Michael Newman
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Ralph Miliband and the Labour Party
From Parliamentary Socialism to ‘Bennism’

In order to help our understanding of Parliamentary Socialism, and situate it firmly in its intended context, this chapter explains the evolution of Ralph Miliband's thinking about the Labour Party. The chapter analyses his wider assumptions about the political change and the role of parties. It then suggests that these were based on an attempt to understand both objective socio-political circumstances and subjective intentions and convictions. The chapter explains both the continuities and the changes in Miliband's view of the Labour Party between the 1950s and the 1990s. If Miliband's role in relation to 'Bennism' is considered in comparison to his earlier attitudes, some striking points emerge about the interaction between the analytical and subjective aspects in his interpretive framework. Miliband tried to suggest that the downfall of communism was advantageous for the Left, given the extent to which the Soviet regimes had long embarrassed Western socialists such as himself.

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Interpreting the Labour Party

Approaches to Labour politics and history


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