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New Left Review I/180, March-April 1990

Rodney Hilton

Unjust Taxation and Popular Resistance

Historical materialism as a concept for understanding society, past, present and future, is under constant examination, by its adherents as much as by its opponents. [*] This paper was read to the Back to the Future conference, organized in 1988 by Lawrence and Wishart to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of A.L. Morton’s People’s History of England. It will appear in R. Hilton, Class Conflict and the Crisis of Feudalism, revised edn., Verso 1990. Some of these discussions are stimulating, intellectually exciting and perhaps even useful for the definition of political strategies. Much space has been occupied by those who are primarily concerned with one side of the Marxist project—theory rather practice. Whether or not this distances them from contemporary political issues is not my concern; but I intend here to examine the importance of the concepts of historical materialism to the practice of the working historian.

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