From Tragedy to Revolution

Raymond Williams’ Relevance Today

From Planet 243

by Clare Davies

Clare Davies details the resonance of Williams’ life and work in pandemic-era Wales. She highlights Williams’ exploration of how everyday personal tragedy can transform into a revitalised sense of humanity and drive for social change; and how Welsh intellectuals can commit to this struggle.

Answering the unasked question, ‘You’re a Marxist, Aren’t You?’ Raymond Williams takes his readers on a tour of various ‘isms’, Marxism, Fabianism, Stalinism, moving onto a critical look at the state of the British Left in the twentieth century, before ending with some guiding words of hope for change. Of Marx, Williams writes how ‘very much alive’ Marx’s writings still seem to him in the 1970s.1 In this, his centenary year, how very much alive, and how necessary, Williams is to us. His relevance, and his resonance, remarkably evident in an era marked by increasing inequality, uncertainty over the future of the UK, and a ceaseless climate crisis; indeed, this last year alone has seen individuals and communities struggle to come to terms with loss and change on an unprecedented scale.

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