It is time to junk the cheap and facile propaganda that socialism is reducible to Stalinist depredations. In Ralph Miliband’s own anti-Stalinist understanding, socialism was about “the wholesale transformation of the social order” by giving ordinary people control over the economic system, fully democratising a political system in which ordinary citizens feel disenfranchised and helpless, and ensuring “a drastic levelling out of social inequality”.
Thing is, the British lefty intelligentsia never really has understood that it is markets which provide exactly that democratisation. We all get to vote on everything by our very actions. And the reason they don’t get it is, I’m sure, partly because Marx himself was deeply, deeply, wrong about markets and also that there’s a definite air of aristocratic disdain in said intelligentsia. Markets are just too close to trade, d’ye see?