Liberalism and critical Marxism: a reply to Glasman and Rutherford
In this reply to Maurice Glasman and Jonathan Rutherford’s response to the authors’ earlier critical comparison of Corbynism and Blue Labour, the authors clarify and further develop three core components of the original critique, covering, respectively, (1) identity politics and identity liberalism; (2) agonism and abstraction; and (3) Marxism and liberalism. First, the authors reconceptualise the forms of left identity politics and ‘identity liberalism’ criticised by Glasman and Rutherford as struggles ‘in and against’ identification, the fluidity of which is not found in the forms of national belonging prioritised by Blue Labour. Second, the authors suggest that there is an absence of any notion of mediation in the agonistic mode of politics espoused by Glasman and Rutherford, and that this precludes an accurate conceptualisation of capitalism as a global system of abstract and indirect social domination to which a simple restoration of national or popular sovereignty around issues such as Brexit and immigration poses no solution. Third, the authors clarify the claim that the liberal centre must be pessimistically defended at a time of its crisis, drawing upon the ‘articles of reconciliation’ between Marxism and liberalism proposed in the work of the late Norman Geras.
KeywordsBlue Labour Corbynism Marxism Liberalism Populism Identity politics
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