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Born Jan. 30, 1858; died Sept. 17, 1913. British labor leader. Typesetter by profession.
Quelch was one of the organizers and leaders of the Social Democratic Federation, founded in 1884, and the British Socialist Party (BSP), which arose from the federation in 1911. From 1886 (with short intervals) he was editor of the newspaper Justice, the central organ of these organizations. He carried out extensive work in the trade union movement, disseminating Marxism among the working masses. He was a delegate to many congresses of the Second International and a member of the International Socialist Bureau. In 1902–03 he helped Lenin organize the printing of the newspaper Iskra in London. Quelch strove for the formation of an independent working-class faction in Parliament that supported the principle of class struggle and adoption by the Labour Party of a socialist program. At the same time he was not free of sectarianism, particularly regarding the Labour Party and the mass strike movement. In Lenin’s words, he was “in the front ranks of those who fought steadfastly and with conviction against opportunism and a liberal-labor policy in the British working-class movement” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23, p. 440). Nevertheless, on several occasions Quelch committed errors; in particular, on the eve of World War I he was conciliatory toward the chauvinistic position of the official leader of the BSP, H. M. Hyndman.