Correspondence on Michael Sturza’s The London Revolution 1640-1643: Class Struggles in 17th Century England

(As this critique of my review of Michael Sturza’s The London Revolution 1640-1643: Class Struggles in 17th Century England[1] is in the public domain I will publish it here and will reply to Sturza’s article which first appeared on Academia.EU at a later date.)

Christopher Thompson uses Livesey’s favourable but somewhat misleading review of my book to launch an anti-Marxist diatribe rejecting the idea that social class analysis could possibly be credible. His flat denial of Revisionism’s compatibility with Thatcherism, “This contention is completely untenable,” is spoken like a true Revisionist and illustrates why he and I are mostly talking past each other.

It is not clear that Thompson has read my book. He simply repeats tired claims that various bourgeois historians have “proved” the case against Christopher Hill and Marxism. Thompson is right on one point at least: Hill did try to answer his Revisionist critics. It is Livesey who falsely ascribed to me the claim that he didn’t. But Hill was unable to effectively defend the Marxist viewpoint due to the flaw in his analysis. This left him vulnerable to attacks by Revisionists, who took prodigious advantage of Hill’s weakness to deny any revolution that ever took place in England.

The actual history of the period proves otherwise, despite Thompson’s offhand dismissal that “mob activities and riots were much less important than figures like Hill or Manning, or Sturza supposed.” One might ask whether the the fall of the Bastille, and the further role of the Sansculottes in the French Revolution, were also of such little import. After all, Paris was not all of France. Such attempts by bourgeois conservatives and Revisionists to deprecate mass action of the oppressed, and write social revolution out of history, are the signpost of their reactionary bias. Thompson is not the first to assert that because Christopher Hill made errors, Marxist class analysis is thereby invalidated. Readers of my book can decide for themselves.

[1]See my review at 

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