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Publication - Dr Harry Pitts

    Corbynism’s conveyor belt of ideas

    Postcapitalism and the politics of social reproduction


    Pitts, FH & Dinerstein, AC, 2017, ‘Corbynism’s conveyor belt of ideas: Postcapitalism and the politics of social reproduction’. Capital and Class, vol 41., pp. 423-434


    In this reflection, we assess the theoretical faultline running through the contested current of Corbynist thought and politics at present. On one hand, we find a techno-utopian strand obsessed with automation and the end of work. On the other, a nascent politics of social reproduction with a foreshortened potential to realise the promise of a continental-style solidarity economics in the UK. Both represent the latest in a series of left attempts to confront the crisis of social democracy that rages across Europe, a crisis to which the British Labour Party has not been alone in succumbing. Deindustrialisation collapsed labour's role in everyday life, and a crisis in the society of work eventually passed over into its representative party’s electoral decline. Subsequent financial crisis and subsequent austerity has only made things worse. A poverty of ideas prevails that all sides of social democracy’s unsteady compromise seek desperately to solve. However, the recent UK General Election shows evidence that Corbynism has renewed Labour’s fortunes to some extent. Surveying the competing intellectual currents behind its rise, we suggest that the politics of social reproduction offer a better route forward for the Labour Party than the popular siren call of postcapitalism, and reflect on what the recent general election result suggests for their future development.

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