A battle between cultures

For socialism’s enemies the answers were as plain as a bread queue but for socialists it had always been more complicated than that. Socialism represented a possibility, a better way, an ideal that was necessarily compromised by the prevalence, in fact the very existence, of capitalism.

What socialism amounted to at the beginning of the Eighties in Europe, and particularly in Britain, was a tangled knot of disparate ideas. There was traditional labourism, with its male-dominated unions and paternalist outlook. There were the hard-core revolutionaries and the Soviet sympathisers, the Trotskyists and the Stalinists. There was also the post-1968 New Left, which was more socially permissive, emphasising individual liberty in matters like sex and sexuality, and the well-meaning social reformers, who took an almost Christian line on crime and social deprivation. There was the devolved, anti-statist position that saw civic institutions as inherently ominous and...

Den här innehållet är en del av Axess+.

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