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New Left Review I/163, May-June 1987

Gavin Kitching

A Reply to Ellen Meiksins Wood

Ellen Meiksins Wood’s review of my book Rethinking Socialism, in her recently published Retreat from Class, and her synthetic remarks on my political views in the concluding chapter are sufficiently well constructed and argued to be plausible, especially to those who have not read my work. [1] Ellen Meiksins Wood, The Retreat from Class: A New ‘True’ Socialism, Verso, London 1986; Gavin Kitching, Rethinking Socialism: A Theory for a Better Practice, Methuen, London 1983. I am therefore grateful for this opportunity to reply briefly in the pages of New Left Review, on whose editorial committee she serves. I hope to show that her various criticisms, both general and specific, are fundamentally misconceived. But first I would like to outline, with the help of table one, some pertinent facts about the occupational and gender structure of the labour force in Britain, as well as the mean gross weekly earnings of manual and non-manual workers in the spring of 1984.

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