‘You’re a Marxist, aren’t you?’ This question would be difficult but not too difficult to answer, if only it ever got asked. But what happens instead of a question is, in my experience, something rather different. There is a kind of flat labelling with this term ‘Marxist’, which became increasingly common during the 1960s and is now a matter of course. I find, looking into my own experience, that I get described as a Marxist here and there in all sorts of contexts and with all sorts of implications. I looked myself up once in the Anatomy of Britain and found myself described as ‘the Marxist Professor of Communications’ and I thought: ‘well, I’m not a professor, I don’t teach communications; I don’t know whether the first term of the description would be more or less accurate than the others.’ Then again, I mix a good deal in what is known in the orthodox press as the extreme left, which is now composed of many different and in some senses competing organisations. There one very common tactic of argument is to say that somebody is ‘not a Marxist’, in much the flat way that is used from the other side. Or there is the formulation which has become very familiar (almost as familiar as that famous one from between the wars, ‘it is no accident that … ’): the flat announcement that ‘this position has nothing in common with Marxism’. Inside the militant socialist organisations, the revolutionary socialist organisations, you hear this kind of argument all the time. People say it to each other about positions which, from the outside, get the one flat label ‘Marxist’.