‘Labourism’ and the New Left
in Interpreting the Labour Party

This chapter assesses the contribution made to the analysis of the Labour Party and labour history by thinkers of the British New Left. In part constituted in opposition to old left tendencies, including Labour, the British New Left took an independent, broadly Marxist, position. The chapter argues that New Left writers, influenced by a Milibandian perspective but also developing new ones, have made a useful and still relevant contribution to interpretations of labour. New Left critiques of labourism in fact represented and continued a strand of Marxist thinking on the party that can be traced back to its inception. Theodore Rothstein's analysis foreshadowed many of the criticisms of the Labour Party that were later to be made by New Left commentators. The major concern of Rothstein was with the weakness of revolutionary socialism in Britain.

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Interpreting the Labour Party

Approaches to Labour politics and history

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