Hilary Wainwright: dangerous revisionist

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Wed Jul 12 12:16:27 MDT 1995


Louis Proyect:

A while back, in the Nation Magazine, there was a review of Hilary
Wainwright's "Arguments for a New Left" by Jeremy Brecher, a writer
from the South End Press stable of Green/Anarchists. Hilary
Wainwright was a senior staff member of the Greater London Council
in the 1980's.

Wainwright, according to Brecher, "endorses the Old Left's pursuit of
equality and a socialized economy but is highly critical of its statist
orientation." In the course of working with Eastern European
dissidents, Wainwright began to take Friedrich Von Hayek's "moral
and philosophical notions" seriously. The dissidents were impressed
with Von Hayek's critique of the "social engineering state."

Wainwright's "New Leftism" relies on non-state institutions such as
cooperatives, civic organizations and social movements that project
themselves into politics such as the German Greens.

What I find interesting is how a number of themes intersect in
Wainwright's work (and, by implication, Brecher's uncritical review).
You have a synthesis of postmodernism (Lyotard's questioning of the
role of the state), Greenish localism, enfatuation with cooperatives and
other "socialist" pockets within bourgeois society, Hayekian anti-
Marxism all within the general rubric of New Leftism.

I'm going to read this worthless book and trash it publicly in this list.

Louis Proyect


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