The renewal of radicalism maps the trajectory of Labour politics from its origins in a ‘class-conscious’ radical tradition through to its emergence as a major electoral force in the 1920s. During the 1880s and 1890s, working-class radicals in the East Midlands, East Anglia and the South West embraced the collectivist spirit of the times and built local labour parties that eventually became local branches of the national Labour Party. But even as they established new organisations, ‘labour’ activists – as they came to be known – remained committed to the cultural assumptions, discursive practices and ideological beliefs of their political predecessors. Focusing on largely neglected areas in provincial England, this book offers a new narrative of continuity that challenges conventional understandings of English political history. By applying the conceptual analysis of ideologies to the world of local politics, it identifies, for the first time, the conceptual building blocks of radical and labourist ideologies, suggesting that both deserve to be treated separately from liberalism and socialism. It also offers fresh perspectives on the Labour Party’s contribution to the ‘nationalisation’ of political culture; the survival of restrictive assumptions about gender, place, work, nationality and race in the face of political and economic change; and the process through which political identities and ideologies were forged at a local level.
present us with socially conservative fables, thus acting as an agency of social control by the dominant culture, or do penny dreadfuls represent ‘a symbolic form of class conflict’, subverting authority and challenging middle-class norms? 4
To go further, one might ask: what would be the significance of engaging in a culture war under the clouds of a political war? Does Sweeney Todd , the most famous of the bloods, and often treated as representative of the genre, really do anything more than create the frisson of urban terror? If so, were strains of radicalism co
This volume offers a series of new essays on the British left – broadly interpreted – during the First World War. Dealing with grassroots case studies of unionism from Bristol to the North East of England, and of high politics in Westminster, these essays probe what changed, and what remained more or less static, in terms of labour relations. For those interested in class, gender, and parliamentary politics or the interplay of ideas between Britain and places such as America, Ireland and Russia, this work has much to offer. From Charlie Chaplin to Ellen Wilkinson, this work paints a broad canvass of British radicalism during the Great War.
way radicals and liberals talked about the social and political order and the way they articulated certain terms, phrases and concepts. With these differences in mind, our traveller may well have concluded, quite understandably, that radicalism and liberalism were two distinct political traditions.
But until recently, it was Gladstone’s inclusive vision of liberal politics that found favour among historians of mid- to late Victorian England. In both ‘stagist’ and ‘continuity’ accounts of this period, radicals have often been portrayed as compliant partners in a
The nature of English radicalism
The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, the
nature and importance of English radicalism in the twentieth century. The analysis
is undertaken primarily through the detailed study of ten key individuals, all of
whom made significant contributions, in their different ways, to the development
of English radicalism across the century.
As with most important social and political concepts ‘radicalism’ is hard to
define precisely. This is in part because it draws on and overlaps with other
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
Edward P. Thompson's activities and writings were diverse spanning literature, history, fiction and poetry, biography, adult education, socialist and libertarian politics, and peace-movement activism. This book explores the various aspects of his intellectual and political work, and its legacy to later generations of radical thinkers and activists in Britain and internationally. Thompson taught exclusively literature classes for the first three years at the University of Leeds, and aimed to attain and maintain a university standard of adult education. The book examines the way in which The Making of the English Working Class grew out of Thompson's day-to-day work at Leeds. Although Thompson's fusion of Marxism with social history constituted the central attraction of his work, he himself bore a degree of responsibility for subsequent dismissals of the Marxist dimension in his work. The book examines Thompson's career-long commitment to literature and to the craft of writing, and makes clear some significant continuities and contrasts within Thompson's specifically literary output. Thompson's concept of socialist humanism retained a resonance and distinctiveness for the twenty-first century, which was a defining characteristic of the early New Left after 1956. The content of Thompson's analyses provides us with one of the richest account of the flesh and blood of emancipation, and the experience, suffering, failure and courage of the working class. The book also looks at his peace movement from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1950s and 1960s to the European Nuclear Disarmament in the 1980s.
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.
Thomas Paine’s democratic linguistic
radicalism: a political philosophy of
Thomas Paine’s thought and writings have often been described as
‘radical’ with regard to various forms of ‘radicalism’. They have
been viewed as pertaining in turn or simultaneously to ‘radical
Lockeanism’,1 to a form of eighteenth-century ‘new’ British ‘radicalism’,2 to a form of ‘American radicalism’ at the origin of the
Declaration of Independence3 and of a ‘community of radical
democrats’4 in the United States of the 1790s, to ‘transatlantic
English radicalism in the 1650s: the
Quaker search for the true knowledge
When the Quaker movement emerged in the 1650s, the converts
to this branch of radical Protestantism were compelled to share
with others, via print as well as in person, the ‘true knowledge’ of
their God.1 Quakers were no admirers of schoolmen, the educated
clergy, or scholastically influenced dispute. They proposed that the
habits of mind of those that had been university trained could be
revealed to be at odds with the simple primitivism that was proper