Thursday, 27 November 2014

Varieties of Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century English Radicalism in Context 2011 Ariel Hessayon-David Finnegan Editors- Ashgate Publishers ISBN: 9780754669050

Part One

This book review will be published in two parts. Given that there is a degree of controversy involved in this collection of essays I felt the need to do sufficient justice to the issues involved.

“The term political radicalism (or simply, in political science, radicalism) denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary means and changing value systems in fundamental ways”. [1]

To Be Radical is to Grasp Things by the Root- Karl Marx the German Ideology

The above definition of radicalism while not specifically aimed at the radical groups that permeated the English revolution does provide us with a useful guideline when seeking to understand modern day historians understanding of these groups.

Varieties of Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century English Radicalism in Context is an ambitious book which attempts to go beyond the conceptual categories which permeate the study of The English revolution. The book is one of many recent studies that seeks to clarify what is meant by many of the concepts used in the revolution. The 12 essays in this book are the product of the work presented at a conference held at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2006.

Understanding radicalism is not an easy task as it is clear the term means many things to many people. Historically the Early Modern historians have used term radical or radicalism to describe the plethora of groups that took part in the English Revolution. However even conservative historians such as Hugh Trevor Roper had adopted the term[2] . Radicals can also be found on the royalist side as well according one historian in this book.

It goes without saying that the term radical is a relatively modern concept. According to one reviewer “the historian Conal Condren has written that it was not until the late 18th century that ‘radical’ became a political term associated with extensive political and social reform, and it was not until 1819 that Jeremy Bentham coined the word ‘radicalism’.

In common with other studies the historians in this book are more adept in telling us what they reject rather than arguing for what they themselves believe. Those readers who are looking for a new historiography from this collection of essays will be disappointed.

In the introduction Ariel Hessayon and David Finnegan make it clear that these essays do not identify with the “linguistic turn “ school of historiography or otherwise known as the  nominalist approach, adopted by historians Conal Condren and Jonathan Clare to name just two.

These historians in order to remove anachronism from historical study believe it is best to remove terms like radicalism from early modern historiography. In its most extreme form nominalist historians would also like to remove terms such as ‘puritan’, ‘royalist’  ‘antiquity’, ‘medieval’, and ‘modern’. I do not believe this approach get us anywhere.

The second approach, identified in the introduction is called ‘substantive’ and is the polar opposite of nominalist. The substantive approach favoured by two divergent schools of historiography Whig and Marxist. These two trends have towered over the study of the English revolution. Revisionists of one sort or another have sought over the last three decades to eradicate the influence of both Whig and Marxist thought. As Hessayon and Finnegan observe correctly that even the use of the word radical has come under attack from a coterie of revisionist historians. So much so it has become increasingly difficult to keep tract of the various different strands of thought as regards the English revolution.

A distorted defence of Marxist historiography was carried out by historians in and around the Communist Party of Great Britain.  They sought with varying degrees of success to apply a historical materialist method when writing and studying the various radical groups. Historians which included the likes of Christopher Hill, Rodney Hilton, A. L. Morton and E. P. Thompson developed the ‘history from below’ genre,

One of the most important features of their approach was to establish the importance of those radical groups to the English revolution. The fact that the Communist Party historians carried out such a detailed study of these groups and rescued them from obscurity was partially off their own backs but crucially they were in reality following a historical and political line that came from the Stalin led Russian Communist International during the mid1930s.

Suffice to say the authors in this collection of essays have rejected both Whig and Marxist historiography and have adopted a more functionalist approach to the study of English radicalism.
As was said before Hessayon and Finnegan do not agree with the linguistic turn. Also they were hostile to a Marxist interpretation. They treat the matter of radicalism from a purely academic standpoint. However such a topic such as the level of radicalism in the English revolution requires a political understanding. Hessayon is also very hostile to “dangerous extremists” hijacking of groups such as the Levellers for their own modern day political agenda.

Hessayon recently levelled this very serious charge at Edward Vallance. In a review[3] of his book for the Institute of Historical Research website. Hessayon crossed a line in a nasty and inaccurate attack.

On Vallance’s book he said “there is another purpose to Vallance’s book: a political agenda. Located somewhere to the left of New Labour in Guardian, New Statesman and John Pilger reading territory (pp. 11, 38, 40–2, 430–1, 531, 551), displaying an evident if understandable distaste for Thatcherism (pp. 52, 228, 260), A Radical History of Britain is intended as a celebration of the British people’s capacity for dissent and, when necessary, recourse to direct action in defending their liberties and securing new rights (pp. 11, 13, 18, 38–9, 119–21, 181, 201, 526–7). Nor to Vallance’s mind is his narrative a record of heroic failure, but rather a testament to the achievements of British radicals and radical movements”.

He continues “As historians we have a collective responsibility to maintain the highest standards of scholarly rigour, especially when undertaking the challenging yet rewarding business of educating non-specialists. Furthermore, shaping aspects of the past to advance present-day political goals is a practice almost as old as the discipline itself. Anyone engaged in this enterprise, however, must take the greatest care not to legitimise the indefensible or give ammunition to dangerous extremist”.
This is a very serious charge and wildly inaccurate. Vallance correctly sought to defend his work, political and historical integrity. It is worth quoting in some detail Vallance’s response. While I have differences with Vallance I believe Hessayon’s remarks were disrespectful and wide of the mark.

Reply by Edward Vallance

“It is rather difficult for me to respond to Dr. Hessayon’s review, not least because he appears to be offering a critique of quite a different book from the one that I have actually written. In particular, I am baffled by his repeated references to the British National Party (eight in all) within his review, where he refers to the BNP twice as many times as I do within the whole 600 + pages of my A Radical History of Britain. To put this in perspective, there are almost as many references to him within my book as there are to that far-right party.

" So it is with some puzzlement that I met Dr. Hessayon’s suggestions that my book may provide ‘ammunition to dangerous extremists’. I realise that many readers of Reviews in History will not have looked at my work, so I provide here a key passage from p. 549: This yoking together of freedom and Britishness has continued, through the writing of George Orwell in The Lion and the Unicorn, to the present day, with Gordon Brown’s calls for a new sense of national identity constructed around British values of ‘liberty, tolerance and fair play’. The BNP would certainly struggle to live up to the second of those values. It is hard to see how British radical movements such as the Chartists, which included prominent black members and supported the abolition of the slave-trade, or the suffragettes, who included leading anti-colonialists such as Sylvia Pankhurst, can fit into the BNP’s bleached-white vision of Britain. Yet, in the radical tradition’s appropriation by the far-right, we can nonetheless see some of the dangers in claiming universal values such as tolerance, fairness and liberty as peculiarly British.

More recently another right wing group has claimed allegiance to the radicals throughout history. During the recent bi –election victory of the UKIP at Rochester the newly elected MP Mark Reckless believed that his party stood in the “radical tradition”, one that historically “took power away from the elites and spread it to the people. It’s the tradition of Levellers, Chartists and Suffragettes.”

Vallance continues “Overall, this seems an eccentric reading of my book, especially given my own left-leaning politics which will be clear to anyone who has read my New Statesman articles or heard my talks at Demos or Republic: The Campaign for an Elected Head of State. His points concerning Dr. Dunn and Dr. Harvey’s works aside, Dr. Hessayon’s review offers little serious engagement with my work and, in my view, breaches the IHR’s own standards for scholarly debate”.

Chapter One

The book opens with the chapter The Beauty of Holiness and the Poetics of Antinomianism Richard Crashaw, John Saltmarsh and the Language of Religious Radicalism in the 1640s. Nicholas McDowell essay examines the language of religious radicalism in the 1640s, with special focus on the poems of Richard Crashaw and John Saltmarsh.

McDowell adopts a reformist rather than revolutionary position as regards the radical groups as seen in this quote. “The most sensible discussion of radicalism in the English Revolution is the third of G. E. Aylmer's four presidential addresses to the Royal Historical Society on 'Collective Mentalities in Mid-Seventeenth-Century England'. In his paper on 'Varieties of Radicalism', delivered in 1987, Aylmer quickly dispenses with the nominalist wrangling that continues to obsess historians. I quote his opening two sentences: 'Since the terms radical and radicalism were not in use before the nineteenth century, it may fairly be asked what they signify when applied to the mid-seventeenth century. The answer is a pragmatic one: by radical I mean anyone advocating changes in state, church and society which would have gone beyond the official programme of the mainstream Puritan-Parliamentarians in the Long Parliament and the Assembly of Divines.'[1] Aylmer immediately and with a minimum of fuss defines the context for discussing radicalism in the English Revolution. Having dispensed with the circular debate over naming, Aylmer proceeds to get on with trying to characterize the distinguishing features of mid-seventeenth-century radicalism.[4]

McDowell follows Hessayon lead in opposing historians who have adopted the linguistic turn. He writes If we are not to call 'radical' the writers I discuss at length in the book - the 'Ranter' Coppe, the Levellers Walwyn and Richard Overton, the Quaker Samuel Fisher, the Fifth Monarchist John Rogers - then what exactly are we to call them? 'Sectarian' will hardly do.

Jason Peacey’s chapter Radicalism Relocated: Royalist politics and Pamphleting of Late 1640’s is an indicator of the growing interest in Royalist politics and their use of pamphleting.

To what extent Royalists could be described as radicals would be a good topic for PhD dissertation. Peacey is open to the idea that radical politics permeated into every aspect of everyday life.

According to one reviewer “Peacey stresses that radical ideas, especially in matters of religious, social and political reform, penetrated into various areas of English politics and, therefore, were shared by different, and sometimes clashing, milieus. Therefore, Peacey argues that radicalism was a phenomenon largely independent from the distinctions between Royalists and Parliamentarians, and actually influenced both sides of the political spectrum”

Chapter 3 Mario Caricchio News from the New Jerusalem; Giles Calvert and the Radical experience Mario Caricchio’s chapter concentrates on the how  bookselling and pamphleteering influenced political and religious debates of the English Revolution. Caricchio concentrates on Giles Calvert, one of the main publishers and booksellers in England between 1641 and 1660. Caricchio maintains that Calvert’s bookshop was part of a broader network of social networks.

As Caricchio said his essay in 2006 “Radicalism and English revolution are not on a high road, but at a crossroads. Historians seem to place them where a number of contexts intersect. This could be an answer to the question of the “nature of the English revolution”, which, as John Morrill put it by citing Hill, required attention to be paid more to “environment” than to “heredity”.[36] This is a two-sided issue. On the one hand, there is the radicalization of conflict that shattered the unity of the “political nation” at the beginning of the 1640s and precipitated England into the civil war. On the other hand, there is the problem of late 1640s radicalism, which Morrill, envisaging a comparison between the Levellers and the Clubmen, raised in a stimulating question: how “Leveller pamphlets and petitions combined deeply regressive economic and social ideas with a core commitment to religious liberty and to a political doctrine born of experience of Independent churches, all bound together in an innovative natural rights framework”? In this question and in its possible answer, popular participation and radical ideas still stand at the heart of the matter. The varieties of the English religious experience together with the widening or thickening publicity of discourses seem to be the decisive turning on the map: where the last war of religion becomes a revolution”.[5]

This leads us on to Chapter 4 Gerrard Winstanley: Radical Reformer Ariel Hessayon. As can be seen from above Hessayon is hostile to left wing historiography. In an essay in 2006 he attacks hills evaluation of the Digger leader Winstanley[6]

“In 1973 Hill's edition of Winstanley's selected writings was published by Penguin. His introduction portrayed Winstanley in modern dress as an advocate of 'human progress', 'reason' and 'international brotherhood'; an author whose insights 'may be of interest to those in the Third World today who face the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society'. Here again was a radical, largely secular Winstanley whose biblical language and 'high-flown metaphorical style' was worth penetrating in the same way that readers had to get through the 'Hegelian jargon' to understand the early Marx. [76] In a subsequent essay 'From Lollards to Levellers' (1978) Hill attempted to provide both a genealogy and ecology for 'lower-class' radicalism by exploring the continuity of radical ideas within an orally transmitted 'underground tradition'. His focus was on doctrinal and geographical continuities, particularly in pastoral, forest, moorland and fen areas where ecclesiastical control was less tight.[77] But if in retrospect the 1970s represented a pinnacle in Hill's writing on radicalism, it was also during this decade that his work was most severely attacked.[78] Indeed, Hill's preoccupation with twentieth-century ideological struggles and his moralizing tone made his work vulnerable to charges of being obsessively present-centred, of putting theory above facts. And it must be said that he used evidence inaccurately and selectively, depending almost entirely on printed sources. Ultimately Hill's vision of the past is largely unconvincing, revealing much about his own agenda while misleading readers unfamiliar with the evidence. To quote Montaigne: People are prone to apply the meaning of other men's writings to suit opinions that they have previously determined in their minds.

The title of the 2006 essay is provocative and is a bit disrespectful especially to the Communist Party Historians Group. I think Hessayon is sailing a little too close to the wind in his attack on the Communist Party historians.

“It is a commonplace that the past is at the mercy of the present and that in every generation there are those who deliberately distort aspects of it to reflect a vision of their own or another's making. Most historical writing about radicalism and the English Revolution can be considered fabrication - in the sense of both manufacture and invention. There have been several important studies documenting this process, including recent work by Mario Caricchio.[1] I do not wish to argue here that there was a single, continuous English radical tradition, but nor would I like to dismiss the notion entirely. Instead what I want to suggest is that though radicalism lacks a connected history the imagined relationship between radicals of the English Revolution and their predecessors and successors has served as a powerful substitute. So much so, that multifaceted traditions have emerged as part of the discourse. Moreover, vestiges of radicalism recovered in manuscripts and rediscovered in printed texts have sometimes intermingled with perceived radical heritages to produce vibrant radical eruptions. This can be seen by tracing the ways through which radicalism in the English Revolution has been successively appropriated and constructed - and how, subject to competing interpretations, these fabrications have disintegrated leaving only shards of radical traditions”.

While he believes he can score a few cheap points the political criticism of these historians is missing. As I said before you cannot approach these radicals and the historians that have written on them from a purely academic and in Hessayon case a very conservative academic approach at that. An attack on these historians would have had to gone into considerable details of the pressure exerted on these historians to toe both politically and historically the line from Moscow in the 1930s.

As Philip Bounds pointed out in his outstanding essay Orwell and Englishness: in the section titled The Dialogue with British Marxism “British Communism and the “English Radical Tradition”  he states “The idea of Englishness became an obsession for British communists after the Seventh Congress of the Communist International in 1935. (The Communist International or “Comintern” had been established in Moscow in 1919. Its function was to determine the policies of the various pro-Soviet Communist Parties which came into existence in the wake of the October Revolution.) Meeting at a time when Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy posed an increasingly obvious threat to international order, the Seventh Congress was primarily important for determining communist strategy towards the growth of fascism. The most important speech was delivered by the Bulgarian communist Georgi Dimitrov, newly appointed President of the Comintern, who had become a hero throughout the world movement after being acquitted by a Nazi court on charges of burning down the Reichstag (Germany’s parliament) in 1933. After defining fascism as “the open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital,” 5 Dimitrov insisted that communists should now give priority to defending established democratic institutions against the fascist attempt to overthrow them. This could best be done by uniting all anti-fascists, including those whom the communists had previously dismissed as “bourgeois” (e.g. liberals and even progressive conservatives), into nationally based “People’s Fronts.”

This political line was catastrophic and paved the way for numerous defeats of the working class. It did however provide the historians of the Communist Party the possibility of examining subjects such as the English revolution and especially the radicals without coming into conflict with the leadership in Moscow.

As Bounds continues from 1935 onwards, in a flurry of intellectual activity, many of the CPGB’s leading writers made a sustained effort to excavate the history of what was usually called the “English radical tradition.” The body of work which they produced can broadly be divided into two categories. On the one hand there was a series of writings which traced the history of plebeian revolt in Britain since the Peasants’ Rising of 1381. These were supplemented by a more extensive (though perhaps not so influential) group of works which explored the influence of radical ideas on a selection of Britain’s most famous writers — Shakespeare, Milton and Dickens among them.

Hessayon should have invested a little more of his time investigating the political origins of the Communist Party Historians Group.it would have improved his evaluation of radicals such as Winstanley.

 Footnotes 




[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_radicalism
[2] Country-House Radicals 1590-166o By H. R. Trevor Roper
[3] A Radical History of Britain. Visionaries, Rebels and Revolutionaries: the Men and Women who Fought for Our Freedoms Reviewer: Ariel Hessayon
[4] N. McDowell , "Writing the Literary and Cultural History of Radicalism in the English Revolution", in M. Caricchio, G. Tarantino, eds., Cromohs Virtual Seminars. Recent historiographical trends of the British Studies (17th-18th Centuries), 2006-2007: http://www.cromohs.unifi.it/seminari/mcdowell.html>

[5] M. Caricchio, "Radicalism and the English Revolution", in M. Caricchio, G. Tarantino, eds., Cromohs Virtual Seminars. Recent historiographical trends of the British Studies (17th-18th Centuries), 2006-2007: 1-5
[6] A. Hessayon, "Fabricating radical traditions", in M. Caricchio, G. Tarantino, eds., Cromohs Virtual Seminars. Recent historiographical trends of the British Studies (17th-18th Centuries), 2006-2007: 1-6

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The John Lilburne 400th Anniversary Conference




Born 400 years ago, John Lilburne’s courage and passion for justice was unfailing during the turbulent years of the English Revolution. Whipped, pilloried and often imprisoned in his lifetime, John Lilburne was a Leveller activist and pamphleteer who campaigned for radical change. He fought to establish many of the liberties and political freedoms that we take for granted today. He was a champion of popular sovereignty, trial by jury and the rights of the ordinary citizen.

Don’t miss this one-day celebration of the life and legacy of ‘Freeborn John’.

Speakers include Martine Brant and Peter Flannery (writers of The Devil’s Whore series on Channel 4), Ted Vallance (author of A Radical History of Britain), Dr Ariel Hessayon (Goldsmiths, University of London), Katherine Clements (author of The Crimson Ribbon), Jason Peacey (author of Print and Public Politics in the English Revolution), Dr Rachel Foxley (University of Reading and author of The Levellers: Radical Political Thought in the English Revolution), Jeremy Corbyn MPand Rev. Hammer (singer/songwriter and creator of the Freeborn John song cycle).

http://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/event/526/events_list.aspx?y=2014&m=0

In partnership with The Levellers’ Association.

Financially supported by the Ameil and Melburn Trust and the Goldsmiths Annual Fund.

The conference will run from 11.00am - 9.00pm. 14 March 2015 at the Bishopgate Institute

*A postage fee of £1 applies for sending out tickets booked online or over the telephone.


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Killers of the King - The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I Hardcover – 11 Sep 2014 352 pages Bloomsbury Publishing - ISBN-13: 978-1408851708

 [This post is a re-write of the review posted last week. The post was done too hastily and was not really fit for print].

It would be a brave soul to contest the widely held view amongst historians and the wider reading public that the execution of Charles I is a fascinating one. After all Charles I was and is the only monarch in English history to be killed by his own people.

It is also perhaps a truism accepted by most historians that his trial and subsequent execution was a watershed moment in British and world history.

As Blair Worden said “The beheading of Charles I on January 30th, 1649, left an indelible mark on the history of England and on the way that the English think about themselves. It was the climactic moment of the Puritan Revolution and it also changed the whole character of the conflict. Most of the people who had taken up arms against Charles I seven years earlier were opposed to his killing, if not outraged by it. They knew that it would destroy their cause, though they could not have foreseen how lasting the condemnation of the regicide would be”.   I would only substitute English for the word Puritan.

Charles Spencer’s new book is a product of this interest. It is a splendid, narrative driven book.  And given the number of narrative driven books recently published it would appear that this particular historical genre is on the up . As Tom Holland flamboyantly points out “Imagine the Odessa File re-written by Christopher Hill, and you will have some idea of the pleasure to be had in reading Killers of the King. The virtues of a thriller and of scholarship are potently combined”.

I must admit not all historians are fans of this type of historical writing. When C V Wedgwood produced her splendid book A King Condemned-The Trial and Execution of Charles I it was criticised in some academic quarters. In his foreword to the 2011 edition by Tauras Parke Paperbacks Clive Holmes said “Wedgwood’s relationship with academic historians was not an easy one, and the immediate reception of this work by the professionals in their flagship journals was cool, and even condescending”

As far as I can tell there has been no academic reviews of Spencer’s book. Narrative type of books have been criticised in the past for being “theoretically light”. This is to a certain extent a genuine criticism of Spencer. He is not in the same class of writer as Wedgwood and his book could have been improved if he had used previous academic research on the subject. His use of other historians work is sparse to say the least. Spencer's use of narrative history writing has its defenders. Paul Lay  recent article in October's Literary Review called The Return of Narrative is one example.

Historiography.

Spencer’s book does fall into any recognisable historiographical school. On a broader point given the magnitude and richness of the subject there is a dearth of serious academic studies of the trial and execution of the king and subsequent politics contained within the trial and execution of the regicides. It is a richly rewarding subject to study. It is hard to understand why such an important event in the history of both Britain and the world has been so under researched.

Outside of C V Wedgewood’s The Regicides and the Execution of Charles I there has been books by Jason Dr Peacey, The Regicides and the Execution of Charles I Hardcover – 7 Dec 2001 Why Was Charles I Executed? 2007 by Clive Holmes and last but no means least in 2010 we have The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man who sent Charles I to the Scaffold by Geoffrey Robertson apart from these there is very little on offer.

Given that most historical changes happen slowly and over time, some at a glacial pace, the killing of a king by his own people showed that certain periods move not only at lightning speed but have the character of tectonic plates moving such is the momentous change.

Some reviewers of Spencer’s book have tried to place it in the “history from above” genre. I do not accept that classification. Despite dealing with a royal subject Spencer’s book is a bit more than that.
As to the event it there appears to be little agreement amongst historians how far back in the revolution the revolutionists were prepared to kill the king. Again in the 2011 foreword to a new publication of C V Wedgwood’s book Holmes defends the view that the regicides knew exactly what they were doing when they executed the king and had prepared for his killing a good few years before. Spencer broadly agrees with this viewpoint.

Not all historians agree with this premise. According to Ian Gentles   in a series of compelling articles Sean Kelsey has argued that the New Model Army and the purged Long Parliament actually had no wish to see the king dead when they brought him to trial on charges of committing treason against his own people”.

Sean Kelsey has also argued in his essay The Ordinance for the Trial of Charles I that Parliament had a significant bigger role in bringing the King to execution than had previously thought.  Historians as Kelsey say have paid little or no attention to the role of Parliament in bringing about the trial of the king. “The ordinance passed by the Commons on January 1st 1649 has never roused much interest amongst historians of the English Revolution, one of whom has remarked that “formal documentary evidence for this (first) tribunal is lacking”. Neither the House of Lords Record Office not the principal collections of parliamentary papers has yielded the secrets of the Ordinance. A search of the National Archives of Scotland has not yet located a copy of the Common’s measure which the commissioners of Edinburgh parliament resident at Westminster in January 1649 sent to their superiors shortly after its passage in the English lower house”.

High Road to Revolution

The trial and execution of the king was the high point and culmination of a long and protracted process called the English revolution. This view that there was a high road to revolution has also come under heavy attack from the revisionist historians . Admittedly the men who started the revolution against the king did not start out to kill him but to make revolutionary changes in 1642 for “king and parliament” but ended it cutting the kings head off. It is not Spencer’s fault that his book does not really answer this contradiction. The problem is not Spencer’s ability as a writer but his method or theory of historical events.

He could have consulted even an out and out revisionist historian such as Blair Worden who perceptibly writes, “Yet wars, once embarked upon, have to be won. The fighting and winning of them can radically extend their aims. The New Model Army, raised in 1645 to end the carnage, acquired revolutionary goals in both politics and religion. Only slowly did its generals come to contemplate trying the king. The decisive event was the Second Civil War, fought in 1648. It centred on an invasion by a Scottish army, with whose leaders Charles had been conspiring even as he negotiated, ostensibly in good faith, for his restoration by the English parliament. In 1647 Oliver Cromwell and his ally and son-in-law Henry Ireton had conducted their own negotiations with him. Now they concluded that Charles’s innate duplicity would wreck any settlement. There could be no lasting peace, they decided, while he remained alive”.

His concentration on the narrative to the detriment of theory does not get us very far. While it is important to understand what went through the minds of the leading actors of the revolution such as Cromwell, Ireton and Harrison to do so would only give us a one sided understanding of the why a kings head was cut off and a republic established. Spencer is free to adopt whatever theoretical approach he wants to portray historical events. But historians such as Spencer preoccupation with narrative can take the reader only so far.

The rise of narrative history has been at the direct expense of Marxist historiography and has done untold damage to our understanding of the English revolution.

As Karl Marx correctly points out “the production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, the language of real life. Conceiving, thinking, the mental intercourse of men, appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behaviour. The same applies to mental production as expressed in the language of politics, laws, morality, religion, metaphysics, etc., of a people. Men are the producers of their conceptions, ideas, etc. – real, active men, as they are conditioned by a definite development of their productive forces and of the intercourse corresponding to these, up to its furthest forms. Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence, and the existence of men is their actual life-process. If in all ideology men and their circumstances appear upside-down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life-process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their physical life-process.

Of course there was gentlemen and landowners on the Parliamentary side in the civil war and small farmers and artisans on the Royalist side. This was not a “chemically pure revolution in which the members of one social class lined up one side of the barricades and those of the other on the opposite side”

A snapshot of the regicides shows that they came from diverse social backgrounds but were united by their opposition to the king. They were not conscious revolutionists in the mould of a Vladimir Lenin or Leon Trotsky but they were however the “ideologists of the revolution (who) ransacked the Bible and half understood historical precedent for some kind of theory to explain what they were doing”.

The most politically aware of the revolutionists were astute enough to understand that when they executed their king after a complex trial with long deliberation, it was the result not of an accident or misunderstanding. Many soldiers from the New Model Army who were mainly drawn from smallholders and lower yeomanry were acutely aware of what and more importantly why they moved against the king. when the king challenged Cornet George Joyce and asked him where he received his commission Joyce is reported to have waved his sword towards his troops and replied " here is my commission".

But as one writer put it “has a profound revolutionary significance entailing a complete break with the feudal past. Although the monarchy was later restored and the triumphant bourgeoisie were soon eager to pretend that the whole thing had been a ghastly mistake, no monarch sat easily on the throne after that event until quite late in Victoria’s reign”.

The killers of the King is Spencer’s third book covering the English Civil war.  The author was recently asked why this subject “The three main history books that I have written have concentrated on the period 1642-1704 – quite a short period of time, in fact. I am not the first to be intrigued by the English Civil War – but my particular interest is in the characters involved: there seem to have been so many huge personalities active during that time of massive, national, upheaval. For me, History has always been more about people watching than dry statistics and dates. The mid- to late seventeenth century provides very rich pickings indeed.

The book and the author have received a substantial amount of interest from the media. Partly because the subject matter lends itself to great interest due to its dramatic content. The book is very well written and very well researched and is beautifully illustrated.   It is not for the fainthearted as Spencer at times goes into graphic detail of the punishment handed out to the king killers. Many after all were hung drawn and quartered and their genitals cut off and innards burned before their eyes while still alive.

Spencer’s book at times reads like a novel. He shows that leading figures of the revolution turned on their former colleagues and hunted them down.  One was Sir George Downing of Downing Street fame, and described by Samuel Pepys as “that perfidious rogue”, he plotted and went to the Continent, kidnap and if necessary murder then and there his former friends or bundle them back to England to stand trial and certain execution.

It would appear from the book that the reign of Charles was dominated by this manhunt. While sanctioning what amounted to judicial murder the regime was hardly a picture of stability. The longer the show trial went on the more nervous Charles and his ministers became and recognised the growing danger of a rebellion. Charles II made one mistake in giving a public funeral to one of the regicides over twenty thousand people attended testifying the still considerable support held for republican ideas.

As I said above Spencer’s understanding of why Charles II would undertake a risky thing to try his father’s killers is very limited, and tends to put the trial down to simple revenge as Spencer states “Charles II naturally loathed those who had seen to his father's beheading. He was unable to exact vengeance on all those who had fought for Parliament, of course – approximately half the nation; but he was allowed to bring down retribution on the regicides. Originally he was only looking to make seven of them suffer, but many – especially in the House of Lords – wanted all those intimately involved in Charles I's death to die. They had their own reasons for vengeance. For a lot of Parliamentarians, choosing the king's killers as scapegoats took the attention away from their own years of rebellion against the Crown”
.
Spencer further elaborates on this matter “Killers of the King starts with the fall of Charles I, and then his trial and execution. But the driving narrative is what happened to the many diverse men who came together to end his life. On the whole, these were not people with a grand background – they included a butcher's son, a jeweller, a brewer, and a tanner of hides – men who had risen through merit to regimental command in Parliament's New Model Army. British history tends inevitably to be seen through a royal prism, because – apart from the 11 years between Charles I's death and Charles II's restoration, of course – we have always had a monarchy”.

When I started reading this book I had expected that Earl Spencer would side with one of his own in the matter of the regicide of the king but the opposite would appear to be the case, As Spencer says “I started the book with a view that I would end up being hugely sympathetic to Charles I as a victim of a kangaroo court, but, as I researched the extraordinary drama of the civil war it had thrown up, these intriguing, individuals whose stories were so fascinating and diverse. Getting to know some of the key regicides in greater depth meant I sympathised with them much more,” says Spencer, who despite being an Earl, would have sided with Parliament had he been alive at the time.

His book is not a radical history of the English revolution. The author if anything is sympathetic to the Whig interpretation of history. Spencer believes that the civil war was a progressive development  and supports Geoffrey Robertson’s contention that  “ The proceeding against Charles I in 1649 secured the constitutional gains of the Civil War – the supremacy of Parliament, the independence of judges, individual freedom guaranteed by Magna Carta and the common law”.

Spencer adds “I do believe the king had to die for England to have a hope of peace. He was impossible to trust and the one thing you had to be as a ruler was decisive otherwise you were too weak to survive. The whole of society was changing in a fundamental way and something drastic has to happen. Sadly for Charles it was being decapitated. But despite my feelings against him as a king, I have huge personal regard for him as a man, he was a gentle, church loving, chess playing figure. I feel very sorry for him, but I also think those who put him to death were very brave men.”

Another striking aspect of the book and Spencer gives ample room space to is the manner in which people who were once leading members in the Cromwellian era shifted their allegiances like some people change a shirt.

Charles Monck, who has always struck me as a person of extreme opportunism was as one writer said “a turncoat of heroic proportions”. He had been commander in chief of the English army in Scotland and an ardent follower of Cromwell. But after being promised the unheard of sum of £100,000 a year for the rest of his life changed sides and decided to do the kings dirty work. It would have added to Spencer’s book if he had investigated this phenomena further. Another perceived weakness of the book is that fact that he never really addresses what happened to the revolution. Why was it so easy for a regime change so shortly after Cromwell’s death?

One severe weakness of the book is that it fails to convey how the regicides lost power and a monarchy established albeit with the help of substantial sections of the bourgeoisie. There is an absence from the book as to the political and economic makeup of the Charles ll regime. The trial far from just being about revenge was a counter revolution by sections of the bourgeoisie who were still closely connected to the Monarchy.

As James Holstun’s has written “What turned the tide was the failure of bourgeois republican revolutionaries to unify themselves militarily, and create an interest and stake in the republic among the copyholders, soldiers, sailors and apprentices; and the superior power of General Monck and the forces of Restoration in shaping and controlling the army”. With some reservations I would recommend a wide readership for the book. It is a cracking read and deserves wide readership and would grace anybody’s bookshelf



Sunday, 12 October 2014

One response To Killers of the King by Charles Spencer

There’s always plenty of scope for revisiting historical events – even ones we think we understand. And as always there are messages for our own times: “They had their own reasons for vengeance. For a lot of Parliamentarians, choosing the king’s killers as scapegoats took the attention away from their own years of rebellion against the Crown”. Yes indeed!

A Scott' s blog can be found http://turkeyfile.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

David M. Hart, Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics Vol. 3 (1646). [2014]

As reported on this blog the Online library of Liberty has started the process of publishing large swathes of Leveller writings  in digital form. David M. Hart  has now put on “Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics Vol. 3 (1646)”. [2014] in ebook form. 

More will follow in 2015. The link is http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/hart-tracts-on-liberty-by-the-levellers-and-their-critics-vol-3-1646

Monday, 4 August 2014

E. P. Thompson and English Radicalism Edited by Roger Fieldhouse and Richard Taylor. Published: February 2013 256 pages Publisher: Manchester University Press


Published in 2013 E P Thompson and English Radicalism is a collection of essays to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of E. P. Thompson’s most famous book, The Making of the English Working Class. 

Manchester University have produced a stylish and very well designed book cover which reminds one of a soviet propaganda poster from the 1920s or 30s.

The book on the whole has been warmly received Sheila Rowbotham called it an “eloquent set of essays manages to address, both sympathetically and critically, the many and varied aspects of Thompson’s life, as a historian, a teacher, a poet, a political activist, a Marxist and libertarian, and an Englishman and a cosmopolitan. Thompson’s legacy is hugely relevant for the troubled times in which we now live.'  Mary Kaldor, the London School of Economics and Political Science called it “A major book on Edward Thompson, who died 20 years ago, is an important reminder of the loss of English radicalism and the need to revive it"

The book has appeared at the same time as a veritable cottage industry of material relating to the life and work of E P Thompson. It is after all fifty years since Thompson published his seminal work The Making of the English Working Class. Harvard University held a conference on the book. Birkbeck University held a highly successful conference entitled the future of ‘history from below’: an online symposium, papers from the conference can be found at the many-headed monster blog[1].Lastly Monthly Review Press  has just released  E.P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left: Essays & Polemics Carl Winslow (Editor)

Given my limited amount of time I have not examined every single chapter of the book and will return to missed ones at a later date.  It is also impossible in the realm of this review to examine every aspect of E P Thompson’s work as a politician and historian, some of this will be done in a review of Carl Winslow’s new book on Thompson mentioned above. The fact that his work is still being translated all over the globe that new books about his life and work appear almost daily is testimony alone to his historical and political significance.

It is clear that Thompson was a natural teacher. He had a passion for teaching. Whether you agreed with his politics or his interpretation of historical events he sought to imbue in his student a passion for history and learning. He had a partisan approach to the education in that it should have a “social “purpose “.

John Rule in his Biography of E P Thompson for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography [2] “With his postgraduate students his relationship was excellent. They remember with affection a painstaking and inspiring mentor, and most became lifelong friends. With the university itself relations were more strained. Resources for the centre were short of his expectation; undergraduate teaching took up much time, as did boards and meetings, leading him to complain that little time was left for writing. His writing was itself undergoing a shift. The Making carried marks of having been written by someone not fully bound by academic conventions. Its invective, for example in its infamously hostile depiction of Methodism as ‘ritual psychic masturbation’, could be immoderate. He had a blind spot when it came to quantification, and a glimpse of his feelings towards some academic tendencies is exemplified in a passage which summarizes the average worker's share in the benefits of the industrial revolution as: ‘more potatoes, a few articles of cotton clothing for his family, soap and candles, some tea and sugar, and a great many articles in the Economic History Review’

Given the number of books, papers, lectures and conferences examining every aspect of Thompson’s life and writing it is extremely disturbing that none of it has been given over to an orthodox criticism of his work both in politics and history. It would appear that an orthodox Marxist critique of his work is still a taboo subject and has been largely airbrushed out of history. Given the current climate of hostility to genuine Marxism in academia this is not a major surprise. For the sake of balance and the historical record and more importantly historical truth an orthodox Marxist position should be given space in future books on Thompson.

Like Scott Hamilton’s recent book[3]this is not an orthodox biography of E P Thompson. It would seem that Thompson spent most of his academic career distancing himself from his life inside the British Communist Party. His criticism of Stalinism was not however from an orthodox Marxist position instead he advocated what he said was a “socialist humanism” approach. Thompson at an early age rejected the classical Marxism represented by Leon Trotsky despite later breaking with Stalinism it is clear that Thompsons ’subsequent historical and political writings to a lesser extent were still imbued with Stalinist influences.

While the Communist Party of Britain did attract a large number of excellent historians this was still a very bad training school and E P Thompson never entirely abandoned all that he learnt there.An orthodox biography of Thompson is long overdue. The purpose of this review is to examine certain aspects of Thompson’s work mentioned in the book. Therefore the chapters discussed will not flow in numerical order.

To begin with in Chapter 8 Michael Newman discusses what is perhaps the most important period in Thompson’s life both from the standpoint of his political and historical development.
                                                
Thompson and the early new left.

From 1956 it is clear that the crisis that developed within world Stalinism over Khrushchev’s semi-secret denunciation of some of Stalin’s crimes had a profound effect on Thompson and other historians that were around or in the Communist party Historians group.

Newman is correct to point out that with the development of Khrushchev‘s speech the crisis of the Communist Party brought about a realignment in radical politics. Thompson’s answer was to reject a path towards Orthodox Marxism represented by the Fourth International, he instead created the first New Reasoner and later the New Left Review (NLR).

I do not agree with Newman when he describes the NLR as an “Internationally renowned organ of Marxist scholarship” Thompson adoption of “socialist humanism” ran counter to everything orthodox Marxists stood for.

For the orthodox Marxists or Trotskyists in the Fourth International which was led in Britain by Gerry Healy of the Socialist Labour League (SLL) the crisis within the British Communist party was an opportunity to insist on the counter revolutionary nature of Stalinism. Healy went on an offensive in order to win the most important cadre from the breakup of the Communist Party. Those figures who had not been entirely corrupted by the years of lies and calumny of the Stalinist regimes throughout the world were won to orthodox or classical Marxism. Cliff Slaughter, Tom Kemp and Peter Fryer to name but a few.

Suffice to say Thompson was not one of them despite Newman’s attempt to portray Thompson as being at the centre of a “Marxist revival”. Marxists inside the SLL were hostile to the New Reasoner’s politics but were open to a debate. In an article from Labour Review October –November 1959 Healy was mindful of the sharp polemics that Thompson had been involved in and sought in his article called - The New left Must Look  to the Working Class to open a debate with Thompson and his supporters.

Having said that Healy did not mince his words, when he said “What strikes one immediately on reading E P Thompson’s article is that he entirely omits the working class; consequently there is no attempt to analyse the relationship between the left of today and the working class. One would imagine that the New Left had just arrived and existed in a world of its own. The opposite of course is the case. The New Left is not just a grouping of people around a number of new ideas that they have developed independently. This new development on the left reflects a particular phase in the development of the crisis of capitalism, which for socialists is the crisis of the working class movement. Like movements among intellectuals and students in the past, the recent emergence of the new left is the advance warning of a resurgence of the working class as an active political force in Britain. The crisis which is the basis of such action finds its first reflection in the battle of ideas”

From the early years of Thompson’s magazine New Reasoner it was clear that he was not intending to have a debate with the Trotskyists. Despite Healy trying to have cordial relations with Thompson and his supporters it became increasingly clear that Thompson did not see the Trotskyist’s around Healy as being a part of the working class. Healy’s response was to say that “Comrade Thompson seems to have cast away all the luggage, he was equipped with in the Communist Party except-one soiled old suitcase labelled anti-Trotskyism”. Thompson’s response to the SLL was to accuse it of factionalism. An epithet I might add that has been levelled at the Trotskyist movement throughout its history.

At the same time that Healy sought to clarify the issues involved in the crisis of world Stalinism Pseudo Left groups such as the Socialist Workers Party started to muddy the water and sought to argue that despite Khrushchev’s speech there was “a process of self-reform” going on and that under the pressure from the working class Stalinism would move in a revolutionary direction.

Thompson would get a warmer reception from groups such as the British SWP who broke from the Fourth International in the early 1940s. The SWP also sought to profit from the crisis in world Stalinism. The New Left was courted by the SWP and some of its leaders spoke at numerous SWP events. The SWP has for the last 50 or so years sought to give these emigrants from Stalinism a left cover and justified their reformist-nationalist adaptation and orientation.

According to SWP member David Mcnally E P Thompson, “was the greatest Marxist historian of the English speaking world and had a “political commitment to freeing Marxism from the terrible distortions of Stalinism, a commitment which originated in the battles of 1956 within the official Communist movement”[4].

Thompson founded the New Reasoner 1957 along with historian John Saville. The group was made up of ex- and current members of the CPGB, a varied group of middle class elements which left the Fourth International, members of the Labour Party. The group was characterised by its opposition to the orthodox Marxists represented by the Fourth International.

Thompson and socialist humanism

Thompson was avowedly hostile to an international revolutionary perspective and sought to imbue his new publication with an “English Marxist” tradition. As Kate Soper outlines in chapter 6 Thompson rejected orthodox Marxism and in its stead he offered up a form utopian socialism entitled socialist humanism. In order to distance himself from orthodox Marxism he entered into a series of reckless, stage-managed and convoluted polemics against a series of academics, intellectuals who in one form or another had been mistakenly labelled Marxists.

It is not in the realm of this review to go into detail Thompson’s polemics but an evaluation of Thompson’s socialist humanism is overdue.  Firstly it must be said that this theory has nothing to do with Marxism.  Thompson’s critique of Stalinism had as one writer said a “certain sense of vagueness”. To Thompson Trotskyism was just another “variant of Stalinism”.

Despite McNally’s glorification of Thompson he makes an interesting point when he pointed out that Thompson had a “The lackadaisical attitude toward scientific rigour.  'For all its moral and political fervour, there was something remarkably imprecise about his attack on Stalinism. Thompson described his as a 'moral critique of Stalinism' - and there is much to be said for that.

Whatever its limitations, revolutionary socialists can only applaud a critique which refuses to countenance slave labour camps, show trials, mass murder, a police state regime of lies and crimes against human rights, as authentic forms of socialism. But alongside the vigour of moral denunciation one needs a clear analysis of the nature of the regimes at issue. At no time did Thompson offer the latter.”

At no stage of his chequered history did Thompson and his friends in the New Left advocate the need to build a Leninist type party. To do so would as Thompson believed would lead directly back to Stalinism. The New Left specifically rejected Lenin’s theory of the vanguard party, which was blamed for the development of Stalinism. On this matter Thompson invited a former  Stalinist turned Labour Party bureaucrat Eric Heffer to write an article in the New Reasoner in 1959,  Heffer’s views fitted in nicely with Thompsons when he wrote that  “The ‘Vanguard corresponded to a given historical need but is not essential today: in fact, it is a definite hindrance”.

E.P. Thompson and his New Left Review colleagues sought to imbue every article he wrote with the spirit of a new “humanist” version of Marxism. As Julie Hyland  points out “In the ensuing decades it acted as a meeting place for Stalinist-influenced historians and other academics and members of the pseudo-left groups such as the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. Its various authors offered a combined advocacy of Western Marxist philosophies, the Frankfurt school, French structuralism, Maoism, anarchism, post-modernism, and sundry other petty bourgeois theories of student radicalism.[5]

The possibilities of Theory-Thompson’s Marxist History

As Theodore Koditschek writes Thompson began a “lifelong engagement with the politics of socialism and Marxism”. It should be clear that Thompson’s Marxist had nothing to do with the “dogmas of orthodox Marxism as Koditschek puts it... “Class rather Classes is an extremely misleading phrase.

Thompson’s rejection of a historical materialist method in examining historical phenomena underpins his most famous work the making of the English working Class. The book is deeply flawed in the absence of any materialist understanding of the development of the working class.

Despite the popularity of the book Thompson’s methodology has caused great damage. His use of the history from below genre is now being revitalized by a growing section of historians, and radical groups such as the British Socialist Workers Party.

History from below or people’s history genre has become increasingly popular during the current social, economic and political turmoil caused by the latest crisis facing the capitalist system. It is not to say that this genre does not have its merit. Books that are written well can add to our understanding of complicated historical events or processes.

But books and more precisely the historians who have written essays using the methodology either underestimate or deliberately leave out not only the origins of this type of history but the politics of such history writing. 

Perhaps the most damaging aspect of the genre is its disdain for an understanding of the role consciousness plays in history. To be more precise how that consciousness comes about. It is one thing to rescue the working class from history it is another to understand not only where it came from but how and where it get its ideas from.

Stuart Hall who collaborated with Thompson on the New left project writing in NLR in 2010, shared Thompson’s downplaying of the need for historical materialist understanding when it came to the origins of the working class.  “We had a deep conviction that against the economism of the Stalinist, Trotskyist and Labourist left alike, socialism was a conscious democratic movement and socialists were made, not born or given by the inevitable laws of history or the objective processes of the mode of production alone”.[6]

If historians writing about Thompson had bothered to read what Karl Marx had actually wrote on this subject then perhaps Thompson would no longer be labelled a Marxist historian so freely. Writing the German Ideology Marx and Engels had this to say.

[7]The production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, the language of real life. Conceiving, thinking, the mental intercourse of men, appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behaviour. The same applies to mental production as expressed in the language of politics, laws, morality, religion, metaphysics, etc., of a people. Men are the producers of their conceptions, ideas, etc. – real, active men, as they are conditioned by a definite development of their productive forces and of the intercourse corresponding to these, up to its furthest forms. Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence, and the existence of men is their actual life-process. If in all ideology men and their circumstances appear upside-down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life-process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their physical life-process.

In direct contrast to German philosophy which descends from heaven to earth, here we ascend from earth to heaven. That is to say, we do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life-process we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life-process. The phantoms formed in the human brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life-process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material premises. Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life. In the first method of approach the starting-point is consciousness taken as the living individual; in the second method, which conforms to real life, it is the real living individuals themselves, and consciousness is considered solely as their consciousness. This method of approach is not devoid of premises. It starts out from the real premises and does not abandon them for a moment. Its premises are men, not in any fantastic isolation and rigidity, but in their actual, empirically perceptible process of development under definite conditions. As soon as this active life-process is described, history ceases to be a collection of dead facts as it is with the empiricists (themselves still abstract), or an imagined activity of imagined subjects, as with the idealists.

Thompson also had a tendency to romanticise the working class which in turn led to his glorification of spontaneity. He himself admitted to having a very empirical outlook. Historians even those who have criticized him have done so in the belief that he was a Marxist. This lose description has done enormous damage.

Nina Power’s chapter examines Thompson’s conception of Class. The making of the English working Class “was a highly influential work which contributed significantly to a revolution in the way history was studied, not only in Britain but in many countries. Instead of viewing history solely in terms of kings, courtiers, aristocrats and politicians, historians began to consider the perspective of the common people”.

“Edward Thompson’s masterful The Making of the English Working Class (1963), has had an undoubtedly positive effect on historiography, the pressures of academic specialization have also led to the production of an awful lot of dross”.

When you cut through the hyperbole written about Thompson’s conception of class in The Making it is clear that Thompson and others were hostile to the conception that socialism is based on the working class.

As Paul Bond puts it His “Marxism” was an ideology purpose-built to meet the requirements of the “left” petty-bourgeoisie, discontented, looking for “space”, but tied by a thousand strings to the existing order. [8]

It is extremely difficult in this short review of the above book to estimate Thompson’s politics and historical preferences, let alone his place in history. He is a historian worth reading and his books will be read by future generations looking for answers to complex political and historical problems of our day. I would recommend that E. P Thompson and English Radicalism gets a wide audience and does gives us a limited but ultimately closer approximation of the historian and his work. This review has at times taken on the role of a polemic against Thompson but this is only in so much that he is routinely labelled a Marxist when in reality he was closer to Hegel than he was to Marx. My wish in the future when other essays are being prepared that an orthodox Marxist is allowed to put his or hers viewpoint.





[2] John Rule in his Biography of E P Thompson for the Oxford Dictionary of national biography http://www.oxforddnb.com/templates/article.jsp?articleid=40259&back=
[3] The Crisis of Theory: E.P. Thompson, The New Left, and Post-war British Politics
Scott Hamilton Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2011, ISBN: 9780719084355; 288pp.; Price: £60.00
[4] E P Thompson: class struggle and historical materialism by D Mcnally Issue 61 of INTERNATIONAL SOCIALISM JOURNAL Published Winter 1993 Copyright © International Socialism
[5] Embittered row between UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and Daily Mail over his father Ralph
By Julie Hyland 2013- http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/10/08/mili-o08.html
[6] Stuart Hall Life and times of the first New Left  NLR 2010,
[7] The German Ideology https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/
[8] Cultural theorist Stuart Hall (1932-2014): A political career dedicated to opposing Marxism
By Paul Bond 5 March 2014 http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/03/05/hall-m05.html