Chris Harman


From the editor

(October 1981)

From Socialist Review, No. 36, 17 October–14 November 1981: 9, pp. 9–10.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

This is the twentieth issue of Socialist Review produced by the present editorial team. We like to think we haven’t done a bad job of it. SWP members in particular seem to like the Review and sales have risen about 20 per cent in 18 months. However, we feel that there remains one weakness in the Review. We have done very well in analysing the news and, in recent months, developing the Industrial Discussion section. We have not been nearly as successful in dealing with ideas, particularly with Marxist ideas. Yet this is especially important at a time when the low level of working class struggle is leading all sorts of people to move away from these.

So we are starting in this issue three new occasional series – Books Are Weapons, What’s in a Word and Inside View. The first attempts to explain the significance of and the background to Marxist classics. Those relatively new to socialism often do not come across such works, and when they do are often put off by some of the historical detail they contain (How many people, for instance, know what the 18th Brumaire was?)

The second series attempts a similar job with some of the words which are used in political circles, much to the bewilderment of new comers. We start with ‘lumpenproletariat’, but for the future hope to deal with other words such as ‘Keynesianism’ and ‘dialectics’.

Inside View aims to present the experiences of people who have worked inside some of the institutions of capitalist society. We start with the Navy – but the series could just as easily deal with the police, the BBC, a sex shop or a mental hospital.

One final point. The limited success we have enjoyed so far would not have been possible without the many unsolicited articles we get sent from readers. Some of the best things we have printed – like the article on Lothian in the last issue or on the Lumpenproletariat in this – have simply turned up, unexpected, in the post. The new series will not work unless our readers write.

Send articles for possible inclusion to Socialist Review Editorial, PO Box 82, London E2. The deadline for any issue is the third Thursday of the month before. Please type articles if you can (although we realise this is not always possible), treble spaced – and try to keep a copy for yourself, since occasionally items get lost in the post.

Chris Harman

Last updated on 5 October 2019