First published in 1990. What had been left out of Left thought? What had allowed the Left to substitute nostalgia for programme and action, and to continue to address itself exclusively to labouring men, despite insistent demands for inclusion from others – notably women – who recognised themselves as belonging to the Left? What’s Left?, a feminist challenge to the male-dominated ideology of the Labour Party, took shape under the pressure of two crucial events: the third successive election defeat of Labour by the Conservative Party, and the death of Raymond Williams.
Swindells and Jardine analyse the difficulties the Left had including women in its account of class, to clarify general problems in British Left thought. They conclude that there was a serious and widely-perceived discrepancy between the Labour Party’s model of working-class consciousness and the experiences of the contemporary workforce as a whole. An important exploration of the intellectual history of the Labour Movement, What’s Left? looks critically at the Left from within the Left. It will be fascinating reading for students of cultural studies, history, politics and women’s studies.
Preface: May Polls and Morris Dancers; 1. Homage to Orwell: The Dream of a Common Culture and Other Minefields 2. ‘In a Voice Choking with Anger’: Arguments within English Marxism 3. Writing History with a Vengeance: Getting Good Marx with William Morris (and Jane’s Burden) 4. Talking Her Way Out of It: From Class History to Case History 5. ‘Who Speaks for History?’: The Left Historian and His Authentic Subject 6. Culture in the Working Classroom: ‘There’s No Place Like Home’; Postscript; Notes; Index