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Politics First

José Harris, 19 April 1984

The Chartists 
by Dorothy Thompson.
Temple Smith, 399 pp., £19.50, February 1984, 0 85117 229 6
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Languages of Class: Studies in English Working-Class History 1832-1982 
by Gareth Stedman Jones.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £22.50, January 1984, 0 521 25648 8
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Class Power and State Power 
by Ralph Miliband.
Verso, 310 pp., £18.50, March 1984, 0 86091 073 3
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... perhaps prematurely in view of the fact that the patient is by no means dead. Like Stedman Jones, Ralph Miliband in Class Power and State Power makes such an autopsy the culminating piece of a collection of essays written over a period of more than a decade. The volume begins with a paper on Marx’s theory of the state, which helpfully reminds us that ...

Socialism without Socialism

Peter Jenkins, 20 March 1986

Socialist Register 1985/86: Social Democracy and After 
edited by Ralph Miliband, John Saville, Marcel Liebman and Leo Panitch.
Merlin, 489 pp., £15, February 1986, 9780850363395
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... Chief exponent of this view, the keeper of the fundamentalist tablets, is the veteran Marxist Ralph Miliband, one of the editors of the Socialist Review since its inception in 1956 as part of the ferment which surrounded the 20th Party Congress of the Soviet Union and the quelling of the Budapest uprising. ...

Short Cuts

Rory Scothorne: Under New Management, 13 August 2020

... found a utopian slogan for it: ‘Under the pavement, the beach.’ ‘But this is inaccurate,’ Ralph Miliband reflected eight years later. ‘Under the pavement, there are the sewers.’ The Labour Party spent four and a half years looking for a beach under the street. Now they are in the sewers. In April, a leaked report into the handling of ...

The Red and the Green

Raymond Williams, 3 February 1983

Socialism and Survival 
by Rudolf Bahro, translated by David Fernbach.
Heretic Books, 160 pp., £6.95, December 1982, 9780946097029
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Capitalist Democracy in Britain 
by Ralph Miliband.
Oxford, 76 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 19 827445 9
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Socialist Register 1982 
edited by Martin Eve and David Musson.
Merlin, 314 pp., £8.50, November 1982, 9780850362923
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... but this may prove at least as difficult as Bahro’s policy of a more general public conversion. Ralph Miliband’s incisive essay on capitalist democracy in Britain will be read as a challenge to more orthodox arguments. ‘Capitalist’ is still a term which only the hard Right can live with, as socialist intellectuals and militants now use ...

Gospel Truth

Ian Aitken: Tony Benn and the end of parliamentary socialism, 19 February 1998

The End of Parliamentary Socialism 
by Leo Panitch and Colin Leys.
Verso, 341 pp., £40, September 1997, 1 85984 109 0
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... approach to the matter can be gauged from the fact that they dedicate their work to the memory of Ralph Miliband – a Marxist (though non-Communist) theoretician who had very little time for the Labour Party as an instrument of socialism and was dismissive of Parliament as a viable means of reaching the promised land – and also by the names they list ...

Bring on the hypnotist

Neal Ascherson, 12 March 1992

After the Fall: The Failure of Communism and the Future of Socialism 
edited by Robin Blackburn.
Verso, 327 pp., £32.95, November 1991, 0 86091 540 9
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... any new demands. The only demands are those of 1848, which have remained unfulfilled until now.’ Ralph Miliband, by contrast, opens with a conventional explanation to the effect that Communism turned vicious because it became a development creed in backward countries (yes, but then why was Czechoslovak Communism so much more cruel and repressive than ...
... the question of ‘the relative autonomy of the political’. Take Laski’s pupil and disciple, Ralph Miliband. He argued in his Parliamentary Socialism (1961) that the original socialism of the Labour Party (a dubious historical proposition) was fatally compromised by attempting to work through the conventions of Parliament, while in The State in ...

Whatever Made Him

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The Bauman Dichotomy, 10 September 2020

Bauman: A Biography 
by Izabela Wagner.
Polity, 510 pp., £25, June, 978 1 5095 2686 4
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... befriended them, lectured in Warsaw and had his works translated into Polish. Another friend was Ralph Miliband of the LSE – Bauman’s near contemporary, born in a Polish-Jewish socialist family in Brussels and, like Bauman, a former member of the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement. In 1957 and 1958, with a grant from the Ford Foundation and help from ...

In Praise of Middle Government

Ian Gilmour, 12 July 1990

Liberalisms. Essays in Political Philosophy 
by John Gray.
Routledge, 273 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 415 00744 5
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The Voice of Liberal Learning: Michael Oakeshott on Education 
edited by Timothy Fuller.
Yale, 169 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04344 9
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The Political Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott 
by Paul Franco.
Yale, 277 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04686 3
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by Ted Honderich.
Hamish Hamilton, 255 pp., £16.99, June 1990, 0 241 12999 0
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... socialism which ignored Hugh Gaitskell, Anthony Crosland, and Douglas Jay, and relied instead upon Ralph Miliband, Ken Livingstone and Tony Benn. Honderich is only a little better-informed about past than about present Conservatives. Coleridge makes one fleeting appearance. Disraeli’s Vindication of the Constitution is cited, but only from ...

Family History

Miles Taylor: Tony Benn, 25 September 2003

Free at Last: Diaries 1991-2001 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 738 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 09 179352 1
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Free Radical: New Century Essays 
by Tony Benn.
Continuum, 246 pp., £9.95, May 2003, 9780826465962
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... sons of his friends and former colleagues are swimming with the New Labour tide: Edward and David Miliband, sons of his old friend Ralph; Charles Clarke, son of Benn’s former Permanent Secretary, and so on. Some of the most poignant moments come when the Millbank machine tries to whip in its oldest member, reducing him in ...

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali, 24 May 2018

... you compile “The Thoughts of Chairman Harold”? Just dig out the best quotes from him, and Ralph Steadman will illustrate them.’ So my first book was compiling all those wonderful anti-imperialist quotes from Wilson – I mean, quote after quote after quote. I still treasure that book. Wilson didn’t send troops to Vietnam, as he was under heavy ...

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