By Paul Blackledge, Neil Davidson (editors)

Even supposing Alasdair MacIntyre is better identified this day because the writer of "After advantage" (1981), he used to be, within the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, probably the most erudite participants of Britain's Marxist Left: being a militant inside, first, the Communist occasion, after which the recent Left.

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Additional info for Alasdair MacIntyre's Engagement with Marxism: Selected Writings 1953-1974 (Historical Materialism Book Series)

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77 On this issue, MacIntyre seemed to take a middle way between Kidron and Collins; arguing that the role of the permanent arms economy was significant, but that this did not negate the importance of human agency in the transition from pre- to post-war capitalism. He suggested that post-war capitalism had been transformed by the ‘conscious, intelligent innovation’ of the bourgeoisie and its representatives: ‘If capitalists had behaved in the forties and fifties as they did in the twenties the apparently mechanical laws of the economy would have issued in slump.

84 This left a gaping hole at the centre of his political theory. 85 By contrast with these models, MacIntyre’s one-sided stress on the spontaneous movement of the working class, while inadequate in any period of struggle, was doubly so in periods such as the 1960s, when workers’ struggles remained sectional and did not to point in any obvious way towards socialism. The tension created between the optimism of Socialisme ou Barbarie’s spontaneist-humanist interpretation of Marxism, and MacIntyre’s pessimistic assessment of the concrete content of sectional struggles on the part of the working class, was eventually resolved when MacIntyre broke with Marxism.

68–70. 74 In his ‘Labour Policy and Capitalist Planning’, MacIntyre strongly criticised those socialists who were moving to support Wilson for mistaking his neo-capitalist technocratic strategy as a progressive or even socialistic project. MacIntyre’s rejection of the identification of socialism with statism in the West presupposed IS’s critique of the socialist credentials of the Stalinist states in the East. While this perspective helped immunise him against the Wilsonite bug, he was equally wary of the abstractly theoretical practice of the new New Left Review.

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