New Labour and Post-Fordist Ideology: Inherent Contradictions?(Commentary) by Arena Journal

New Labour and Post-Fordist Ideology: Inherent Contradictions?(Commentary)

By Arena Journal

  • Publication Date: 2005-01-01
  • Genre: Religion & Spirituality

Book Synopsis

'We have abandoned ideology. We simply do what works.' New Labour has made a virtue out of regularly claiming that it has no ideological or philosophical agenda. It has forsaken the politics of the redistributive Left and given the appearance of having deserted the centralizing policies of post-war Labourism. Supposedly, it now solves problems without the burden of 'first principles', philosophical aim or predetermined outcome. Supposedly, its foggy 'third way' does not favour Left over Right or the weak over the powerful. We all know better than that, though, don't we? New Labour does have an ideology; it has simply stopped talking about it. But then post-Fordist managerialism does not have quite the same ring as 'To each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities'. Towards the end of the Left's desperate decade of the 1980s, the magazine Marxism Today launched what it called its New Times Project. (1) Contributing academics pondered the collapse of traditional social solidarity and the rise of a consumer-driven politics of identity. Principal among these were Robin Murray's article on 'Fordism and Post-Fordism' and Stuart Hall's 'The Meaning of The New Times'. These arguments suggested that changes in the way western production systems organized us as social beings were the driving factors behind these cultural shifts. We were no longer uniformly working in mass industries, imbibing mass culture, observing the same hours or taking our leisure en masse. Post-Fordism was viewed as a break with the fixed social relationships and homogenizing conformity of the past; the Left should seize its possibilities.

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