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H&P historians launch new book offering a fresh perspective on British labour history

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Alternatives to State-Socialism in Britain: Other Worlds of Labour in the Twentieth Century
(Palgrave Macmillan 2016)

Professor Peter Ackers and Dr Alastair Reid introduced their edited collection of essays challenging traditional narratives of twentieth century British labour history at a sold-out event last night at King’s College London.

The book’s essays explore neglected aspects of working class experience and political awareness over the twentieth century - including religious Nonconformity, self-organisation and left libertarianism - and shows how this diversity has been quashed by a narrative focussing on trade unions, nationalisation, class cohesion and secular state-socialism.

As both editors pointed out, this re-examination of Labour history comes at a critical point in the fortunes of the modern Labour party, which appears to be facing choices about its intellectual future.

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