The group's roots lay in the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation. Guy Aldred, a leading figure in the group, came to believe that Parliamentarianism was essentially dead, and so there was no longer a need for an anti-Parliamentary political formation. In February 1933, he left, with supporters including Ethel MacDonald. In 1934, they linked up with some members of the Independent Labour Party to form the United Socialist Movement. Macdonald represented the movement in Spain during the Spanish Civil War where the communist group POUM were fighting Francisco Franco's fascists with the help of British volunteers.
Aldred used the support of the group to stand for Parliament on an abstentionist platform, and also to stand for Glasgow City Council. The USM opposed World War II, while trying to build a broad-based opposition. Aldred stood for Glasgow Central in the 1945, 1950 and 1951 general elections, gaining between 1.4 and 1.8% of the vote.
The group was wound up in 1965, a couple of years after Aldred's death.
- Gray, p. 78
- The British Communist Left 1914-45, Mark Hayes (International Communist Current), 2005 ISBN 1897980116.
- Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations, Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley (A&C Black), 2000 ISBN 0826458149.
- Anti-Parliamentary Communism: The Movement for Workers’ Councils in Britain, 1917–45, Mark Shipway (Springer), 2016 ISBN 1349192228.
- Homage to Caledonia: Scotland and the Spanish Civil War, Daniel Gray (Luath Press), 2013 ISBN 1909912123.