George Walford: Beyond Politics / An Outline of Systematic Ideology

Beyond Politics by George Walford

London: Calabria Press 1990. 190 pages.

‘Ideology’ used to indicate something causing false consciousness in other parties while the speaker’s movement remained free of its baneful influence.  Now that is changing; politicians are beginning to speak of their own party as having an ideology.  Beyond Politics shows that this change has not yet gone far enough, for the influence extends beyond political parties and movements.  In all our social activities, whether playing with the children, practicing a trade or profession, fighting a war, cooking, shopping or fox-hunting, we act within a pattern set by one of the major ideologies.  These do not stand as it were side-by-side, and they do not simply conflict with each other; they form a system.  Hence the name of the approach used in this book: systematic ideology.It is coming to be accepted, even by the political parties themselves, that each of them has a particular set of ideas, values and assumptions, a distinctive ideology.  usually seen as something the party adopts to help it reach its objectives, the ideology turns out on closer inspection to be that which gives the party its identity and the reason for its existence.  Each party works to put its ideology into practice. Rather than the ideology serving the party, the party serves the ideology.  In medicine too, and in warfare, education, science, industry, commerce, religion, law and philosophy, in fact in all social activites, we work to put our ideology into practice, trying to bring the world and our circumstances into agreement with our set of beliefs, values and assumptions.

This raises questions: How do these sets, these ideologies, arise?  How do they come to be what they are?  Why are there more than one?  How to they stand to each other?  Shall we have to rekon with them in future?  Will they always continue as they are?

Starting with the parties and their policies, Beyond Politics goes on to trace the influence of ideology in the history of society and in some of the main fields of social activity outside party policies.  It shows how the major ideologies arise and how they come to be what they are; it looks at some of the ways in which they interact and tries to work out what we can reasonably expect from them in future.

“[This] theory is one of the most important and interesting in its field… its solution to the problem of the point of view from which one discusses ideology is embedded within the theory itself… written lucidly” – Dr. Zvi Lamm, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“The lucid, witty style is a delight in itself. And it makes you think” – Freedom, the Anarchist Fortnightly.

“The clarity of Walford’s prose and the logic of his explanation of systematic ideology provide an excellent foundation for further exploration.” – Thelma J. Shinn, State University of Arizona.

“The most readable expressions of systematic ideology are probably Walford’s book Beyond Politics, published in 1990, and the pamphlet Socialist Understanding, published ten years earlier.” – The Socialist Party of Great Britain.

Continue reading Beyond Politics by George Walford (1990):
Preface | Introduction | Politics as Ideology | The British Political Series | The World Political Series | From Politics to Ideology | Ideology Beyond Politics | The Beginnings | From Village to Empire | After The Empires | The Eidodynamic | The Origins of Ideologies | The Evolution of Ideology | Conclusion | Appendices | Notes & References | Select Bibliography | Index | Synopsis

See also:

  1. Review by George Hay, October 1990.
  2. Review by The Scientific and Medical Newsletter, circa 1990.
  3. Review by DR, November 1990.
  4. Review by Ailsa Pain, November 1990.
  5.  Review by John Rowan, November / December 1990.
  6. Review by Thelma Shinn, February 1991.
  7. Beyond Ideology? by J. M. Alventosa Ferri, March 1991.
  8. Review by Charles Sprague, March 1991.
  9. Review by Julia Stapleton, July 1991.
  10. Review by Lev Chernyi, May 1992.
  11. Review by Bulletin of Anarchist Research, August 1991.
  12. Review by Jason McQuin, August 1992.
  13. Review by Martin Stuart-Fox, October 1993.
  14. Review by Ken Smith, February 1993.
  15. Review by Jonathan Simcock, May 1993.
  16. George Walford, Ideology, Marxism and the SPGB by David McDonagh, 2000.
  17. Changing Anarchism: Anarchist Theory and Practice in a Global Age edited by Jonathan Purkis and James Bowen, 2004.
  18. Getting Splinters by the Socialist Party of Great Britain, June 2004.
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