If you are having trouble with the NLR website, please provide details here, and we will try to improve the site accordingly.
Forward from Marxism
it would, I think, be a pity if Edward Thompson’s discussion of the possibility of social revolution were to be taken as the authentic voice of the New Left—as right-wing critics of Out of Apathy already seem to be doing. In attempting to avoid the danger of falling between the stools of reformist Fabianism, whose intellectual shoddiness he deplores, and cataclysmic Marxism, whose sterility he rejects, he has had little more success than his numerous predecessors in this difficult enterprise. Mr. Thompson clearly believes in revolution, but in condemning the “explosive negatives of class antagonism” he is cutting the ground from under his own feet. The only really plausible theory of social revolution is precisely the one that depends inextricably on class antagonism. Mr. Thompson is, of course, aware of this central difficulty, but the best he can do is the not very convincing device of a “breakthrough” which, once achieved, will generate its own dynamic. What, then, is to provide the dynamic for the breakthrough?
Subscribe for just £35 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3