Edited by J.R. McMichael and Barbara Taft
The English Revolution continues to grip the imagination of the political left. First there were the Levellers, and no speech of Tony Benn or Peter Hain at one time seemed complete without a reference to their historic role in creating the Labour Party. Then there were the Ranters, although they may have blown their chances by not existing. There were also the Clubmen ideologically neutral but perhaps the nearest we got in the seventeenth century to a Peasants' Revolt. But pride of place in the revolutionary pantheon went to the Diggers notoriously overlooked by Marx and Engels but whose leader, Winstanley, would be found in 1973 in a Pelican Classics series alongside Burke, Hume, Mill and others. Those were the heady days when one's students went off in the Long Vac to set up their own communes in imitation of their seventeenth-century master.