by Michael Kidron, Edited by Richard Kuper
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.