Ralph Miliband

Ralph Miliband was a towering figure in post-war British Marxism who made major contributions to political sociology and history. Born in Belgium to Polish Jewish parents, he fled Nazism in 1940 and came to London, where he enrolled at the LSE and studied under Harold Laski, a period interrupted by three years of war service in the Royal Navy. After the war he became a leading figure in the New Left, gaining particular prominence with his book Parliamentary Socialism, which argued that the Labour Party was unable to overcome its attachment to British traditional institutions, a fact which significantly constrained its radicalism. His own sons David and Ed would, paradoxically, go on to become respectively a Labour Foreign Secretary and a Labour leader. He also made a significant contribution to Marxist state theory in his book The State in Capitalist Society. Polity has published his Socialism for a Sceptical Age.