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Radhika Desai, Intellectuals and Socialism, 1994

Radhika Desai , Intellectuals and Socialism : ‘Social Democrats’ and the Labour Party, Lawrence & Wishart, Londres, 1994, vi + 217 pages, ISBN : 0-85315-795-2.
Disponible librement en ligne : radhikadesai.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/intellectuals-and-socialism-1994.pdf. (Ce PDF est de bonne qualité visuelle. Malheureusement, si on veut en copier du texte pour le citer, ce texte ne vient pas d’un état pré-presse du livre, mais d’une reconnaissance de caractères imparfaite. Il faut corriger.)

Acknowledgements → vi

… … July 1994

1. Introduction → 1

Intellectuals and Socialism → 2
Labour’s lntellectuals → 3
The 1981 Split in the Labour Party → 5

2. Intellectuals in Ideology and Hegemony → 12

Analyse fine des concepts d’hégémonie et d’intellectuel chez Gramsci, expliquant aussi pourquoi et comment ces concepts ont souvent été mal compris.

Hegemony and its Functions → 13
Organic and Traditional Intellectuals in Gramsci → 15
Analysing Traditional Intellectuals in Politics → 20
Traditional Intellectuals and Socialism → 23

3. Intellectuals and the Labour Party: An Historical Perspective → 34

Challenge to Unintellectualism → 36
Institutional Consolidation of Modern British Culture → 39
Liberals and Social Democrats → 45
Intellectuals Move to Labour → 49
British Intellectuals and the Slump → 54
Emergence of Parliamentary Socialism → 57

4. Charting the Future of Post-War Socialism → 65

Both as phrase and phenomenon, ‘revisionism’ has always carried an aura of infamy, at least among more ‘orthodox’ socialist intellectuals : it was a retreat from socialist goals and ambitions, a comfortable compromise with the status quo within capitalism and an acceptance of the limits of parliamentary democracy. Despite obvious differences between the Marxism of continental social democracy and British Labour’s unintellectual Labourism, there were certainly interesting parallels with the classical revisionism of Eduard Bernstein in the Second International. Both arose at a time of relative prosperity, when dire predictions of inevitable immiseration were hard to sustain. Significant headway had also been made by the respective working-class movements in securing better material conditions and political reforms. In such a context, revisionism was based on the successes of reformism and on faith in the political pliability of the liberal state for socialist purposes. And in both cases the revisionists were accused of renouncing socialism by narrowing its vision.

Page 66.
British Culture and Politics at Mid-Century → 67
The Cultural Restoration → 68

L’histoire de l’Angleterre est marquée par l’éternel retour de la séduction aristocratique. Ceux qui ne sont pas nés dans l’aristocratie veulent être de la gentry ou du moins la singer.

The expansion of the universities had indeed provided room for a more sizeable (‘sociological’ — and therefore necessarily pro-Labour) intellectual contingent to emerge. The political wing of this new generation of intellectuals found smooth paths to the top echelons of the Labour Party, principally in the Parliamentary Labour Party. However while not exemplary of the restoration, they could not entirely escape its wider cultural influences.

One of these, which is less paradoxical than it seems, was the reassertion of the ‘aristocratic-gentry’ culture of the British ruling classes after the war. This, Edward Shils claims, happened all the more easily in that the rebellion of the literary intellectuals in the inter-war period had been directed more against bourgeois culture than against its historically more powerful aristocratic-gentry counterpart. Already, then, the former had appeared ‘mean and paltry’. Now the hegemonic aristocratic-gentry culture cultivated in the central universities and the higher civil service shared in the general vindication of British society which came with victory in the war ; and its indolent style of self-conscious impracticality and amateurism seemed even more invulnerable.

Page 69.
The Socialist Impasse → 70
The Revisionist Generation → 72

This much larger group of intellectuals changed the composition of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) significantly. Until the Second World War, despite the crucial input of intellectuals into its politics and platform, the PLP largely reflected Labour’s trade union roots in the overwhelmingly working-class and trade union origins of its MPs. However, in the post-war period a greater tolerance, indeed welcome, for a sizeable intellectual or professional middle class element was apparent.

Page 74.
The Development of Revisionism: 1951-1956 → 78
Revisionism’s Intellectual Resources → 80
Journals and Institutions of Revisionism → 83
Revisionism in the Affluent Society → 86
The Underlying Assumptions → 93

5. The Revisionist Struggle for Hegemony → 99

6. Origins of the 1981 Split: Common Market and Industrial Strategy → 127

7. The Dénouement → 164

8. Conclusion → 182

Appendix B.4.11.1 Bibliography → 195

Appendix B.4.11.2 Index → 214