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Book Review: 'The House the Left Built'

Disorderly house

'The House the Left Built: Inside Labour Policy Making 1970-1975', by Michael Hatfield, (Victor Gollancz, £8.50)

After its defeat in the 1970 General Election, the Labour Party set about formulating a set of policies to ensure its speedy return to power. It eventually produced what Hatfield calls “its most left wing programme in thirty years”, and his book aims to trace the process whereby these policies came to be adopted. As a study of the day-to-day exigencies of capitalist politics, The House the Left Built is mostly unilluminating. It does reveal the unprincipledness of Labour politics and the lack of democracy in the Labour Party, but it is hardly worth paying £8.50 to be reminded of this.

Book Review: 'Against the Market - Political Economy, Market Socialism and the Marxist Critique'

Against the Market?

'Against the Market: Political Economy, Market Socialism and the Marxist Critique', by David McNally. Verso. 1993

The title of this book is wrong. David McNally is not against the market. He is only against the regulation of the production and distribution of wealth by the free play of market forces. He goes out of his way to deny that he is suggesting "that markets can be eliminated overnight" and states that "the issue of contention, therefore, is not the use of market mechanisms within the framework of socialist planning". So, despite his repudiation of so-called "market socialism" as an absurd contradiction in terms he too is one, seeing "a continuing role for some market mechanisms within a socialist society".

Should the Workers Fight for Russia?

Before the Great War there were many workers in this and other countries who would have agreed without a moment’s hesitation that a working class movement should not support a capitalist war, and who, again without hesitation, rushed into the war when it came. This war, they said, was “different "; this was a “defensive” war; the workers must defend their homes, their wives, their liberties.

Socialism Means... Russia Was Never Socialist

It is our contention that Socialism has not been established at any time in any part of the world and that there is no basis for supporting the various regimes which claim to be socialist or advancing towards Socialism.

The oldest and most well-known of such regimes is that which governs Russia and, indirectly, a host of East European countries. This regime came to power with the so-called October Revolution at 1917, an event which was little more than a straightforward takeover by a well-organized minority group, the Bolsheviks, who have held political power to the present day. They have consistently claimed that the working class rules in Russia, in contrast to the capitalist west, a claim which we have treated with the contempt it deserves.

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