The Left

Marxism Yesterday

There’s not usually any reason to bother reading the utter drivel Martin Jacques produces these days but I’m glad I scanned through his latest effort today because at the foot of the page there is a link to the new online archive of the entire back catalogue of Marxism Today from 1980 till the end in 1991.

If you were part of the British left during that period there will be plenty of interest there.

Jacques has a rather immodest take on the magazine he edited and I had a particular chuckle at this:

If the 1990s was, true to the idiom of New Labour, characterised by fad and fashion, Marxism Today was quite the opposite: it was a magazine of profound political and intellectual substance.

I’d say that, not for the first time, Jacques has that exactly the wrong way round. While the Marxism Today crowd of CP affiliated ‘intellectuals’ drifted off into irrelevant think-tanks, pointless areas of academia and some of the most unreadable journalism of the nineties (just think Charles Leadbetter), it was MT’s readers in the Labour Party who got on with the political substance – you know finally winning elections, getting power and improving the country, all that kind of boring stuff.

And if you glance through a lot of the MT material, particularly the later stuff, that is hardly surprising. While Labour got on with the hard business of modernising and dealing with the far-left, Jacques and co were waffling about the cafe society and turning into a proto-type of the Guardian’s G2 section.

Anyway, good to have all this stuff online, I think a few nights are going to be lost in the MT archives. The 1991 Tony Blair on Socialism tonight…..

Update: The archives have been made avaliable by the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust. The Trust has also supported the online archiving of the New Reasoner and University and Left Review as well as pamphlets from the Socialist History Society. You can find all those archives via this page.