Alasdair MacIntyre’s Engagement with Marxism

Buy hardcover (Brill)
Published Nov 2016
ISBN: 9789004166219

Selected Writings 1953-1974

Edited and Introduced by Paul Blackledge and Neil Davidson

Although Alasdair MacIntyre is best known today as the author of After Virtue (1981), he was, in the 1950s and 1960s, one of the most erudite members of Britain’s Marxist Left: being a militant within, first, the Communist Party, then the New Left, and finally the heterodox Trotskyist International Socialism group. This selection of his essays on Marxism from that period aims to show that his youthful thought profoundly informed his mature ethics, and that, in the wake of the collapse of the state-capitalist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe, the powerful and optimistic revolutionary Marxist ethics of liberation he articulated in that period is arguably as salient to anti-capitalist activists today as it was half a century ago.

Biographical note

Paul Blackledge, D/Phil (1999) York, is the author of Perry Anderson, Marxism and the New Left (2004) and Reflections on the Marxist Theory of History (2006).

Neil Davidson is the author of The Origins of Scottish Nationhood (2000) and the Deutscher Prize winning Discovering the Scottish Revolution (2003).


Moral and ethical theorists, political philosophers and theorists, social and cultural theorists, historians of the New Left and Marxist theory, and anti-capitalist activists


Paul Blackledge and Neil Davidson have […] done a great service to the left in putting together Alasdair MacIntyre’s Engagement with Marxism.
Tyler Zimmer, in International Socialist Review no. 80 (2011) November-December.

Blackledge and Davidson have provided a real service in pulling them [the essays] together. They shed welcome light on a particular period of political activity, and on the particular place of Left intellectuals within it. They should certainly be read by students of MacIntyre, and those seeking a handle on the distinctiveness of his work.
Gideon Calder, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, 2 November 2010

Table of contents

Introduction: the Unknown Alasdair MacIntyre
A Note on Selection and Annotation
A Bibliography of Works by Alasdair MacIntyre, 1953–1974
1. Extracts from Marxism: An Interpretation
2. Marxist Tracts
3. On Not Misrepresenting Philosophy
4. The Algebra of the Revolution
5. Notes from the Moral Wilderness
6. Dr. Marx and Dr. Zhivago
7. Marcuse, Marxism and the Monolith
8. The Straw Man of the Age
9. The ‘New Left’
10. What is Marxist Theory For?
11. From MacDonald to Gaitskell
12. Communism and British Intellectuals
13. Freedom and Revolution
14. Breaking the Chains of Reason
15. Is a Neutralist Foreign Policy Possible?
16.The Man who Answered the Irish Question
17. Culture and Revolution
18. Marxists and Christians
19. Rejoinder to Left Reformism
20. Congo, Katanga and the UNO
21. Sartre as a Social Theorist
22. The Sleepwalking Society: Britain in the Sixties
23. Open Letter to a Right-Wing Young Socialist
24. The New Capitalism and the British Working Class
25. C. Wright Mills
26. Going into Europe
27. Prediction and Politics
28. True Voice
29. Trotsky in Exile
30. Labour Policy and Capitalist Planning
31. Marx
32. The Socialism of R.H. Tawney
33. Marxist Mask and Romantic Face: Lukács on Thomas Mann
34. Pascal and Marx: on Lucien Goldmann’s Hidden God
35. Recent Political Thought
36. Herbert Marcuse
37. How Not to Write About Stalin
38. How to Write About Lenin – and How Not To
39. The Strange Death of Social Democratic England
40. In Place of Harold Wilson?
41. Marxism of the Will
42. Mr Wilson’s Pragmatism
43. Tell Me Where You Stand on Kronstadt
44. Irish Mythologies
45. Sunningdale: a ‘Colonial’ Solution
46. Irish Confl icts and British Illusions
Epilogue. 1953, 1968, 1995: Three Perspectives