Not Put Off by Detours

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EH Carr was a liberal critic of capitalism who nevertheless had a good appreciation of the Marxist view of history. Nowhere was this clearer than in his recently republished classic, 'What is History?'

I agree with Paul McGarr (January SR) when he says that Carr's belief in an uncomplicated progression in history can jar somewhat. However, I think we need to understand that while defeats and detours in the class struggle mean there is no straightforward progress in history, the big picture is still one of progress. There have been setbacks for socialists in recent times as well as a number of possibilities of advance. It is worth recalling that Carr maintained his belief in progress in history in the face of the Nazi Holocaust. We need to do the same.

Keith Flett
North London