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A Party with Socialists in It

A Party with Socialists in It

Simon Hannah


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Book Details


** Guardian Politics Book of the Day**

For over a hundred years, the British Labour Party has been a bastion for working class organisation and struggle. However, has it ever truly been on the side of the workers? Where do its interests really lie? And can we rely on it to provide a barrier against right-wing forces? By looking into its history, this book shines a light on the internal dynamics of the 'party with socialists in it'.

From its origins in the late nineteenth century, the Labour Party was uncomfortably divided between a metropolitan liberal and a working class milieu, which characterises the party to this very day. This history guides us through the Bevanite movement and the celebrated government of Clement Attlee, to the emergence of a New Left that was highly sceptical of the Labour party during the Wilson era. It explores the move towards Blairism and the disheartening story of the decline of the Labour Left after their historic defeat in the 1980s.

With the emergence of socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party's fate rests in the balance. Will they reconcile their internal divisions or split into obscurity?

Published in partnership with the Left Book Club.
'This well-researched history could hardly be more relevant for the political moment we are living through and participating in'
Morning Star
'The rise to prominence of Jeremy Corbyn has made relevant again the history of the Labour Left from which he comes. But that history is not generally known. Simon Hannah has therefore done us a great service. At a very crucial time in British politics, his book helps us to fill in important gaps in our knowledge'
David Coates, author of Prolonged Labour: The Slow Birth of New Labour in Britain
'A welcome corrective ... This book astutely appraises British politics’ most frustrating but important dissident tradition'
Andy Beckett - Guardian
Left Foot Forward
'An invaluable account not just of the history of the Labour left but of the future prospects of the Corbyn leadership'
'Admirably clear-sighted'
George Eaton - New Statesman
'A well written and concise history of the Labour left from the party's inception through to the present day'
Workers' Liberty
'A well-timed explanation of the class contradictions at the root of the Labour Party from its creation to the present day'
Graham Bash, Labour Briefing
'This informative and thought-provoking historical account allows us to assess the Party's history, whilst acknowledging that the progressive movement inspired by Corbyn's leadership is something new and exciting'
Liz Davies, Labour Party Activist
'[A] valuable history ... Hannah has told a story here that we all need to know'

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cover
Contents v
Series Preface vii
Foreword - John McDonnell ix
Introduction xiii
1. Divided Beginnings 1
2. Second Time as Disaster 47
3. The Age of Consent 74
4. The Civil War 97
5. 'Though Cowards Flinch...' 122
6. The Broad Church Collapses 164
7. The Single Idea 198
7. The Corbyn Supremacy 215
Conclusion 240
Notes 243
Index 263