Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Geoff Eley: Writing in Opposition

Adventures in Historical Materialism has done us all a faour by geting permission to post Geoff Eley's 2005 article from Labor History, 'Writing in Opposition'. Link here.

Key quote:
"To put this in a nutshell: there are no parties any more to join. Or at least, there are no national movements of the Left any more with the kind of social and cultural reach – the organized machineries of identification that can build collective and continuous contexts of action and thought – that might be capable of drawing Left intellectuals into their circumference, whether as fully paid-up members, critical supporters, or independent interlocutors."

Is this true? The British SWP still seems to attract a certain number of intellectuals - 'organic intellectuals', but also academics - partly reflecting the expansion of academia in recent decades. But does Eley have something broader in mind, or is the SWP automatically excluded on the grounds that it is 'sectarian'? Interestingly Eley makes a point about how little reviewed his Forging Democracy was, but one place that did give it serious attention from an important intellectual of the left (Colin Barker) was the SWP's ISJ, and they used their web-site to give Eley the space to reply.


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