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Peter Crichtley:

"The working class of the nineteenth century possessed a strong associational history (Morton and Tate 1979:107/10; Cole and Postgate 1961:378/84;Hobsbawm 1962:109/10 114/5). Indeed, it is through this associationalism that the workers came to announce their entrance on the political stage. This indicates the progression from utopianism and its authoritarianism to a workers socialism. The Saint Simonists developed the idea of the association of the workers in The Doctrine of Saint Simon, turning Saint Simon's defence of the technocratic state into the Association of the Workers. The Saint Simonists no longer referred generally to ‘les industriels’ but made a clear class commitment to the workers. Behind this transformation of Saint Simon's argument from utopianism to socialism lies the growing maturity of the working class. Socialism no longer need come from above, a point which Marx made in the Manifesto. A new word had been introduced into radical politics: association. And this word, expressing working class self-activity, found its way into Marx himself as he sought to make sense of the vision of the perfect society he had derived from political philosophy. What the term association expressed was the notion of a society transformed and eventually controlled from its roots upwards bythe associational activity of the working class. The working class were active in this development. The change in meanings and in vocabulary was not the product of the radicalisation of the intellectuals. The activities of the intellectuals expressed the radicalism of the workers in their practical activity. The nineteenth century was a century of creativity and innovation in working class organisational activity. Volatility too, perhaps, as the workers attempted to give permanent form to their new and growing material strength."