Cultural Marxism in Postwar Britain: History, the New Left, by Dennis Dworkin

By Dennis Dworkin

In this highbrow background of British cultural Marxism, Dennis Dworkin explores the most influential our bodies of latest idea. Tracing its improvement from beginnings in postwar Britain, via its a number of differences within the Sixties and Seventies, to the emergence of British cultural reviews at Birmingham, and as much as the arrival of Thatcherism, Dworkin indicates this background to be one among a coherent highbrow culture, a practice that represents an implicit and particular theoretical attempt to solve the quandary of the postwar British Left.
Limited to neither a unmarried self-discipline nor a specific highbrow determine, this booklet comprehensively perspectives British cultural Marxism when it comes to the discussion among historians and the originators of cultural stories and in its courting to the recent left and feminist hobbies. From the contributions of Eric Hobsbawm, Christopher Hill, Rodney Hilton, Sheila Rowbotham, Catherine corridor, and E. P. Thompson to these of Perry Anderson, Barbara Taylor, Raymond Williams, Dick Hebdige, and Stuart corridor, Dworkin examines the debates over problems with tradition and society, constitution and employer, adventure and beliefs, and idea and perform. the increase, loss of life, and reorganization of journals similar to The Reasoner, The New Reasoner, Universities and Left Review, New Left Review, Past and Present, also are a part of the background instructed during this quantity. In each example, the point of interest of Dworkin’s recognition is the highbrow paintings obvious in its political context. Cultural Marxism in Postwar Britain captures the thrill and dedication that a couple of iteration of historians, literary critics, artwork historians, philosophers, and cultural theorists have felt approximately an unorthodox and important culture of Marxist theory.

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38 But the situation of Marxist historians had changed since the project’s conception. As a conse­ quence of the 1956 crisis, many of them resigned from the Party, and the Historians’ Group disintegrated. There was a void in their lives. In the early 1950s the situation was different. They might have wanted to be part of a Popular Front coalition, but only one L o s t R ig h ts 21 that, at least in a broad sense, would be under their direction. ” 39 During the Cold War years Marxist historians felt beleaguered, defensive, and isolated.

In this context, Marxist historians saw the historical process as being shaped by both social structure and human volition. Such ideas did not jell until the 1960s and 1 970s, but they existed in a less developed form in the earlier people’s history and historical studies o f literature. In 1956-57 most of the leading participants in the Historians’ Group left the British CP in protest over the Soviet invasion of Hungary and their own Party’s unwillingness to reform itself. In contrast to intellectuals who had left the Party at earlier pivotal points, they remained committed Marxists who did not reject the revolutionary tradition in which British Communists claimed to be a part.

In opposition to those who viewed feudal­ ism as a system o f interlocking obligations within the noble class and those who saw it as a self-sufficient natural economy, Dobb perceived it as a mode o f production founded on class relations. Under feudal conditions the producers controlled their own means o f production and subsistence but were forced by extraeconomic means o f coercion—arms, custom, and law—to give most o f their surplus—either in labor or goods—to the ruling class. Dobb’s explanation for the decline o f feudalism followed from his understanding o f its structural foundation.

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