The Lost Literature of Socialism

Friday, June 19, 2009
Posted in category Uncategorized

Another great email from Charles “anarchteacher” Burris on the foundations of socialism. He writes:

I would like to call your attention to a virtually unknown little book, The Lost Literature of Socialism, by George Watson, Fellow in English at St. John’s College, Cambridge and editor of the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature.

As the publishers explain on the back of this book: “In this hard-hitting and controversial new book, the author examines the foundation texts of socialism to find out what they really say… and the result is blasphemy against its canon of saints. This study, the first review of socialist literature since 1945, reveals how closely socialism was linked to conservative, racist, and genocidal ideas. As a literary critic the author’s concern is to pay a due respect to the works of the founding fathers of socialism, to attend to what they say rather than to what their modern disciples wish they had said. The book forces the reader to abandon long-standing assumptions in political thought, enabling a genuine debate to be revived.”

In this brilliant work examining the foundation texts of socialism, Watson provides a powerful indictment of their reactionary, racist and genocidal ideas. There is a direct line from Marx and Engels to Hitler and the Holocaust; to Lenin and Stalin and the liquidation of the Kulaks and the extermination of the Ukrainians; to Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald and Auschwitz, and to Kolima, Vorkuta and Karaganda.

What distinguishes “socialism,” the political/economic ideology, and its ideological twin, “sociology,” the social science, are their common inheritance and origins from backward, reactionary ideas (anti-individualism, collectivism, anti-capitalism) and thinkers (Hegel, Comte, Bonald, de Maistre, Southey, Saint-Simon). Scholars such the sociologist Leon Branson, The Political Context of Sociology, and Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek, The Counter-Revolution of Science, have thoroughly traced and documented this non-liberal lineage. These horrific ideas were explicitly formulated and conceived against those of classical liberalism, individualism, and free market (laissez-faire) capitalism. But today, according to established authorities in academia and the media, they are the height of “progressive” thought.

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