By David Selbourne

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Additional info for Against Socialist Illusion: A Radical Argument

Sample text

Among them, for instance, is the fact that right-wing 'anti-statism', in the name of 'freedom of the individual', is not automatically seen by working people as an alibi for the unleashing upon them of exploitative forms of ruling-class The Appeal ofthe Right 39 licence- even if socialists are perfectly justified in fearing it as a consequence. More damaging still to socialist, and in particular collectivist, versions of the politics offreedom is that, historically, the very core of radical working-class libertarianism has been essentially conservative.

In the special case of Britain - special because leading the capitalist world in the scale of its industrial reversal-local socialist failure to understand its own industrial history and culture does not even permit it to grasp the most obvious of its ideological problems. The close political and moral relation between the 'self-interest' of capital and the 'self-help' oflabour is only one of them. Failing to understand it permits very little understanding of the particular forms of the socialist crisis in Britain.

Moreover, that wealth has rights which are denied to poverty, and that money gives access to other men's labour, can be simply evaded - however cynically - under the very rubric of freedom. And if left protest is pressed, the worldly-wise maxim that in life the rough must be taken with the smooth can always, and still does, come to the rescue. The doctrine of individual self-development, even at its noblest, may be utterly blind to oppression; 'free' systems may depend on the most stringent control of economic and political behaviour; monopoly may be the necessary outcome of competition.

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