The Emergence of the ‘New Thinkers’
By the Labour Party Conference of 1952 a body of opinion had grown up within the Party which felt that a reappraisal of the relevance of democratic socialism to the economic, political and social problems facing the nation was needed. This group also tried to define the philosophical base upon which some of its practical policy proposals were founded, and because many of its views were moderate and ‘revisionist’ in nature this reappraisal was considered by many as a justification and intellectual rationalisation of the right-wing social democratic position. Testimony to this was the attack made on the new thinkers by Aneurin Bevan, who had himself in 1952 attempted a similar analysis of Socialism’s future in his book In Place of Fear
on 13 June 1952:
The second danger to which we shall be exposed comes from what may be called the Fresh Thinkers…. Perhaps a better term would be Socialist Revisionists. These are people who want to substitute novel remedies for the struggle for power in the state. They suggest that an extension of public ownership is an oldfashioned and outmoded idea.2
KeywordsForeign Policy Public Ownership Political Freedom Socialist Commentary Labour Party
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