Political Action, Context and Conjuncture

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

Concerned to remedy the ‘state of severe disarray’ that immobilises the left in advanced capitalist countries, Howard Chodos and Colin Hay set out to inquire into ‘the organisational conditions that are necessary to the radical transformation of capitalism'. This disarray is expressed in the drift of social-democratic parties in the wake of the neoliberal mainstream, the inability of a fragmented and disappearing radical Left to orient either itself or spontaneous resistance to the global neoliberal agenda, and the failure of the ‘new’ social movements as a vehicle of ‘broader social transformation'. Against this background of fragmentation, dispersal and division, the authors spell out their central contention: the idea that ‘there is a distinctively creative component to politics', as the claim that organisation in general and the political party in particular provide the necessary context for the actualisation of ‘belief-dependent emergent capacities'. Fulfilling a ‘multi-dimensional mediating function', the party provides ‘an indispensable context in which we can define who we are and what we stand for', a locus for the definition of commonalities, and hence it constitutes a basis for strategic action.

Historical Materialism

Research in Critical Marxist Theory

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