New Left Review 61

The NLR was born in 1960, a product of the "New Left" that emerged in Britain in the late 1950s, after Suez and the Soviet invasion of Hungary.

It celebrates its 50th birthday with a special issue that offers, among other treasures, an essay by the cultural theorist Stuart Hall on the "Life and Times of the First New Left". Hall sketches a lively portrait of the political ecology that sustained the periodical in its early days - a confluence of "communist humanism" and a native "independent socialist tradition".

After a palace coup delivered control of the journal to Perry Anderson in 1962, the Review's focus shifted towards the Continent (and to theoretical traditions largely unknown in this country), where it has remained ever since. Anderson's contribution to this issue compares the Russian and Chinese Revolutions. It is also a useful warning to those on the left who might be tempted to take refuge in "Sinomania", and demonstrates the virtues of "unintoxicated comparison".

New Left Review 61
Jan/Feb 2010
New Left Review, 232pp, £7

Jonathan Derbyshire is Managing Editor of Prospect. He was formerly Culture Editor of the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 15 February 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Everything you know about Islam is wrong