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Capitalism and Theory: Selected Writings of Michael Kidron

The essential writings of one of the most significant Marxist thinkers of recent decades, collected in one volume for the first time

An inspiring speaker and brilliantly sophisticated theorist, Michael Kidron was a leading figure in the International Socialist tradition from the 1950s until his death in 2003. Never satisfied with merely restating the assumed tenets of Marxism, Kidron insisted that theory must evolve alongside a changing world &mdash an iconoclastic orientation which led him to clash with others on the left, including the British Communist Party and, later, the Socialist Workers Party itself under the leadership of Kidron's long-time comrade Tony Cliff. This undoctrinaire commitment to theoretical openness was also evident in Kidron's period as an editor with Pluto Books in the 1970s and 1980s, when the publisher became a crucial forum for developing socialist ideas and bringing them to a wider audience.

 

Selected Writings collects a number of Kidron's most important essays: 'Reform and Revolution' offers a critique of post-war social democracy, written several decades before its collapse into neoliberalism; 'The Permanent Arms Economy' succinctly lays out what is perhaps Kidron's best-known theoretical contribution; 'Black Reformism' both provides an analysis of the imperialism of Kidron's day, and attacks the then-common assumption that Third World revolutions opened a road to world socialism. In recognition of Kidron's commitment to constantly re-examining theory, this volume also includes his 1977 essay 'Two Insights Don't Make a Theory', in which he criticises and updates his own earlier work in light of historical developments.

 

Edited and introduced by Richard Kuper, who worked alongside Kidron at Pluto, this volume is the best introduction to one of the most original Marxist thinkers of recent times.

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Reviews
  • "Of course the revival of a ‘new’ Marxism has been ongoing almost from the start. Michael Kidron was one of the finest practitioners of such thinking, and his wide-ranging writing is now collected together in a new volume Capitalism and Theory."
    Philosophy Football

    "Running through Kidron’s work was his belief that socialism was based on working class people liberating themselves and running society; and that socialists had to look for the points where struggle could be stoked and encouraged."
    Socialist Review

    "It is timely, given the present-day marginalisation of the far left in the UK, that Haymarket Books has published some of Mike Kidron’s more illuminating essays and contributions to debates dating from a period when the far left was represented by the stark choices of Stalinism, left reformism or ‘orthodox’ Trotskyism." ."
    rs21