By Paul Blackledge, Neil Davidson (editors)
Even if Alasdair MacIntyre is better recognized this day because the writer of "After advantage" (1981), he used to be, within the Fifties and Sixties, the most erudite contributors of Britain's Marxist Left: being a militant inside, first, the Communist celebration, after which the hot Left.
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Additional info for Alasdair MacIntyre's Engagement with Marxism: Selected Writings 1953-1974 (Historical Materialism Book Series)
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.
Therefore, while MacIntyre agreed with much of the substance of Slaughter’s arguments, he felt that Slaughter’s ‘polemical and sectarian style’ was mistaken, for it acted to create a barrier between the SLL and all that was positive within the New Left. ‘The most important thing about the New Left’, he argued, ‘is that it exists’. ’. On the basis of a generally positive answer to this question, MacIntyre concluded his internal critique of the SLL leadership with the argument that ‘the relationship of Marxists to the New Left ought not to be one merely negative and critical but one which is continually looking for those points of growth in its theory that can lead on to common political action’.
98 The ‘light’ through which MacIntyre made this assertion, included a dismissal of the potential of proletarian practice to underpin a realistic socialist movement, and the consequent belief that socialist activists, of whatever variety, were doomed to attempt, forlornly, to impose their ideas onto such unpromising material from the top down. This in no sense meant that MacIntyre made his peace with capitalism. Thus, in the New Statesman in 1968, he argued that it was both a right and a duty to campaign against the war crimes being perpetrated by the Americans in Vietnam.