February 13, 2009

THE SAMENESS IS MOST OBVIOUS FROM WITHOUT:

Q&A Martin Jacques (New Statesman, 13 February 2009)

Marxism Today was extremely influential in its time and was associated with three fundamental propositions. One was that it recognised from 1977 onwards the novelty of Thatcherism, that it was a new kind of phenomenon. Most thought that it was just a rawer form of Toryism: they were wrong. It was new. The term Thatcherism was first coined in January 1979 in an essay by Stuart Hall in Marxism Today.

Second proposition. At that time the great majority on the left thought the labour movement was on the rise and believed that the march of progress was inevitable - that history was on their side. Our proposition was that the labour movement was in decline. We contradicted the conventional wisdom. In fact, the left was on the eve of the most fierce decline and its executioner was Thatcherism.

Third proposition. In 1988 we produced an edition called New Times which argued the world had been through a profound change with globalisation and post-Fordism. Thatcherism's historic achievement had been to recognise that process and to claim it for the right. At that time, the left hadn't even really clocked the changes, alas.

Although we closed the magazine in 1991, we produced a special one-off edition in 1998. On the cover was: Blair Wrong. It was our assessment of New Labour. Some had claimed that Blair was in some way a product of Marxism Today. Certainly he recognised the changes that had taken place such as globalisation. But rather than seeking a different kind of response to them he simply acquiesced in Thatcherism: that acquiescence was the defining characteristic of New Labour.


And of the New Democrats.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 13, 2009 7:37 AM
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