Hilary Wainwright: dangerous revisionist

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Wed Jul 12 14:12:19 MDT 1995


At 2:16 PM 7/12/95, Louis N Proyect wrote:

>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.

It's ironic, then, that the Greater London Council was abolished by
Thatcher, a great fan of Hayek, making London the only major city in the
world with effectively no local government (if I remember my factoids
right). So much for the withering of the state, left and right wing
variants.

I thought the GLC was once thought of as the best that could be done
against a hostile national government. Has history now been rewritten to
favor the local over the national as a matter of preference rather than
necessity?

Doug

--

Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at panix.com]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
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