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British marxist history

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Chapter Summary

Given the undoubted importance of Thompson's contribution to radical history, this chapter concentrates on surveying the debates occasioned by his work. In 1935, Comintern General Secretary George Dimitrov noted that across Europe fascists were writing national historical myths through which they hoped to justify their contemporary political project. Against 'economistic' models of historical materialism, Thompson sought to re-emphasise human agency at the heart of his Marxism, and in particular to reaffirm the importance of ideas as the basis for action. This reinterpretation of Marxism allowed him to conceptualise both the rise of Stalinism and the revolt against it in 1956.

Keywords: British Marxist history; Marxism; Stalinism



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