One Hundred Years of Socialism by Donald Sassoon

By Donald Sassoon

This re-creation of Donald Sassoon's magisterial heritage of the Left within the 20th century incorporates a great new advent by way of the writer. With particular authority and remarkable scholarship, Sassoon strains the fortunes of the political events of the left in Western Europe throughout 14 nations, protecting the fortunes of socialism from the increase of the Bolsheviks via global Wars to the revival of feminism and the arriving of 'green' politics.

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Facmillan, London 1974. , State, Econom), and SocieD' in JPCstern Europe 181Jr197f. A Data Handbook, Campus Verlag, Macmillan Press and St James Press, Frankfurt, London and Chicago 1987, Vol. 2, chapter 7. even if it had, improbably, survived. This is not to deny the important role the Swedish 'model' of socialism or the Cuban 'tTIodel' of communism have played in their respective geographical areas. The emergence of the SPD as the key party of the Second International was due to a unique combination of circutTIstances: the SPD operated in what was by then the strongest country in Europe, having more steel and more soldiers than Britain.

22 Other tendencies joined forces with it under the banner of the SFIO (Section Fran<;aise de l'Internationale Ouvriere). To the 'Guesde-style' Marxism, with its emphasis on the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist state, was added the French revolutionary tradition, with its pronounced distrust of organization, strong taste for direct democracy and virulent anti-cleticalism. 23 The outlook of the two main figures of the new socialist party, Guesde and Jean Jaures, differed sharply in many respects, though, like many French socialists, they had both come to politics through the ranks of free-thinking (and Freemason) radicalism.

Italian socialism, however, did produce a notable thinker, Antonio Labriola. But his influence on the new socialist party, founded in Genoa in 1892, was minimal, which is probably why he refused to join it. There were deep cultural differences between him and most of the socialist leadership group around Filippo Turati. Labriola was a southern intellectual, whose theoretical mentors were Hegel and Herbart, while Turati and company were pragmatic 14 THE HARD ROAD TO POLITICAL POWER northerners and convinced positivists (Labriola held the not unreasonable view that modern positivism was a form of bourgeois cretinism), who took their lead from the German socialists.

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