Introduction to Remembering E.P. Thompson | Solidarity

Introduction to Remembering E.P. Thompson

— The Editors

THE CLASSIC WORK of Edward P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, 1780-1832, viewed the violent transformation brought by the Industrial Revolution as it was experienced from below, in the lives of people being formed into a modern working class.

Too often considered solely as the product of an objective economic process that produced “progress” despite the attendant difficulties, in Thompson’#8221;s view, this working class needed to be understood as an agent of its own formation and coming to consciousness. Creatively and controversially, Thompson’#8221;s work developed this theme in ways that shaped a new generation of left and labor historians.

On the 50th anniversary of this book, Against the Current asked a number of historians to briefly assess Thompson’#8221;s work, its legacy and its impact on their own lives and careers. The first of these responses — Paul Buhle, Bruce Levine, Bryan Palmer and Ellen Meiksins Wood — appeared in our previous issue. We continue here with contributions by Barbara Winslow and Rafael Bernabe. The final installment will appear in ATC 168.

November/December 2013, ATC 167