The Chronology of Revolution: Communism, Culture, and Civil Society in Twentieth-Century Britain
Based on a decade of research in over twenty archives, The Chronology of Revolution is an accessible and richly detailed work of historical and cultural analysis that fixes its gaze on the legacy of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). Communists anticipated that the party, formed in the world's first industrialized nation, would be in the vanguard of world revolution. Instead, the party never came close to matching the political power of the British Labour Party or continental Communist Parties in France or Italy and dissolved itself in 1991.
In this book, Ben Harker draws on the ideas of Antonio Gramsci to argue that the CPGB, despite having great influence over British culture, never fully appreciated the importance of civil society to its political strength. Analysing party members’ efforts in fields such as science, journalism, the arts, broadcasting, and education, The Chronology of Revolution offers an alternative, radical history of Britain between 1920 and 1991 that draws out important lessons for the contemporary Left.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 376 pages
- Illustrations: 20
- Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.1in x 9.3in
"Sympathetically, knowledgably, clearheadedly – Ben Harker guides us through the vanished world of British Communism, where it was once possible to imagine a world differently ordered from now. Critically astute, yet avowedly recuperative, he asks us to think again about the enabling agency of the party, the shifting boundaries of the political, and the salience of cultural politics in an early twenty-first-century capitalist society."
Geoff Eley, University of Michigan
"The Chronology of Revolution highlights the evolving tensions between the cultural creativity that took place under the umbrella of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the party’s consistent inability to acknowledge and productively incorporate these countercurrents. Not only does Ben Harker offer a superbly researched and documented account of the whole span of the CPGB’s history, he also unearths a counterfactual set of directions that the party might have pursued, suggestively sketching an alternative history that remained sadly unrealized."
Tyrus Miller, University of California, Irvine
Author InformationBen Harker is a senior lecturer in twentieth-century literature at the University of Manchester.
Table of contents
1. The Chronology of Revolution
2. Constructive Communists
3. The British Road to Socialism
4. The Struggle for Renewal
5. The Spectre of Eurocommunism
Subjects and Courses