From International Socialism, No.27, Winter 1966/67, p.7.
Transcribed & marked up by by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
My attack on George Rawick’s review was not occasioned by hysteria, churlishness, antipathy to Marxism, hatred of Edward Thompson or fear of the working class: indeed, as a bourgeois intellectual, I would be delighted if I really thought that the ‘revolutionary situation’ in which the English working class finds itself in 1966 were a threat to my throat. I objected to Rawick’s apparent insensitivity to historical distinction: 1790-1832 or 1750-1832 is not a point designed to prove my pedantic accuracy, but Rawick’s insensitivity to historical periods. I think his dismissal of the other evidence in the cost-of-living controversy is churlish and I think few historians will conclude that Thompson ‘destroyed the opposition.’ Indeed, it might be noticed that I strongly support Thompson’s evidence for a deterioration in the quality of life.
Finally, I would have thought that any structural Marxist analysis of France and England in 1785 would have concluded that revolution was less likely to occur in England. Both Rawick and I think that Edward Thompson has written a great book. I think he is a poor historian, he thinks I am a poor socialist and a scarcely-concealed class enemy. There is no point in arguing further, but we both agree all socialists should read the book.
Last updated on 20.12.2007