Subcultural Conflict and Working-class Community
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At the height of the ‘battle for 144’, I used to escape from time to time to Westminster Library, or the reading room of the British Museum, to try to get my bearings as far away as possible from the maddening crowds. On one of these intellectual expeditions I came across Louis Althusser’s Pour Marx, still then (in 1969) untranslated. Even though my French was not brilliant and I had to struggle to grasp some of its more intricate arguments, I still remember the sense of liberation I got from its cool dispassionate thinking; for someone who had taken Marcuse and the Great Refusal all too literally, and had followed the exhortations of Debord, and the French situationists, ‘to at last create a situation in which there is no turning back’ Althusser’s counter-injunction to make an ‘episte-mological break’ from such heady Hegelian dialectics came as a breath of fresh air.
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