By Anthony Butler
'A significant contribution to the rethinking of the socialist venture. The research is obvious and profound and identifies the dilemmas but in addition the possibility of modern socialism.' - Andrew Gamble, Professor of Politics, collage of Sheffield This comparative and theoretical account of the background and customers of socialism in Western Europe characterises socialist political thought as transformative. Socialists counterpose target social appraisal, corresponding to the speculation of capitalism, to implausibly formidable brokers of swap - the proletariat or the interventionist nation. This framework of study generates a comparative account of eu socialist events and their attitudes to overseas associations - in particular the ecu Union - and indicates a beneficial analysis for the way forward for socialism.
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Extra resources for Transformative Politics: The Future of Socialism in Western Europe
If socialist consciousness is what makes the revolution happen from the perspective of agency, and if social conditions make its development possible rather than automatically producing it, then the only political strategy is to realise the possibility of that development. Once the disjunction between abstract and actual is admitted, nothing remains to tie the abstract Working Class down to its empirical referent and it becomes an endlessly manipulable concept. If what it is in theory to be the proletariat is disconnected from the reality of a proletariat, then what is 'proletarian' is no longer subject to any real constraints.
Most importantly, however, he identified the agent that was to bring about transformation. These elements reinforced each other. 18 A theory of capitalism and its working class offers just a dispassionate window on to historical causality. Critique without a theory of structure and agency is mere wishful thinking. This explains why the flaws in each related element were overlooked in the interests of a wider theoretical unity. The key integrating element is the theory of capitalism and the objectification of social life.
8 The unity of a class, and its historical role, however, cannot be read off from a catalogue of misery. 9 Marx's Hegelian assumptions shaped his investigation of existing working communities, rather than vice versa. 'For the young Marx', as Gorz has put it, 'it was not the existence of a revolutionary proletariat that justified his theory. 10 This manifestation of latency has continued to shape discussions of class consciousness and experience up to today. 12 Though the factory regime initially drew mostly on women and children from workhouses, its extension to independent producers created an antagonism with sovereign labour.