By David Selbourne
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Extra resources for Against Socialist Illusion: A Radical Argument
Thus, even where some Western socialists fight in the van of the struggle to defend civil liberties, and to control the abuse of individual freedom in their own and other societies, they do so in the name of an ultimate political purpose - socialism - about which there is increasing unease and no socialist agreement. Then again, socialist attempts to constrain the capitalist market in the pursuit of social justice are bedevilled, particularly among the working class, by the general equation of property-right with freedom.
Yet twenty years ago, just as this very tide was turning, even the Marxist left seemed to share Harold Wilson's illusions about the party he was leading. 1 that it was being enjoined to 'step ... into the void left by the perishing of the old order' something it seems in fact to be doing, though not in the way the author intended. ' 79 But then that was when manufacturing employment was at its peak, and socialist fortunes also. Both the 'white heat' ~f the Wilson prospect and Marxist ardours were at the same height of strenuous expectation, as capitalism appeared to prosper.
85 Moreover, the simple or naive idea ofworking-class agency86 in the transcendence ofWestern capitalism and militarism is what it always was: a utopian reduction of the actual enormity of the task of such transcendence to intellectually-manageable proportion. Indeed, if we look closely, we will see that the (essentially middle-class socialist) project for the overthrow of capital by labour is nothing more than the rhetorical reflection of the practical working-class role, within the division oflabour, ofdoing the dirty work.
Against Socialist Illusion: A Radical Argument by David Selbourne