we have had a steady flow of comments from readers and critics on Out of Apathy, and particularly Edward Thompson’s Chapter on “Revolution” (NLR 3). He will discuss some of the points raised, and develop the theme in a follow-up essay in our next issue. In the meanwhile, the second in the series of New Left Books will be out later this year. This will be Irving Howe’s excellent study, Politics And The Novel, which has received a good deal of critical attention in America, but has not previously been published in this country. Howe’s book begins with the arresting quotation from Stendhal: “Politics in a work of literature is like a pistol shot in the middle of a concert, something loud and vulgar, and yet a thing which it is not possible to refuse one’s attention”. He pursues this theme through several detailed and sympathetic studies of Stendhal’s own Red And The Black, Dostoevsky, Conrad, James, Malraux, Silone, Keostler and Orwell. This is an extremely provocative book, and the relationship between politics and literature is brilliantly handled. We are pleased to have the book in our series, and we hope readers will enjoy it.
In the meanwhile, two new books written specially for the New Left series are already on the stocks for early next year: a book on Advertising And Society edited by Raymond Williams, and Michael Barratt Brown’s Imperialism Yesterday And Today, which is the basis for the essay on Imperialism published in this issue. Somewhere in the back rooms, John Hughes is preparing a manuscript for us on Nationalisation and Social Ownership, David Ross is ransacking the files for a History of the Cold War, and Paddy Whannel and Graham Martin are pasting up filthy pictures for a book on The Visual Persuaders!
Now that the Left Clubs are better organised and stronger, they are planning the steady production, over the year, of a series of pamphlets, aimed at particular targets, but written for a wide and differing audience. Some of these will be informative—a pamphlet on What Is The New Left, and a pamphlet on Why You Should Be A Socialist In The Sixties (especially for use among Young Socialists and younger people) are already in preparation. Several of the Left Clubs have been doing detailed work in Study Groups—Nottingham has framed an exciting and challenging scheme for comprehensive education in Nottingham, Edinburgh has made a detailed study of Central African Federation, the London Club has done important work in Notting Hill and on Education; and all of these deserve to be written up and more widely circulated. There is talk of a pamphlet on the New Towns by the New Left Club in Stevenage and the VFS group in Harlow. Indeed, it would be quite feasible for the London Club, say, to launch a campaign—A London Project, if you like—based on a series of pamphlets on the “affluent issues”—housing, municipalisation, rents, comprehensive planning, traffic and transport, etc.—which could be used to rally Left Clubs and Constituency Parties in a Campaign For Local Socialism which would put some heart back into depressed Labour minorities on Tory Councils, and some fire beneath the seat of complacent Labour majorities on Labour Councils. Given the present discontents about traffic or education or speculative building, such a Project could rouse immense support from the condemned and the apathetic.
The Northern Regional Committee of Left Clubs, anxious to pick off, one by one, the flabby Southern metropolitan intellectuals, proposed that the Editor and volunteers from NLR should be drafted into Scarborough for the Labour Party Conference, to produce a daily news-sheet—The Week With The New Left?—of the momentous events. The idea was that the Editor should be installed, with a delapidated duplicator, in the window of a prominent coffee-bar, and made to produce a stinging indictment of Reformism with every sip of his expresso. Provincial readers will be happy to know that the scheme—in a somewhat modified form—is actually to take place. Volunteer troops will arrive, with duplicating paper, in Scarborough on Saturday, and set up camp in suitably central quarters. The Left Clubs Committee are preparing a special brochure, describing the work and aims of the Left Clubs and NLR, which will be given away to delegates to help spread the word. A daily edition of NLR—special Conference issues—will be published, and we are anxious to have teams of helpers to supply us with those interesting tit-bits from the Compositing Room, and to assist us produce and distribute the libellous sheet. We hope that Left Clubs in the area will make a special effort to bring a contingent and a Club banner in to Scarborough for the CND March and Demonstration on the Sunday preceding the Conference, and stay around to watch the fireworks. Typists, expert duplicators, accredited news-vendors, urgently required. Seriously, if you are going to be in Scarborough as delegate or “visitor”, please make sure you find out early where the People’s League For The Defence of A New Left Press has established its GHQ. This may be the last Conference which you have a chance to attend: by next year, you may need a do-it-yourself atomic stockpile and a year’s subscription to Encounter or The Spectator to get within spitting distance of the National Executive . . .
Contributors to NLR 5: C. Wright Mills, who is working on a study of the Soviet intelligensia, is probably at this moment taking socialist greetings to Castro in Havana . . . David Riesman, sociologist and author of the extremely popular book, The Lonely Crowd, is now teaching Social Sciences at Harvard . . . his co-author, Michael Macoby has taught at both Harvard and Chicago . . . their article was prepared for a collection of Essays entitled The Liberal Papers and originally appeared in the American journal Commentary . . . Kenneth Rexroth, distinguished poet, has been both mentor and critic of the “beat” generation . . . his article was written on the basis of an extensive tour of American universities . . . Judith Hart is an MP for Lanark . . . Eric Heffer is a leading Liverpool socialist, and has been Chairman of the Liverpool Trades Council . . . John Keenan is a Fife Miner, and a member of the Fife Socialist League . . . R. W. Davies lectures at Birmingham and Harry Hanson at Leeds . . . Mike Rustin is, among other things, secretary of the Oxford Labour Club.