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Igor Chafarévitch: Le phénomène socialiste (The Socialist Phenomenon)

21 Février 2011 , Rédigé par Pierre-Olivier Combelles

Igor Shafarevich


Igor Shafarevich


The Socialist Phenomenon




Foreword by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn 

Texte complet en anglais: link

Extrait de la préface de Soljenitsyne:

(...) Shafarevich points out with great precision both the cause and the genesis of the first socialist doctrines, which he characterizes as reactions: Plato as a reaction to Greek culture, and the Gnostics as a reaction to Christianity. They sought to counteract the endeavor of the human spirit to stand erect, and strove to return to the earthbound existence of the primitive states of antiquity. The author also convincingly demonstrates the diametrical opposition between the concepts of man held by religion and by socialism. Socialism seeks to reduce human personality to its most primitive levels and to extinguish the highest, most complex, and "God-like" aspects of human individuality. And even equality itself, that powerful appeal and great promise of socialists throughout the ages, turns out to signify not equality of rights, of opportunities, and of external conditions, but equality qua identity, equality seen as the movement of variety toward uniformity.

Even though, as this book shows, socialism has always successfully avoided truly scientific analyses of its essence, Shafarevich's study challenges present-day theoreticians of socialism to demonstrate their arguments in a businesslike public discussion.


Extrait de l'introduction de Solzhenitsyn:

"This book is inspired by the conviction that the cataclysms which humanity has experienced in the twentieth century are only the beginning of a much more profound crisis--of a radical shift in the course of history. To characterize the scope of this crisis, I had thought of comparing it to the end of ancient civilization or to the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern period. But later I became acquainted with a bolder and, it seems to me, more penetrating approach. For example, F. Heichelheim in his fascinating An Ancient Economic History expresses the supposition that the present period of history, which has lasted over three thousand years, is coming to an end. It had its beginnings in the Iron Age, when tendencies rooted in the free development of personality led to the creation of the spiritual and cultural values upon which contemporary life is based:
It is quite possible that the economic state controls of the last decades, produced by immanent trends of our Late Capitalist Age of the twentieth century, mean the end and conclusion of the long development in the direction of economic individualism, and the beginnings of a novel organization of labor which is closer to the Ancient Oriental models of five thousand years ago than to the ideals for which the foundations were laid at the beginning of the Iron Age.
It is hardly necessary to demonstrate that one of the basic forces influencing the developing crisis of mankind is socialism. It both promotes this crisis, as a force destroying the "old world," and undertakes to show a way out. Therefore the attempt to comprehend socialism--its origins, its driving forces, the goal toward which it leads--is dictated quite simply by the instinct for self-preservation. We fear the possibility of finding ourselves at the crossroads with blinders on, at a time when choosing which road to take may determine the whole of mankind's future."
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