Utopian socialism

Tom Condit tomcondit at igc.apc.org
Mon Jul 3 22:25:44 MDT 1995

I'm going to sign off the list for a couple of weeks, so that
reading the posts doesn't keep me from finishing up last minute
tasks and packing, or even actually going on vacation.

I wanted to share a book reference on the question of utopian
socialism.  Naturally, it's out of print.  (I've often thought
that it would be great to have a magazine called _The Review of
Out-of-Print Books_, where people could write about books they
actually liked, rather than just the new ones they were assigned
to or felt they had to respond to.  Of course, you might not get
a lot of publisher's ads to support it.)  Even more naturally,
I've lent my copy to someone who hasn't returned it, so the
reference won't even be precise.

The anarchist writer Marie-Louise Berneri wrote a book published
by Freedom Press in London in the early 1950s called _Journey to
Utopia_.  It's a critique of the authoritarian tendencies in
utopian socialism, very well done.

(Berneri's opposition to authoritarianism was visceral as well as
theoretical.  She came from an Italian anarchist family and grew
up in exile after the fascists took power.  She went through the
Spanish civil war as a teenager, and her father Camillo Berneri
was murdered by a Communist Party death squad during the
Barcelona May Days of 1937.  Then she was part of a group of
anarchists put on trial under the Defence of the Realm Act in
"democratic" Britain for opposing World War II.  This sort of
thing _will_ give you a jaundiced view of authority figures.)

Tom Condit

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