 members in NSW, along with branches outside NSW. Its politics were predominantly reformist state socialist. It was active in the early Labor Party but fell out with the party over the party's move to the right. From 1905 it adopted De Leonite IWW politics.

See Verity Burgmann, In our time, 1985.





  • Summerfield, Rose, Master and Man, Hummer, Wagga, 1892, 11 pp. Image PDF Details


Newspaper Articles

  • 'Socialism in Sydney', The Radical (Hamilton, Newcastle, N.S.W.), 21 September 1887, p. 210. Image PDF Details
  • 'Socialism in Sydney', The Radical (Hamilton, Newcastle, N.S.W.), 22 October 1887. Image PDF Details
  • 'Australian Socialist League', The Radical (Hamilton, Newcastle, N.S.W.), 15 October 1887, p. 233. Image PDF Details
  • 'Socialism in Sydney', The Radical (Hamilton, Newcastle, N.S.W.), 1 October 1887. Image PDF Details
  • '[The Socialist Labor Party]', The people, 18 May 1907. Image PDF Details
  • Andrews, J. A., 'Australian Socialist League, Melbourne', Australian Radical (Newcastle, N.S.W.), 26 January 1889. Image PDF Details


  • The Australian Socialist League. Statement of principles, c1887. Image PDF Details
  • Black, George, Are machines to be masters? Another view of the wage question., General Propaganda Committee, Australian Socialist League, Sydney, 1893, 12 pp. Image PDF Details
  • Spence, W.G., The Ethics of New Unionism, Poor quality scan., Australian Socialist League [This scan courtesy of Mike Williss], Sydney, 1892, 10 pp. PDF Details


  • Report of the Australian Socialist League to the International Socialist Congress at Amsterdam, August 14, 1904, 14 August 1904. Image PDF Details

See also

  • Andrews, J. A., 'Nihilism', Australian Radical (Newcastle, N.S.W.), 10 November 1888. Image PDF Details
  • Andrews, J.A., 'What is communism?', Australian Radical (Newcastle, N.S.W.), 17 August 1889. Image PDF Details
  • Andrews, J.A., 'Communist-anarchism V. individualist proprietism', Australian Radical (Newcastle, N.S.W.), 2 February 1889. Image PDF Details
  • Spence, William Guthrie, The ethics of new unionism, Martin and Grose, Creswick, 1892, 10 pp. Image PDF Details