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By Alasdair MacIntyre

Even if Alasdair MacIntyre is healthier recognized this present day because the writer of "After advantage" (1981), he was once, within the Fifties and Sixties, essentially the most erudite participants of Britain's Marxist Left: being a militant inside of, first, the Communist get together, after which the hot Left

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Indeed, given the validity of this claim, it was only logical for MacIntyre to conclude that ‘to assert oneself at the expense of the organisation in order to be free is to miss the fact that only within some organisational form can human freedom be embodied’. Moreover, as capitalism emasculates freedom, then to be free means to involve oneself in some organisation that challenges capitalist relations of production: ‘The topic of freedom is also the topic of revolution’. At this point, MacIntyre introduced a crucial mediating clause into his argument: while the working class through its struggles against capital might spontaneously generate emancipatory movements, it has proved incapable of spontaneously realising the potential of these struggles.

85 By contrast with these models, MacIntyre’s one-sided stress on the spontaneous movement of the working class, while inadequate in any period of struggle, was doubly so in periods such as the 1960s, when workers’ struggles remained sectional and did not to point in any obvious way towards socialism. The tension created between the optimism of Socialisme ou Barbarie’s spontaneist-humanist interpretation of Marxism, and MacIntyre’s pessimistic assessment of the concrete content of sectional struggles on the part of the working class, was eventually resolved when MacIntyre broke with Marxism.

In the short term, this did not lead MacIntyre to break with his wager on the proletariat. Rather, he concluded ‘Prediction and Politics’ with the argument that as the condition for the fall of capitalism was the growth in socialist class consciousness within the proletariat, and that as this growth was neither inevitable nor impossible, the prospects for socialism ‘depends upon us’ to make that change in consciousness. In ‘Labour Policy and Capitalist Planning’, he provided some meat to the bones of this suggestion, with the argument that socialists should aim to ‘recreate a political trade unionism out of the existing links between the Labour Party and the unions’.

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