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A distinctive politics?
Author: Richard Taylor

English radicalism has been a deep-rooted but minority tradition in the political culture since at least the seventeenth century. The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, a range of key events and individuals that exemplify English radicalism in the twentieth century. This analysis is preceded by defining precisely what has constituted this tradition; and by the main outline of the development of the tradition from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. Three of the main currents of English radicalism in the twentieth century have been the labour movement, the women’s movement and the peace movement. These are discussed in some detail, as a framework for the detailed consideration of ten key representative figures of the tradition in the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, George Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Michael Foot, Joan Maynard, Stuart Hall, Tony Benn and Nicolas Walter. The question of ‘agency’ – of how to bring about radical change in a predominantly conservative society and culture – has been a fundamental issue for English radicals. It is argued that, in the twentieth century, many of the important achievements in progressive politics have taken place in and through extra-parliamentary movements, as well as through formal political parties and organisations – the Labour Party and other socialist organisations – and on occasion, through libertarian and anarchist politics. The final chapter considers the continuing relevance of this political tradition in the early twenty-first century, and reviews its challenges and prospects.

The cause of Ireland, the cause of Labour
Editor: Laurence Marley

This collection of essays explores a largely neglected aspect of the history of Anglo-Irish relations: British Labour Party policy on Ireland during the twentieth century. Much of the literature on the relationship between ‘these islands’ concentrates on the present or the recent past, but by viewing an important dimension of that relationship through a wider lens, this work makes a significant contribution to the field British-Irish studies, one that will inform future research and debate. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Labour Party was broadly supportive of Irish self-government, as reflected in its espousal of a home rule settlement. However, from the end of the First World War, Labour anticipated a place in government. As a modern, maturing party that was intent on proving its ability to govern, it developed a more calculated and measured set of responses to Irish nationalism and to the ‘Irish question’. With contributions from a range of distinguished Irish and British scholars, this collection provides the first full treatment of the historical relationship between the Labour Party and Ireland in the last century, from Keir Hardie to Tony Blair. By examining the party’s responses to crises and debates around home rule, partition, Irish neutrality during WWII, Ireland’s departure from the Commonwealth, and the Northern ‘Troubles’, it offers an original perspective on longer-term dispositions in Labour mentalities towards Ireland.

Casper Sylvest

CH APTER 6 Into the twentieth century Collective security is the only security. (George Peabody Gooch, 19351) The twentieth century was profoundly shaped by the experience of world wars, and it was in coming to terms with arms races, economic crises, aggressive nationalism and totalitarianism that liberal intellectuals, particularly in the Anglo-American world, most vigorously and successfully promoted the ideas and ideals of internationalism. The League of Nations and the United Nations can be seen as the blossoming fruits as well as the sad failures of this

in British liberal internationalism, 1880–1930
Mussolini, Parvus, and co.
Ashley Lavelle

chapter 6 Flawed early twentieth-century radicals: Mussolini, Parvus, and co. There were glaring flaws, continuities, and ideological muddles in the case of the most infamous of renegades, Benito Mussolini. Here is a striking case of a deeply flawed radical for whom an experience of defeat – in the form of the failure of socialists and the working class to prevent the First World War – was arguably necessary, but not sufficient, for him to shift from international socialism to national fascism. Countless others, needless to say, did not respond to the

in The politics of betrayal
Richard Taylor

been the vehicles for their articulation are threatened by the prevailing political culture in Britain as elsewhere. The values, strategies and overall approach of the radical tradition, which, as argued throughout this book, TAYLOR (Radicalism) 9781784993191 PRINT.indd 247 18/08/2020 09:48 248 English radicalism in the twentieth century both underlie and are wider than the formal organisations of the Left, need to be reasserted vigorously. This chapter thus recapitulates, briefly, the main themes of the English radical tradition as articulated in the twentieth

in English radicalism in the twentieth century
Richard Taylor

2 An overview of English radicalism The purpose of this second introductory chapter is twofold: to explore the main themes in the development of the ‘English radical tradition’ – from its earliest manifestations (in the Peasants’ Revolt and later in the Civil War) through to the end of the eighteenth century; and, secondly, to discuss in more detail the main elements of English radicalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This chapter is intended, therefore, to provide a political and historical framework for the ­discussion of the selected ten radical

in English radicalism in the twentieth century
Abstract only
Richard Taylor

10 Stuart Hall Stuart Hall, uniquely amongst those considered in this book, was arguably not a twentieth-century ‘English radical’ at all; his inclusion here could thus be seen as questionable. He was born in Jamaica and spent his childhood and adolescence in Kingston. His memories and experience of these formative years ‘guarantee that I shall be Jamaican all my life, no matter where I am living’.1 When he came to study in Oxford in 1951, he ‘never had any aspiration to be English, nor have I ever become English . . . it felt as if the British were a quite

in English radicalism in the twentieth century
Abstract only
Richard Taylor

6 George Orwell Orwell was fundamentally English in his persona and ideology; and wholly radical, within the context of the English radical tradition. Although he died in early 1950, what he wrote and, still more, what he stood for – or what has been interpreted as standing for – have a contemporary relevance. His major works have never been out of print and continue to reach new generations, and address vividly some of the central political and ideological issues of the modern world. If any single person can be said to embody twentieth-century English

in English radicalism in the twentieth century
Abstract only
Richard Taylor

radical theology.’2 Caricature though it was, there is some truth in this description. Benn’s political perspectives did change markedly through his long years at the heart of Labour TAYLOR (Radicalism) 9781784993191 PRINT.indd 207 18/08/2020 09:48 208 English radicalism in the twentieth century politics, as did his, often obsessive, enthusiasms. Broadly speaking, Benn, like his father, became progressively more left-wing as he got older. (He ‘immatured with age’, in Harold Wilson’s memorable phrase.) However, his commitment to radical political change, centred on

in English radicalism in the twentieth century
Abstract only
The Irish ‘inheritance’ of British Labour
Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh

unionist majority, remaining an integral part of the United Kingdom, though with limited, devolved ‘home rule’. How British Labour responded to the emerging Irish settlement of 1918–22, and its later relations throughout the twentieth century with the independent Irish state (in its foreign policy and in particular in its conduct of British–Irish relations, not least in relation to partition) and with Northern Ireland, is, understandably, a story of considerable complexity, demanding close attention to particular episodes, issues and personalities. However, it is a story

in The British Labour Party and twentieth-century Ireland