Socialist Republic

Remaking the British left in 1980s Sheffield

Daisy Payling
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Socialist Republic is a detailed account of left-wing politics in 1980s Britain. The 1980s is considered a time of crisis for left-wing politics but this book demonstrates the persistence of social democracy in localities like Sheffield. Drawing on archival research and oral history interviews it examines how Sheffield City Council developed a left-wing agenda to counter Thatcherism and renew the British left. Stepping back from the Council, it then explores how the city’s wider activism of the labour movement, women’s groups, peace, environmentalism, anti-apartheid, anti-racism, Black community organising, and lesbian and gay politics interacted with the ‘Socialist Republic’, and how these movements were embraced, supported, restricted, or ignored by the local authority. By bringing a wide range of movements together and examining them in the context of a vibrant local government, this book uses the local to offer a methodological challenge to the study of new social movements while providing a road map for how left-wing politics can be studied in other cities. Offering a timely focus on regional politics, it demonstrates how histories of local political cultures can enrich our understanding of political developments on a national and international level.

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