Stefan Collini in The Guardian:
New Left Review at 50: no balloons, of course, and definitely no party games. The very idea of “celebration” smacks of consumerist pseudo-optimism. Mere chronology is, after all, an untheorised concept. We should see it as not so much an anniversary, more an over-determined conjuncture.
It is hard not to be intimidated by New Left Review. At times, the journal can seem like an elaborate contrivance for making us feel inadequate. One’s relation to it conjugates as an irregular verb: I wish I knew more about industrialisation in China; you ought to have a better grasp of Brenner’s analysis of global turbulence; he, she, or it needs to understand the significance of community-based activism in Latin America. For many Guardian readers (and others), the journal functions like a kind of older brother whom we look up to – more serious, better informed, better travelled, stronger, irreplaceable. Well, maybe a tiny bit solemn at times (we could draw lots for who gets the job of telling Perry Anderson to lighten up), and perhaps when we were out of touch for longish stretches, life seemed a bit easier. But then we meet up and it’s a case of respect at first sight, all over again.