English Socialists a Generation Ago

English Socialists a Generation Ago

For individuals of a certain age and experience, Elizabeth Durbin’s sympathetic but clear-headed exploration of the British Labour party’s attempt in the 1930s to define a program at once intellectually coherent and politically appealing recalls their own groping for a non-Stalinist, democratic socialist alternative to American capitalism. When as a 1939 Columbia College sophomore I entered the New Republic essay contest for undergraduates, the title of my earnest piece was “Toward a Democratic Socialism.” It won honorable mention—rather better than socialism has fared in the real world of electoral politics.

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Lima