Draft translation from our central review in French “Communisme” N°30, January 1990.
The purpose of this essay is clearly stated: to defend British labour movements against what E. P. Thompson was later to call 'the enormous condescension of posterity'; and, one might add, against ideologists of our own times. It was first published in 1952 in the first issue of a historical journal that had been recently founded by the author and a group of friends, and is still published, Past & Present
This text was distributed at the beginning of 1998 in Hornsey, North London, in an area where a regeneration project was being proposed by the council, a project which directly threatened the quality of life of the author, who was living 100 metres from the supermarket area to be developed. After a couple of years or so, the supermarket aspect of the project was abandoned, though it's impossible to say whether the distribution of this text played a small part in the abandonment or not (probably not). It is followed by a text on looting and shops produced as part of the text "Miner Conflicts - Major Contradictions" in July 1984.
Photo: Safeways burning during the Watts riot of 1965.