The theory and practice of communism; Evolution of Non-Marxian Socialism
Not behind this there is another idea too that was very popular in the history of English socialism in the Middle Ages in the early modern times I think many of you know the rather famous jingo when Adam doe that was dug when Adam delved and Eve span who was then the gentle man is going back to the Garden of Eden they're going back to the first natural man living under God's laws. Were there any gentleman masters as opposed to the surface to the slaves under natural law there can be no slaves there can be no service serfs and slaves can be only under the laws of men. Well these thoughts prompted many men in early modern times to think further about it more just social order one that would come closer to what was considered the natural law rather than the laws meant. And one of the most distinguished people in this line
was Thomas More known to English historians as Sir Thomas Moore to Roman Catholics at least as St. Thomas Moore and I hope many of you saw the recent movie The Life of Thomas Moore Thomas Moore live from fourteen seventy eight to 15 35 and was one of the most highly placed Englishman of his time he got to be Lord Chancellor. He was a great scholar. He lived in Tudor England at a time when England was being transformed by the commercial revolution and by colonialism at a time when England was coming out of feudalism. And it is certainly more or St. Thomas More it that gives us a word that has been used ever since with respect to a certain brand of socialism utopian socialism the word utopian. It comes from two Greek words. There is the Greek
word of talk posts meaning a place of the word topography for example comes from it and you look in ancient Greek means no. So that Utopia means literally no place. That there was no place on earth yet that would describe what Thomas Moore wanted. So this is the land of nowhere that we are talking about. Thomas Moore wrote a book in which he has a sailor and a Portuguese scholar Rockdale his slow day and most un Portuguese name. He has this fellow joined a merry go vest Bucci. And this sailor comes across the island of utopia that is no place. The book is as you can guess an indictment of English society at the time. Thomas Moore describes the perfect society that this sailor found on the island
of utopia. What's it like. First of all there is no private property on this island of utopia. And let me quote Thomas Moore where possessions be private. It is hard and almost impossible that they are the common wealth that will be justly governed and prosperously flourish. The island of Utopia as he imagined it was a crescent about two miles broad with 54 cities inside 24 miles apart in the capital and Morocco was in the center. The aim of life on this island was true happiness not just happiness but true happiness for everyone. One of the most radical ideas and Sir Thomas Moore is an idea that no longer seems radical at least to the electric yet electric workers union of New York the daily.
The hours of of work were to be six hours a day. There would be no poor and no rich no idlers. There was to be common distribution of goods. In fact this commonality went even further. That is in common living. People were to live in dormitories and they were to eat in messes and there was to be a strict government over all and the practical education for everyone so they could carry out their duties as workers and citizens of this island. In many ways what we had in this case of Thomas Moore's Utopia is a an echo of Plato's Republic but based very much on the idea that the truly Christian life and the life of true happiness was only one in which men could not exploit one another through the use of private property. Another person that belongs to a similar strain is Sir Francis
Bacon who live from 15th 61 to sixteen twenty six and the other lord chancellor of England. Another great scholar and philosopher who gives a still another Ireland with the perfect society this one being called New Atlantis. I'm sure many of you are acquainted with the new age old myth that the most perfect civilization that ever existed existed on land known as a plan to switch through a natural catastrophe sank to the bottom of what we now call the Atlantic Ocean. And that this perfect society existed at some time to the west of the pillars of Hercules that is Gibraltar and is no more. But the myth continues especially in our science fiction and in late TV movies of the last Atlantis. Well Francis Bacon gives us his idea of what the new apprentice ought to be. He locates it interesting Lee enough in the South-Sea. And his communism
was not one of property but of knowledge is that he was a forerunner of the idea that the efficient human society had to be run on correct principles of science and technology. This is the age of the new science in Europe. And so he has what he calls Solomon's house a great college to train students and scholars to form a governing aristocracy which would manage this technological society based on science and invention. The idea being that in science and technology a man had the answer to practically every problem. I've been talking about Englishman so far. There are many many other nationalities involved in this. And just to give you examples of some Johann Valentin Andre a German gives us his communist ideal in what he called some very interesting Lee.
Christiane not Pulis is the city of Christians again harking back to St. Augustine and the City of God. Or we have the Italian Thomas company in the 16th century with his Civitas Solis the city of the sun which was again and Ireland. It's very interesting to me that all of these places are islands and they are you see separated from the rest of the wicked world in this way. And Thomas company was city of the Sun had a form of communism that included even family relationships. For company. The state was the center of all authority and it presumed that all citizens would he have an equal share in the saying what the state ought to do. Well one could give many more such examples of this kind of literature but as I said earlier modern socialism
is really based. On the challenges coming out of the Industrial Revolution so that it is really in the 18th century that we come closer to socialism in dealing with the practical problems of a new age. Here the French utopians were among the most influential in the whole history of socialism. And I have placed their names just in back of me Francois. But. They can't count they clothes on me professing not shout for you say Louis Blanc and Piers it was proved don't. Books have been written about each of these men but both interest me especially because much of his radicalism finds an echo in the radicalism of the Russian revolutionaries. He lived in the time of the French Revolution. You'll be interested in knowing that he was
given a team by the French revolutionaries as being too radical even for them. The first paragraph of his declaration in his secret organisation begins with a very interesting word nature. We get back to the natural rights to use not to Dolly nature says about birth has given to every man an equal right in the enjoyment of all goods. So by birth was for a communistic state in which everybody had to eat and dress and think alike. Children were taken away from their parents to be educated. It was a state based on a kind of inhuman and cold terror. They can Cabaye gives us another utopia another island coffee and some socialist groups even call themselves the it carry ons. From this he has a book called voyage to a
car you know which was very much obviously influenced by Thomas Moore. Everything is symmetrical and this island all the houses look alike are spaced evenly from one another everything's on the decimal system. There are 100 provinces in the land the ten communes per province and so forth 15 houses per block. All the houses are quite the same. This sounds like some of those little capitalist suburbs that we have all over the United States. Everyone was to work only 7 hours a day which was very radical. At a time when the average working day was more like 12 hours a day everybody had to get up at 6 o'clock in the morning. Everybody had to wear the same clothes. But I'm like Catholic nuns. These people were permitted different colors. I think even Catholic nuns are permitted different colors. A tin cup base group got a grant of land in Texas but yellow fever made the colony
move to nobble Illinois and some fifteen hundred it carried and lived there before dissension broke up the colony. Here I'm prompted to say something about the role of America in the history of European socialism. It is simply amazing to me how many European socialists who couldn't get to any south of the island thought of America as the proper place to start their socialist ventures. We have many socialists from the French kind of day to a Russian called Tchaikovsky. None they have no relative of the great composer who actually went to Kansas to join a socialist community there. America you see was a kind of island separated by Atlantic and Pacific from the evils of the world for the new Jonathan as one socialists said could do well in peace away from the old Wiggett Adams. One of my favorites in the history of French socialism is count Clode already decided
cmon who lived from 17 16 to 18 25. This is a great idealist. He was a count and member of the privileged class though he was a very poor man lived in misery most of his life but it a time when he still had some wealth in his earlier days inherited from his family. He had his valid wake him up every morning with the words arise miss you look current You have great deeds to perform. His idealism brought him to America and we Americans ought to remember gratefully that he was one of those many Europeans that fought in the American war for independence and received official recognition for bravery at Yorktown. He was I believe at the age of 26 a Colonel in his regiment at home. He was very much on the side of the French Revolution when it broke out but because he had inherited the title of count he was held suspect and was jailed for a while. In 18 0
3 he devoted himself to social reform and for the rest of his life lived in dire poverty. I quote from one of his writings for 50 days I eat only bread and drink water. I work without a fire and I have sold everything except my garments to cover the expense of the copies. What copies copies of a very influential book in the history of socialism. The new Christianity. I think the title the new Christianity alone tells us something of the religious impulse behind this kind of socialism. I might say that this Christianity had very little to do with formal Catholicism in which sassing was brought up as a Frenchman. He starts out with the proposition that all men are brothers. If this is so he says then all ownership ought to be public and there should be no inheritance by a private citizens
rather the state should inherit everything and his state was run very much like a disciplined army with ranks based on talents and capabilities but sent Seimone always assumed that in this state the best would rise to the top. Being a county by birth he was very sensitive on this subject and so went to the other extreme of thinking of an aristocracy based on capabilities and talents but nevertheless he couldn't rate himself of the idea of an aristocracy there had to be some aristocracy. But one based on talents. I sent Simone writes of his socialism they demand that land capital and all the instruments of labor should become private property common property to be so managed that each one's portion should correspond to his capacity and his reward to his labors. End of quote. Now this is a very significant statement in the light of other kinds of
socialism that we should be talking about. Note that we began this hour talking about the problem of equal distribution sense Simone did not believe in equal distribution atol but that everyones portion I quote him again should correspond to his capacity and his reward to his labors. As you get out of it what you put into it through your own work. Well what makes this socialist stand with the simple fact that it is common ownership of the means of production and that everyone is guaranteed an equal right to these goods through his labors. Scharf 48 who lived from 1772 to 1837 was the son of a clock merchant and the unit of his Utopia was the phalanx. Note the military terminology. This is borrowed from the military history of the ancient Greeks. His phalanx was a community of about 400 to
2000 people living in a huge apartment house which he called a Fil-Am story. And these people were then divided into series or groups of workers. If I might use athletic terminology into teams in the Soviet Union they're even known as brigades under Soviet communism. These teams would consist of seven to nine workers each with its allotted task. The interesting thing about socialism was. That there would be no states involved. He was against the state as a centralized organism of political control over people. Rather he thought of this in terms of these full lands to raise these phalanxes or communes as we might call them on it which each one administered itself. But then there had to be something to cap all of this for the whole world. And so he has the capital of the
world in Constantinople and the head of the world is called a. You knock. All of this was of course out of some far future millenium of happiness. All the land was to be nationalized infuriates system and everyone was to be involved in the economy under the principles that we might call in our system the joint stock principles. That is everyone would have a share in the economy. For yea it's for 12 years. I came home every day at noon because he had announced that at that time he would receive some great unknown philanthropist who was willing to come and give him a great sum of money to carry out his work for 12 years he waited patiently at home every noon and this great philanthropist never came. But
forty a thought had much much influence in his day I know this through my own work in Russian history. How much for you influenced them. Louis Blanc is one of the best known of the French socialists. He lived from 1813 to 1880 too and was especially prominent in the revolution of eighteen forty eight. Louis Plante gives us among other features of socialism the theory of the social workshop. That is that it was the state that should give employment to all citizens and that the state should gradually take over through its own workshops its own factories which would run private factories out of business through competition. Since the state presumably would run these workshops more efficiently than private factories could run
that blank was quite certain of this and so eventually the competition would drive the private factories out of business and they would join the government factories and then the whole state would become a federation of workshops factories and everyone who wanted to work could find work. And then comes a very famous sentence in the history of socialism from each according to his ability to each according to his needs. From each according to his ability to each according to his needs. Now you see that is different from some of the other socialists I've been talking about who believe that no one should get out of an economic system more than he puts into it. But Louis Blanc who I might say was very much influenced by religious thought felt that justice does not consist of giving everyone his due in the strict sense but of giving everyone what he needs. This is God's law.
This is God's law. And if all men are going to be brothers they're not going to ask how much did you do in order to earn such and such. But what do you need. And each one would gain according to whatever he needed. Now again note that this has nothing to do with equal distribution because men's needs are not equal. Some men need more than other men in order to carry out their functions in society. I for example as a scholar are happy to have a need of a library. I might say it's a rather costly one. Other people have need transportation of certain sorts other people have need of still something else. People are different their function in society are different therefore their needs are different. And this was the basis of Louis Blanc's socialism. Pierre's yourself proved wrong. Oh I might say that before I leave lily plant that one of his great works was the
book organised by the organisation of labor and in 1848 when there was a revolution in France a government which was not very kind to Louis Blanc's idea of workshops decided to discredit them by setting them up and then sabotaging them. So this was one of the most effective ways the government had of getting workers to be against the whole idea of workshops. But nevertheless Louis Blanc was such an eminent figure in the history of socialism that when he died in 1982 he was given a state funeral. Piers is that true don't live from 18 0 9 to 18 65. And I won't trouble you with much about him except to remind you of that most famous sentence of his what is property. It's a title of one of his works. Procreate. And his answer was say Lavoro. It is theft of property is theft. So he wanted to do away with private property
and tiredly. He also was against the state as such and was for a system which generically is called Anarky that is no central government. One of my favorites. Among the non Marxian socialists is Robert Owen who live from 1771 to eight hundred fifty eight. Robert Owen was born in Wales. And was a very successful owner of cotton mills. I want to emphasize this because there it has been and perhaps still is the prejudice that socialists are generally impractical scholars who know very little about the economic system and how it really works and never had to work hard for a penny all their lives but simply read and write books when actually in the
history of socialism we have some outstanding examples of very successful capitalists. Robert Owen was one of them Friedrich Engels was another. If it weren't for the fact that Friedrich Engels was such a successful manufacture in England I don't know how Karl Marx ever would have lived because Karl Marx lived off the money that Friedrich Engels this wealthy manufactured capitalist gave him. Well Robert Owen was a very successful manufacturer had cotton mills he was a rich man. But he was appalled as he looked about him at the living conditions of the people that worked in his factories. He organized in Scotland something called new landmark a factory town based very much on the paternalistic system. He frankly regarded himself as the patron and philanthropist and best friend of the workers. As a man who had the money the means the motivation and the intelligence to
do for the workers what they couldn't do for themselves. And he started out. But though he was an intensely religious man in many ways and in unorthodox ways he started out with a hard headed supposition that if every capitalist in order to succeed ought to take care of his machinery which are the means of his production Why shouldn't he give at least equal attention to taking care of the men who run the machinery. That these two are the means of production and that a way that a wise capitalist should give as much thought to his workers as to the machines and so he established special stores for his workers where they could buy goods at cheaper prices this is quite different from the company store in the United States where workers were forced to buy things at higher prices in company towns with Robert on it was just the opposite. He also established a sanitation
system schools for the children of the workers. His goal was general happiness and the means was to change the environment and largely through education and a clean life. He also did something that seemed. So radically radical in his time and still makes many people uncomfortable even in our days of Social Security. He felt that a manufacturer had a duty towards his workers to provide them with the livelihood even when the factory wasn't running. That is to pay wages to people to his workers even when there wasn't any work for them. That if there was no work for them this was not their fault and they shouldn't have to suffer for this. Oh and did much for labor legislation in his day but then he turned over two utopian schemes of one kind or another for communistic industrial communities in which the workers would themselves
own the factories. It's interesting that he tried to set up several of these factories. I could never get enough workers. To take on the responsibilities of what was involved in all of this and generally workers voted against him as a pup at public meetings largely because they chafe at the paternalism and at the restrictions of freedom of their own freedom which this whole system was based on. And so unlike so many other socialist decided that America was the place for him. New Harmony Indiana many of you can still visit New Harmony Indiana founded in 1824 are based on some thirty thousand acres and was a complete failure as a socialistic experiment after just three years. Oh and toured Britain trying to organize a Federation of Trade Unions and cooperatives. He was for cooperation between labor and capital and neither was in the mood for
cooperation in those days in England. Oh it was a failure in establishing utopia. But his plea for a better society and his indictment of contemporary evils and there were many in the capitalism of that day awoke men to action. He did much for labor legislation for prison reform. Well I would like to conclude this section simply by pointing out that one of my main reasons in telling you about these non Marxian and pre Marx and socialists was to make sure that we all understood that Karl Marx is not the founder or the father of socialism that it is an idea going way back into human history and that even in modern times Marx in socialism had many foreigners many competitors and different brands of socialism that I shall refer to later even after Marxism. Another conclusion that I might like to draw from this is that socialism was not
generally propagated by the revolutionary poor but rather by religious leaders. Some of them saints aristocrats are former aristocrats and factory owners and scholars of one kind or another and that the motivation was a rose from conscience and from love of humanity and the quest for a more just human society. You have been listening to Professor Michael B Petrovich of the University of Wisconsin as he delivered the first of two lectures on the evolution of non Marxian socialism. Next week the evolution of Nun Marxian socialism during and after the time of Karl Marx. These lectures are drawn from the 1967 Wisconsin Alumni seminar on the theory and practice of communism. They're arranged for radio by W. H A the University of Wisconsin began almost speaking.
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- For series info, see Item 3358. This prog.: The Evolution of Non-Marxian Socialism, part I.
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Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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- Chicago: “The theory and practice of communism; Evolution of Non-Marxian Socialism,” 1968-04-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 28, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-057cw598.
- MLA: “The theory and practice of communism; Evolution of Non-Marxian Socialism.” 1968-04-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 28, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-057cw598>.
- APA: The theory and practice of communism; Evolution of Non-Marxian Socialism. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-057cw598